It’s all the same to me
– By Ivan Gossage –
I’ll admit it, I don’t listen to much raw black metal. I’m not sure why – it has just never appealed to me much, albeit with a few infrequent exceptions. Thus, it surprised even me when I came across the title track of Eternal Black Transmissions, the newest offering from Birmingham’s THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT, and I was immediately compelled to seek it out for a full listen. Thereafter, the stars aligned; I am now beyond honored to both present the exclusive full-stream of it here today in a partnership between Repose Records, Black Metal Daily and Order ov the Black Arts YouTube, and to announce that cassette orders have gone live this very moment – so now all may bear witness to this perilous but surprisingly luminous journey towards total darkness.
‘The Rise of the Godless Tyrant’ ascends from the depths, ringing synth flanking a ponderous cadence with such apparent inevitability that this entity almost seems to rather descend from above as a veil of wondrous, exquisite, potent dread upon the psyche. Initially, all appears to be chaos; a writhing cyclone of dense noise, frenzied hammering and ragged, buried shrieks just as ‘Lightning Scars Across A Dead Planet’, ravaged by apocalyptic hurricanes. Yet there is a settling into distortion and synth; layered echoes of torturous voice… and when that storm returns the bedlam has been focused into a more direct and tangible malevolence, tinged with eerie ambience. The ‘Holy War of the Lesser Light’ ensues, commencing with a belligerent, galloping audacity which carries both a raw, scathing hostility and a tyrannical grandiosity. A suffocating murk snuffs this momentum, slowly replacing air as the listener is beckoned ‘Beyond The Spectral Veil’, gently tugged and coaxed with ebbs of blackened waves in slow motion… peaceful in rest, serene in death but never really dead.
‘Come And See’, the ominous choirs drone; dully glimmering synth hovering above whispers of a poisonous breath. Consumed with anxious riffs we find ‘Watching The Passing Of Time As Light Leaving The Body’, straightforward blasting soon alternating with now welcome headlong punkish insensitivity as agonizing guitar progression and desperate vocals assail; before fading into a cold, void-like outro, haunted with apparitional winds. The oppressive and impetuous rage of closing track “Eternal Black Transmissions” progressively sorts itself out, the initial cacophony fading into familiar shimmers of ambience before returning in epic state, growing in presence until it spills over the threshold into an almost delirious beauty, entrancing and horrific.
Stepping back to breathe and looking at Eternal Black Transmissions generally, one should not be tempted to write the album off as simply another raw black metal offering. It IS raw, but there are a number of elements present which accentuate its depth and result in an uncommon dynamism. There is a combination of ‘temperatures’ and present, with the rhythm section providing a warmer, heavier, contrast to the colder, harsher vocals and guitar, with the synth somewhere in between. Ambience gives a distinct supernatural chill, as does the echoed, icy voice which would almost certainly be overbearing with abrasiveness if it were not so submerged in the mix. The percussion, utilizing aforementioned galloping styles reminiscent of hardcore punk or speed metal, provides discernible intermittent groove which helps carry some downright catchy riffs. Perhaps most effective are the song progressions themselves, which tend to start with havoc and use ambience to transition into more melodic, epic territory.
Altogether, Eternal Black Transmissions is a mysterious, ghastly, multidimensional plunge into recesses that are not entirely known… but I wanted to know more. So, I somewhat spontaneously connected with the artist behind this terrifying and brilliant endeavor, known only as No One, in order to try to grasp some illumination in the darkness of THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT. Read on.
Good morning, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me.
No One: Good morning, you’re welcome.
I don’t often listen to very much “raw” black metal, but I am struck by what you have achieved with THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT. Perhaps it is my ignorance of the subgenre, but my intuition is that there is an almost immeasurable depth to what is being expressed with Eternal Black Transmissions. What has compelled you along this artistic path?
– I tend to use the term “raw black metal” quite loosely, it refers more to my production style than my writing style, which actually bounces around many different styles. The first demo I wrote was slow, doomy funeral style black metal, then eventually I began speeding my songs up and creating a more dynamic sonic landscape. Eternal Black Transmissions is the realisation of a style of writing that I’ve been moving towards for a long time, it feels like I’ve found the sound I’d like to stick to, albeit loosely, as I will always allow the sound of the project to evolve.
When was the album written, and in what context?
– The album was written during the pandemic of 2020, across two weeks within the UK’s lockdown. Isolation has been a great motivator for this side of my creative output.
Do you feel that the social / public health situation has contributed to the particular sound of the album, or was this sound already somewhat established?
– The sound was already there, it’s something I’ve wanted to write for some time. But it was the current world climate that helped me to actualize it.
Which projects or artists do you currently enjoy, both musically and otherwise? Do you consider anything to be particularly influential to what you are creating with THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT?
– There are some brilliant artists creating at the moment, I’ve been in a lot of other music “scenes” and none are as exciting as the underground black metal scene. Revenant Marquis is currently on heavy rotation for me; that project is so strangely unique, there’s nothing else like it. As well as other British exports: Crimson Throne, Abduction, Andracca and the brilliant From The Bogs of Aughiska, who are easily one of my favourite black metal artists. I’m also listening to a lot of Paysage D’hiver, whose new album I recently pre-ordered, and also some brilliant Canadian exports such as Nocturnal Departure and Hellmoon. In terms of influence, I’d say Paysage D’hiver has had the biggest influence in terms of black metal artists. Wintherr has such a handle on creating atmosphere, he can write these beautiful, sprawling soundscapes that can shift without you even realising it. Another key influence for my work is Godspeed You! Black Emperor, not black metal but they are another artist who are able to create music that draws you in and almost hypnotises you in to sticking with them to the end.
What is the overall concept or theme of Eternal Black Transmissions?
– Eternal Black Transmissions is written from the point of view of an entity which is circling a massive black hole, the final thoughts of a being that is plummeting towards an endless nothingness. Time slowing all the while, and gravity beginning to pull the being apart, the album moves from defiance and panic in the face of the universe’s darkest mystery, to a slow realisation that there is no use in fighting it. The being begins to contemplate all around it, watching light, space, and time bend to the will of this monolithic presence. The final track is the being’s final message before entering the black hole, before everything goes silent, and dark.
I’m curious about the nature of this entity. Do you conceive of it, and the event of moving towards inevitable nonexistence, as a thing that is external ‘in the world’, like a social or cultural phenomenon, such as humanity heading towards extinction? Or is it referring to something more psychological?
– I don’t like to go too deep into the motivations behind my lyrics and their themes, up until now I hadn’t even shared my lyrics. I prefer for the listener to listen to the song or read the song title and put their own meaning on it. So, I won’t say much more about it other than it is a story of uncertainty and losing control, before finally kneeling before nature and the universe, and the final realisation of knowing your place amongst it. If people find a way of making that apply to the current world events, then so be it.
What is on the horizon for Eternal Black Transmissions? You have some merch being produced if I am not mistaken?
– I’m currently working with a friend on a new piece of merch. It is not my aim to make money from this project, so I’ve only ever made one t-shirt in the past which I sell at cost. It is my aim however to spread the message of the project as far as I can, as well as give the supporters of TSJTTN, certain items that they ask for from me. For instance, I have been asked a lot about releasing a vinyl for Eternal Black Transmissions, so I am now in talks about that happening.
I would certainly be interested in that! Finally, what do you anticipate the future will be for THE SUNS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT? It sounds like you wrote, recorded, and produced Eternal Black Transmissions very rapidly. Will you allow this album time to breath or will there be more on the way in short order?
– New releases beyond Eternal Black Transmissions are already in the works. I have a couple of splits lined up with some great projects.
Do you have any concluding thoughts that you would like to express for fans or new listeners who happen across Eternal Black Transmissions?
– Yes, by supporting black metal you are supporting the counterculture, the raging war against mediocrity and normality that we, in our own way fight each day. Thank you for listening to mine and others’ music, as well as purchasing it when you are able. Eternal Black Transmissions will be out soon on a very limited cassette via Repose Records. Follow the Bandcamp to avoid disappointment.
Thanks again. May thy will be done.
Eternal Black Transmissions is available now via Repose Records.
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