Necrolust: Antagonisten, Obsidian Tongue, Alraune, Iskra
I just discovered Mexico’s Antagonisten via an Aborted Society interview with their guitar player, Mariana, and I’m already hooked. In case it wasn’t already obvious from their name (taken from this Martyrdöd song), Mariana and her bandmates play a focused, relentless blend of crust and hardcore with a seriously dark razor’s edge to it. There’s not a ton of information out there about these guys, but their music (stream it on Bandcamp below) speaks for itself. There’s apparently a pretty wicked scene down in Guadalajara, and their latest album, Todo Aquello Que Nos Pertenece, is a better advertisement for it than any tequila commercial in the world.
Agalloch’s John Haughm guests on the title track of these Boston-area black metallers’ second LP, which is a pretty big coup in and of itself, but especially since their sound takes so much inspiration from Haughm’s primary band. Obsidian Tongue is no Agalloch clone, though they do dabble in a vaguely similar strain of atmospheric black metal melded with folk and moody rock. However, their presentation is much different; there’s a much more lo-fi, aggressive feel to A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time, from Brenden Hayter’s throat-scraping snarls to the furious blasts and frostbitten leads on “The Birth of Tragedy.” Hypnotic Dirge recently released the album on digipack, and you can check it out for yourself on Bandcamp. The two dudes behind the band are also involved in Blood of the Gods and Thrawsunblat, just FYI.
Alraune’s Bandcamp tags provides the best possible description of the hateful distorted black chaos they vomit forth on this two-song demo preview: “black metal fuck hate occult sex Nashville.” I mean, what more do you need to know? It doesn’t hurt that these lot are loosely affiliated (via either shared membership or engineering work) with Sky Burial, Loss, and Phil McSorley’s raw black metal project Recluse, and that the particular brand of black metal they peddle is infused with inescapable melodies buried just beneath the bestial howling. Two songs are definitely not enough, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that their next release will find a home on Graceless Recordings, whose Mike Meacham endorsed them for playing with “a ferocity and conviction that is typically lost in what passes for ‘Black Metal’ these days.”
Iskra has been a favorite of mine for years, but I realized that I’d never really mentioned them on here before (and they totally pull my crust/black metal theme together). Iskra formed in Victoria, British Columbia back in 2002 after the demise of the like-minded Black Kronstadt project, and rapidly established themselves as one of the most perfect blends of black metal and anarcho-crust ever know to mankind. Don’t believe me? Start with their self-titled album, and go from there. The Immortal cover on their most recent release, a 2012 European tour demo, is just perfect (and makes Sunn 0)))’s cover of the same song look mad weak, sorry not sorry). The sheer desperate passion they convey gives me the chills, and, for me at least, songs about human suffering and government tyranny inspire far more fear than fantastical talk of witches or demons.