Archive for May, 2013

Maryland Deathfest XI Recap (Part I)

Posted in death metal, festivals, grindcore, musings, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Maryland freaking Deathfest. Oh my gosh. This past weekend was completely nuts and a time bubble- I still can’t really believe that me and my friend A arrived in Baltimore a week ago. Between broken jetways, reassigned gates and hotel room confusion, we are lucky that we got there and got settled in at all. But we did, and ordered sushi delivered by a young man who told us that he was “the guy in the black shirt with the white writing” and couldn’t seem to understand why we couldn’t find him on the street outside of the hotel in the swarm of metalheads. The rest of the evening involved light napping, and after J arrived, a trip to a WalMart in the middle of a darkened field, which was only mildly terrifying.

Baltimore, I have noted, is a kind of scary place when you are from rural Oklahoma.

 We stayed at the Radisson Lord Baltimore, and even though they told me when I booked the room that we would have two double beds, we ended up with only a single king bed and had to take turns for who slept on the floor. The elevators were also super slow pretty much all weekend, and kept going down to the lower levels, where there was weird music playing at one point. Creepy. Anyway, the hotel itself was fine minus the really, really annoying thing with the bed and the understaffed coffee shop that made for super slow service in the mornings; the staff were super nice, for instance.

The view was not so great.

The view was not so great.

Beautiful downtown Baltimore!

Beautiful downtown Baltimore!

Also this was weird.

Also this was weird.

So Thursday evening we retreated back to the hotel, snacks and coolers in tow. We decided to get some food for the room so that we could save money on food at the fest. It was helpful, but you should remember to restock the ice so your strawberries don’t end up floating in lukewarm water. Then we went to sleep trying not to think about the fact that we were missing Bolt Thrower.

The next day we woke up late but mostly rested from the previous day’s travel and stuffed our faces with Cliff bars and snacks before heading to the Former Sonar Compound. The primary goal of the day was to see Pig Destroyer and Carcass, but we also caught part of Benediction’s set. I didn’t know who they were, but they hadn’t played in the States since the mid-90s, and I really enjoyed what I saw of their show.

Benediction, Death Metal from Birmingham.

Benediction, Death Metal from the U.K.

Then we went to get up front for Pig Destroyer, who were everything I had hoped they would be. A big pit formed, but it was the fun kind in which no one is actually getting hurt or being assholes. They also had a female vocalist doing guest vocals on a couple of songs; I’m not familiar enough with Pig Destroyer to know for sure who she was, but I’m assuming she might be Katherine “Kat” Katz, who did guest vox on Book Burner. The vibe in the crowd was fantastic, and the set was a lot of fun.

Pig Destroyer!

Pig Destroyer!

IMAG0878

Being short sucks.

Female guest vocalist.

Female guest vocalist.

That was some pit.

That was some pit.

[It is her, apparently. So much fun. I miss going to grindcore shows.]

We then wandered around for a bit, catching glimpses of Repulsion’s set while meandering through the endless booths full of merch. I had a discussion with an enthusiastic shirtless dude named Zack and his friend about Satanic black metal, which was fun. I also got to meet Annick Giroux, who published the Hellbent for Cooking metal cookbook, which I have made things from and really enjoyed pouring over. Also at the Bazillion Points table was a guy who was extremely stoked about my Arne patch that I’d gotten with my Slayer Mag Diaries and snapped a picture of it. They had awesome aprons for sale, and I did not buy one quickly enough (alas!), which was the first of many lessons in buying what you want while you can get it- the shirts sold out of small sizes pretty quickly in a lot of cases, and I missed my chance at Mgla and Candlemass patches. They also had Layna Dawes’ new book, What Are YOU Doing Here?, which I really wanted a copy of and planned on buying Sunday, but they had shut down the table early and I ended up not getting a copy of it there.

Carcass was… was Carcass. I’m still a little dumbfounded that I saw Carcass do anything at all, although my height (or lack thereof) kept me from seeing most of it. They sounded incredible, and put on a great show, at least for what I saw of it. I had to cut out a little early, but it sounded good still from outside the gates, and the crustpunk kids who lurk in the parking lot seemed to enjoy it too.

Carcass!

Carcass!

It occurred to me that I could hold my phone above my head and manage to get ok photos despite my lack of height.

It occurred to me that I could hold my phone above my head and manage to get ok photos despite my short legs.

One of the most fun random things about MDF for me was the people you meet while you are milling around/ watching sets. I met a cool English dude in the Carcass crowd who told me all about Roadburn this past year and offered me some blackberry vodka (No, thank you, I know it is a trap and does not taste like blackberries at all), and dance-partied with a dude named James from Ottawa from the Pig Destroyer pit. That pit was also my first sighting of Chicken Man, who wore his chicken suit faithfully all weekend. Also a young man dressed as a taco handed me a flyer from his band Autolatry, which I told him I would plug wherever I could. You can check out their bandcamp here.

Taco Man!

Taco Man!

Aaaand that’s about it for Day I. (And that was the short day). I’ll be back again soon with more stories from MDF, including how I have developed a love of Vegan hotdogs and how I saw Aosoth AND Antaeus within 3 hours of each other.

(Go to Part II.)

Until then,

Hagalaz

Stream Deafheaven’s Sunbather on Pitchfork

Posted in post-black metal, release info, united states with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

MDF update (Part I of Satan-knows-how-many) tomorrow. In the meantime, Pitchfork has put Deafheaven’s Sunbather on their Advance Stream. The album comes out June 11. It is a nice mashup of black-metally sounding things and post-rock, and also it is pink. Love it, hate it, what have you, you can listen to it here.

-Hagalaz

I am alive.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 30, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Barely. Survived MDF. I’m gonna post about that. One part of it (it will probably need to be multiple parts) will be up today, unless something drastic happens.

I am not going to blog about the local show I went to a while back because I missed the first part of it. And I’m not going to blog the Black Witchery show- I have a story from that night, all right, but it would not make for an interesting concert review. Suffice it to say that Black Witchery was as good as I had anticipated, Deiphago completely destroyed, and I am now a Ptahil fan.

I am going to review that Aosoth album, which I now own on vinyl too.

In the meantime, here is some Teitanblood.

-H

Review: Ghost- Infestissumam

Posted in retro occult rock, Reviews, sweden with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Finally, I am getting around to doing this review! Thanks everyone for your patience. Anyway, I’ve heard a lot of murmurings from the Internet from critics that Infestissumam isn’t good. I have come up with the following explanations for this phenomenon; either 1) they are listening to a different album than the one I have, or 2) they hate fun. Because I love it. I love it so much, I was ready to buy it having just heard the intro.

[Seriously. Tell me you don’t love every moment of that]

As you might remember, Ghost landed a huge signing bonus when they signed with Loma Vista Recordings, a branch of Universal. They clearly funneled all that money straight into this album, as it is very grandiose. The songs run the gamut from traditional rock to disco. In fact, the album feels very poppy in a lot of ways, but none of them bad. The production on this album is really clean- cleaner than I typically like, but for Ghost’s sound it works. A rawer production would probably hurt the choir sound. (On a side note, a friend told me that the band had a really hard time finding a choir to sing the Satanic lyrics, as they recorded the album in Nashville.)

[This track feels to me like a logical progression from Opus Eponymous.]

When Secular Haze was first released, I heard a lot of people complaining about it and saying that it sounded like circus music, which I suppose that is one way to take it. I took it more as a creepy organ vibe than circus-y, but nevertheless it is probably my least favorite song on the album. And it’s a pretty good track, so that ought to tell you something. The other singles, Year Zero and Monstrance Clock, are freaking catchy as hell, particularly the latter, which is, I think, pretty much the perfect way to end the album.

It seems like Body and Blood is a favorite amongst my friends, and it is another that seems like a logical move from the first album as it is very old school rock-feeling. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen is probably my favorite song, and was the most surprising song for me as well. I was not expecting a slower paced yacht-rock song anywhere on this album, even though I was expecting some strangeness.I really  like the addition though, as I feel like it makes for a very well-rounded album.

Overall, I’m crazy about Infestissumam. I know I’m a rarity in saying this, at least among critics, but then I’m usually nutty for the things critics complain about. I really like the experimental quality and the wide range of songs, as Opus Eponymous (while amazing) was kind of all the same kind of songs. The album is also a little bit longer, which is nice; whereas the first one left me wanting more, this one feels just right in length.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:

Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
Year Zero
Monstrance Clock

-Hagalaz

 

New Watain Single “All That May Bleed” To Be Released June 21st (With Musings from Yours Truly)

Posted in black metal, musings, release info, sweden with tags , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

This morning Watain issued a press statement on Facebook about their new single from their new album, which I gushed about on here recently. The single will be called “All That May Bleed,” and it will appear on the album The Wild Hunt later this year. Said single will come forth on June 21st (the summer solstice, of course. Which makes me realize that Walpugisnacht just flew right past me this year without me noticing. I was going to see Ghost; I was distracted.) That’s also just in time for my birthday (woo).

I’m going to be skeptical for once, even though I love Watain, because I am curious about some things. Namely:

1)     1)  “The lyric is an invitation to sacrificial blood letting, ecstatic zealotry and human sacrifice.” This is really interesting to me, especially coupled with the pyramid and sacrifices on the cover. It doesn’t seem like Watain’s usual schtick, so I’m both intrigued and cautious about the experimentation that this move implies. Is this going to be a new way of approaching the Chaos-Satanism their music usually addresses, or is this something else?

2)     2) The artwork is really cool, but E usually does their artwork and he didn’t do this one. It seems like somewhat of a deviation from the Watain that is responsible for the whole package, which is what I’m used to seeing. That puts me on edge, and it makes me kind of sad because I really like E’s work. Hopefully he will still do most of the artwork for the album.

Artwork by Bp. Necropolitus Cracoviensis Zbigniew Bielak II.

Artwork by Bp. Necropolitus Cracoviensis Zbigniew Bielak II.

3)     3) “Gottfrid Åhman from In Solitude participates on solo guitar” on the B-side track. I am skeptical about a lot of things, but not this. This makes me very excited. In Solitude are amazing, and they are so young and have so much potential, I’m really happy that Watain is choosing to perform with one of their members on this single. It’s a kind gesture. Hooray for solidarity.

4)      4) Only available in vinyl and digital download? Really guys? For a single? Pssssh.

All that being said, I am excited to hear this thing when it comes out.  I’m nervous, especially with having someone else do the artwork and the shift in lyrical content, but I am also looking forward to hearing what is in store on this new record. Some of my favorite albums of last year were the ones that were trying new things (Serpent Sermon, RIITIIR). Plus, I really want this single/album to go well to prove to the haters that Watain aren’t selling out just because they signed with a bigger label. Because I wrote a post defending you guys, Watain, so don’t mess this up.

Anyway, we shall see, I suppose. [Still working on that other stuff. More soon. I’ve been so long with no time to blog, and now I have too much time].

-Hagalaz

[All of the quotes, artwork, etc., came from the above post which appeared on Watain’s Facebook earlier today]

Concert: Ghost/Ides of Gemini (5/4, Minneapolis, MN, Mill City Nights)

Posted in concerts, retro occult rock, sweden with tags , , , , , , , on May 14, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

[This is a short review. It was a short show. I am used to bills with 8 death metal bands stacked on them. Anyway.]

A couple of Saturdays ago (I am behind, yes) I headed back out to Mill City Nights to see Ghost touring in support of their new album, Infestissumam (which I am working on a review of. I promise.) There were a ton of people there, and we were backed up for a bit before the doors opened. This time the merch was set up in the basement of the venue, which was kind of nice because you could browse before you headed up to the show.

Security was really high again. They actually patted me down outside the door, which I thought was interesting. That has never happened to me at one of these things. They also didn’t let us hang around after the show this time either; we couldn’t even hang out outside. I try to cut the security guys some slack as I know they are just doing their job, but I feel like the guys doing security at this place could really try to be a little nicer when they are herding people away at the end of shows. One guy in particular was making snide comments and really getting on my nerves.

ANYWAY, that aside- the crowd at this one was very varied, with most of it being people I had never seen before. There were a lot of girls there, which I always like to see, as we need to represent more, as well as some people who caused me to feel like an elitist jerk. I saw a few familiar faces, but overall it was a crowd full of strangers, which I guess is a good thing.

Ides of Gemini was the only opener. They are a kind of retro-rock band like Ghost, with a female vocalist/bassist and drummer. It was a perfectly fine set- for me, it didn’t go over so well live, as it was a little slow-paced and repetitive. I think it would be good music for listening to while hanging out at a low-key gathering with friends; what a friend of mine calls “wallpaper music.” One cool thing they did was use mallets on the drums for part of the set. Although the music itself was enjoyable, it made for a kind of boring live set.

[They played this]

Ghost’s set, however, was incredible and everything I could have hoped for. Papa E. even wore green, which is my favorite color! It was of course a very theatrical set, but it was also very straightforward, which is nice. There wasn’t a lot to the stage show minus the costumes, in other words. Ghost played a mix of tracks from the new album as well as Opus Eponymous, so it was a nice compilation of their stuff. They didn’t play Ghuleh/Zombie Queen (of course, I’m probably the only person in the world who likes that song the best off the new album), but it was a pretty even spread of stuff from both albums. And yes, they did have their, uhm, supplementary box set items on stage with them, although none of them were actually used. It was still funny to see. They didn’t play any of their cover songs- a friend was hoping for Here Comes the Sun- but they did end with Monstrance Clock, which made me all happy inside.

[No fair, Washington. Seriously.]

As the above video demonstrates, one fun thing about Ghost is their stuff is easy to sing along with. That doesn’t always happen at metal stuff (yes, I know Ghost as metal is debatable); I mean, I knew all the words to most of Ensiferum’s songs a few weeks ago, but that’s because I listen to it a lot. This show was cool because I got to participate in a different way than normal- there was significantly less thrashing about, but much more singing along.

[Papa’s voice sounds a little odd live because of the mask. Incidentally, I think I may have a crush on him]

I didn’t get anything from the merch booth this time as I had *just* bought the album, but it seemed like they had a lot of good stuff. The most common thing I saw was the tour shirt with the dates on the back, which pretty much looks like the cover of the current album.

It was a great show, and I’m really glad I got to see Ghost this time around (I missed them last time because I had to teach early the next day. In Iowa.) My friend said they were even better than last time, though, and I’m sure the set was longer with more to choose from, so I am completely satisfied with what I saw. I’m still not sure how I feel about the venue, although the sound was much better than last time when we couldn’t hear the vocals during Pallbearer’s set and it is a nice space to accommodate a crowd like the one Ghost drew.

Working on a review of Infestissumam and the new Aosoth album, and I’ll have those up this week as well. Black Witchery and Deiphago on Saturday, and then Maryland Effing Deathfest next week!

-Hagalaz

R.I.P., Jeff Hanneman

Posted in memorial, thrash with tags , , , on May 2, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of yet another of our brothers. My thoughts are with Mr. Hanneman’s family and friends, as well as for the rest of us. As someone over at Decibel said earlier today, Rest in Peace and Reign in Blood.

-Hagalaz