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While we’re all broken up that Immortal is no more, perhaps it’s a good time to poke around and find something that a little of that group’s old, cold magic. Black metal often paralyzes me, but some of my preferred spins on the genre have a sense of forward momentum, and really that’s what Immortal did better than their peers, but Abbath and company hardly have a monopoly on that approach.

In that vein comes Seagrave, a one-man project by Austrian singer and multi-instrumentalist “J.J.” Wahntraum. While the name may conjure intricate death metal album paintings composed at isometric points of view, the music is less easy to pin down. J.J. is more famous for his work with post-black metal outfit Harakiri for the Sky, but in that project he only screams. In Seagrave, J.J. blends the black metal template with tropes cribbed from crust and thrash. That balance of fun and atmosphere is mostly whole on the project’s upcoming debut album, Stabwound.

For example take the song we’re streaming below, "Pistanthrophobia.” The song begins with a delicate clean guitar passage reminiscent of classic Metallica before launching into a genuinely rocking crust-inspired segment a-la later Darkthrone, which pushes the song forward. Halfway through the run time things stop propelling and start whirling in atmosphere, but the song structure is anchored down in a series of call-and-response shouts. Stabwound often reminds me of Black Anvil and Watain at their best, albeit with a little more sense of adventure, as well as more respect for bass frequency (another thing Immortal mastered before their peers). It’s forward-thinking black metal that isn't afraid to be likable, and the world could use a little more of that.

—Joseph Schafer

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Stabwound is out on April 27 via Art of Propaganda. Follow Seagrave on Facebook.

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