Common wisdom would have you believe that most bands approaching their third decade, and / or seventh album, will have found either a comfortable groove, or a furrow that they like to plough, and that the desire to challenge themselves and their supporters, to expand or revitalise their sound, has probably been dissipated to some degree. The cycle begats the (album) cycle and the artist, conscious of the desired output, sates the audience even if they do make token refinements to keep their own creative beasts content. For while there may be tweaks and tinkerings, there are, deep-down, a forest path of a woodland much explored, not often adventures anew.
I think Holy Fawn summed themselves up brilliantly with their band summary: “four creatures making loud, heavy, pretty noises”. Combining ambience, walls of distortion and ethereal vocals, Death Spells (Holy Roar) is the embodiment of these contrasting musical textures.Continue reading
Of all the grandchildren of heavy metal subgenres, one of the most precocious and still burgeoning is atmospheric black metal. As my colleague Richie HR noted in his recent new column for Ghost Cult, it seems that even the most mainstream bands are reaching for opportunities to expand their sonic palettes to include the more unconventional, and extreme styles. However, time and time again we return to the underground to seek greatness, from those who follow their own path, and eschew typical glory. One of those bands is Fen.Continue reading
On a brisk fall evening we arrive at SPACE Gallery in down town Portland and await the avant-garde Black Metal explosion that was set to begin. Emma Parsons and my self make a home stage left where we can sit comfortably and still see the bands. All around the room are the banners that have been closed while all the other bands play as not to ruin the experience that Wolves In The Throne Room delivers.Continue reading
Since their inception, Wolves In The Throne Room has made black metal music concerned with the natural world. The band has in the past referred to this as a primal, spiritual aspect to your music. In Part II of Richie H-R’s interview with Aaron Weaver, we learn what this means to him and his brother Nathan:
“Our music deals with the unseen world – the world behind the veil. I think all music does to a degree, but we do so very explicitly. It’s on the top of our minds when we make music, and of course that realm doesn’t have the same concepts and ideas and tropes and limitations that the regular world, the everyday world, does.”
To what extent is this “unseen world” an allegory, and what to extent is it objective truth?
“Well, it’s both. We’re modern people. Of course we can’t deny the reality of the scientific method, and we can’t deny the reality of the laws of physics; this is how the world works, this is the lens we have to look through. But for us as individuals, we also see another reality. We also see a world of energies, entities and spirits that’s just beyond. Shift your consciousness a little bit and this whole other vista opens up, this whole expanse. Think about an experience like… a lot of people today are experimenting with Ayahuaska, the South-American psychedelic brew. When people have these experiences they encounter entities, spirits and forces that feel very much outside themselves and it creates a really powerful ontological question – are there entities, are there spirits out there that have their own existence, their own agenda, or are these things just projections of our own psyches, things that are inside of ourselves, and we’re just looking inside at aspects of our consciousness projected? The answer is both. Or, perhaps more accurately, it doesn’t matter. Trying to pin it down, trying to say it is this or it is that, that’s not a useful stance for me. The important thing to me is experience, whether it’s a musical experience or going out and having an experience in the forest, living life, just being with it and taking it for what it is, letting it take you where it will.”