Darkthrone‘s second album, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, turns twenty-five today. For much of the mid 90s, Darkthrone constantly referred to A Blaze in the Northern Sky as their first album as it was the first commercially released record to adopt the quick and dirty “necro” production style and to have been part of the Norwegian black metal second wave initiated by Mayhem. However most of the individual musical inspirations were audible on their prior Soulside Journey album recorded at Sunlight Studio; the compositions on A Blaze in the Northern Sky were just much more sparse and droning due to different overall compositional goals reflecting the shift from progressive death metal riff mazes to minimalistic Hellhammerism.
David Rosales reviews this ridiculous split album.
Right now, above the metal underground there is what was coined, I believe originally by Pogrom from Arghoslent, the “Funderground”. The funderground consists of independent labels, sometimes mainstream distributed, releasing thousands of albums each year full of rehashed material or rebranded three-chord hardcore with different superficial aesthetics to fuel a bar show audience’s drunken moshing or make hipsters feel smart for liking an indie rock release with a dirty production. One can see this divide in most of the popular “underground” web forums such as those of Nuclear War Now! and Full Moon Productions. The most popular “underground” “metal” releases of each year are all older metal rehashed into pop-rock structures or rebranded hardcore. This divide is similar to what is felt in mainstream Western culture with the leftist “elites”‘ constant Marxist virtue signaling and branding freethinkers with various epithets for refusing to chant the praises of socialism mandated by the vanguard party.
Legendary Czech black metal originators Master’s Hammer are playing this years Bjorgvin Black Mass in Bjorgvin, Norway. This is Master’s Hammer’s first indoor live set in over a quarter century. The band is exclusively playing their early, metal material such as Ritual. Enslaved is also playing an exclusive Vikingligr Veldi anniversary show. Scandinavian black metal fans should check this out.
Swedish melodick death/black metal band Sarcasm premiered a new track from their upcoming Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. “In the Grip of Awakened Times” continues in the same vein as Sarcasm’s previous insipid work released on the Burial Dimensions 2xCD compilation, which had a few promising compositions but was overall uninspiring.
Craig Pillard‘s (Incantation) controversial death metal band Disma premiered the title track from their upcoming EP, The Graveless Remains on Soundcloud today. “The Graveless Remains” is nothing special despite featuring the drumming of once and probably still amazing original Immolation drummer Craig Smilowski. Preorder The Graveless Remains from Profound Lore Records here if you wish the the will to enact your own inner-desires to own every C-grade death metal release ever published if the record is of the same caliber as the title track which I surely hope it won’t be. I know some of our readers out there will feel compelled to buy this even if that is the case. though. The Graveless Remains probably won’t as good as the Disma LP and certainly not even Mortal Throne of Nazarene. Where there’s a will, there’s a way but more of the Craigs is always welcome.
Experimental underground metal band Pale Existence has re-issued its 1994 demo cassette “Dark Sanctuary” in digital form. This allows a new generation to hear the music that borrowed from doom metal, early black metal, melodic death metal and abrasive deathgrind to create a vision of desolation and emptiness that mirrored the downfall of Western Civilization.
The following is a short list of black metal releases (with a commentary on each) that would general fall off the edge of the usual stylistic lines that Death Metal Underground follows when looking at genre releases. These are all exceptional and form part of what could, in hindsight, be described as the lone wolves of an established and matured black metal genre — generally unnoticed or passed by without receiving substantial attention among the waves of excess of the 21st century; treasures hidden in plain sight for those with a developed sense beyond mere form.