I’d like to think that I’ve introduced our loyal Vault Hunters to a lot of outstanding music over the last couple of years. Enough so, in fact, that I’ve earned the benefit of the doubt on those rare occasions when I put forth something for your consideration that you might instinctively greet with skepticism. Like…oh, like industrial black metal. Yeah, I know…but hear me out. Benefit of the doubt, remember?
Younger readers might see the phrase ‘industrial black metal’ and think ‘what – like Anaal Nathrakh?’ Umm…no. Also: cringe. Older readers may remember that period where a handful of second wave bands like Samael, Thorns, Satyricon, and Dødheimsgard all started incorporating more industrial elements (with occasionally mixed results). There are a handful of excellent industrial black metal bands like genre pioneers Mysticum and French project N.K.V.D., and Dutch multi-instrumentalist Moires has incorporated industrial elements into his various projects like Gnaw Their Tongues and Cloak of Altering, there’s a lot more fly shit than pepper being released these days under the industrial black metal banner.
Finland’s Trollheims Grott, however, are one of the good ones. Originally formed back in 1997, they were actually one of the early pioneers of the scene. However, things have been fairly quiet on the Trollheims Grott front since the release of Bloodsoaked and Ill-Fated in 2003, though primary members LRH (drums, guitars) and sg.7 (vocals, guitars, electronics) have stayed plenty busy themselves: they’re both currently in Horna and live members of Baptism, and LRH also handles live drum duties for Demilich. On the forthcoming Aligned with the True Death, which is out on October 31 via W.T.C. Productions (preorder here), they’re joined on bass by TG, another live member of Baptism, and the trio doesn’t sound like they’ve missed a single (synthesized) beat despite the 15-year hiatus from recording.
Unlike a lot of industrial black metal bands, Trollheims Grott have always skewed more towards the black metal end of the spectrum, and the same holds true for Aligned with the True Death. The seven tracks that comprise the album may have the driving rhythms and industrial/noise synth accents one would expect from the genre, but the music feels refreshingly organic – particularly the drums, which sound less triggered than what you’d hear on the average tech-death album.
You don’t just have to take my word for it, though. We’re streaming the album’s penultimate track “LXFR” here today at the Vault, so you can judge for yourself. Aside from the occasional swells of synth and a bit of technical frippery on the lead guitar, the song has the same sort of orthodox, second-wave influenced feel as…well, as a band like Baptism. And since I rarely encounter someone who claims to be fan of the genre that doesn’t appreciate that style of black metal on some level, I think you can safely set aside any lingering skepticism regarding the whole ‘industrial’ thing and just hit play…