SMT/ATF Episode 12: USA

Welcome back to a very special episode of Against The Fragmentaire. Why is it so special you may ask. Well, mainly because I decided to post a double episode and be done with it for the whole “season”, but also because this week we are going to check the USA, home to all things evil that somehow aren’t Russian!

Ever since I realized I was going to keep this series going by myself (yup, my original plan wasn’t to “blog” this alone), I had a hard time to figure what I am going to do when the United States of America come in line for a showcase: I mean, 6 slots are really few when it comes to so many states counting over 17000 bands in metal archives! It felt like I had to squeeze all of Europe in 6 slots.  Just a week ago a decided to tackle this in a manner that looked right: I will split the US in west and east and give 6 slots for each. And so I began my cherry picking ordeal as usual. And now that I decided to have a holiday episode to spend more time with friends during the following week, it doesn’t really matter…

 

One of the very first album’s I’ve heard in the black/death metal genre was “Rites of the Black Mass” of Acheron. This felt extreme and harsh back then, and even while it isn’t anything super new I most fondly remember it because of the weird introductions right before each song. Unfortunately I have lost the tape since then and the CD version I found only has the music. A shame… Thankfully there are a few songs in youtube that include the intros too!

 

Ladies. Gentlemen. Children. Forget everything you knew about doom and drone metal. Sunn O))) is the new definition of Ssssssllllllloooooooooowwwwww gggggggzzzzzzzzrrrrrnnn music development. Either like them or hate them…

 

One of my favorite blackened folk metal bands around is Agalloch. They are constantly pushing their own envelope a bit further and they offer –to me at least- the best music to accompany my whiskey. Their beginning wasn’t so impressive but they now show such maturity and quality that words are meaningless…

 

Another similar band that I also enjoy is Falls Of Rauros. This is the American school of shoegaze black metal and I love it…

 

When it comes to depressive black metal, one of my favorite picks is always Wolves In The Throne Room. These guys really are up to something. Their atmosphere really takes you there, in the ancestral roots of this land, all you have to do is be patient…

 

Another excellent sample of weird black metal. I don’t understand how Lurker Of Chalice manage to create such soothing feelings when they play such a nightmarish music. Ritualistic, astral, aggressive, epic. No, terrifying! That is the key ingredient that mixes all in a unique way. Dive deep into their abyss, you are going to like it. At least I do…

 

And since we touched ritualistic stuff, let’s take a look at Equimanthorn. I got to listen to this very song back in 1994 and though I don’t usually get to listen to them, it really has a place in my mind as something unique.

 

I will close the extreme/black metal chapter of the States with December Wolves, a band that sounds completely Norwegian and sometimes feels like listening to 3 albums of Satyricon simultaneously. Very underrated band for such a feat!

 

The time has come to relieve Andrew a bit from all this cacophony. Coming next are… Cacophony, a project of the genre I hate most: show-off metal! At least those huge names DO play some tough shit! Or should I say did…?

 

As you may already guess if you take a look at this series from the beginning to this point, I have a great distaste for progressive power metal. Circle II Circle however is one of those few bands of the area that managed to get a place in my collection. Not as show off as most prog bands, not as silly as most power metal bands, they settled in between and I like them for that!

 

There is a genre that only two countries in the whole world have invested, and this is humorous thrash. M.O.D. is one of my favorite, mostly because they do write music to accompany their jokes, whereas other bands like To Plokami Tou Karxaria or Anorimoi mostly aim for the pointless fun and nothing else…

 

Closing this marathon of metal, we have November’s Doom, a band I would recommend to fans of Opeth mostly, but certainly everyone can feel free to check them out. Melodic doom death at its finest…

 

This was the last Against the Fragmentaire for 2011. Whatever you do these days, have fun, drink and eat more than you can, but in the end of the day drive responsibly! See you next year…

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