Mar 082010

I’ve been a latecomer to black metal, but it’s been growing on me, sorta like rash that just spreads the more I scratch it. I’ve been trying to further my black-metal education (though still, I haven’t read Hideous Gnosis) while at the same time trying to keep up with interesting new releases across many extreme metal genres — which hasn’t been easy. Only so many hours in the day, unfortunately.

Basically, when it comes to black metal, I feel like a small child. In black diapers. Actually, I gave up the black diapers last week.  Figured it was time.  Because they weren’t black when I started wearing them.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to get educated. One thing I’ve learned is that the term “black metal,” standing alone, really doesn’t tell you very much. Bands that work under that banner can sound remarkably different from each other. I suppose I still associate that genre label with tremolo picking, blast beats, and evil-sounding shrieking in the vocals — but I’m discovering that’s a gross generalization that fails to capture the musical variety of “black metal.”

For example, I’ve listened to three new/forthcoming releases in the last couple weeks that are all classifiable as “black metal” but that sound dramatically different from each other — one from a legendary Norwegian band whose members are pictured above and whose name will be found in every history of the genre that has been or will be written — Darkthrone — and one from a band that is painfully obscure outside their home country (and maybe even within their home country) — Nydvind.

I really like both releases, though they sound nothing alike. Collecting some thoughts about each of them in this roundup and allowing you to stream some excerpts is as good a way as any to illustrate the variety in black metal, even as it’s being practiced today. (read on, after the jump . . .) Continue reading »