St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Mid-September. We’ve just wrapped up the pre-season of black metal listening (h/t: TRA). We remain steadfastly dedicated to the Nordic classics — DARKTHRONE, BURZUM, IMMORTAL, BATHORY, ENSLAVED et al — to get us through the coming months of snowbound desolation. The fear ever lingers, however, that we’ll find ourselves weary of the trodden paths and will wander in search of new means to test our fortitude.
And before us appears ILDJARN. At once obscure and infamous, celebrated and maligned, this solitary figure (and forgotten EMPEROR/THOU SHALT SUFFER cohort) took second-wave Norwegian black metal to its philosophical zenith with nothing but loose tonality, a single-minded drum machine and overdriven microphones as his weapons.
For those unfamiliar with Mr. ILDJARN’s caustic minimalism, I suggest playing the samples below in a sedate state of mind, perhaps tempered by moderate alcohol and low ambient light. If the first sample intrigues you, the second, with patience, will help complete the idea.
ILDJARN, by its/his nature, is clearly destined for obscurity, whether re-released once or a thousand times. It’s a difficult band demanding an esoteric response, which means many will continue to dismiss it as complete rubbish. In any case, Season of Mist has thankfully renewed the opportunity for all of us to own and debate the legitimacy of the band’s pulsating and hypnotic black noise.
First up are the ILDJARN self-titled, Forest Poetry and Strength and Anger full-length releases, each of which represents the act in classic form. I have no comment on any differences in the recordings themselves as the utter minimalism would be nearly impossible to “improve” in a technical sense. The cover art and layouts have all been normalized, so to speak, and give these latest iterations more of a collectible feel (new version always on the left in the photo).
The complete ILDJARN discography is promised in this series from SoM, including my favorite (and totally neglected) ILDJARN side-project/alter-ego, SORT VOKTER. More on that when it comes around at long last.
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