Withering Light / Barghest – Split (self-released, 18 October 2014)
I had alluded to this at least once before, but isn’t it interesting how black metal seems to be the only genre that has been indelibly associated with a specific climate and time of year? This art form that had its roots in the thrash and death metal of the early 80s, got twisted into something more harsh and unforgiving by bands in such disparate locales as England and Brazil — but really was given the unique characteristics we associate with it today, when it had again been transformed in the hands of a bunch of Norwegians in the early 90s. Ever since then, thinking about black metal almost invariably conjures images of a “land of ice and snow”: some of the areas that have developed pockets of practitioners within the genre have included Norway and Sweden, the American Pacific northwest and midwest, Canada, New York and New England — and Louisiana.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Today we’re discussing a pair of bands who are based in a state that is well-known for having hurricanes and Mardi Gras celebrations; Cajun and Creole culture and some of the biggest sludge metal bands in the world; and of course, for inventing Tabasco sauce. But one thing nobody associates with Louisiana is frigid, wintry weather. Nevertheless, these bands both manage to produce a convincingly bleak, black atmosphere, imbued with plenty of interesting twists like you’d expect to hear from many of their counterparts from further north: Barghest (Baton Rouge) and Withering Light (Hammond).
Erevos – Descensus Ad Inferos (30 September 2011, Orkestral Promenade Records)
I don’t know what’s in the water in the Greek region of Macedonia. Maybe there’s some kind of magic in the Termaic Gulf or the nearby Haliacmon River or something. Whatever it is, it’s obviously had a strong effect on the musicians of that area, as evidenced by the fact that today I’m going to tell you about not one, but two incredible debut albums, from a pair of bands who both come from the Central Macedonian capital (and second-largest city in Greece), Thessaloniki. The second one, about Hail Spirit Noir‘s Pneuma, can be found over here, but first I’d like to introduce you to Erevos.
Erevos (έρεβος in Greek, or translated into English as Erebus) literally means darkness; in the story of Creation, Erebus was one of the primordial Greek deities which originally came forth from Chaos, wherein he was the incarnation of darkness and night. The name also refers to a place of darkness beneath the earth, which some say indicates the eternal home of sinners after death, while others identify it with an area through which the dead pass between earth and Hades.
Erevos is also the name of a symphonic black metal band who have been around since 2004, having released a couple demos and some split releases since that time, in addition to touring all over Greece and other parts of Europe, including Bulgaria and France. In early 2011 they finished recording their debut full-length, Descensus Ad Inferos, and then in September it saw a limited release in their home country through the Orkestral Promenade Records label. The album met with much acclaim from those who were lucky enough to hear it the first time around, so in cooperation with Clawhammer PR, they’re now pushing to spread the word about this excellently composed sonic poetry worldwide. And, well, spreading the word is what I’m here for.