Monday, February 13, 2017

DLP Review: "Extinct" by Frowning

When I was coming of age, Black Metal was a very different thing.

Why, back in those heady days, we didn't even have to add the qualifier Norwegian to the title. It was just assumed that all black metal was from the fjords.

Naturally, we're talking about the latter half of the 90's. Until that point, even listening to the extreme metal shows in my hometown both Monday Night Metal on KSHE 95 and The Mosh on WLCA, I never heard a single solitary scrap of Black Metal.

The latter of the two shows was pretty on point with extreme metal in those days, so I'm going to presume that no one else here really knew about it either. Please tell me in the comments how wrong I am should you so wish.

This isolationism created a monolithic block and the beginnings of check your box metal were growing there, as well as in Tampa, FL.

In these modern days though, Black Metal has gone on to create as many sub-genres as death metal I believe, on both sides of the pond.

If one simply uses the ubiquitous term black metal rather than the more specific sub-sub-genre names, the monolith has broken.

There's a great wide swath of this music. As a former non-fan of black metal, it's impossible for me to say that now.

That's due in large part to bands like Frowning. There are some standard Black Metal tropes, but the scope of this double album is wide and vast. The monotone vocals never rise to monotony and the keyboards do not over power the rest of the music. Aside from a convention or two, this album has little to do with bands like Dimmu Borgir or Immortal to my ears.

That's what makes Black Metal so exciting to me now. Even though they are described as Funeral Doom Metal, they strike me as far more inspired by the pioneering Norwegians than say Ahab.

Frowning certainly isn't happy music that's going to make concert goers dance, but those who can listen to and internalize this music will be find themselves riding shotgun with someone walking through the Northwest Territories.

If To Build A Fire were an album, it may very well have been Extinct.

Release: 2/17/17
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Label: Black Lion Records
Formats: CD/Digital

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