Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Volahn/Shataan/Arizmenda/Kallathon - Desert Dances and Serpent Sermons (2015)

Genre: "Western" Black Metal
Country: United States

The Black Twilight Circle have long since been one of my favorite black metal collectives; the quality of their work never ceases to impress. Boasting an impressively diverse roster of bands from all over the extreme metal spectrum, a new Black Twilight Circle release should always make its way immediately to the top of your "Listen Now" listen. The surprise four-way split between Volahn, Shataan, Arizmenda, and Kallathon entitled Desert Dances and Serpent Sermons was released yesterday, and conceptually, it may be the most interesting thing they've ever done.

"As night sets over the horizon across the landscape the full moon signals the start of the fire ceremony.
While the sun sinks further into the haze the sound of harsh winds are howling far off.
Majestic rays soar to the east, watch it set the mountains ablaze.
Remember this moment as darkness follows. Join me in fine spirits during the fire
and listen to the voices of this land as they call to the distant stars.
Leave the tracks behind as a reflection of our journey. Let only the winds erase our trace but let them carry our name. Like the star that burns above, so does our spirit to carry on our song…

Compilation featuring Crepusculo Negro recording artists Volahn, Shataan, Arizmenda, Kallathon.
Capturing 43 minutes of western black metal."

Now the top part, to me, just seems like esoteric nonsense (maybe that was the point?), but what caught my interest was "western black metal". I don't think I've ever in my life heard something so ridiculous. All I can imagine is Immortal in ten gallon hats.However, the end result is much more satisfying. And I guess that makes sense considering where The Black Twilight Circle comes from. They've always been a group of bands who eschew the typically cold atmosphere of most black metal, and here, they perfectly conjure the heat and humidity of a sandy landscape. It's like if the lone ranger played black metal: each band contributes a track that gallops heroically through the barren wasteland, balancing the twang of western music with the grim attitude of black metal. All four tracks are excellent (Volahn's piece may be his best yet), and this is yet another solid addition to the BTC catalog. It's nice to see a genre like black metal can still throw some curves our way.


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