Archive for April, 2013

Concert: Absu/Maledicere/False/Nuklear Frost (4/19, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in black metal, concerts, local, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

**Edited 2/8/14- Because of some erroneous reporting on my part about the number of guitarists in Nuklear Frost. Sorry ’bout that guys.**

Last Friday I went down to Station 4 with a friend of mine to see Absu, as well as a sampling of some of the Twin Cities’ finest black metal. We got to the venue early, about the time the doors opened, although the show didn’t start for another hour (Station 4 should start posting that. I mean, it was fine. We hung out and talked. But still). The crowd was a weird size; big enough to call it a good turnout, but certainly not as good as it could have been. About ¾ of the crowd was up in the bar all night, too, so it was hard to judge how many people were there. It was a good natured crowd for the most part, though, and they seemed to enjoy the show.

First up was Nuklear Frost, about whom I know very little. Their set was good; the vocals, however, were a little hit or miss for me. Sometimes I really liked them and at other times I was less impressed. I did find it cool that all of the members (minus the drummer) did vocals at some point. In moments, they reminded me of Inquisition with the layering of the guitar sound, despite there being only one guitar player. It was a perfectly fine black metal set, and I am looking forward to seeing more from this band and getting to know their music a little better.

I wasn’t able to find a video of Nuklear Frost on YouTube, but here is a link to their Bandcamp page, where you can listen to a song from their demo.

The next band on the bill was False, who I have been dying to see again since I saw them in January. False was absolutely incredible, just as last time. They played two songs again, a new one that hasn’t been recorded yet and Heavy as a Church Tower. It was also interesting to see them in a different performance space; unlike at Cause, Rachel couldn’t jump down into the crowd, so she paced back and forth on the stage instead. She looked like a freaking lioness up there stalking her prey. Amazing.

[From the Gilead Media fest last year that I, unfortunately, had to miss. I might be a False fangirl]

Maledicere was the third band on the bill. I looked them up when I saw they were on the bill, and in that short time they have become another of my favorite local bands. They play more traditional black metal, so it was kind of cool to see them right after False. Their set was as tight as expected, and the ambiance was nice as well. They had some incense burning on the stage, and it was a little strong for my tastes (and by strong I mean it made my eyes water), but it was a cool effect. Reminded me of going to mass at Christmas (the Catholic Church is the only place I’ve seen with as potent incense). Great band, and I’m really happy I got to see them perform live.

[This video is a little old, but this song is one of my favorites on the album]

Absu took the stage next, and they were freaking incredible. Coming into it, I had wondered if Proscriptor McGovern would play drums and do vocals when they played live, and he did- the live set up was much like it is on the albums, with most of the vocals handled by Proscriptor McGovern and some of them by the bassist. After the first couple of songs, they announced that they would be playing for the next 93 minutes, and while I’m not sure if it was exactly that long, it was very close. It was a long set.

Absu’s set was incredible- I would have thrashed around to it more, but my neck was still in recovery from Paganfest the week before. They played songs from all throughout their catalog- Never Blow Out the Eastern Candle, Abraxus Connexus, Vorago (Spell 182), and Swords and Leather, just to name a few. They also played Amy, which was the first Absu song I ever heard long ago while listening to Pandora. For the final song, they had another guy (I didn’t see who he was or where he came from) play drums, and Proscriptor McGovern came up front in a shearling coat and fringed boots to do vocals. His stage presence was incredible both behind the kit and in front of it. It was a long set and a great one, and I’m really glad I got to see it.

I decided to spend my merch money on the local acts tonight, as I just recently acquired an Absu album. I ended up going home with the False/Barghest split (which came with a gigantic poster) and a copy of Maledicere’s full length album Leave Only What Is Fit To Burn. I feel really fortunate to live in a place with such fantastic black metal. We don’t have much of that where I come from (although there are some brilliant Texas bands, too. See Absu).

In true black metal fashion, Maledicere's album refuses to take a good picture. This was the best I could do. Maybe it's the red?

In true black metal fashion, Maledicere’s album refuses to take a good picture. This was the best I could do. Maybe it’s the red?

False/Barghest split.

False/Barghest split.

The monstrously huge poster that came with the record.

The monstrously huge poster that came with the record.

Basically, Absu is incredible. I’m not sure how much longer this tour is going on, but if you get a chance to catch them, you should totally do it. You will definitely get your money’s worth- a little over an hour and a half of Absu makes me happy indeed. Proscriptor McGovern is dumbfoundingly awesome to watch, even when dressed up like some of the sorority girls from campus, and the band on the whole has great stage presence. Get thee hence and see Absu when you can, and if you’re from the Twin Cities, or even if you’re not, be sure and check out False, Maledicere, and Nuklear Frost.

-Hagalaz

P.S. I’m going to hold myself to a post a week, at least until school is out. Then I’ll have more time to write…

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Concert: Paganfest IV, US/Canada Leg (Ensiferum/Tyr/Heidevolk/Trollfest/Helsott, 4/12, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in concerts, finland, folk metal, norway, the netherlands, united states, viking metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Friday night I headed out to Paganfest IV, where I FINALLY got to see Ensiferum, something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Once again, the crowd was a mixed one replete with costumes; a group of guys came in with fur costumes on, which must have sucked for them because it was really hot in there. It was also a huge crowd, probably the second biggest one I’ve seen at Station 4 after the Decibel Tour last year. There was moshing, and presumably a figure-8 pit at one point, although it was hard for me to see from the rail where I was standing.

Jamie and I got drinks up in the bar area for the first part of the opening band’s set. Helsott is from California, which is sweet, because the U.S. doesn’t have a lot of pagan metal bands. They were so excellent, in fact, that we finished our beers quickly so we could get in there and watch the rest of their set. The crowd showed up for Helsott too, which was awesome, since usually the early openers don’t draw much of one. A couple of the guys from Trollfest came out during their last song with a bottle of champagne and sang and danced onstage with them. A really fun set, and a great way to start the night.

[America, you have a pagan metal band!]

Next up was Trollfest, whom I have heard of, but hadn’t ever listened to. Jamie remarked that they looked like they had just woken up on the floor of Ensiferum’s tour bus, which is pretty accurate, as they looked a little unkempt. The set was fantastic, however- it was during Trollfest’s performance that the pit was talked into trying a figure-8, and they also got a wall of death going. In like fashion, during Trollfest’s last song, members of the other bands came out onstage and drank and sang along. They also have a saxophone player, which is awesome! Also, bees. I can honestly say that I am a Trollfest fan now, and not just because they kept making funny faces at me (which they did. It was both bizarre and hilarious.) They are A LOT of fun, and put on a funny (and yet, musically, very tight) set.

[I’m still not quite sure what the deal is with the bee thing. It sure is fun, though]

After Trollfest was Heidevolk. I was unfamiliar with Heidevolk as well, thus reminding myself of the fact that I don’t listen to folk metal all that much (except Ensiferum and Finntroll, which I listen to a lot, and when I do listen to it, I binge on it). The band hails from the Netherlands, and plays songs about Viking history and Germanic lore. I thought the long-haired vocalist in particular had a really good voice, and my friend and I agreed that they were also a very aesthetically pleasing bunch of guys. They played a great set, and were a great transition between Trollfest and Tyr.

Tyr took the stage next, and unlike last time, I was up by the stage and actually got to see them. They played a solid set as they usually do, and the crowd went crazy- I had forgotten just how much St. Paul LOVES Tyr. I’m less of a fan than most, although I do enjoy watching them live. Their guitarist also had his hair cut all Robin Finck-style, which I appreciated. They played several songs that I recognized, so several of their hits, as I don’t know them all that well. A very solid performance; those wanting to see Tyr on this tour shall not be disappointed.

[This song. This song is the most ear-wormy thing ever. The clip is from 70,000 Tons of Metal earlier this year]

Last, but certainly not least, was Ensiferum, who is pretty much my all-time favorite cheesy pagan folkish metal band. Ensiferum’s set was everything I ever hoped it would be; they played songs from a range of albums, including Burning Leaves and In My Sword I Trust from the new one. They also played Guardians of Fate, which pretty much made my night. While watching their set, I also learned that apparently Petri doesn’t do any of the clean vocals, something I did not know previously. I also thought there were members than there are; their sound is incredibly full live. For me, the only thing that would have made the night even more perfect would be if they had played Token of Time, but I am completely satisfied with the set I saw. Ensiferum was a perfect end to a fantastically successful Paganfest IV.

[Such a fun, silly song]

[Oh. Yes.]

I ended up buying the Ensiferum edition of the Paganfest shirt, which I thought was really cool looking. I like the knotted background- reminds me of a Celtic knot. I also bought Unsung Heroes finally; I had been wanting it for a while and just hadn’t gotten around to buying it yet. Both were pretty steep at $25 and $20 respectively (the CD I bought does come with a DVD), however, I know that the money is going right back to the band so it’s worth it. Also, some of my friends got Tyr shirts- their designs this time around look pretty awesome as well.

As usual, ignore the cat hair.

As usual, ignore the cat hair.

Dates. 4/12- that's me!

Dates. 4/12- that’s me!

I've been after this one for a while now. A really solid album.

I’ve been after this one for a while now. A really solid album.

Overall, Paganfest IV was fantastic. All the bands were at the top of their game, and they all seemed to get along well too (as demonstrated by the stage sharing and festivities), which is always good. Although Heidevolk and Tyr are not quite my cup of tea, I really enjoyed their sets as well as everyone else’s. If you should attend the US/Canada leg of Paganfest, you should make sure you aren’t on a smoke or bathroom break when Trollfest is on- you do not want to miss them, trust me. Also, American fans, take pride in the fact that Helsott is a freaking fantastic pagan metal band from the States. And, for me, Ensiferum was pretty much everything I wanted. Apparently they tour here pretty frequently, but this was my first time actually seeing them live, and it was well worth the wait. A really fun night, and a highly recommended tour.

-Hagalaz

Throwback Thursday: New Devil’s Blood, New Ghost

Posted in release info, retro occult rock, sweden with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Thought I’d share with you what I’ve been listening to today as I work on this post I’ve been writing for what feels like years. (Sorry for my absences. Life and school happened.)

First of all, the new Ghost album comes out Tuesday, in case you have been living under a rock and didn’t hear about it. It’s been leaked, it’s out there, you can get a hold of it already. But if you haven’t, you can also stream it at Pitchfork right now. And you should do that. Because oh my goodness the intro was enough to convince me to get it on Tuesday. Plus, the Pitchfork stream has the album artwork, so you can look at pictures as you listen.

Also, I’m sure you all know about my mourning for The Devil’s Blood, who are one of my favorite bands and who broke up in January. Well, the band is going to release the remnants of the album that wasn’t later on this month in Europe (no news yet as to when we are getting it in the States/Canada), and they posted a link on their Facebook earlier today with a track from said album. It’s a rough mix, but to be honest, I really like the sound of it. It’s very visceral, somehow. You can listen to it below, and then if you are so inclined, you could go read the accompanying note on The Devil’s Blood’s Facebook page, as it’s very nice.

Paganfest IV tomorrow with Ensiferum (hooray!), which I will review, plus my post on Nachtmystium that I promise will be done soon. Have a retro evening.

-Hagalaz

22 Years Ago Today…

Posted in black metal, mayhem, memorial, norway, sweden, true norwegian black metal with tags , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

…A young man decided to end his own life. A lot of the events of the early 90s Norwegian black metal scene are upsetting in numerous ways, but nothing, nothing haunts me like Dead’s suicide. I remember several years ago when I first was getting really interested in black metal, I decided to read up on Mayhem because of their importance to the scene. I knew vaguely about Euronymous’ murder, but I didn’t know anything at all about Dead. I remember sitting there in my living room late at night, reading about his stage performances, his life, his death, and crying, uncontrollably, for a young man I never knew, who died on the other side of an ocean from me when I was four years old.

Maybe it was because I was not far from the same age that he died at the time that I learned of him. Maybe I was mourning the loss of a life so young, with so much potential (and the more I’ve learned of him since, that he was planning to go to art school, that he was not always miserable, the more I realize just how much potential). Maybe I was reeling from the knowledge of the most violent suicide I had ever read about, or the insensitivity of those who circulated the pictures of his body.

Now it’s because when I see his drawings, and I read his lyrics, I see my teenage self, obsessed with grim reapers and moonlight, and I think I feel the touch of a kindred soul.

In “Life Eternal,” the last lyrics Dead ever wrote, he said “No one will ever miss you.” Sometimes I wonder what he would think, if he were here today, if things had been different. Because he was wrong, clearly. Those who knew him miss him (and I should know. I’ve watched so many documentaries, read so many accounts…); Metalion misses him. Necrobutcher misses him dearly. I miss him and I never met him.

Rest in Peace, Pelle. You are not forgotten.

Per Yngve Ohlin 1/16/1969-4/8/1991The legend lives forever...

Per Yngve Ohlin
1/16/1969-4/8/1991
The legend lives forever…
(Photo from Tumblr)