Pagan Hellfire – Solidarity
Pagan Hellfire is a one-man black metal act that avoids the usual depressive connotations of that M.O. Robust, mid-paced marches dominate, in keeping with black metal's recent trend. Mastermind Incarnatus is competent at screeches and drums, but he's incredibly fluent with guitars. His forte is stacking upper-register dyads on top of lower-register chords, and moving both around in a black metal version of Jenga. The effect is subtle but stirringly emotional, and anthemic at times. "Solidarity" has a spine-chilling breakdown where everything drops out but guitars. They riff relentlessly left and right, weaving a crackling bed of electricity. Bass joins in, adding counterpoint underneath. Tension builds and builds, but percussion doesn't drop until one and a half minutes later; this could be a description of a techno 12". Trance music this is, of the truest sort. It's plenty kvlt, too, out on Akitsa's Tour de Garde imprint. Canadians are doing wonderful things with black metal at the moment.