18 May 2021 - Gene
Atmospheric, Black Metal, Neo-Folk | Loud Rage Music | Release date: 25 Apr 2021
On their second album as a trio, Genune continues to prod the psycho-social tropes of their ancestral throne; smartly elevates typical Black Metal mores.
No simple First-Wave touchstones anchor this release to the gruesome or fantastic. On the contrary, this tragically relevant outing cuts right to the discord of the wonted. “Thematically, it explores the concepts of heritage and identity and how these shape the present self…” As such, the cover depicts a real portrait of the vocalist, Dragos’ grandmother posing with her grandparents, a rather bold statement of intent for the genre, when you stop to think, which hints at the depth of the album’s malaise.
It is tempting to delve deeper into the messages than the music but without the physical copy – the thematic cues of the lyrics and the stark photographic accompaniments attached to each track – nor the Arthur Koestler work on which the title is based – at hand, it is at worst a case of projection and at best a freedom to personally connect to an intensely nuanced work of self-catharsis in a way that makes sense across cultural boundaries; a liberty the band agrees is best left to the intrepid listener.
So while the debut, Cern Sol found the band first beginning to explore these themes together and pushing the language of Black Metal music, Inert & Unerring is compelling in an even broader sense; being both musically adventurous and relatable in regards to certain almost universal socio-political implications.
Appropriately, “Unworthy Sons & Daughters” opens with a lengthy meditative preamble, as if lifting the curtain on the story. Presently, the furious drumming is leading us in. The drummer does well to pepper the double kick with well-placed cymbal splashes and also to mix things up, the guitar rides tight behind it. The vocals have the impressive rasp and sustain of an early Johan Edlund or John Haughm (of Tiamat and Agalloch, respectively).
“To Drown Within Yourself” continues with the haunting guitar tone, thick bass licks and steadily plodding drum, the vocals polemically intense. The midsection pummels furiously with thematic gusto and through to the instrumental outro.
The Pyre Of Autumn echoes themes from both the opener and closer with a pastoral acoustic medley, injecting the bucolic scene with darkly foreboding dread. One questions the thematic significance at this stage. Given the vitriolic treatment of the topics at large, could it be that the author still regards the idealism of the past with nostalgia, all the while decrying its ultimate vacuity?
Finally, the heavy closer, ”Eastern European Discontent” sees the record off with a blackgaze cut, true to style, which really capitalizes on every stylistic and thematic flourish preceding it. The persisting guitar melody, the brooding tones and soaring sweeps.
Notably, the single’s video portrays its discontent in empty fields and irradiated cities. A sense of struggling to come to terms with the past and justify the present. Reaching back, perhaps, to the fated first steps Csángó tribes ever took on Romanian soil, where at first the traditionalist met a culture and economy at odds and deemed it necessary to survive. Regarding the values of family and identity through the lens of lonely onlookers: a ghost spins a stationary bike in an unplowed field, a shadow crosses a dam that once drew power. From the yellowed portraits of lost loved ones, cracked mosaics and rotted linens, porcelain suspended in time, still cool to the touch of your lips, and other memories we once treasured, to “any space we inhabit… the heritage given unto us by those [post-Soviet] years… a sense of exile within one’s own environment… an embittered form of individuality borne out of the need to survive…” and the crumbling infrastructure of the present: society’s detritus after the boom years, sadly still now.
Inert and Unerring is a bold and unusually relatable work, which treats Black Metal music with a variety of atmospherics, folk themes and no deft of heady content. Released on the excellent Romanian label, Loud Rage Music, and all digital platforms, this is one you do not want to miss.