It’s been a weird year for Neill Jameson, aka Imperial, the man behind the seminal American black metal project Krieg. If you follow the guy on Facebook, you know he’s constantly dealing with bullshit, and that has increased exponentially over the last few weeks. He works in this record store in New Jersey, whose customers are a source of endless frustration. His occasional (current) musical collaborator Thurston Moore has been in the news for saying “Black Metal is music made by pussies of the lowest order.” His occasional (former) musical collaborator Blake Judd (of Nachtmystium) has been in the news for allegedly ripping off a bunch of fans and distributors, after pulling similar scams last year. And every time more news is made, Jameson — an outpost of acerbic, sarcastic pragmatism in a world of hyperbole and panic — finds himself inundated with requests for comments and clarifications. Wrote Jameson on Facebook in one such exchange (of many):
Between [Thurston Moore] and Blake Judd, I know exactly what most casual conversation for the rest of my life will be. Rest of my life being two weeks before I kill myself from answering the same questions over and over.
But here’s the thing: As a musician, Jameson is having the best year of his life. The record he made with Moore, Twilight’s III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb, was far and away the best album ever released by the black-metal supergroup, due in no small part to Moore’s contributions, not to mention Jameson’s improved vocal attack. Now, Jameson’s primary band, Krieg, are set to release their seventh full-length (and first in four years), Transient — one of the finest USBM offerings of 2014, and a breakthrough for Krieg. Transient is an album of shifting textures; it opens with the walloping “Order Of The Solitary Road,” a track that climaxes with one of the gnarliest black ‘n’ roll riffs you’ll hear this year, buttressed by sections that are hypnotic, ambient, almost ethereal. That balance is examined throughout the album, as violent blasts of sheer crust (“Return Fire”) lead into stretches of doomy melodicism (“To Speak With Ghosts”), and noise-rock skronks (“Winter”) precede moments of expansive post-rock (“Walk With Them Unnoticed”). True to its title, Transient rarely stays in one place too long, but it feels like a coherent statement, largely due to the man at its center. Jameson is a complex guy, and Transient is a complex album. It’s also a great album. We have it for you to stream in full today, and you definitely should do just that.
Transient is out 9/2 via Candlelight.