2013 is a pretty strange time to be a metal blogger. Big-time labels won’t send me CDs that probably cost all of a dollar to manufacture, but small labels that probably struggle just to break even don’t hesitate to send me the cassette and vinyl releases they’ve obviously put a great deal of time and effort into, effort that goes far beyond the pressing plant cranking out “product” like so many widgets out of a factory. With these releases comes a far more intimate relationship; personalized e-mails rather than e-mail blasts from publicists, and a genuine sense that these labels and artists actually care about what I have to say and genuinely appreciate my support. It’s been an absolute joy to work with the likes of Gilead Media, Sygil Records and Caligari Records, but to be honest when people are so gracious, kind and above all patient, I’m pretty darn hesitant to call my interactions with them “work.”
Hot on the heels of last year’s excellent Cold of Ages (review HERE), California black metallers Ash Borer are back with Bloodlands, an EP set to be released by everyone’s favorite vinyl porn purveyors, Gilead Media. The quintet have already proven themselves to be among the finest of the current crop of young upstart USBM bands, and Bloodlands not only cements their position but continues to build upon the impressive foundation they’ve assembled for themselves across a handful of splits, demos and full lengths.
Roughly 5 months ago, Brandon Duncan (whom you may know from The Sequence of Prime) contacted me with an idea; let’s start a new online metal zine. Typically I prefer to work alone, but Brandon’s enthusiasm is contagious and I’m proud to call him my friend, so there was absolutely no way I could refuse. Brandon gathered an ace design team while I hand-picked some of my favorite writers from internet metal land with the express purpose of creating something new and unique, to drag the old school metal zine into the future, come Hell or high water with an emphasis on good old-fashioned writing and design.
After 5 months of hard work, I’m proud to present to all of you the fruits of our labors in the form of Backlit #0; fifteen pages of mind-melting music, art and literature.
Backlit / 0
Now available at backlitzine.com
Cover Art by Dan Harding
Raping Angels in America #1 / Joshua Haun
Angry Old Men / Jordan Campbell
Helpless Child / Dan Obstkrieg
Fucking The Future / Joshua Haun
Libations in the Labyrinth Vol. 1 / Dan Obstkrieg
Words That Wound / Dan Obstkrieg
Doomsday Device / Joshua Haun
Interview With Jester King Brewery / The Dragon of M87
Interview With Ashencult / Jordan Campbell
Art & Fiction:
Succubus in the Attic / Nikki Guerlain
Dan Harding: The Fine Art of Horror / Brandon Duncan
The Dragon of M87
I hope that you will all enjoy reading the first issue of Backlit as much as we enjoyed crafting it. This is only the beginning!
As American black metal continues to assert its dominance, so to does California continue to be a breeding ground for some of the best bands the genre has to offer. Having visited the state on several occasions and even lived there for half a year (I was a PR intern for Metal Blade Records during college), it’s hard to imagine such bleak, harrowing music emanating from such a sunny, pleasant environment. But even the most pleasant places have filthy, pitch-black underbellies that the casual observer (such as myself) may never ever see. If the Golden State possesses such an underbelly, then the mysterious quintet known as Ash Borer was undoubtedly born in the deepest, darkest recesses of that forsaken place, as their latest album, the devastating Cold of Ages attests.