Published Jun 17, 2014Today (June 17), Drew Daniel, one half of San Francisco glitch experimentalists Matmos, unleashes his first album in 10 years as the Soft Pink Truth. Released through Thrill Jockey, Why Do the Heathen Rage? finds Daniel covering 10 classic black metal (and proto-black metal) songs, including tracks by Darkthrone, Hellhammer, Mayhem and Venom. A follow-up to 2004's sophomore LP, Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Soft Pink Truth?, which found him covering '80s punk and hardcore, Daniel once again transforms aggressive rock songs into clubby, rave-induced anthems.
Speaking with Exclaim!, Daniel explains his lifelong fascination with black metal, saying, "I first heard black metal when my friend Kris Force's band Amber Asylum signed to Misanthropy Records, which was Burzum's label also. So I heard [Burzum's 1996 album] Filosofem and it blew me away."
Explaining why black metal speaks to him, Daniel continues, "The obsessions with extreme scenarios of extinction, annihilation and mass death which surge throughout black metal are, to me, deeply congruent with the kind of scenarios that we know as a species that we are heading towards."
Recorded by Daniel in his Baltimore home, Why Do the Heathen Rage? features contributions from Daniel's partner in Matmos, M.C. Schmidt, Terence Hannum from Chicago black metal band Locrian and Antony Hegarty of Antony & the Johnsons. Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak is the lone female guest, singing the album's most macho and sexualized lyrics on Sarcófago's "Ready to Fuck," a decision Daniel admits was partly political.
"I had made about half of the album and Martin [a.k.a. M.C. Schmidt], my boyfriend and partner in Matmos, listened to it and said, 'It's very male, you haven't really taken it to that 'diva house music' place yet.' And I realized that he was right, that I needed to press the point by having a strong female perspective."
Read our full interview with Daniel here.