Wrath Of The Weak – “Sweet Virgin Summer” (Stereogum Premiere)

Wrath Of The Weak is the noisy Buffalo-born Syracuse-based black metal project of a guy named Jordan (or, simply, J). As I put it in the Believer at one point, “Buffalo one-man band Wrath of the Weak talks about the importance of the western New York landscape; his music sounds like a blizzard.” I like the self-critical bio he posted at his website:

wrath of the weak started life as a darkthrone/ildjarn/weakling ripoff project that missed the mark completely and ended up becoming one of the more tolerated bands in the unimaginatively-titled subsubgenre known as ‘shoegaze black metal.’ its current footprint upon the world consists of two albums, two eps, a couple oddball things that never made it to formal releases, and a clusterfuck of a live show. future plans involve another album.

When I spoke with J a couple of years ago about the state of American black metal, he already had that understanding of what other folks were (and are) missing:

I think USBM is different from EuroBM if only because it seems like the majority of projects here are pretty good representations of the cultural vacuum found in the third-ring suburbs from where they originate … just lots of bland, personality-free music that wishes greatly to be something that it’s not and will never be. The quote in your last column by [Krieg’s] Neill Jameson about how so many bands are completely ignoring American culture in favor of mindless regurgitation really struck a chord with me, since I felt like it gave a good idea of what USBM should be. “But it won’t sound like Filosofem!”– well, no shit. It’s not 1996, we’re not in Norway, and we’re not Varg Vikernes. Too many people are fixated on trying to recreate that whole scene, or at least what they’ve heard about it, and I think it’s really counterproductive. There’s more to American culture besides fat people and strip malls, and it’s almost insulting that it gets cast aside by people who just want to have musical wet dreams about Nordic traditions despite being two or three generations removed from any kind of European ancestry at all.

All of this because I feel like J’s pushing things in multiple directions right now. He just finished the third Wrath Of The Weak full-length Solace, a collection currently without a label, and the metal boards are going to be up in arms. Their are some major shifts from his last full-length, 2008’s Alagon: He’s upped the heavy ambient swirls, dialed the black metal vocals (way way) and song titles back. But it still feels black metal. I hate to succumb to these sorts of things, but at times it sounds like a warped black metal take on Loveless. Or, a warped take on Loveless sans the black metal. But is it sans the stuff? Put on your headphones, take a listen to “Sweet Virgin Summer,” and think about USBM 2010, where some of it’s going next. Fans of R. Loren/Pyramids should perk up their ears.

Wrath Of The Weak – “Sweet Virgin Summer”

You’ll find updates at WOTW’s website and MySpace. Such as:

So as you might have noticed, I put a new track up from Solace. yep, no more mysterious crap with the new album. But I make this transfer of bits with a heavy heart, because not only have I parted ways with Profound Lore, but Solace will mark the end of Wrath of the Weak.

At this point in time, I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed with actually releasing the album. I’ve toyed with the idea of just putting Solace up for download for a few bucks, maybe with a nice little retrospective e-book. but at the same time, I figure if it’ll be WOTW’s last hurrah then I ought to see that it gets a nice physical release. it’s a pretty fantastic album, and you don’t get half-paragraph reviews in mainstream metal magazines by just putting your shit on Bandcamp. of course, it’s not like the two paths are mutually exclusive, either. Nevertheless, keep your eyes peeled for whatever the hell I decide to do.

Wise labels should get in touch. (Non-label owners might want to listen to Solace opener ”The Sad Truth, The Dirty Lowdown,” the track he mentions posting.)