Extreme metal, to the outsider, is often seen as terrifying, or that “rape your dog, kill your family shit” to morons I’ve worked with in the past. However, it takes a special sort of band to invoke terror in the hearts of hardened fans of heavy music. Slagmaur, a Norweigian black metal band, fits the bill.
Set aside the creepy masks. Set aside the anonymity. Set aside the unnerving album and promotional art Slagmaur utilizes. The crux of their horror comes from the mechanical pulsing, horrifically garbled vocals, and clever use of sampling (fuckin nursery rhymes? really? creeeeeeeepy). Slagmaur is far from a traditional black metal band. My favorite way to describe them is “Godflesh in hell” as there is a very heavy industrial undercurrent running through all of their songs. I’m unsure if there is a drum machine on this record (live, they do utilize a drummer), but everything sounds very rhythmic and mechanical, with staccato riffing having more in common with a band like The Angelic Process than Darkthrone. I’m sure a lot of people would write this off as not black metal at all. I wouldn’t blame them. Aside from spurts of tremolo picked riffs, and the vocals, there is not a lot that ties them to the genre. Personally, I think this is what stands out and makes them so fucking great. Thill Smits Terror, if the year were to end now, would absolutely be my album of the year.
Very rarely is heavy music trance inducing and hypnotic. Most of the time, it is grating, and that’s not a bad thing. I love when a band jars me sometimes. However, what makes Slagmaur so successful in my eyes, on this release and their prior full lengths, is that it is very easy to get lost in their work. I found myself only noticing the album ending as the outro is not a song, but a creepy sound clip. I highly recommend this album for an immersive, non standard heavy music listening experience. I think despite it being difficult to pigeonhole, it should appeal to a broad base of metal fans.
Release Date: March 31
Label: Osmose Productions
Favorite Track: “werewolf” but really, the whole thing is fucking perfect
Recommended for fans of: Spektr, Blut Aus Nord’s more industrial work, Godflesh, Axis of Perdition