Before leaving office a complete loser and multi-time criminal, our last president wanted to pass an education platform that aimed to teach American wonderfulness and just kind of passed over all the shitty things that have happened in this country. This has not been a place that’s been very welcoming to non-white people, and many here still refuse to address and atone for that.
Black metal force Pan-Amerikan Native Front, a band led by sole creator Kurator of War, has shined a light on issues that impacted Native Americans in the formative years of this country, something that we seem to sweep under the rug to avoid feeling bad about that pesky stolen land and bloodshed that continues to haunt us to this day. Their latest album “Little Turtle’s War” follows Little Turtle, a Sagamore chief of the Miami people and the events that unfolded during the Northwest Indian Wars (which ranged about a decade from 1785 to 1795), including some decisive victories over U.S. forces as they aimed to wrest even more land away from the Native Americans. The music itself is raw, noise-infested, and disarmingly melodic as Kurator of War unleashes his mission on his second record under this banner (the first was 2016’s “Tecumseh’s War”).
“Assembly of the Western Confederacy” starts with water flowing and the guitars etching a path before the track is torn open, and cries echo in the carnage. The playing is thorny and noisy before waters rush back for a bit before the song erupts again. Black waves pound viciously as furious hell is agitated, and then we’re on to “Power of the Calumet Dance” that pummels and creates a thunderous stomp. Melodic jolts and relentless power unite as the pace picks up, breathing fire and burying bodies as the march continues. The drums make paste of your bones, the riffs encircle and rally, and everything burns off as footsteps crunch the snow. “Battle of the Wabash” unleashes great riffs and drums punishing before shots are fired, and the melodies envelope. The playing is so aggressive it feels like you’re being consumed while the vocals shred, and the riffs leaves a trail of ashes. “The Whispering Oak” is a quick interlude piece with insects chirping and reflective guitars creating a deep haze.
“Michikiniqua’s Triumph” starts with spirited riffs and blackened howls as the track keeps unloading power, refusing to give an inch. Punches are thrown as the playing rages, the guitars churn dangerously, chants rise and take over, and the track carries the spirit to the end. “The Great White Beaver Lurks” brings guitars that grind metal in its gears and raw growls sprawling while the fury continues to carve a bloody path. The vocals later sound like they’re choking Kurator of War as he blasts out his message, the music collects mud, and the playing drives your face into the dirt. “A Witness” fires up as guitars sting, more shots are fired, and the strains of war blend into closer “nakaaniaki meehkweelimakinciki,” a 9:28-long epic that feels like a melodic surge that heads into an impenetrable haze. A collection of chaotic passages unloads and smothers what’s in front of it before acoustics make the vibe feel rustic and on the verge of collapse. There’s an extended reflective section that chills your blood, and just as you’re easing in, the playing scorches all over again, the drums clobber extensively, and the destruction burns out into the night.
Pan-Amerikan Native Front not only bring a mesmerizing and fire-breathing does of raw melodic black metal, but “Little Turtle’s War” also might send you on a research mission like it did for me to learn more about this piece of American history that further deteriorated Native Americans’ trust in this land. If this was taught in my schooling, it was brief, though this record and Kurator of War’s mission helped open my eyes wider to this period, which was vital to the nation’s history but also detrimental to the people from whom this place was taken. This is that ugly, horrific history some people want to shield you from to maintain some dream of American greatness, events this band refuses to leave buried.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/PanAmerikanNativeFront/
To buy the album, go here: https://stygianblackhand.bandcamp.com/album/little-turtles-war
For more on the label, go here: http://www.stygianblackhand.com/