(Neill Jameson (Krieg) returns to our site with a further installment in his series on black metal from years past. Some real gems are collected here, and others can be found in his previous installments located behind this link.)
Without much need for exposition since this is my fifth time doing this subject, I guess all I really can say is I don’t understand why these records sit with some dust on them when so much other nonsense gets lavished with praise. It’s probably my taste and inability to think positive thoughts, but that seems like some shit for my therapist. So without further hold-ups, here’s a few more black metal records that I feel should have some light shed on them.
Forgotten Woods — “Race of Cain” LP 2007
This band’s entire discography is under-appreciated but this record is the very definition of overlooked and underrated. After Forgotten Woods took a hiatus to form Joyless (more on that in a moment) it seemed all but impossible that they’d return to formation and do another black metal record. When this came out in 2007 not only was it surprising for the reasons I just mentioned but also it’s such a departure from their classic sound that it was immediately jarring. Gone is any real trace of melody and the more depressive feelings from their earlier records. In their place is one of the most caustic and negative fucking black metal records ever, really stripping the genre to its bare nihilistic core. Apparently they were going to do another record with Neige on vocals but that never surfaced and Joyless became a priority again.
Joyless — “Unlimited Hate” LP 1996 & “Wisdom & Arrogance” LP 2000
I had to do a tie here because I really should have put Wisdom & Arrogance in my piece about morose music a few weeks back, so here’s my second chance to shove it down your throats. Joyless, as I said earlier, is sort of what Forgotten Woods became around the mid 1990s, with a greater emphasis on rock than metal. Unlimited Hate has a lot of re-recorded FW material as well as some new songs which fit between the classic FW sound and a mixture of Motörhead and black metal. Everything this band has done is, like Forgotten Woods, worth seeking and listening to.
Mörk Gryning — “Tusen ar har gatt” LP 1995
Released right on the cusp before No Fashion started shitting out crappy melodic death metal that might have well been the same band doing the same record just with different album covers, they released this. This is classic Swedish black metal in the Marduk and Setherial style but with some more atmospheric touches. I’m pretty sure I stole this CD from my friend my junior year of high school, a story I put in to pad my word count. If you love classic Swedish black metal but only have the well-known shit in your library, then Christmas has come early my friends, this entire record is gold. I didn’t care for their second record but while researching this piece I see they have a few others that I need to seek out.
Black Crucifixion — “Promethean Gift” EP 1993
Considering how much people worship Beherit and Archgoat, I’ve never understood why Black Crucifixion never gained more than a cult following in the underground. Their Fallen One of Flames demo is a magnificent and disgusting black/death recording, the kind that shitty bands now attempt to copy (without knowing who they’re copying) and failing while keeping the nails section of their local Home Depot cleaned out. But this, their first EP, is fucking weird.
Years before black metal started going in stranger directions Black Crucifixion crafted a dark and doomy record that was a fucking pain to hunt down. Maybe it’s too gothy for some people? Well fuck ’em, this is great. Not entirely sold on the comeback stuff yet but glad to see they’re still active. The more open-minded out there should also listen to their other project, Promethean, especially for the “Flowing Downward” cover.
Fluisterwoud — “Langs Galg en Rad” LP 2003
One of the last good things to come out of Full Moon Productions was the debut full-length from Fluisterwoud, a chaotic black metal band from the Netherlands who shares a member with Urfaust. This is a fucking demented record, mostly in the classic ’90s European black metal style, but you need to listen closely to hear the small touches that set it apart as one of the best Dutch black metal records ever. I got a chance to see them when Krieg played the Netherlands in 2003(04?) and it was a fucking sick gig. Wish they would continue, but at least there’s the new Urfaust coming this October.
Funeral Mist — “Maranatha” LP 2009
Funeral Mist is a bit of a complex thing for me. I think Salvation is a fairly overrated record, not a bad one, but I just never got why people considered it the new messiah of Swedish black metal. On the other hand, I have no idea why Maranatha isn’t hailed as the best Swedish black metal record of the last ten years. Everything about this record is fucking perfect, from the production to the use of samples to the crushing riffs and the vocals especially (I think they’re Arioch’s finest since the Triumphator EP, which I’m saving for another installment).
This record is just so fucking dirty and organic and genuinely evil, unlike so much of the Orthodox movement or the shit with witch hats and armor that kids love today. I just don’t understand why it’s not held in the highest possible regard, which is why I chose to end this column on the strongest possible note.
This will be my last black metal column for a while. I’m sure once I’m settled into our new apartment and have time and motivation I’ll begin to pull out mix tapes from the last twenty years and start this whole thing over again. Until next time..