Welcome to Curating Resistance, a series designed to promote bands, artists, labels and more from the world of heavy music, with a particular focus on those who use their platform to promote progressive causes or speak out against injustice and bigotry in the metal scene and beyond.
The short bio on this Germany-based outfit’s Bandpage page has the one line every anti-fascist metal fan loves to see when they discover a new black metal band they know nothing about: “Fuck NSBM!”. We love to see it, but let’s not overlook the ways in which Arde’s politics are explored more deeply within their music itself. The band’s debut album, a self-titled record released back in 2018, made some waves in the scene, but it is their 2021 release Ancestral Cult that you will want to seek out if you’re yet to hear from the five-piece.
On one hand it’s quite simply a record obsessed with ancient cults and ancestral cultures, all standard fare for metal lyrics, but the band use this basis to explore the history of women and the struggles they have faced through the centuries. Despite looking back to forgotten goddesses and ancient practices, the band find relevance with contemporary issues, channelling, in their own words, “with visceral intent the anger and frustration of and for the world we live in.
Musically, the band boast a majestic, towering strain of atmospheric black metal that is all-encompassing in its grand scope. Serving as a buffer in the middle of four epic and ambitious tracks, though, is ‘Síle’, an absolutely gorgeous snippet of intimate folk from the ever wonderful Cinder Well. This track may be more withdrawn than Arde’s abrasive, punk-strewn black metal riffage, but it harnesses the ethereal potency that runs through the release and distils it into a poignant interlude, highlighting the record’s focus on the spiritual as well as the more tangible. History, mythology and mysticism are often used as escapism from the modern day, or more insidiously they are held up as bastions of reactionary thinking that posits that the past was always better. Ancestral Cult reminds us that these subjects can instead be used to learn and indeed grow.
The record is available as a Name Your Price download on Bandcamp (physical releases having long since sold out), and it can also be streamed below via the good folks at the Antifascist Black Metal Network.
Words: George Parr