Image courtesy of Wolf Mountain Productions
Blackbraids’s Official Bio
Blackbraid is a solo indigenous black metal project by Sgah’gahsowáh (pronounced SKA-Gah-SoW-Ah) from the depths of the Adirondack wilderness creating music as raw and powerful as the mountains from whence it came…
When most people think of black metal, they think of satan-worshiping kids in Norway killing each other and burning down churches. While those in the scene know this is mostly just a stereotype fueled by the events of some folks in the 90s that made some stupid decisions that have given fuel to the media over the last 30 years. An understandable stereotype but a stereotype nonetheless.
It’s rare when an artist comes out in the black metal scene, at least from my experience, that easily breaks those stereotypes. Blackbraid is definitely leading that charge!
The music of Blackbraid is lush with indigenous Native American iconography, symbolism, and poetic views of nature. This is then paired with traditional elements of the genre, such as an icy approach to the vocals and guitars with drums filled with interesting rhythmic patterns, tons of double bass, and tasty blast beats. Because of this, Blackbraid could easily find himself sharing the stage with existing heavy hitters in the genre like Mayhem, Abbath (or Immortal), and Emperor.
In summer of 2022, Blackbraid unleashed his first official release to the masses, Blackbraid 1. This album was met with critical acclaim and made it to several “best of 2022” lists at the end of the year. For my money, if it’s on one of the reviewers for Banger TV’s list, it’s definitely worth taking the time to check it out (shoutout to Blayne Smith/@MetalComedy).
This album is roughly 36 minutes in length and contains four tracks with two interludes. While the tracks themselves are incredible, my personal favorite being Sacandaga, the two interludes are a very welcomed piece of instrumental music to the overall album. They dive even deeper into more traditional-sounding indigenous music while setting the stage for the next song. It almost creates a moment of breathing room without losing momentum.
As we are almost one year from the release of Blackbraid 1, we quickly approach the next album, Blackbraid 2. At time of writing this, we already have two songs previewed from that album, Moss Covered Bones on the Altar of the Moon and The Spirit Returns. Both of these tunes take what we got from Blackbraid 1 and expand on it further. I myself am incredibly excited for this release and am hoping that it almost acts as a companion-piece to the first album.
One thing I think other musicians can take away from Blackbraid is how well he is doing with absolutely no record label support. He is 100% an independent artist. That is incredibly commendable when you see all that he has accomplished within the industry in such a short amount of time, especially for the genre. It’s almost like he has taken the DIY approach of 80s hardcore punk and extrapolated it.
I’m really excited to see what the future holds for Blackbraid as he wraps up his current tour with a full band. Will he continue as a solo artist that hires musicians for tours or will this become a multi-member band? If new members become long-term, how will that impact the creative output of the band? Only time will tell but I’m along for the ride, 100%. I wear my Blackbraid patch on my battle vest with pride.
Who knows, maybe we can get an interview with Sgah’gahsowáh in the future and see if he can give us some insights to these questions.
What’s Going on with Blackbraid?
At time of writing this piece, Blackbraid has completed a successful US tour alongside Dark Funeral, Cattle Decapitation, and 200 Stab Wounds (I’m so bummed I missed the Austin show but a bug was floating around my house at the time. I heard it was excellent.). It was also just announced that he will be headlining the Kaupangr Stage at Midgardsblot 2023 in Norway alongside some incredible bands like Einherjer, Enslaved, My Dying Bride,and Týr. Tickets for Midgardsblot 2023 can be purchased here.
Along with the announcement of his appearance at Midgardsblot 2023, it was also announced that the pre-order for Blackbraid 2 will begin June 23, 2023 on his official website and Bandcamp and is set for release on July 7, 2023. I definitely plan to pick up a copy and would encourage anyone interested to do the same as quickly as possible. I’d be very surprised if this first pressing didn’t sell out quickly.
Also, I want to give a huge shoutout to Katy from Suspiria Promotions for providing me with more info on Blackbraid for this article!