photo by Vamperess Imperium
Beginning with 2014, Semjaza, the main creative force behind the Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade, has shared with us his year-end lists of favorite metal and non-metal releases. However, rather than prepare year-end lists for 2018, Semjaza embarked on a much more extensive project that would not be limited to releases from that year, but would encompass recommended music across the significant span of his listening (a significant span both in years and in genres). Most of this project was completed many months ago, and therefore does not include many of this year’s releases — and the delays in beginning to post it have been our own, not his.
But now we begin, with this post, which includes an introduction and lists of favored split releases and full-length releases, and a special focus on French black metal. Further installments will appear in the coming weeks.
Having listened to metal music since I was a little kid, I have seen various great and not-so-great things happening within this very movement. Most people prefer to either keep silent or to completely ignore the bad things for their own reasons, which I do not really care to elaborate on. I have been amazed by what is overly promoted within the metal scene right now. It is scary how easy it is for some to either fall into the trap of stupid advertising campaigns or simply follow any trends and ignore real soulful music. I can get the following of trends by the rather very young listener, who is easily convinced, but not from the ones who know what this music really stands for, or those who have been listening to this kind of music for many years.
Most of the big labels can happily promote their paid advertisement releases with great reviews, and many listeners just buy the trends made by the system. The main thing that really bothers me concerning this is the following: The advertised bands end up having the budget they need to tour and record, but the underground bands lack the money to record and properly mix and master their albums (there are obviously exceptions; there are exceptions to every rule).
Therefore, I decided it is just a fine day to stare once again inwards and post some of the releases I have listened to a lot over the past year (old and new, known and not so known) in order to spread an alternative mindset. Thanks to NCS, this will reach more people than just a Facebook post, a medium that I use in order to spread great music created by others, as well as my own creations.