Today we’re digging really deep into our pile of stuff to write about and share with you. It recently came to our attention (via Patricia Thomas Band Management) that Ukranian death metal troupe Rattenfänger have started work on a new album, a follow-up to their debut which came out a little more than five years ago. The forthcoming second album, expected to be recorded during summer and fall 2018, has quixotically been described as “more ambient, but heavier and more aggressive” than the first had been.
This news was very exciting to us here at Valley of Steel, and if you haven’t reacted the same way, it’s probably because you never heard Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum. Let’s fix that straight away!
Zgard – Reclusion (BadMoodMan Music, 30 January 2012)
Zgard – Astral Glow (BadMoodMan Music, 25 February 2013)
Hey everyone. As promised yesterday, here’s a new review for you. Prior to that, almost a month ago, I wrote a quick little synopsis of last year, including some updates on artists we’d previously discussed, and what new and exciting things have been going on during our little hiatus throughout the last few months. One thing I had forgotten to mention, though, was the fact that during that downtime — about mid-October, in fact — this website reached its five-year anniversary! A lot of things have changed in five years, but a lot of things have also stayed the same.
One thing that hasn’t changed is our main mission, which has always been to discover music that’s worth listening to, and then publicizing it here in hopes of helping it to reach more people’s ears. Another thing that has remained relatively constant is the fact that the second part of that statement (writing about the music) has often lagged behind the first part (finding stuff worth sharing). Sometimes, alarmingly far behind.
Case in point: today I’d like to tell you about one of the earliest submissions we received when this site was still in its infancy, an album that came from the esteemed Russian doom label Solitude Productions, and one that has just reached the fifth anniversary of its release date. While this 2012 record and its follow-up from the next year have long graced my MP3 player as well as my to-do list, I’ve inexplicably neglected to get anything written about either of these. Until now.
Good evening, readers! Well, another Monday has come and gone. That’s okay by me; coming back to work after a three-day weekend is never fun, and I am glad to get it over with as quickly as possible. Before the end of the day, though, I need to check in with the “Sign Me to Roadrunner Records” website to find something good to listen to, so that I can share it with you! Today, I found a message that I’d received from Mind Structure, a band whose members come from the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv (Київ) and Kryvyi Rih (Кривий Ріг) asking for a review of their music. Now, I’m familiar with Kyiv (also called “Kiev”), which is the capital of the country, but Kryvyi Rih was brand new to me. Thankfully, I have Wikipedia to help me; it informs me that this city is located in the middle of a large iron mining region, and in fact, that it’s one of the most important locations in eastern Europe’s steel industry. Sounds like a place I can relate to! Besides that, I had such success listening to Ukrainian black metal last week, I figured it would be a good idea to check out someone else from that country.
There seems to be a growing trend in the American Black Metal scene that revolves around combining atmospheric post-black-metal sounds with a pro-nature, anti-technology attitude. This has been discussed ad nauseam all over the internet (perhaps best exemplified here), and frankly, I don’t give a shit. This may seem like an oversimplification, and you might say I’m being too broadly dismissive, but I say to hell with all of it. That whole movement comes across (to me) as a bunch of whiny neo-hippies saying yay to peace and love and flower power, with all the conviction and determination of that whole stupid “Occupy Wall Street… Until it Starts Getting Cold Outside” slumber party that was such a big deal last year, while it was the cause du jour.
Well, here’s a review of something totally different: a band who use black metal as the medium for expressing their rage against modern technology and the destruction of nature!
How is that different, you ask? Well for starters, the band Agruss is from the town of Rivne (Рівне), Ukraine, just a short distance away from one of that country’s nuclear power plants. Furthermore, that town is only about 400km away from the town of Chornobyl (Чорнобиль), or more commonly known by its Russian name Chernobyl (Чернобыль). As you are probably aware, that town — now almost completely abandoned — was very close to the site of another Ukranian nuclear power plant, until an explosion occurred there, releasing nuclear contaminants all over the surrounding area. That disaster occurred in 1986, on the 26th of April. (See what they did there?)