Pale Chalice Release Single Titled "Weltering Depths of the Carrion Wave", Is Exactly As Cool As It Sounds

In case you happened to forget that black metal can be everything cool in the universe, Pale Chalice decides to remind you.

"God," the new Pale Chalice single is cool.

Music obviously is something to take seriously. It underscores our emotions, susses out hidden feelings and memories and inspirations and fears, burns away and burns into us.

It is both a poison and a cure. As Nietzsche said, a life without music would be no life worth living at all.

But as much as artsy and more seriously devoted and earnest music fans are right in that kind of approach to what we all love, there's something to be said for something that is undeniably cool.

What is art, after all, but an aesthetic pleasure? And what is art's greatest power if not the purifying into the purely aesthetic things with otherwise would be immaterial and unreachable?

Look at the title of the single. "Weltering Depths of the Carrion Wave." It's grade-A black metal gibberish at its best.

There's the high-level diction, the key words that conjure clear images and the strange adjectives that break them apart, and a strange kind of chaotic cohesion to the name that launches itself from the purely sensical to the absolutely cool.

No, I have no idea what the name means, and I see no desire to interrogate it further.

Musically, Pale Chalice aren't terribly far from the central tenets of black metal.

There is the punky ferocity and rawness to production; there are the prog-inspired New Wave of British Heavy Metal song structures and melodies; there are the psychedelic breaks of layered atmospheric guitar work; there are wretched vocals describing abstract philosophical and conceptual spaces laced in despair.

Pale Chalice aren't necessarily notable for breaking new ground in their genre but for having a crisp and well-executed modern approach to a sound that is often rehashed in very cliche ways.

Their album art and song titles reveal their prog rock ties.

Pale Chalice is in many ways the sound of Yes filtered through Emperor or perhaps early Enslaved, two bands already not far from that mark.

Pale Chalice extends the efforts of their peers in modern American black metal such as Woe and Alraune, two bands who stick closer to the core tenets of black metal with modern production in comparison to the more polished and genre-bending work of groups such as Deafheaven and Ghost Bath.

There is a clear Mayhem influence here; like that very central second-wave black metal group's albums over the past ten years or so, Pale Chalice sees no philosophical disruption between the satanic annihilating impulse that drives black metal as a genre and their more esoteric subject matter.

And, unlike some of their peers who are quick to spurn the satanic imagery as juvenile, Pale Chalice seems to take their work and their foundations seriously, extending and evolving and imbuing their black metal with an invigorated prog rock spirit without it becoming blackgaze or progressive black metal or post-black metal or other hybrid genres.

No knock to those, of course, and I doubt Pale Chalice envision their work as an inherent critique of those stylistic approaches to black metal either.

Instead, they're quite simply offering proof that regular old black metal done right and with a modern ear can still rip just as hard as the classics.

And, man, those titles and that art and those riffs are cool.

Pale Chalice's Negate the Infinite and Miraculous will be out June 16 and is available for preorder here and here.

Image taken from Gilead Media's Bandcamp page.