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New Anarchy In Book of Sand’s “Postmodern Witchcraft”


The classic idea of anarchy in music has run its course. That is to say, the once caustic sounds of the Sex Pistols and other anarchopunk luminaries have become popular and commonplace. No longer does mere talk of anarchy over since-appropriated and marketed punk instill a sense of rage against the political machine. No, that was taken away, and those who follow suit fall in line with what is now a mass-marketed style. It’s sad to think that what was once something so in-your-face and challenging has become a T-shirt you can get at Walmart and Urban Outfitters, but such is the music machine. Now that the classic sense of anarchy has been taken away from the music of rebellion, how can it be expressed in the new millennium?

Occult anarchist “red and black” metal artist Book of Sand seems to have found the answer. Though initially rooted in harsh black metal, solitary artist dcrf’s adventures through variety speak of a new freedom: raging against genre. With individual albums centered in Appalachian folk, Gamelan music, avant-garde jazz, harsh noise, and more, Book of Sand appears to be more interested in finding a distilled darkness rather than a central style.

When asked about upcoming album Postmodern Witchcraft, which can be streamed in entirely below, dcrf offered:

[T]he weirdness and darkness which are the appealing parts of black metal aren’t confined to any one genre, and I don’t think there’s a reason to make the same album twice.

This idea of breaking norms isn’t new for Book of Sand, who caused quite a stir with Sergeant D’s sorely missed Stuff You Will Hate blog in an interview I conducted six years ago. Ambition is the new anarchy, and Postmodern Witchcraft proves to be Book of Sand’s greatest departure.

In a style the artist calls “garage goth,” Postmodern Witchcraft preoccupies itself with the strange darkness of surf music and retro garage rock. Finding itself more in line with bands like The Mummies or those now-classic True Norwegian Surf Metal genre-crossover series, this strange, but otherworldly album proves a point so very few make: music and sensibility are not confined to one genre. Blast beats and darkness don’t belong to black metal, just as much as strange darkness does not belong to surf music.

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Of course, the album itself is inconsistent in genre — though the majority of the material found within can be considered “garage goth,” certain departures like “The Gates of Heaven”‘s folk and the occasional black metal flourish add a deeper sense of genre apathy. Entertain the idea of freedom from genre and dismantling the artistic construct. With Postmodern Witchcraft, Book of Sand’s second departure from black metal this year (following the outsider folk of sun going down), dcrf moves into a planar view of art and music overall, where different styles share all qualities equally. This is the new face of anarchy in music.

Postmodern Witchcraft is out digitally and on vinyl tomorrow, the Summer Solstice, on Auris Apothecary. Orders are now open here.

Follow Book of Sand on their website and Bandcamp.

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