Album Review: BLACKBRAID Blackbraid II

Must read

An Urban Outfitters Trend Guide To The Best Y2K Fashion

Photo: Courtesy of Urban Outfitters.Whether you actually lived through the 2000s or are living vicariously through the decade via TikTok OOTD videos and style...

R29’s Top Stories Of 2022 Didn’t Shy Away From the Big Issues

It’s list-making season, so obviously we had to get in on the fun. That’s why this week’s R29 Twitch stream, hosted by Entertainment Director...

It Took A Layoff, A Canceled Move & Turning 30 To Figure Out My True Calling

Every milestone is worth celebrating, no matter how big or small. That’s why we partnered with Shane Co., purveyors of timeless fine jewelry, to...

Everlane’s Labor Day Sale Has The Best Discounts Yet—These Are The 46 Styles To Shop Now

Let's cut straight to the chase: Everlane is hosting an End Of Summer Sale with over 350 styles being offered up to 70% off....

Blackbraid is one of the most exciting new acts in extreme metal. A Native American black metal project, Blackbraid gives us their second breathtaking record in as many years. Fresh off the Decibel Magazine Tour, this new record is poised to make a significant impact in the extreme metal scene, without any doubt.

To get right to it, Blackbraid II is an early contender for black metal record of the year. Sgah’gahsowah, the one man behind the project, is able to take the traditional sounds of black metal and then further shape and move them in a very distinct and novel direction. In this respect, the record is filled with the ferocious tremolo picking, explosive drumming (check out the face-melting “A Song of Death on the Winds of Dawn) and breakneck speed that we all expect in the genre. However, at the same time, we also get a variety of novel sonic accents that involve acoustic instruments and flutes. It’s Bergen, Norway meets the American Adirondacks.

“The Spirit Returns” has everything you could really ask for in a black metal song. Riveting and skillful, the song takes you on an epic journey. The track has atmosphere and melody and I love how the lead vocal is slightly distant in the mix. The lyrics, which feature a story of fate and retribution, are impactful and mesh with the music so well. The video itself seems to parallel the respect for the land found in the Norwegian black metal scene, however, Blackbraid juxtaposes the steadfast tradition of showing natural scenes in Norway with those of the American countryside.

More traditional Native American sounds are integrated with “Moss Covered Bones on the Altar of the Moon,” specifically with the integration of traditional drums and flute. This was actually the first single released by Blackbraid, and many folks took notice in terms of the originality and new sounds that this 10+ minute opus brings to the world of global black metal. A variety of twists and turns accentuate the novel aspects of Blackbraid’s work and therefore invite those who are looking for something new but while staying somewhat close to their close comfort zone.

Another reason to really love this record is that, unlike many of the solo black metal acts out there, Blackbraid is unafraid to use modern production techniques and give depth and resonance to sound. Songs like “Twilight Hymn of Ancient Blood” sound absolutely fantastic. Recorded with care to ensure wide dynamic range you can really hear the crunch of the guitars and none of the instruments get lost in the mix. Same with “Sadness and the Passage of Time and Memory” which features acoustic guitar and a pace that gradual builds throughout the the seven minute track. It’s a powerful and emotional song that just comes through your speakers with much appreciated clarity.

The record ends with a nod towards Blackbraid‘s obvious immersion in the sonic world of Bathory with a riveting cover of “A Fine Day to Die.” There have been many a Bathory cover to grace the airwaves and the internets but let me tell you, this particular cover is just outstanding. It’s evocative and passionate and a fine way to end the record, so to speak.

Blackbraid leaves no doubt. This is the most exciting act in black metal and while Blackbraid I was a very good record, Blackbraid II tops it. With this record, Blackbraid sets the new standard for American black metal.

More articles

Latest article

How Quannah Chasinghorse’s First Design Collab With Golden Goose Mixes Fashion & Activism

Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images/Flannels.So much of fashion right now feels disappointing. After years filled with promising pushes for progress — from body positivity...

Haslams say Warren Buffett’s Berkshire wants to take money out of their pockets in truck stop deal

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The billionaire Haslam family says in a lawsuit that Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway are trying to artificially depress the...

7 Handbag Trends To Tote Around In 2023

While the arrival warm-weather fashion doesn't necessarily need to mean a whole new wardrobe, it could mean it's time for a new handbag. This...

Dow Jones Futures Rise On Nike As Market Rally Snaps Losing Streak; Tesla Meltdown Continues

Dow Jones futures rose modestly after hours, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures, with FedEx (FDX)  and Nike (NKE) earnings leading...

Biden Blasts Republicans For Complaining About His New Student Loan Relief

In a statement, President Biden called out Republicans who are complaining about his new action to forgive $39 billion in student loans. ...