Book of Sand is an atypical band—or project, really, as it's the sole effort of a Minneapolis-based individual who goes by DCRF. While most black metal bands shy away from politics (or, as part of an outcast minority, embrace the far right), Book of Sand veers sharply—and vocally—left, citing anarchism, feminism, anti-racism, and veganism as its core lyrical foci. It's a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant scene, too; despite black metal's inherently nonconformist, rebellious nature, it's still rare to come across a black metal band that proudly circles that A instead of inverting the cross, even when one considers the enduring popularity of the underground RABM (red and black metal) movement and of bands like Iskra and Panopticon, who bring their own lefty politics to the fore.
Following a 2014 split with Skin Horse, Book of Sand's latest release, Occult Anarchist Propaganda, is exactly that. The record features songs like "The White Man's Burden" and "The Mountains are Waking Up," and tempers its lo-fi black metal with an experimental edge. The result is a strangely melodic cacophony, all foggy guitars, harried tremolo, strangled howls, and whispery drums, with occasional appearances by eerie, bleating strings and an overall sense of dread and unease.
Even if you're entirely uninterested in politics (or completely against the values Book of Sand supports), if you dig weird, raw black metal, you're going to dig this album. Occult Anarchist Propaganda is out Mrch 25 via Mouthbreather Records; preorders are up now, and you can stream it in all its radical might below.
Kim Kelly is following Emma Goldman fan accounts on Twitter.