Musicologists have spilled millions of words tracing the twisting and twining path of underground and popular music from R&B to rock ‘n’ roll, punk, metal, and elsewhere. Over time, and in different ways, the connections often seem to snap apart, producing music that seems severed from distant roots, even as the overaching ethos of “outsider” music might remain intact. Blast-beats, for example, diverge sharply from back-beats and d-beats, and the blazing or freezing aggression of tremolo’d riffing seems alien to head-nodding three-chord progressions, just as incomprehensible screaming veers dramatically from a voice that carries a melody.
But even with regard to black metal (perhaps the paragon of severed connections such as those mentioned above), punk was deep down in its early roots, and it’s still alive and well in the music of some segments of black metal who are kicking up sonic storms in the here-and-now. The music of the Finnish quintet Qwälen is one such example, as reveled on their debut album Unohdan Sinut, which is set for release by Time To Kill Records on February 19th, and which we’re premiering in full right now.