Hailing from Sweden, the atmospheric black metal pair, BLACK BIRCH, comprises the talented Gina Wiklund on vocals, guitar, and bass, and Ulf Blomberg on drums, guitar, bass, and backup vocals. The duo has made a resounding entrance into the music scene with their evocative debut singles. Drawing from a vast array of influences, including crust, post-metal, and black metal, BLACK BIRCH seamlessly melds atmospheric harmonies with melodic riffs, accompanied by heavy midsections. Gina’s impassioned and piercing vocals convey a sense of fervent desperation, resulting in a sound that is simultaneously classic and modern.
Although Gina and Ulf have been active in other musical endeavors, with Gina in GASP (hc/punk) and Ulf in Gace.Will.Fall (hc), their foray into the enigmatic realm of black metal began in the waning days of winter 2022. Wasting no time, the duo released their first single, “Weak,” in January 2023, followed swiftly by their second single, “Fallen,” in February.
Despite having easy access to a professional recording studio, courtesy of Ulf’s work as an engineer/producer with bands such as Wolfbrigade, Birdflesh, M:40, and Gloson, the pair chose to pursue a more unorthodox creative process for this project. They opted to write and record their music in their rural home in southern Sweden, transforming their kitchen and living room into a makeshift studio. This unconventional approach has facilitated an organic fusion of everyday life and musical creation, inspiring unfettered artistic ingenuity.
As 2023 unfolds, BLACK BIRCH plans to release a new song at the conclusion of each month. The duo’s captivating music and distinctive sound have already garnered considerable acclaim, with their first two singles receiving exceptional praise. Their work has been featured on BBC 1 by Daniel P. Carter and Australia’s national radio Triple J, in addition to numerous other stations and podcasts worldwide. With such a formidable start, the future appears exceedingly bright for BLACK BIRCH.
“Soil”, the 4th song by BLACK BIRCH, is kind of an emotional outlet of how it feels seeing powerful peoples’ imprint on the world and its future. As if their actions wouldn’t have a consequence and as if money, over people, animals and nature, would be the most valuable thing. How to feel more guilt by being the ones who’re not actively resisting than the amount of guilt they themselves probably ever will feel about their actions. And, how it sadly seems to be an incurable part of the human ego.
These lines, drawn from the most energetic part of the song almost 5 minutes in, sums it up pretty well:
“Savaging all that is left. Roaming the ground of the dead and deceased. Spreading the illness amongst. Contagious like a plague with no cure.”
The band also just revealed their collaboration with Spanish Vita Detestabilis Records and New York based Fiadh Productions. A collaboration the band is happy to have found not only for the support they get for their music but also for the labels political stance, which Gina will get back to further down.
The collaboration with Vita Detestabilis Records and Fiadh Productions will result in a physical release later this year. More details on that shall follow soon.
“Taking the step into black metal, from the clearly anti fascist scene we come from, we were without a doubt a bit worried about how to navigate. We felt that it was important for us to make it clear from the start where we stand and we quickly found that there’s a strong anti fascist network also in the black metal scene. Our second song ‘Fallen’ premiered on the youtube and instagram account of Antifascist BM Network and we quickly found two amazing labels, who we are now working with. Both labels are run by women who are outspokenly anti fascist and pro animal rights, which feels amazing to say the least!” – comments Gina.
All BLACK BIRCH songs will all be named with one word and while ‘Soil’ talks about man’s seemingly inescapable negative impact on the earth that’s not the one focus for the band. Their lyrics move in the borderlands between man, animal and nature. Dealing with everything from personal struggles and anxiety to social injustices to the feeling of disappointment at humanity and its negative impact on everything around.
As an additional indulgence, we requested the band to provide recommendations for other groups that embody a similar essence of their dark, majestic, and malevolent post-metal sound. Here is the intriguing list we received, an extreme blend of 15 bands with fierce female or non binary members worth a solid check:
All BLACK BIRCH music is written and recorded in the couples home in southern Sweden. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Ulf Blomberg @hoborec known from working with bands such as Wolfbrigade, The Arson Project, Birdflesh etc.
More about the labels:
Fiadh‘s mission as a female-run anti fascist label is to make the world a safer, more compassionate place for animals through ripping black metal while creating a safe space free of hate for everyone in genres ranging from dungeon synth to crust, neofolk, comfy synth, dark ambient and more.
“Vita Detestabilis was created as a platform where we can discover, recommend, and enjoy extreme and obscure sounds and music that expresses and/or supports the struggle against oppression, while trying to give space to artists that aren’t as represented or don’t feel as welcome in other musical environments.
We also seek to offer conditions where the author’s rights and efforts over their music are acknowledged, and where we, VD, are simply intervening as collaborators and distributors of their creation.
As a two-women-run antifascist label, we want no one but NSBM and homotransphobic, sexist, abuser scum to ever have to hide or remain silent again, and we will be working hard towards achieving that for as long as we are around.”