There is a tendency in “extreme” music, from black metal to neofolk to grindcore, to create a constant churn of creative partnering. Dozens of musicians lead to hundreds of projects, chronicled in collaborations, limited edition split records, b-side and “bootlegged” live tracks. One of the reasons why niche music like this has been able to succeed is in the massive amount of material, often turned into collectibles themselves, that is out there. This move towards collaboration has led to some of the biggest antifascist black metal projects like the Worldwide Association of Metalheads Againsts Nazism (WOMAN) and the Black Metal Alliance Crushing Intolerance compilations. These bring together leftist metal bands in an explicit statement of support, and with the Black Metal Alliance this has meant a particular focus on eradicating National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) who try to create a metal to nationalist pipeline.
The black folk metal band Deafest has been behind the Black Metal Alliance’s efforts and has been releasing stacks of collaborations, including a fantastic 2017 split with Kageraw and Rampancy. Over epic tracks, ranging fifteen minutes plus, there is a musical progression with its own storytelling beats, crushing solos matched by moments of sheer silence, just the story of black metal on the neofolk ledge.
We aren’t here to talk about Deafest’s long career though (we will definitely dig more deeply into them and the Black Metal Alliance in the future), but instead to highlight a particular collaboration they had with the one-person instrumentalist project Uaithe out of Los Angeles. Originally named In The Sea of Trees, which was highlighted by antifascist black metal blogs, they joined up with Deafest for a collaborative album in 2014 called Of Moss and Stone. Deafest’s tracks are what you would expect, ear splitting but grounded in the kind of nature gazing that has made them an anchor for the revolutionary green revival that is happening in metal along with bands like Wolves in the Throne Room.
The three tracks by Uaithe offer a different angle, sparse strings and light drums rebound the sound to something traditional, something that could have existed for centuries. There is a minimalism to this approach while calling to ancestral music that feels even more centered in the forests they hope to save. The same fusion that made In The Sea of Trees stand out, mixing in Japanese, Romani, and other folk traditions. Like much of the cascadian scene, there is a strong green anarchist relationship to the sound, which is why the pairing with Deafest is symbiotic.
Of Moss and Stone is a concept album with Deafest and Uaithe alternating tracks, which are numbered and meant to tell a unified story. This works in the kind of harmony you would least expect, alternating the vicious clashes of metal war and the kind storytelling of the hearth. It is this kind of collaboration that keeps these genres vital, and why we wanted to raise up a record that is five years old and has made few rounds.
We are embedding the album below from Bandcamp, but it is unfortunately not available on Spotify so it cannot be added to the Antifascist Neofolk playlist. Because of that, we will be adding a few stray tracks, including an old classic by Rome, and ‘Rite Against the Right’ by Sieben (who will be profiling in the coming weeks).