If anything, the redefinition of black metal as pop art (Liturgy played MoMA in July) is about the synthesis of new forms. After all, these bands aren't burning churches or killing people. Having divorced the style from its historical violence, acts like Wolves in the Throne Room subsume the best elements of post-rock and post-metal, with thrilling results. Charlotte's Young and in the Way cut a particularly intriguing path. Their integration of high-test hardcore and even jazz and orchestral timbres with the hoarse roars and dark-as-shit black metal subject matter leads to some startling, fascinating juxtapositions.
The body of Young and in the Way's work clocks in under the four-minute mark, with circle pit-friendly blasts of eager, cascading hardcore. And Eternal Depression hits fifth gear almost immediately, with the minute-and-20-seconds "Times Are Cold" right on the heels of intro track "Descending the White Mountain." The remarkable "Oceans of Eternal Depression" switches brilliantly between dark, mid-tempo punk-metal and a mosh-imperative blastbeat before running headfirst into a lonely, reverberating piano that sounds like it was recorded from the other side of a warehouse.
Yet Eternal Depression's most thrilling aspect may be the band's brilliant soundscape usage. Ambient nihilistic closer "The Gathering" starts with a field recording. Cicadas trill as leaves crunch underfoot, the footfalls panning from speaker to speaker. It takes the patient post-metal dirge nine of its 12 minutes to crescendo with a brief, relatively optimistic riff before dropping back into soundscape, closing with the lonesome call of a distant train. In this moment, Young and in the Way cements its place as much in the tradition of antagonistic hardcore as orchestral sound art like Godspeed You! Black Emperor.