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Let Inexorum’s Pain Be Your Guide

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Melodic black metal has a new hero. The specific performance style (sub-sub-genre — you know what I’m getting at) found on Inexorum‘s debut Lore of the Lakes almost comes off as an anachronism. Upon first listen, comparisons to Swedish bands on the legendary No Fashion Records come to mind before, well, any of his current labelmates on Gilead Media. It’s a special kind of solitude, but this fits with project mastermind Carl Skildum’s (currently a live member of Obsequiae and formerly of early 1990s metalcore luminaries Threadbare) location. Much like the sun-glinted snow and endless pine forests which gave birth to the romantic end of melodic black metal, Skildum’s own Minnesotan isolation is a reflection of Sweden’s nature-influenced melodic bent, but on a deeper, personal level. Listen to “Let Pain Be Your Guide” below.

“When I started writing ‘Let Pain Be Your Guide,’ I was actually just a few weeks out from a minor surgery myself,” Skildum tells us. “The name was something my doctor told me to use as a barometer for how to return to ‘normal.’ It made me think about what sort of baselines we set for ourselves in terms of what we can accomplish physically and mentally, and how that can change so quickly.”

Though the above “timeline comparisons” can be made, and Skildum has confirmed these elsewhere, there is a deeper, more physical restraint to be found here. However technical and skyward this beautiful song’s guitar acrobatics and blistering harmonies speak to Skildum holding back due to his own pain. Pain is something people like to imbue onto black metal insofar as emotional expression; the amount of “painful sounding metal” can fill libraries, but music which causes physical pain to its creator (outside performance antics) is special. This is an offering of Skildum’s flesh and the mindfulness of overcoming the obstacle of his own body.

This idea of conquering one’s own body and mind is not new to black metal, but Inexorum offers a rare example of positivism and moving forward. It’s as beautiful as the music which communicates Skildum’s own successes.

Lore of the Lakes is out July 27th on Gilead Media. Pre-orders are open here.

From Carl Skildum:

The last few years have been a rough time for several people close to me, healthwise. It has been a strange succession of crisis moments, major surgeries, and adjustment to “new normals”. I’ve watched people I love going through challenges I couldn’t have even imagined before seeing close up. Seeing how each of these individual stories have developed really drove home how important it was to maintain a sense of connection, even during the lowest points, so that these events don’t have to be endured alone. When I started writing “Let Pain Be Your Guide” I was actually just a few weeks out from a minor surgery myself, and the name was something my doctor told me to use as a barometer for how to return to “normal”. It made me think about what sort of baselines we set for ourselves in terms of what we can accomplish physically and mentally, and how that can change so quickly.

There’s a small connecting thread between all of the songs on the record, which is how we understand and push back against our own mortality. For this song it’s a bit more front and center.

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