Mordian – January Moon
Where and when I grew up, black metal was as common to rockers’ playlists as Imagine Dragons is to those created by pop radio. The sound and aesthetic were inescapable to the point of becoming the standard variation. The stories about the original Norwegian black metal bands were endlessly told and exaggerated.
Of course, although all these people praised the spirit of the original black metal bands, the music most often being played was modern, inspired by those groups, and containing a sense of drama brought to the surface by much better, lush production. This music had more in common with epic nature soundtracks than to elegies to Satan.
Mordian’s January Moon charts this progression even further. The gothic-alternative musical project stays cleverly away from many of the unbearable cliches of the genre (incorporating folk elements, cookie-cutter guitar riffs). Instead, the song uses the broad canvas that the genre affords the songwriter in order to create a sound as wild and mysterious as nature itself. The several musical motifs that help construct January Moon are inspired and focused. This is gothic-metal, unlike many you’re likely to hear. It’s sharp, mean, and original.
DEFENVER – Unsustainable
Rock music, like most modern phantasies, is built on the illusion of never-ending resources. The stars in the scene drink everything, have sex with anything that moves, drive cars at a million miles an hour, and somehow live to tell the tale. They show off their wealth and their status. Rarely do they talk of pressing issues out of ignorance or out of a fear that their audience might turn on them not wanting to be preached to.
It’s interesting in that sense that the few rebel voices throughout the past decades have come from punk and metal, the extreme spectrums of guitar rock. After all, “save the planet!” is not a mere catchphrase for politicians to capitalize on but a prerequisite for the very survival of our species.
With that in mind, the anger expressed in the sounds that DEFENVER produces on Unsustainable is incredibly fitting. Their post-hardcore is laced with modern rock production which makes this not quite the extreme rock sounds that might alienate those unfamiliar with the pummeling riffs and distorted vocals. In this song, the Swiss group zeroes in on the world’s biggest problem and they do not mince words.