It’s Nothing but Black Metal November, and you know what that means! For the entire month of November I’ll be reviewing nothing but black metal albums, as the name suggests. Film and wrestling reviews will still come as they do, but all music reviews for the rest of the month will be black metal. Strap in and watch as I endure the torture of an entire month of modern black metal.
First up on the chopping block is the latest offering from Krallice, Loüm. These black metallers hail from New York, New York and have been quietly churning out material since 2008. Nearly a decade of releases and these guys haven’t been able to focus on a cohesive concept for an album yet. Seriously, I think they may have ADHD because all of their albums hop all over the place at the drop of a hat without fully developing or exploring any ideas.
That seems to be the prevailing concept of modern black metal, though. When someone had the bright idea to throw in underground screamo influences with black metal it all became a tangled mess of underdeveloped ideas and less and less actual black metal. Mind you this release at least still maintains a black metal backbone, but it delves into so many outside influences and ideas that it becomes a mystery meat of musical genres. And say what you will about Deafheaven, but at least they can fully develop their concepts on albums.
Being a bastard child of several different genres seems to be the hot new thing in black metal, though. The modern style of “atmospheric” black metal is being listened to by 20-somethings who didn’t come up on Burzum, Darkthrone, Bathory, or any of the classics. Instead they made their musical journey through Pitchfork-core uninspired albums and decided they wanted something a bit more extreme without actually touching on anything extreme that pushes boundaries like the classic bands that made this genre did.
Loüm itself is a fun listen, but I wouldn’t put much credence behind outside of that. It’s not worth multiple listens to discover something behind the sugar-addled mess of music here because there isn’t anything deeper. It’s all surface level and doesn’t reward you at all for multiple listens. If you want something fun, technically proficient, and really like Neurosis and want to her their bass player do vocals, then check this out. If you want your black metal to push boundaries and actually have some sound musical ideas, then avoid this like the plague.
Loüm gets 2.5/5 stars from me.
Check it out on their Bandcamp here.