Northern Isolation


The Leaves Have All Died Now

It’s been a little while since updating Northern Isolation with a proper black metal review post, but in the spirit of the dying leaves and the chill in the air, I’ll get back into the swing of things.

Sun Devoured Earth-Autumn Songs

Country: Latvia (Aizkraukle)

Label:Parasitecrisis

Release: 10/15/2011

The thing that makes Alcest great is they take the majority parts black metal and throw in a few sticks and seeds from the shoegaze milieu, perfecting the intended mix. Here, in Sun Devoured Earth, we find a much less skillful mix, almost to the point where this ceases to be a black metal album in any respect. It has brief moments of harshness that pass almost as quickly as they arrive, but aside from this, it is almost purely a shoegaze album. Now, I’m not saying that is bad. Perhaps their intention was to reverse the Alcest blueprint and create a shoegaze project with light hues of black metal. Autumn Songs is a pretty good record for what it is: dark and dreary.

3/5

Seide-Here is No Truth

Country: France (Paris, Île-de-France)

Label: Unlight Productions

Release: 10/10/11

Seide stands exactly on the opposite end of the spectrum from Sun Devoured Earth when it comes to experimentation within the framework of black metal. Where SDE was lilting, less black metal and more black metal-influenced, Seide leaves no questions whatsoever about where their allegiances stand: amongst the ungodly hordes of black metal. Seide are of a school of black metal the can sound current, but still seem to have kept a vein back to their predecessors not only open, but active. Tremendous!

4/5

Gjallarhorn-Фолькванг

Country: Russia (Kemerovo, Siberia)

Label: Musica Production

Release: 10/14/11

The first thing that stands out on this record are the drums. From a production standpoint, they are awful. But for some reason, I’m really into them. They don’t fit with the music that well, but it kind of feels like some extreme industrial sound artist is producing the drums on this album. Now, Gjallarhorn breaks my “synths as folk instruments” rule in a pretty egregious fashion, but they make up for it with a ton of shred. As I’ve said in the past, viking metal from places without vikings (yes, I know the Rus were of viking extraction) is an epidemic problem in black metal. I can’t fully explain why, but for some reason this record strikes a tremendous chord with me, enough to make me rethink some of my old rules.

4/5

Young and In The Way-V. Eternal Depression

Country: USA (Charlotte, NC)

Label: Antithetic Records

Release: 10/11

Given my day-to-day listening regiment as of the past few weeks, this is right up my alley. A lot of Amebix, a lot of early crust. The first track on here threw me off. I was expecting another slow, poorly recorded ambient black metal attempt from another band stateside that is trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I ended up shotgunning a can of crusty grimness. In one clean slash, I found one of the tightest black metal bands and one of the tightest crust bands. And they’re the same band. This is a contender for one of my favorite records of the year. I can see how black metal ethos and crust ethos could stand at odds with each other, musically and politically. What makes this record as outstanding as it is is that neither of these elements cancel each other out. Easilly the record of the month.

5/5

Archgoat-Heavenly Vulva (Christ’s Last Rites)

Country: Finland (Turku)

Label: Debemur Morti Productions

Release: 10/14/11

I have to admit, I’m kind of sick of Archgoat’s aesthetic. They’ve got their style figured out musically, and I certainly do enjoy their unique take on black metal: growled vocals, downtuned riffs that seem to boil up from the bowels of the earth like a sort of cthonic diarrhea. I mean that in the best way possible. What gets my goat about Archgoat is the uncreative hyper-blasphemy that they choose to get their point across. A sexy Mary Magdalene fucking a dead Jesus? “Blessed Vulva”? Come on. I know that puritanical Christians probably would be freaked out by just about everything on this record, but wouldn’t those same people still hate your band if you didn’t sing about the Virgin Mary’s vagina on every record you’ve ever recorded? It seems repetitive to keep trying to shock people who’ve already seen black metal’s willingness to quite literally destroy the houses of God. It may be time to find new channels of threatening Christian dominance outside of hours of thoughtless blaspheming and shocking cover art. All philosophical discourse aside, this record is exactly what you could have expected from Archgoat, which I knew was the case before I even pressed play on the record itself. Archgoat seems stuck in a rut, but I’m not sure they’d even want to get out.

3/5

Pestilentia-Rotten

Country: Belarus (Minsk)

Label: Thou Shalt Kill! Records

Release: 10/7/11

I reviewed the Pestilentia demo a few months back, calling it one of the most tremendous freshman efforts I’d heard from a black metal band in years. All I wanted was more Pestilentia records to come out. Pestilentia rewarded me with, not one new record, not two new records, but a live album, a full length, and a split all within a month of each other. I’m loving this new trend of black metal bands being super productive. The Burzum record that came out this year was hot on the heels of “Belus” and proved to be on par, if not better, than Varg’s return effort. Sun Devoured Earth have released 11 albums this year so far. But here, we have a band that should by all means be one of the biggest names in black metal. Pestilentia have the strong midpace of a lot of their Slavic brethren, but have a distinctly classic black metal delivery. These two trains, crashing together on the darkened doorstep of Asia, create one of the most delightful cacophonies I’ve heard in a long time.

5/5

Grim Blackstreet


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: