Written by: Lunar Fanatic
Dissonant black death metal is nothing new, in fact the subgenre feels a bit trite by this point. That being said Labored Breath’s debut album, Dyspnea, is a fresh, bludgeoning entry into what I’d consider one of metal’s darkest styles. This album from the one-man project from Oakland, CA wastes no time in setting the album’s tone.
Cavernous (and that description is truly earned here), bleeding dissonant notes erupt into pure auditory violence on opening track "Hypothesia." The drumming is explosive, and the guitar work swirls around it, made even more prominent by the excellent use of panning. Both ears are under constant yet varied assault throughout the album, and the beautifully raw production obscures enough detail from the surface to make diving deeper into the ocean of the winding song structures featured throughout Dyspnea.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
There’s a time for riffs, a time for intricacy, and a time for both. Wode have been around now for a little over a decade, reigning over Manchester, England with a stylistically intense brand of black metal. Recently, they dropped album number three, entitled Burn In Many Mirrors, through 20 Buck Spin. It cashes in on sturdy riffage with appropriate doses of later black metal tactics to make for one of the better polished albums of its type.
What’s nice is that despite this, Wode don’t feel the need to sink themselves in a pool of symphonies and atmosphere. Though the latter does play a bit of a role, it’s clear that strong hooks and transitions are the most important part. All six tracks come from a narrative standpoint, telling long, cosmic stories around the occult and world destruction. This leaves little room for extra nonsense, allowing everything to be straightforward within each phase of the songs.
“…people will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious…”
Written by: Cantina
A possibly controversial (?) statement: music is mostly made of repressed and/or unspeakable emotions. Long lost are the times when I somehow believed black metal musicians’ real life persona coincided with the fictitious one, that wherever they went, gloom and misery accompanied them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: black metal would be a metaphysical gold mine for Jungian scholars. This genre is the Shadow Self of metal music (of any music type, for that matter). I would go as far as saying that a proper understanding of Carl Gustav Jung’s philosophy will give you the knowledge to understand what is going on in the seemingly “twisted” mind of any musician.
Black metal is of course a prime example of that.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
I've always loved the concept of a split album. The idea of two or more artists coming together to unite under one release is fantastic. Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine, however, is much more. Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum join forces again to create a conceptual split release centering around the planets of the solar system and ancient mythology. This may sound like an overbloated idea, but it works out so well. This split release right here is something that will be looked up to in 5-10 years based off of the conceptual angle but also musically.
We begin the album with Spectral Lore's "Mercury (The Virtuous)." An effects-laden intro slowly builds into a mid-paced black metal stomper with loads of classy riffs and well executed double-bass and blast beats. After that, we are greeted with Mare Cognitum's "Mars (The Warrior)." This is a far cry from the serenity of the first track; this is a jagged, aggressive, and dissonant tune. There is no letting up, as a swarm of blast-beats and fast double bass keep you on your toes the whole time. I'd also say that this is a far more "progressive" song, as there are many changes in time signatures throughout the 9 minutes.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!