Xasthur - Subliminal Genocide
The term "Atmospheric Depressive Black Metal" is fairly ridiculous, however it is a spot-on description of Xasthur's sound. 2006's Subliminal Genocide is his 2nd full length after numerous EPs and splits.This album is a truly visceral experience. It is deeply moody and tortured sounding, severely discordant, and absolutely exhausting. None of these terms sound complimentary, but Subliminal Genocide is a brilliant album.
This North American Black-Metal-meets-Shoe-Gaze genre is an interesting movement. It embodies all of the lo-fi and independent ethos of the original second-wave bands, but it also asserts something completely unique and decidedly American. Xasthur is a one-man-band, in the Burzum tradition, but this music is vastly different from Varkines' heavily melody-based approach. Subliminal Genocide is more feeling than music, it's almost anti-music in a sense. Newcomers will laugh this off as mere noodling and aimless noise, but the properly initiated will find Xasthur's unique vision of bleak despair emanating through the desolate overtones of guitar fuzz, muddy keyboards, and distorted howls.
This is not a style everyone can appreciate, and truly even I cannot listen to it all the time. But there is artistic brilliance in this truly suffocating and all-encompassing style. It is an art form that very few could effectively pull off, and for that it has my respect. Xasthur's soul-crushing effort deserves a 4 out of 5.