Heathens

Wildernessking – Mystical Future [Vinyl Review]

Wildernessking – Mystical Future [Vinyl Review]

South Africa’s Wildernessking is an atmospheric black metal band that has undergone a maturation before our very eyes. Starting as Heathens the band played an immediate (and still excellent) form of black n’ roll. The early material was reminiscent of Enslaved, but lacked the Norwegians’ progressive punch. The writing was concise and to the point, and the word “atmospheric” would never have crossed my keyboard in those days—until the release of the track “Morning” in 2011. In 2012, under the new moniker Wildernessking, these South African ex-heathens released The Writing of Gods in the Sand, which unfurled their sound into expansive, atmospheric territory. The record had a production that helped the band’s music to balance between a raw, heavy black metal feel and their growing interest for more airy writing. Mystical Future progresses Wildernessking‘s journey, taking steps further away from the intensity and riff-driven black metal, toward a more expansive, atmospheric sound.

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Wildernessking – The Devil Within

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Wildernessking – The Devil Within

Wildernessking is a great band. Their sounds is well-developed, nuanced, interesting and even back to when they were Heathens, they had a choke-hold on the craft of song writing. That they continue to develop and have not garnered the attention of the big(ger) labels who should be clamoring to support them surprises me. Is it because they’re from South Africa and can’t be expected to tour? Is it because the world is riddled with luck and unequal chances and they haven’t gotten in front of the right eyes? Or is it because Angry Metal Guy didn’t get his ass in gear and review the band’s EP The Devil Within, the second follow-up to the band’s remarkable debut The Writing of Gods in the Sand? As a man who obviously has an inflated enough sense of self to believe that starting a blog to air his opinion out on the Internet was something that everyone would be dying to read, we’ll go with the latter. I’m here to make amends.” And amends are hereby made.

Wildernessking – The Writing of Gods in the Sand Review

Wildernessking – The Writing of Gods in the Sand Review

Time and time again, I have berated black metal as an institution. Partially because it is so institutionalized that it seems to have lost its teeth and inventiveness, and partially ’cause where it does seem to be advancing is into areas that I think are boring. So, I’m not exactly the guy who you should be looking to for your black metal needs (my flash in the pan status among the young and hip is evidence enough of that). I require things to not suck move a little faster, have a little more action and not be generally cliche and irritating. Wildernessking (formerly known as Heathens and hailing from South Africa) is all of these things, while not falling into the cliches of a scene past its prime. While the band has moved on a bit from the black n’ roll origins of their first demo Oh, Mock the Heavens and Let the Heathens Sing, they offer up with their new full length The Writing of Gods in the Sand, a remarkable slab of inventive black metal, whatever way you want to slice it.

Crow Black Sky – Pantheion Review

Crow Black Sky – Pantheion Review

One of the things that people have been lamenting about the dawn of the Internet and how it will affect the future of music is that localized scenes no longer get localized sounds, and Crow Black Sky is definitely an example of this. Or more specifically, the South African metal scene seems to be a great example of this. See, Crow Black Sky is a melodic death metal band, whereas the other two bands that I’ve heard from South Africa (Heathens and A Walk with the Wicked) are black metal/black n’ roll and old school death metal. Due to access to music and information worldwide, it sorta kills that homogenization effect that gigging together, hanging out together and shopping at the same record store seemed to cause. Is it possible that the black metal scene from Oregon is the last cohesive scene we’re going to ever see? Well, that’s not actually relevant to this review. What is relevant to this review is that despite (or because of) the lack of homogeneity in the South African scene every single one of these bands that I’ve heard has been really very good. Crow Black Sky being no exception.

Heathens – Oh, Mock the Heavens and Let the Heathens Sing Review

Heathens – Oh, Mock the Heavens and Let the Heathens Sing Review

The bread and butter of a heavy metal is the unsigned band. If you are patient enough to dig through piles and piles and piles and piles and piles and piles and piles and piles of shit, you will find the prototypes of up and coming bands. Bands in their infancy, but who are producing something that is heretofore unheard of. Or maybe they’ll just be doing something old remarkably well. Or maybe it’s a blending of the two, successfully putting together a sound that few have heard and being super kick ass at the derivative stuff. In any case, what I’m trying to say here is this; you’re bound to find a band that stands out after enough time reviewing underground stuff. However, knowing where to look is a bitch. So when I was directed to the South African black metal band Heathens by Lord Doom, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like the material or not. Fortunately, Lord Doom is a man of impeccable taste.