Post-Black Metal

Now, I DO love a good sub-genre, so imagine my excitement over the last few years as i’ve slowly watched the merging of two of my favourites; Black Metal and Post-Rock into the beautiful beast of a sub-sub-genre that has finally been named Post-Black Metal. It takes the lo-fo production, dark atmospherics, and often the anguished howls of Black metal and combines them with a lot of instrumental workouts, Mogwai-style quiet/loud dynamics and even some very prominent shoegazey moments. The bands themselves also eschew the traditional corpsepaint and spikes in favour of the beardy indie bloke look.

I started noticing it a few years ago when some wags starting referring to US Black metal types Wolves In The Throne Room as “Grey Metal” for being all metally and black, but you know, kinda nice at the same time, with lyric sheets dealing in environmental meltdown etc, they read more like a Guardian Saturday supplement than an extract from the Marquis De Sade’s undiscovered even more hardcore, “De Sade Nights” script! And, I finally found a special feature in Terrorizer magazine a couple of months ago, giving the sub-sub-genre it’s name, which I wasn’t aware of before.

I apologise for being about six months too late with this post as a lot of the leading bands in the scene (a large proportion of which seem to be French for some reason) have jumped the shark somewhat in my opinion, releasing recent albums that have acoustic guitar and like, real, proper singing, which is just going too far.

Anyway, here are a few tunes:

Alcest are French, Altar Of Plagues are Irish, Agalloch are American and Caïna is a bloke from somewhere in the UK, that’s all you need to know!

Alcest (the most shogazey one I chose)

Altar Of Plagues



7 thoughts on “Post-Black Metal

  1. Well, some interesting stuff there. The influence of Godspeed You! Black Emperor is pretty much all over those pieces, especially Altar Of Plagues and Caina.

    At times bits sounded like a version of Mogwai with cookie monster vocals taken from Opeth and other bits reminded me of all kinds of stuff, snippets of Neurosis and Guapo were definitely in there.

    Strangely, I was listening to Spiderland by Slint this morning and I don’t think that we would have post-rock at all without bands like Slint, massively influential on the whole scene.

    Good stuff though, I enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks Carole, good call on the Godspeed… influence, it’s definitely a big part of the whole sound.

    Neurosis too, definitely, and Isis as well, I think.

    “Spiderland” is indeed a classic, it still gets a very regular spin on my turntable and still seems fresh and inventive. I love the Will Oldham photo on the cover too!

    Thanks for listening!

  3. Dunno Panth, i’m thinking that i like my metal black. Alcest and Agallogh were pleasant enough to listen to, but a bit meh for me. I liked the other two best, but i think overall they all a seem bit tedious. (going just by the music and vocals here, can’t say i picked up on the lyrics really.) They’re totally listenable, but nothing that grabbed me or that i’d look to make a point to listen to again. On the other hand, a good blast of black metal cleanses and purifies the mind and spirit!

    Thanks much for posting, it was all new to me.

  4. I do occasionally listen to Agalloch and Amorphis (do they fit into this category? I’m getting genre fatigue), quite like the other two, interesting to hear new things anyway.

    By the way, to continue a conversation we were having on the mothership, I found some Katatonia to listen to on Spotify and although they are similar to Opeth for some reason they don’t appeal half as much. What I heard of ‘The Great Cold Distance’ is too far away from metal for my taste, quite liked some of “Night is the New Day’, I’ll keep having a listen and see if it grows on me. The one you nominated is so epic I haven’t managed to listen to all of it yet! Thanks again for suggesting them to me.

  5. NEW GENRE ALERT!! I do love a new genre too, and I’m most looking forward to the day when twee and crunk finally fuse…

  6. @Amy – I know what you mean, and a lot of purists say it ain’t proper metal and a bit tedious. Of course I love a good blast too, the blastier the better, but I think these 2 genres just fit together so perfectly. Thanks for listening!

    @bethnoir – well, i’m not the best person to ask, Katatonia are not my cup of tea at all, way way too melodic for my tastes. Opeth are great because they get it just the right side of the dividing line, especially vocals-wise.
    If you don’t know Amon Amarth they may appeal, although they are a bit blokey and macho.

    I also really like Bloodbath, who are Michael Akerfeldt from Opeth and two members of Katatonia. They are pretty fast and death-metally, but they manage to retain the hooks of Opeth, they just turn it up a notch!

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