Northern Isolation

When it’s cold…
08/17/2011, 11:07 PM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

OK, updating at random. Too spastic to not.

Wholy Failure-The Black House

Country: USA (Bangor, ME)

Label: Self-Released?

Year: 2011

I can find very little information on this release so if you know of a label that released this record, let me know. I wouldn’t look to hard though. This record is kind of an unfocused mess. Though, not really a black metal record, it tries to present a cavalcade of genres that all sort of crash into each other, producing a hailstorm of awkward interruption. It is nice to occasionally review something other than the same regurgitated Darkthrone/Bathory/Filosofem-era Burzum record, but this record’s intent to create a sparse and expansive soundscape only really succeeds in creating a testament to the importance of practice and solid intention. There are moments on “The Black House” that come across as the idle noodlings of a guitar student teaching himself how to tremolo pick. I don’t think that needed to be recorded, let alone distributed (albeit on a small scale). The last track on this EP is the most confusing. Out of nowhere, the band goes from being an ambient post-rock outfit to something that sounds like Ian Curtis (now) singing New Order songs with Darkthrone as his backing band. Trust me, you do not want to know what that sounds like.



Country: Sweden (Växjö)

Label: Frostscald Records

Year: 2011

Ok, it’s time for bands to stop calling themselves “Forest” (“Skogen” is Swedish for “forest”). Also, both the photoshopped-to-look-grainy painting and vast forest album cover formats are starting to get a little old. As it is, I have trouble keeping all of this black metal straight, the almost identical album art is not helping things. All bitching aside, Sweden still does the whole “black metal” thing better than most. One of the guys in this band is in Birdflesh, which is hilarious because this is basically the opposite of Birdflesh. What we have here is a seriously delivered and fairly accomplished black metal record, with little twists of all the bands you’d expect there to be little twists of. I’m pretty sure they use the exact same horse noises on the first track as Bathory did on “A Fine Day To Die” (this coming from the guy who gave a 5/5 to a Bathory tribute record by a band that is named after a magical rabbit) . The Swedes really love letting their solos soar, this is their strength.


Nuklearenpest-Consigned to the Black Plague

Country: USA (Piscataway, NJ)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011


One of the guys from Nuklearenpest has contacted me and has sent me the following message:

Just throught I would write to you to clear up a few things. I play in Nuklearenpest. We are not a racist/NS band. 2/3 members are Jewish, 1/3 is Mexican. Zionism does not equate Judaism, just as Anti-Zionist does not equate Anti-Semitic. I suggest you read up on the subject before making false accusations for all to see.


So, my bad. Had I been a psychic, I would have known about the Jewish/Mexican heritage of this band. In my defense, “Crush the Banner of the ZOG” sounds a lot like the kind of song a racist/NS black metal band would write. The concept of ZOG isn’t exactly one that has a rich history in the western arm Palestinian liberation movement, where it does have a rich history of being used by groups like The Order or the Aryan Nations. Once again, my mistake. Still not fond of this release, but now I’m at least not fond yet well-informed.



Country: Germany (Augsburg, Bavaria)

Label: Northern Silence Productions

Year: 2011

Fucking naptime. This must be the special naptime edition of Northern Isolation because this is putting me to sleep. I’m starting to think the phrase “post-black metal”, which I found attached to this release, might be secret code for “bullshit”. All of the early classics of black metal seem to come from either a place of profound hatred or profound admiration for J.R.R. Tolkein. This appears to come from the mopiest place imaginable. Here’s a box of tissues and a 30-rack of PBR. Go make a better album.



Country: USA (Oakland, CA)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

This is a slightly more interesting and tremendously harder-biting version of that last record I reviewed. This band allows itself to be labelled as “black/doom metal/crust” on the old Metal Archives. I fail to see the doom or crust element to this, outside of occasional rhythmic lethargy and the fact that all the members used to be in punk bands (also according to Metal Archives). This band stands out in part because it is female-fronted. To be honest, it doesn’t really add or detract from this band. The collective skill of all facets of this band help propel this release down a well-trodden but often misappropriated path, one they command with what appears to be relative ease. Another highly-rated release of 2011 from this camp, even if they are from California.


Deafheaven-Roads to Judah

Country: USA (San Francisco, CA)

Label: Deathwish Inc.

Year: 2011

The minute I saw Deathwish Inc. released this, I was skeptical. My skepticism was well-placed. The following is a paragraph from their page on the Deathwish Inc. website: “Deafheaven are a genre defying aggressive band from San Francisco, CA.

Their hybrid musical approach is outright stunning. A melding of epic Post Rock leanings (Envy, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) with experimental Black Metal (Xasthur, Weakling, Leviathan), and classic era “Screamo” (Orchid, Crimson Curse) into something never successfully experienced before.”

This sounds like “Renihilation” by The Band Who Shall Not Be Named (it starts with an L [and possibly on the L] and ends with some hipsters from Brooklyn who got bored of appropriating black culture). Maybe these guys aren’t as douchey as L_______, but since they are also acting like combining post-rock, black metal, and old screamo has never been done before, I tend to think they may be on the same level. Maybe Deafheaven and Kitty Littergy will go on tour together and I’ll have an excellent excuse to have a night in with a box of wine, jerking off to photos of Quorthon and sacrificing virgins or something.


I’m thinking about starting a weekly podcast/mixtape to accompany these reviews. More on that later.

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