Released last week, Lo, and I Am Burning by Slaves BC sounds just as impressive now as when I first reviewed it in January. Full of disconcerting, unstable black metal, it possesses a raw emotional catharsis that is usually absent with such music, giving it a personal feel that helps it to stand out. Situated somewhere between the heaviest, most punishing strands of hardcore and genre-defying black metal band Plebian Grandstand, Lo, and I Am Burning is the sound of a band not so much coming in to their own, but demonstrating why anyone who hadn’t previously been paying attention to them had been missing out.
Part of the success of the album is its use of religious imagery. Whilst most black metal bands will use such imagery in supposedly blasphemous (but more often, timid and generic) ways, with Slaves BC such usage instead feels very personal, and emotionally charged. It can often feel like a plea to some higher power for forgiveness or redemption, following periods of intense soul-searching where you have been found lacking; and as if the creation of this music is fulfilling some need for the band that is as fundamental as food and shelter. It is far from comfortable, but it is so deeply rewarding; an absolute sledgehammer of frantic riffs, pummeling drumming, and emotional bloodletting.