This seems to be closer to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ than to Slayer or Celtic Frost! It is a bleak, cold landscape, harsh times and hard men as they strive to eke out a living in the mining towns to provide for their families and to survive the stern business owners. This fifth album for Panopticon forges black metal coldness with folk and Americana of the locality it is describing and is being re-released by Bindrune Recordings and Nordvis Produktion at an optimum time just as Paris Accords, fossil fuels and changing climates are top news.
This feels like bedroom music, but not in a Marvin Gaye type way. Some scenes are about the live experience, some are best suited for nightclubs and this album is best suited for a darkened bedroom. Vukari have spent a lot of time working on atmosphere and ambience here. The intro is chord based electronic waves before the second half kicks in with full band support charging forth in an aggressive black metal style.
“Cursus Honorum” slows the pace down to a more steady black metal beat, but we still get a strong atmospheric buzz to it, and this is maybe via the vocals which are bordering on the ‘not quite there’ at times – so is he actually singing from another dimension?!
What does set this apart from most black metal is the lead guitar breaks and it’s the rhythms sections that I find I start to get wonderfully lost in, lying comfortably in my bed especially midway when it breaks down in to a prog exploration! Vukari are not afraid to explore the further reaches of sonic blackened metal.
Krigsgrav‘s new album Waves of Degradation is out on Bindrune Recordings and they have focused their attention on the downfall of this planet for the content of this album. It is their fourth release I believe, and is of that shoegazing black metal that I quite enjoy!! It is described as ‘moving black metal’ and I tend to agree, as it manages emotional depth by balancing its despair, relentless guitar and double pounding drums with its rhythmic hypnotic buzz, harsh howling vocals and at times more natural vocal passages.
“Under Trembling Stars” opens as a 12 minute saga, and midway through I hear a mouth harp, I am sure I have heard mouth harp and mentioned here at ITH in another review – an intriguing development in black metal, where boundaries are being breached with mouth harps! I thought I would never see the day. This track bleeds out with exploratory guitar work and accompanying percussion that you could hear on more post rock style albums.