Dec 062015

Rearview Mirror


As has been true of many of the bands we’ve featured in these backward-looking Rearview Mirror posts, Weakling had come and gone before I ever heard of them. But I heard a lot about them in the years that followed their demise.

The band apparently took their name from a song by Swans, from the album Filth. Bay Area guitarist John Gossard started the band, along with guitarist/drum programmer Robert Williams of Ubzub. By the time Weakling released their first — and only — album in 2000 (Dead As Dreams), the line-up included (in addition to Gossard — who also provided the vocals) guitarist Joshua Smith (The Fucking Champs), bass-player Sarah Weiner, drummer Sam Foster, and keyboardist Casey Ward.

The band split up in 1999, before the album was even released. According to The Font of All Human Knowledge:


Weakling-Dead As Dreams


Gossard and bassist Sarah Weiner later played together in the similarly short-lived doom metal band The Gault (although Weiner was the drummer of that outfit); after that band’s demise, Gossard went on to join established funeral doom outfit Asunder, and formed a second black metal band, Dispirit, in the wake of Asunder’s dissolution. Keyboardist Casey Ward currently plays drums in The Husbands. Drummer Sam Foster currently plays drums for death metal band Saros.”

All five of the songs on Dead As Dreams are long, ranging from 10 1/2 minutes to more than 20. The band’s music has been referred to as “a black metal-as-ambient Wall of Noise approach coupled with an epic songwriting style”, and (here) as “a cross between the atmospheric, monomaniacal, distorted black metal buzz of Burzum and the progressive, advanced death metal orchestrations of Opeth“.

When I’ve seen references to Weakling (by both respected writers and musicians), their name has been uttered in reverential tones. Listening to their music now, 15 years later, it becomes obvious how influential they were in turning black metal in new directions.

You can find the whole album streaming on YouTube. Below I’ve embedded the 20-minute long title track, which really is amazing.



  1. Great article Islander. Every single California band from 2000-present has ripped these guys off to some degree…. Xasthur, Leviathan, Deafheaven ect. The first black metal band I can remember that used sporadic post rock techniques. I remember some ancient lore of them burying CD’s in the ground, and giving people maps of where to find them. Probably bogus of course a la Velvet Cocoon haha

    • I read about that treasure hunt thing when I was doing some research for this piece and saw that the band denied that ever really happened, that they were just joking around about the idea and the label decided to propagate the rumor. 🙂

  2. very good album.

  3. I had always meant to check these guys out – never knew there was only one album to check out. I’ll have to make some time for it once I’m done with the end-of-the-year barrage of finding new releases I should’ve been listening to all year.

  4. Side note, Gossard has been doing black metal/doom band for years named Dispirit that is currently activeg and still widely unknown. Sort of mixes the sounds of Weakling and The Gault. Check out and for more on them. Touring the Pacific Northwest in a couple weeks if you are lucky to catch them live.

  5. Great album! One of the first that really got me into black metal. It a good time to put that one on right about now, in fact. 😛

  6. The Gault is one of my all time favorite albums, so damn good!

  7. great selection, if hell was real this is what it would sound like \m/

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.