About a year ago, I posted a review of Christian Mistress’ last album. During which, I griped about how a solid album can be extremely well made, but if it becomes too absorbed in its own fascination with days gone by without leaving behind any trace of originality, the album is instantly forgettable. While I can respect a band’s efforts to research what equipment was being used in a given era and painstakingly recreating the vintage sounds they fetishize, it’s all an effort wasted if it’s just a carbon copy of the original. Without reworking the formula, retro metal is just extreme music’s answer to The Strokes, which is only impressive if you haven’t heard what inspired it in the first place. Well, now Horrendous have come along to test whether or not I will ignore my own rules when it comes to my very favorite of all music genres, death metal, with their release The Chills.
Metal is entering its fifth decade of existence. While as a genre it has always been expanding and aggressively trying to scorch and raze previous boundaries, forty years and counting is a long time for any form of art to hang around without leaving behind niche pockets of reminiscence for the many sub-genres that have come and gone over the years. This growing nostalgia for Days of Metal Past has been creating metal anachronisms all over the globe, from Sweden’s Witchcraft to Austin’s The Sword, and now Christian Mistress seems ready to put Olympia, WA on this same space-and-time-defying-map with their album Possession. Continue reading
Oakhelm may very well be the most under-appreciated metal band of 2011. Their 2007 release Betwixt and Between is a forceful hybrid of rustic folk and pagan black metal making them excellent counterparts to fellow Portalanders Agalloch, yet Oakhelm has snuck under many a radar.