I listen to a lot of new black metal every week. As most serious metal lovers are well aware, the genre has become remarkably diverse, so much so that I’d venture to say that it now encompasses more variety than any of the other well-recognized genres of extreme music — which is one reason I listen to a lot of black metal every week. Some branchings of this immense, gnarled, and thorny tree have gone off in experimental directions; others have twisted back down into the roots, intertwining with them to the point that the new growth is indistinguishable from the old.
The debut EP Hail Death by the Polish black metal band UR isn’t experimental, or mind-bendingly intricate. It honors certain aspects of the genre’s roots, yet it’s also not a re-tread of the dominant forms of the second wave. But among all the varied branchings of black metal that I’ve explored this year, it has proven to be one of the most enjoyable. I’ll explain why — but I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to skip past my verbiage immediately and jump straight to the player at the end of this post, where you can launch a full stream of the EP in advance of its December 15 release by Arachophobia Records.
I’ve been immersed in compiling LISTMANIA features the last few days, but at the same time I’ve been noticing the appearance of new songs, many of them from albums headed our way in the new year. I’ve rounded up 9 of them here that I’ve enjoyed, with a range of metallic styles. I organized them sort of like a bell curve, with things starting hard and then getting more melodic in the middle, and then descending again into increasing ugliness and violence by the end.
Also, serious question: Should I divide collections of this length into smaller parts and spread them out over the day? Or does it matter?
I’m afraid that if I googled “lock up” these days, I’d get stories about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The world obviously needs to grind again, and the real Lock Up is here to help us do that.