Welcome, all ye cold-ridden creatures of the realms of It Djents, to the most kvlt and dark feature of the year: Grim and/or Frostbitten! Same as with last year’s run, we have asked some choice bands and musicians to share their favorite records to spin in winter with our esteemed readership this year. Hopefully this will help you cope with the harsh weather and overcome any adverse side-effects it brings with it!
In the first episode, we have a real treat for you: Alex Poole, who not only just released a fantastic album (Eschaton Mémoire) with his band Chaos Moon, but also worked on 2016 Top 25 record Terminal Redux by Vektor, contributing samples and soundscapes. Please enjoy his picks!
‘I have a weird relationship with winter. As I get older, it becomes more and more difficult to adjust to the cold, but there’s a certain child-like romanticism about winter that does generate excitement. It’s easily the most creative of seasons. Nature has mostly recessed, survival is more difficult, even knowing that I’m not in any real threat, there’s a deep-rooted, subconscious change in how I behave and think. It’s the time to tap into that.’
Bekëth Nexëhmü – De Svarta Riterna
This album is a more recent addition to the winter playlist. From the music to album art, this record embodies winter in a very primal way. It’s frigid cold, appropriately raw, extremely atmospheric, and mysterious. Not to mention, “Jörmungandr” is possibly one of the best, sincerest black metal tracks composed since the ending of the second wave of black metal.
Sorcier Des Glaces – Snowland
This album is its album title. Any time I hear first riff “The Winter Nightsky”, I’m instantly teleported to the time I first heard this album, which I happened to be wandering around on a mountain near where I was staying during a snowstorm ~15 years ago. It always pops into rotation during winter months, whether I knowingly put it on or not.
Emperor – In The Nightside Eclipse
I’ve written too much about this album recently. It’s unavoidable for me, it’s an incredibly important album in my musical upbringing and for the genre as a whole. I listen to this album year round, but as the temperature drops and the days grow shorter, its potency skyrockets. In the right conditions, this album is as consuming as taking a psychedelic. You become the cold, the dark, and the mystery.
Setherial – Nord…
Nord is similar to Nightside Eclipse except far more fierce; like being caught in a blizzard without a coat. Typically, urgent music like this doesn’t suite my vision of the season, but this album manages to capture the majesty and cold of winter while retaining is fiery aggression.
Sacramentum – Far Away From The Sun
Another fierce and urgent album, but incredibly melodic. Not as wintery as the previously mentioned black metal albums, but equally cold and
mysterious. The 20,000 riffs presented here string together perfectly, never feels like a riff salad or a demonstration in guitar proficiency. Sacramentum crafted a melodic black metal album without sacrificing the black metal for easy Iron Maiden-eque or other heavy metal melody or groove. The best in its class.
And Also The Trees – A Room Lives in Lucy
In some regard, this EP sounds like it could be easily converted into a modern black metal album, except recorded in 1985. The main riff off of the title track is as cold as some of the second wave classics, paired with the dark ‘gothic’ theatrics of Simon Huw Jones’ vocal performance. A highly recommended, still active band that sort of flew under the radar.
Asylum Party – Mère
‘Coldwave’ is a fitting sub-genre descriptor for this particular band. Very bleak, yet there are some glimmers of optimism that shines through every now and then. “Pure Joy in My Heart” is a sort of anthem of this style of music for me, a well written contrast of emotions. Great introspective album to put on while trapped indoors.
Lycia – The Burning Circle and Then Dust
Speaking of being trapped indoors, this album accurately depicts being trapped inside, except the harsh cold and decay of winter is internalized. There are very few albums that I can only listen to during certain moments for the sake of my mental well-being, and this is one of them. It’s a very length, yet consistent listen, like reading a great tragedy. Perfect for wintery nights when you want to subject yourself to darker trains of thought.
And that’s a wrap for the inaugural episode of Grim and/or Frostbitten II! Thanks to Alex for being a part of this. If you haven’t already, go check out Chaos Moon‘s new album Eschaton Mémoire, out now on Blood Music – it’s very worth your time – and follow the band on Facebook.
Come back next week for another artist-curated list of wintery grimness! Until then, stay safe, and as always…
…thanks for reading!