Krieg - The Isolationist

American black metal’s shifted radically over the past few years — in both mainstream perception/acceptance and via a more expansive set of underground aesthetics and a more diverse execution. Since the mid ’90s, NJ-based American Psycho fan and Judas Iscariot/Nachtmystium associate Neill Jameson, aka N. Imperial, aka N.I.L, aka Krieg, has been one of the scene’s most intelligently outspoken mainstays. (I’ve been working on this seemingly unending oral history of American black metal for the past few years — along with Bone Awl’s He Who Crushes Teeth, Jameson’s quotes are consistently the most intelligent and provocative. Dude should write a book.) He’s the creator of one of black metal/USBM’s most important documents, 2003′s The Black House, but a number of folks still seem to know Jameson best for his vocal work in the Isis + Leviathan + Minsk + The Atlas Moth + Nachtmystium black metal powerhouse Twilight. For those unfamiliar with Krieg’s more swarming, primitive sound, he’s releasing his sixth album The Isolationist this fall. It follows 2006′s Blue Miasma with a wallop. The almost 60-minute collection was recorded beautifully by Jameson’s Twilight bandmate Sanford Parker — its the deepest sounding Krieg record to date — and features guest spots from another Twilight cohort Wrest (Leviathan) on bass, guitarist Joseph Van Fossen (Noctuary), and drummer Chris Grigg (woe). As far as the tone, Jameson notes: “It is my ugliest and most personal child, going deep into the darkest places in my own history on earth. I’m a fucked up wreck, and this record shows that.” “Ugly,” but with plenty of gorgeous, mind-melting riffs. See for yourself via the bludgeoning, dynamic “All Paths To God.”

Don’t get too comfortable after hearing one song once: The Isolationist is a diverse album complete with cavernous tribal instrumentals, black ’n’ roll booziness, unexpectedly fragile/expansive ambient details, and some full-on hooks (see opener “No Future” at some point):

01 “No Future”
02 “Photographs From An Asylum”
03 “All Paths to God”
04 “Ambergeist”
05 “Depakote”
06 “Religion III”
07 “Blue Of Noon”
08 “Decaying Inhalations”
09 “An The Stars Fell On”
10 “Remission”
11 “Dead Windows”

The Isolationist is out 10/26 via Candlelight. Rank this one with (or above) The Black House and make sure to leave space on your year-end lists. Last year, I did a show with him during an unexpected snow storm. Expect another — hopefully sans storm — this fall.

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