Location: Adirondack Mountains, New York
Genre: Black metal
Full length: Blackbraid I
Format: CD, cassette, digital
Release date: August 26, 2022
The response to Blackbraid's debut album has been nothing other than positive since its release in August 2022. Jon Krieger, aka Sgah'gahsowáh, is the mastermind behind this solo project, located in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, which many would consider the ideal setting for the connections to nature and culture associated with black metal. In Krieger's case, the difference is his engagement with Native American history and culture, a theme that has gained popularity within USBM in recent years.
Native American black metal can sometimes be classified under the much broader title of indigenous metal, which includes bands like Alien Weaponry (New Zealand) and Arandu Arakuaa (Brazil). The bands, which depart from Norwegian black metal's over hyped association with murders and church arsons in the early 1990s, provide a historical value to extreme metal that was previously absent for many years, as well as an autochthonous essence that had not been touched upon or even considered.
In addition to the mysterious quality long established in black metal, which goes hand in hand with the nobility and relation to the earth derived from Native American tribes dating back to precolonial times, “Blackbraid I” proves the genre’s capabilities of achieving higher artistic plateaus as well as expanding its outer fringes even further after thirty years since the genre’s second wave began. Besides shattering the genre’s mold, this album also carries the torch of its original vision, transporting you through new portals in time.
From the very first moments of “Blackbraid I”, it is obvious that Krieger is in sync with the depth and atmosphere that has been created by the likes of Emperor, Enslaved, Borknagar, Vintersorg and Primordial. In order to fully comprehend Krieger's personal connection to black metal, watch the promotional video for "Sacandaga" to fully experience the magnificent solemnity of tribal Native American lands, the unbreakable bond between man, the sacred animal and the environment, free from the interference of European settlers.
Using raw production, abrasive guitars, rumbling bass, strident percussion and rasping vocals with acoustic guitars and poetically written lyrics celebrating the revival of Native American tradition, Krieger further substantiates the transition from the information age to a time when mankind was closer to the wilderness and the open air. Every song introduces new traditional elements to the table, and this motif never gets tired or overstays its welcome. “Blackbraid I” represents one more step in extreme metal’s evolution. –Dave Wolff
Sgah'gahsowáh: Vocals, all instruments
1. The River of Time Flows Through Me
2. As The Creek Flows Softly By
4. Barefoot Ghost Dance on Bloodsoaked Soil
5. Warm Wind Whispering Softly Through Hemlock at Dusk
6. Prying Open The Jaws of Eternity