Sunday Sesh: Yhdarl and Sincerity
A little over two years ago, I sat down (digitally) to talk with Déhà, the blasphemous prophet at the helm of funeral-doom-cum-all-other-genres-of-extremity band Yhdarl to talk curses and loss. At the center of this discussion was his then forthcoming record Loss, a blighted album he just couldn’t seem to release no matter how much it possessed his mind and emotions. Déhà had to release Loss, to finally put these demons that antagonized him to rest, to see his ultimate vision come to fruition, come hard drive deletion or high water. Finally, earlier this year, Loss loosed itself upon the world; it is a powerful record, dense with emotions and layers and intricacies. It is a reflection of human pain and sorrow, told in riffs and ophidian emptiness. It is a tale of losing everything. And as I discovered last night, it may have been enough for one member of Yhdarl.
Although Yhdarl is largely Déhà’s vehicle for extreme emotional exploration, the multi-instrumentalist is hardly alone in his compositions. In addition to the Who’s Who of guest collaborators on individual tracks, Déhà has shared the vocal spotlight with his longtime friend Larvalis Lethæus since 2010. It is her manic shrieks and tortured screams that rend your soul in twain while the haunting music drags you into a barren landscape. Last night, however, I learned that Larvalis Lethæus had parted ways with Yhdarl for reasons that may surprise you.
What I’d like to highlight in this post is Larvalis Lethæus’s specific rationale.
“No bad blood invoked, as She does not need the catharsis anymore, and thus the emotion would be biaised.”
I agree with Déhà. This is the perfect reason to stop making extreme metal because this is sincere. This is a level of self-reflection we don’t see often in this genre, a recognition that much of the music we love is driven by pain, and yet, as Richter astutely pointed out, perhaps that demon we’re exorcising is the very thing keeping us in bondage. Better to sever yourself from the genre entirely than to fake it, causing yourself and your art to suffer in the process.
Of course, Yhdarl will continue. Déhà still has too much bile and beauty inside to cease breathing it upon the masses. But he will do so happily without Larvalis Lethæus, and we can only hope for such amiable loss in the future.
This all leaves me with one final question for you on this Sunday Sesh.
What acts of sincerity have you seen in extreme metal? When should musicians stop going through the motions?
Sound off in the comments below.