Nov 092022

In heavy metal, genre scrambles fail as often as they work. We might go so far as to say that failures exceed successes. Most listeners have pronounced preferences in the kind of music they listen to, and even among those who find a certain degree of mixing attractive, there are limits to their tolerance. Even among “music critics”, there’s a tendency to proclaim that genre-crossing bands are either confused about what they want to be or try too hard to be everything to everyone.

Andzjel, the forthcoming ninth album by the multi-talented Czech band Heiden, is undeniably a genre-scramble of a record. Moreover, the band themselves have a pronounced history of change. If you look at Metal-Archives, you’ll see this genre-jumble: “Black Metal (early); Post-Black Metal/Rock (mid); Post-Rock (later)” — and that doesn’t reflect what has happened on Andzjel, which itself represents another pivot. Continue reading »

Oct 032022


As I forecast in Part 1 of this column yesterday, Part 2 takes us off in some unusual directions. Much of the time black metal is still in the mix, but in most of the songs featured here it’s more of a jumping-off point to other wide-ranging experiences than it is the rigid core of the music — or it’s not present at all, except perhaps as a sinister spirit that hovers on the edges.

This excursion will be welcomed by some of you, and some of the songs will probably disgruntle others. But there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to expose yourself to the music. I hope you’ll do that with all the tracks here, all of which are from forthcoming albums or EPs.

ARALLU (Israel)

This long-running Israeli band, whose roots are in the late ’90s, will be releasing a new album (their 8th one overall) in November. With the imposing title of Death Covenant, it follows up the excellent En Olam from three years ago. I’ve already written here about one of the new album’s advance tracks, “Desert Shadows Will Rise“, and now we have another one. Continue reading »