It’s not often that one comes across some progressive black metal. While the progressive term often finds itself attached to genres like death metal, heavy metal, power metal etc, black metal is usually prefixed with terms like avant-garde and experimental. While one might argue that progressive black metal does exist in stuff like the later Emperor records, the early Ihsahn albums and the early albums of bands like Deathspell Omega, these albums are never credited as progressive black metal. It is understandable as progressive metal and black metal are polar opposites in terms of their themes and execution. While progressive metal relies on complex structuring and technical playing, black metal emphasises on nihilism which is reflected in the music and production aspects as well. Glasgow based Maelstrom attempt to combine these two on their latest full length ‘Sunlight’, leading to some interesting results
The moniker of post- or atmospheric metal has been thrown too much around these last years and has lost a lot of its meaning as a means to describe a wide array of the metal genre with similar leanings. So when I first put on ‘Dull Parade’ by French trio Appollonia, I wasn’t sure what to expect. They have toured with bands like Rosetta and one of my all time French favourites, Overmars. So I figured it would be something down that alley of dirty, sludgy doom metal.
Whenever I listen to some of the recent bands that play the viking metal style, I always think to myself, “Isn’t this about Vikings? Shouldn’t it be rawer and darker?”. That is the problem with this genre. Many bands that take it up end up following the melodic and symphonic route, to the point where it just doesn’t feel raw. In the case of Ukraine’s Miellnir, there are symphonic elements and melodic undertones, but their take on the Viking style is one that is raw and blackened. Their debut release on Stygian Crypt Productions, 2014’s ‘Incineration Astern’ is a serious take on the genre and one that does not place restrictions on the symphony and grandiosity.
To many the NWOBHM era seems as though it is starting to fade, with many of the early acts starting to become main staples within the metal industry, it’s easy to assume that the wave will die off when these bands stop putting out material. However, this is not the case; many bands continue to fly the flag of the modern British wave of Metal.
Expectations for an album are highly dependent on the combination of the genre and the geographical location of the band itself. This is because we are so used to hearing good music from a particular style, originating from a particular area. We’ve witnessed this with Norwegian black metal, Bay Area thrash metal, Florida death metal and Finnish doom metal. The last example applies in this case because My Shameful is a funeral doom metal band that hails from Finland. These two facts alone are enough to set the bar high, as Finns are good at making some of the heaviest doom metal on this planet. Needless to say, I expected wonders from ‘Hollow’, the band’s 6th full length release on Moscow Funeral League Records, even before I heard a single note.