Best 2021 Black Metal for Fall Festivities & Autumnal Activities
Time to pull your spiked gauntlets and favorite cardigan out of the closet, it’s Fall y’all!
Fall has finally arrived at the Toilet and it’s time to celebrate accordingly! (Sorry Southern Hemisphere Toileteers I don’t make the rules.) As we all know Fall marks the transition away from the 24/7 jamming of death metal to jamming death metal at like a 18/4 split. With that remaining time split between Big Boi Doom, Mercyful Fate + King Diamond, and that most autumnal of subgenres, Black Metal.
Today I’ll be sharing some of 2021’s choicest black metal for taking in the wonders of Fall. Whether it be enjoying the outdoors, Halloweening it up with spooktacular movies, taking your sweetie pumpkin pickin’, or cozying up with a little cup o’ Sleepytime Tea for Monday night football, there’s something here to fit all of your autumn activity needs!
Ancient Myths and Legends—Primordial Serpent
This one-man, Manitoban wrecking crew has self released a few albums this year, but this was the first I came across and so naturally it will be the one I hype up. A capital F-U-N love letter to the melodic stylings of early Viking metal and the blackened mighty mid-paced riff-fest of latter day Immortal. It’s got that meat n’ potato heavy metal heft that’ll stick to your ribs and take the chill out of a crisp fall day. Definitely a project to keep an eye on. Also woo-boy, I’d pay good money for this art on a raglan or crop top. Big snek.
FFO: Bathory, 90’s Enslaved, Immortal, 2013-2021 Darkthrone, Funereal Presence’s Big Snek, slow cooker pot roast
Submission and Slavery—Lamp of Murmuur
I know everyone won’t shut up about this Lamp guy, but I’m here to tell you that the hype miiiight be warranted. This most recent album’s marriage of 80s goth/post-punk with 2nd wave black metal is just too fun to sleep on. Imagine Emperor’s technicality and guitar finesse, but it’s one dude who likes sex and wearing cool jackets, instead of orcs and whatever other nerd shit Ihsahn was into in ‘94-‘97. The goth influences extends to the vocals as well, with Lamp’s sole member M. throwing in tasteful baritone, grade-A prime “OUGH!”s, and even a dash of King Diamond falsetto into the mix. Submission and Slavery is a bountiful harvest-time cornucopia, deftly assembled and painstakingly sourced from rock music’s spookiest climes. Don’t miss out!
FFO: 2nd wave Norwegian black metal but with riffs and no nazi chuds, Sisters of Mercy, perfume that smells like burning leaves
Let’s keep getting spooky in the spirit of Halloween (AKA the only autumn holiday in the States that isn’t outright celebrating genocide) with the latest from Vide, a one-man “bayou black metal” project from the Louisiana-based Nobody. Vide’s take on black + doom metal propels through the brackish muck with a noisy edge befitting the region that birthed Crowbar, Thou, and Acid Bath. However, like its namesake ecosystem, Vide’s sinister music belies an eerie, hypnotic beauty. But beware it’s beguiling call into the placid waters! Ravening riffs lie in ambush, awaiting their chance to erupt from the darkness and pull you into the murk below!
For bonus, more danceable spookiness check out Nobody’s post-punk and goth imbued death n’ roll project All Monsters.
FFO: Head of the Demon, Erraunt, Doldrum, Thou, Alligator mississippiensis, Creature from the Black Lagoon
The Cursed Land —Eternal Sword
“Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold.”
That’s right, we’re talking conscription of workers into the wars of the ruling classes! Sorry if you were expecting big vidya game ninja tiddies.
Eternal Sword is operating in a similar musical space to Spectral Lore side project Mystras. No acoustic folk melody and traditional interludes here though, just 30 minutes of raw galloping riffs, battle-ready melodies, and tales of the downtrodden rising up for revenge.
FFO: Mystras, Véhémence, dressing up and carrying a sword at the renaissance festival
The Higher Power—BAAZLVAAT
Insane shred-surf-Celtic-??!-black metal from Flint, Michigan. It’s been on heavy rotation round these parts since stumbling across it a few weeks ago on BC.
Our boy Lacertilian I think described it better than I can: “Kick arse. Sounds like if members of Jordablod and Obsequiae tried to make a Hällas album.”
Don’t miss out on this. It’s definitely crept up into my 2021 top 10. Also their release from earlier this year, Guitar Exotic, is pretty dang good if you’re in the mood for instru-metal in a similar, if not more diverse, vein.
FFO: Jordablod, Obsequiae, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Thin Lizzy, sipping on cheap beer in the renaissance festival parking lot before the 3:30 pirate metal show at the Queen’s Stage
Primitiue Blak Metal—Paisaunt
Side project from one of the big atmo black metal bois in Marrasmieli. Packing in all of them Good Riffs n’ Synths you crave in half the time! But seriously this goes real hard, real fast. Give “Nigh is Time” a spin real quick to hear for yourself. If the section starting at 2:38 doesn’t gird your loins leave the hall.
FFO: Havukruunu, Marrasmieli, Panphage, Finland: the most autumnal country
Land of Plenty—Till
Want to get spooky this Halloween with a lo-fi melodic black metal retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Or maybe the long nights and chill in the air have your mind already dwelling on the long winter ahead, so hows about a tremolo-filled recounting of the ill-fated Donner party? Or maybe, like me, hearing tales of Norsemen sailing to Newfoundland and getting absolutely owned by the weather, and possibly witches, is more your speed. Different stroke and all that. Tulsa Oklahoma’s Till has you covered no matter how you get your Fall on!
Till’s releases touch on different happenings in America’s bloody, colonialist, and theocratic history, providing fictionalized accounts and reflections on the very nonfictional hubris behind these events; e.g. the Christian led genocide of indigenous North Americans. Perfect fodder for a rollicking debate with your racist, COVID denying, true patriot relatives this upcoming Thanksgiving!
FFO: Hulder, Këkht Aräkh, all of the kick ass, delicious plants domesticated by indigenous Americans that enrich your life and diet, such as squash, potatoes, tomatoes, maize, chili peppers, and cassava
Illusions in the Wake—Noltem
This is a late breaking addition to the list. There were just too many good people with good opinions throwing down comfy-cozy modifiers like “autumnal”, “warm and hazy”, “proggy”, and “pumpkin-spiced” for me to neglect Noltem’s inclusion! Our esteemed colleague Theoprastus encapsulated the feelings invoked by their riff-forward take on atmo-black well, I think:
FFO: Marsh Dweller, Panopticon, Nechochwen, Walking through the rain-drenched bluffs overlooking the autumnal fires of the forest below as you contemplate your place in the world
Sunset of Solemn Silhouettes—Katabasilisk
I’ll let the artist speak for themselves here:
“Triumphant, melodic, keyboard driven raw black metal from Pennsylvania.”
This is like 65% dungeon synth perfect for a foggy morning walk through one of Pennsylvania’s famed Oak-Hickory forests, and 35% grimy guitars and haunted solos erupting from a mausoleum. Even if dungeon synth isn’t you’re thing that 35% is pretty rad. I’m big hype for whatever emanations they have in store for their upcoming full length. Check out their split with Kneipegeist for more tenebrous delights!
FFO: Ustalost, any of Grime Stone Records’ 53 releases from the past 1.9 years, Yuengling, the only good Thanksgiving movie and Pennsylvania’s greatest artistic achievement: Rocky