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"Melodic black metal" has somehow become a bit of a problem tag in the black metal underground. People sure do enjoy it when their black metal is melodic, but as soon as the word "melodic" is appended, watch out. This can date back to the weird antics of '90s metal mags and over-the-top bands like Maniac Butcher who constantly made statements about keyboards, "female vocals," and so on. In reality most (if not all) black metal rests on the concept of melodic form to make their point come across, and the few who take it just a little further need not be pariahs in the underground.

Take a look at Minnesota's Inexorum, for instance. Carl Skildum's (Obsequiae, Antiverse, ex-Threadbare) musicianship is undeniable. With influences which date back to the No Fashion catalog and early Swedish scene, Skildum's creativity draws from a more ancient pool, and it is melodic. This duo's (Skildum is joined by bassist and co-vocalist Matthew Kirkwold) use of melody as a compositional force is refreshing in the face of bands either resting on overblown atmosphere or blown-out recording fidelity to make their point. It shimmers, it shines, and, more importantly, it is picturesque. Skildum and Kirkwold's compositions here perfectly encapsulate the woodsy, lake-dotted landscape of the place they call home. It is beautiful, and, more importantly, it doesn't matter if it has the "melodic" tag or not. Maybe people will learn a little more about genre ontology in the future, but, for now, we know where the good stuff really is. Listen to an exclusive premiere of "Ouroboric State" below.

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From the artist:

I've always been interested in psychology and trying to understand why we act the way we do. One element that I find equally fascinating and frustrating is how much difficulty we have with changing behavior and belief structures despite repeated negative outcomes. I was thinking about how confirmation bias leads us to seek out information that comforts us and reinforces existing behaviors, even when the end result may be less happiness and stability than if we allow ourselves to be challenged and improve on how things used to be. So we can end up in this cycle or loop of behavior of constantly eating away at ourselves, which is where the visual of the ouroboros comes in. I wrote these lyrics in spring of 2019, and in many ways it was a reminder to myself to try to stay aware of when I fall into ruts, and to think about how I consume the flood of information that is part of 21st century life. It's very strange to reconsider these lyrics given the situation we are all experiencing now, but I feel like I need this reminder now more than ever.

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Moonlit Navigation releases June 26th on Gilead Media.

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