Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bandcamp Picks: Sólstafir, Thaw, Blut Aus Nord, 1349

Sólstafir blew my mind with their performance at this year's Maryland Deathfest; I left their set convinced I had seen the next big thing. It's been a few months since then, and their newest album Otta  hasn't dissuaded me from that, combining gloomy Sigur Ros-esque post-rock with doomy 70's rock and folk. You won't hear another album like it this year, and that's really saying something in 2014. If I had a leather cowboy hat, I'd tip it to them. [$9.99]

Polish black metal band Thaw were singled out for praise by no less than Nergal himself; that's a lot of hype to live up to, but Earth Ground delivers. The album is explorative without wandering too far off the blackened path, though the slow menace of songs like "Winter Bone" and "Soil" hints that these guys are very aware of what bands like Cult of Luna have been up to recently. We may have a future contender on our hands. [$8]

Blut Aus Nord (and to a larger extent, le black metal français) has largely passed me by, but the esoteric and prolific nature of the band fascinates me. I can only guess what relationship Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry has with parts one and two (the second came out back in 2009), but unlike the genre bending of their 777 trilogy, this is more or less straight forward black metal, with the occasional post-metal tic. I'm wary of their label's claim that they're "one of the most influential Black Metal band [sic] of the last decade", but this hits the spot for a metal snob like me. [€6.66 EUR]

Contrary to its title, Massive Cauldron of Chaos actually strips away the discordance and mystique of 1349's earlier albums, leaving something strongly reminiscent of recent Satyricon. Those critical of that band (Frost's dayjob) probably won't find much to love here; frankly though, the last Satyricon album was so good that I don't mind the redundancy. [$9.99]