Written by James Sweetlove and Yari Wildheart
1. :heiva: (Ruohtta) – Idjamaa (James)
Artist: :heiva: (Ruohtta)
Release Date: 30/08/2022
Location: Gällivare, Sweden
:heiva: is the latest project by Sápmi black metal artist Ruohtta who has multiple projects and albums under his belt. The lyrics on the album are written and performed in a mixed language of Meänkieli and Sámi. This single features two tracks, a short ambient track and a longer title track Idjamaa which I have chosen to focus on.
The music is an unusual blend of black metal and post-punk elements that really stood out to me. Personally, I’ve become a big fan of this new style that has recently begun to emerge. The upbeat yet simultaneously melancholy rhythms of post punk blend so much better with black metal vocals and influences than they should. This track is no exception and when black metal rhythms are played with post-punk guitar tone and energy it really makes for something special. The vocals sit safely in the atmospheric black metal realm and are used effectively, not overpowering the track.
For me this song is special because not only does it incorporate two vastly different styles of music but also two languages. There’s a duality at play here, a co-existence that speaks to the duality that indigenous peoples are forced to exist within in modern society as they straddle two worlds; that of the modern society in which they live and their own culture, heritage and way of life.
Overall, this is a solid track and one that I will definitely be coming back to on a regular basis. I hope that Ruohtta creates more music of this nature in the future, although anything he puts out is worth a listen regardless of style or direction.
Listen to and order the album:
2. Voice Eater – Nimocehuihtoc (James)
Personally, I love when black metal is emotionally charged, particularly when that emotion is driven by a sense of righteous anger and outrage. Voice Eater are an act that embody the concept of righteous anger. Anger over what you may ask. Anger at the past and present oppression, suffering and discrimination suffered by indigenous peoples and a call for the unification of all indigenous people, through liberation and justice.
The band’s music itself reflects this passion, coming at the listener with full force, nothing held back. A perfect example of this is Nimocehuihtoc, the final track from the band’s 2021 album Tepanahualiztli. This song goes hard, bringing an even mix of hardcore/powerviolence, noise and black metal.
The song kicks off with heavy feedback, distorted snarled vocals and harsh noise elements before exploding into a furious black metal assault. This isn’t your run of the mill black metal though, this is highly distorted, noise laden black metal with powerviolence elements thrown into the mix. There’s a disorienting effect to the music that makes you feel both on edge and dizzy. Around the three-minute mark the music slows and becomes heavier and more deliberate, and the vocals shift to become more gutturally barked than shrieked. This segment is that much more impactful due to its stark contrast to the rest of the track, which ends with one final furious black metal assault.
This is the longest song on the album coming in at just under five minutes and to me is a perfect closer to a great release. If you’re looking for something with more atmosphere and less ferocity, then check out the track Transistorio too. For me though this song is the one that really embodies what the project is all about and conveys their message of resistance and rage.
Listen to Nimocehuihtoc:
3. M.I.S. – Monster Slayer (James)
Song: Monster Slayer
Album: Stand alone single
Location: Tempe, Arizona
Arizona’s M.I.S. is a Native American concept band with the purpose of putting indigenous issues at the forefront of their music. The band was created to serve as a medium of social change and empowerment for indigenous communities.
The band primarily play thrash metal but draw influences from death, black and doom metal, as well as some metalcore elements. The result of this mixed inspiration is on full display on their latest single Monster Slayer which I have chosen to focus on. The track is a 5-minute offering of top-notch trash metal that all fans of the genre should take time out of their day to listen to. From high energy yet varied guitar work, thick bass tone, powerful drums and raw powerful vocals, it’s all there and it’s all good. Corey Ashley has a solid thrash vocal style, particularly towards the end of the track, as it reaches its rawest point. Listeners should also appreciate the ripping solo around the 2:30 mark and the killer instrumental segment that follows, I know I did.
As important as the music itself is, it’s the message of the track that makes it so powerful. The monster that the song is talking about slaying is that of colonialism. The song’s chorus is a call to arms to indigenous peoples to rise up and slay this system of oppression, stating:
Go grab your arrows
And blades made of stone
As you venture
Into the unknown
Ride all through the night
Wretched monster of
Colonialism we fight
Overall, this is a killer standalone single, but I’m really hoping that it is part of a larger upcoming full-length release. As stated, if you enjoy thrash metal in any capacity then you should listen to this song.
Listen to Monster Slayer:
4. A.B. Original – King Billy Cokebottle (Yari)
Release Date: 18 August 2022
Genre: Hip Hop
Written by Yari Wildheart
AB Original are a powerful Indigenous hip hop duo from Australia that first hit the scene in 2016 with their debut album Reclaim Australia, their only album to date. AB Original’s members are Briggs (Yorta Yorta nation) and Trials (Ngarrindjeri nation). Reclaim Australia was popular amongst critics and the people alike, with its angry tone, written to inspire discussion, piss off racists, and give the rest of us something to bang as loud as we can. Tonally they are reminiscent of Public Enemy in its heyday. If you’ve never listened to any Australian hip hop before, AB Original are a fresh, modern take on the genre which makes them good place to start.
With King Billy Cokebottle, AB Original release their first new track in four years. We opens with a sample from an Australian comedian who, even until recent decades before his death performed in blackface under the same name as this track ‘King Billy Cokebottle’. We get hard hitting beats with dark blasts, accompanying bars that beat parts of Australian society black and blue. Briggs brings the aggression with his flow and he really shines – there’s an authenticity to his rage that, along with his deep voice, gives him a real Chuck D sort of flair. There’s a deeper critique here though than the shots justifiably fired at people like King Billy Cokebottle and Chris Lilley. We get there straight away with early bars from Trials asking, “Well, if a tree falls deep in the dark without hearin’ it / Can people be at the march without streamin’ it?” and Briggs follows suit first up in the second verse.
Why the fuck would I welcome the oppressor
When four out of five say we’re lesser?
March in the street, yeah, like and retweet for the week
Then they put the black flag in the dresser
Even if you’re someone that isn’t particularly a lyrical hip hop head, King Billy Cokebottle is a hell of a track to bump. With beats like this accompanied by the skilful flow of Trials and Briggs barrelling through the track, we have a straightup banger. Do yourself a favor and check out AB Original’s new single, King Billy Cokebottle.
5. The Carrion Crawlers – Stay Gold (single version) (Yari)
Release Date: 15 March 2022
Location: Pine Ridge Reservation, USA
Digital Price: $1 USD
Genre: Garage punk
Written by Yari Wildheart
The Carrion Crawlers are a Native American garage punk band from the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is an Oglala Lakota territory bordered by South Dakota. Between there and Kyle, South Dakota, The Carrion Crawlers were only just founded in 2021 and have a sound that harkens back to the earliest days of garage punk, but almost with an aggression that you get from hardcore punk bands. The track I’m reviewing today is titled Stay Gold but be aware that they have since released a self-titled full-length album which you can find here.
Stay Gold was a great choice for the first single from The Carrion Crawlers album – it’s short and sweet as you want from classic garage punk, and it has that 1960s, rock & roll influenced guitar sound, those simple groovy riffs with a little more distortion. It’s not played to perfection by design, because this is fucking punk – it’s a smack in the face by William Thunder Horse, Troy Janis and Lesaine Little White Man. To really hammer that home, Thunder Horse’s vocals are a bit frantic and a bit rough as any good punk vocalist of this type needs to be. The lyrics really complete the whole vibe because Stay Gold is about getting into a fight and the consequences thereof.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this track. Once you’re done with that, go listen to the whole album – it’s an absolute blast.
Band members to tag:
6. Meteor Airlines – AHA ⴰⵀⴰ (Yari)
Release Date: 10 September 2022
Location: Kelaa M’gouna Tinghir, Morocco
Genre: Folk Metal/Alternative Rock
Written by Yari Wildheart
Meteor Airlines are a trio originating from Morocco and represent some truly great music coming from Amazigh people. The Amazigh (sometimes referred to as ‘Berbers’) are indigenous to North Africa and despite millennia of conquest, oppression and colonialism, their languages and culture have managed to survive. That said, like many indigenous cultures around the world there are a variety of challenges facing them. For instance, in Tunisia there was a long-standing law that forbade parents from giving their children Amazigh names. Restrictions on language have also meant that many Amazigh people can no longer speak an Amazigh language. This means that bands like Meteor Airlines are important in helping the culture and language thrive, as they continue to release tracks in Amazigh language.
In recent years, Meteor Airlines have been moving towards a heavier sound, which I’m sure will be pleasing to many a Cave Dweller reader. This latest single of theirs, titled AHA (or ⴰⵀⴰ), feels like one of the most simply beautiful tracks I have covered for Cave Dweller Music to date. It’s just such a heartfelt track and paired with the music video featuring people joyously celebrating a wedding despite the circumstances that often face Amazigh people, there is really something special here.
Lyrically there are several dimensions, and it can be interpreted as either a love song, or a humanitarian outcry, and both works quite well. Every one of those vocal notes is so well mixed and drawn out at just the right length and pitch to give a sense of nostalgia in, and awe for, a time and place I haven’t actually experienced. The mix of guitars and percussion here are so well played, and it all builds toward the instrumental outro for the song which is where we really hear that familiar modern electric sound. AHA ⴰⵀⴰ is pure art.