With more storms on the horizon, we have a heavy one for you, both in subject matter and musically and here’s Getintothis’ Mark Davies with this month’s instalment.
In recent news, we’re sure you’ll have read about the gang-rape allegations (and now charges) brought against the members of Polish death metal band Decapitated by a female fan during the Spokane, Washington stop of their recent US tour.
We won’t say much more about the subject, other than that the band are denying the accusations, and due to the grossly dismissive nature of the legal system when it comes to victims of sexual assault, we can only hope the truth is found and that justice is swiftly served.
Almost despite the outcome of the case however, it’s fair to say the band won’t be thought of in the same way from this point forward, and given the charges, rightfully so.
Having a peruse of the comments section of a lot of the articles however, which is obviously never a good idea, a number of “fans” were quick to blame and shame the victim with one hand, while defending the band with the other.
These abhorrent attitudes got us thinking about the separation of art from the artist and whether this is really something we, as fans of the metal genre and of art in any form, should be doing. We can all think of at least two occasions where a member or members of a band have committed crimes, abused fans, spouted hatred, or have just been genuinely shitty people.
Yet no matter the crime or reason, there will still be fans of “the music”, these zealots who are somehow able to overlook the heinous things the band members have done as individuals, and see only the music they have made, as though the two are not inseparably linked, as though supporting the music isn’t also supporting the people who make it.
In actuality, this blinkered outlook is, at the very least, showing massive disrespect to the victims of these bands crimes and indiscretions, and in turn, giving these awful people a way to think that no matter what they do, they will have your support to continue making music and living the life they want.
One of the most obvious examples of this cognitive dissonance is the almost boundless support and sickening adoration for anything, sonically or otherwise, that comes out of the holes of Varg Vikernes. The man is a convicted murderer and arsonist, who has since turned into what is essentially a neo-Nazi, promoting his own brand of pagan-influenced white nationalism via his Youtube Channel, after his release from his 21-year prison sentence.
He was releasing music from prison under the name of his band Burzum, in addition to a few more releases afterwards, which has given rise to the ludicrous NSBM (Nationalist Socialist Black Metal) movement in parts of Scandinavia, Europe and the US.
By garnering Vikernes with support, it has given him a platform for hatred, and also shown other bands with similar views that it is somehow acceptable to preach white supremacy as long as you put it into a song you can headbang to.
Parallels can indeed be drawn with Trump’s America and the growth of the fascist “alt-right” (neo-Nazi) movement in the US and in much of Western Europe. Even Phil Anselmo thinks it’s okay to be an outspoken racist as long you don’t call him out on it.
Obviously there are plenty of other examples to be found in modern metal, and in the wider music world, cough… Chris Brown… cough, of people committing completely unforgivable acts, yet somehow still finding fans who will gobble up their music like piranha to a goat.
We can only hope then, that there will be those bands promoting acceptance and togetherness, to counter these bigoted minorities. There’s certainly a lot of music to be thankful for this past month anyway, so let’s get stuck in.
The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers (Metal Blade Records)
Those lovably heavy dudes in Michigan’s The Black Dahlia Murder are back with their latest technical death metal release Nightbringers, following 2015’s Abysmal, (a true misnomer if we ever heard one) and bringing the night is something they certainly do here, with some of their darkest material to date featured alongside the blistering riffage and solid songwriting the band are known for.
Nightbringers also showcases the band’s new lead guitarist Brandon Ellis after the departure of fan favourite of Ryan Knight in 2016, and we were eager to see if Ellis could fill the huge pair of shoes left behind, and you know what?
Those shoes are so full, they are overflowing, and there are puddles of riff everywhere. The shredding comes thick and fast, with no time to stop and catch your breath, but who needs to breathe anyway when you have stand out moments happening left and right? The title track linked below is a perfect example of what to expect, so pick up Nightbringers out now via Metal Blade.
Enslaved – Storm Son (Nuclear Blast)
When the metal scene is hellbent on trying to pigeonhole your music into all kinds of ill-fitting categories, instead you carve your own niche and thrive. This is exactly what Norwegian extreme metallers Enslaved have been doing since their inception in 1991. They began alongside the black metal bands at the time, but it wasn’t long before the rigid restrictions on expression of the BM scene pushed them out, and all the better for it we say.
The band have cited Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Rush and Genesis as early influences and it’s easy to hear these mixed in with the band’s distinctive progressive blackened metal sound, and the 10-minute track lengths are a dead giveaway.
Marking Enslaved‘s fourteenth studio album, simply titled E, the band show no signs of slowing down. Given that they have been going for so long, their sound hasn’t become formulaic in the least, indeed they still have plenty of surprises in store for us as our featured and opening track Storm Son, in all its 10 minutes of glory can attest. E is out now via Nuclear Blast and it’s definitely worth checking out, particularly if, like us, you have a void in your heart where the heavy parts of Opeth used to live now that they’ve left metal behind and gone full prog-rock.
MYRKUR – Ulvinde (Relapse Records)
We have quite the wonderful oddity here for you in the form of Myrkur and their second album, Mareridt, following their full-length debut M in 2015.
“Danish female-fronted folk-black metal project” is not a phrase that rolls off the tongue so easily, but that is really the best way we can describe it, other than gorgeous.
Founding member, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Amalie Bruun, known mainly for her work in indie and pop, puts her superb talents to work here in creating a sound almost impossible to pin down. There are choral arrangements, violins, mandolins, mouth-harps, shrieks alongside ethereal singing, a creepy child’s voice talking about killing people, and blasts of icy black metal, all rolled into one sublime package.
We really haven’t heard anything quite like this, and though comparisons can be drawn with other genre-bending bands, no one does it better or more wonderfully than Myrkur, so check out our featured track for a taste of what to expect, and pick up Mareridt, out now via Relapse.
Lo! – Locust Christ (Pelagic Records)
We will be honest and say that, much to our detriment, we hadn’t heard of Lo! until very recently when the music video for our featured track Locust Christ crossed our desk.
If you haven’t watched it yet, do that first and then get back to us. Have you done it? Good. What even the fuck?
It’s like a scene from a rom-com, mixed with a Tool video, mixed with John Carpenter‘s The Thing, but in a completely original way. And that’s just the video, Lo! are discordant, brutal and brilliant, and this track at two minutes in length is a perfect introduction to what they’re about.
The band, hailing from Sydney, have been described as heavy yet organic, harking back to early Neurosis and Mastodon, but with a tighter and more focused outlook, and with much more innovative grooves. This is next-level stuff, and a band that should really be on your radar at this point, you have no excuse. Their latest album Vestigial is out via those lovely people at Pelagic Records, so get on it!
Coldrain – Envy (Warner Music Japan)
One for the kids here we reckon, or just fans of that particular brand of bouncy metalcore like that of Asking Alexandria and A Day To Remember found often in the pages of Kerrang magazine, but what sets Coldrain apart (other than the fact that they’re Japanese) is how insanely catchy their music actually is, and the quality of their songwriting.
These guys have been going for about ten years now, but with only limited release outside of their home country it’s easy to see how they could pass us by.
Take note though, we reckon it’s time Coldrain stood alongside the biggest bands in the field, so check their featured track below and give their newest album Fateless (featuring a vocal cameo from Enter Shikari frontman Rou Reynolds) a whirl, out now in the UK via Warner Music.