Album Review: Hænesy — “Garabontzia”

The more I listen to black metal, the less I find myself caring about about things like rules or categorization. I’m not looking for black metal to change my worldview, or adhere to a set of parameters that maybe made sense over 20 years ago, but mean little now. I want the music to align to what I need at a given moment, and whether it does that via second wave lo-fi buzzing guitars, symphonic sweeping tremolo lines, or post rock shoegaze, it doesn’t matter in the end. I don’t need it to educate me, I need it to carry me – a weird thing to say about black metal, but there you go. And Garabontzia, the latest from Hungarian band Hænesy does that nicely, channeling post black metal whipped through a haze of reverb and ambient keyboard to deliver a spacious wave of noise that crashes in ever softening reverberations.

Are we still talking about black metal? Does it really matter?

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Reinventing Black Metal Part II: SRD

Photo: Simon Pelko

In the first part of this series I implied black metal is overrun with Satanic imagery and it just isn’t interesting anymore. However, we also focused on the unique situation of Al Namrood and their struggles. Today, we’re taking a look at Srd, a band which will unfortunately be much less known to most readers. Slovenia isn’t traditionally a country that produces a lot of amazing metal and I’m sure the large majority would struggle to name a single band coming out of it. However, as a Slovenian myself, I’ve been lucky to have seen Srd live quite a few times by now, even though the band is rather young and has only been founded in 2016. Now, you might think I’m biased because everyone tends to like supporting their local scene. And you might have a bit of a point there, which brings me to my next pretentiously philosophical idea. Black metal’s relation to ethnic culture.

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Album Review: Khors — “Where the World Acquires Eternity”

It’s not every day that you run into an album that actually teaches you something.  I’m no student of history, so there’s lots for me still to learn about world events of the past, but the last place I would expect to get a lesson is an atmospheric black metal album from the depths of the Ukraine.  Still, if anyone can do it, it would be Khors, quite possibly the most influential band you’ve never heard of.  Their titanic seventh full-length release Where the World Acquires Eternity showcases not only their use of concept but also some extremely smart songwriting.

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Second Circle: The Glorious Dead and Eave

Second Circle

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

As I scanned over our list of promos and wondered what I should take for a review this week, I was put into a predicament.  Both Eave and The Glorious Dead came highly recommended, I had listened to singles from both Phantoms Made Permanent and Into Lifeless Shrines (respectively) and really enjoyed them, I’m a sucker for both of the genres these albums fall into and they’re both Bindrune releases, which is synonymous with extremely high quality in my mind.  How, then, to choose which one to review?  As a now infamous taco commercial suggests, “¿Por qué no los dos?”

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Album Review: Ruadh — “The Rock of the Clyde”

I’ve gone on record before about how I like death metal, both in print and on the Audio Thing™, and I will, until the end of time, stand by my assertion that death metal is best when it beats you senseless about the face and head.  Black metal to me is a different story.  I think black metal is best when it is at its most elegant and refined.  I like black metal that uses old-school influences to inform and build on contemporary pieces to elevate the whole affair to a new level.  It’s why I like bands like Saor, Panopticon, Deafheaven, Aara and Falls of Rauros so much.  Enter Ruadh and their sophomore release The Rock of the Clyde, which emphasizes the old school in both black metal and cultural influence, while still retaining a sophisticated sound. Continue reading