Frankly, I was completely ignorant of what Black Metal was at that point. The keyboards, the monotone vocals, and the rest of the Black Metal Identifiers (read: check boxes) were very bland to me, at least to put it nicely.
Upon that realization, Black Metal bands began getting the cold shoulder (pun intended) from me. It wasn't until my listen to every album as long as it's received on time policy went into effect that Black Metal began showing up on these pages.
By opening up my mind to new possibilities, I was shown that Black Metal, like Death Metal, comes in many shapes and sizes. Bands like Morrow and The Lumberjack Feedback really opened my eyes to Atmospheric Black Metal. Speaking of Morrow, today's vinyl review is from the same label, Halo of Flies.
Pick a side, A or B, and you'll be treated to a single song. (Honestly, it's not clear which side I chose...you'll see in the unboxing video.)
The tracks are long, progressive, angry, and singularly thematic.
There's a musical theme that's largely repeated for around twenty minutes. During those spins there will be little dalliances into other realms. Dakhma's use of texture is superlative and they turn a simple idea into a full on, progressive journey into the mind.
Derek's guitar work is varied and straight forward. There are a lot of contradictions in what he does and that's what keeps his work interesting.
The drummer, Dylan, is another master technician. The only member of the band who continually is changing up what he does. His drum rhythms continually alter and color the feeling of the music. When Derek is playing melodic lines that doesn't mean the drums are soft and cuddly.
And the third person to round out the trio is vocalist, Claire. Please note, there's apparently a misprint on the insert, as her name is left off. If I'm being honest and unmerciful, Claire's vocals are my least favorite part of this record.
But her ability to slide them into the guitar melodies is one of my favorite things here. Her vocals are standard fare for avant garde black metal, They're completely a-melodic, often out of time, and shrill. It's the lack of depth that leaves me wanting.
As her lyrics are nearly indecipherable while simply listening to the record, we followed along with the sheet. There was hardly an entire page of words written for over forty minutes of music, but it's not how many words you carry, but what your words carry for you.
In this age of trying to decide how to treat the earth, there was a passage that hasn't left me: I don't understand how you claim to be a spiritual man, if you believe that god created the land why wouldn't you protect it with everything you have.
That line has spoken volumes to me. My wife even really loved that one. Not that I'll be playing this record for her anytime soon, but my daughter, who does love metal, will get a chance to tell me what she thinks. Any time I get music made by a woman, she hears it.
Halo of Flies has put out another spectacular record. This album is sturdy, the artwork is amazing, and the package is very good and will last quite some time.
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Label: Halo of Flies
LE: 100 Black with grey splatter/400 Black