With this new record by Marthe it becomes clear again, why people burnt other people at the stake and why the term “witch” is nothing but a surrogate for “person not accepting the rules of a patriarchal society”. Let’s follow that thought a little onward and let’s also follow Marthe a b bit Further in Evil
To make it clear directly from the start, Marthe is not a witch in any kind. Is she a strong woman? Definitely. Did she have her weak moments back in the day? Well, who hasn’t, right?
Her Southern Lord Records debut Further in Evil is not meant to be a ritual, but as she chose Black Metal as the main vehicle to convey her ideas and opinions on things, there are certainly ritualistic elements to her music, for example some clear sung vocals which are as close to a chant as possible without touching on any nun-like stuff in the vein of Hildegard of Bingen and her medieval songbook for nuns.
The six songs span 45 minutes and the opener ”I Ride Alone” is one of these staggering songs which take up way more than ten minutes and in its wake one is baffled that it’s already over. The track is surely inspired by loads of classic Black Metal and does not even try to hide that in any way, this is a close to a modern day (female) version of Trve Scandinavian Black Metal as it gets without becoming sarcastic or ironic in any way. It is a somehow programmatic opener, as the idea behind it is carried on throughout many songs: Women do not need dick-wiggling bastards to confirm their identity, hell, they do not need anybody to know who they are or who they want to be. (By the way, the same should be true for men, or any other gender as well, we as mankind should be able to identify in whichever way we want without anybody approving – or even worse, telling us – of the “correctness” of our notion of self and gender, sexuality and belief, morals and future) No, I do not mean that in any stupid “Thelma & Louise” way, but rather as a basic principle upon which we could build a better future for all of us, as it might lead to less bullying, persecution or even homicides/suicides. ”Victimized” picks up that topic again with introducing the idea of women who are being victimized by men and who stand helplessly alone when facing it, just because society doesn’t accept their “story”. Consequently, many of these victimizing culprits and also the victim-shaming parts of society are dead to Marthe, which is the basis for a song like ”Dead to You”. That the record ends with a cover of ”Sin in my Heart”, a classic Siouxsie and the Banshees-track, seems more than fitting and Marthe’s version is awe-inspiring, haunting and simply beautiful.
The music on this great record should also not be neglected, as it ranges from great Black Metal to kick-ass Stoner-infused Atmospheric Metal tracks or a perfect rendition of a Post-Punk meets Halloween-shocker track and all is garnished with Marthe’s variable vocals. While listening to the record over and over again it became clear to me why there is quite a time lapse between this record and Sisters of Darkness, her previous full-length. Rather wait and see what the songs need to be perfect than quickly release something of minor quality.
That Southern Lord now released this record shows a things about the guys behind it: A) they do not care about the artist’s gender (as they have shown multiple times before, think of Anna von Hauswolff!) and B) they have a great nose for great, challenging artists!
To come back to my opening idea – centuries ago Marthe might have been burnt at the stake for she dares to speak out against the confines of a patriarchy (maybe also the papal patriarchy of the Holy Roman Church?!) and it is always easier to denounce somebody as a heretic than to accept her way of seeing things, evaluating it and thus challenging one’s own ideas. Remember how many Cis-males have problems accepting the changes that our society is facing and going through. Black Metal, at first glance, has been a male-dominated genre as well, but if we get more female artists like Marthe, then that can only be good for the genre as it leads to further evolution of it. And now, let’s follow her to her ”Ruined Altars”, stop the witch-hunts, let her not ”Ride Alone” and help in order for her and all the other women not to become ”Victimized” again. Let’s evolve altogether!