The excellent David Thomas Manzl sent me a text yesterday to ask if I ever listen to Black Metal. “Some of it is really folky!,” he said. “Atmospheric, ambient, and intense, too.” He recommended Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room, Deafheaven, and Krallice. Today I put on Agalloch, a record called “Marrow of the Spirit,” and it’s amazing. Super-long songs (17 minutes!), each of which is like a little album all its own, moving in and out of different feels and, ya, atmospheres. Some folky moments, some intense moments, some deadly vocals. Cello. Intense guitar riffs. Not virtuosic, just excellent grooves. I want to play this music. I don’t know if I can sing like that though.
Now listening to Mount Eerie, a record called “Ocean’s Roar,” also at his recommendation. Pale Lights is a huge jam with organs and thick guitars and destroying drums. Haunting vocals. Title track is beautiful. Everything on this record sounds pitched down, like it’s being pulled down toward the earth, like everything is bending. “A bottomless absence.” Dig it in headphones, the stereo separation on the cymbals. “Instrumental” is sludgy, piano & deadly guitar and some kind of wooden flute? Piano sounds like a drum set. And then there’s drums, and they also sound like drums. “Waves” has the most perfectly intense sections. David says “that music makes me want to smash things while doing yin yoga.” I don’t know what yin yoga is, but I. am. in.