Hey, Happy Monday and Happy Last Day of January to you!
If you’ve got a few moments to spare, I’d like to share a couple albums — the first of which was released near the end of last year (and was the first solo record by a member of Italian ambient black metal band Enisum), while the second was just released at the end of last week by a single-member black metal project from Spain.
Lys – Silent Woods (Avantgarde Music, 29 October 2021)
Negativa – 04 (vinyl Mystískaos / Dissociative Visions, CD Nebular Carcoma, 28 January 2022 – US, 11 February EU)
Devastating Light – I Have Already Failed You (self-released (digital), 09 January 2021 / Depressive Illusion Records (cassette/UKR), 09 January 2021 / Herrecords (CD/ARG), 25 February 2021 / Planet K Records (CD/ITA), 28 March 2021)
Olhava – Frozen Bloom (self-released (digital), 02 April 2021 / slowsnow records (cassette), 02 April 2021 / Avantgarde Music (CD+vinyl), 07 May 2021)
Hello again! Presented for your listening pleasure, I’ve got two more recordings to share with you today. One is the debut EP by the newly-created solo act of a musician from southern Finland; the other will be the fourth LP by a two-piece band who live just a few hundred km away across the Russian border (or even closer, if one were inclined to travel directly through the Gulf of Finland).
Earth and Pillars – Earth II (Avantgarde Music, 25 October 2019 [digital]; 15 November 2019 [CD]; 22 November 2019 [LP])
Good afternoon! Looking back a few years, I remember being quite taken with the atmospheric qualities of Earth I, the debut album by Italian blackened entity Earth and Pillars — which had originally been released in 2014, but we wrote a little something about it upon its vinyl reissue in 2016.
Well, just last month its sequel Earth II has emerged out of the æther, with the first physical manifestations (on compact disc) popping up last week, to be followed by a vinyl record edition tomorrow. Whichever format suits your fancy, would be worth seeking out.
Anicon – Exegeses (vinyl Gilead Media / CD Avantgarde Music, 08 July 2016)
Good morning, reader — hope you’re having a good, relaxing weekend! Normally this would be my time away from writing, too, but I just realized that Anicon are coming to Pittsburgh tonight. And I realized that last year when these blackened Brooklynites came to town, I had their 2015 EP Aphasia on my to-do list, but something came up that prevented me from attending that show or even getting a chance to write about the band’s most recent release. (I eventually did get around to it earlier this year, but I still felt bad for my negligence.)
So this time around, the band has a brand-new album which just came out earlier this month, and — even though, due to some rotten luck, family obligations will prevent me from being able to see this fantastic band perform again — I definitely did not want to miss the opportunity to share this with you people before tonight.
For those of you in the Pittsburgh area, The Smiling Moose on the Southside is the place to be; here are all the details. For those living elsewhere, the band’s scheduled dates can be found here, and in either case, keep reading to check out their newest record …
Auriga – VII – Dimensions of Asymmetry (Avantgarde Music, 19 January 2016)
Astral Path – An Oath to the Void (Avantgarde Music, 15 April 2016)
On the way down the street to the bus stop — this is around 5:00 this morning — I realized something. I was hearing birds chirping and singing, and sometimes as I walked past houses, window air conditioners whirring and humming, but otherwise very little background noise whatsoever. It took a few minutes, but finally I came to the conclusion, all of the cicadas must have been sleeping. All those millions of big, ugly, flying things that have gradually emerged from their seventeen-year arboreal naps over the past few weeks to create a deafening cacaphony all over the surrounding area. Over the weekend, when I was stuck spending much of my days outdoors, cutting grass and pulling weeds and various other activities that put me right in the middle of the flight path for hundreds of the clumsy, red-eyed bugs, this nuisance seemed to have reach a terrible crescendo. Sounding like a cross between a gas motor, an alarm bell, and a UFO, the swarm of insects could easily provide a soundtrack for any horror or suspense movie.
Anyway, completely unrelated to anything, today we’re going to spend some time talking about atmospheric black metal. The two different albums I’d like to share with you were both released earlier this year by Avantgarde Music. These bands — one Lebanese, the other Canadian — take slightly different approaches to the genre, but they both generally have a sort of outer space vibe going on. Enjoy!
Laster – De Verste Verte is Hier (Dunkelheit Produktionen, 01 November 2014)
Sordide – La France a Peur (Avantgarde Music, 21 December 2014)
Cantique Lépreux – Cendres Célestes (Eisenwald, 18 March 2016)
My calendar is lying to me, I am sure of this. How could it possibly be only Tuesday, when it already feels like this week has lasted about sixteen years?? I have no reasonable or logical explanation. Anyway, as I sit here watching the seconds creep by, I might as well get something written to share with you folks. How does some atmospheric black metal sound? What about albums by three different bands, who approach “atmosphere” in three different ways? And — rather peculiarly — what about a unifying theme between all three albums that just might make you want to get up out of your chair and dance? What if all these questions were rhetorical, because no matter what your answer, that’s what you’re getting anyway?
Earth and Pillars – Earth I (CD/digital via Avantgarde Music 25 November 2014; vinyl via Fallen Empire Records/Eisenwald, 21 February 2016)
Hey! Hope you’re having a good afternoon, everyone. Or at least, as good as can be expected on a Monday. As usual, I feel like I’ve been pretty much sleepwalking through work all day. I’m about to go grab another cup of coffee, then I’d like to tell you about this amazing album of transcendent, otherworldly black metal — Earth I, the debut by Italy’s Earth and Pillars. It’s got a lot of nuance and detail buried inside, and on repeated listens you can really dig deep and get lost in there. But if that’s not the sort of mood you’re in, you can just as easily just unfocus and let the overpowering waves of sound just rush over you. Either way, just don’t miss this record!