Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Imperial Cult’s Spasm of Light and Stone Brewing Company’s W00t Stout 2019 Edition.
The Metal: Imperial Cult’s Spasm of Light
One of my biggest takeaways from 2019 is that this has been a fantastic year for Dutch black metal. Between Verwoed, Nusquama, Laster, and more, the Netherlands is doing more to assert itself as a powerhouse in the subgenre than ever, pushing boundaries in terms of both performance and creativity. Continuing in this renaissance are Imperial Cult, who’s debut album Spasm of Light saw its release at the end of August. Formed by members of prominent Dutch acts including Turia, Solar Temple, and death metal weirdos/fellow Sentient Ruin labelmates Cryptae, Imperial Cult create thick, droning, hypnotic, and captivating black metal that evokes the size and scope of bands like Fell Voices with the penchant for experimentalism that makes Dutch black metal some of my favorite to listen to of late. Billing itself as ‘largely improvised’, Spasm of Light is comprised of a single thirty-four minute track that sees the band riff on five musical motifs ranging from black metal to doom metal and even something a little dancier and weirder towards the end. It’s not often I find myself drawn to these kinds of long, single-song affairs, but the balance Imperial Cult strike between repetition and renewal is critical to Spasm of Light’s success. Themes only stick around long enough for you to get lost in, never long enough to get bored of, before moving gracefully to something different. In a way, this album is a song structured like an academic paper, in terms of having a ‘thesis’, in this case a main key and style of songwriting, while expounding on that argument through multiple supporting points, weaving black metal through varying thematic elements to see where the imagination of the players takes them. The fact that this album was also apparently recorded live doesn’t hurt its case either. Spasm of Light is a unique and invigorating addition to a musical canon already overflowing with goodness this year, and one fans of black metal shouldn’t pass over.
The Booze: Stone Brewing Company’s W00t Stout 2019 Edition
The things I do for you people. I’ve been avoiding Stone Brewing’s collaboration with Will Wheaton for as long as Stone Brewing has been collaborating with Will Wheaton because, frankly, I thought the entire premise was a little bit too much; I like a lot of traditionally ‘nerdy’ things, but I don’t buy much into ‘nerd culture’ and the people that do buy into that seem to be the target audience of this beer. Yet, when I found myself in the grocery store facing down a series of options I either don’t think I would like or have already tried before, I broke down and grabbed this years edition of W00t Stout and I’m forced to admit…it’s actually pretty good. Much like this beer’s design, presentation, and marketing, the actual taste here is pretty over the top, but I like over the top in my stouts; the addition of pecan adds an interesting twist that balances out the spiciness of the rye and accentuates the richness of the chocolaty stout base. The bourbon barrel aging ups the complexity of the drink, and really there isn’t a stout that I’ve had that doesn’t benefit from a little bourbon barrel aging so kudos to Stone for making the smart decision there. Maybe I’ve been a little judgmental here. W00t Stout might not be something I’d go for on first glance, but underneath a kitschy package lies a surprisingly decent beer.
Cheers, and be good to each other,