Jul 072011

OK, time to court some (albeit minor) controversy. To compare and contrast with the “Wintermoon Wednesday” piece on post-millennial black metal by Tr00 Nate (unseen at the time of this writing) over at TheNumberOfTheBlog, I’ve decided to list my own picks for the prize.

I’ve left out the obvious choices, so no Satyricon or 1349 – even though the former have transformed themselves post-2000 very successfully, courting both success and controversy in equal measure, while the latter have pushed their hyper-blast style beyond the breaking point, only to discover a new lease on life through their exploration of gnarled, twisted atmospherics.

No Rotting Christ? Or Samael? Nope. I love both of them, but they both had long pre-millennial careers and spent much of the post-2000 stage of their careers exploring less focussed, less black metal sounds — although both have recently released masterful examples of their own focussed and distinctive brands of black metal.

I have left out records which are perhaps less “purely” black metal — records for which a strong case can be put forward that they belong more as “blackened” examples of another genre — so there’s no place for Altar Of Plagues or Withered, both great bands in their own right. No Akercocke either, the sheer weight of their crushing death metal heft disqualifying them for this list.

I have also by choice left out artists/albums I have covered recently. Therefore, no Iskald (though The Sun I Carried Alone IS one of the best black metal albums of the last ten years), or Elite (see HERE for my thoughts) or The Axis Of Perdition (HERE), even though I’d argue that each of them has at least one example under their belt of near perfect post-millennial black metal.

So who have I chosen? Well look upon my choices dear reader, and despair… Continue reading »

Jun 032011

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn is back with his third concert review of the week. This is what we call good living — Andy caught three stellar concerts in four days over the long weekend that just passed. We don’t think he wrote these reviews just to make us jealous, but they’ve had that effect anyway. We forgive him because he writes so well that reading is almost like being there.)

Starting an unbelievably short time after doors opened, Krakow had the unenviable task of warming up an underground black metal show on a rainy Monday night in Nottingham. Thankfully, their grooving take on warp-riding post-black metal was a perfect appetiser, their music providing a surprisingly warm and welcoming way to start off the evening’s entertainment.

Similarities could be drawn with Icelandic progsters Solstafir who ply a similarly post-black metal route through the murky waters of genredom. However, where Solstafir evolved into a post-black mutation from their original Viking-era incarnation – whilst maintaining a cold sense of post-millenial dissociation – Krakow began their lives as the direct offspring of post-black metal parents – they were born this way. These mutant spawn of post-black metal Norway have more in common with the rolling, abstract sounds of Isis and Cult Of Luna than they do with Mayhem or Emperor.

Embracing a free-wheeling, psychedelic rock spirit to offset the bleaker tendencies of their musical DNA, the band had a loose, fiery sound and swagger, mixing aggressive metallic tendencies with a stockier, more muscular riff-based sound and a bedrock of grooving, hammering beats. Bassist/vocalist Frode Kilvik possessed a powerful, primal roar equally as capable of expressing animalistic lust as extolling the twin themes of human misanthropy and apocalyptic decline, tempered with a positive, almost antagonistic fatalism. If doomsday is coming, they’re not going out without a party. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »