Sunday Sesh: Let’s Just Talk About How Good Black Metal is So Far This Year
A thought occurred to me the other day as I was listening to the new Nidingr album. It wasn’t anything revolutionary, and in fact was pretty obvious. Still, it’s something worth saying aloud: black metal in 2017 is really fucking good.
Obvious, right? A little over a month into the new year and we’ve already seen a rather unusual amount of quality black metal releases. These stretches happen, but feel incredibly rare to start the year. The end of December through the start of February are typically a dead period for artistic endeavors. Movies are dumped in January and destined to die, list and Grammy season is over so labels take a holiday break, books…maybe get released in January? (I admit to cluelessness on that front). I’m not sure why this year is particularly stacked, perhaps due to an absolute glut of new music and a little luck, but I DO know that it comes at a good time.
The black metal furor (or fuhrer I guess depending on what black metal you’re listening to) perfectly suits a world that feels so engulfed in rage and bordering on chaos. That’s what black metal started as after all: rage and chaos. I wanted to share some of my favorite bits of that chaotic rage with you today. They’ve been an excellent distraction from life and a good reminder that as silly as metal usually is, it still has an incredible power to it.
First up is Endalok, yet another band from Iceland. I know, I’m sorry. They aren’t the only one here so save your anger. After last year’s intriguing Englaryk demo, these fine gentlemen returned with one hell of an EP. Much darker and nastier than anything else coming out of the suddenly bloated Icelandic scene. Check this out if you wish your black metal was as cavernous as it is frigid.
I’ll just go ahead and do you a solid and get Iceland out of the way right now. Draugsol will probably sound familiar to a lot of you thanks to this great review by CyBro. There’s not much I can add other than “if you haven’t listened to this, you’re fucking up.”
This one may be cheating because depending on who you ask it was either released in late December or early January. Regardless, I haven’t seen much coverage of Veter Daemonaz and they are a band deserving of it. Orthodox Russian black metal (not Russian Orthodox) with guitar solos more reminiscent of 80’s shred-fests than anything you hear in modern black metal. Plus, look at that artwork!
Lorn’s Arrayed Claws has been getting plenty of praise around these parts and others in the metal blogosphere, and for good reason. This shit riiiiiips [Cosigned – Lizard]. Displaying an affinity for muscular rhythms not seen too frequently in black metal, synth ambience and just the right amount of weirdness has made this my most listened to release of the year so far.
Finally we have the aforementioned Nidingr album The High Heat Licks Against Heaven. I haven’t gotten to spend much time with this one since it just released a few days ago, but I can tell you right now that this sucker RIFFS. What more could you ask for?
This is merely a smattering of the great stuff 2017 has had to offer thus far. There have also been albums by The Great Old Ones, Au Champ Des Morts, Wiegedood, Naddred…it goes on for days. It’s almost guaranteed that this pace won’t keep up. How could it? It’s unsustainable at best and a total fluke at worst. If it isn’t just a fluke, however, even with a dropoff in quantity we could be looking at a year for the ages for black metal.
What are you dudes and dudettes jamming? What has been your go to black metal album so far? Sound off in the comments!