All right, so we made it to through the naturalistic/philosophical forebears to Agalloch’s 1999 release in the last item. Now, we’re in the most recent period of these types of extreme music. From this point forward, I’ll be discussing things in the present tense, focusing on scenes in and out of Scandinavia, that have continued the innovation of this sound.
If you’ve read anything by me, then you’d know how much I hate the idea of the “genre” of avant-garde. The majority of time, bands have a very short avant-garde period where they are innovating their specific sound and refining it to coalesce into the things that others take only the most simplistic parts and evolve them into their complete sounds. Bathory, for example, offered three avant-garde albums that began the genres. Avant-garde literally means advance guard; these are those that are “ahead of their time.” To me, when listening to music that relates to this very delineated genre styling, Peccatum serves as the avant-garde (from 2004)[yes, another Ihsahn project]:
This is a very definite attempt to combine industrial elements, black metal, and pop together to craft something bleak and tragically melancholy.
In France, Gojira began a litany of quality bands, using heavy music that discussed outrage over strongly environmental themes. Their piece, Terra Incognita (2001), was their first full length release:
Similarly, they use death metal combined with nearly industrial elements, creating a very cold atmosphere with monolithically heavy riffs. Whereas Deathspell Omega’s Infernal Battles (2000) and Blut Aus Nord (2001) brought black metal in with a furiously thrashing and cold environment:
Amesouers, on the other hand, strikes from melancholic black metal, starting the foundation for the blackgaze movement:
Amesouers would eventually diverge a step away into Alcest, whose music is far more seated in progressive rock than metal:
Further, they also build into Les Discrets, an atmospheric band whose music a touch more like Katatonia:
Meanwhile, around the same time in the Ukraine, a band whose politics are a bit concerning and whose ideas are musically far reaching, Drudkh brings their spin on the naturalistic styled music, replacing the Satanic imagery and philosophical questioning with Ukrainian poetry and folklore:
Hardcore even gets into the act with straight on folk metal, thanks to the Swiss band Eluveitie on their album, Spirit (2007):
This music uses folk instrumentation alongside the heavy metal strikes, more openly demonstrating the hallmarks of this style by this use.
Not to be outdone by the continentals, the UK began to sprout bands that concerned themselves with this style as well. Paradise Lost was one of the earliest, focusing on death/doom stylings relating to death, sin and all things from Milton’s work:
Akercocke’s offerings during their lifespan approached the blasphemous and explored sexuality; song from Rape of the Bastard Nazarene (1997):
Winterfylleth offers an ambling, folksy approach to their particular brand of darkness:
Fen focuses very much on the boggy, murky landscape of the Isles, especially on The Malediction Fields (2009):
Others, including Nine Covens, have joined the scene as well, focus on the very British interpretation of this style.
In North America, Agalloch seems to have led the charge of this style of music. Wolves in the Throne Room are a close second to Agalloch in this style from the North American scene. Their explicit intention is not to indulge in raging violence, rather it is to emotionally release the negative:
Beyond this, you have great variability and exploration of the style. Devin Townsend joined in as well on Terria (2001):
Ludicra (now defunct) also contributed to the style:
Grayceon has as well:
Krallice makes sure the East Coast is well represented as well:
The same is true of Autolatry, a band from Connecticut, that focus on the Northeastern landscape and folklore:
In a new release from earlier this year, reviewed by this blog, Anciients’ from Vancouver, BC offers a stunningly amazing piece:
Ultimately, I’m sure I’m missing something. I know I did not include the German school at all due to fact that all the German bands I’ve heard attempt this sound just don’t pull it off well to my ear, and further I must still be in love with German Power Metal. That written, this demonstrates ultimately that this style belongs apart and separate. It is inherently regionally focused in that folklore way. Tomorrow’s piece will be far less music heavy, but will focus on the arguments I hope to complete. Friday’s installation (and the last piece of this series) will focus solely on non metal influences to these styles.