Listen, when BRUISER asked if I’d compile a black metal mix this winter, I became both excited and a little nervous. Metal is the only topic strangers have argued about with me online (not counting the 2016 Presidential Election). The metalheads of cyberspace have many opinions. They are particular. Genres matter, gatekeeping is cool, and whether or not it matters that your favorite musician is a racist is up for debate (it does, btw). These traits don’t hold true for metal-enjoyers I’ve met, you know, in real life, and I trust that if you’re here in the BRUISER-Sphere you’re more or less not looking to put up a fight. Or maybe you are? Like, a cage match, though?
If you’re new to black metal, enjoy the mix! Or I don’t know, listen to some Darkthrone.
If you’re not new to black metal, I got a question: do you do much while listening to it? Like, exercise? Bang? Do the dishes? Great if so but I don’t. It demands my attention and fascinates me deeply. When good black metal is being played or performed, it simply cannot be ignored. I’ve never really heard anyone describe it outside of it being “grim,” “trve,” or “brutal,” but it leads me to daydream as much as headbang. What dark secrets live within the walls of distorted guitars? Why shred your larynx for these vocals, when the performance is buried in the storm of the mix? It isn’t angry, though it may sound like preparing for a fight. Nor is it sad, even if one hears in it the despair of being dragged into quicksand. Black metal is not the sound of victory, and yet it is not the sound of defeat either.
To these ears, black metal’s sound crystallizes and expands the urgency of the moment when fight or flight kicks in. The snowstorm, or the enemy hoard, surrounds you. A traumatic memory threatens to overwhelm; an oppressive government arrives with its shackles. Black metal is not the outcome. It is that last moment with your back to the wall. You might be going down, but not without first being heard. Live or die, the sound will forever haunt the forces that sought to destroy you.
Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult - “Mardom - echo zmory”
Spectral Wound - “Imperial Saison Noir”
Devil Master - “Acid Black Mass”
Oathbreaker - “Second Son of R”
Paysage D’Hiver - “Im Winterwald”
Lamp of Murmuur - “Dominatrix Call”
Iskra - “Predator Drone MQ-1”
Martyrdӧd - “Harmagedon”
Zeal and Ardor - “Blood in the River”
Mordichrist - “Immemorial”
Yellow Eyes - “No Dust”
Wiegedood - “Until It is Not”
Hell - “Seelenos”
Volahn - “El Tigre del Sur”