[Join DMU editor Brock Dorsey on the first of a two part massacre of the soy metal sub genre that has bastaradized black metal beyond the belief! Also, this image is an actual cover from an actual post black metal album- you can’t make this stuff up!]
Post black metal was an embarrassing sub genre of soy metal. Built upon a foundation of either screamo, pop punk, metalcore, math rock, shoegaze, or avant-garde and fused with the most minimal touches of black metal, post black metal was a flavor of the week(/weak) trend that lasted from around 2009 to 2014. The genre name is misleading, however, as most bands only claimed to be metal and incorporated only slight touches of metal characteristics before abandoning them completely in future releases. As indicated by its core standard bearers being dropped by labels, performing terribly in sales and Facebook likes, and being forgotten by fans, post black metal has finally passed away. As we lay it to rest with one final cremation in the SMR fashion, let us learn from its failings as the future looks to more traditional forms of heavy metal to restore a once proud genre.
First, we must understand metal history to understand how such an abomination could happen, as Post-black metal followed a number of flavor of the week black metal trends and bands. The first of these, symphonic black metal, sent many fans of the original (true) black metal genre into a frenzy with their incorporation of gothic influences. What was to come would be much worse, however, as the soy metal bands marketed as black metal would prove to be far more embarrassing than the Victorian campiness of Cradle of Filth or the industrial meddling of …And Oceans. The next flavor of the week black metal trend was cleverly concealed in a cloak of static, but the hipsterisms of “depressive black metal” would soon be known to the world. Time was not kind to the legacy of Xasthur and Leviathan, both of whom are now widely panned against the metal community, as where the thousands of “bedroom black metal” clones who polluted Myspace. With many short lived flavor of the week trends (such as “Norsecore” and “Cascadian black metal”) and bands (Kult ov Azazel, Inquisition) in between, the soy metal- black metal hybird that was post black metal was the next successful marketing scheme to deceive young and retarded metal fans alike.
Performed mostly by wealthy but useless trust fund kinds from liberal cities, post black metal was to metal as emo was to rock music: feminine, tame, and a complete and utter bastardazation. Thus, post metal was eventually abandoned by its former fans, spat on by the metal community, dropped by metal/rock record labels, and remembered poorly by music lovers. Much like how the rent some of its musicians was eventually cut off from their parent’s bank roll, post metal was eventually told to stop leaching off the metal community so that the genre may maintain a shred of dignity.
Brace yourselves for an infernal evisceration unlike aynthing you’ve ever seen before, because in this edition of SMR, we won’t just be sadistically reviewing albums…
…we’ll be sadistically reviewing careers.
Liturgy – The Ark Work
No band in post black metal has been as big a failure as Liturgy. Founded by the grandson of billionaire oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, Liturgy appeared positioned to be modern metal’s most prosperous band. With an unlimited bankroll and journalist connections from his trust-fund activist sister, Hunter-Hunt Hendrix quickly became a beacon of controversy when he published his “black metal manifesto” term paper for Columbia University (whose professors and admissions are often bought by rich parents, producing great marks for mediocrity), in which he boldly proclaimed that his creation of “transcendental metal” was both the antithesis to black metal and it’s ultimate perfection. In reality, his document was poorly researched, sourced, and written and ultimately his music was just post rock with harsher distortion. Still, Hunter managed to con gullible lefty journalists into gushing over Liturgy and fool booking agents into booking the band alongside Metallica. Liturgy even made an acting appearance in an episode of “The Blacklist” (although nobody old enough to be duped into thinking Liturgy is good is watching prime time television).
Liturgy was groomed to be a star, however one problem remained: nobody actually liked Liturgy’s music. Liturgy are the Hillary Clinton of soy metal. Despite all of the hype, trendy hipster aesthetics, money, and promotion, Liturgy currently only has an embarrassing 18,192 likes on their official Facebook page. Just to put things in perspective, that’s less than Kult Ov Azazel, Beherit, and… fucking Archgoat! I am not fucking shitting you- fucking Archgoat is actually more popular than hipster darlings Liturgy!!! In an era where music sharing didn’t exist, Liturgy may have been able to get away with a large number of sales, but while their theatrics were known to many- their music would be enjoyed by few.
The Ark Work is not the completed evolution of black metal, but the completed evolution of a spoiled trust fund kid who had a phase where he was into Burzum for a short time. Much like kids like Hunter, the album is noisy, obnoxious, and generally unpleasant to encounter. The opening song was played in such a high octave that it was actually painful to listen to, and if your dog is in the room he will surely start barking. There is absolutely no logic to any of he composition or structure, which is probably the result of Hunter being told his disastrous art projects are good because his professors were fishing for that H.L. Hunt donation money. One must ask, what purpose does an album that irritates its listener serve? As a “haha, gotcha?” If so, the joke has been published and purchased and quickly discarded. If it is to to be ironic, that it’s like “dude, its like, so smart it’s bad” than haha, I get it. But if the music is meant to serve any shred of artistic or intellectual integrity whatsoever, it has completely and unfathomably failed. Where the teachers of Hunter have failed to give him an F, I will succeed: Hunter, this album is the work of a failed musician whose delusional Bushwick bubble will be broken by a meaningless career and legacy.
Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestite
Wolves in the Throne room have had some descent parts on their debut album, Diadem of 12 Stars, but an 11 year career comprised of only one riffing and drumming style has unveiled them to be a one trick pony. Formed on a hick farm in California by two brothers rumored to be incestuous homosexuals (along with a guitarist who allegedly doubles as a threesome partner), Wolves in the Throne room pandered to a growingly feminized crowd of metalheads who want to listen to Burzum but prefer something less edgy. They got lots of media publicity not for quality music, but instead for outrageous Velvet-Cacoon-like gimmicks such as torch-lit shows and an organic, environmental friendly lifestyle. This resonated well with gullible Cali hipsters, who gobbled up their albums when drone music and heroin addictions were in style.
With absolutely nothing threatening or violent about them (unlike their predecessor, Leviathan), Wolves in the Throne Room were able to reach the masses and, in turn, lay down a foundation for may soy metal bands to follow: have generic uninspired riffs that focus solely on mood, get female indie vocalists to sing over ambient interludes, offer absolutely nothing new musically that wasn’t done before by Burzum, and use gimmicks and non-metal aesthetics to promote your music. Yet after a few years, Wolves in the Throne Room were abandoned by virtually all of their fans: the actual metalheads that enjoyed their early album figured out that they were trendy and useless, and the fake metalheads went on to glorify the soy metal bands that were less and less metal. Wolves were forgotten.
Having exhausted their ability to ripoff Burzum’s metal albums, Wolves in the Throne Room went on to ripoff Burzum’s ambient albums on Celestite. Named after a crystal you buy at weird new age shops run by fat women with cats, the album is ultimately a hybrid of Burzum outros and goth metal keyboards. The selected instruments poorly compliment one another, and ultimately the album sounds like a bunch of short ambient pieces chopped and and randomly assorted together. While this formula was effective for Apex Twin, WITTR failed to match their ability to create interesting, moving pieces. Instead, the album sounds like a weird collection of sounds made by weird dudes on a farm, and somehow is worse than Daudi Balders. Since Celestite was not recorded from prison, there is no excuse- Wolves in the Throne room are just tired a gimmick that no longer works for anyone.
Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury
Altar of Plagues prove the invalidity of Metal Archives’ determination of “what is metal” more than any of the 121,000 bands featured on the site. For them to argue that this band is more metal than Avenged Sevenfold or Mudvayne is beyond foolish as both bands (while still terrible) have more metal riffs, metal characteristics, and metal personality than Altar of Plagues ever did throughout their 3 album career. For Altar of Plagues is actually an ambient/post rock band, but because they have short segments of screamed vocals and blast beats, some outrageously retarded neckbeards have actually been duped into thinking they are a metal band. Being one of the most popular bands from Ireland marketed as metal, they have ensured that anything the emerald isle produces henceforth will be met with great skepticism.
Teethed Glory and Injury sounds like every Altar of Plagues album: 30 minutes of mindless drone/post rock dribble, 4 or 5 minutes of blast beats, and 10-15 minutes of math rock. But because of those 4 minutes of blast beats and screamed vocals (despite being under a post rock/math rock riff with distortion), CNN-wannabe metal journalists will try to tell you that Altar of Plagues is black metal. They are not. They are only able to be called “post-black metal” because post black metal is a derivative of soy metal, not black metal or even metal at all. What you see on this album cover is exactly what you get- performance art garbage in music form. Fortunately for the world, main man James Kelly has dissolved Altar of Plagues to continue making experimental indie music that is not marketed as that of another genre.
Ghost Bath – Starmouner
Once and awhile, major labels like Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast will sign a flavor of the week band to a soul-destroying multi album record deal so they can make a quick buck off them and then ensure they will never record an album with another label again. Ghost Bath is an example of this: picked up by Nuclear Blast last year, Ghost Bath’s sole album on the label was so poorly received that I can guarantee you that you will never hear from this band again. Unfortunately for Nuclear Blast, the manufactured hype around this band was so temporary and fleeting that they only way they would have been able to make any money is if the deal was shoved up Ghost Bath’s ass while their horrible but fiscally successful second album was still out to press.
Much like that ridiculous “Islamic one woman black metal” prank that was on Facebook a number of years ago, Ghost Bath’s entire career was built off of scamming the oft-discredited music journalist Kim Kelly. Kelly, who writes for the notoriously low paying VICE Magazine’s web blog when she isn’t committing acts of Antifa terrorism or checking the tickets at the doors of shitty Williamsburg clubs, was somehow duped into gushing over the band because they listed “China” as their home country on their Facebook page. In one of the most hilarious happenings in all of music history, Ghost Bath were universally acclaimed by fake news leftist metal media only for it to be revealed that the band are actually a bunch of young white kids from the midwestern United States who have no Asian heritage or ancestry. Suddenly, the social justice warrior media elite were off the Ghost Bath train, but not before exposing their terrible music to thousands of gullible hipster losers. The pullback was too late: people were buying Ghost Bath’s Moonlover album based solely on its artwork and Silencer-ripoff vocals.
By the time Nuclear Blast threw a deal at the band, they had convinced themselves that they were good musicians and creative geniuses. Big mistake- as Starmourner mirrored the disastrous sound of 16 year olds starting their first band and recording it. Essentially, the music is AFI’s Sing the Sorrow but with Silencer’s vocal style. I kid you not- the album is straight screamo with “woman shriek” vocals and novice instrumentation. There is a video on YouTube somewhere that indicates some of the riffs appearing in the theme song to Beverly Hills 90210. Some of the leads are so embarrassing one again questions if the band tried to suck on purpose.
To Be Continued…..
Alas, Post black metal must be slowly and painfully incinerated and so this long cremation will continue next week. Post black metal was such a horrific mistake that should never, EVER be made again, that it’s worth another 2,000 words to completely degrade, diminish, and ultimately destroy its legacy. While post black metal is dead and buried, a double article eulogy and cremation is the only way to fully annihilate this humiliating moment of Western Art and Culture.