...

Black metal might have initially been founded as the "satanic variant" of the still-burgeoning metal scene, but such strict lyrical adherence has not been the case in the years that followed. Granted, bands like Thy Serpent and Bathory felt their lyrical content warranted different genres, which gave us the "dark metal" and "Viking metal" tags, but, at least to me, black metal has always been more than lyrics. The turn of the millennium certainly aided in the progression of black metal's thematics, and bands certainly became more personal, or at the very least allegorical (in poetry, trees almost always represent people). Even with this "representational Renaissance," new ideas are met with disdain. What a strange era in which we live.

The unlikely cycling theme seems like a far stretch for black metal, but Chicago black metal/post-hardcore hybrid Cracked Vessel's case, hardship and tragedy rides two wheels. Did you know there have been ten bike fatalities in the city of Chicago this year? Granted, in the grand scheme of things, especially in Chicago, ten is a small number, but pitting a fully-loaded semi truck against a single person on a bicycle is more than a loaded match (take it from someone who was hit by an SUV while riding his bike to school). If you were a cyclist, wouldn't you be mad?

In Cracked Vessel's debut full-length, No Path (and we could certainly use a bike path in Chicago), their injustice-filled rage is palpable and seeps out from between clenched teeth. Though undoubtedly rooted in the might of classic, second-wave-inspired Norwegian might, Cracked Vessel's consistent branching into the rhythmic intrigue and heavy force of early-Fugazi post-hardcore paints their anger in distinctly modern hues. What makes Cracked Vessel so much more enjoyable than the other attempts at black metal and post-hardcore fusion is that there is emotion to back it up. Sure, there are bands like Deafheaven which fuse the two successfully, but, as opposed to their saccharine nature, Cracked Vessel's rage and heartache comes across as "real," and that falls in line with their active minimalism. Are there melodic leads? Occasionally, but Cracked Vessel operates under the "short, sharp, shock" punk motto - make your point concisely and with little flair. Why do you think Ildjarn is such a legendary totem of black metal culture?

Notable Chicago-local punk label Hip Kid Records, run by Boilerman and Gidim mastermind Jim Gies, is set to release the No Path LP on Friday, December 9th. Scroll below for an advance listen to "Winter's Unsheathed Sword", and, if you drive, be mindful of vehicles with less than four wheels, yeah? You never know who might cycle by your passenger-side window.

...

...

Follow Cracked Vessel on Bandcamp.

...