2018…. It’s a year. It’s a year where valves broke, meters bust, and scars were laid afresh. It’s a year where anguish scaled the void, filling it, making it home. Nary did a ray of hope pass, nor did shadows not congregate. I’d want to go on like this. Laying descriptors after descriptors to suggest my current state of being. Let’s say it. It was a sad year.
Hope then is a slippery slope isn’t it? All these years of listening to metal haven’t really elevated my mood really. I’d even thought of taking up the outsider’s jeer “How do you listen to such depressing music all the time?”. Maybe it’s just subjective. The familiar personal.
And yet…A really long ‘yet’.. If I may place hope in a tiny little cradle, maybe and just maybe, Metal can be its proverbial nudge. Maybe I’m just reiterating metal’s constant dialogue with all things ‘power’. That transgression of the mundane. Oh well…
Here’s to 2019 and the eternal hope for hope! These are some of the tracks that really held my attention.
“stay awhile and listen” – deckard cain
Artwork by Metstazis
1 – Kaleikr – The Descent
This’d be a stretch. I reckon people who’ve read Alan Moore’s ‘V for Vendetta’(forget the movie) remembers the ‘The Vicious Cabaret’. A chapter that is grandiose, intricate and let’s admit, a mindfuck. Transcendent too. That’s what Iceland’s Kaleikr does. Weaving death and black metal into a heady mix that reminds of the theatricality of say Akercocke, but far different from them in style.
Kaleikr’s Heart of Lead releases on February 15th through Debemur Morti Productions.
2 – Ewigkeit – Guardians of the High Frontier
Now Ewigkeit would pass off as quite the misnomer in metaldom (sticking to a style? Hell no!). James Fogarty (Old Forest, currently in ‘In the Woods…’) is the sole member and that alone probably allows him all the leg room to twist, turn and contort in all possible ways. Jumping genres for instance – from black to symphonic to industrial to hard rock and everything in between is rendered possible. The new track from his upcoming album is, without a doubt, a further change. But oh boy is it good. Guardians of the High Frontier has a very ‘Woods of Ypres’ doomy foreground across which ideas of Ufology are not so subtly put across. Brilliant, nonetheless.
Ewigkeit’s DISClose releases on February 23rd through Death To Music Productions.
3 – The Moth Gatherer – Motionless in Oceania
The elder gods of post-metal have either bit the dust or turned really old (save for Cult of Luna). And yet there is this coterie of bands that are not necessarily reinventing the wheel but are definitely building highly serviceable ones from the same parts. Creative in their own little ways. Say Ire Wolves, Erdve, Dirge(Fr), Obscure Sphinx. The Moth Gatherer is getting there with each release. Esoteric Oppression then is both proof and embodiment.
The Moth Gatherer’s Esoteric Oppression releases on February 22nd through Agonia Records.