Review Summary: “The age of men is over” isn’t just an allusion, it’s a battle cry: metal isn’t just for men anymore.
The mind behind Feminazgul, Maggie Killjoy, understands the hypocrisy around black metal: hypermasculine exclusionary politics from men parading around in makeup and long-hair (neither is inherently feminine but society feels differently). Using the established Lord of the Rings lore, Feminazgul shrieks about the rights and risks of power, using the genre’s most firmly revered subject matter to do so. Orcs aren’t mythical villains, they’re the fascists in Sauron’s regime, nor are elves the foreign aggressors to be feared.
This upending of black metal’s most cherished fallback is glorious to behold and Feminazgul does so with a beautifully rendered atmospheric spin. Admittedly, it’s hard to walk away from the act’s debut, No Dawn for Men
, completely astonished--there’s plenty of conventions here which have been heard from the likes of Blut Aus Nord and every other atmospheric black metal band who’ve followed suit. Where Feminazgul does
stand out is in the use of symphonic elements. Strings and angelic choruses are used subtly, elevating tracks like “The Rot in the Field is Holy” to something more profound and otherworldly. Killjoy carries this ethos of “less is more” throughout, as the effete “Forgiver, I Am Not Yours” is every bit as effective as the scorching “To the Throat.” It’s endlessly dynamic, taking enough liberties with an established aesthetic to make it both crushing and gorgeous.
Feminazgul is an act to follow to the ends of the goddamn earth. Maggie Killjoy embraces and exalts black metal in equal measure, resulting in music that’s both fresh and familiar. “The age of men is over” isn’t just an allusion, it’s a battle cry: metal isn’t just for men anymore.