100% Support: Rolderathis’ Recommendations
On May 1st, Bandcamp will once again waive their percentage of proceeds, so that 100% of the money goes directly to the artists. We’ll be spending the week highlighting some releases that you might want to throw money at to help the creators through these shittiest of times.
Anicon – Exegeses
Let’s get this out of the way quickly—this album is the origin story of my drum production snobbery. Colin Marston is on some Rumpelstiltskin shit in his Menegroth Studio, and this might be his most pristine recording to date. Anyways… Anicon plays what I consider a perfect example of New York black metal: a mix of spent sidewalk syringes and the grandeur of high rises, all intermingled. Whether channeling the burliness of the NWoBHM (“Robed in Torments”) or the discordance of the incumbent disso-death movement (“The World As Will”), the band doesn’t slip up once during the album’s 50-minute runtime. This was the first music I ever felt compelled to write about on the innernette. I’m naming my firstborn “Mazzoroth.” Exegeses makes me think about an album that isn’t Cormorant‘s Dwellings. I bought it only 12 purchases after TSV. That’s how you know I love it.
Darkest Era – Severance
As is my wont, I’m going to gradually upgrade the spice factor: Darkest Era is Primordial if they had a good singer (and did everything else better too). This lad handles chest-beating trad gruffness and more introspective crooning with aplomb, bringing much-needed nuance to the “epic” metal genre. “B-b-but…epic metal is supposed to sound old and stuffy!” you say, waving a prop sword in a stance that would get your melon cloven in twain mere seconds into a battle. (Bruh, it’s a Claideamh, not a Zweihander…) Severance wipes the cobwebs away with a modern (but not overly glossy) production job; an infusion of extreme metal styles (most notable in the blackened blasting and tremolo riffs) only further sharpens the band’s sound.
You won’t find any paeans to body oil or classic sword n’ board tropes here, but rather allusions to Irish folklore—subject matter that, while not unheard of in the scene, is certainly ripe for exploration. Together with the morose shades of melody running through the album, the music conjures images of megaliths and troubled grey skies. NO LOINCLOTHS HERE.
Iceaxe – Lone Climber on the Longest Ridge
Thomas Horner of Iceaxe loves rocks. He loves mountains, and I’m going out on a ridge here to say he loves them more than most. How am I so confident in this? Well, he composed and performed every moment of Lone Climber on the Longest Ridge, a single 30-minute song that’s all about climbing up said mountains. “Mountaineering metal” is an apt genre tag, befitting of the adventurous songwriting within; from crusty black metal paired with airy keys to the intertwining of choirs and ocarina, the compositions walk a treacherous path that is ultimately more beautiful for the proximity to disaster.
I’d be lying if I said the production was easy on the ears, but then again, walking along a precipice with nothing but your wits and (hopefully tied) hiking boots to prevent a fatal fall is rarely a comfortable experience. It’s a deliberate choice, and it fits the ragged spirit of this release. Horner’s vocals are particularly abrasive, recalling Arthur von Nagel and Joe Duplantier mixed with high-register shrieking. He’s no stranger to plumbing the phlegmy death metal depths or the dispassionate spoken word of post-metal either, and the fluctuation in styles keeps listeners constantly engaged. Thomas, please continue the ascent. There are higher summits yet to be explored.