Post-Black Metal

Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury Review

Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury Review

“I may as well skip describing anything and just post a video of me attempting to eat my own hat. Yes, I was 100% convinced this album would be awful. When the album cover was released and the music video with a black metal interpretive dance was revealed, all I could think about was that they were trying too hard to be “artsy.” Not that I was against the idea of a departure from old themes, mind you — because I was one of the few who couldn’t understand why everyone liked Mammal so much.” While we all wait anxiously for Noctus to record his hat eating videos, he’ll explain why the new Altar of Plagues is much better than their last outing. Did I mention Noctus usually sports a sombrero? Yeah, this is gonna be fun!

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.

Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Âme Review

Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Âme Review

Every once in a while the scene gets a hair up its ass and decides that something that is explicitly not metal is totally OK to love. So, in the 90s, when I was first cutting my teeth on the extreme metal scene, Anathema and Katatonia were both giving up their extreme pasts and putting out records that were much more akin to sort of depressing alt rock than anything they’d previously been doing. Then there’s black metal guys’ love of swirly keyboard soundscapes (such that it ends up on Metal Archives, despite them actually banning other bands that I, and most others, would consider metal. Well, since the release of Amesoeurs really broke this sound in 2009, this sort of post-black metal shoegaze stuff has becomes the scene’s favorite non-metal thing. And, really, the description of it by one reviewer I read really sums it up: “Black metal that pisses off the indie kids and indie rock that pisses off the black metal kids. Brilliant.”

Winterfylleth – The Mercian Sphere Review

Winterfylleth – The Mercian Sphere Review

Winterfylleth is a pagan black metal band from Manchester, England who previously has a full length that was released on Profound Lore. They join the ranks of modern black metal bands who, while conforming to many aspects of the genre, are still fighting against the basics: grindy Satan worship. Instead, Winterfylleth produces atmospheric, but melodic black metal that fits in perfectly with a lot of what’s going on around the world in black metal, but that definitely couldn’t be grouped in with sort of “post-black metal” crowd. The Mercian Sphere has the basic foundations of what could be a highly successful record in 2010, but there are a few things that get in the way for this Angry Metal Guy.

Les Discrets – Septembre et ses dernières Pensées Review

Les Discrets – Septembre et ses dernières Pensées Review

It would appear that now defunct, scene-polarising French black metal troupe Amesoeurs have another project place under their name, this time in the form of bassist Fursey Treyssier’s Les Discrets; a post rock-meets-shoegaze project that still has that very noticeable smell of metal that Amesoeurs and it’s sibling project Alcest gave rise to.

Alcest – Écailles de Lune Review

Alcest are a band hyped beyond comprehension, but not without merit or reason. In their debut, Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde, there is something beautifully otherworldly about the sound Alcest creates; A mysterious aura of pure ecstasy – a melancholic veil. I call it a veil because the beautiful melodies and personality of Alcest‘s music are just a disguise, hiding a narcissism and lack of ingenuity. The “oo’s” and “aa’s” which riddle Alcest‘s music may be very pleasant, but this angry metal guy finds himself screaming for Neige, the project’s motor and vocalist, to bloody sing something, rather than simply using his voice to portray nothing. It’s almost frustrating to me that I’m totally in love with this band.

Since the first Alcest record was released in 2007, Neige has gone into other projects, such as the ever-popular Amesoeurs. This has had the effect of helping to mature Neige’s songwriting and Écailles de Lune certainly showcases a certain maturity. It’s beautifully multi-layered, practically spewing thought-provoking and emotion-evoking power.