May 29, 2015
The Black Market: The Month In Metal – May 2015
15. A God Or An Other – “Eden Devoured”
Location: Seattle, Washington
Subgenre: black metal
A God Or An Other have all the superficial hallmarks of “Cascadian black metal,” also known as “black metal that sounds kinda like Wolves In The Throne Room.” They’re from Seattle. They’re wearing knit caps and what looks like flannel in their Metal Archives band pic. They write very long songs. The cover of their new split album has pine trees and a friggin’ owl on it. They even self-apply the term on their Bandcamp. But if you guessed that they sound like most other such bands, you’d be … well, basically right. I don’t have a lot of love left for this style after the past decade-ish of entries, but something about these guys caught my fancy on their 2013 LP Towers Of Silence, and it’s held on through the current splitter The Great Northern. They’re strong songwriters, as evidenced here, but the delivery is probably what hooks me. Rather than howling semi-audibly at you from some distant mountainside at night during a snowstorm, A God Or An Other creep right up in your face so you get covered in little spit flecks when they start screaming. Their instrumental tones pack a wallop, and while they’re plenty tight, they play with a punk abandon that pedalboard-centric black metal bands often lack. Example: the blast/lurch segment that closes “Eden Devoured”, which is gnarly as hell. It fits that the Vatican, who occupy the other half of this split, play some blown-out mutation of ’90s metallic hardcore. [From The Great Northern, out now, self-released] –Doug
May 8, 2015
The Land of Dreams: Cascadian Yule XIV
...I had heard positive rumblings about the young Olympia black metal band, A God or an Other, but I was still unsure what to expect from them. What I, and the crowd, got was a chaotic storm of sound, grinding, atmospheric, and absolutely punishing. One could compare their work to Deathspell Omega at their most frantic, but traces of crust punk and doom were to be found as well. One guitarist’s long hair almost reached the floor as his neck and body bent forward and convulsed in the surge. I couldn’t help but join in my own way during their set, unleashing a few of my own cathartic primal screams that were washed away in the wall of noise pummelling me and the crowd. When their set ended I was left with a simple thought: these kids can jam.
May 7, 2015
You should trust more your band drummer because what these dudes did is totally insane! A God Or An Other teamed up with The Vatican, both band drummers Jon Lervold & Matt Lincoln did it with genuinely DIY attitude and created The Great Northern split. Couple more great people people joined this split creation process like Mathew Wiberg guest vocals and album art, Katharine Cheevers from Crow's Head/ East Sherman provides cello on track "Eden Devoured", and her bandmate Avery Strobel has some guest vocals as well, alongside Neal Jensen of Hellships. Highly Recommended!
IF YOU PUT ON A GOD OR AN OTHER’S LATEST RELEASE EXPECTING TO HEAR CUT AND DRY BLACK METAL OF ANY SORT, CASCADIAN OR OTHERWISE, YOU’RE GOING TO BE SURPRISED. And, if you like your metal cut and dry, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But if you’re like us, and you’re looking for something transcendental, something that refuses confinement and fucks with your expectations, then you’ll have discovered what No Shepherds sounds like, and the surprise is going to be a positive one. There’s a blaze of feedback, a spasm of abrasive chording, then a disharmonic breakdown straight out of MASTODON or LESBIAN’s book. And you’re pretty sure you heard a single D-beat somewhere. While your laptop speakers can try to accurately replicate the assault, it won’t be the same as how this band is meant to be experienced – in a tiny, dimly lit bunker of a venue surrounded by sage smoke, projected images of ritual and revolt, and a crowd of metalheads trying to wrap their head around the strange craft of the four sweat-drenched, gesticulating figures in front of them. It’s a flood of noise unlike any you’ve ever heard, massive and perpetual, and it certainly Isn’t a god.
Far from the full-fledged entity that lives today, the band began as a two-piece project composed of vocalist/guitarist Trent Boyd and founding drummer Sam Pickel. “It started out as just a bunch of shit in my room,” Boyd remembers, “That’s all it was. I’d been into hardcore and a bunch of stuff like that, and that was kind of what I wanted to play at first, y’know, math metal or something. And then I went and saw TOMBS and WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM open for PELICAN. I’d heard bands like EMPEROR, ENSLAVED, and MAYHEM from a couple friends I had that listened to that sort of black metal, but I didn’t know that anyone could do anything else with it. And when I saw that it was like, ‘Okay, this is cool, this is something that’s different than the norm.’ It’s not just this, I don’t know, ignorant sort of shit that was going on. That’s why I couldn’t attach myself to the other black metal that I had heard.” Years later, Boyd and Pickel laid the groundwork for the band’s first few songs and released a now-rare demo recording. “From the beginning I think we just wanted to play a show. I wanted to be able to play it live because its aggressive music, I think it lends itself in that way. There’s a lot of bands that are the one-man black metal project, and I love a lot of bands like that, but that’s not what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to play the stuff that I had always listened to and that’s the only way I can describe it.” After the addition of bassist Dustin Carroll, A God or An Other entered the studio to record their debut full-length, Towers of Silence, with engineer Jon Lervold who later replaced Pickel as the band’s drummer. Kyle Valery was brought in to fulfill second guitar duties. “It just became this, years later,” says Boyd. “It’s what, 4 years since the demo or something? It was so long ago.”
“You’re that old?” jokes Valery.
Boyd laughs. “Yeah.”
Bolstering their lineup throughout the past year, the changes A God or An Other have gone through since those early days have been immense. The experience of having three prolific songwriters, as well as bringing new visual elements to live shows, has been a transformative one. “We’ve been trying to spend the last year refining the new aesthetic that’s emerged as a result of having new personalities in the band,” explains Lervold, “but I think that also ties into learning what we are now, and I think we’ve finally found that during the last couple months. I think now we’re all on the same page about what direction to go with the whole aesthetic of the band. Like doing the visuals, what kind of stuff would fit in there? We wouldn’t have known 6 months ago, but now we have a better picture of what things we want to do with everything besides the music.”
“Even the old songs, they sound completely different,” says Boyd. “There’s one particular part in Xibalba, where every time Kyle’s guitar riff comes in, it’s just awesome. But it was never there in any of the recordings! So without having another person there, we would have never thought of that, nobody would have ever heard that. It adds a completely different layer to it."
“I enjoyed writing over the old stuff too,” Valery adds. “They were perfect frameworks.”
Carroll sums up the changes in a single line. “We always needed to be a 4 piece.”
Certainly, the musical package and live spectacle have changed with the times, and the band’s stage shows are far starker and more exposed than your standard metal live presence. Without corpsepaint, fake names, or isolation to hide behind, A God or an Other, with all their misanthropy, deliver a surprisingly human performance. You can tangibly sense the angst and raw emotion melting off every member, and the physicality never lets up, even through their 10-minute-plus epics. It’s black metal through and through, as cold as cold can be, but behind it is a hardcore or crust punk sensibility, a desire for realness. It doesn’t matter if you think they’re kvlt or not, since Boyd and crew have constructed their own definition of the word and are speeding towards the proverbial throne room at the helm of their own militia. Raise the flag high or get left behind.
KYLE: I just want to make sure that every fucking show I play, I’m about to pass out by the time I’m done.
So what feeds the flame? “Absolute nihilism,” Valery immediately responds. “Everything in this world is very clearly fucked, and getting way more fucked. We have this fucking gorgeous part of the country that we live in, a great mindset for the most part, compared to the rest of the country, and everyone outside of it is just fucked. And they’re all shitty, horrible fucking people, and cops are killing everybody, and just… We love what we’ve got here. And the music that’s here, and the people we meet. And there’s just so much shit outside of that. I just want to convey an absolute disgust and hatred for every fucking human being that tries to fuck with what is good in this world.”
“It’s more than that, though,” explains Carroll. “We’re not inherently angry people, the four of us. We’re just trying to be aware of how fucked things are, and trying not to be a part of that as much as we can. There’s no way not to be a part of the overall bullshit, but we’re very much a pro-Cascadian sovereignty movement of just cutting ourselves off from the rest of this broken, disgusting country, and not dealing with it. America as a whole is not a good place.”
If ever there were a record that encapsulated perfectly this fury and disgust, it would be Towers of Silence. Trembling open chords form a landscape vast and barren, vocals tearing open the ground and echoing across the expanse. Panicked snare rolls and staggered, discordant riffing call to mind God’s festering creation struggling against our downfall, all the while sinking further into the grave. But if ever there were a whisper of enduring beauty the human disease could comprehend, it would be that we weren’t made to be this way.
“I try to be out in nature as much as fucking possible,” Valery says.
“He’s search and rescue certified,” adds Carroll. “He gets called to go save people from ravines.”
“Or dead corpses out of the bottom of Snoqualmie Falls or something. It’s pretty messy,” laughs the former. “I just came out here, and this - the way everything looks – being in Florida, seeing this is like fucking heaven. And the music, Wolves and all that. I saw this region in that music.”
“We all feel a very deep connection with, not even necessarily just nature, but the physical existence,” Carroll expands, with a newfound air of solemnity. “Jon and I met in a class at Evergreen that was based around human consciousness and our place in the universe, and we studied some pretty far out there things, but it was all scientifically based. I don’t feel like any of us really hold any spiritual connections in any unexplainable ways, but we all have seen that there’s a lot of really interesting deeper things with science, especially with your actual connection to the world on a microbiological level, that is irrefutable and really beautiful and interesting, more so than the idea of an afterlife.”
“I think that something that we see on a daily basis, at least in the Pacific Northwest, is the direct connection between human life and nature,” says Boyd.
“And that’s something that really influences me, the way that there’s sort of a commune that goes on here between a lot of people and the natural world, and I really love that. Like we’ve all said, none of us were from here originally but I’ve lived here for 15 years now, so it’s something that’s definitely grown on me and influenced me.”
SENTINEL: You’ve got the Cascadian Yule Festival coming up. And you’ve done shows in forests before.
“In a way, everything always comes full circle,” Boyd muses, “and in a lot of ways, it’s the worst way possible… But here we have everything so great. In our state, it’s beautiful everyday we wake up. But it’s just terrible everywhere, and everything that humanity touches turns to shit, and all the time. In so many ways, that’s what we want to work with. There’s a lot of different levels to that, whether it’s everything that Kyle talked about or just human nature in itself, and the psyche constantly destroying ourselves.” And in A God or an Other’s music, it’s easy to find contemplations on how that could change. “Not exactly presenting the answers, but these ideas, these questions. These are things that everyone should be thinking about, y’know?”
“We don’t have any faith in humanity, at least I don’t,” asserts Lervold. “But we can work on ourselves, and we can work on our communities, and we can do the best that we can. And that’s what we’re getting at. Raise these questions, and even though who knows what’ll come of it, there’s a sliver of possibility that something may change and be better somewhere.”
“Options,” Valery nods. “At least vent some fucking anger.”
As for the band, don’t expect their agenda to slow anytime soon. “2015’s going to be very prolific for us,” Carroll says. “We’re working on touring, getting down to Portland soon, talking to a few different groups about doing splits. You can’t get more DIY than we are at this point. Jon has his recording studio, the means to produce tapes and CDs, and a screenprint setup. We’re open to the idea, but we don’t need a label right now, and we’re not in a huge rush to get on one. We can be a self-sufficient machine.”
Feb 27, 2015
My Interview with Atmospheric Post Black Metal Band from Seattle, Washington, USA - A GOD OR AN OTHER
Hi guys thanks for the interview and to get to know A God or an Other a bit more. How was last year (2014) for you guys?
2014 treated us very well. We added a second guitarist to our lineup and since then things have really been taking off. Last year we wrote a bunch of new material, played all over the Pacific Northwest, and got to make friends and play with some very well known bands that we really enjoy, including Circle Takes the Square, Wolves in the Throne Room, Year of No Light, and Fauna.
First off can you introduce the members in the band and what role do they play in the band?
Trent (guitar and vocals) is the originator of the band and it is probably fair to say that he is the director of the group. He also prints our shirts and patches with his screen printing setup.
Dustin (bass) is our main networking guy and booker. His list of friends and musical contacts is massive.
Jon (drums and vocals) joined at the end of 2013, replacing former drummer Sam Pickel. He owns Big Name Recording Studio, where we do all of our work, and also runs a printing business where we duplicate our CDs and cassettes.
Kyle (guitar and vocals) is the newest member, having started playing with us in January 2014. He is the final piece of the puzzle. He does a little bit of everything and adds that final layer that makes our band more than the sum of its parts.
Everything on Towers of Silence was written by Trent and Sam, but the new material is written by Trent, Kyle, and Jon, so we are moving in a pretty different direction now.
Who came up with the bands name A God or an Other? I do like the logo though because some bands have very long names and their logo are shit hehehe, by the way who designed the logo?
The band name is from a line in a book called House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The logo was designed by Georgi of Moonring Art Design.
I want to talk to you about the 2013 full-length album“ Towers of Silence”. I have heard it on band camp. Good sound and the rhythm of the guitars is awesome and the drumming. Anyway how was the recording process for that album?
Towers of Silence was recorded as a 3-piece featuring Trent, Dustin, and the previously mentioned Sam Pickel. Our current drummer Jon recorded and engineered the album at his studio, and that’s actually sort of how he came to join the band as a permanent member. A lot of great ideas flowed around, and we melded well in the studio together. We really found the band's voice more so while recording the full-length than ever before.
When will we see A God or an Other? Full-length album coming out or anything hehehehe?
We have a ton of new material and currently have 3 releases scheduled for 2015. The first will be a single song for an anti-fascist extreme music compilation album called Crushing Intolerance, Vol. 2, which was just recently released via Bandcamp, the second a 3 song split with our friends The Vatican, and the third a full length that we plan to put out toward the end of the year.
I have now heard a new music genre Atmospheric Post Black Metal. I know what black metal is but what about Atmospheric Post?
Basically, "Atmospheric" and "Post" are just fancy ways of saying modern or instrumental music that is constructed or arranged like a classical piece of music. Listen to the discography of Godspeed! You Black Emperor or Stars of the Lid; these are musicians that helped pioneer and form the foundation of this music. "Atmospheric Post Black Metal" is just a way of defining music that combines the harshness and aggression of Black Metal with the beauty, build up, and emotions of "Atmospheric Post".
I know USA are big on there metal music but what is the metal scene like over in Seattle, Washington?
The Pacific Northwest as a whole has a great music scene full of talented, supportive artists. Several of the better venues are owned/operated/staffed by fellow musicians, so the scene tends to be a very tight-knit community. Bands like Bell Witch, Czar, He Whose Ox is Gored, Eye of Nix, Isenordal, Brain Scraper, The Vatican, Eigenlicht, Un, and countless others in the area create unique, heavy music that brings something new to the genre. We’re very thankful to be where we are.
That last question I just said well you know Indonesia is a country of metal music they love it is number one followed by there religion. Anyhow the late John Yoedi (RIP) co-founder of Busuk Webzine was also from Indonesia, so have you heard of any Indonesian bands?
The band Ghaust is the only Indonesian band we are familiar with, but they are amazing! I believe they are/were from Jakarta. We generally pay attention to what’s going on in the metal scene around France/Denmark/Belgium more than anywhere else in the world, but we’d be intrigued at the idea of touring Indonesia and performing with artists from the area.
I am going to throw this question in, I am from Australia so how about Australian Metal Bands?
Portal and Mournful Congregation are our favorite Aussies. We played with King Parrot a few months ago as well. Those guys are great.
Now going back to the 2013 full-length album “Tower of Silence” now when bands produced an album there songs are about 3 – 4 minutes but when listening to your one the first track off the album ‘Synesthesia’ goes fro 11minutes and 31 seconds. Why so long bro?
We feel it is important to write what comes naturally to us, and not to cater to any standards. Some of our newer material is shorter, closer to 5 minutes for an average song. We’re never worried about whether a song is within the lengths required to get it on the radio, and we don’t set out with the intention of writing super-long epic songs either.
Where can we buy you cd and other merch such as t-shirts etc?
Our Bandcamp page is currently the most reliable way to get anything from us other than coming to a live show. We screenprint our own patches and shirts, and produce our own CDs and cassette tapes. We aren’t on a label and we don’t go through any merch companies. We strive to be as DIY and self-contained as possible.
Ok I am going to throw in this last question hehehehe. If you had a chance you could do a split cd with any band in this world how would you love to do a split cd with and why?
Honestly, we would just want it to be with someone who is like-minded and shares the same ideals as us. We are influenced by many bands, but our art is incredibly important to us. As awesome as it would be to work with some of our favorite bands, you never know what is going to happen when you work with someone on a personal level. That being said, we love the idea of doing splits with bands that are from a different genre than us. It offers a lot more to the listener.
Well thank you guys so much and I finally got to know a little bit more about A God or an Other. I wish you success and I hope you tour Australia and Indonesia some day. Are there any last words you want to say to the reader out there?
We would love to play either Australia or Indonesia if the opportunity ever rises.
Feb 17, 2015
BLACK METAL ALLIANCE: CRUSHING INTOLERANCE VOL. 2
Yesterday a collective of metal artists who call themselves the Black Metal Alliance released a digital comp on Bandcamp that includes a whopping 22 songs by 22 bands. This compilation was organized by Chase of Deafest and Paul of Twilight Fauna and bears the title Crushing Intolerance Vol. 2. Although the album is a “pay what you want” download, the Alliance says that any and all contributions will go to 350.org, a grassroots organization dedicated to combating climate change. The very cool cover art was created by Dennis Lee Hughes.
I learned about the comp through a Facebook post by a Seattle band named A God Or An Other, who recorded a new song for this comp. I’ve seen and heard their name a lot, because they gig a lot in the Seattle area, but I’ve somehow failed to see any of their performances. That’s going to change soon, because their song blew me away.
The name of the song is “No Shepherds” and it fucking rips — a furious, fire-breathing amalgam of black metal, crust, sludge, and post-metal (among other styles) that features rapid tempo changes, a lot of riveting instrumental flair, and unexpected streams of memorable melody. It’s both intense and mentally engrossing, and the acidic, sandblasting vocals will melt skin and peal paint from the walls. I really can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover this band (their debut album is available here).
March 13, 2014
P.Wrecks pointed me to this release a while ago, but I've only come around to it now. It's an American post-black band with their first full-length album. The roughly hour long release features 8 tracks, which I may add is a great length and track number for such a release.
I note strong atmospheric and ambient black metal influences in this album. No longer these guys have been taking notes from artists which led the third wave of black outside of Europe, especially in America. The sound is distorted and raw, yet very well processed and mastered, so it's not sharp as hell. The last track even features acoustic guitars for the most part which made me smile.
One thing that particularly stands out to me is the sixth track called “Xibalba”. There is a Mexican raw black metal band that's called that, which leads me to think that this release has possible tribute traits coming with it too. Overall it's a pretty intense album with choking shrieks of desperation and messy drums, with fast, persistent layers of guitars. You can ask no more from a post-black release.
Although it appears that the physical copies have gone already, you should not think twice to hook yourself up with a free copy of it or at least listen to it. You could even support them by giving them a few cents so they continue to develop. I'd be looking forward to their future work. Release below.
December 26, 2013
Obcas me to prepadne a toulám se. Tentokrát me toulavá zavedla do vod hlubokého undergroundu a snažil jsem se objevovat. A objevil. První, co mi padlo do oka, byl vydarený obal, pusobící na me jako magnet. Dalším bodem a duvodem zaobírat se a vyslechnout A GOD OR AN OTHER byla žánrová škatulka, která jim byla prirazena. Experimental black metal, post hardcore, sludge.
Kapel kombinujících HC a black metal vzniká denne takové množství, že už to nejde ani sledovat, v Cechách to tak úplne neplatí, ale i tento trend k nám rácil dorazit. Experti na tento styl, který nejvhodneji vyjadruje pojmenování cascadian black metal, jsou predevším kapely z Ameriky. Charakteristickým pro ne je, že mají stejne daleko/blízko k HC/punku, jako k ocelove znejícím spolkum. V tomto bode žádnou revoluci nezapocali ani A GOD OR AN OTHER, jenže to, jakým stylem se prezentují na své debutové desce, me nenechává klidným.
A GOD OR AN OTHER sami uvádejí, že je ovlivnily takové kapely, jako jsou DEATHSPELL OMEGA, BLUT AUS NORD, AGALLOCH, ale treba i AMENRA, a v neposlední rade RUSSIAN CIRCLES, což jenom potvrzuje to, co už bylo výše receno. Je fajn, že A GOD OR AN OTHER nemlží a jdou se zdrojem své inspirace ven. Ono ale není až tak težké v jejich soundu zmínené vlivy vypozorovat, takže priznání se jeví jako polehcující okolnost.
A GOD OR AN OTHER vznikli puvodne jako dvojice. Dohromady se dali kytarista Trenton Boyd a bubeník Sam Pickel, oba dva krome svých nástroju trápí i hlasivky. Popravde, nejsem úplne schopen rozlišit, který hlas komu patrí a je mi to i celkem jedno. Vokál obou dvou mi prijde hodne podobný a nazval bych ho standardním blackovým skrehotem. Pred nahráváním „Towers of Silence“ doplnil sestavu na trio basák Dustin Carroll, jehož nástroj je z desky cítit, ale v podstate jen kopíruje kytarové linky a ze skladeb je zretelné, že vznikaly na základe komunikace bicí – kytara.
Jak z podstaty tohoto stylu vyplývá, zálibu v jednotlivých skladbách a schopnost rozlišit je od sebe, je možno pocítit ažs dostatecným poctem poslechu, což už je samo o sobe docela výzvou. „Towers of Silence“ totiž dosahuje sedmdesáti minut délky. Ústrední kreativní duo má muj obdiv, i pri tak macaté stopáži nemám pocit, že by bylo neco navíc, nebo snad, že by neco chybelo. Naopak je cítit, s jakým zápalem je album vytvorené. Dumyslne se prolévající blackové pasáže, kdy nechybí ani ty nejrychlejší blast beaty, a pochopitelne se dostává v hojné míre na typické post vlny, jsou predpisové. Stejne jako se to darí i jiným a známejším spolkum, i A GOD OR AN OTHER mají naprosto dokonale zvládnuté prechody mezi temito ješte nedávno opacnými svety hudebního spektra. V jednu chvíli se buší do vrat, devastuje a nicí, za chvíli se díky zpomalení nadnášíte ve vzduchu za poslechu „post“ vyhrávek, a je jedno, jestli jim víc sluší prívlastek rockové, metalové nebo hardcore.
Pres práh a do uší si už nepouštím každého, prehazuju, trídím, odmítám, ale jak se v prípade A GOD OR AN OTHER ukázalo, má smysl objevovat a pídit se. Na poli experimentalního black metalu zpoza Atlantiku se jedná o jednu z nejzajímavejších desek, které jsem mel letos možnost slyšet.
Nejvetší facku mi kluci uštedrili, když jsem se díval na jejich živá videa. Podle vzhledu se v podstate jedná o teenagery, kterí vypadají, že jim ješte ani fousy nerostou. Klobouk dolu pred nimi, konecne jednou taky kapela, v které nehrají prim jenom tricetiletí a ty ješte dríve narození. Tahle mladá krev je dobrá krev.
December 25, 2013
With the demise of my own site I’ve decided to return to this site for reviews and such things. So my presence will increase (beyond one post every six months or so…), so sorry for those who aren’t fans of the heavier side of rock music (otherwise called metal). So I decided that my first post in a long time would bring to light a bunch of albums that come from the genre known as “post-metal” or “thinking man’s metal” by some.
Beginning with what is probably the least traditional of all of these records is the debut full-length from A God or An Other. Unlike the other albums mentioned below, this album takes more of a black metal approach but what better way to open up an “review” of post-metal records than with a record that actually goes against the trend? One has to break the ice somehow and this is the perfect album to do so. Towers of Silence is what can be called a post-black metal record, for those not familiar with the genre, but unlike the dozens of bands and projects that have popped up in recent years that suckle at the teat of bands like Alcest, A God or An Other takes that commonly associated sound from that genre and morphs it into something strangely more dissonant and unsettling. The band appear to share more in common with groups like the sadly laid-to-rest Altar of Plagues and to a lesser degree Deathspell Omega, channeling a similar discordant playing style to the latter while maintaining the scope and epic nature of the former. The reason I mention it in conjunction with these other records is to show what one can do with this sound if they truly wish to try and do something different and interesting. Am I saying this record is perfect – no. There’s some production elements that I think distract from this really being a fantastic record (the drums sound way to dry for the more reverbed tone of the guitars and bass in my opinion) but to say that distracts from enjoying what this record is would be wrong. This is a damn good debut full-length that shows a lot of promise. If tracks like “Synesthesia” and “Defiled Ossuary” are anything to go off of, this band could really do something special in the future. If this record sounds interesting to you definitely go and check this album out here.
... [continues in link]
December 15, 2013
An epic, sprawling album of Progressive Black Metal. It seems that a lot of thought has gone into the composition of this album and it has certainly paid off as this is a release that the term Supreme Black Metal Art could have been coined for.
The Black Metal they play is far-reaching, without ever sounding sloppy or ill-conceived, and absorbs the listener in a trip to the underworld and back. Sometimes frightening, sometimes enlightening, always essential.
This is an album for people who are not afraid to take their time and get to know it. Yes there is plenty here to like on first, cursory listen, but it’s only on repeated listens that it gives up its secrets. A riff here, a melody there. Music to grow to and grow into.
I highly recommend this album. It twists and turns and takes the best that Black Metal has to offer and wraps it in a Progressive sheen and a sound that’s as sharp as betrayal. You must listen. You must submit.
September 24, 2013
A God or an Other tiptoe a fine, contentious line within their genre. There’s something about black metal that draws from diverse interests such as doom, post-rock, hardcore, shoegaze and neofolk that puts purists on edge. Since the release of Towers of Silence, A God or an Other have been frequently pigeonholed into boxes such as “Cascadian metal” and, god forbid, “hipster metal”. Their harshest critics assume that anything other than Christ-hating, limp-fisted, red-faced hatred cannot be considered “true” black metal, and that A God or an Other should be written off as a trendy flight of fancy.
Let’s be honest: this “no mosh, no core, no fun” mentality has become seriously stale. Furthermore, to concede that all metal that sounds vaguely organic or spiritual must come from the same area of the country is nothing more than farce. While A God or an Other do hail from the Pacific Northwest, they are far more than some tree-hugging, sage-burning bohemians. There is nothing here that would ever evoke Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s pontification. This is a band that has spun a masterpiece out of influences so diverse they shouldn’t even work together. Towers of Silence is a monolith of numinous black metal, one which has every right to blow the faces off its naysayers.
So what is it that makes A God or an Other controversial? Is it their fearlessness in the face of the dreaded major chord? Or their riffs that, while intense, feel like a cleansing rain instead of a murky slough? The first sign that this album is something special comes from the muted trumpet solo that wafts in halfway through album opener “Synesthesia”. A God or an Other, like Taake before them with their out-of-nowhere banjo solo, have thrown a completely atypical instrument into a sprawling metal track, and against all odds it works beautifully.
As the album progresses, A God or an Other continue to weave their influences together with a deft hand. Gentle major-scale arpeggios on “Defiled Ossuary” radiate warmth, while bracing doom progressions lay on like a cleansing siege in “…and All the World a Great Stained Altar Stone”. Thick, hardcore- and doom-influenced chords drop like someone letting go of an armful of bricks. There are shades of Agalloch on album closer “Agate Passage”, while “Unbroken Reign of Glacial Death” heaps on harrowing, Leviathan-esque malcontent and “Xibalba” builds to a crisp tremolo storm over skittering hailstone drums.
While many aspects of Towers are soaring and ambitious, it is still raw, powerful black metal at its core. There is some muscular, gravelly bass holding this record down, and the vocals are a pure archetypal black metal rasp, like a strange, withered creature crying out in a dark cave. Like much black metal, this is a wintry-sounding album, but not necessarily a cold, lifeless one: think thawing your snow-chapped face by a fire, not dying in a blizzard. Fittingly, as the days begin to get darker and colder, A God or an Other have quite a few local shows coming up, so keep an eye out for their signature fortress of fog machines and live visuals on a local stage. Or check them out here: www.agodoranother.bandcamp.com
August 24, 2013
A God Or An Other is an Experimental Post-Black Metal Band from Seattle, Washington, USA
The members are:
Sam Pickel: Drums/Vocals
Trent Boyd: Guitars/Vocals
Dustin Carroll: Bass
I originally featured this brilliant band back in Dec 2011 when I reviewed their excellent debut demo. Now the guys are back louder and angrier than ever. They have also managed to recruit a bass player and they sound more complete as a band.
They have just released their superb debut album - Towers of Silence. And what a fucking album it is. OK it does have the original demo's 3 tracks included here but they have been re-recorded and they sound better than ever.
The album runs for 72 mins and features some epic Post-Black Metal riffs tinged with heavy slabs of Psych Sludge Metal to fuck up your entire day!!!
A God Or An Other are one of the most uncompromising and brutal bands currently out there. Towers Of Silence proves they are a force to be reckoned with. If you're looking for something brutal, heavy and dangerous then this is the album for you. Check out the brilliant tracks - "From The Lowest Dungeon, To the Highest Peak", "Not an Eye Was Left Open to Weep for the Dead" and "Agate Passage".
All expertly written from this hugely talented band. The album does have some beautiful quiet post-rock moments thrown in amongst the chaos but it never stays quiet for long. The dual vocals of Trent and Sam are far too dangerous for the band to be quiet for long periods. They are pissed off at the world and they are going to unleash their anger and fury at the entire world. So either join them or perish in the untold destruction that is left behind.
If you're a fan of Wolves In The Throne Room or THOU then your going to feel right at home here. As the band have some dangerous vibe as those two legendary bands. I am just warning you that you will be in for a very bleak ride indeed. Moods and riffs collide into a war of noise and it's impossible to escape from.
This is an incredible album from these hugely talented extreme metallers. It has taken me a while to listen to since the band contacted me in early July to check out their new album. At times I was afraid to look around me as the band will give you a sense of fear or dread for the world you live in.
Towers Of Silence will hopefully give A God Or An Other some much needed exposure as they deserve to terrify the hell out of a bigger audience as possible. I loved this album and if you're into extreme music this could become one of your fave records of 2013.
A brilliant and powerful record from one of the best extreme metal bands I have heard in ages.
You can download this now on BandCamp Buy Now Download. So headover there now if you want some new nightmares to scare the living hell out of you.
Excellent and Highly Recommended.
August 9, 2013
Experimental black metal band, A God or an Other, will debut their album "Towers of Silence" on a limited CD run through Seattle's Alive & Breathing Records. The full-length is a collection of the group's first two EPs, re-recorded as a full three-piece outfit with proper production, including new songs never before released. The record showcases the group's ability to blend their unique style of psychedelic black metal, atmospheric post-rock and crushing doom. Drawing comparisons to groups such as Altar of Plagues, Deathspell Omega, and Thou.
The current line-up, formed in spring of 2012, has performed alongside peers such as Velnias, Abigail Williams, SubRosa, Lycus, Ceremonial Castings and Hull. The new record has already sold-out of self-released cassettes and seen reviews on numerous music sites around the world, specifically garnering high interest in Europe and Latin America.
June 6, 2013
This is the final review of a recording from A God Or An Other which continues their hybrid of black metal, sludge, experimental and post rock with the full length being self released in 2013 and called "Towers Of Silence".
Drums range from slow, mid paced to fast drumming with a great amount of blast beats being thrown into the music, while the bass playing which is utilized for the first time has a very dark tone with riffs that follow the riffing that are coming out of the guitars and at times they have a very powerful sound to them, as for the trumpets and samples which are only used briefly bring a very dark and experimental sound to the album.
Rhythm guitars range from slow, mid paced to fast riffs that combine raw and primitive sounding black metal with sludge, experimental and post rock together to create a sound of their own with some melody being thrown into the riffing at times as well as a great amount of heavy distortion, as for the lead guitars which are only used briefly are very distorted and melodic sounding post metal guitar solos and leads, as for the acoustic guitars they are only utilized on the last song and use finger picking and full chords to add more variety to the album.
Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal s creams with some spoken word samples being utilized at times, while the lyrics cover dark, metaphysical and occult themes, as for the production it has a very dark, heavy, raw and primitive sound with the songs being long and epic in length.
In my opinion this is another great sounding recording from A God Or An Other and if you are a fan of experimental, post black metal, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "From The Lowest Dungeon, to The Highest Peak" "Unbroken Reign Of Glacial Death" and "Defiled Ossuary". RECOMMENDED BUY.
May 31, 2013
I discovered A god or an Other, from Seattle, after they released an interesting demo back in 2011 (HERE you'll find my review of their demo plus an interview with their guitarist).
they now continue to do good with the release their first album called Towers of silence. their music is some hybrid metal, melting elements from black metal for the vocals and the dark vibes, post rock / doom for the amosphere building and a bit of dark psychedelia. the songs that were in the demo are included int he album but in a different version, with a better sound of course, and also different arrangements, for exemple the new trumpet parts in synesthesia works really well.
if you're into atmospheric black metal or atmospheric dark metal in general it's a recommended listen.
check it on their BC page.
April 20, 2013
Here's an up and coming Seattle black metal band with a sweet new record, released yesterday, April 19 on Alive and Breathing Records.
A God or an Other recorded "Towers of Silence" as a three-piece and it's quite good. The album is streaming on their Bandcamp page.
They've got a definite psychedelic black metal thing going. It's brutal and it will take you out of your body, lifting your soul above the trees.
I think TOS is fucking awesome. Way to go, guys. This album rules. The band traverses all corners of the black metal universe, from the old and crusty to the new and spacey, to the French stylings of Deathspell Omega, and to the Cascadian rhythms of Wolves in the Throne Room. But they've got their own thing going on, that's unlike either of the above bands.
Everything's on point here. Producer Jon Lervold did his job well. The guitar, bass, drums, and vocals are mixed evenly so that you can hear everything. I like being able to hear bass in black metal, it's nice, because the guitars are always so gainy and crushing. The guitar's tone is tamed down a bit, just enough so that he's not too far out there in the land of treble and distortion. It's kind of like an organic distortion.
Well-played, instrumentalists. Good job on the vocals, guitarist.
Seattle black metal. Hail. Modern metal that does not suck.
Running favorite track: Unbroken Reign of Glacial Death. An other good moment is when Xibalba goes from lightning-fast and accurate black metal to crushing doom. Wykkyd.
December 21, 2011
If you want to be an awesome metal band like Seattle's A God Or An Other, first thing is to have a cool album cover. This one is like Dali meets Roberto Matta. I mean you can't go wrong.
But then you have to back it up and actually be awesome, and I quite dig their atmospheric neo-North American black metal thing they have going on. But then you have to have awesome titles too. So these guys have this one (Synesthesia), and also Xibalba, also Not An Eye Was Left Open to Weep For the Dead.