Meet the bands highlighting the beauty in black metal
Stars of this week’s NME Big Read, Deafheaven’s atmospheric sonic mastery is a gateway into a world of stunning new bands. If you’re new to the world of blackgaze and post-metal, allow us to introduce you to five essential bands you need to get acquainted with.
Who: French blackgaze pioneers
Why: Admittedly, we’re playing fast and loose with the term ‘new’ here, but if you’ve just discovered Deafheaven (you’re very welcome), you’d do well to dive into one of their biggest influences. Alcest release their latest album ‘Kodama’ back in September 2016, and recently made their way to UK shores as part of Robert Smith’s Meltdown festival. It’s no surprise the Cure frontman is a fan – the conflicted emotions at the heart of tracks like ‘Oiseaux de Proie’ are as darkly romantic as the goth king’s best.
Key track: ‘Oiseaux de Proie’
Who: Belgian punishers
Why: Fronted by multi-faceted wunderkind vocalist Caro Tanghe, Oathbreaker switch between searing metal and beautiful atmospherics like such transitions were simply second nature. 2016 LP ‘Rheia’ remains an essential listen, while their live show is an unmissable, hypnotic exorcism of sound and fury.
Key Track: ’10:56′
Who: Midlands-based UK metal prospects
Why: The heavier passages of Deafheaven’s sonic volcano can be found in abundance on ‘Mire’, Conjurer’s incredible debut album. Since that record’s release at the turn of the year, the have been turning (and banging) heads with their incendiary take on blackened metal, the likes of ‘Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash’ harnessing that same atmospheric bent that Deafheaven have perfected on their own latest LP, but amping up the brutality.
Key Track: ‘The Mire’
Who: Danish genre-benders
Why: A technical take on metal and shoegaze’s most soaring sonics, Møl’s debut album ‘JORD’ is a masterclass in atmospheric metal. Hailing from metal’s long-harvested Scandinavian soil, their frosted take on shoegazing twists, turns and churns like the very besty of blackgaze. For those of you who aren’t quite ready to take the full plunge, there’s even an instrumental version. Cowards.
Key Track: ‘Bruma’
Who: British post-metallers
Why: Another act who’ve been bubbling away underground for some time, Bossk’s post-metal packs more riffs into a single song than most bands manage in an entire record. With song lengths often stretching long into the quadruple figures, they allow plenty of breathing space for their enthralling, entrancing take on aggression and splendour.
Key Track: ‘Kobe’