Sunday, December 12, 2021

Blood Incantation at Substation and Wolves in the Throne Room at The Crocodile: Jan 8 & 11

The month of January sees two shows in town at Substation and the newly reopened The Crocodile straddling the
heavier end of sounds issuing from the mutating offshoots of black metal. The related global scene's ongoing and burgeoning development have encompassed melodicism and atmospheres lifted from shoegaze and spacerock, eruptions of heavy psych rock, industrial drumming, synth exploration and electronic atmospheres, and pure experimental noise. The expansiveness of this sound is further detailed in Brad Sanders' essential overview, "Untrue And International: Living in a Post-Black Metal World". Beyond this primer, deeper reading and curation from this spectrum can be found in the past decade of excellent selections in The Quietus' Columnus Metallicus column, covering releases dominantly sourced from labels like, Hydrahead, Ipecac, Deathwish, 20 Buck Spin, Sargent House, Profound Lore, Season of Mist, Roadburn, Flenser, Neurot and Relapse. First among these two nights is Blood Incantation performing from their The Quietus 2019 Albums of the Year charting, "Hidden History Of The Human Race". This assembly of tracks took their already explorational sound into truly progressive, inventive death metal with variegated song structures and a haunting intergalactic bent to the lyrical themes. Technical and occasionally delirious in its precision, the performances are precise without being flashy, and occasionally ornate in their psychedelia without the encumbrances of gaudiness. Tangents are taken into doom and meditative synth workouts, which then return to death metal riffs and unexpected structural shifts, all executed with assurance. The second of the shows features the Northwest's own brand of doom and folk-inflected psychedelia from Wolves in the Throne Room, a further refinement of their embracing fusion of these sounds can be heard on their newest album "Primordial Arcana" for Relapse. As detailed in the interview with The Quietus, "Beyond the Darkness: An Interview With Wolves in the Throne Room", their seventh studio album disregards distinctions between their previous metal and ambient characteristics, finding a newly organic, free-flowing hybrid in the process. Breaking down the dichotomy between these two sounds, the album creates an often melodious interplay that washes with an uplifting grace rarely heard in music of this darkness and weight.