Gorgoroth's "Sign of an open eye" blasting in my headphones, distant mountains on the horizon, forests, rivers and fields below me as I look through the window of my plane: Oslo, it feels good to be back!
Norway - the land of fierce but beautiful nature, grim weather and black metal... damn it, I need to visit Bergen one day! Yeah, I know, black metal originated in the UK, but did it really? Is Venom really the first thing, that pops into your head, whenever you hear the phrase "black metal"? They've played a great part in the development of the genre that's for sure, but church arsons, Vikernes/ Euronymous conflict, Burzum, Darkthrone and Gorgoroth are amongst my first associations, when it comes to black metal. It never was and quite frankly never will be Venom. Although the particular genre has grown into a world wide phenomenon since the early 90's, I think and I'm quite sure, that at least a few people will agree with me on this one - the true spirit of black metal has died... and it was just now I realized, that I sounded like an utter douche - TRVE KVLT and all that bullcrap. Anyhow, black metal was supposed to be a form of rebellion against nicely produced western metal, repulsive and raw, a killer of trends so to speak, but the funny thing was, that it set the trend for the next few decades amongst both heavy music artists and listeners all around the globe. Oh, the irony is strong with this one...
For the sake of the article, let's call every modern black metal band a 3rd wave BM band. Officially 3rd wave is supposed to be originated only from USA, but I'm a European and Europeans just like honey-badgers don't give a shit... so long story short, proto black metal in 80's - 1st wave, black metal in 90's - 2nd wave and black metal in 2000's - 3rd wave.
Let me be straight up honest here, I think, that most of the 3rd wave BM bands are boring, generic and too much about structure yet too little about the substance. Obviously crossing genres is a good thing as it helps music to evolve. Staying TRVE is just plain childish and stupid. The good example of the genre inter-breeding, would be blackened bands like Dragged into sunlight, Lord Mantis, Menace Ruine, Kosmokrator and Portal. But in this case, when I'm talking more of a "traditional" black metal sound, artists tend to compensate the lack of atmosphere with song-writing, that's too complex, filled with heart-breaking motifs, melodic hooks and shredding solos, which results in a Hello Kitty toy instrument quality wanking. Less is more, when it is delivered with style and restraint!
Behold the six 3rd wave black metal albums, that don't suck.
6. De Silence et d'Ombre - Volume I
A presumably one man project with a really wide spectrum of music created - from the albums, that suck tremendous amounts of dick, to the albums that make your cum, and everything in between. This is inconsistent musicianship at its best!
5. AKHLYS - The Dreaming I
Some nice exploration of darkness.
4. Cobalt - Gin
Black metal from somewhere between the kingdom of Tool and mountain peaks of High On Fire. I must confess, that I haven't listened to all songs on Cobalt's new album "Slow Forever" yet, but I have made a promise to myself, that I'll listen to it at some point just to have a more or less constructive opinion about this matter. Gin however to put it mildly was quite impressive.
3. Myrkur - M
Listened to it once - didn't catch the vibe; twice - still didn't catch it; thrice - caught it and now I just can't stop listening. A friend once told me, that it is ORGASMIC. I'm afraid I'm unable to disagree.
2. Writhe - The Shrouded Grove
These two tracks deliver some tear-jerking and eerie melodies, that pull my strings and they pull hard. It happens very rarely, but I've had some extra moisture in my eyes while I was listening to this release. Highly recommended!
1. Leviathan - Scar Sighted
The more I listen to this album the more it grows on me. To think that one man could have created this piece of art is completely insane. I mean, to write and record every part for every single instrument, track all vocals, write all the lyrics and to create all the artwork (every track on the album has its own piece) takes tremendous amount of work, dedication and talent. The result is spot on. One of the finest and most artistic albums BM scene has to offer since ever!