Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

On Symphonic Black Metal and what really jerks my chain...

... is that is has the potential to prove such quality Black Metal in form and delivery, until untimely things UTTERLY RUIN the recording! Symphonic Black Metal often courts a neoclassical framework, displaying degrees of elevated musicianship and multidimensional songwriting capability. It occurs most often to me that the presence of a synthesizer is meant to compliment and display unity, not to dominate (Emperor- In The Nightside Eclipse for example...).

Or I don't know, betimes I suppose people forget that they're playing in a metal band and allow the mixing process to focus solely on the synth, forcing the guitar and bass sound to the backseat, thus reducing it to a mere hiss, rumble or white noise. What gives? Nokturnal Mortum "To The Gates of Blasphemous Fire" is a picturesque example of this folly.

I'm sure there's better examples of both sides of the fence, but what I'm really wondering is that if there's really any listeners out there that actually do appreciate a dominate keyboard sound, or are your grievances similar to my own?

It's the allure of self-indulgence; communicating with others requires skill and effort, but masturbation is safe and easy (for the most part).

Black metal is a circle jerk club.

I think there are a few talented bands out there, but they are more catchy and less metal. Nothing to put next to Master for instance.

I'm actually a big fan of that Nokturnal Mortum album, hahaha. I might just be a subhuman, but I really dig their first four albums, which show an interesting transition from keyboard-heavy neoclassical/folky Emperoresque black metal to Graveland-inspired pagan positivism. Haven't gotten around to hearing their 2009 album yet, though. The de-emphasizing of the guitars is really more due to production restraints (the inability of low-budget studios to handle two keyboard melodies, two guitar melodies, and an often independent bass melody vying for space at the same time) than any real failing on Nokturnal Mortum's part. If you fuck with your EQ settings or the stereo balance a bit, you can hear dramatically different interpretations, similar to what you can do with the second Deicide album.

I'd say that the bands that have taken the "symphonic" black metal idea the farthest are either ones like Abigor and Obtained Enslavement who use the "symphonics" to dramatically deepen the level of counterpoint and melodic layering in their music (a bit hard to pick out with low-bitrate YouTube samples, unfortunately), or bands like Summoning who leave the realm of heavy metal-based music entirely in favor of making neoclassical ambient soundtracks with black metal aesthetics. The vastly underrated Parnassus from Sweden might be seen as straddling the two styles.

Dub Buk have their own weird take on symphonic black metal in that they play percussively rhythmic black/thrash that utilizes occasional but regular bursts of symphonic stuff in order to transition between riff-sets and keep their songs narratively interesting. Mörk Gryning uses symphonic black metal tropes in a similar fashion on their debut album, bringing more depth and variety to the too often overly saccharine style of Dissection/Unanimated/Sacramentum/Dawn-esque "melodic" Swedish black metal.

Basically, I think that symphonic black metal is a cool idea, but it's been given a bad name by the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Mystic Circle, and even more respectable names like Limbonic Art (good sense of the epic, but often overly repetitive), Mactätus (occasionally well-written, but often hit and miss when they try to ape more mainstream-accessible stuff in the vein of the third Dimmu Borgir album), and later Emperor (high on dramatic pretense, low on transcendental content).

Summoning would probably be the best at it.

I'm also fond of Limbonic Art's "The Moon In The Scorpio."