It’s common for people to associate black metal with the freezing, rough months of the winter, probably because so much of the music originated in a very cold place. But what about when ice melts and life begins anew? Is black metal still a part of that time of the year, or it better to hibernate again until the snow falls and nature is stripped of its life?
Perhaps I’m way off on the intent of “Thaw,” the new EP from South Dakota-based black metal band Woman Is the Earth. There is not a lot out there to explain where the new music comes from, and I also kind of like to guess on my own sometimes. These three tracks, that follow their excellent 2016 full-length “Torch of Our Final Night,” feel warmer and slightly sunburnt. A lot of the moods here would not feel out of place now that summer is here in America, most fittingly when dusk falls and the final strains of sunlight are spread across the horizon. It’s not a radical departure for the band—Jarrod Hattervig (guitars, vocals), Andy Martin (guitars, bass effects), and Jon Martin (drums, chants)—as it remains atmospherically charged and burning with power. But the immersion in warmer times, even if that’s just in my own brain, gives this a different ambiance, one that’s a welcome visitor.
“Golden Fog” opens the record with static and noise, as synth waves wash in and tease calm until the whole thing tears apart. Deep growls erupt, while riffs roll, the tempo shifts, and guitars burn savagely. The vocals ramp up in intensity before everything goes foggy and atmospheric for a stretch. The track returns to crushing, while the drums tear holes, guitars chug, and the song bleeds out into murk. “Fear of Light” has synth awakening as strong, melodic riffs arrive, and the music cascades. Passionate howls bring chaos, while the punchy tempo pokes holes, and the track floods open. The song hits a strange fog, as guitars simmer in air before the cut is shredded apart again. Crazed shrieks arrive as the music ripples and creates waves, the pace thrashes, and synth and guitars roll over top. An atmospheric mist is released, as the song slowly burns off and into a synth cloud.
“Dream Collapse” rattles before its melodic eruption, and then guitars thrash and catch fire, as roared growls make their mark. The song is catchy and devastating, with air-infused guitars bringing tornadic winds, sending everything into a massive stormfront. The music changes as it develops, with warmth washing over, and sun-scorched soloing bringing a humidity that feels like summer haze. The track works its way toward the sunset, and once it’s there, the song fades into the woods
Woman Is the Earth remain one of the most gifted, enthralling bands in America, and their pattern of black metal tilts its head toward the sun on this strong new EP “Thaw.” It’s but a small serving between full-length albums, but anytime this band turns up with new creations, it’s worth your attention. It’s a collection you can grab for $5 digitally, and it can turn the rest of your day into a volcanic dreamland that sounds particularly fitting right about now.
For more on the band, go here: http://womanistheearthband.com/
To buy the album, go here: https://womanistheearth.bandcamp.com/