It is the darkest time of year, again. Summon your black metal for the grim days for overcast snowfall and nights where you hear the constant sigh of freezing rain knocking the remaining leaves to their final resting spot on the ground to rot into next spring’s topsoil. In these cold months, it’s useless to try to escape the grips of frost: it is better to just accept it until it ends, like finding the largest icicle and clasping it until it melts.
A band that will help your transition through the winter is Iskra.
They are not straight up black metal like Dark Throne, Immortal, or Emperor, but they are still incredibly grim. They also do not extensively sing about demons, “The Lord of the Rings,” or anything typical of the black metal scene. This is because they draw so much influence from crust and old grind bands like Doom, Crass, and Amebix. Iskra’s lyrics are, at heart, anarcho-punk lyrics, but that just adds to the snarl of the music.
It’s important to contemplate real life in your music, anyway. It can’t all be magic and pretend serial killers all the time.
Despite that, Iskra cream their message into your ears using the most sinister, tremolo-picked, dissonant chords you’ll hear all winter. Well, unless you haven’t listened to the new Watain, but still, Iskra dominate. They are unrefined without being inaudible, aggressive without seeming like their trying. It’s like a truly nasty chill you get down your spine that’s perfect in its disquieting feeling.
They haven’t been around for a short time either. On their Bandcamp page, Iskra display releases that go all the way back to a decade ago. So you may already have been exposed to their aural assault. The great thing about all those releases is that you can stream them all online and even download a bunch of them for free.
Iskra are from Victoria, British, so it’s at least a little conceivable that they know something about the frigid, ivory prison of a blizzard. Download some of their stuff, have it prepared for the next storm, and when the thunder clouds close in over your area, hit play and ride that winter out.