Crow Black Sky is another band that followed me on Twitter. At least, I think that’s how I came across them. They don’t seem to be following me now. It only hurts a little bit.
The first thing that I saw on them was that they were an African Black Metal band, from Cape Town, South Africa. At the time they only had two songs on Soundcloud, but while metal is really not my thing, I felt both songs were really well-done, and powerful.
Those specific songs were “Stars of God” and “Retribution”, and initially I thought that was all there would be to review, so I was going to cover them on vacation. But wait, there’s more.
Not only is their entire album, Pantheion, available on Spotify; it is also available as a free download off of their web site. So, I found out that there was so much to them that it would need more time, and here we are two weeks later. It’s not just that there are more songs, but there is a lot to the songs. Also, I knew nothing about black metal.
With a little bit of research on that, I realized that I was familiar with black metal, because I had read an article on its growth in Scandinavia. Based on that, it should have been a lot more Satanic than it seemed to be. I have to admit, I was not picking any of the words out, but I found lyrics online.
These were very interesting. Several of the tracks are instrumental, but the first three with lyrics reference Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Vikings. The common theme is clearly war, and that continues with “Our Path Disdained”, which while distinctly more modern still follow a theme of war, and the separation from love, and the desire to get back to her and never leave again.
There is a great deal of mention of pagan gods, and there is a common thread with the involvement of these gods in the culture of war. It’s not exactly Satanic, though in “Stars of God” it moves towards self-worship, and some people have described that as the true point of Satanism, though it comes off more as an (angry) acceptance that no one can be relied on so to seek internally to rise above it all.
What made this interesting is that I had recently read an article about Nordic Noir, where there is a literary trend towards hard-boiled crime novels coming out of Scandinavia. The article was focusing more on how the protagonists were female, which was new. Talking with a friend specifically about the band though, we wondered if maybe just not being part of the local scene accounts for the change. Perhaps you get more nihilistic and hateful when you are locked in grey skies and ice than when it is sunny and there are beaches and when you live in a safari destination. Of course, they have still had their share of political and economic problems.
So, the side note that I would like to add on the religious issue is that while I blame it on human nature, religion has come off badly a lot, and I don’t blame anyone for noticing that. Being able to take a hard look at these situations rather than blindly accepting the wrong is very important. However, many just end up with a general disdain, whereas I would say that truth is accessible and it is worth it to keep looking.
However, I am writing about a band, so we need to focus on the music.
I was a little proud of myself, because I was listening to them and thinking about the intricacy of the guitar work, and then the web page used the word “intricate”, so hey, I did get something right.
Their guitar work is strong, but musically they are capable of a great deal of variety, getting very orchestral at times. The first track, “Vita Satus” sounds like it could be from a movie score, and there is a lot of passion and theatricality infused in the entire album, and clearly it is strong intellectually.
It is metal. It is loud, the singer seems set to a permanent growl-shout, where I almost wondered if there was some distortion. I don’t think there is, but that’s why I’m not hearing the words. The music is harsh, though perhaps more melodic than some metal. There are no claims to be otherwise; this is a metal band.