There’s a decent possibility that I’m misremembering this (especially since a Google search didn’t yield anything), but I swear I’ve seen one of those ‘trying to make it as a singer/songwriter’ movies–you know the kind I mean, and how contrived they all end up being–that had a line of dialogue in it that went something like ‘you don’t always choose the song; sometimes the song chooses you.’
Whether this film actually exists anywhere except inside my head isn’t important. That line of dialogue that I really don’t think I made up perfectly describes how I felt when I heard “The Forest,” the song we’re premiering today from Pittsburgh-based black metal trio Automb. Here’s the thing: in spite of how it may seem sometimes, I don’t spend the entirety of my days churning out content for the Vault. And I don’t say yes to everything premiere opportunity that comes our way. For starters, I do have a real job teaching college English, and sometimes that means I’m stuck in what I tend to call ‘grading hell,’ staring down a stack of 80+ essays. This one was of those weeks, so the last thing I wanted to do was pick up another track premiere…at least until I hit play, and then I couldn’t not do it.
On their debut full-length Esoterica, Automb play an occasionally atmospheric, mostly aggressively melodic style of black metal (think Nokturnal Mortem) with a bit of death metal thrown into the mix for good measure. There’s something very classic about their approach, and they pack more kickass, catchy black metal riffs into a five minute song that some bands have on entire albums. but the death metal elements keep things sounding fresh. Trust me on this one – Automb isn’t the umpteenth band with a Mgła fetish trying to make their own version of With Hearts Towards None.
A quick glance at the band’s lineup, though, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that Automb is so fucking good: Necrophagia guitarist Serge Streltsov and current Morbid Angel skinsman Scott Fuller comprise 2/3 of the band. It’s that final piece, though, that really gives the band their unfuckwithable edge: bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Danielle Evans, who has one of the most intimidating growls I’ve heard from a vocalist of any gender. Add it all together, and you’ve got one of the more impressive aural beatdowns I’ve heard this year.
Here’s what Serge and Danielle had to say about their musical partnership:
I formed Automb with Danielle on the side while writing the new Necrophagia album. It was a way of still diving into my love for black metal, while keeping death metal elements my main focus in Necrophagia. After Killjoy’s passing I decided to make this my main project. Although the new Necrophagia album will most likely never see the light of day – this is our way of helping Killjoy live on, through dedicating this album to him. – Serge
I have always really found black metal to be able to touch my soul in a way no other genre could. Once Serge and I connected, it made sense to put our musical talents and passions together to create something that was really special to us. It has been a really amazing, yet difficult journey that I am so grateful to be a part of. – Danielle