Archive for March, 2013

I Took A Break

Posted in musings with tags , on March 31, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

…this past weekend, went out of town, hung out with friends, and didn’t do anything. Including work on the awesome post I’m working on bringing to you soon. Very soon. But not quite yet.

This week is going to be insane in terms of workload, but I’m going to try to be better about doing at least one post per week. Come what may.

In the meantime, listen to one of my favorite Lifelover songs.

Is it cold in here, or is it just me?

(I don’t know what’s more surprising to me, that there are people in the world who don’t like that, or that I used to be one of them.)

-Hagalaz

Into the Void Records is Pretty Much Awesome (St. Paul, MN)

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, death metal, doom, folk metal, grindcore, local, neo-folk, post-black metal, retro occult rock, thrash, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

There is nothing quite like a specialty metal record store. Into the Void opened its doors back in November 2012, although I didn’t know about it until January. Since then, it’s pretty much become my favorite store, and I need to be really careful about how much time (and money) I spend in there.

First of all, it’s in St. Paul, which is awesome because Minneapolis typically gets all the cool stuff. Into the Void’s location is also premier as it’s only a couple of blocks from Station 4. While Station 4 may not be the hippest music venue in the Cities (I have seen a lot of people complain about it on Facebook. Honestly, I thinks it’s a fun little place), they do land most of the big metal gigs that come through town. Three of the four shows I’m going to in the next couple of months are at Station 4. As a result, Into the Void’s location is pretty much perfect; you can go to the metal record store and to the show on the same night, in the same place. (There is also really good food over in that part of downtown St. Paul. Triple win.)

Although a friend of mine complained that the store itself is too sterile and fancy feeling, as someone who loves to organize things I appreciate the orderliness of it. They have a lot of stuff, but it’s very easily navigable and well-organized. Into the Void has CDs, records, and even cassette tapes, and a few metal DVDs. They also carry merch, like flags and patches (they just added several new patches, I saw the other day), hats, coffee mugs (who doesn’t want a Marduk coffee mug with a tank on it? Answer me that), and a ton of t-shirts in all sizes. Including smalls, for those of us on the smaller side!

Perhaps the best part of their selection, though, is the music that they are able to get in. They have some of the more obscure stuff from Europe that isn’t as easily accessible in the U.S., which is pretty much an amazing deal to me (alas, my underground French bands don’t distribute very well). The very first time I was in there I was ecstatic to find that they had Horna and Mütiilation CDs in stock, and several of them at that! And considering the stuff that they are able to get a hold of, the prices are incredibly reasonable, ranging from about $9.99-$15.99 a CD usually. $10 for Mütiilation. I know, right? Plus, the owner really encourages you to let him know if there is something you are looking for that they don’t have, and they will try to order it.

My haul from my first visit to Into the Void. You know you're jealous. My Mayhem Deathcrush patch came from there too.

My haul from my first visit to Into the Void. You know you’re jealous. My Mayhem Deathcrush patch came from there too.

Into the Void is also going to be fantastic for the local scene here, I think. They always have flyers out for local shows, and I have seen a few of our local bands’ albums in there as well. You can also buy your concert tickets here, which is something I need to start doing (internet ticket fees are profoundly irritating). There are also a few ‘zines available for sale, which is cool. I need to look a little closer at these next time I am in there to see where all they are from.

I also got my first and only Darkthrone album. Yes, I know. Shut up.

I also got my first and only Darkthrone album. Yes, I know. Shut up.

All and all, Into the Void is pretty much my favorite place right now. I love their selection, and they have some pretty good titles on vinyl that I can begin my collection with (I bought the special edition of Candlemass’ Nightfall the other day). Looking forward to spending a lot more time and money here. Next time you are in the Twin Cities, stop by and check it out.

Into the Void’s Facebook page is amazing and regularly updates their new arrivals. You can check it out here.

-Hagalaz

Review: Dethklok- Dethalbum III

Posted in death metal, norway, Reviews, sweden, united states with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Well, this is long past due. Dethalbum III came out on October 16, 2012, and I finally got a copy of it over Winter Break (so, basically, I’ve put this review off for like 3 months now). It’s a really strong album; it’s certainly not one of my favorites of the past year, however it’s solid and I think perhaps Dethklok’s most interesting release thus far.

When I say that Dethalbum III is Dethklok’s most interesting release to date, I mean that it’s much more varied than their past couple of albums. Jamie laughed at me when I said that Dethklok was getting experimental, but it’s really true. Whereas Dethalbums I and II were pretty much straight up melo-death, this third album is much heavier overall and builds its songs in really interesting ways.

The opening track, I Ejaculate Fire, was the first track released (I posted it here– the video is NSFW, by the way). It’s obviously chock-full of the traditional Dethklok humor, and the lead guitar weaves in and out of the track, culminating in a really cool solo. Crush the Industry is probably the most Dethklok sounding song on the album- it’s very straightforward and easily feels like something that you would see on Metalocalypse (I don’t have my own copy of Season 4 yet and I have only seen it once, so I’m unsure if it made an appearance or not). Impeach God is also a pretty traditional Dethklok song, and it’s incredibly fun.

Track three, Andromeda, is where things start to get really interesting. This track is extremely percussive and also very, very heavy. Whereas Dethklok’s typical approach is very melodic in nature, several of the tracks on Dethalbum III feel like more traditional death metal. Andromeda is a good example of that. Ghostqueen also utilizes a very percussive guitar sound (and interesting basslines!), although the chorus of that one is much more traditional Dethklok.

The next track, The Galaxy, is a stark shift, being based entirely around the guitars. Both structurally and sonically, this is a new sound for Dethklok, and it works really well. The Galaxy is one of my favorite tracks on Dethalbum III, simply because it’s so unprecedented.

Killstardo Abominate is a particularly noisy track that incorporates several elements of death metal. It feels like it could almost slip into a Meshuggah rip off in parts, but the time signature doesn’t shift. At 2:31, this is the shortest track on the album, but it’s one of the most musically interesting in that it mashes up several sounds into one track.

The last couple of songs on the album also bandy about some of Dethklok’s new tricks. The Hammer is a cool song that once again does interesting things with the placement of the lead guitar, and Rejoin layers transcendent guitar melodies with a percussive rhythm section, in a way summing up the album as a whole. There’s even a signature Dethklok anthemic riff in there.

All in all, I think Dethalbum III is a success. As I said before, it’s certainly not one of my favorites of 2012, but it is incredibly varied compared to Dethklok’s older material (which, don’t get me wrong, I love. There’s not much out there better than Castratikron). There’s a lot of experimenting going on here, with new voicing for the lead guitar and A LOT more death metal. A lot of Dethklok’s signature arena-esque riffs are gone, traded for a heavy and more percussive grinding death feel. And that’s cool, because Dethklok feels a whole lot darker than they ever have before. I’m going to have to listen to this one more and read up on the lyrics, because I feel like the humor really is a big part of what Dethklok is, and without knowing the lyrics well, I’m missing that right now. If there’s anything else I could have wished from them, it might be to push the envelope just a little bit more- there’s some stuff in there that leans towards the proggy metal that Enslaved has been doing of late that would have been neat to elaborate on, and there are some really cool opportunities to do cool stuff with the time signatures in those percussive places (though maybe not like Meshuggah. I’m still convinced that Meshuggah is the only band that can do what they do right, and the last thing we need is a djent version of Dethklok).

3.5 out of 5 horns, or pentagrams, or inverted crosses, what have you.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:

Andromeda

The Galaxy

Impeach God

The Hammer

-Hagalaz

Metaldudes Cats Book!

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, books, death metal, doom, DSBM, folk metal, grindcore, neo-folk, post-black metal, release info, thrash, united states, viking metal on March 11, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

It occurred to me the other day that I should totally do a post about the Metaldudes Cats Book. I have been following this project on Facebook since shortly after it started, and the time is nigh for the release of the book! Alexandra Crockett started the Metaldudes Cats Book project in an effort to “’[challenge] stereotypes of masculinity and the metal culture. I think we can all agree that cat photos and videos are an integral part of the Internet. Metaldudes Cats Book combines three loves that have a global reach: Kitties, Metal, and Dudes. A love of kitties binds the entire world together, even tough guys who listen to brutal, harsh music.” [from the official press release on Bloody-Disgusting.com]. Personally, I think this is a great idea. It’s always good to see metal dudes just being dudes; also, cats are awesome.

I'm not a metaldude, but this is my metalcat, Leander.

I’m not a metaldude, but this is my metalcat, Leander.

The book will be a coffee table book and will have pictures of some famous metal musicians with their cats, like Malefic (Xasthur), as well as a slew of pics of the tons of metal fans with their beloved pets. As I post this (and I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier- I didn’t think of it until recently), the book is in the final stages of its production, and it should be coming out in April. Alex has been holding benefit shows for the book and for no-kill cat shelters, and is always updating the Facebook page with info about how to support local shelters and lost animals, etc. In other words, she is a stand-up lady as well as a genius and artist and you should support her work! If you’d like to make a direct donation, you can do so at her PayPal (aleksan@u.washington.edu) or Indiegogo or you can buy things from her Etsy store. I bought a poster from one of the benefit shows (it is really nice. Printed on cardstock) as well as buttons for my battle jacket and Leander’s battle jacket. It also came with a thank you note signed by Alex.

It's a nice size, too.

It’s a nice size, too.

Buttons!

Buttons!

I’ll be posting more about this project when the book comes out, because I’m totally buying one. If you’ve got some spare cash, consider supporting the Metaldudes Cats Book. Because everyone knows cats are totally metal.

-Hagalaz

[info from Bloody-Disgusting.com and the Metaldudes Cats Book Facebook]

Concert: Marduk/Moonspell/Inquisition/The Foreshadowing/Death Wolf (2/28, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in black metal, concerts, marduk, sweden, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Last Thursday I got to see Marduk live again for the third time, and Inquisition for the second! Marduk was actually the first black metal band I ever saw live, so they have a special place in my heart. I was really excited to see them again, and the entire night was full of incredible sets. The only downer was how few people showed up; I had seen a couple of people on Facebook say that they were primarily interested in Inquisition, so I expected an influx for their set, but even Inquisition had a smaller crowd.

One note on the venue- Station 4 seems to be updating a bit. They painted the bathrooms, and I have been told by those of the masculine persuasion that there is now a stall door in the men’s room. They’ve also carpeted the stage and added a little kiosk for the purchase of non-alcoholic drinks, which caters to people under 21 in the event of a 16+ or 18+ show (Marduk was 18+). Also, they have upgraded the sound some, which I will get to later (it is MUCH better). I know a lot of people gripe about Station 4 being a bad venue (silly, I think. Everyone who works there is awesome and it’s really easy to see from anywhere in the venue. The place has its merits), but it really does seem as though they are trying to spruce it up a little.

We got to Station 4 about 6:15, just in time to get in, say hello to my buddy Carlos, and get settled in for the local openers. First up was Masshu, who I was going to go see a couple of weeks ago at a local black metal gig that I ended up backing out on. They were really good- in particular, there were a lot of really good riffs coming from the guitars. I’m glad I got to see them this time around, and I hope I’ll see more of them. It’s good to know that we have such good local black metal here.

[This is from 2009, so they’ve been around for a bit]

Next up was Atrum Inritis, another band that I missed at that thing I didn’t go to. While Masshu was very straightforward in their approach, Atrum Inritis really amped up the drama. The female keyboardist/vocalist had her rig set up on a table that was set up like an altar, and regularly drank from a chalice during the performance. They also had bones and candles to add to the ambience, and the members of the band all wore cassocks. It was all very dramatic, but the band was really good- their stage show wasn’t compensating for their talent. They played drawn out, sort of atmospheric black metal, and they did a fantastic job. They are opening for Black Witchery and Deiphago in May, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

[This video does a good job of showcasing all the stage stuff, I think]

After the local bands played, Death Wolf took the stage. Morgan from Marduk started the band as The Devil’s Whorehouse back in 2004 and later changed the name to the current one. I was really excited to see Death Wolf live; they just dropped a new album called Black Armoured Death, which will be out in the States on March 19 (it’s been out since mid-February in Europe). Death Wolf plays more rock-inclined metal that is very punky and traditional sounding, and while it is enjoyable on record, it is amazing live. They are rather early on the bill, and Jamie and I thought they should have been higher up (I guess that perhaps Morgan is not Superman after all and needs rest before going on with Marduk though), but if you are going to make this tour you should definitely plan to see Death Wolf.

[From this tour. First Death Wolf performance in the United States]

Next up was The Foreshadowing, whose set I watched part of from the merch booth as I agonized over which shirt to get. The Foreshadowing are an Italian band, and are kind of gothy doom metal. They are not something I would go out of my way to listen to often, but they put on a good live show. The band interacted well with the crowd, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent up front for their set.

After The Foreshadowing came Inquisition. I saw Inquisition back in October with the Champions of the World Tour, in which they opened and played a 20 minute set (a killer 20 minute set, but a short one nonetheless). They were further up on the bill this time, however, and got to play a while longer. It was tremendous. I will never be able to get over how those two guys manage to do what they do live in such a flawless manner. Their set was amazing, and they played “Desolate Funeral Chant,” which kind of made my night. Absolutely fantastic.

[Ahhhh. Amazing]

Moonspell played a really fun set next. I listened to them a lot a couple of weeks ago trying to familiarize myself with them before seeing them live, and their material is very hit or miss for me. I enjoyed their set; although I felt that the music got a little repetitive at times, the band’s stage presence (and that of the VERY big Moonspell fangirl next to me) more than made up for it. Moonspell’s vocalist had some VERY shiny pants, and their keyboardist/guitarist should win the award for Mr. Congeniality, as he was the happiest person I’ve seen on that stage since that blond kid who played with Melechesh last fall. Despite not being a huge fan of the music and being really ready to see Marduk, I really enjoyed Moonspell’s set. I believe I also heard the vocalist say that they had some albums available at the merch stand that are not easy to get in the States, so if you are a Moonspell fan you might want to check that out.

Last but not least was Marduk, for whom more people should have stuck around. The crowd was small by this point, but I felt like it was a good crowd. Mortuus also seemed like he was in a good mood; he was bantering at the crowd a lot more than normal. Like last time, the sound was good- instead of just being a wall of noise, I could distinguish songs.  And they played pretty much everything I could have hoped for (alas, I don’t think they’ll ever add Prochorovka: Blood and Sunflowers to the setlist). Throne of Rats, Serpent Sermon, Azrael, Baptism By Fire, With Satan And Victorious Weapons, Nowhere, No-One, Nothing… the list goes on, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately (No Womb of Perishableness this time around). They also played a few more songs off the new album in this set instead of just the title track. Temple of Decay was on the setlist, which sounded awesome live even without the chanting. It was cool to have a slower song thrown into the mix too- Marduk doesn’t play them very often live, at least not when I’ve seen them. They also ended the night with Souls for Belial, which was great live. Jamie remarked to me later that they played with the pacing a little bit when the songs sped up and slowed down, easing into it some instead of just shifting suddenly like on record. All and all, it was an amazing show. So amazing, in fact, that I went home and ordered a copy of Blood, Puke, Salvation so I can watch Marduk live whenever I want.

[One from this tour. Wolves!]

[So cool live]

Like I said earlier, picking merch this time was difficult. Pretty much everything available is awesome. This is the shirt I wound up with- I like the decoration on the sleeve. It looks like Mortuus’ work; he always does good stuff.

I like the way the logos are incorporated here.

I like the way the logos are incorporated here.

The back. Very straightforward.

The back. Very straightforward.

A closeup of the sleeve.

A closeup of the sleeve (note that the cat hair does not come with the shirt)

Along with the shirt, I also picked up another Inquisition album. And am I glad I did! Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult is fantastic.

IMAG0766

[This is on there. It’s incredible]

I think there’s about a week left on the Voices from the Dark Tour, so if you get a chance to catch it, I highly recommend it. Every band in the package is excellent- Death Wolf is a must see live act, so make sure you catch them while you’re at it. Inquisition and Marduk are at the top of their game as always, and Moonspell and The Foreshadowing provide a nice contrast to the formidable heaviness. And remember to show up early and support your local bands!

-Hagalaz

Some More Jacket Updates; Recipes; Things I Get To Look Forward To

Posted in battle jacket, concerts, musings with tags , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

I have resurfaced again! Unfortunately I have been so busy lately I just haven’t had time to post anything. I have ideas though- I am going to do a review of the new Dethklok one of these months, I’m going to do a rant about why Watain is not just a Dissection knock-off, and I’m going to review the Marduk show (and Inquisition! and Death Wolf! And a bunch of others because there were a lot of bands) that I saw Thursday. And that’s just to name a few. And I plan on doing this just as soon as things slow down a little for me, which should be starting tomorrow. I finished up a project I’ve been dedicating spare time to today, so I should be able to do more here now.

Another thing I plan on doing is a post on the new metal record store in St. Paul, Into the Void. I have been there twice now, and it is my favorite place in the world. It is also where I got the new patch additions to my jacket: Darkthrone and Dissection.

I'd been planning on getting this one for a while. Glad I found it locally!

I’d been planning on getting this one for a while. Glad I found it locally!

True Norwegian Black Metal

True Norwegian Black Metal

The jacket is coming along! I also got a Mayhem Deathcrush patch the other day to fill in that spot between Dissection and Morbid, and a Nifelheim patch that I bought from my friend Carlos. I also plan on getting some pyramid studs, and I have The Devil’s Blood and Horna patches in transit somewhere.

Hooray

Hooray

IMAG0756

I also thought that perhaps people might be interested in some commentary on some of the dishes from the Hellbent for Cooking metal cookbook I reviewed recently. Around the start of February, I decided to make Pagan Altar’s Pagan Pie, which is pretty much shepherd’s pie using corned beef. I admit I was a little wary of it at first- as Annick Giroux points out, it all comes from a can. It was, however, very good for having done so, and really tasty with the corned beef (I usually make mine with stew beef as it’s chunkier than ground beef, but it had never occurred to me to make it with corned beef).

Pagan Pie (Pagan Altar)

Pagan Pie (Pagan Altar)

Yum.

Yum.

IMAG0709

Other than that, March is bereft metal shows for me, but I am going to see Ensiferum in April (yes! Finally! I have wanted to see them for ages, they are my favorite melo-deathy, pagan-y band), and then Ghost, and then I am certainly going to see Black Witchery and Deiphago. I’ll be missing the latter at Deathfest because I have the three day pass, so that one is a must. I may go see Absu too; it’s a cheaper show and I hear False is opening, and I need their split with Barghest.

So much for a post about a whole lot of nothing. I am going to try and be more productive over here. So many ideas, so little time.

Until I return to remind you of how awesome Marduk is live,

Hagalaz