Northern Isolation


The Passing Moments Before Oblivion

It was supposed to snow, but it didn’t. I’m going to try to get a couple of review sets in this month before I reveal the final installment of the Top 20 Best and Worst albums of the year.

Gorgoroth-Under The Sign of Hell 2011

Country: Norway (Bergen)

Label: Regain Records

Released: 12/5/2011

2011: the year of the rerecorded album. Also the year every black metal band tried to clarify their original intentions with their early material. Now, I don’t ride Gorgoroth’s dick like everyone else does. Infernus is a good songwriter and it sucks that Gaahl and King tried to steal his band from him. But overall, Gorgoroth’s output doesn’t signify the pinnacle of black metal for me like it does for so many other people. Now, there is a few things lacking on this release that the original had, namely a degree of wild intensity. This, I believe, is Tomas Asklund’s fault. Grim was kind of a sloppy drummer but that translated very well for Gorgoroth’s music. Tomas Asklund is an immensely talented drummer and producer, but on this, his drums are high in the mix and perhaps a little bit too tame to accompany this record. Infernus’ guitarwork lacks a lot of it’s original grit, probably the result of Gorgoroth being “metal famous” and actually being able to afford equipment that doesn’t suck terribly and, once again, because of Tomas Asklund’s production prowess. End result: this should have just been a new Gorgoroth record.

3/5

Neptrecus-Neptrecus

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

Label: Mortis Humanae Productions

Released: 12/5/2011

This is what black metal should sound like: frantic. I know almost nothing about this band other than they apparently haven’t been around for very long, they’re Parisian, and they shred. Black metal plus shred is a risky game, this band does it right. They’re not exactly re-writing the book on this one, but for a freshman release, this is very impressive. I can only wait for more Neptrecus material to see the light of day. Expect to see this band on here in the future.

5/5

Nameless Coyote-Devoured by the Swirling Night

Country: USA (San Francisco, CA)

Label: Self-Released

Released: 12/4/2011

If I was ever in a position where someone who had missed the past 15 years in black metal asked me “so what’s going on in black metal these days?”, I would play them this. I would imagine they would then throw up or stab something. This is, for me anyway, a symbol of everything that has gone hopelessly wrong in black metal: art students from major American cities who insist on trying to cram as many “experimental” elements into this wacky new thing they read about in Vice called “black metal”. The end result is a meandering disaster; a small child playing with his father’s gun, rife with slick production and swells that force the bile into the back of my throat. Bands like this keep popping up, trying to be Burzum meets Sonic Youth, at the expense of the aesthetic (musical or otherwise) that sets black metal apart. It makes me sick. Why can’t hipsters go back to appropriating black culture?

1/5

Mordant-Black Evil Master

Country: Sweden (Dals Långed)

Label: To the Death

Released: 11/30/2011

That’s more like it. This being black metal, and this being a black metal review blog, I feel like I’ve heard this record about 10,000 times. I feel like half the bands that come out either have the chunky death metaly production this record has or no production whatsoever. I typically don’t go for this kind of record except for in certain instances (Dissection). But this is doing well by me at the moment. Mordant is tight, frighteningly tight. From a genre that saw its genesis with bands the first few Venom, Bathory, and Hellhammer records, and that’s stuck tightly to that mold, this is usually a welcomed departure. So, once again, not the most interesting record ever released, but at least it isn’t a bunch of hipsters wearing girls’ pants and hanging out in Brooklyn.

3/5

Ride for Revenge-Under the Eye

Country: Finland (Helsinki )

Label: Kvlt

Released: 12/1/2011

This band almost had me convinced that they were a joke. I mean, come on:

What the hell is happening here? Upon further inspection, I discovered that this record is, in fact, not a joke and is very very very heavy. If I said “very” enough times to adequately express how heavy this record is, the whole review would just be me saying “very”. The guitars and bass blend together into this rumble that sounds a lot like somebody revving a chainsaw over some very lo-fi drum recordings while a Finnish psychopath barks over the cacophony. Needless to say, this record is awesome.

5/5

Neige et Noirceur-Hymnes de la Montagne Noire

Country: Canada (Montreal, QC)

Label: Sepulchral Productions

Released: 11/22/2011

If I had to rank all of the Sepulchral bands that write songs about Québécois history/nationalism, Neige et Noirceur are at the bottom of the list. Granted, that doesn’t mean much as I love most of Sepulchral Productions’ roster. This record isn’t bad at all. I have trouble giving it a fair crack due to it coming out hot on the heels of Crépuscule d’Octobre: I sort of expected more of that. That being said, Neige et Noirceur do a hell of a job at it. The production is pretty sharp, the song-writing complex. This record is much better than La Seigneurie Des Loups which to me seemed to me to be trying to include Québécois folk music a la Forteresse. This came across as awkward as far as I’m concerned. Hymes de la Montagne Noire on the other hand, has an original sound that I can only hope becomes even sharper in the years to come.

4/5

Gates to Deathland-PanzerGas

Country: Germany (Bad Tölz, Bavaria)

Label: Self-Released? Maybe?

Released: 8/1/2011

Okay, this is in no way relevant. PanzerGas came out in August and only ended up on here as a result of the stupid cover art. I came to find that the cover art was not the stupidest thing about this record. The vocals and the song titles were also stupid. So, to recap, everything about this is stupid. Also, this is evidently the one-man side project of a one-man band.What, pray tell, is the fucking point of that? That’s…stupid.

1/5

See you next time


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