I'll let the proverbial bloody scabbard out of the sheath: A Hill to Die Upon is a Christian black metal band from Illinois. Yeah, I know, that's a bit quirky (their name may refer to the hill of Golgotha where Christ was crucified). I think the hordes of Norwegian black metal bands would have something to say about this paradox in between burning down churches on a Wednesday night. (After all they should be at prayer meeting.) Call it growling for Jesus, or maybe blast beats for the Bible belt. But A Hill to Die Upon's Infinite Titanic Immortal is quintessential Scandi black metal sans the pagan anti-Christian lyrics.
But that's not to say there isn't Norse-like grunting and bludgeoning happening here. In between quotes from Jesus, Scripture, Stonewall Jackson, Dag Hammerskj, and C.S. Lewis, AHTDU waxes poetic with mythic and heroic stories of warriors and starved wolves. Along the way, there's ample riffage, lots of growling, and loads of blast beats They toss in some expressive and unexpected guitar solos to keep it interesting. Prometheus Rebound and We Soulless Men are particularly black metal menacing. Their press material states that their hook is that they are more melodic than their predecessors and their peers. Maybe so, but that's hardly novel. Dimmu Borgir has been doing that for several albums now.
A Hill to Die Upon's Infinite Titanic Immortal is black metal. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ... well, you get my point. Black metal isn't one of those subspecies of heavy metal that provides for much variation or innovation. You either do it right or go home. Fortunately, AHTDU does it right. But it's still as boring as reading through Leviticus on a cold rainy day.
A Hill to Die Upon's Infinite Titanic Immortal is black metal. Black metal isn't one of those subspecies of heavy metal that provides for much variation or innovation. You either do it right or go home. Fortunately, AHTDU does it right.
What's in a name? This is my first encounter with Italy's Myriad Lights. As I often do with new bands, I try not take press material too seriously when they describe a band. Give the album a first spin, I say. But their band name had me thinking, some ... [ Read More ]