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AT RANDOM by Lee Zacharias

PopMatters Book Reviews

MetalMatters: July 2019 - It's Never Too Hot for Dark, Heavy Music

Even though it's July, and the temperature is skyrocketing, and that would usually result in me blasting Kyuss' Welcome to Sky Valley on repeat, I am lost within the darkness of this month's releases (although I must say that Torche did help a bit). The barrage of excellent black metal works continues with Falls of Rauros returning with another epic record, Arkhaik taking us back to the bronze age with debut full-length, while Celestial Grave and Sanguine Eagle through different pathways are reigniting the raw black metal spirit. Death metal follows closely with Tomb Mold unveiling their monstrous third record and Hex turning back the clock to the European death metal scene and the doom/death days of the 1990s and closely followed by the death induced doom/sludge of Nightfucker's debut. And the extreme barrage you, of course, have Immortal Bird and their stellar return with Thrive on Neglect, which somehow touches on all the above and even more.

Still, looking at this month's releases, I cannot help but consider the title of Keelhaul's 2009 record, Keelhaul's Triumphant Return to Obscurity. It is only through sardonic humor that a band can give such a title to their work, but unfortunately, it had a hint of truth. Despite their excellent work, Keelhaul always flew just below the radar, and some of the bands returning this month have had a similar path. There is nothing conventional and straightforward about the sound of Cherubs or Uzeda, and through the years they have helped mold what we currently consider as the noise rock and post-hardcore sounds. Yet, through either bad luck or miscommunications, both acts did not receive the acknowledgment they deserve. It has been a tough and tumultuous road that both bands had to travel, filled with difficulties but hopefully now that they return with these excellent new releases people will re-discover just how stellar and forward-thinking their respective visions for extreme music were.

Hardship, difficulties, and misfortune don't come just from the lack of recognition. It's when those events occur in someone's personal life that they can eventually shape a person's character. It is at the darkest times that anyone has the choice of overcoming difficulties and rising above. It's up to the person to choose what action to take in order to perform this herculean task, but one way of dealing with these situations is fuelling them, allowing something creative to pour through. The recent releases of An Isolated Mind and Lingua Ignota are results of such excruciating moments, and that is the reason why they come across as such honest and at the same time potent works of art. False as well had their fair share of tragedy, but they did not bow down and allow these events water down their approach. Instead, they marched on and unleashed their most complete work to date. It is this resilience that defines most of extreme music, and an aspect of it that we should never overlook.

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