Jethro de Beer, the creative force behind “Be Not Betrayed” (SkyBurnsBlack Records) and “Bismoth”, strikes me as a thinker and a fighter. The spirit of his struggle, documented online, is captured for me in the title of that Marilyn Manson / Sneakerpimps collaboration, “Long Hard Road Out of Hell”. Quoting music from a movie may look like I’m making light of a troubling subject, but no. It is as when Paul writes to the Ephesians: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (6:12). It is clear to me that extreme metal seduces the listener ever downward, and once he/she has developed a taste for its tonal palette, it becomes difficult to take anything else seriously. I returned to an interview with Pilgrim, of Crimson Moonlight where he argues for blackened liturgical metal, and while the accepted view holds that black metal can’t be Christian, he says that “… it can be anything but neutral and lukewarm.” (http://bravewords.com/features/crimson-moonlight-blackened-liturgy). I have this impression when I listen to “Psalmic Peace”.
“Waters To Dust” is set against a bleak, frostbitten backdrop and I’m immediately taken in by a gravelly voice that whispers a precis of Psalm 106. I enjoy the thin, razor-like quality of the guitars, and this is where it becomes interesting for me; sombre instrumentation, yet lyrically hopeful. When I listen to “The Lamp of Your Body” by “Be Not Betrayed”, it shares sonic qualities with “O, Majestic Winter” – for me, an altogether more experimental take on unblack metal.