Tag Archives: Aevangelist

The Black Metal Magic of I, Voidhanger Records

I Voidhanger

When Luciano Gaglio founded I, Voidhanger Records a decade ago, the music journalist—perhaps unwittingly—put forth his mission statement in the name of the label. If he had called it, say, Transilvanian Hunger Records, it would be pretty obvious what kind of music he hoped to put out. But Gaglio instead name-checked “I, Voidhanger,” an obscure track from Darkthrone’s Plaguewielder, a mid-career oddity that’s maligned when it’s listened to at all. Gaglio throws down that gauntlet of oddity and obscurity with every release on the label. Continue reading

Ten Bands Pushing the Boundaries of Extreme Black Metal

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Oranssi Pazuzu

By design, black metal thrives on its extremism, both musically and lyrically. It’s raw, ugly, menacing, explosive, and blasphemous. So the idea of “extreme black metal” seems like a case of pure hyperbole. It’s not. Like most music styles, black metal has tropes and gaggles of bands that adhere to these conventions—blast beats, tremolo guitar lines, echoing, roaring vocals—which have been exorcised since Norwegian extremists started making music (and burning churches). However, there are also underground figures that believe playing traditional black metal is an exercise in redundancy.

These individuals—many of whom create one-man projects either to maintain creative control or because they’re too misanthropic to get along with other musicians—have no interest in commercial success, and aren’t trying to set some new standard of heaviness. They’re writing and performing the music that reverberates through their minds, and that they don’t hear from anyone else.

Many extreme black metal musicians cherish anonymity and refuse to do interviews. Others are excited to share their motivations for creating such strange, aggressive songs. But all of them share a deep knowledge of music and a desire to reach beyond established boundaries. For groups like Gnaw Their Tongues, Sortilegia, and Jute Gyte, the goal is to create music so discordant and aggressive that it becomes almost cathartic. For others, including Sigh, Oranssi Pazuzu, and Spectral Lore, the kick comes from juxtaposing numerous seemingly incompatible styles of music into a unified storm of sound.

The definition of extremism is ever-changing. When Bathory and Venom surfaced in the ‘80s, nothing sounded as raw, savage, or evil. By comparison, the second wave of black metal, fronted by Mayhem, Darkthrone, Immortal, and others made the pioneers sound like pretenders. Many credible bands followed from Europe, such as Emperor, Satyricon, and Watain. And later, American bands like Abigail Williams, Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, and Xasthur put new twists on the genre. All are extreme in their own way: Watain pile animal innards on their stage set and throw pig’s blood into the crowd; frontman Dagon of Satanic band Inquisition sings in a croak that resembles a snarling frog.

The 10 bands in this list have developed their own, fairly unprecedented styles of extremism. Some, like Sigh’s Mirai Kawashima, Jute Gyte’s Adam Kalmbach, and Vintersorg’s Andreas Hedlund, have pursued academics. Others, like Gnaw Their Tongue’s Maurice de Jong and Nekrasov’s Bob Nekrasov, spend most of their time in the studio writing and recording music. And while these artists might not be the absolute, most extreme musicians to enter a studio, all of them have pledged to buck conventions in order to create their own infernal imprint on the black metal subgenre.

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Album of the Day, Blut Aus Nord/Aevangelist, “Codex Obscura Nomina”

Metal under Dalek’s spell? Codex Obscura Nomina, the split between French black metal genius Blut Aus Nord and Portland/Illinois abstract death metal duo Aevangelist feels like it could be such a fever dream. Vindsval—Blut Aus Nord’s mastermind—has expressed admiration for Dalek before, and Dalek himself said they planned to meet up at a gig in Paris in hopes of a possible collaboration. Blut Aus Nord’s side of the split continues along the industrial paths of their 777 trilogy, but it also gives partial insight into how that imagined collaboration could take shape.

Vindsval’s guitars sound more like disembodied organs and strings, perhaps a takeaway from his work with dream-metal unit Pyramids. His drum programming takes on a strangely dancefloor-ready role, especially in “Infra-Voices Ensemble,” which more resembles Godflesh’s techno forays than Streetcleaner stomp. Aevangelist have worked with trip-hop patterns in the past, and on the 21-minute long “Threshold of the Miraculous,” these coiling rhythms feel even more nightmarish than before. Growls and brief nods to thrash push Aevangelist closer to metal conventions; glitchy electronics and a sinister undercurrent of guitar drift do the exact opposite. The spoken word breaks on their side aren’t just haunting; they could also serve as a test run for how Dalek might flow over this bizarre death metal terrain, making for a fascinating and memorable experiment.

—Andy O’Connor