Archive for May, 2012

More Jacket Updates (and Cupcakes)

Posted in battle jacket with tags , , , , , , , on May 31, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

I’ve been hard at work on the battle jacket and have a couple of more additions since my sewing of my Funeral Mist backpatch. I did get the Marduk strip, and I put it right about where I thought I would.

[I’m pretty sure this picture is before it was sewn, but that’s exactly what it looks like]

So, sewing strips is hard. They move around all over the place! Not to mention that this one in particular is a very silky patch. The thing did not want to stay still, but I finally got it sewn on. I’m pondering what to put below the back patch, and I’m thinking Deathspell Omega at the moment. Time will tell, however; I think I may be done sewing for a bit. Because…

My next endeavor was quite hellish. I mentioned a while back that I ordered a Dead patch. At first I was bummed that I didn’t get the color one, but upon reflection I like the black and white with red printing. Since my jacket will be mostly, if not all, black metal, I figure black, white, and red is a good aesthetic. When deciding where to put him I knew I wanted Dead right over my heart, and after much contemplation I decided to put him over the pocket partway, as he was simply too far over if I put him directly on the pocket, and that would not be utilizing my space wisely. Besides, it’s not like the jacket doesn’t have pockets on the sides.

It was worth it, totally, because I love Dead. But yikes. Another note to add to my list of patch sewing knowledge- if you sew over a pocket, it’s going to suck. I kid you not, at one point the needle actually pierced through my plastic thimble (that’s right, the top of the needle, backwards) and punctured my finger!  It was… unpleasant. The stitching was really hard to sew through, and I actually had to do a couple of “x”s around the middle of the patch because I couldn’t get my needle through those really thick parts. The patch itself was a little difficult too. Because it is canvas, I had to be careful to keep the needle between the canvas and the embroidered edge so as not to ruin the picture. There are discrepancies where I missed a couple of times, but they are tiny and are not too noticeable.

[This patch put the “pain” in “painstaking.” Ouch]

Here are some close-ups of the new additions.

[Incidentally, that’s the same font/style as on the new Marduk album]

[You can see where the needle went through a bit there at the bottom right. You might also can see my “x”s around that big seam in the middle. I just sort of looped the stitch around the embroidery in a crossed pattern to better secure it. And it is secure- Per isn’t going anywhere]

Part of why I decided to go ahead and post these today is because I recently read Lords of Chaos, and am in the middle of a review of it. It’s taking me a while to figure out how to put what I want to say, though, so that will be up Sunday. Next week is going to be awesome- at some point, I will be traveling with friends down to Des Moines to procure a copy of the new Watain DVD, Opus Diaboli. Then, on Friday, we are going to have a black metal party and watch the DVD while munching on Satanic cupcakes.

[An example of the kind of thing I’m thinking. Of course, this was a practice run of Watain cupcakes, so I will keep practicing and make them lovely so that they are acceptable as an offering to the Void, as well as people’s tummies]

Then, Saturday, we travel to St. Paul to witness the mighty Marduk onstage! It’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen them, and it’s well-nigh time I saw them again. We will see if I get this thing updated next Sunday or if it will be postponed a couple of days- it depends on how bad my bangover is. You can expect a review of the new Marduk album, Serpent Sermon, however, a week from today.

In my constant endeavor to broaden my “black horizons,” I have been listening to bands I see crop up places but haven’t heard. This is what I’ve been listening to today, so that you can have some music to listen to since you were so kind as to stop by.

[Merrimack, from France. Apparently their name comes from ancient Celtic and means “hellpit,” and has nothing to do with the warship.]

Until later.

-Hagalaz

Concert: Metal Up Your Tap- 6000 Wings & the Bended Bow (5/25, Des Moines, IA, Vaudeville Mews)

Posted in blackened death metal, concerts, death metal, local with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Friday night I decided to hit up Metal Up Your Tap at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines with a good friend, as it hasn’t happened in a few months. The bands were all local this time, which is always a good time. Living in the Des Moines area for the past couple of years has given me the opportunity to familiarize myself with what the Midwest has to offer in terms of local bands, and I have seen a number of really good ones. I’m sure that back home in Oklahoma the same thing exists, but probably more for red-dirt fans, of which I am not. No one was playing little metal shows in Oklahoma when I lived there; the tours do seem to be stopping by Tulsa and OKC more now, however.

Anyway, right when I got to the city it started hailing, but only for a couple of seconds. The first band that played, Primal Breath, is a regular opener that I have never gotten to see because we’re always eating dinner, or running late, or something, so I fought the downpour to get in and see them play a set.

Primal Breath is really good for as young as they are. They played a couple of  covers as well as their original work, which is really good, and were funny and good natured. I went to another show earlier this week (that was totally not metal, hence it is not here) with a bunch of younger bands as well. It’s good to see the kids are playing and listening to good music.

[Death cover!]

The second band that played was called Deplorable Immaculacy, and I had not heard of them before a couple of days ago. I had liked what I heard online, however, and they lived up to it live. Deplorable Immaculacy is a two man band that calls themselves blackened death metal, but it felt to me like they more switched off between the two.

The last song that they played was a really long, good old fashioned black metal tune, and it was particularly fantastic. The entire set was really great, however, and the crowd seemed to really get into this band in particular (it was the only time a pit formed, although it was a rather erratic affair considering only about four guys were up to it). I really enjoyed them, and I learned that their drummer (who I recognized as “that guy who looks like Hellhammer who is always at the metal shows,” another cool thing about getting to know the local crowd) also plays in another local black metal band that I have not gotten to see yet. They were supposed to open for Watain, but alas. Deplorable Immaculacy played a great set, and I hope they put out a recording soon so I can listen to it all the time.

6000 Wings & the Bended Bow was the headliner for the evening. They are not straight up metal, but more like a hardcore band with a metallic feel. Even though it’s not right up my alley music-wise, I really enjoyed their set. It was interesting, too, to see the crowd sort of change a bit when they played. Some of the people who came for the metal left, and some other people (who I assume are more into punk) showed up.

[…And of course I can’t find any vids of them on YouTube. Here is their MySpace, however, where you can listen to them: http://www.myspace.com/6000wingsthebendedbow]

The funniest part of it all, perhaps, is the utter bewilderment with which metal fans react to a hardcore band. There was no moshing, something I had thought for sure would happen. The band even made a joke about us standing a little closer, the crowd was so shy. Everyone did bang their heads appreciatively, though, and the performance was really stellar.

[And a ReverbNation site for them as well: http://www.reverbnation.com/6000wingsthebendedbow]

So a good night was had by me and my friend Trisha at the $5 local metal show. I’m glad we went- the crowd was much more peaceful than they usually are, as the last one of these I went to there was an actual dogpile at one point (but grindcore will do that). The turnout was surprisingly good for a bill of all local acts as well. I estimate that there were probably 30 people at any one point, perhaps a few more for the headliner. I was worried that the crowd might stay home due to the rather inclement weather, so I was glad that some at least came out.

And now I must return to pummeling my eardrums with the latest offering from Marduk, which I received in the mail about a week and a half early (on accident, maybe?). It’s some brilliant stuff, and I’ll be reviewing it soon.

Until next time,

Hagalaz

Black Metal Videos

Posted in videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

In keeping with the theme of over-theatricality from my post on Cradle of Filth earlier this week, today we will address black metal videos. This has been on my mind lately, as Marduk has a new video out (strange, huh?).

The black metal music video is an extremely weird genre. In a subgenre as opposed to the mainstream music business as black metal is, music videos almost seem counterproductive. And yet, they show up. Sometimes they are very good. But not often.

In the black metal scene there are certainly the classic videos, and those I don’t want to look at much today. Primarily because you’ve probably already seen them, and in my efforts to bring you to new horizons, I want to show you things you may not have seen.

[You’ve probably seen this, but I’m putting it here in case you haven’t, because you must]

Immortal is perhaps as good a place to start as any, as their videos are legendary for being silly (see above). Immortal is a shining example of the fact that it’s difficult to make a serious music video if you’re dressed up in corpsepaint and leather. You just look kind of ridiculous, even if you’re being serious. The best part of Immortal’s videos, however, is that the music is still Immortal, and therefore, still amazing. Their most recent album, All Shall Fall, had a video accompanying the title track that they released when their DVD came out (which I still need to get). It, while still full of classic Immortal goofiness, is a very good video.

[My favorite part is the fact that Demonaz makes a cameo. Made my little black heart sing]

Also always ready to contribute to the silly black metal music video department is Dimmu Borgir. They are both blessed and cursed, I think, to be the biggest band related to black metal on the market. And attention from the mass media calls for music videos. Unfortunately, they tend to turn out like this:

[This may be the silliest thing they’ve ever done. Which is impressive]

Their most recent album, Abrahadabra, which bummed me out in a number of ways but isn’t the point of today’s post, came accompanied by a music video for the track “Gateways,” which, with its lack of forests and abundance of white, looks less like a black metal video and more like a commercial for everyone’s favorite dairy drink.

[Got milk?]

Satyricon is probably most famous for their “Mother North” video, which is fantastically cheesy but also really cool. They have also released videos for their later works.

[“Ahem, ladies. I’m drumming. BUSY.”]

As you can see, little has changed- there’s still scantily clad women, and Satyr’s glossy, shiny hair. This video depicts Frost destroying a drum set in all his glory (he is amazing. I am not completely bummed that he won’t be playing with 1349 in a couple of weeks because 1349, but he would have been the icing on my metal cake).

My searching in black metal videos also taught me that apparently Emperor made videos. This is strange to me. Emperor would not have struck me as a band that would make a music video (but then again, neither does Marduk). But they have, however, and you would think that they would be no less dramatic, but still somewhat subdued.

[You’d be wrong, though]

Well, they were young, and besides, I still think that Emperor just might be the greatest black metal band ever. They can do what they want, in other words, and still be perfectly fine because my goodness is that a good track. This video is more of the kind I’d expect from Emperor, however.

[Same band. Different kind of awesomeness]

Marduk has released a couple of music videos, too, and they are equally strange. First there’s this. It often gets an 18+ rating on YouTube, which is confusing to me as it’s pretty much just Mortuus rolling around in the dirt and screaming a lot:

[It’s plenty disturbing, but I don’t know that there’s anything 18+ about it]

And then there is the new video, which is a little cheesy in the way that black metal videos will be, but Mortuus in particular is on his scariest behavior.

[Hello there. Yikes]

Also dramatic are the kids from Poland. I’m not going to show any Behemoth videos because they are easily stumbled upon, but this video I have seen less interest in, and that’s weird because it is a lot of fun.

[DUDE. Check out them horns]

And remember Hate? The guys I went on about a couple of weeks ago? They have made videos too. Here is one of them, for which I will issue a warning because it contains some artistic nudity. But I promise you it is one of the unsexiest things ever.

[Unless, you know, vomit is your thing]

As you can see, the black metal video market is alive and well. We’ve come a long way from the performance vids of Immortal, but the theatricality has, if anything, gotten more grandiose. At the same time, Marduk’s video for “Throne of Rats” seems to serve as proof that black metal videos can be decidedly unfunny and serious if gone about it correctly, as well as showing that sometimes all you really need is some moist dirt and a bloody vocalist. The videos themselves do a great job of demonstrating the precarious nature of black metal, always straddling the line between the silly and the sublime, even if the silliness is often unintentional (I have my doubts about the Immortal videos, though).

Until Sunday.

-Hagalaz

Genre Troubles: Cradle of Filth (With a Short History of the English Gothic Novel)

Posted in genre troubles, musings with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

At my job, where I have been doing lots of lifting and moving books around, I have been listening to all the metal on my iPod in alphabetical order. Today, I reached Cradle of Filth and heard them again, which got me thinking. Every time someone mentions CoF in conjunction with black metal online, some black metal elitist (which I am one part-time, so don’t think I’m just calling names here) says they’re not black metal. And the other day, I saw someone respond “then what do you call them?”

It’s a valid question, and one that I pondered today while putting books on shelves. What *is* Cradle of Filth, exactly? (Don’t get your panties in a bunch just yet. Hear me out first). Their first album is very death metal like, but with the shreiky vocals that are usually in black metal. And you can totally hear the direction they will take later in this track.

Dusk and Her Embrace is very much like symphonic black metal, and I don’t think anyone disputes that fact. It’s a great album, and I’m sure there are a lot of conventionally aware black metal fans who probably have a copy of it, and who probably listen to it when no one is watching.

[This is good stuff, kids]

Midian is where their sound really started to shift, but kids, it’s a great album. I don’t care what anyone says. It’s one of the ones I own, and I’d forgotten how good it is until I stumbled upon it again today. It is a drastic shift from the more black metal sound that they had used previously, however, and this is where CoF starts to get more accessible and better known, and subsequently less liked by the kvlt people.

[Come on. You can pretend like you don’t like it, but I know better]

Now, there are plenty of reasons why people don’t like Cradle of Filth being labeled as black metal, and most of them have to do primarily with the fact that most black metal fans don’t like Cradle of Filth. It’s like when emo kids tried to call themselves punks. It’s far from what is “true,” and it’s annoying to have something that is so distant from what you consider to be the true genre lumped in with the likes of Mayhem and Dissection. Okay. That’s understandable. But why is CoF so annoying?

I am of the opinion that it has to do with their kind of tongue and cheek stance on, well, everything. They are goofy. They are. Sure, Immortal is goofy too, and they’re aware of it, but they still take what they do very seriously. Their songs are about winter, and trees, and Blashyrk. Cradle of Filth’s songs are about virgins in nightshifts fainting on sepulchers and having carnal relations with dead women.

[Um. Yeah.]

Thus, Cradle of Filth brings the cute and fun into things, which, if you remember, the traditional black metal crowd despised. It’s like Cannibal Corpse. It’s over the top and it’s funny, but black metal is supposed to be serious. Even if you’re these guys, at the end of the day, you take your work seriously.

[Serious mountain-skipping]

Musically, however, Cradle of Filth still retains a lot of the same black metal traditions. They use blast beats, there’s lots of tremolo picking, and *some* of their chords are built around the tri-tone, if you tilt your head just right.

[Dani Filth is “Nemethis.” Hehe]

Some people say they’re too symphonic for black metal. Can’t use that. Because AHEM.

[Of course, CoF doesn’t compare to Emperor, but that’s not entirely fair. Most bands don’t compare to Emperor. Either way, the excuse is invalid]

The shrieks are definitely in the tradition of black metal, and they’re primarily why I don’t listen to Cradle of Filth much. Dani Filth’s voice makes my ears want to bleed (and his lisp cracks me up).

[Gabri-ELLLLLLLLLE! *cringe*]

So musically, they’re somewhat like black metal. But there are elements that are radically different. First of all, there’s the female vocals. Cradle of Filth has used them from their early days. In the black metal world, we don’t like our women doing vocals unless they’re shrieking them like a dude (and our vocal cords are actually far better suited to shrieking, gentlemen. Of course there aren’t many of us out there doing it, but that’s not my fault).

[They go a bit overboard on this track, I think. Too much. I loved this song when I was like seventeen though]

Which brings me to another point: women. And this is the reason, I think, that Cradle of Filth can still *MAYBE* be considered black metal. Hold on. We need to move back a little.

Black metal is strongly centered in folklore, right? French black metal bands pepper their stuff with references to the old Gaulish gods like Cernunnos, Scandinavian black metal bands are all about Vikings and the Old Norse gods, USBM bands reference American transcendentalism. So what do English black metal (for the sake of argument, let’s call CoF black metal here) bands reference? Well, English folklore, of course. And CoF are old pros at that. Hence the presence of so many women in their music and imagery. And herein lies the big difference between Cradle of Filth and every other black metal band on the planet- the English gothic novel (this is where I get to show off some of the research I did for my Victorian Novels class).

The English gothic novel got its start in the late Romantic period, but really gained a strong foothold in the Victorian period, when people were particularly terrified of women. Gothic novels became the rage as women were sent to school for once (but only so as to better prepare themselves to keep an eye on their men). These novels appealed particularly to females for few reasons:

1)      Female protagonists. Seriously. The traditional protagonist of the gothic novel is a woman.

2)      …who are recognized as sexual beings

3)      And who also are recognized as being intelligent human beings capable of thought.

The threatening atmosphere of the dank castle or the dark forest put into words the claustrophobic feeling that Victorian women felt at the hands of the patriarchal society that dominated them, which is simultaneously the reason why the person causing the female protagonist so much grief is always some dude. But the woman always escapes one way or another, and she does so by being smart. This was as horrifying to the Victorian gentry as a woman comfortable with her sexuality was, so the gothic novel became “low art” and young ladies were highly discouraged from reading it.

Cradle of Filth, then, can only be said to be relying on their own English folk-traditions of the campy gothic novel. These novels often dealt with the supernatural and the occult (check), witty women- who in Victorian times might as well have been whores (check), and imagery like castles against a stormy skyline and drippy candles (check).

[Another CoF song ripped straight out of the literature, and based on my favorite play]

As a result, there’s a lot more gothic imagery, creepy organ-like music, and sex in Cradle of Filth’s music. Technically, in terms of folk tradition, they’re not doing anything different than the Norsemen, it’s just that their traditions are much kinkier and also are intentionally low-art. A Cradle of Filth song is the modern day equivalent of a penny dreadful.

So does this make Cradle of Filth black metal? Not quite. If I were to categorize them (as I’m about to), I would call them a hybrid of gothic metal and black metal. Like most gothic metal, they utilize the female vocals, and the music has a very romantic feel. The shrieked vocals and blast beats are reminiscent of black metal, certainly, but use of these elements doesn’t necessarily make a band black metal. Grindcore uses them too.

The crossover space does get a bit fuzzy, especially considering certain black metal bands’ fascination with Transylvania. But Cradle of Filth’s gothic is a different breed, and although their earlier stuff may still be considered black metal (really, I think the only reason why it is is because black metal fans don’t hate it), Cradle of Filth have never relied on the tri-tone chord enough for me to feel comfortable saying “Yes. This feels like black metal.”

Could you call it that if you wanted to? Sure. I think you can. Enough of the elements are in common that it makes sense on many levels to call Cradle of Filth black metal. But their gothic overtones have always been equally as present, and in recent years, they have won out.

Final judgement: Cradle of Filth is goth metal, although they had blackened beginnings.

Farewell for now, ladies and gents. I’m off to go listen to more Horna, who I have recently become obsessed with, and sew some more on the battle armor.

[A palate cleanser for the trve]

-Hagalaz

Band Spotlight: Hate (Poland)

Posted in blackened death metal, featured artist, poland, underground with tags , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

**I am starting this section to showcase some of my personal favorites that either I have loved forever or just happened to pop up on my radar. I will try to pick more lesser known/underground bands for this section, as you all don’t need to read one more fangirl going on about how much she loves Mayhem, but I won’t promise that it will always be that way. Today’s post will feature a band that is very underrated in my book, however- blackened death demi-gods Hate.**

Back in November, I went to see Mayhem (and skipped about like a schoolgirl all night. Sheer glee). The whole line-up was a good one- Abigail Williams to start with, some people got to see a band called Woe who is really good (but didn’t play our dates; sad times), Hate, and Keep of Kalessin all opened. I was familiar with all the other bands, but I had no knowledge whatsoever about Hate. All I can say is WOW. They destroyed.

[Watch their bassist’s neck. Seriously. Just watch it. His head looks like it’s about to fall off. That is terrifying.]

It is flat out wrong and unfair that I did not know this band existed before November. They seem to be consistently overshadowed by behemoths like… well, like Behemoth. Speaking of those guys, Hate may remind you a bit of someone- the robes, the cheekbone-emphasizing corpsepaint, the blackened-death sound- but I promise you they did not steal Behemoth’s ideas. The two bands are actually exact contemporaries, both releasing their first demos in 1992, and methinks they have probably fed off of each other in their later compositions. The fun thing is, they started completely differently.

[Early Behemoth is black metal!]

[Wait. What’s that? That’s right, early Hate is straight up DEATH metal!]

Eventually they both did the blackened death thing, combining the two genres in the way that only those Polish guys can (Vader was doing it long before either of them got the idea, however). The difference? Well, Behemoth made it big. Hate… didn’t make it on such a grand scale. And that’s just stupid. Because listen to this!

[Dude. That’s some good stuff, no?]

They are equally amazing live. That bass player was so much fun to watch, and they are tight on stage. They were by far the most captivating of the openers. Highly entertaining. Sorry Keep of Kalessin, but I think they should have been the last opener, because they dominated. A lovely and pleasant surprise.

[The new stuff]

Their latest album is called Erebos, and it came out in 2010. From what I can tell on their website, it does not look like they have plans for a new album soon, but there is plenty more where all this has come from- like most extreme metal bands, Hate is prolific.

[The term “blackened death metal” always reminds me of blackened chicken, which is every bit as yummy as those riffs.]

So what are you waiting for? There’s a big ol’ list of Hate’s albums out there for you to check out (seven full lengths, a couple of compilations, an EP, a live DVD [that I clearly need a copy of] and three demos if you can find them). It looks like Hell’s Headbangers has a couple of their albums, and Century Media’s distro has several as well. Or better yet, buy them from the band’s website, where they have their own merch store (www.hate-metal.com). They also have several albums on Spotify. Despite the claims of the uninitiated that they sound just like Behemoth, a short listen will make it clear, I think, that Hate is not derivative of Behemoth and can hold their own in the Polish blackened-death circuit (in fact, I think they are actually better and more diverse than Behemoth *coughhackcough*). Either way, give them a spin in your free time because you won’t regret it. Also keep an eye out for when they come to your area on tour- I am not kidding, Hate is one of the best openers I have ever seen, and I am jealous of people who have seen them play a full set.

[So good live]

Hopefully you enjoy today’s installment (and hopefully I earned some more fans for this awesome, under-appreciated band). Keep watching, because I plan to update this puppy a couple of times a week now that it’s summer (Sundays and Thursdays, is what I’m aiming for). More to come soon.

Later.

Hagalaz

Hagalaz’ List ov Distros and Traders

Posted in distros, Reviews, trades, underground with tags , , , , on May 14, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Since I originally blogged about distros in reference with The Slayer Mag Diaries I have ordered from a few mail-orders distros; thus, this post. I plan on creating this post now listing mail order distros and trade places that I have encountered, and I will update the page with reviews of my experience with those that I have dealt with.

A

Abyss Records (http://www.officialabyssrecords.com)

-I ordered my Funeral Mist back patch from here (and they have their albums, which is nice as not everyone does). Shipping was very fast- I was impressed. Packaging was secure. They also threw in some advertising cards with some of their releases on them (they are a record label as well). **NOTE** I just learned that the Funeral Mist back patches from here are bootlegs, both the one I got and the Salvation ones. I’m not sure about other patches; I know a lot of people get their patches from Abyss Records. I am going to try to seek mine out elsewhere in the future because the idea of bootlegging patches from a band that is far underground really distresses me, but of course what you choose to do is up to you. Anyway, know that they’re bootlegs, and that Arioch does not like them.

Angry, Young, and Poor (http://www.angryyoungandpoor.com/store/pc/home.asp)

-Like most punk stores, also caters well to the metal crowd. I ordered a Mayhem t-shirt from here (looks hand screened by someone). The shirt is very nice- good fabric and printing, very sturdy. When I checked out I thought the shipping was a bit high; within a couple of days they emailed me to let me know that they had accidentally overcharged me and had refunded the difference to my credit card. They also ship through UPS, who in my experience is more reliable than Fed-Ex and faster than the USPS (though they don’t deliver on Saturdays anymore). They included a sticker!

Armageddon Record Shop (http://www.armageddonshopboston.com/)

-Official website/store for Armageddon in Providence/Boston. No reviews yet (but a massive selection!).

B

Bazillion Points (http://www.bazillionpoints.com)

-The best little metal bookstore on the web! They published The Slayer Mag Diaries and the Celtic Frost book and the Swedish death metal book, along with a lot of other stuff. They send advertisement cards as well, and they usually have some kind of package where you can get something cool as a free gift (my Arne patch came with my copy of The Slayer Mag Diaries). Shipping is pretty standard, but order from them and they’ll send you stuff to go along with your book!

Black Metal.com (http://www.blackmetal.com)

-Lots of really rare and out of print stuff listed online. Haven’t ordered with them yet, so I can’t review their business…

C

CM (Century Media) Distro (US) (http://www.cmdistro.com)

-I ordered an Immolation album through these guys around Christmas this past year and a t-shirt earlier on in the semester. They have a great clearance section. Shipping was not as fast as through a lot of the others, but it was pretty standard. I have heard that people have had trouble getting their items from CM Distro in the past, but so far I have not had any negative experience (we’ll see. I’ll be pre-ordering the new Marduk album through them).

D

E

Extreme Noise Records (http://www.extremenoise.com)

-Looks like you can’t order through their website, but if you’re ever in Minneapolis, check this place out. I found the Ghost album here (I couldn’t find it elsewhere), and it has a great metal selection in both CD and vinyl (tapes too!). The shop is a co-op run by a few good-hearted punk guys. Great atmosphere and some really cool stuff.

F

G

H

Hell’s Headbangers (shop-hellsheadbangers.com)

-No reviews yet

I

J

K

L

Labyrinthe (http://www.labyrintherock.com)

-No reviews yet

M

Mandilar8n8l (eBay user)

-Ordered a patch of Dead from this guy recently. He sent me a message to let me know why the shipping had been delayed and was very helpful. He has a variety of patches, many of them very colorful. Great reviews. Ships for free in the United States.

N

Norma Evangelium Diaboli (Noevdia) (http://noevdia.com/)

-The guys from Deathspell Omega’s little distro/label. The Ajna Offensive distributes their stuff in the US. Really helpful and quick at responding, super fast shipping as well. Love love love them.

Nuclear War Now! (http://www.nwnprod.com)

-Super fast shipping from these guys, and the item I ordered (Slayer Mag XX) was packaged really nicely to prevent it from getting damaged. NWN also seems to have the hookups with lots of bands (I think they have their own label too) and puts on a festival called NWN Fest which draws some pretty cool bands. Highly recommended- fast shipping, and they take good care of your stuff.

O

P

Q

R

Metal Trade Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/metaltrade)

-This subreddit has been around for a couple of months now and is doing fairly well (but they could always use more traffic so go visit!). People post what they have and what they want in return, and continue the age-old metal tradition of trading for stuff you want. Every month the moderators post a link of successful trades, and flair alongside usernames lets you know who has had successful trades so far. DIY goes online. Check it out!

S

Satanisado666 (eBay user)

-The place to get your patches. This guy’s list is inexhaustible and he has great reviews. Super fast shipping, and if you’re in the U.S., it’s free!

T

U

V

W

Wolf Wear (http://www.wolfwear.net/sv/)

-Watain’s official merch distributor. They were backed up for quite a while following the release of the Opus Diaboli DVD. I assume that’s what happened with my order- they were in a tizzy over that and didn’t get around to shipping it quickly. But when I emailed them to inquire I got a prompt response with great apologies, and they sent my hoodie right over. If you don’t live in the EU you will also get the VAT tax refunded at checkout.

X

Y

Z

***

That’s all for now, but as I order from people (and I am going to try to order from smaller/band distros or record stores from here on out) I’ll keep this post updated, as well as keep you updated when I update it.

Later.

-Hagalaz

Swedish Black Metal (Part IV)

Posted in black metal history, musings, sweden with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

**Edited for clarity and minor fixes- thanks to X for additional info**

This entry will conclude the Swedish black metal seminar or whatever you’d like to call it that I’ve been doing on this blog. At least for a while, until I feel the need to shout about it some more. We have covered the shaky beginnings of the scene (found here: https://blackmetallurgy.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/swedish-black-metal-part-i/), the influential second wave bands (here: https://blackmetallurgy.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/swedish-black-metal-part-ii/), and some common themes (and here: https://blackmetallurgy.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/swedish-black-metal-part-iii/). Tonight we will address the current scene in Swedish black metal, a scene that has me in a kind of orthodox black metal euphoria currently. Though I will not be able to address all of the great bands in the current Swedish scene, I will give three examples of bands that are influential and enjoying much success at the moment.

The Current Scene

Way back in Part I, I made the assertion that Swedish black metal had always struggled to be noticed in the shadow of the Norwegian scene. With the crime and horrific violent deaths (RIP Dead and Euronymous) were big in the Norwegian scene, it was easy for the Swedes to get overlooked. After the dust settled, things started to level out. Bands became established and black metal turned into a thing beyond something to gawk at. But then the late 90s/ early 2000s happened, and the scene in Norway started to stagnate. Immortal broke up. So did Emperor. Nearly everyone in Gorgoroth was in prison, and when they weren’t the band was being torn to pieces by internal legal issues. Erik “Grim” Brodreskrift (drummer for Immortal, Gorgoroth, Borknagar, and anyone else from Bergen who needed a drummer) committed suicide. Darkthrone, while they are still big black metal fans especially of the underground scene, have started playing more traditional metal or crustpunk or whatever they feel like playing today, which is great, but leaves Norway a little shorthanded. Mayhem has survived, crippled but functional, but they release albums so sporadically it’s hard to count on them, and their early stuff is still considered their “glory days.”

Meanwhile, Sweden had its own set of problems. Jon Nödtveidt of Dissection went to prison in 1998 on account of his involvement with the murder of a homosexual man. After his release from prison, Dissection released Reinkaos, which disappointed a whole lot of people (there’s a blog post somewhere in there about how those people are wrong, but that’s for another day). Marduk got a steady lineup and found a steady rhythm and then released the same album about six times. Don’t get me wrong. I love Marduk. Even in their repetitive moments. I enjoyed all of those albums including the ones everyone else hated. But I will admit that they got in a rut. The outlook for the Scandinavian black metal scene was grim.

And then something wonderful happened. After a while, it became clear that black metal had not died, Norway had simply passed the torch to Sweden, and to a bunch of young, spry kids which we like to refer to as the third wave (and by “we” I mean “me and at least one other person”).

And that’s where our story picks up.

Dark Funeral 

Though Dark Funeral started in 1993, no one seemed to make much of a fuss about them until much later. Their first full length album was released in 1996, and it had this song on it.

[As far as I’m concerned this is the best thing Dark Funeral has ever done. It is fantastic.]

Dark Funeral is perfectly alright. Most people rank them as an 8 or 9; I’d give them a 4. But this is not about my unimpressedness with Dark Funeral and my resentfulness that they cancelled their show in February thereby stopping me from seeing Inquisition live, rather it is about their substantial impact on the black metal scene. Dark Funeral IS the third wave. They rode in on it. They had a sound that was new and different but that relied heavily on the tri-tone, and it sounded very evil (notice the kind of pipe organ feel).

[Another catchy little ditty.]

Dark Funeral, as I said before, has a really identifiable sound. Despite not being a huge fan, I can pick them out immediately when I hear them. To this day I think they are the only band that really, truly, sounds like Dark Funeral, and their songs are catchy and more accessible in the long-standing tradition of Swedish black metal. Perhaps their most important contribution, however, was to make people’s ears prick up and swivel towards Sweden. They paved the way for a slew of more underground bands to get noticed, simply because people now knew where to look to notice them.

Watain

When Jon Nödtveidt was released from prison, he needed to get a band together so Dissection could do their awe-inspiring reunion concert (The Rebirth of Dissection. It’s on DVD. Check it out if you haven’t- it’s a really wonderful recording of an amazing moment in time, even if my favorite song did get cut from the beginning of it). Enter Set Teitan, a skinny kid with no hair and a knack for guitar playing. Also, Erik Danielsson, who played live on the last few dates of the tour after the band’s bassist quit to go study to become a better Satanist. Both of these young men would perform in Watain; Erik, or “E” is the recording bassist and vocalist, and Set plays guitar live with them. Sadly, this close connection with Dissection has gotten Watain labeled as some kind of baby-Dissection that is derivative and unable to create their own sound by people who clearly haven’t listened to enough of either band. If you couldn’t tell, I disagree- Watain is very gritty whereas Dissection was always super clean, and there isn’t a speck of the death metal sound in their music.

[They were influenced elsewhere, however. Check out the opening riff alongside the Morbid riff at 3:18. I about spit out my tea when I heard that. It’s great to know that Morbid is still being honored! (Incidentally, the awesome occult-rock band The Devil’s Blood took their name from the above song).]

Watain gained a lot of respect in the underground scene with their early work, and then exploded into the black metal scene with their third album, Sworn to the Dark, which features the following catchy number. Watain has since been at the forefront of the third wave, winning fans with their dedication to their dark cause. Extremely dedicated, they consider their live shows a ritual and do not tolerate people crowd surfing or stage diving during them- one video depicts one of the band members kicking in the teeth a fan who tried to interfere.

[Watain is so good, I want to post ALL their songs. ]

2010’s Lawless Darkness is an album I find perfect from start to finish. With a new DVD out (today!), Watain is a band every black metal fan should be watching, if you aren’t already. They are currently at the forefront of Swedish black metal, and black metal in general.

Funeral Mist

Funeral Mist, as I’m sure anyone who has seen my battle jacket on this blog can tell, is one of my absolute favorite black metal bands. Though the band began in 1993, Arioch (who was not a founding member, but was recruited later) was the only member left by 1997, when the EP Devilry was released (Funeral Mist released a couple of demos previously).

[Another one you probably should avoid before bedtime.]

Arioch also did session vocals for the band Triumphator, which featured Deathfucker on bass (Morgan from Marduk also contributed some lyrics). Their brilliant little album Wings of Anti-Christ came out in 1999, and is a tough find (but is available on Spotify, where I have listened to it a lot). It, too is very good stuff.

[Good ol’ fashioned orthodox black metal.]

2003’s Salvation was a great success, and Funeral Mist became the talk of the underground. So much that when Marduk vocalist Legion left/was fired (these things are always fuzzy) in the same year, Morgan claimed there was only one vocalist that he wanted to replace him. Arioch said yes, and his contributions to Marduk have helped to revolutionize their sound. Morgan says he uses his voice as an instrument, which is probably the best way I’ve heard to explain it. He gurgles, growls, squeals, retches… It’s horrifying and magnificent. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Dead- his voice is an effect as well as a vocalization (check out the above Morbid link for a comparison).

[Now, that’s some good stuff. Check out the ending for particularly interesting noises.]

Arioch, or Mortuus, as he goes by in Marduk, is also a very serious Satanist, and dislikes the term “orthodox black metal” because he feels all black metal should be orthodox. “Black metal to me is as simple as it gets: it’s metal music with a Satanic, destructive message, or a devil worshipping message. That’s it, nothing else,” he told Blistering.com*. And Funeral Mist’s music is exactly like that- the inversion and twisting of scripture and puritanical Satanic themes. Though Arioch/Mortuus’ work with Marduk is perhaps his most famous and popular, Funeral Mist, along with Ofermod (another band who hasn’t gotten the attention they deserve. Perhaps a lengthier post later on?), kickstarted the “orthodox” black metal movement.

[My favorite Funeral Mist song. Ugly and beautiful at the same time. I love this band/man.]

The above bands are only three of many that have erupted out of Sweden in recent years. As mentioned previously, Ofermod largely contributed to orthodox black metal as close contemporaries of Funeral Mist. Also, the Swedish band Shining patented an extreme form of DSBM. Naglfar, after remaining largely unappreciated, is also on the rise with melodic black metal reminiscent of Dissection’s early albums. And of course there’s Ghost- though they’re not black metal, the retro-occult rock bands have been closely linked with black metal since the beginning. Sweden is largely where it’s at nowadays, although other countries have had great success in black metal as well, including the United States (!) and France. The fact remains, however, that Sweden was at the front of the line for breathing new life into black metal when it looked like the genre could fall apart.

And this concludes my much-more-extensive-than-anticipated series on Swedish black metal. Hopefully you will walk away from it with at least an appreciation for the Swedish scene, which has always been overlooked in favor of their Norwegian friends. Dark Funeral is on tour, Marduk has a new album coming out in June, Naglfar has a new album called Téras (great stuff), and Watain’s new DVD dropped today (with rumors that they’ll be back in the studio this fall). So in your black metal explorations, don’t forget the Swedes. They are very serious about what they do, and their efforts are not always as appreciated. So the next time you get a hankering for new black metal, check out what’s going on in Sweden (it’s highly underground. You’ll be kvlt).

Later.

-Hagalaz

*http://www.blistering.com/fastpage/fpengine.php/templateid/16951/menuid/5/tempidx/5009/catid/4/restemp/b%3A0%3B/fPpagesel/2 (source for the above quote)