Northern Isolation


Grim and Frosbitten Beach Towel

It’s Tuesday again. I have decided that this happens on Tuesday.

WAN-Wolves of the North

Country: Sweden (Eskilstuna)

Label: Abyss Records

Year: 2010

This is a steaming pile of shit. The songs are shitty, the drums sound fake as hell, and the lyrics are the definition of trite. The only excuse I could find to enjoy this release would be if all the members were small children and this was the novelty children black metal band like Eater was to the English punk scene or, like, Menudo or something. I refuse to listen to/talk about this record anymore.

0/5

Neige et Noirceur-La Seigneurie Des Loups

Country: Canada (Montreal, QC)

Label: Sepulchral Productions

Year: 2010

This release, on the other hand, is fucking awesome. Neige et Noirceur are yet another Quebecois Nationalist band reviewed on these pages. However, unlike other bands that adhere to a similar format as Neige et Noirceur, namely Forteresse on Metal Noir Quebecois, the folk music they sample heavily gets incorporated into their sound. Nowhere is this more apparent than on “Ancien Folklore Quebecois”, which may be the standout track on the album, due to its high accordion content. Some of the vocal patterns are a bit questionable, but it doesn’t really detract from the rest of the album. A solid slab of Quebecois separatism from the English-speaking center of Quebec. Half of their city would be very upset if they got their way.

4/5

The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society-Future Northern Prosperity

Country: Canada (Cochenour, ON)

Label: Practical Art Records

Year: 2010

Here, we move exactly one province east to beautiful Ontario. This band consists of a guy who is currently in Woods of Ypres and a guy who used to be in Woods of Ypres. That may or may not give you an idea of what your in for. This is by no means “straight forward” black metal. There are moments on here that sound like a lot of different bands, some of which are really bad, others of which are really good. It’s a short little EP, but in it’s two songs, there is a wealth of different sounds, many of which seem to have strayed from the grim and frostbitten path drastically. The only consistent complaint I have about this record is the clean vocals sound a little bit like Godsmack. Other than that, a good record. But that is a very big problem worth addressing.

3/5

Fen-Epoch

Country: UK

Label: Code666

Year: 2011

This is very weird. I’m having trouble putting my finger on how I feel about this record. For one thing, they’ve used a lot more chords than black metal ever has in the past. These songs are in a lot more time signatures than most black metal is. The clean vocals don’t sound like a chorus of farting vikings, which is a nice change of pace. They’re named after a type of swamp, which is weird. There a moments where they sound like some sort of latter-era Sonic Youth. This record sort of sends you through an emotional roller coaster of dense-sparse-dense change-ups. The Pixies did that. Maybe Fen is secretly an indie rock band. I’d believe it, I guess.

3/5

Valkynaz-Grimwork

Country: USA (Henderson, NV)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

Before I even heard this record, I had a few bad things to say about it already.

1) You are from Nevada and you sing about winter. Huh?

2) You are named after some monster in Elder Scrolls. Nerd.

3) You cover a band you did a split with. That band was from Ohio. That cover is the 3rd track on your album. Fail.

More on that 3rd complaint. This track occurs after a sprawling 10 minute drum/synth duet that made me want to shoot myself in the face. The cover doesn’t fix that. In fact, none of this record is in any way redeemable, except perhaps by an obscure Ildjarn-Nidhogg cover (that’s right, 2 covers), which S. Stormhammer (Valkynaz’s sole member) seems to have also fucked up. This album is broken up, it would seem, into 2 parts, both of whom suck. Even trying to explain what the hell any of this signifies is a waste of my fucking time.

0/5

Primordial-Redemption At the Puritan’s Hand

Country: Ireland (Dublin)

Label: Metal Blade Records

Year: 2011

Holy crap! A record not released on Dickweed Productions. I must admit, I never even bothered to listen to Primordial until quite recently and I was blown away. I hate bands that call themselves “folk metal”. I think it is an automatic cheapener. But this band has managed to somehow avoid falling amongst the bones of those who also bestow upon themselves the title of folk metal. This band defies my prejudices in other ways as well. The world has no shortage of bands singing about Ireland, although for some reason a lot of them come from here and not there. Here is a band that sings about Ireland without the corny nostalgia that so many bands feel is necessary on the subject. That being said, this record is starting to alert me to the fact that Primordial is pretty formulaic. The past few albums they’ve released could be interchangeable. This is no exception. You can’t really blame a band for having a distinct sound, but this is starting to get ridiculous. But I’m not bored yet. So I’m giving this a good review just because.

4/5


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