Fighting climate change with Avast's blackgaze

AVAST – Mother Culture

Band: Avast
Title: Mother Culture
Year: 2018
Country: Norway
Label: Dark Essence Records
Contacts: Facebook  Bandcamp  Instagram  Spotify

    1. Mother Culture
    2. The Myth
    3. Birth Of Man
    4. The World Belongs To Man
    5. An Earnest Desire
    6. Man Belongs To The World

If there is one single issue that’s been (and it was about time, I’d say) taking center stage around the world, that’s climate change and the likely chance of a (well-deserved?) extinction of most life on Earth in a very short time. Differently from most of the powerful few, the world of extreme music has not stood idle, as shown by years and years of Agalloch, Gojira, and whatnot, here and there around the many genres. Now we can talk about Avast.

This quartet hailing from Stavanger, Norway, had already stirred some interest a couple of years ago through a sharp two-song EP. Avast are part of that branch of black metal that frequently flirts with post-rock and shoegaze, albeit including a few hardcore elements, especially in terms of their core themes; let’s start from this.

Mother Culture is — including its title — inspired by Daniel Quinn’s novel Ishmael, published in 1992 and mainly centered on the complex relationship between human beings and nature. The record follow the hypothetical evolution of human thought from a stage in which we perceive ourselves as distinct and superior to nature, to the (very likely late) realization that “Man Belongs To The World”, meaning that we are a part of it, with all the consequences that this entails.

This process is also hinted at in the video of “An Earnest Desire”, in which the moment we become aware of our responsibilities and of the urgency of this transformation speeds up the song’s tempo (and the time we have to change our course). Just a few weeks ago we were talking about the topicality of the reissue of Alda’s debut, and here we have Mother Culture — released in late October — proving once again that metal (just like the humans that play it) is not something separate from the world, on the contrary it can understand its process and convey meaningful contents (plus, of course, some sonic destruction when needed, such as in the aggressive “Birth Of Man”).

This is a pretty good hit for Dark Essence Records, especially for fans of blackgaze and for those looking for ways to communicate the importance of the challenge of our time. Avast have been taking their music and message around for some time now, and have confirmed they will be at Inferno Festival 2019 in Oslo. Well, are you ready to go back to belonging to the world?