Autarcie could be easily dismissed for being assembled from the elements we expect from narcissistic yet generic post-black metal or “modern metal.” Instead, it presents to us a transition between black metal and either assimilation or a new form which is organic and local, and yet while the band does more with the elements of modern metal than that genre, its failure to conquer the modern mindset within precludes it from achieving the ancient sensibility and sensation of black metal, leaving it as identifiably “post-metal” in spirit but second-wave black metal in form.4 Comments
Often when analyzing music, it can be useful to look to other genres to develop an understanding its relation to the order of nature. Written and recorded music has been around for centuries, and with a multitude of genres emerging in the last hundred years, few have completely died out and disappeared.43 Comments
Article by Anton Rudrick.
Mgła provides us with a perfect example to round a trio of examples that together shape the main misunderstandings as to what black metal is through their misrepresentation of it in either carelessness or ignorance. While modern Watain plays a completely undefined mixture of incoherent tropes around a stomping heavy rock that never condenses into anything original, and modern Behemoth is a shock rock outfit with sterile tekdeaf (modern technical “death metal”) techniques, Mgła is the one that closest comes to black metal by its purposely limited form closely resembling it. However, at best it could be said that they are a musically poor black metal band devoid of the traditional character that fuels the adversarial music, and at worst it could be classified as a post metal band experimenting with close variations on a very simple theme.26 Comments
This band has been around for two decades. I recently found out about them and recommend the album Ruined from 2014.
If you would enjoy a fusion of Cynic and Satyricon, you should enjoy this. Some of the tracks are less effective than others because the band is experimenting with different song arrangements and techniques. The core of this band is killer chord progressions which are very melodic and form a basis for adding riffs to a song without randomness. The bass guitar playing is most excellent throughout. The vocals are simply effective in context with nice rhythmic placement but fairly generic texture. I give Ruined an A-. I had to deduct a point because there was one track I disliked, “Prey.”
- “Not Competent”: Drummer has some unusual time signatures like early Cynic. This is a great mix on this recording. I like how you can hear the bass guitar. The feel of the double kick drums lacks a bit of groove. There is a great amount of variety in the guitar parts and some nice melodies. The leads early on sound like a Satriani jam slowed down or something. The vocals don’t add much to the recording, but they do not harm it either. And he does a great job of singing in the right spots and not over-doing it. It’s a bit mellow and understated for a black death band, and that actually makes it more relaxing and pleasant to listen to. The riff changes are pretty smooth. However, they lead to surprising places. And the songs suck you in and then end before you are ready for them to. Which keeps me listening to the next track.
- “Redacted”: Here’s more of a tight blast beat type intro with a mellow Killing Joke styled guitar riff over it. Now we finally start hearing some thrash and it rules, but then we get stuck in some doom mire before thrashing again. Around the three minute mark we start to get into some utterly awesome late 80s thrash guitar riffage, but with death metal highs. Then a sudden surprising uptick into a blast-beat outro.
- “Ruined”: An alternate time-signature intro which doesn’t seem to fit in well. Followed by A Perfect Circle Type Riff and then back to the intro again, and then soloing. Not so sure about this tune. Skip.
- “Prey”: A mysterious sounding intro riff which is very enticing. Followed by a double kick groove with a really unusually beautiful sounding chord progression with some nice bass touches also. This song has a very nice riff progression overall and it takes you deeper and deeper into its reality.
- “Wasting Games”: Horror film score-like catchy grinding intro riff rules. Killer slow groovy, heavy riff with some Danzig styled vocals. Nice! Followed by a blast beat. WTF?! This is F’ing weird progression and it conquers. This song should have been like first on the album ha. More hard rock, but different riff (plus blues solo) after that. Oh yeah mama!
- “Orthodoxy”: Grainy whiskey inducing into. Starts to get kind of apocalyptic with a dreary tempo. This song is kinda chill. It’s smooth with a charcoal flavor and its on the rocks. Not sure about going straight into the blast though after that. Oh well. Its a cool riff though at least. Picks up into insane blasting and jazzy chords. Thinking this track would have been better split into two separate shorter tracks. I dig them individually, except for the 6/8 time riff because I hate A Perfect Circle and stuff like that. But that’s over quick and we get a radical sounding simple riff which triumphs. This song is very interesting overall.
- “Downturn”: This song starts with a Gothic sounding blasted riff which is neat. The second riff has a Swedish death metal beat and it rules. I am now wishing they had used that beat way more on the recording because it rules. Around the 1:25 mark there is an extremely nice epic black metal riff which is simply unusually Gothic and melodic sounding. Nicely done. I am confused to why they ruin that mood by putting the technical jazzy stuff afterwards. But then back into black metal riff with Swedish beat again, and at that moment I am loving it.
Article by David Rosales
Ocerco’s brand of atmospheric death metal is strongly reminiscent of what Ulcerate has taken to extremes in albums like Vermis. However, the wankery is under control, so Ocerco comes out slightly ahead if you have to (metaphorically) take the pulse and listen to the breathing of their music. While Ulcerate drowns the listener under raw impact and worn-out variations on a theme stretched beyond credibility, Ocerco seems to at least move on with an idea of build up in mind.
On A Desolação, Ocero seems to have something of an ear for an ambient-like build up and song extension that is augmented by their wise decision to make ample use of silence to refresh the listeners’ senses. However, there is only so much one can do when given these limited working materials. Ocerco’s limits are self-imposed and consist of revolving around dissonant chords which have no particular direction or purpose other than upholding circular music that returns again and again to the same idea with a slightly different coloring.
Fans of French harmonic stroking who have a knack for making up excuses for pleasure-oriented music with little use but evoke a single idea per album might rush to defend this album. But hipsters like Debussy have salvageable merits within their confines, especially when it comes to his piano oeuvres, which are best experienced as a set rather than expecting too much from one of their songs, which play more like a short sentence. Ocerco, on the other hand, is simply post-rock with harsh vocals and dissonant chords.5 Comments
One of the long-running metaphors here at DMU is the metal or grindcore band that adds flute parts to their music in an attempt to seem progressive and intelligent, but in doing so adds nothing of value of interest to their music beyond a slight hint of aesthetic novelty and a couple laughs for those of us who can see through their attempts. The fact that the flute solo that takes up most of of Gojira’s latest brief studio teaser has nothing to do with the rest of the video (some brief scratchings that may become indie-metal songs) only reinforces our understanding.6 Comments
By the mid-1990s, it was clear that death metal and black metal were winding down if not over as far as their creative impetus was concerned. The great sell-out albums were yet to come, and bands explored the time-honored method of being “new” by mixing in established genres and calling the hybrid a new path. Where hybridization works, it brings something different to a genre and makes it work within the style of that genre; when it fails, it reverts to an ancestor.
Cultus Sanguine jumped in through a mixture of doom metal, suicidal black metal and shoegaze with influences from bands like Joy Division who worked through atmosphere. This early form of post-metal emphasized theatrical vocals and melodic simple guitar lines that emphasized a trudging rhythm, making it a lot like the post-metal explosion to come but with a more forceful approach.
Unlike many of the more recent bands, Cultus Sanguine attempted a narrative approach. This became absorbed within the need of vocals and atmosphere to predominate, creating a sense of interrupted mood with heavy emphasis on its return, but ultimately the simpler, rock-style riffs and their underlying progressions did not give the band enough to work with. Now a historical curiosity, this album was lauded for its “creativity” at the time and then rapidly faded into obscurity.2 Comments
Controversial early footage has emerged of post-metal band Deafheaven in an earlier look for them: rigorous, military, and intolerant with shaved heads and NSBM styling to their approach.
Obviously this has changed over time, as the band now follow a retro-hipster aesthetic, but you can see the early footage here:5 Comments
Ever get the feeling that some of the material featured on Death Metal Underground was constructed solely to bait us into posting something vitriolic and derisive? Brett-baiting is illegal in 43 countries, most recently Uzbekistan and Finland, but apparently not in America, where Relapse Records recently pushed out Myrkur’s M, a suitably ironic title for bittersweet indie-rock ironism pretending to be metal.
As a fan of analyzing music in its historical context, I’ve decided that digging too deeply into Relapse’s little stunt is to lose to them at the marketing game. You can read about the legends and myths surrounding M by Myrkur on your own time. For our purposes, it suffices to say that M is one of those “post-black metal” albums, and like most of the more commercially notorious content featured here, it’s a standard entry to the subgenre. Myrkur’s real problem isn’t that it’s a fusion, or even that it’s a failed fusion, but that the individual elements it pulls upon are not executed effectively, even in isolation. This is essentially the filler moments from a handful of black metal and indie pop albums spliced together and hastily glued by a the efforts of an ethereal vocalist who has trouble making much of an impression beyond that of vague prettiness.
That such an album as M might be a record of juxtapositions and asides is unsurprising, as this is a common and well-understood way to vary otherwise typically structured songwriting. However, it’s hard to find music with transitions and instrumentation shifts this awkward without delving into the wind-swept lands of the allegedly avant-garde. This generally applies only to the more dynamic tracks that make more effort to sound nominally metallic, but many were the times tracks melted into claustrophobic noise and reverb in order to dodge ending in a coherent fashion. Were these transitions better realized, we could probably pass this off as the mildly depressive shoegazing alternative rock recording it apparently wants to be when it grows up. But the occasional (and unsurprisingly rare) sections of overt black metal without obvious concessions to Myrkur’s shoegazing roots is poorly spent, with little in the way of intelligible riffing to the point that it’s almost a relief when the recording tries to do something different, even though it just ends up rehashing its previous ideas again.
You would have more luck loading up your favorite black metal recordings into a copy of Pro Tools and mixing in the misplaced indie pop promos we frequently receive, perhaps adding your own little twee ornamentation here and there. Perhaps this is why there are so many blackgaze recordings out there; Myrkur’s contributions would probably sink into the morass were it not for the incessant marketing of their label.4 Comments