One of heavy music’s innate traits is the ability to offer catharsis, both for those creating it and those listening to it. The raw intensity and unbridled emotion makes for purgative experiences, and if there’s one subgenre leaning into this in recent years it’s blackgaze. The genre’s merging of blackened extremity and more lush textures doubles-down on this aspect of heavy music, offering something that’s capable of both ferocity and serenity, often simultaneously. Perhaps it is this knack for tapping into human emotion and creating something poignant that has lead to somewhat of a burgeoning scene for the black metal offshoot, with several talented new names springing up in recent years and indeed recent months.
Further bolstering this growing movement are Manchester’s Agvirre, a collective of of musicians, journalists, gig promoters, photographers and film-makers whose music blends post-metal and black metal. Not keen on simply replicating what has come before, though, the group mix in elements from post-rock, shoegaze, noise rock and electronic music as well, with the resulting style striking an inch-perfect balance between chaotic, ferocious metal driven by scuttering guitars, evocative synths and pummelling percussion and uplifting experimentation powered by gliding strings and irresistible melodies.
The band’s upcoming debut release will explore an autobiographical tale about the struggles of living with mental illnesses. For many, it’s a topic that will prove relatable, and the band’s music explores it in a way that packs one heck of an emotive punch. If you’re ready for such a punch, scroll on to hear an exclusive stream of the unmastered radio edit of ‘Muzzle & Musk’, a track which gives a perfect example of how the band’s sound mixes in some exciting twists and turns along the way.
The band told us: “We want to make music that is both gnarly and beautiful, challenging and loaded with feelings. If listeners come away with a melody stuck in their head, then our mission is complete.”
“This is just a taster and only half of our song ‘Muzzle & Mask’. The song is an autobiographical tale of living with mental illness, taking inspiration from how sufferers not only stay silent about their afflictions and true feelings, but have to wear this mask to face their friends, colleagues and family… A mask that paints them as happy and content people, when really inside they might be feeling sad, overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious and traumatised.”
“Our collective has many big plans in the future, including finding a home for our debut record, making a short film and bringing our music to the stage. We still have room for more conquistadors to join us in our pilgrimage…”
Words: George Parr
Photos: Christian Manthey