Rainbows in the Dark: Xasthur — “Victims of the Times”

Some of you reading this might be surprised to see the name Xasthur gracing the halls of our strictly no-metal-allowed column (even though that’s been…kinda not true, but still).  While the project might be best known for their lo-fi black metal albums from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, in the recent years, the project that was once called finished in 2010 has been reborn as a dark-folk, doomgrass experience, and in the intervening years it is quite fair to say that a lot has happened.  Victims of the Times tells the stories of this gap period.

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The Nine Circles Ov… USBM

USBM

The metal scenes in Europe and the United States have always had a symbiotic relationship. When one scene moves in a particular direction, the other one begins by emulating and then transcending that direction. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was a profound influence on the American thrash metal scene, a scene which would greatly influence musicians all over Europe (e.g. Swedish death metal), and so on. To make a (very) broad generalization: Europe tends to bring the mythology and romantic mystique; America tends to bring a more self-oriented, personal touch.

This is true of the American black metal scene as well. A good introduction to United States Black Metal (USBM) requires an appreciation for the bands that began by directly emulating the stylistic giants of Scandinavia, Switzerland and elsewhere. True, the American scene has gone in all sorts of directions since its development in the mid-to-late 1990s. But listeners should have a sense of context before moving into the specialized realms occupied by death-laden heroes like Goatwhore and Hod, along with the indie/alternative influenced sounds made famous by Wolves in the Throne Room. So with that in mind, enter the Nine Circles ov USBM. Continue reading