The defunct Californian black metal band Von are one of the more obscure USBM that I've found out about, but they were also possibly the first ever USBM band, dating back to 1989, making them an important link in the lineage of American black metal; coupled with the fact that Von's music was a forerunner to the whole noise/black/skuzz thing and that their ultra-rudimentary, trippy blackbuzz minimalism was completely and utterly intoxicating, they are often seen as one of the most influential early black metal bands. Despite the fact that Von only recorded a handful of songs across two demos, they influenced tons of second wave (and onward) black metallers, both American and otherwise, and in the past their songs have been covered by bands like Leviathan, Enthroned, Dark Funeral, Taake, and Watain took their name from a Von song. When you hear folks toss around the word "kvlt", Von is one of the bands that really embodied that notion. Somewhere else in this week's update list, I mentioned that Ildjarn was square one for the kind of filthy, primitive, trance-inducing blackpunk peddled by Bone Awl, Akitsa, and Ash Pool. You can now scratch that. After revisiting a handful of Von tracks today, it's clear that Von is precursor to all of those bands, an influence on Ildjarn (as well as a bunch of other Norwegian bands) and the raw DNA for all of the three-chord distortion-soaked minimalistic blackscumbuzz thugs that followed.
Rusty Axe went the extra mile though and fully documented the wide influence that Von has had on modern underground black metal by curating a twenty-four artist compilation; twenty-four artists all paying deference to the foul influence of Von via covering their small body of work. The bands featured include Blasphemophagher, Beastcraft, Tjolgtjar, Unholy Crucifix, Frostmoon Eclipse, Sumeria, Askelon, Esprit Derange, Godslaying Hellblast, Raw Hatred, Necroholocaust, Enbilulugugal, Sjenovik, Brobdingnagian, Dawn of Sorrow, Exekrator, Sermon of Foulness, Godless, Black Vomit, Burning Blood, Volkermord, Nuclearhammer, Ceremonial Castings and Istidraj. Coming from Rusty Axe, it's little surprise that the bands selected for this comp come from the weirder, low-fi edges of the black metal spectrum, "outsider black metal" as is the label's forte. Since Von only had about fourteen songs total across those two demos, there are obviously a bunch of tracks on here that show up more than once, covered by multiple bands; it's a wide variety of approaches though. Some of my favorite tracks here include the ultra-blownout Merzbowian stumble and bizarre audio dropouts of Brobdingnagian; Enbilulugugal's acrid blackblast noise that sounds like an even more jacked-up version of early Abruptum; the sub-low-fi doomthrash of Unholy Crucifix; the gurgling glitch noise of Black Vomit; the freaked out almost gabba-like hammering and busted speaker hiss of Esprit Derange. All of the bands are fast, and raw, insanely raw and blackened blasts of simplistic but intense and malicious riffing and mindless, hypnotic blastbeats, but with each band putting their own unique stamp of thrashing, low-fi, noisy skuzzy and terminally GRIM blackness on their selected track. This comp is certainly recommended to any fans of outsider and low-fi black metal, Von themselves, and all those that worship at the altar of fucked-up primitive BM like Akitsa, Bone Awl, early Beherit, Ancestors, Ash Pool, early Ildjarn, Absurd, etc. Comes with a thick 16-page booklet with a page of liner notes/artwork/photos from each band, and original album artwork from Von vocalist/guitarist Goat.