Stream: Cosmic Church – “Ennen”

Last week, BuzzFeed ran a rather sweeping post about black metal. If you need a sign of the strangeness of our current cultural moment, look no further than this: a site best known for its coverage of cat pictures and Parks and Recreation .gifs tackling Burzum and Gorgoroth.

The piece is kind of a train wreck; I’m sure some of you will be happy to point out its many issues in the comments here. But one particular line jumped out at me: “The atonal, slurry guitars and tense din are an easy reach for anyone who came up on My Bloody Valentine, Slint, or Sonic Youth.”

This notion is an odd mix of on-and off-base. There’s a reason that black metal’s quasi-melodic buzz has gone over so well with metal-dabbling indie fans, but the similarity between it and the indie rock bands listed above strikes me as incidental rather than spiritual. Lots of bands cross the streams now, but conventional black metal is stern and unambiguous in a way that other kinds of rock music are not. The tactic are simple and the message is clear.

These are the virtues that Cosmic Church brings to bear. This Finnish band does not reach outside of Scandinavian black metal’s traditional tool kit; “Ennen” is all droning marches and slowish, melodic blasts. The buzz and fuzz are there, but so is the clarity of purpose and melodic triumphalism that colors all good traditionalist BM.

Cosmic Church’s label Kuunpalvelus is (appropriately) hard to track down on the internet, but the band’s second LP, Ylistys, will be out soon. Judging by “Ennen,” it’ll be worth the effort to find. Stream it below.

Doug Moore