Friday, 25 February 2011

The fallen dawnbearer

As a part of the overwhelming second wave of black metal in the early 90s, Burzum were shining in a uniqueness that was better estimated some years later. The template Vikernes applied to his 'band' was responsible for some of the most abominable trash that littered the black metal scene for almost two decades. Bedroom bm, suicidal bm, ns bm(!), the one man band trend (namely some fucking imbecile claiming he is so fucking misanthropic to work with anyone else). Just name what you find appalling in black metal and you can find Vikernes at the beginning of it all. 
Of course a man is responsible for his actions only, so if anyone is to blame about this situation, these are the apes that mimicked whatever they thought was easier for them to reproduce. Burzum, Aske and Det Som Engang Var were landmarks of cold, misanthropic and inhumanly calculated black metal. From then on, the increased presence of ambient parts and the use of repetition in order to achieve the illusion of the hypnotic feeling started to alienate me from his work, which I started to consider more boring than ambient or hypnotic.
The two supposedly ambient-electronic albums he recorded from jail are mainly laughable affairs. The fact that even such mediocrity found ground fertile enough to prosper in the metal underground was one evidence more (if needed) of the decline of black metal from the second half of the 90s until the early 00s. 
Last years Belus was a lukewarm attempt to recapture the old feeling that was unfortunately focused on the period of Filosofem mainly and I found it to be boring and uninspired. The record was buried even more by the great expectations and the hype created by the media. 
Fallen is a completely different case. It is the record that made me pay attention at Burzum fifteen years after I have written the guy off. It is raw, with that cyclic riffing that creates clever melodies that capture you like a web and drag you to the (fairy)tales the guy has to say. You know it is no true nor realistic, it is even naive but you are lured. I am lured. His vocal performance is probably his best ever...he screams, he howls, he sings, he mourns and he sounds more convincing than ever. The choice of a (part of a) painting by the french realist Adolphe-William Bouguereau comes as no surprise knowing Vikernes' affinity for european history/mythology and classical art. At first I admit I mocked time passes I find it all the more fitting.

People that have a pure outlook on music and art and the feelings it should create, have always been a source of inspiration for me. Matthew McNerney is such a case. Greatly underrated obviously because of his low profile personality but also obviously an honest, cultured and educated artist that honours any music form he chooses to express himself through. True artists are comfortable expressing their spiritual or other concerns using any vessel suits them. Black metal, death metal, folk, rock etc are but tools that in the hands of talented  artists may unleash the great power they contain in the greatest effect.
Although the moniker of a project should be indicative of its creator's intentions and the feelings he wishes to communicate, rare are the cases where it is so representative and accurate as Hexvessel is. You'll find elsewhere plenty of detailed descriptions of the music that is being presented on Dawnbearer. Such details are completely unimportant. What matters are the feelings, emotions and images the music conjures up. What matters is the journey you will experience. Hell, the guy has even made me like a Paul Simon song, by reconstructing and darkening Diamonds (on the sole of her shoe). The essence of the whole world is in here...there's light, there's darkness, there's joy, there's sorrow, there's devoutness. Additionally there's Machen and Crowley and Capote and many more. Occult music can be extremely charming in the hands of gifted individuals. Enough said...