Flight of Sleipnir – Skadi

Here’s another example of a black metal(ish) masterpiece that operates totally in it’s own soundworld. I wanted to post this one right after Black Anvil because I think these two albums really showcase how brilliant black metal can be with very different examples.

Flight Of Sleipnir plays a hybrid of black metal and stoner metal that doesn’t sound strangely juxtaposed or awkward. It sounds natural and totally ungimmicky. The music compositionally leans in the stoner metal direction with emphasis on simple riffs with lots of repetition but has many aesthetic elements from black metal like the screamed vocals and the buzzsaw guitars. There’s also elements of 70s prog and psychedlic rock on here as well. I would also check out their cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Echoes”.

This is not an incredibly dense band. What I love about these songs is that they use simple music to convey complex emotions. They need not use parlor tricks to make you feel deeply. That’s one reason why this album may be my album of the month and a contender for album of the year. It’s full of beautiful music that takes you to a different realm.

Take the first track for instance where just a few riffs get repeated and transported into different guitar tones with various drum set supports until finally, the music comes to a breath-taking halt and we hear two otherworldly voices in harmony (in fact, they sort of remind me of Fleet Foxes, ON A METAL RECORD!!!) lull the listener into comfort and warmth. Then, as the tension peaks, the riff comes back. While the guitars are powerful here, the real star is drummer, David Csicsely, whose amazing fills completely fulfill what all that tension built us up for. Every track maintains it’s own identity and never leaves you wanting to skip any of it.

This music is beautiful, sparingly aggressive, always emotionally powerful, full of variety, and mesmerizing in it’s simple, yet effective approach. I highly recommend it.





Lo-Pan – In Tensions

Lo-Pan packs a lot of fun into this short EP. Based on the lyrics, I believe this to be a concept EP, as a lot of the lyrics seem connected through themes of the ocean, personal development, and journeys. You can hear those themes, not only in the lyrics, but in the music itself with its swaying and rocking that keeps your head bobbing the whole time. I wouldn’t call this album straight stoner metal but it certainly uses the stoner metal aesthetic as its main color. There’s lots of other colors though: sludge metal, progressive rock, classic rock. Lo-Pan does a wonderful job of presenting all of them, never relying on the boring cliches of any of them. The closest comparison I can make is if Baroness went further in the direction that they’ve been going, got groovier, and got a higher vocalist. Which brings me to…

I think the highlight of the EP is Jeff Martin‘s voice. His vocal style might be commonplace in a power metal or traditional metal band, but here, his clean, soaring highs combined with the grittier, doomier instruments makes Jeff quite the unique feature. Jeff knows when to lay on the swagger and when to fall back into a more emotional tone. His voice perfectly compliments the work of guitarist Chris Thompson who creates beautiful, melodic waves of chords as well as hard-hitting riffs. Skot Thompson and Jesse Bartz provide a groovy backdrop for these two, making this album more of a heavy rock album.

Overall, I would love to see what these guys do on their next full length. This EP was enjoyable and left me wanting more.