It’s been a while since I posted music, so let’s have a listen to some of my favorite recent black metal releases.
If you’re at all into black metal, you’ve certainly heard of Watain, a veteran Swedish outfit that’s been around since 1998. Their last few records have been especially good, but I think their most recent effort, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Watain, might be their best, and also maybe my favorite album so far this year. The first “single” from the album, “The Howling”, is very catchy:
Another track, “We Remain”, is a major departure from Watain’s typical balls-to-the-wall blast beats, but it’s an amazing atmospheric track with a lot of power. The female vocals are by Farida Lemouchi, who I had never heard of before, but she’s apparently been doing vocals for many years. She’s definitely got an amazing, eerie voice, perfect for this kind of track. Anyway, if slow creepy songs aren’t your thing, “We Remain” is followed immediately by what is probably the fastest track on the album, so just be patient…
But there are also some lesser-known acts that have caught my attention recently. One is the band Hulder, which according to their Bandcamp bio is a “Belgian-American one-woman black metal band”. Well, I guess she got a band to tour with her, because a friend of mine caught them at a recent show in Atlanta (the actual show is on YouTube here) and was highly impressed with them. If you’re expecting “evil Enya” style vocals in the style of Myrkur, you’re barking up the wrong tree — Hulder is old-school brutal, no-frills black metal:
More in the “symphonic” vein is the UK band Necronautical. I really fell in love with their 2021 album Slain in the Spirit. The record channels some of the best moments from classic Emperor, but not to the point of seeming derivative. Plus they include operatic male vocals, which have been really growing on me of late thanks to my abiding love for all things Fleshgod Apocalypse. This video highlights all of those features:
But my personal favorite is the title track “Slain In The Spirit”, which has a very memorable and epic opening riff (I’m a sucker for those). No video, so I’ll just link it from Bandcamp:
Definitely check out Hulder and Necronautical, folks, and go see them if they are in town. Hell, go see any band that’s in town. These guys have been losing money for the last two years thanks to the COVID insanity, so double your effort to get back out there and support underground music to make up for it!