Strangers in This Century: Profound Lore Records

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Profound Lore was founded in 2004 by Chris Bruni as a casual venture, but within a few years it grew to be a serious metal label. Based in Kitchener, Ontario—about an hour’s drive west of Toronto—Profound Lore has produced some of the most vital voices in contemporary black, experimental, and heavy metal.

Providing a deep history of Profound Lore Records is a challenging pursuit, as the only thing listed on their website’s “About” page is an H. P. Lovecraft quote from “The Outsider”: “I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.” Maybe that really does sum it all up, and maybe Profound Lore only needs to be known by what they’ve done.

Many of their releases challenge common perceptions of metal: Prurient’s Frozen Niagara Falls could only be called metal in its attitude, which is cold, penetrating, and unforgettably bleak. In the track “Greenpoint,” industrial rips and existential explosions of white noise attack across an unforgiving pulse, giving way to bone-chilling lyrics about the namesake Brooklyn neighborhood where an uncommon number of people have committed suicide.

By contrast, Ash Borer’s 2016 record The Irrepassable Gate is a more straightforward black metal album, flush with wailing guitars, punishing blast beats, and of course, howling vocals. It’s a dark and masterful album, showcasing the incredible growth they’ve made over the course of only three full LPs, the last two of which have been released through Profound Lore.

There truly isn’t enough space here to pay tribute to the label that brought us Krallice’s self-titled masterpiece (as well as Dimensional Bleedthrough and Diotima), a few albums from drone/noise metal legends Nadja, all three LPs from doom band Pallbearer, and many more. It’s clear that what Profound Lore do on a day-to-day basis remains in the shadows, but for metal, perhaps that’s necessary.