Unearthing The Metal Underground: The "Black Metal" Scene Pt. 2
February is black history month here in America, and we at Metal Underground make sure that black metal is featured to honor the tradition. This month we have unearthed plenty of lesser-known black metal acts and have delved into old school articles on legendary black metal bands like Darkthrone. In keeping with the tradition of black metal history month, let's get back to the true meaning of the phrase by showcasing bands composed of actual black musicians who play metal.
Last year, our Content Manager Ty brought some interesting black bands to light. This year we'll travel to the Caribbean, Africa and other locations to discover some bands composed entirely or mostly of black musicians - further showing how metal isn't solely an Anglo phenomena made up of just white band members. You will find metal everywhere, by all ethnicities and in countries one wouldn't normally associate with metal - by people who love heavy music. We will unearth plenty of our brothers in metal today. Just recently, Botswana's "metal cowboys" got featured at an art exhibit over at Bekris Galleries in San Francisco. This photographic montage is the work of noted shutterman Frank Marshall, who spent countless hours delving into the metal subculture of Botswana for his thesis at Tshwane University. Some of these metalheads are probably more hardcore than your average anglo devotee in the amount of hardship they endure to listen to their music of choice. Let's check in now with a few bands that we have unearthed for you today.
Never put a limitation on a Jamaican, for they may surprise you. Their bobsledders practiced on a local landfill back in the day, so they're hardy. Besides the thrash metal combo Anthurium!, in the hills of Portmore resides the scary and funny Lord Ifrit. Be afraid. Be very afraid. After leaving the group Dark Cirkus, Lord Ifrit created the only Jamaican black metal band - Orisha Shakpana (whose name means supreme deity of small pox and plagues in Patois). He describes the band's sound as "your Caribbean history teacher doing obeah, satanism and crack."
He and Dan Warslave (on AK-47), Shawn Hellspawn (on Ogun's machete) and KM Slutmaster have already put out three albums including "Spectral Duppymaan," "Caribbean Metallic Storm" and "Satanic Powers in Jamaican Hills." Orisha Shakpana is working on the songs for its new one, "Decapitation Lust," which you may stream over on Facebook. Lord Ifrit created Orisha Shakpana to get in touch with his Niger-Congo roots and unleash a hellish mist upon the tropics. He also lends his voice to the new Conrad album, "Within." Conrad is a musician from Barbados who plays "bajan folk metal." Listen to more of Conrad's music on MySpace. Check out Lord Ifrit doing black metal riffs, and telling his fans he wants to buy a drum set instead of using a drum machine. He was in Delaware doing that, since Jamaica doesn't import alot of quality musical equipment. Check out Orisha's lo-fi black metal, which channels old school Hellhammer and others.
Last year we featured two other bands from Botswana - Crackdust and Skinflint. Botswana has probably the largest scene in Africa and has been the focus of international attention with the exhibit on its metal cowboys. Another band making a splash in Gaborone is Wrust, who formed back in 2000. The band has one full-length record out, "Soulless Machine." They've played several major festivals like the Gaborone Beer Fest in 2003 and the Annual Rock Against AIDS. Wrust has even opened for Sepultura in Durban, South Africa. They launched their brand new single/EP "Too Deep" last summer and should be playing at the March of the Gods Fest 2012. Check out a video on Botswana metal bands here, and listen to a few songs by Wrust.
Frank Vega is a busy man, hard at work in his studio over in Grafenwohr, Germany. As the sole musician and creative guru behind Vixioness, it is up to him to play all the instruments and come up with every new song that he will put on his new album "The Hallways." Frank also has an impressive axe collection. He has quite the cult of fans on his Vixioness Prophecies Facebook page, constantly checking in from far-off places and updating all the new Vixioness black metal compositions. Frank is a big fan of music in the Naglfar/Verkrag vein, horror movies and books on satanism and H.P. Lovecraft. Check out a couple of his songs, including "A Celebration in His Name" and "Mental State" from his 2010 EP.
There is also the phenomena of a band pretending to be black or African to get noticed. Listeners are usually intrigued by bands that come from lesser-known locations, so when this brutal slam death band known as Infertile Surrogacy came out they caused a stir. Their MySpace page lists them as coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their YouTube videos say "atrocious brutality from the middle of nowhere." It turns out they are actually a group of Spaniards which make up the band Cerebral Effusion. But it would not be far-fetched at all that a group from that country would be unearthed, for many of the areas surrounding it have metal bands. Metal is ubiquitous.
Besides such well known acts as Straight Line Stitch, Sepultura or Suffocation showing that metal crosses every ethnicity - there are scores of bands right in front of us or from locations one wouldn't normally associate with metal. This proves that metal is a worldwide movement of the soul that crosses every demographic possible. Join us next week when we unearth some more metal bands from a certain scene or genre.
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