(Andy Synn wrote the following review of the new album by Selbst, a band that originated in Venezuela and is now based in Chile. The album will be released on August 7th by Debemur Morti Productions.)
For a while now I’ve been trying to put into words precisely what the difference is between Death Metal and Black Metal.
Oh, I know there are lots of physical, practical differences between the two genres (despite what some people might think) but I’ve often struggled to express what I feel is the fundamental difference which separates and defines the two.
The best way I can think to put it is this – if Death Metal is comparable to another form of art, it would be sculpture. It’s all hammer and tongs, chisel and awl, structure and form. It’s about making a plan, holding it in your mind’s eye, and then beating things into shape, chipping away at the excess, to forge something with real, tangible physicality.
Black Metal though… Black Metal is more abstract. It’s about letting whatever’s inside you (for better or worse) pour out onto the canvas in wild, expressive strokes and lurid, hypnotic patterns.
That’s not to say there isn’t a clear sense of vision behind it – there often is – but this willingness to just cut loose and see what flows out is, in my opinion at least, what makes the genre so utterly visceral, so unexpectedly versatile and, every so often, so breathtakingly vulnerable.
And it’s also what makes Relatos de Angustia one of the best Black Metal albums of the year.