Cheryl Carter (Writer/Bleak Metal)

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This time around we feature the collection of Cheryl Carter, writer and owner of the blog Bleak Metal.

The first record I ever bought with my own money was…

The cool answer would be Fear Factory – Demanufacture – that was the first metal music I bought with my own money when I was 13 or so. But the real answer is, I think, a Boyzone single (A Different Beat) on 7” when I was about 12 and my sister and I had just gotten one of those cool CD player/cassette deck/vinyl player systems for Christmas. I may have even bought a Spice Girls single around the same time. Life in 1997 was wild.

The record that made me want to write about music was…

I’d been entertaining the idea of music writing for a few months in 2011 but I didn’t really know where to start. I heard the Pallbearer demo of 2010 in….I want to say March 2011 and I immediately had a lot of feelings about it. It wasn’t the first review I ended up writing (that honour went to 40 Watt Sun’s The Inside Room) but that one three track demo changed my whole world and opened up many incredible opportunities to experience more music. Initially I didn’t tell anyone about my writing and posted to my blog without linking and then one day I found some actual courage and the rest is history, I guess?

Pallbearer mean a great deal to me still, and having them dedicate “Foreigner” to me when they played in Pratteln, Switzerland, soon after I moved to the country really drove home just how special and important they are to me.

The CD I’ve played more than any other is…

Oh, this is a tough call. I want to say it’s probably something by AFI, perhaps The Art of Drowning. I had discovered them when I was 15 or 16 and have loved them ever since but this album changed me. “Days of the Phoenix” was the single when it was released and that whole album took over my life for a long time. I don’t listen to them as much as I used to but I have a whole sleeve tattoo dedicated to this record and the All Hallows’ EP, either because I’m extremely cool or extremely stupid, you decide.

It could also be Dimmu Borgir’s Enthrone Darkness Triumphant….now that I think about it more. My dream is to see them play it live, in full, probably only to me because I’m not sure who else would want to see that.

The CD that always make me feel good is…

Whenever I’m in need of a boost or it’s a sunny day and I’m feeling weirdly positive, then I tend to turn to VNV Nation. They never fail to make me feel a type of euphoria that metal never quite does and their live show is spectacular. I would probably choose Empires but the new album, Noire, is fast becoming a new go-to. VNV Nation have an energy that is hard to ignore and their music really gets under your skin. You have to move when you’re listening to them.

The record I turn to when I’m feeling down is…

I don’t think I’m alone in choosing a sad record to listen to when also feeling sad. Some people find what they need in more upbeat music or something comforting, but for me, if I’m feeling particularly melancholic, then I turn to extremely sad music. I would say that Colosseum – Chapter 3: Parasomnia is the album I turn to most often when I’m feeling down. There’s something so devastatingly human about it. It’s funeral doom distilled to its purest essence. It’s hollow, numb, overwhelming….it’s perfect.

The record with my favorite cover art is…

Oh, good question! Favourite cover art is quite a subjective thing, I think, because other people could really hate it! But I really like the cover for Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger. It’s so simple and stark and the image really plays to what you can expect. It’s as cold and direct as the music is and it’s also the first black metal record I really found myself drawn to and led me down a path to the darker side of music.

The strangest LP I own is…

I’m not sure I own anything particularly weird or out there, I’m afraid. But I do love this one record by a Russian post-rock band called Powder! Go Away. It’s called Laika Still Wants To Go Home and it’s a concept album about the first dog in space – which is a weird thing to want to write about, I guess? It’s really sad and bittersweet.

The rarest CD I own is…

I think this is quite rare, although the album itself is widely available, but I have a Panopticon limited edition box, handmade by Austin, of wood and has a rune burnt into the top. It was a special edition of …On The Subject of Mortality, and had the album, plus a shirt and patches and I think the Skagos and When Bitter Spring Sleeps splits in there? The hinge is broken but after having it for eight or nine years, I think that’s to be expected. I used it for door takings at shows when I moonlighted as a gig promoter and now it’s full of patches I will never sew onto a jacket.

The last release I bought was…

When I moved to Switzerland I gave up/sold a lot of my physical collection so that I didn’t have to ship everything over and spend one million pounds on transporting it all and I don’t have a huge amount of space to house physical releases at the moment. Still, I use Bandcamp a lot and the last thing I bought on there was Mesarthim’s Ghost Condensate, which is recommenced if you like space, black metal, good music.

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