In 2010, the concept of the “one man black metal horde” is largely played out. Xasthur has decided to call it a day, Leviathan, Crebain and Draugar are also MIA (Striborg may or may not still be pumping out twenty albums a month, I really haven’t been paying attention), and the focus of the genre has largely shifted back to full on bands such as Watain and Nachtmystium.
Nonetheless, there is still some pretty interesting isolationist black metal lurking out there in the darker shadows of the underground, and one of those acts is California’s Idolater. His album is titled Black Sexual Blasphemy, and if it’s anything to go by, he is one disturbed motherfucker.
I’d really like to see a full lyric sheet for this album. The booklet only includes lyrics for “The Passion in My Heart” and “The Amour”, but the themes of perversion and sexuality presented in these lyrics are quite different from the over-the-top “Fuck Me Jesus” bent so typical of black metal. Of course there is some anti-religious fervor present, but the references to marriage found throughout lead me to believe these songs draw more from the Idolater’s real life experiences rather than any sort of psycho-sexual-Satanic delusional fantasy. The liner notes state:
“I seek the destruction of marriage. I seek the glorious gifts of hedonism and sexual immorality.”
Again, the focus on marriage. Is Black Sexual Blasphemy the product of a marriage gone bad, or perhaps lusting after an unattainable woman? Is his lust and scorn directed at one specific woman, or all women? Is the perversion of the sacrament of marriage the ultimate act of blasphemy in Idolater’s world? Of course, it could be that this ideology is borne out of sexual frustration, as I imagine a great deal of extreme metal to be, but I’m guessing Idolater’s pain and loathing run much deeper.
Idolatry, or the act of worshipping anything other than God, is considered to be one of the most serious sins by the three Abrahamic religions. Who or what does Idolater idolize? Also, the traditional Christian view of sexuality is largely one that views the human body and carnal acts as sinful. Perhaps Idolater looks to combine these two “sins” to attain an even greater blasphemy? Whatever the case, it makes for one of the most genuinely hateful sounding black metal recordings I’ve heard in quite some time.
The music itself compliments the concept; cold, eerie and somewhat clinical. The production is surprisingly clear for a self-released album, with layers of heavily distorted, slightly buzzy guitars acting as the focal point of the mix. Tremolo-picked riffs creep over drums which may or may not be programmed.
The aforementioned guitars are sometimes melodic, sometimes dissonant, always intriguingly nuanced. They often sound like spools of razorwire unraveling to encircle the objects of Idolater’s hatred/desire and rip them to bloody shreds. The vocals are a venomous rasp that befits the subject matter, a spitting cobra writhing amidst the tempest created by the instruments. Idolater plays and sings like he is seething with blind rage, consumed with absolute contempt.
Black Sexual Blasphemy is an excellent debut release, made even more impressive by the fact that everything from the music itself to the production to the layout are the product of a single individual. I love it when albums catch me off guard and this one certainly did. Recommended to anyone looking for another dose of well-played and composed USBM.