Here in the Graveyard, we vehemently oppose any blasphemous rhetoric against the sacred spice. No, not that synthetic stuff that’ll have you scratching at avocados in your kitchen thinking you’re gouging out the eyeballs of some kind of Satan-centaur in the second circle of hell. I refer instead to the divine work of Gourd, known to transform everything from hot lattes to Hot Pockets into a misty, leaf-covered Pinterest scape. Perhaps what’s even more triggering than peasants failing to accept that something is stupid good is the fact that no one asks why pumpkin space, or autumn more generally, has become so fetishized. Bandwagons tend to exist for more complex reasons beyond being programed to be steel beam-meltingly annoying sheeple.
For one, a change of a season brings about an exercise for the senses that make us feel like we’re, you know, alive and not just adrift in a meaningless, stagnant void (well, we kind of are, but that’s besides the point). Everything from the clothes we put on to the weight of the air that hits us as we walk outside feels new again. The distraction spurred by this conscious recognition not only distracts us from our personal problems and daily monotony, but makes these things seem quite small as our external environment is performing its one-person show, “This, Too, Shall Pass” right in front of our feels.
But what about fall in particular is so goddamned special, you ask? Well, young son, fucking think about it. It’s forever linked to a pretty intense change that literally everyone experiences in their life unless you’re in a Jesus cult or a wild child discovered on a desert island at the age of 18 — going back to school. It’s also the kickoff to the Halloween-New Year’s bender that nearly everyone appreciates in some capacity as members of the absurd Western capitalist melting pot regardless of whether or not you’re Jewish, “spiritual but not religious,” or fuck with that noodle strainer hat shit. It’s just a majestic fucking time of year. Spring? What’s spring got? Fucking Arbor Day? Easter? Well, there are a fair number of vegans now, so instead of eggs, we have to hide bananas, which, let me tell you, is not fucking easy. It’s what I would imagine trying to conceal a boner in public is like.
When I was a gal, being #basic meant reveling in summer, which was showcased by the nice tan you got with your friends with a little help of daddy’s pool membership. Bear in mind, this was also back when daddy still referred to the man from whom you were ejaculated instead of the man who ejaculates into you. But, we’ve really stepped it up since then by coming to accept the finer, more subtle nuances of life, whether that means getting swaddled in soft flannel or choked by a father figure. Personally, I think the collectively piqued human interest is pretty exciting and demonstrates how we’re capable of relating to each other on some level no matter how differently we may grow otherwise. I’m not resentful that the same Cute Girls™ who picked on me in school while I was whiskey tango Elvira-ing in the corner and counting down the days in my homework agenda until my October birthday turned my fall fondling into a full-on circle jerk. If anything, I’m glad we’re all become woke to the fact that swimming upstream in vagina stew all day because you’re too covered in mosquito bites to wear weather-appropriate shorts is nothing at all to celebrate.
Unfortunately, there’s that particular breed of asshole who constantly likes to hate things because they’ve become popular with no substantive criticism beyond that mere fact. Perhaps they’re the few persistent summer-lovers who feel a type of way that tanning your dusty ass into a date and coconut flake trail mix isn’t the shit anymore. Regardless, they let out their misguided battle cry of how PSL’s are *~sO dIsGuStInG~* and the course of human progress staggers back a couple of paces. Listen up you fucking hamsters: if you chug a warm, sugar-laden espresso drink, chances are you’re going to feel queasy afterwards, regardless of whether or not the syrup flavor is pumpkin, caramel, or bananas fucking foster. Sip and savor and don’t just pound it like it’s the 7-Eleven drip cup of tears you get when you’re trying to sober up enough to drive home. But, there are some choice friends out there who need that bang-bang-bang chugga-chugga-chugga (or alternatively, butt-chugga), like, say, BM traditionalists. But, there are also many others who need that atmospheric subtlety to feel like what they’re listening to isn’t going unconsciously in and out.
But hey, perhaps I should rein in my rage a bit here. I really don’t care what you like or dislike; just don’t go putting down stuff that other people do if it serves no further insight or greater purpose beyond that you’re scared of a cultural shift and aim to make yourself feel superior in every last possible context. Go ahead and talk shit, but if someone asks you to elaborate, there best be some substance there (and not K2). At the risk of this extended metaphor getting any more out of hand, I’ll speed us up to the point finish line: here are albums, big and small, I’ve been liking and think compliment the season well. I think I’ve gone through great lengths to provide a descriptive introduction because, as far as I know, there isn’t a neat and tidy sub-genre into which they comfortably fit. Post-metal or post-black still feel like too broad of quick-hands in that they provide a cool escape from both the oppressive heat of traditional church burning lore and hot breath of pretension. Interestingly, they demonstrate progress by elaborating on the roots of the naked trees — our relationship with folk, our unbending forage for void-fill, and more humble times from a perspective in line with legacy, but far enough removed from its seeds to offer new questions raised by traditional metal themes.
Eneferens (US) – Eventide (2017)
Within the diverse realm of post-black, one more decisive commonality has been the shying away from satanism — not due to a lack of appreciation for its martyrs or tenets, but perhaps rather out of a desire to explore the broader existential strokes that paint our postmodern existence. The awe of resilience is one integral component of the cautious humanism that modern metal tends to profess, and the concept of Eventide is the living embodiment of exactly that. Recorded to raise funds to replace stolen equipment, the acoustic venture is an ode to Eneferens’ willingness to explore the full stylistic potential of black metal, as well as his commitment to salvaging the glitter within the grit. The modest trend of the darkest bands trying their hand at the unplugged is shapeshifting black metal into a more digestible form, spreading the fun for everyone. Abrasiveness is more subtle, but will leave you equally shooketh in the same fashion of decaying leaves against an overcast sky — it may not hit you quite as quickly as the sun or stars, but when it does, it becomes an all-encompassing obsession.
Grift (SE) – Arvet (2017)
Grift is a gift discovered in the corners of Bandcamp that keeps on giving by operating on a one-of-a-kind trajectory that refreshes the soul with each listen. While Eneferens, for instance, takes exploration of the fringes chapter by chapter, Grift blends them together into a singular narrative, boldly combining blast beats with DSBM-style vocals and acoustic undertones propounded with a genuine investment in wanting to provide a takeaway. Keeping up with the new generational norms, there is an embracing of nihilism which, ironically, provides room to carve out our own personal meaning making. Arvet translates to “the legacy,” demonstrating how we’re continuing our story by building off and ultimately transforming the blocks of the past. The album, thus, conjures up memories of seasons past to build a new fantastic refuge. And Damn, what a beautiful concept — one only elaborated on by the name Grift or “grave.” It could be referring to the literal glory hole, but also the adjective: “serious, important, weighty, profound.” Lest we forget, at any given time, we are at a turning point waiting to be awoken by the hands of human actors.
King Woman (US) – Created in the Image of Suffering (2017)
Much like our personally victimized punkin spice, Created, the rockiest and doomiest of the batch, has been the target of some misguided grumblings across a blogsphere inclined to raise the torches of overrated and overhyped. In-step with my previous assertions, I heartily stand by this new classic. Having made the decision to part ways with the ever-controversial Bay Area footgaze outfit, Whirr, Kristina Esfandiari has managed to use King Woman to carve out her own space in an otherwise oversaturated and obscured area of the country as far as post- is concerned. Like modern art, or perhaps seemingly bare-bones “caveman battle doom,” King is the product of deceptively expert craft. Personally, I know if I attempted the same kind of longingly toned down chant-wails I would sound like something along the lines of Patrick Star on benzos. In line with the others, while the initial experience doesn’t hit you over the head like a sunny day, each listen brings a new level of appreciation as the palette acquires a taste for some lit ass spice cake over chocolate Funfetti. Also to be admired is the work’s thematic feats, which allegedly explore the topic of religious abuse — surpassing the regular philosophical approach that metal has taken to oppressive dogma and digging instead in the direction of release from its nitty gritty effects.
Myrkur (DK) – Mareridt (2017)
Mareridt is a good album. It’s sad that we live in a world where I have to tell you that, yet, here I am having to repeatedly offer my modest endorsements in order to defend great things. If my memory serves me correctly, just last year, all-instrumentalist Amalie Bruun was receiving death threats for having the audacity to be a woman taking a unique approach to a previously formulaic genre. Fortunately, since the cult around M (2015) has only continued to grow, high-anticipation surrounding Mareridt has developed into some persistently positive reception as we’ve, again, come to accept the finer things in life. In a similar spirit to Grift, Myrkur resuscitates the legacy of ancestral lore to awaken a beautiful new beast of its own. Bruun’s signature clean singing gives way to a clear voice as the album transitions periodically into abrasive tracks that stand in refreshing contrast to the convenience store approach to black metal. And with that, it appears as though I already have something to write on my Thanksgiving hand turkey.
Jenna (@jennagiselle on instagram)