Editor’s Choice #2: Holy Shit, Serenity Now!
As pustules of raw human evil fester and writhe and burst their foul innards across our rocky blue terrarium, a cosmic maw awaits, gaping and utterly indifferent as ever. The reconstitution of our precious molecules has no prerequisite -- mankind can perfect the science of survival or the art of death and, either way, the universe eventually takes back what it gave all the same.
The cessation of life, especially the unfair kind, serves no purpose other than to affirm existence as merely the avoidance of some factory-guaranteed conclusion -- destination zero beckons with howls so caustic they even shrivel time itself, accelerating experience while dissolving past meaning into an ether that poisons our dreamscape with loathing and premonitions. And even though the commensurate subtleties and profundities of life come at this grave fourth-dimensional cost, humanity remains absolutely hell-bent on a Very Great Mission to totally waste this miniscule sliver we were so damn lucky to happen upon.
This perspicacious and chortle-inducing reality bears itself vividly, but totally transparently, like hundreds of ass-naked people parading through the city on bikes, or a humongous statue of Jesus daftly made from flammable materials being struck by lightning and burning straight down to the ground.
If there was a message written in the clear blue sky, it would probably read: "quit fucking up, assholes!" But here we are, real fucked up from having fucked up one too many times, and what feels like a terrible truth begins to emerge: is humanity flat-out destined to sow its own demise? This sensationally complex puzzle might very well be completely impossible; unless supernature exists, no conceivable power can assure the possibility of a winning solution to anything, let alone the survivability prospects of hyper-violent flesh-apes gone mental.
Think about it: humans are taking weightless shits in an actual space station at the same time scores of other humans are forced to openly defecate on beaches (due to lack of something we all take for granted: plumbing) hundreds of miles below. Stare this all in the face, and death's bony fingers will lunge out at you through the mirror to gouge your eyeballs clean out of their sockets.
But I can't avert my eyes. I don't think I should, either, because the rawer the reality, the harsher the penalty for ignoring it. This scales to the collective as well: what modern society ignores will always come back around twice or thrice as problematic. And right now, with massive scumsucker Donald Trump and his administration of imbecility in charge, this logic seems very true -- the man is a papier-mâché husk of dollar bills, the foulest embodiment of capital ever coiled onto our lawn. And, importantly, his reign is only one symptom of an overarching problem: the domination and rule of society by entities whose sole purpose is the generation of even more capital at all costs, even human costs.
Heavy metal has never been about making money, save for a few who desperately try and even fewer who end up "making it." To a lesser extent, heavy metal has never really been about popularity either, or any leverageable form of social (let alone monetary) capital. This broadens to all art -- heavy metal is just one of infinite forms of art, of course -- and gets to the heart of what we call authenticity. This is why I'm sitting here now writing about art, because art right now comprises the final vestige of a sane and better (and more vividly real) world we have left.
To create something for no purpose other than creating it immediately bypasses the sinister logics of the money machine that keeps us down -- this is also why I believe all music is inherently revolutionary. Capitalism has destroyed so much of music, but it can't touch or otherwise alter music's spirit. Especially metal's spirit, the one made of steel.
When the fuckers come for us, if they do, they're going to try to take our art away from us. Expression, criticism, emotion, and all the other processes of truth-seeking that human beings translate into tangible and meaningful moments for the senses -- the enemy will attempt to infiltrate, obfuscate, and annihilate them all because they know the power that music has over the human spirit.
No form of art, especially heavy metal, will outright save the world, but it will definitely help keep us together while we're trying. I think now is The Time of All Times to use whatever musical fight we can muster to energize our spirits out of this literal shithole we've been stuffed in. Not only can we easily be louder and stronger than the fascist and hateful voices within our own scene, we can also be heard around the world.
To everyone marching in the streets for justice and truth against the forces of tyranny and evil: it is doubtless that you are on the right side of history.
-- Andrew Rothmund
When your brain is scrambled eggs, nothing congeals quite like hyper-atmospheric black metal injected right into your suffering cortex. High-quality headphones recommended, but anything will suffice: Golden Ashes' (Gnaw Their Tongues project) latest album In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night morphs and molds as esoterically as it does atmospherically, touching the avant-garde without succumbing to its entrapments. It survives alone, out there in the massive cosmic void more like an assemblage of monstrous radio waves than anything purposefully executed quite like music. That is to say: this album feels manifest, summoned, enchanted… it dominates the psyche while numbing the body.
In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night feels authentic and real unlike so much of this fluorescent fucked-up world.
The ache of mankind bleeds hot and red throughout this music, with bellows to empty skies piercing the soundscape like thousands of razors; unrelenting synthwork melds with gamut-filling distortion to elevate melodies to superb heights only to drop, then, so far to the emptiness below. On its surface, In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night tinges with colors of blackgaze and whatever the fuck post-black metal is, but still manages to distinguish itself in innumerable ways. What I'm saying is that the mood with this one needs to take you; you can't jam this shit at a barbecue.
In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night is for blasting at obscene volumes in the middle of the night as hot tears run down the sides of your face -- tears for nothing other than just the sheer scale of the intensity Golden Ashes doles out in luxurious ribbons of noise. This album works at sunrise and sunset, because both are just as epic. It all depends on how you're feeling, but somehow I imagine this album fitting such a diversity of moods and, importantly, enhancing each one independently and effectively.
You can't find music like Golden Ashes just anywhere. This isn't big league, middle league, or any league really. This isn't in the running for anything. All that malarkey is bullshit anyhow. What matters here is one thing only: does this music move me? Yes. And furiously so. When your numb, worn-out body and mind sigh and shutter each evening after working your ass off all day and night, few things offer reprieve. This music is one of them: a rare gem in a sea of stimulation that actually throughputs meaning and solace instead of just more emptiness.
Fill me with the void, Golden Ashes, and to you I shall return more powerful and mighty than ever.