Looks like Within Temptation eked out Delain by one vote last week in the Dutch Symphonic Metal poll. Congrats to them!!!
This week and my turn on alternating Mondays lets take a look at the modern Black Metal scene. I will be pitting 2 bands from the same region together (namely the United State or Scandinavia) and it will ultimately lead up to the final battle of who is king of the modern Black Metal scene. Note: all the bands I choose won’t be absolutely pure and kvlt, but will certainly fall into the Black Metal category (sorry elitists), and I will be choosing songs from the bands most recent albums to keep everything modern. And if you are a fan of a specific Black Metal band let me know down in the comments (or on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media form you prefer) and I will include them in future battles.
Over the past handful of years Black Metal bands from the United States have been making waves and, in my opinion, giving the genre a very much-needed boost of new life. This week the battle will take place in the dark woods of Western America between Oregon’s Agalloch and Washington’s Wolves in the Throne Room.
With a heavy North American Folk music influence Agalloch have proven to be one of the best and most original Black Metal bands to come from the State in recent years. While there is a large amount of Black Metals famous dissonance and chaos, these guys have put some control behind it and added a good amount of melody to the music. There is also a huge focus on texture and atmosphere which can be heard in the song I selected for their battle, “Black Lake Niðstång” off of Marrow of the Spirit.
Wolves in the Throne Room, like their contemporary in this battle, also have folk music inspirations in their music as well as a heavy focus on atmosphere. But unlike their former they revel in the chaos and dissonance much more but churn out some beautiful music just the same. They have recently enjoyed great success with their latest album, Celestial Lineage, cracking the Billboard charts which in turn led to the whiny elitists calling them ‘hipster metal’ and ‘sell-outs’, but I concur and say that their music is deep, inspired, and they did anything far from selling out. Enjoy “Thuja Magus Imperium”.
The genre term being tossed around to describe Wolves in the Throne Room is Cascadian Metal, and I think that label fits them very well. When you listen to one of their albums you get a heavy dose of accents and audible images of trees, moss, plants, wildlife, and huge cascades all wrapped a style of metal that builds and builds upon itself creating dense and cascading moods and images. It’s the kind of metal that you can really lose yourself in as the music has the ability to put the listener into a sort of meditative trance. If forests listened to metal, Wolves in the Throne Room would be one of their favorite bands.
Come September the realm of metal will become much richer with a deluge of new arrivals from some highly celebrated bands. We will soon find out how Dream Theater fairs without Mike Portnoy behind the skins, we will hear the first new music from odd ball institution Primus whom haven’t release a full album since 1999’s Antipop, and we will soon find out how much more prog Opeth can become. Here is a listen to some upcoming tracks to whet you appetite for more glorious metal. Which upcoming albums are your most anticipated?