Northern Isolation

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I’ve been putting this review set off for like a month. It’s gotten rather long and I think it’s finally time to finish it.


Country: Canada (Edmonton, AB)
Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Released: 2/20/2012

This record is really punishing. I’m not super fond of the vocals, but the music definitely sounds like an army of demons raping the shit out of some angels. What impresses me is that this record sounds like what normal well adjusted people who don’t listen to metal hear when they hear any metal of any kind. It’s all Satan and violence and pure totally unfiltered sonic aggression. Where those people are wrong is in their assumption that that is somehow a bad thing. More Satan, more murder, all the shit that makes metal fucking awesome. This record kind of makes me want to take drugs and hate my parents too. This is the record Tipper Gore heard when she listened to WASP. I love it. Incidentally, I recently discovered that the sanctimonious British dickheads over at Zero Tolerance did not, despite their review not being all that different from mine. Maybe they were just upset that this was not an album by Primordial.

Secrets of the Moon-Seven Bells

Country: Germany (Osnabrück, Lower Saxony)
Label: Lupus Lounge
Released: 3/16/2012

I have huge reservations about pretty much any black metal band that someone actually produced. There is a purist side of me that thinks any attempt to make the music sound better run contrary to the genre completely. Then there’s the side of me that is a musician and a fan of things that weren’t made by gloomy Europeans in basements that thinks that the sea of unproduced bullshit is unlistenably bad. It is this internal strife that makes reviewing this record really hard. For this one, I have to put all of my black metal “trve” bullshit aside. This record is very melodic and very sharply produced, which means none of the melody is lost under a wall of unintentional static. Now, I’ve in the past gone out of my way to fault bands for their egregious use of keyboard. This band is the model from which all other bands should take note. Perfectly understated keyboard, present yet not pushed to the front of everything. This is what produced black metal should sound like, not Dimmu Borgir. They went pretty nuts with the church bell sound effects on this one, but I can overlook that.


Country: USA (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Label: Self-Released
Released: 3/11/2012

What the fuck am I listening to? Metal Archives tells me that this band makes “progressive black/doom metal”, which I can only imagine means that drummer cannot stop playing fill. The songs are still generally in x/4 signatures, but with a ton of bells and whistles, which apparently denote Bloodmoon’s “progressive” influences. The vocals sound somewhere between deathcore-style pig squeals and someone burping a lot. I’m glad this was only a demo, clocking in at just under 25 minutes. I probably couldn’t take much more of what I’ve already forced myself to endure.

Hail Spirit Noir-Pneuma

Country: Greece (Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia)
Label: Code666
Released: 3/5/2012

This record is very strange. HSN throws caution to the wind on Pneuma. They are about 6 different bands at the same time. Similar to the Sigh record I reviewed a few weeks ago, but somehow far more jarring and less rooted in familiarity. Hail Spirit Noir have managed to craft a record that leaves you scratching your head and wondering what the hell you just listened to. The parts of this album that are unmistakably black metal, in my opinion, are relatively weak. That being said, the rest of the record is rather well done, with the black metal seeming to act primarily to throw the listener off entirely. I come away from this record completely shell shocked and unsure of what I should be feeling. In that respect, this record wields more power than most of the records I’ve reviewed on here. Think Peste Noire but with many more influences and far more unsettling.

Waste-In Death Reborn

Country: Sweden (?)
Label: Self-Released
Released: 2/20/2012

The cover of this demo is making it really hard for me to take it seriously. This record is a generous slab of cold, old-style black metal, rife with mind-numbing repetition and guitars that sound like they could bore a hole straight through you. Gone are synthesizers and samples and beautiful acoustic guitar interludes and all the other shit that black metal bands (including my own) cannot get enough of as of late. The songs aren’t epic musical conquests, twirling blithely in what ever direction they feel like. There’s no 13 minute unproduced orchestral masterpieces. This record is terse and in-your-face. But, speaking of faces, that face aKa of Waste is making on the cover is really so immensely silly. However, we are talking about a genre of music who’s modern wave was primarily influenced by Norwegian dwarf-people wearing halloween face paint and getting into pissing contests to see who was the most evil. I guess silly imagery comes with the territory.

Happy Days-Cause of Death: Life

Country: USA (Miami, FL)
Label: Funeral Industries
Released: 3/6/2012

Suicidal depressive metal bands just reek of emo to me. If you give frowny-faced white people guitars, it would seem there isn’t a wide variety of paths they’re going to go down. But in the case of “Cause of Death: Life” from these sad Floridian bastards, there are very prominent sections of this record that sound like boring late 90’s emo. I’ll go so far as to say that it would seem emo bands are better at consistently releasing good album than black metal bands are. What turns me off about this album is the high school poetry-grade song titles and the weak pandering to negative emotion. “Cold Aggression”, “No Point in Living”, “Agony Becomes Unforgettable Seering Emptiness”. Shut up. I guess this could spark a train of thought about the purpose of suicidal depressive black metal, but I don’t really feel like getting into it again. This record is unimpressive, it’s music is, despite moments where it sounds like Sunny Day Real Estate, flat and unadventurous. It’s lyrics are abysmally retarded. Here’s an idea: less songs about killing yourself, more songs about killing other people.


Country: Belgium (Brussels)
Label: Agonia
Released: 3/20/2012

Enthroned suffers from the Napalm Death ailment of continuing a band after all of the founding members have left said band. Just change the name, dudes. That has no bearing on the record itself, just a little factoid that had been irking me. Musically, “Obsidium” is a no frills, straight ahead, brutal black metal record. All of the stylized bullshit that black metal bands have come to rely on (acoustic guitar interludes, synthesizer tracks, samples of fucking trees blowing in the wind) are refreshingly absent on this release, replaced with even more punishing black metal. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band that didn’t get started so that the members could have an excuse to run around in the woods and pretend to be evil. I had low hopes for this record and I am admittedly not very familiar with the Enthroned back catalog, perhaps this album is actually very disappointing. But from where I’m standing (sitting), this is the kind of black metal that “the kids” should be putting on a pedestal. Not another time-waster from Varg out there on his farm.

Goatmoon/Bizarre Uproar split

Country: Finland (Helsinki)
Label: Filth & Violence
Released: 3/3/2012

Goatmoon’s back. Sort of. And I still feel guilty for enjoying his output. I’m not sure what the deal is with the NS influence within the Finnish scene, but it seems like every single band has  been accused of being a national socialist at one point or another. To be honest, it makes all of the accusations pretty hard to believe. Anyway, I’m sure the RABM bands that stumble onto the website will be more than happy to give me a ton of shit for this, but the Goatmoon side of this split is pretty fucking rad. It consists of one 7 and a half minute song that is almost 3 songs withing itself. May I once again reiterate that I really wish I didn’t think Goatmoon was as good as I do? I cannot review the Bizarre Uproar side because it’s harsh noise and I don’t think there is a criteria to review harsh noise. It is both harsh and noise. It fits both descriptions. This, I suppose, is an attempt to close in on the NSNW (national socialist noise wall) demographic, something I find to be generally amusing. Go poke around google in search of NSNW artist and prepare to be amazed at how deadly seriously they take themselves. Anyway, despite all that shit, Goatmoon does black metal well on here, Bizarre Uproar does harsh noise wall well on here (I think). Generally a success.

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