New Genre Alert!: Blackwave

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Indefatigable one-man black metal artist Striborg has invented an entirely new genre called Blackwave–and Maurice “Mories” de Jong isn’t even mad about it! 

But I’m totally gonna be a dick about it anyway. The air to a bird, the sea to a fish, etc.

Striborg: Prolific, grim, Tasmanian. But what do we really know about this reclusive artist? Thanks to Noisey’s 3-part documentary on one-man black metal bands, we know that he owns a cloak, does not want his redneck neighbors to know he makes black metal, and is a giant nerd. While personally not a fan of Striborg’s strain of black metal, I used to keep vague tabs on his career, mostly via the charmingly effusive reviews of his albums written by the employees of Aquarius Records (RIP). They loved Striborg over at the ol’ aQ–and I loved their love of Striborg. I wanted to love Striborg too. And maybe I would have if most of his songs didn’t sound like the single-take improvisations of a black metal enthusiast with no musical training. To be fair, it was mostly his inability to keep time behind the drumset that always threw me off; some of his chilly, moonlit atmospheres were actually pretty cool.

Who could have foreseen that 2017 would be the year that Striborg would throw in the black metal towel and pick up another towel of a slightly different color and thread-count? Imagine my sense of betrayal and cluelessness when I had to hear about it from someone who is not even especially aware of what Striborg has been up to for the past twenty-some-odd years (W.). These days, it’s not all that shocking when an artist suddenly changes direction. As often as not, it is both refreshing and rewarding–even if it comes at the expense of an old direction you loved. Ulver (for instance) pretty much broke that mold back in 1998, and extreme metal artists have been trickling away from extreme metalness ever since. In the case of Striborg, as with so many of the other absconders, he’s fidgeting around with electronic music now. There has been a long-standing flirtation between black metal and electronica (after all, wasn’t Fenriz famous for throwing LSD-laced raves back in the day?), and so in a very real sense Striborg’s move is practically a lateral shift.

The difference being that Striborg claims, on new album Instrumental Trans-Communication, to have invented a whole new subgenre:

From the horse’s mouth:

“This is the first album in the new pioneering style of Blackwave.
It incorporates from the electronic spectrum; Black Synthwave, Gothwave, Ghostwave, Darkwave, Coldwave, Black EBM / Electro, Dark Ambient, New Wave and Synth Pop.”

I don’t know what size rock Mr. Striborg has been living under for the past decade, but there is nothing novel about an artist combining the dark atmosphere and shrieked vocals of black metal with synth tunes and beats. And I don’t think the fact that he is asserting the contrary is even the weirdest part. It’s weird that he feels there is more than a semantic distinction to be made between “black synthwave” and “blackwave”. It’s weird that he thinks “gothwave” is a thing, and that it is somehow distinct from “darkwave”, and that using two different “-wave” words to describe the exact same sound is not at all redundant. It’s weird that he thinks “ghostwave” is a thing for the exact same reasons. It’s weird that his new album is the only one which appears under these newfangled genre-tags on Bandcamp. The fact is that, even if Striborg did coin the term “blackwave”, he certainly wasn’t the first to adopt the aesthetic concept.

 

Or maybe I’m just not down with the latest whateverwave trends. It may be the case that there are subtle distinctions to Striborg’s approach. If so, they are too subtle for me, because if for example you stack Intstrumental Trans-Communication up against any of Caput Mortuum‘s earlier albums (listen), the prevailing difference is that Mories’s work is more evocative of horror cinema–and oh yeah that it has more actual black metal DNA in it too. So…how much black metal is too much black metal for blackwave?

I kind of get it though: When you’ve been making obscure music in a vacuum for as long as Striborg has, you’re bound to end up with a distorted perception of yourself or your art–specifically regarding how your art relates to the work of similarly sequestered weirdos from all around the globe. And, in the end, perhaps the strangest thing of all about Instrumental Trans-Communication is that it ain’t half bad. While it is clearly an unseasoned attempt to merge the ideals of black metal and dark electronic music, many listeners–especially those who are new to the band–are likely to find it the most palatable record Striborg has ever produced. The first half treads familiar blackwave territory, and then from there Striborg begins to muck around with straight-up darkwave (clean sadboi vocals, gasp!), ambient and noise. If any of this is in your wheelehouse, you may find much to recommend the album; you may also find some goofy stuff, which at this point is par for the course with Striborg (his self-awareness remains as up-for-debate as ever).

So, Blackwave: New genre?

No.

Okay, but can Instrumental Trans-Communication still be Blackwave?

Yeah, sure. Why not?

(And if it happens that I have misinterpreted the ambiguous diction in the first sentence of Striborg’s Bandcamp statement, thus rendering this entire article pointless, I apologize in advance.)


Instrumental Trans-Communication was released independently on November 17th, 2017. You can buy it here and keep tabs on Striborg’s antics here. Thanks again to W. for the tip.

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  • Dubby Fresh

    *BREAKING NEWS* A Pregnant Light Announces Creation of New Genre: Purplewave.

    • Rolderathis

      Puuuurplewaave, puuuurplewave!

    • Buttzlol

    • RJA

      Did he or someone call it “purple metal”?

      When I was looking for the answer to that question I really enjoyed the description I found on metal archives regarding lyrical themes:
      Religious Mysticism, Sexuality, Personal Thoughts, Memories, Relationships

      • Dubby Fresh

        Yah, he called his style purple metal.

        And those lyrical themes are code for the fact that the dude LOVES pornography. Like, he loaded his site up with porn at some point.

  • GrumpDumpus

    HE’S WAY BEHIND THE TIMES I JUST INVENTED THE GENRE WAVEGAZE SHOEVAPE BY RECORDING THE SOUND OF ME THROWING UP IN MY OWN MOUTH AND PUTTING IT THROUGH THIRTY SAD REVERB PEDALS

    • Rolderathis

      WAVEWAVE >>>>>>>>GAZEGAZE

      • Lord of Bork

        MICROWAVE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • Joaquin Stick

      Have you ever vaped from a shoe?

      — Old Gregg

      • Rolderathis

        “Do you love me? Do you think you could learn to love me?”

        • Dubby Fresh

          Then why’s it attached to your rod, ya motha licka?

      • GoatForest

        I’ve got the Funk. It’s in this box.

  • This is not good.

    -GL

    • Dubby Fresh

      Glorious Linoleum

      • Joaquin Stick

        Gentrified Lingonberries

        • Dubby Fresh

          Gerrymandered Ligers

          • Geriatriclover Lickerboots

            Too far.

            /sorry

          • Dubby Fresh

            Neither of those things you typed is an actual word.

          • I never made it through doctor school, ya prick.

          • Dubby Fresh

            – Great Lab Coat

          • +1

    • The idea of a bunch of cloaked nerds trying to mosh around to these tunes is cheering up my afternoon, though.

      • Joaquin Stick

        I see a lot of morose shuffling followed by the occasional apology.

        • Hey, stop trying to influence my unrealistic fantasy!

  • I just watched the movie Passengers on a flight. What a fucking piece of shit. It was almost as bad as The Space Between Us. I’ll watch any movie about space given the right circumstances (and a 4 hour flight is just such a circumstance) but hooooo boy, this one was bad. Not sure who has less personality, Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence, and wtf was up with Lawrence Fishburne popping in there 2/3 of the way through and then dying? Michael Sheen was the ONLY decent thing in the whole movie.

    Sorry, very long layover in Toronto, I’m a bit cranky.

  • RJA

    Could he really be so sheltered? I think the Noisey documentary showed us that, yes, he can.

    • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

      He lives in fucking Tasmania. So yeah, I agree.

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        Doesn’t it get a lot of tourism ’cause of Dracula and stuff?

  • RJA

    free metal! Vacivus – Temple of the Abyss
    http://www.atozmedia.com/soundcard
    Code: 5794682929

  • Hans

    Bandcamp Daily had an article recently about “Wave”. Just Wave. Have we come full circle?

    I can stomach some Striborg now and then, but not sure about this yet. Reminds me of that “Black Metal with a Trap beat” thing on an old Toilet Radio episode. Think the guy was called Romantic or something. Looked for it, but damn there’s a lot of episodes by now.

    • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

      I read that too, and was very confused.

  • God

    I mean trip hop, darkwave, and black metal has already been done (and done much better) by Netra (also a one man band). Check it
    https://youtu.be/kZHXuDFsvAU

    • I like those bubbly sounding guitars.

      Not half bad!

    • Russell Menzies

      Sorry but Netra is nothing like what I’m doing. I am now a perveyor of blackwave with absolutely no metal in it. Netra simply are NOT blackwave.
      All I’m doing is taking darkwave to the next level.
      Netra are great though 👍

  • Been thinking about metal fans being all snobby about things. I cannot think of any other group of people who think their opinion is worth respecting based purely on the idea that the person is a fan of metal. Usually respect is earned, but in the case of the metal head, just being a metal head is enough to entitle someone. It is weird.

    Not sure I fully articulated my thought. I just wanted to get it out there.

    • Rolderathis

      Spoken like a true normie who likes things other than metal /s

    • is this teh metal version of “It’s a Jeep Thing… You Wouldn’t Understand”?

    • God

      Most metalheads I know have shitty taste anyway.

      Your favorite obscure crust/black metal band who have released 2 shittily produced demos is better than anything Amon Amarth has ever put out? Alright bud.

      • Patrick Bertlein

        I don’t know anyone like that, you just sound really whiny and insecure.

      • YES OF COURSE

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      Really, any taste is equally worth respecting if the holder isn’t a knob about it.

    • Patrick Bertlein

      Nope, doesn’t make sense at all.

    • GoatForest

      Yeah, it’s a bizarre phenomenon, to be sure.

    • GrumpDumpus

      ACTUALLY I THINK THIS STATEMENT STILL WORKS IF YOU REPLACE THE WORD METAL WITH MOVIES SPORTS SCIENCE OR BASICALLY ANYTHING ELSE AND IN MY DEFENSE MY TASTES ARE TOTAL TRASH GRUMPINESS UBER ALLES

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Well, this is definitely Striborg. The electronic angle doesn’t actually make it less strange, as as far as I can tell, it’s his standard dealio, just with electronic instrumentation. It’s nice enough, but I don’t dig it as much as his old guitar tone and occasional keyboard lines. I really love them some times. Cool article anyway, I hadn’t known what he was up to since his earlier album this year.

  • Patrick Bertlein

    Not surprised at all to see this happening. I love the idea as snyths are fun, but the genre names are getting to be too much!

  • Óðinn

    Thanks Richter. See you at the party.

  • Damion Wolf

    Hails be to Striborg!!!
    Fuck off to the assclown who wrote this article!!! He can stick his opinions up his ass!!!

    • GrumpDumpus

      THY FANCY RHETORIC HATH CONVINCED ME