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  • Words by Faye Coulman and Jonesy

ANTHEMS FROM THE ABYSS #3


Last we checked, the world was still very much in the metaphorical toilet, with news of rapidly climbing COVID-19 infection rates killing off whatever tiny glimmer of fragile, tentative hope we might’ve had for the revival of our beloved live music scene. But hey, at least we can still take comfort in the rich array of virtual shows and e-festivals that, since the outset of lockdown, our favourite bands, labels and promoters have been kindly providing us with in steady, sanity-preserving supply. Right? Not according to Mark Zuckerberg, you can’t. Because, from 1st October, Facebook will be imposing a site-wide ban on hosting live streaming events and shows, with severe penalties for any artist who fails to observe the social media giant’s latest raft of new rules and regulations. You can’t help but stop and marvel that, at a time when morale is at a truly crippling, all-time low, when people are battling daily to maintain something resembling sanity in this prolonged period of darkness and frightening uncertainty, seemingly nothing can halt these corporate giants in their ruthless and unrelenting quest to line their own already bulging pockets - no matter how ruinous and immeasurable the damage they incur in the process. This is, of course, by no means the first time art has been stifled and curtailed by the cold, iron grip of capitalist greed and, like all the fearlessly pioneering musicians, writers, artists and assorted visionaries who came before us, we will not go gentle into that good night. And speaking of creativity and the tremendous comfort we take in its consumption and appreciation, here’s another round-up of all the killer standouts and singles we’ve been digging this week. Stay strong, stay metal...

-Faye Coulman, Editor-in-chief

SVARTKONST

‘Death Magic’ (‘Black Waves’, 2020)

Even to this veteran metal journo’s thoroughly jaded critical ears, there’s no mistaking the blinding spark and glimmer of creative genius when you hear it. Those white-hot, incandescent flashes of sonic brilliance that, within milliseconds of that very first, exploratory foray into a new band, ignite the senses with an immediacy that leaves us instantly aware that we’ve stumbled upon something undeniably special. Enter Swedish one-man black metal operation Svartkonst.

Taken from deliciously macabre 2020 full-length ‘Black Waves’, incendiary opener ‘Death Magic’ is one hell of an initiation into this violently pulverising long-player. Imploding out of a seething expanse of ink-black reverb that teems and bristles like a nest of agitated hornets, it’s with frantically accelerating momentum that crippling blasts of bass groove and hammering percussion leave us instantly dizzy with adrenaline. From here, insanely tight whorls and flurries of densely muscular riffs assail the ears from every imaginable angle as caustic-throated vocalist Rickard Törnqvist spews forth a torrent of gargling bile nasty and corrosive enough to leave the Devil himself quaking in his cloven-hoofed boots. Drawing on an expansive wealth of churning, ragged and frost-caked textures sourced from all corners of the extreme metal spectrum, this is an intoxicating, thoroughly diabolical brew to be sure.

But it’s not until this joyously scabrous assault later unravels into a gargantuan passage of Watain-ish, torturously elongated riffage that we get to witness the full, richly expansive scope of Svartkonst’s wondrously ritualistic craft. And from searing, insanely paced passages of undiluted aggression to luxuriantly dark guitar sections that audibly smoulder with blackly glistening hell-fire, ‘Death Magic’ is everything we worship and adore about black metal…and more!

FC

BIG BUSINESS

'Regulars' ('Command Your Weather)