(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Danish black metal band Sunken, set for a September 18 release by Vendetta Records.)
The term “categorical perception” refers to a psychological phenomena whereby human beings tend to separate stimuli – sounds, colours, etc – on a continuum into discrete, distinct categories, as well as how the learning of these categorisations influences our ability to perceive them as we grow up.
It’s a fascinating area, and one I can’t go into fully here (for obvious reasons), but let’s just say that CP is why you sometimes hear people from different countries struggling to differentiate between |r| and |l| sounds, and why different cultures sometimes even see colour differently.
As the smart ones among you might already have guessed, this phenomenon is pretty active in music too, especially when it comes to genre classifications.
For example, where you draw the line between Death Metal that’s “technical” and so-called Technical Death Metal, where you decide that something becomes brutal enough to be called Brutal Death Metal, etc, may be an individual choice on the surface, but it’s also heavily influenced by what you’ve learned, what you’ve been taught by others, and what you’ve been exposed to.
It’s particularly noticeable on the Black Metal spectrum, especially when it comes to asking people to define at what point Black Metal becomes Atmospheric Black Metal becomes Post-Black Metal… with the usual answer being defined more by personal preference than any actual sonic or stylistic properties of the music itself.
But there are always artists/albums who transcend or defy easy categorisation, and whether you like your Black Metal to be “Atmospheric”, “Post-” or pure as the driven snow, Livslede is likely to be exactly what you’re looking for.