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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Wolves in the Throne Room
Diadem of 12 Stars
Vendlus Records

Rating: 5/10 ?


March 3, 2006
Pity the day poor, dear, black metal reaches the mark of 1000 record labels who've tried to do something with it. Pentagram-festooned albums have been pouring out of the sky ever since Venom singer Cronos proved to the world that even a knob who pretends to worship Satan can get studio time (and maybe more, dude, nudge nudge, wink wink) with a painfully hot babe like Kate Bush. For years, though, demons from all over the world have toiled in their cellars like little goat-horned Anton Newcombes, releasing album after album, getting record deals, losing record deals, washing off their inverted-crucifix face-paintings before reporting for duty at Wal-Mart stores, and generally flitting around the great major label spotlight like moths to a bug zapper.

Despite being boycotted and mocked by the punk world at large, Celtic Frost and whatnot were considered metal's haute couture during their heyday in the late 80s, creating an international none-too-secret society of tape-trading kiddies who didn't feel worthy unless they were able to get their hands on the new Goatlord demo. Post offices found themselves swamped with bubble-pack mailers from as far afield as Poland, all with "666" written on them in black magic marker. All those singers in King Diamond makeup, all the four-chord hamster-wheel progressions, all the mud-beast vocals, all the surreal carnage - for a while it seemed as though Lucifer was finally in a position to take over this dump of a planet after all.

But, as happened with Herbie the Dentist Elf in the classic cinematic triumph that is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, times became tough for the Dark Lord's musical minions. Fearing torch-carrying reprisals from the wives of selectmen, all-ages punk promoters wouldn't allow them into the rented coffee shop basements that the myriad Samhain-clones called home. New ideas among the black metallers were rarer than a George Bush crony nipping a world-class disaster in the bud. And the best material was coming in from Norway, of all the godforsaken hell-holes on earth.

Enter Sunn0))). Yes, that's how it's spelled - like the old amplifier. From out of nowhere, these utter, utter kookpots not only took black metal in a slower, more ambient direction, but despots of hipness like the Village Voice and Pitchforkmedia.com came along for the ride, showering them with cleverly worded praise (since post-Brian Jonestown Massacre indie is in such a laughable state, this should not come as a giant surprise to anyone). Like Sunn0))), our friends Wolves in the Throne Room offer appallingly long songs comprised of slow, jangly 2-chord riffs and tortured vocals recorded with the reverb floored. Unlike Sunn0))), though, WITR occasionally showcase the Loreena McKennitt-like space-chick vocals of someone named Jamie, who appears posed nude in the album's insert. This is a musical watershed, man - if Rancid Decay is a tyrannosaurus, Wolves in the Throne Room is Mothra.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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