Feb 232021
 

 

(In this review Andy Synn turns his attention to the new album by Illinois-based Pan-Amerikan Native Front, which was released earlier this month.)

The more I think about Black Metal (and, trust me, I spend a lot of time thinking about Black Metal) the more it occurs to me just what an astounding paradox the genre is.

Founded by a bunch of no-good Norwegian punks (though if you called them “punks” to their faces you probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the response) whose back-story has since been retold and mythologised almost beyond recognition, Black Metal was originally just one big “fuck you” to the rest of the world, a purposefully introverted and isolationist rejection of ideas such as popularity, normality, and musicianship.

And yet, somehow, despite this – or, perhaps, because of this – it’s gone on to become not only a global phenomenon, but one of the most artistically adventurous and progressive genres in all of Metal.

How did this happen? Well, for me, it’s the underlying primitivism of Black Metal which makes it such an unexpectedly universal musical language.

Whether they knew it or not, those crazy kids somehow managed to tap into something truly primal and innately human with those ramshackle early recordings, something which connected with people all around the world and which they could then use as the foundation of their own art, and as a way to tell their own stories.

Stories like Little Turtle’s War. Continue reading »

Jan 312021
 

 

What you have before you is a selection of advance tracks from forthcoming releases and, at the end, the stream of a new EP. If that weren’t enough to occupy you (and it probably is), I have in mind a second part to this column that includes a bunch of complete new releases, most of which I found stupendously unsettling but also fascinating. Since I haven’t put that Part together yet, I can’t confidently say when you’ll see it, but by tomorrow at the latest.

WESENWILLE (Netherlands)

The first track I’ve picked, “The Descent“, exhibits some favorable developments as compared to this Utrecht duo’s first album, which caught our attention in 2018 and is still worth your time. The new song is a scorcher but also adventurous, creating moods that are dismal and twisted, as well as maniacally glorious and chillingly hallucinatory. The tempos and riffing are in constant flux, while the vocals are perpetually unhinged in their fury. The blazing yet bleak finale is downright breathtaking. Continue reading »

Feb 292020
 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: With just a few modest changes, the following post was an extensive e-mail we received from our valued supporter Speelie, intended as suggestions of black metal we might check out and recommend to others if we liked it. But with his permission we decided to simply pass on his worthy ideas straight from him to you. We’ll have other suggestions for you in the usual SHADES OF BLACK column tomorrow.

While my primary area of historical study is the Second World War, I also study the military campaigns involving Native Americans and the Canadian First Nations. An offshoot of the latter is the colonial history of Quebec.

During the 17th and 18th Centuries, it was a fascinating place. The harsh climate worsened the effects of epidemics and famine from crop failures. The French and the natives generally got along decently, but many natives resisted attempts to Catholicize them. The Jesuits sent reports known as Relations back to France yearly, and these have been preserved. So have many tribal traditions and oral histories.

Both of these sources recount that they saw the other as including dangerous and powerful sorcerers in their ranks. Quebec also faced devastating raids by the Iroquois and invasions by the British. Continue reading »

Sep 272017
 

 

(Red River Family Fest II took place in Austin, Texas on September 22-23, 2017. The appearance of Krieg on the line-up took Krieg’s frontman Neill Jameson to the event, and he prepared these thoughts about the fest and the bands he saw. Credit for all the great photos accompanying his article goes to NecroBlanca Photography and Design.)

 

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written or spoken to me you probably have the (correct) opinion that I generally don’t enjoy myself often. It might be the few decades of going to shows and fests or talking to people that have jaded me, but I tend to approach playing a fest as more of a job than a joy. But my experience over the weekend at Red River Family Fest II was surprising enough for me that by the end of the first night I was ready to sit down and write about it, and it wasn’t just the alcohol talking.

This is a recap of everything I experienced over my few days in Austin, Texas. I was able to catch at least a song from most every band with a few exceptions and I really enjoyed what I heard, again with a few exceptions. Continue reading »