Tag Archives: Oranssi Pazuzu

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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The Best Albums of 2016: #20 – 1

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Collage by Valentina Montagna.

If there’s one thing we learned since we launched Bandcamp Daily this past June, it’s that the world of Bandcamp is enormous—encompassing everything from emo in China to cumbia punk in Tucson, Arizona to just about everything in between. So narrowing our Best Albums of the Year down to 100 choices was a daunting task. Here, at last, are our Top 20 Albums of 2016.

More “Best of 2016”:
The Best Albums of 2016: #100 – 81
The Best Albums of 2016: #80 – 61
The Best Albums of 2016: #60 – 41
The Best Albums of 2016: #40 – 21

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The Best Albums of 2016 So Far

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  A one-stop guide for catching up on the best releases of 2016 to date.

Every year brings with it more music than any one person can possibly consume. Even if you stopped sleeping and eating and did nothing but listen to music all day, every day, you’d only be able to get through roughly 13,000 albums in a year. Given that, we’ve decided to make your search for your next favorite record a little easier. These are the records released so far this year that we just can’t stop playing.

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