April has been an unusually strong month for metal, and I really have struggled to keep this list down to a manageable level. So much good music, so little time! Let’s have a look at what the metal world has given us this month then… Continue reading
It’s always great to hear something new from this charismatic and individual band, and here we have 47 minutes of new material.
Previous album Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls was an uncommon blend of Black Metal, Sludge and southern US Metal riffing. Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes) continues this combination of Black Metal and Sludgy Blues Rock, although now the emphasis is much more on the Black Metal side of the equation.
Featuring sharp and cutting riffs alongside serrated vocals, a lot of the music on this album is dangerously bladed, seemingly out to cause harm with its fast guitars and blackened melodies. Continue reading
After a perfunctory intro the first thing that strikes me is their use of a long, winding guitar solo. Now I like a good guitar solo anyway, but Black Metal and guitar solos are not things that are normally associated with each other, so straight away we have a pleasant surprise.
After this promising start the band continue to deliver with Old-School Black Metal mixed with Southern Rock and even a dash of 70’s Prog. The songs are played at length and with belligerence, bluster and melody.
The riffs have character and swagger, seemingly jumping out of the speakers to kick you in the shins. There is a definite Blues-y, Rock-y air to the riffs; almost feel-good Stoner Rock combined with the nihilistic core of Black Metal. The melding of the two genres comes across differently in Zud’s work to how it does in, say, Glorior Belli; while the latter have a more overt approach to mixing the styles, Zud somehow manage to make it seem a more natural choice and the combination is seamless.
The singer spits his lyrics with character and personality. His voice is a non-standard Black Metal rasp; in fitting with the out-of-the-ordinary music Zud have a vocalist that embodies the unconventional approach that they take and is the perfect mouthpiece for the band.
They’re even on to a winner with the production; it’s dirty enough to be authentic but clear enough to allow the songs to do their thing. Top marks.
Favourite Track: Skull Shaped Bell. A microcosm for the album as a whole; it combines rawkus riffing, laid-back noodling and attitude to spare.
Like the aforementioned Glorior Belli this is a band who are daring to do something different; daring to go their own way. In a cesspool of mediocrity and Darkthrone-clones they embody the unfettered spirit of Black Metal far better than many of their so-called peers. An exceptional release.
Opening with a Stoner/Doom riff to die for, Glorior Belli know how to get things started. This French band play a Sludge/Black Metal combination with a heavy southern US vibe that makes them both instantly familiar, yet also very unusual. Like that estranged friend you have a bad feeling about from years ago but can no longer remember why.
The vocals sound like serrated glass being drawn across stone and are impressively savage. Initially such harsh vocals can seem slightly at odds with some of the more southern-style riffs; indeed the combination of the stoner and Black Metal vibes on the whole takes some getting used to on first listen. Later, you wonder why you thought there was anything untoward going on, as on subsequent listens the transitions from Black Metal atmosphere to all-out Stoner Rock-athon seem much more natural and unforced.
In fact; as you listen to the album and get to know it it’s precisely this seemingly-jarring, (at least initially), melding of disparate styles and feelings that elevate this release from just-another-Black Metal album, or just-another-Sludge album. These are the hooks that keep you returning, that lend a far more traditional Metal and Rock swagger to the Black Metal foundation.
An album to divide; Sludge fans will probably find this easier to like than Black Metallers, although music is subjective of course and it’s always dangerous to make generalisations or assume too much. Combing the two different genres into Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls was always going to be a gamble for the band; I think it has paid off in the main, but the question is will people stick around long enough to accept it? Hopefully.
Like someone has smashed together Black Metal and Blues Rock then picked the best looking pieces and rebuilt them together in the form of Glorior Belli. If you can embrace the merging of the styles, (and you should), then you have an enduring album worthy of repeat visits. Try them out!