Northern Isolation


November’s Going Fire
11/30/2011, 10:47 AM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , ,

This is a very special Northern Isolation. Normally, I wouldn’t update again so soon, but the latter half of November saw the release of a few records that most likely garnered some anticipation. I had to take a look and a listen.

Forteresse-Crépuscule d’Octobre

Country: Canada (Quebec City, QC)

Label: Sepulchral Productions

Released: 11/22/2011

This could quite possibly be Forteresse’s breakout record. With “Crépuscule d’Octobre”, what has rather quickly become my favorite black metal band has expanded their repertoire in directions I didn’t expect. One of the first things I noticed about this record was the dramatic increase in production value from their last LP. A lot of the atmospheric fuzz on which Forteresse had relied to create the illusion of vast empty space has disappeared in the mix, a move I was very apprehensive of at first. What puts my mind at ease here is a shift in songwriting that puts a higher value on polyphony, something that was admittedly lacking on their earlier releases. Another added bonus for me is the return of the Quebecois fiddle tune samples at the beginning of two songs on the record, the feature that initially drew me to Forteresse. The band’s proclivity to put Quebecois folk culture on the forefront has become something a number of bands have begun doing as of late, but I will always give Forteresse the credit for being the first, at least to my knowledge, to make Quebecois patriotism and sovereignty a central theme to their music, getting less caught up in “evil” or “Satan” and instead drawing misery from their own tortured history. I couldn’t wait for this record to come out and I’m satisfied to say I was not disappointed.

5/5

Typhonic Age-Misanthropic Wrath

Country: USA (Asheville, NC)

Label: Self-Released

Released: 11/20/2011

This is another case of shitty demo recording and incomplete instrumentation wounding a record. To be fair, this is apparently a relatively new band’s first recording. The songs (there’s only 2.5 of them) are pretty good, if a little generic. I really like the last track a lot, partially because the overdubbing gives the track a little bit of low end. The lack of anything remotely approaching a bass tone is one of the biggest faults of this demo. But again, the operative word there is “demo”. If Typhonic Age got a bass player and a budget, they could be amazing. If I lived in North Carolina, I’d try out to be their bass player; I genuinely do like these songs a lot. Just not how they’re presented. Bummer.

3/5

Amelnakru-Monomania

Country: Iraq (Baghdad)

Label: Depressive Illusions Records

Released: 11/24/2011

What the fuck am I listening to? The novelty of Middle Eastern black metal has now officially worn off entirely. I can only imagine the recording set-up that was used to make this record. It sounds like everything but the bass drum and cymbals were recorded at immense levels, but from down the street. If I listen to this and forget what I’m listening to, it starts to sound cool, simply because the production is piss poor to a degree even raw black metal doesn’t reach. The songs stay firmly in one spot, and even if the songwriting was immensely complicated, we’d never know because it isn’t like anyone call tell what the fuck is going on. The only upside is that the third track has some machine gun fire and some explosions in it which, what with Amelnarku being from Baghdad and all, I can only assume is real.

1/5

Burzum-From the Depths of Darkness

Country: Norway (Bø)

Label: Byelobog Productions

Released: 11/25/2011

I was only 6 when Varg went to jail. Needless to say, I was not listening to black metal at the age of 6. The entire time I’ve been aware of/a fan of black metal, I’ve heard Varg trash his early recordings, expressing his disappointment in them and saying that he had a completely different vision for how the songs were supposed to sound. When Varg got out of jail and started making black metal again, I was pretty sure it was going to be awful. It wasn’t. So when I found out that Varg was rerecording songs from “Burzum”, “Aske” and “Det Som Engang Var” “the way they were supposed to sound”, I was pretty excited. Then it came out and remembered why that line of reasoning never works. I also realized how much I really do love those first few Burzum records, in part because of their imperfections: a young Varg operating without the framework of black metal’s history, shrieking like some kind of wounded animal, playing with terrible equipment. Everything that gave those first few records character has been scrubbed away. Put it this way, if a modern black metal band had released this album as a record of Burzum covers, I’d be happy with it. But that’s not what this is. This is Varg trying to change history. And we all know how much Varg loves to change history. “From the Depths of Darkness” is pale, it’s plastic, it’s completely unnecessary, and it seems like a blatant attempt by Varg to cash in on the renewed attention he claims to disdain.

1/5

Enid-Munsalvaesche

Country: Germany (Porta Westfalica, North Rhine-Westphalia)

Label: Code666 Records

Released: 11/28/2011

Enid is very silly. Enid has always been very silly. If you add “with medieval influences” to the end of any genre of music, it will automatically make it silly. However, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band not give a fuck about the nameless hordes of black metal assholes (such as myself) who would probably listen to this and hate it just because it’s not grym. And it isn’t, at all. At points, it sounds like synthy Nickleback. I was going to give this a good review until they decided to get all Nickleback on me, actually. Still, this has a certain quality to it that is incredibly palatable yet musically complex. Always a nice thing to see. Definitely not my kind of thing, but it’s not ALL about me. And besides, the record is HILARIOUS!

2/5

Lapageria Rosea-En Un Mar de Abstracción

Country: Chile (Puerto Montt)

Label: Self-Released

Released: 11/23/2011

So, apparently all it takes to be in an experimental black metal band is screaming into a heavily effected microphone over the noisy parts of a Sonic Youth song. Face it, you’re in a No Wave band.

1/5

Venom-Fallen Angels

Country: UK (Newcastle, England)

Label: Spinefarm Records

Released: 11/28/2011

Hey, did you know Venom had a new album out? Neither did I, until this morning. If you think about it, Venom was sort of a failed project, 2 good records and then a sea of crap. I have to admit I had no expectations for this record whatsoever and I only reviewed it because I love slamming these stupid reformed bands that try to remain relevant. To be fair, Venom could have gone in a much more reprehensible direction than they did: they could have tried to turn into a black metal band. Instead, they stayed the course with the scarier side of NWOBHM. The funniest thing is when these old dude metal bands try to incorporate newer metal techniques into their sound as a means of updating their sound, something that actually just makes them seem older and sadder. Basically, every OSD (old, sad, and drunk) metal dude cliche can be found in buckets on this one. It has the nu-metal track, it has the thrash metal track, it’s got something for everyone. Except even nu-metal kids are smarter than this. Most nu-metal bands are better at writing lyrics than Cronos. This is embarrassingly bad, but why would I expect any less from Venom?

1/5


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