The Mesoamerican one-man black metal band Pan-Amerikan Native Front began in 2106 with the release of their debut full-length, Tecumseh’s War. A declaration of war against numerous long-stagnant tenets within the black metal ideology, Tecumseh’s War spent years making its rounds through the underground before the black metal community at large caught wind. Kurator of War, the sole musician behind PANF, was evidently years ahead of his time. Now, some five years later, just as most of this scene is starting to catch up, Pan-Native Amerikan Front launches another offensive.
Titled Little Turtle’s War, eight tracks of triumphant black metal, born of the earth and given back to the earth, compose Pan-Amerikan Native Front’s sophomore album. Loamy and erudite, yet blazing sharp and driven by an ancient energy, Little Turtle’s War exemplifies what black metal sounds like when the genre’s inherent hatred mixes with the anger of an adroit and brilliant Mesoamerican musician.
Little Turtle’s War
“The songwriting is brighter, punchier and more dynamic on [Little Turtle’s War] versus Tecumseh’s War,” Kurator of War explains. “The musical cache for me is wide, this album was a natural step forward in my writing. The recording process was vastly different as well, I worked at a professional recording studio for the new album versus the more DIY approach with the first one. There was much more knowledge depth this time in terms of mixing and mastering. Lyrically, I was more conscious in incorporating indigenous language which I peppered throughout the album and culminated on the last track which is entirely in Myaamia.”
Regarding what initially drew him to black metal, Kurator of War says, “the black metal genre is one of the most mesmerizing and sincere forms of art I have had the opportunity to enjoy since my teenage years. My passion in black metal lies in its ability to give breath to experiences you don’t typically receive in mainstream culture. Some content you would consider taboo, like the anti-Christian uprising prominent in the ‘90s in Europe. The passion has morphed into giving life to gruesome chapters of conflict, from a point-of-view that was important for me.”
As for how he sees Pan-Amerikan Native Front fitting in, he says, “This project is about the fierce resistance indigenous peoples of the ‘Americas’ have endured throughout centuries of colonial and post-colonial occupation. As I began to study my personal native identity, it naturally led me to uncovering a buried indigenous history, not just in my ancestral homelands but in those of my relatives throughout turtle island. In short, this is native black metal warfare in solidarity with all indigenous nations!”
He continues to provide insight into his new album, Little Turtle’s War. He says, “Michikiniqua, also known as Little Turtle, was one of the legendary native leaders of the 18th and 19th centuries. He was an effective commander, military strategist and community leader. Along with Weyapiersenwah, Michikiniqua led an army to the biggest victory of native forces against any American army in history at the Battle of the Wabash. You get to learn more about these events when listening to ‘Michikiniqua’s Triumph; and thereafter the sterile ambience of ‘The Great White Beaver Lurks’ injects a cold reality for Michikiniqua of imminent invasion. The last song is translated to ‘We remember the old ones.’ And to this day, you can find Michikiniqua’s gravestone in Fort Wayne, Indiana.”
Bands like Pan-Amerikan Native Front, bands that have it all from heart to riffs, from message to atmosphere, bands like this are a rare gift. Little Turtle’s War is the kind of record that will have you researching song titles, poring over the lyrics, all wrapped up in that special feeling that only comes with albums on this level.