Your regular host, Corey, is back in town. But he’s not in any shape, post Migration Fest, to handle the duties that are required herein. Mr. Butterworth’s time will be better spent getting back into his running routine and getting his body fat percentage down below 1% or whatever it is (he’s in great shape). With that said, I, Manny, will once again host this journey. I have a shocking album for this one: Darkher’s upcoming release Realms. Available 8.19.2016 via Prophecy Productions, Realms is a beautiful journey through the gothic and soulful world ofYorkshire based singer/songwriter, Jayn H. Wissenberg. The album is haunting, atmospheric and absolutely engaging. So, I decided to pair that with a nice dark beer. Let the journey begin.
The Metal: Darkher – Realms
As the rain slowly pelts my window there’s nothing I want to be listening to more than some good doom. Particularly, doom that is tinged pitch black with a velvety gothic texture. Thankfully, Darkher provides all that I need. Like draping myself in a velvet gown and painting my nails and lips black while my tears streak eyeliner down my face, Darkher is an emotional break hug. Cymbals crash as an alto voice rises from the darkness. Mid-heavy guitars pour forth out of warmly tuned amplifiers sometimes affecting a slow, drawling psychobilly sound (see “Foregone”). The music providing a pathway into an abyss of forlorn, languishing heart sickness. At times Realms is genuinely scary, a terrifying blend of realness with atmosphere. The nine tracks are ominous, often building in intensity before fading out on a well held vocal note. It’s slow, at times acoustic and at times nearly silent. In the end it’s a simply beautiful pilgrimage into a somber forest. I highly, highly recommend this album for listeners of all walks of life. There’s beauty to be found in each of ominous compositions.
“At times, I witnessed happenings,” Wissenberg points out with respect to the title. “Amidst the immense sadness brought upon by grief, these signs were both uplifting and magical, and this compounded my belief in other ‘Realms'”
The Booze: War Flag Brewing Company, Grandmaster IPA
Hoppy but not overpowering (an IBU of 70), War Flag’s Grandmaster IPA provides a genuinely exciting experience. Brewed in honor of the original 13 colonies, the bottle cap features 13 stars. In an homage to the greatest flag ever invented, a vicious colonial viper can be seen on the label. Basically, this brewery is badass. As an American, it’s always terrific to think back to the time we beat the butts of those British fancy pants and their loyalist minions. Much like the American militiamen, this brew packs a wallop clocking in at a serious ABV of 6.9%. Flavor-wise it’s a pretty mild beer. It’s drinkable with light citrus notes and a good amount of sweet malt. It’s actually comparable to what I believe is the greatest IPA on earth, The Great Divide Brewing Company’s Titan IPA. War Flag presents a beer that is incredibly close to on par. A really, really impressive showing from a relatively young NYC brewery.
I paired two wonderful things. An absolutely beautiful record and a remarkably dope beer. The problem is, I really should have paired Darkher with a nice, thick red wine. Maybe a Zinfandel from Paso Robles? Something along those lines. Rather, due to the heatwave here in good ole NYC I grabbed a frosty brew. The pairing was subpar despite the genius of these two products on their own. Suffice it to say, I shan’t make the same mistake twice. Drink well, my friends. And enjoy some great music!