Northern Isolation

11/21/2011, 2:09 PM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

2011 is drawing to a close. As I stare blankly into my Chinese food, I can’t help but reflect. Soon it will be Top 10 List season. Til then…

Midnight-Satanic Royalty

Country: USA (Cleveland, OH)

Label: Hell’s Headbangers Records

Released: 11/8/2011

Speaking of Top 10 lists, this just made mine. There are a bunch of “black Motorheads” out there these days, but Midnight may be one of the strongest. Of course, if you mix up black metal and Motorhead enough, eventually you just get a crust band, which is sort of right beyond the threshold of where Midnight stands. Still firmly a metal band, they still have not tired of many of heavy metal’s (not necessarily black metal’s) time-honored cliches, like blurred lines between violence and sex, gymnastic fingerwork, endless blasphemies, etc. All of these elements are up front on this record, along with a ton of Lemmy-worship and and healthy dose of latter-era Darkthrone. In terms of pure energy, you cannot go wrong here.


Chant of Blasphemy-Godless Extermination

Country: Germany (Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg)

Label: Self-Released

Released: 11/11/2011

I give Chant of Blasphemy credit for trying (evidently not when it came to naming the band though). I need to try and avoid the “this doesn’t sound original” argument simply because this is black metal; of course it’s not original. And frankly, this does have it’s own sort of ambiance to it, sort of. Somehow, this record falls flat for me, glorifying all of the stereotypes that have caused so many of the old fogies in black metal to hang up their egregiously spiked armbands. That being said, i will not deny that Chant of Blasphemy are a) very tight and b) very talented. It just isn’t enough for me. If you’re into well-produced black metal by numbers, this record may be for you.



Country: Germany (Groß-Gerau, Hesse)

Label: Supreme Chaos Records

Released: 11/11/2011

This record didn’t look like a black metal record. The album art looks like someone’s pale attempt at Jacob Bannon-esque printwork. This was a pretty good indicator of what was found inside. I listened to a lot of metalcore in high school and this record is a blast from that past: lots of core, not a lot of black metal. Has plagiarizing Gothenburg been replaced with plagiarizing old black metal records? Am I that out of touch? All I know is that if I close my eyes and listen to this, I can almost convince myself that it’s a Maroon record, at least until the synthy intermission track that sounds like a BlaqAudio song. I guess that’s what makes this a black metal band: synthesizer interjection.



Country:Lithuania (Vilnius)

Label: Self-Released

Released: 11/15/2011

This record is deeply unsettling. There’s something so thoroughly off-kilter on this record, something that makes it feel like, at any moment, everything could come completely undone, prompting Satan to burst through the screen of my laptop and turn my blood into Tenafly Viper. The recording quality is awful. The production is awful. And the end result is something so legitimately frightening it’s almost hard to listen to. The progressions on this record could not possibly have been conceived by a normal mind. I don’t think a black metal has evoked this sincere of a response from me ever. This is utterly bizarre and, by all accounts, brilliant.



Country: Puerto Rico (San Juan)

Label: Self-Released

Released: 11/21/2011

The line between “raw black metal” and “shit” is not so well-defined. I had high hopes for this record; the only other Puerto Rican black metal band I’d ever heard was pretty good and this record came out today. Unfortunately, it’s a steaming pile of shit. The guitars are out of tune, leading to some unintentional micro-tonal key changes. The attempts at atmospheric clean vocals are shamefully bad. Half of the riffs are lifted directly from Burzum or Bathory songs. I will give this record synthesizer interjections small praise: they’re the high-point of the record. Everything else on here is a travesty.


Ptahil-For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory

Country: USA (Fort Wayne, IN)

Label: Wraith Productions

Released: 11/14/2011

Picking records to review based on how cool the album cover looks is a dangerous game. I picked this one because the cover had a sort of pan-retro feel: logo straight out of the old Stockholm death metal scene and high contrast art that reminds me of Born Again. I got lucky this time around because this album is tremendous. If you type “black/doom metal” into google, you will find all sorts of silly bullshit. What you won’t find is this record; a record that somehow manages to combine those two genres in an incredibly artful way. I was expecting a sort of slow sludgy black metal record that sounded more like Hate Forest than any doom metal band. Instead what I got is a cross between Hellhammer and Sabbath, if you can imagine that. Don’t imagine it. Go out and buy this record. It’s fucking tremendous.


Coming up next time around: the beginnings of the year-end wrap up. 2011 sucked balls, but a few records worth noting came out/are coming out. Prepare yourself.

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