"‘I love humanity,’ he said, ‘but I wonder at myself. The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular[...]yet I am incapable of living in the same room with any one for two days together, as I know by experience. As soon as any one is near me, his personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he's too long over his dinner; another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I detest men individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity.’ ”
Perhaps, just perhaps, more than any other style of music, black metal contains this similar paradox as outlined by Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov. Now, we're not talking the highfalutin crap that Liturgy claims with its brand of "transcendental black metal" (don't click the link if you actually enjoy their music; it's devastating) but more so the eventual paradox of being a misanthrope yet keeping friends. A celebration of life is obvious in black metal's very Romantic tropes revolving around nature as well as its disdain for life revolving around, well, death. Does this mean Shelley would of liked black metal? I don't know, but what I do know is in its infancy, black metal never strove to make something "beautiful," "enthralling," or "somber." Instead, early acts (first and most second wave) looked to the morbid, the occult and sinister nature of things, mostly for shock value, but eventually in some sort of pseudo post-teenage angst as we saw with bands like Burzum. To avoid a history lesson I'll sum it up by saying, like anything that's given time to develop, evolve, or mature, black metal has explored such a wide variety of emotions and topics that bands like Ash Borer fully embody in a multifaceted sound in terms of emotion. On the surface, to be so ugly because of its hollow production, craggy/fuzzy guitars, cacophonous drums and distant screams, Ash Borer ultimately create something sublime in the face of what some might call "harsh."
The whole west coast of the States seems to be a hotbed for brilliant black metal. Some will go on for ages about the absolutely mediocre Weakling, while others overlook the genius of acts like Leviathan and Ceremonial Castings and the current groups like Fell Voices, Leech, and of course Ash Borer. And while I like all the bands mentioned , it's Ash Borer's recent collection done by Land of Decay that's got me absolutely hooked.
|von Trier's Antichrist is a nice visual companion to Ash Borer|
I probably sound like I've been drinking Chai tea all day and reading poetry, but I'm dead serious about all that Ash Borer invoke and achieve. The band is on the cusp at the most fruitful time for black metal in America and I can only hope they continue to elaborate on their sound and approach.