First Nations and heavy metal on the new episode of Metal Embassy

On the new episode of the Metal Embassy podcast Metal Chris interviews Josh Cayer, a First Nations Algonquin in Ottawa, Canada, that performs bass and vocals for the bands Longhouse and Dismal Aura. Josh goes in depth about the recent discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of indigenous children at schools across Canada and the impact this has had on the country’s indigenous population.

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more). We’re on Bandcamp now too!

Metal Embassy – 011 – Longhouse (Canada)

I have also released a longer version of the podcast as a Bandcamp exclusive. It features an extra 20 minutes of the interview with Josh and includes several questions and answers not found in the shorter version that went out everywhere else. You can stream it below if you’d like or stick with the tighter, shorter version above.

Heavy metal from Kenya on the new Metal Embassy podcast episode

Metal Chris speaks with Preston and Barbara, the vocalist and drummer, respectively, of the Nairobi, Kenya, based metal band Chovu on this episode. They cover a wide range of topics from African mysticism and mythology to what it is like to be a woman in a heavy metal band in Kenya.

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more). We’re on Bandcamp now too!

Metal Embassy – 010 – Chovu (Kenya)

Black metal from Bangladesh on the newest Metal Embassy podcast episode

On the new episode of the Metal Embassy podcast, Metal Chris talks to Rubayet Hussain, stage named Katatonic, the man behind the black metal band Brajangngana. The band focuses on Hindu mythology and blends South Asian influences with black metal to create a unique sound unlike anything else I’ve ever heard.

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more). We’re on Bandcamp now too!

Metal Embassy – 009 – Brajangngana (Bangladesh)

New Metal Embassy episode interviews Palestinian metal band

Amir Jacob is the man behind the Palestinian black metal band Zalaam and this episode’s interview with Metal Chris is Amir’s first interview about his band. Amir gives insight into how his environment influences the music of Zalaam and of course we listen to a song by the band at the end of the episode as well.

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more).

Metal Embassy – 005 – Zalaam (Palestine)

Siberian black metal band Gloosh interview on Metal Embassy

Happy 4/20 everyone! First I’d like to mention that a few metal shows have been announced and so the DCHM upcoming concert calendar is back in order and you can see it here. Also, the fourth episode of the Metal Embassy podcast is now live and if I’d thought about this with a bit of foresight I’d probably have gotten a stoner band for the interview. Instead I did an interview with George Gabrielyan of the one man black metal band Gloosh that is based out of Siberia, Russia. This interview is my first to use an interpreter and I cannot thank Alexi Khalchenia enough for coming to my studio and doing the translation work. George first turned down the interview because his English is not good enough but he changed his mind when I offered to find an interpreter so this episode would not have been possible without Alexi’s help. This is George’s first interview using an interpreter and my first as well.

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by searching for Metal Embassy in most podcast apps (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music/Audible, iHeartRadio and more). I also made an alternate version of this podcast with the interview entirely in Russian (all English parts edited out) and that is only available on the Metal Embassy Bandcamp page here.

Metal Embassy – 004 – Gloosh (Siberia)

Metal Chris’ favorite black metal albums of 2020

It’s the end of the year so it’s time for my end of year album lists! I’m posting several lists, each for a different subgenre/category, and ordered by release date instead of ranking them. 2020 has been a unique year with unique challenges, to say the least, and I fully expect that to be reflected in my lists. This black metal list is my first of these lists but the doom/stoner list is now live here and you can also find my death metal list here.

ErancnoirBerglicht
Self-released February 7 2020
This Iranian one man band put out a gem of longform atmospheric black metal in early 2020. I found myself getting lost in this album’s four tracks, totaling about 70 minutes of music, many times this year. Other Iranian metal bands From The Vastland and Arsames are more well known but Berglicht proves Erancnoir is worthy of attention too.

Cult of FireMoksha / Nirvana
Released 20 February 2020 by Beyond Eyes
The Czech band Cult of Fire released these two companion albums in February and while double albums can drag on they’ve done a good job of making each one listenable on its own, though I’d argue they do complete each other. A unique band unlike any other out there right now, they use black metal to explore the philosophy and spiritual concepts of Buddhism and Vedic Hinduism (subjects I do not claim to be an expert on) while simultaneously playing totally jamming riffs.

GlooshTimewheel
Self-released 29 February 2020
Gloosh is a one man band based in the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. This debut album offers a Russian take on the Cascadian black metal sound of bands from the Pacific Northwest like Wolves In The Throne Room, Ash Borer, Fauna and others with a heavy focus not on coldness and evil but on nature and solitude. This is a great album to plug some headphones into while taking a walk somewhere outdoors.

Spectral Lore / Mare Cognitum split Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine
Released 13 March 2020 by Entropic Recordings
The Hellenic black metal of Spectral Lore met with the Cascadian black metal of Mare Cognitum to bring us this Astrological themed split from these two excellent one man bands. Each planet in the Solar System is given its own song by one of the two bands and then they both combine on the two songs about Pluto that close out this almost 2 hour long release that somehow goes by too quickly every time I play it.

FeminazgûlNo Dawn For Men
Self-released 17 March 2020
Their debut EP from 2018 was solid but the women of North Carolina based Feminazgûl really stepped it up this year on their first full length, No Dawn For Men. Better songwriting combined with better production have made this band with a novelty name something to be taken seriously.

KaatayraSó Quem Viu o Relâmpago à Sua Direita Sabe
Self-released 1 April 2020
Kaatayra is a one man Brazilian black metal band that uses many folk elements and even instruments to create a sound that seemingly comes straight out of the rainforest. As an acoustic black metal album it certainly isn’t the most brutal release on this list but there’s simply nothing else out there that sounds like this album. Kaatayra released another album in August, Toda História pela Frente, that features electric instruments if you want a little more bite added to that sound.

UnreqvitedEmpathica
Released 22 May 2020 by Northern Silence Productions
Metal Archives doesn’t even consider Unreqvited a metal band but I’m a firm believer that this calming style of atmospheric black metal is another splinter of this diverse subgenre. I’m not sure this album would have appeared on my year end list in any other year but I cannot count the nights that I’ve listened to this album to help me wind down after long stressful days during this pandemic. There’s no lyrics, just vocalized screams, that are somehow perfectly relatable in 2020.

Paysage d’HiverIm Wald
Released 26 June 2020 by Kunsthall Produktionen
Paysage d’Hiver is a Swiss band with a French name that translates to “Winter Landscape” and the name is quite fitting. Their sound is cold, brittle and perfect to listen to while tromping through nature in the middle of a snowstorm, even if only in the mind’s eye. It’s a long album at about 2 hours in length, but the songs here are simply too good to easily get tired of. As a side note, many have noticed the new Taylor Swift album, Folklore, has a strikingly similar cover.

Lamp of MurmuurHeir of Ecliptical Romanticism
Released 2 October 2020 by Death Kvlt Productions
For the trve kvlt purists the debut full length by Olympia, Washington, based Lamp of Murmuur does not disappoint. This album has all the hallmarks of traditional black metal harking back to the Norwegian second wave, but manages to keep the sound fresh and exciting with creative song writing that, while familiar, isn’t derivative enough to make it seem like a direct rip off of anything in particular.

Путь (Pathway) – Юдоль скорби (The Vale of Sorrow)
Released 23 October 2020 by Depths of Void
Путь, pronounced “put,” released this EP in October. Instead of a keyboard, the Russian band features an accordion playing slow, sad melodies that add a somber tone to their songs. Black metal’s Scandinavian roots often give a wintery feel but this release feels like the waning days of October as plant life withers and dies heading into the dark winter months. The track “Cold Spring” was actually written in the early days of the pandemic and is about the isolation felt in locked down “empty cities” across the world.