Whilst metal, as a genre, may largely be thought of in terms of aggression, volume, and speed (doom excepted), the genre also has vast scope for music that is atmospheric and captivating. This is, in itself, no great surprise (as the existence of atmospheric black metal proves, arguably the most popular black metal sub-genre of our times). Yet sometimes, an album can come along that blindsides you with just how masterfully it wields those aspects, conjuring up a dreamscape from a foundation of blasts and tremolo-picking riffs. The debut demo from Arête (who contain members of bands such as Twilight Fauna, Slaves BC, and Evergreen Refuge) impressed me just over two years ago, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting release of Hymnal, their first full-length. Adding traditional folk elements to the core atmospheric black metal sound, theirs is music of belonging; of searching for a place to call your own; ultimately, of home.
Hey, you. Do you like metal? Do you like riffs that make you want to drive fast, raise hell, and fight cops? Do you like vocals layered in attitude, that won’t stand for any bullshit? Do you like songs that have the ass-kicking power of a demonic skeleton riding down a bunch of other, less awesome skeletons? Then the self-titled EP by Roadkiller is for you. Containing five tracks of no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners speed metal, full of punk energy, snarling attitude, and a hell of a lot of fun.
The promo for Out of Time, the new album from Mamaleek, describes the duo as “black metal weirdos”. It feels like a fair description; but also, on the evidence presented here, like a fairly tenuous one. That’s not intended as any kind of slight; rather, as anyone who has previously listened to the band will know, Mamaleek make the kind of music that isn’t so much difficult to categorise, as it defies genre almost completely. Out of Time, at various points made me think of funk; later-day David Bowie; art rock; Swans; dark jazz and, yes, avant garde metal. And yet, it always feels coherent, moving with singular purpose and direction, and far easier to lose yourself in than such a combination of styles might suggest. But more than that, it is an album with an unusual sense of character and humanity; most extreme music can feel like it is putting up a barrier between performer and audience, but this? This album wants to invite you in to share its pain.
A delightfully mixed selection for this week’s Album of the Day recap, taking in indigenous black metal; blackgaze; old-school crust punk; powerviolence-infused anti-fascist hardcore; and mind-expanding psychedelic black metal. It’s possibly the most varied selection yet, which, considering the way that Album of the Day gleeful hops between genres, is quite something. Enjoy!
Italian trio Hierophant have had an interesting journey to bring them to where they are today. Initially starting life as a cross between hardcore, black metal, and sludge, their first records were released by hardcore stalwarts Demons Run Amok and Bridge Nine Records. 2016 saw the jump to the arguably more fitting Season of Mist though, and a subtle shift in sound – their approach to sonic devastation become less hardcore, more grind. New EP Spawned Abortions carries on in that style, being a short, yet undeniably vicious slice of black/death/grind, that takes no prisoners.
The Moon is a Dead World is one of the greatest albums ever made. It blew me away upon release, and it continues to do so to this day. It’s something of a shame, though, that this classic of progressive post-hardcore has been out of print since, well, since the wonderful Level Plane Records closed. At the time of writing, CD copies on Discogs are going for over £20; and vinyl for over £60. Sure, it might be on Spotify, but that’s no substitute for actually having a copy that sounds the way the album should, and I’ve been hoping for years that someone would reissue it. Well, good news, because the wonderful people at Repeater Records are reissuing the album on vinyl, with pre-orders starting on Friday 12th October.
Atrament‘s previous album, Eternal Downfall, was a conscise blast of blackened crust, ticking all the right boxes without ever risking over-staying its welcome. The follow-up album, Scum Sect, largely picks up where that one left off; which is to say, it’s a barbaric onslaught of violence and filth, with D-beat rhythms providing the backdrop for riffs that are heavy in decay and danger. Given that Atrament contains members of bands such as Vastum, Necrot, and Abstracter, odds are you’ll come to Scum Sect with high expectations; and it’s safe to say that the album meets them.