Blacklodge – “SolarKult”

Published by The Metal Observer:

Warning to all Black Metal fans. Prepare for a new experience unlike any other so far explored by your precious genre. It started with Mysticum planting the seeds, and Aborym‘s cultivation: a virus spreading through the French underground. Industrial Black Metal can no longer be contained, and Blacklodge has pioneered this monstrous fusion to the next level. At last, pulsating industrial beats meet blackened fury without compromise or adulteration.

We’re not talking about your minimalist Blut Aus Nord approach. The riffs on Solarkult are more technical, but in line with both the Black Metal vibe and the myriad industrial beats hammering below them. What’s so special about this band is the frequent use of EDM-style synthesized drums, as opposed to the standard “rock kit” drums programmed by bands like Limbonic Art. The difference you feel is the bass drum playing a larger role, acting as the beating heart of the album. Oftentimes it carries the rhythm on its own without the snare. This is also effective in blast-beat sections where the bass drum is the only one keeping time.

This album is so surgically engineered that it’s even devoid of keyboards. There’s no need for catchy keys to distract any listener who dedicates his or herself to uncovering the deeper meaning within the guitar lines. Songs like “Angels Refinery” and “Templars” will be most ear-pleasing on the first listen, but once you get used to this unusual sound, you’ll become equally entranced by the less accessible tracks. And with over an hour of material to navigate through, you could listen to this album twenty times and still get hooked on a certain song like didn’t like before. Slowly but surely, it all makes sense.

One reason this album endures so well is its dual nature. Since this is both a Metal album and an Industrial album, you could listen to it both ways. Two magnets of opposite polarities become twice as powerful when combined, but when pulled apart they are still effective on their own. Subtract the computerized beats, putting a real drummer behind these riffs, and you have a quality Black Metal album. Take away the guitars from these techno drums, and it still stands on its own in the eyes of industrial enthusiasts (industrialists?).

This union of Black Metal and Industrial pervades the lyrics entirely. Ever since Mysticum started the whole “Planet Satan Revolution,” many bands in the same vein have conceptualized the dark lord as a pharmaceutical medium. Solarkult seems to be a concept album about how Satan enslaves humanity through drugs and technology. However you interpret it, what Saint Vincent sings about is as darkly bizarre as his delivery, as if your typical Black Metal vocalist was committed to an insane asylum.

Solarkult is almost frightening in how it so perfectly combines two distinct genres without making concessions. This is a must for those not offended by mixing Industrial into their Black Metal. On the flip side, Industrial fans looking into extreme Metal can use this to acclimatize. But whichever your persuasion, this is guaranteed to be one of your most unique listening experiences. Whether you headbang to the riffs or dance to the beat, this is well worth your dedication. 

( Online August 28, 2008 )


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