Archive for the distros Category

French Black Metal: A Couple of Influential Labels

Posted in black metal, black metal history, distros, france, funeral mist, labels, mayhem, underground with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

For the final installment (for now) of my serial on French black metal, I thought I would address a couple of the French labels that have been very influential in the development of both the French scene and the black metal scene in general.

Season of Mist

Founded in 1996 by Michael S. Berberian, Season of Mist has become a quite famous label and distributor for black metal in particular, although they also release a lot of death metal, pagan metal, avant-garde, and all the other genres us black metal fans find ourselves listening to frequently. Although the label was started in and still has an operation in Marseilles, they also have a Philadelphia office and a partnership with EMI that helps them distribute in the U.S.

[Mayhem’s Grand Declaration of War was the first big black metal release from SOM, which initiated their taking on more black metal bands]

Perhaps the turning point for Season of Mist was their signing of Mayhem and subsequent release of Grand Declaration of War. A controversial album even among fans, this release had to have been a huge risk for the label to take (although I think the album has a lot of merit. There’s a post in there somewhere). Signing a groundbreaker like Mayhem always comes with advantages, however, and soon SOM found themselves with a slew of black metal bands on their hands.

[Like Rotting Christ. Season of Mist collects groundbreaking black metal artists like I collect Mayhem bootlegs]

According to Wikipedia, Season of Mist’s name originates from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and, yes, also the Sandman volume Seasons of Mist (in which Lucifer retires and hands Hell over to Morpheus). It is also a line in Keats’ “To Autumn.” I personally think this is really rad, as I study literature, and I think it’s very fitting for a label that largely specializes in black metal. For a genre that is so pensive and often references literary sources (ooh, I need to blog about that), a line from Shakespeare is a good fit.

[These guys were also on Season of Mist. Love this song]

Some cool stuff that Season of Mist has put out recently include Watain’s brand spanking new box set o’ vinyls, which looks amazing. They are also re-releasing In Solitude’s first album.

I have almost ordered something from their distro before, and though I completely screwed up my order (my fault, not theirs), they were very, very helpful in helping me sort out the situation.

[Sideshow Symphonies was one of theirs, too. This has been one of my frequent listens in the past couple of months]

Norma Evangelium Diaboli (Noevdia)

Norma Evangelium Diaboli, or Noevdia, is one of the greatest little labels that few have heard of. Begun on January 1 of 2005 by people who remain largely anonymous, but at least one of whom is in Deathspell Omega (yes, that Deathspell Omega), Noevdia has dedicated itself to distributing and promoting bands in the Orthodox Black Metal scene. Of course, Deathspell Omega themselves are very dedicated to their brand of metaphysical Satanism; it makes sense that a label closely affiliated with them would reflect that.

[Of course, they release DSO’s stuff]

As far as I can tell, Noevdia has yet to sign a band that is not completely awesome. Although they tend to stick with the Satanic black metal bands, they have signed the cream of the crop of that lot to their ranks over the years. Antaeus’ records were released on Noevdia, as were the works of Funeral Mist and Ofermod. Also on Noevdia is Teitanblood, who I didn’t realize I loved so much until just recently.

[How do I love thee, Funeral Mist?]

Noevdia’s website is aesthetically awesome. It’s all in pretty black and grey, and the images are really fantastic. You kind of have to do some investigating to figure stuff out as far as ordering goes, but then again, with the mastermind behind Deathspell Omega working for them, you don’t expect straightforward. It’s an old school way of doing things; you contact them by email and tell them your order, and then they calculate the price plus shipping. My experience with them this past summer was absolutely fantastic. They were very amiable and responded very quickly to my emails, and the turn-around for shipping was extremely fast.

[Spanish black metal. Awesome]

Noevdia is also partnered with The Ajna Offensive, who distributes their releases in the U.S. Typically, Ajna is my first stop for Noevdia artists, and hopefully I don’t have to try to hunt them down elsewhere (although I do attest to the label’s distribution. Like I said, they were wonderful when I ordered from them this summer). Please consider buying their bands’ stuff from them or from Ajna; both are small labels run by (really nice) people who are very dedicated to the music.

[“Cut your flesh and worship Satan”- Antaeus (if I don’t come back from MDF with that t-shirt, I’ve failed somehow)]

(Also, I’m aware that Season of Mist is re-releasing some of the older Noevdia catalog. I don’t know anything about it beyond that, but I will assume nothing nefarious until it’s shown me. If there’s a political issue with me discussing both these guys in the same post, let me know and I’ll fix it]

***

I’m working on trying to compile a best of list for the year, and it’s tricky. First it means I’m trying to listen to the new black metal stuff I haven’t heard yet, sometimes running into road blocks based on availability (as much as I’d love to just immediately buy them all, I can’t afford to). And then trying to pick the bests? Yikes. It has been a very good year for black metal. That’s a lot of pressure.

Anyway, that’s coming up eventually as well as other stuff. Until next time.

-Hagalaz

“Do Not Mistake Me For a Star…”: Watain Signs with Century Media

Posted in black metal, distros, musings, sweden, underground with tags , , , , , , , on November 18, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

I was kind of at a loss as to what to write about this weekend (because I did promise a post by the end of the week), however, Watain has saved me the trouble. The Swedish occultists have signed on with Century Media, and their fans have been largely tetchy about it.

First of all, I would like to clarify something. Getting signed to Century Media is not like signing with Epic Records or anything. I mean, it’s a bigger company than Noevdia or Season of Mist (which Watain have used in the past), but it’s not like they are some super corporation. Napalm Death is on Century Media. Marduk is as well. I have heard that sometimes their distro is not so quick at getting online orders shipped (although I myself have never had a problem with them), but they seem to be a pretty good label from what I have seen and heard. Therefore, no, I do not think that Watain is “selling out.”

In fact, I think the move to a bigger label is a wise choice. Watain needs a bigger label. They have thrived and done well on smaller ones in the past, but their supporting Behemoth on the Decibel Tour earlier this spring gained them a veritable shit-ton of new fans, and they are getting, to put it colloquially, too big for their britches. Guys, Wolf Wear shut down because they couldn’t handle all the orders Watain was getting (or at least that was my understanding of the situation). Seriously. I myself was privy to the craziness because I put in my order for my totally awesome Watain hoodie (that gets me compliments from random people all the time) right about the same time that Opus Diaboli came out this summer. You know, the DVD that they pretty much sold out of before it was released? Wolf Wear was backed up for ages. I’m lucky I got my hoodie, and I feel sorry for the hell that a lot of the fans put them through when they did not have the capabilities to handle that many orders (or at least I am inclined to believe). They pulled their Facebook page, which was practically dripping with venom from hacked off fans.

And the DVD? Well, my friend Jamie and I looked everywhere for it right after it came out, and despite the fact that all the usual suspects (FYE, Barnes and Noble, etc.) showed that it had been released and was being delivered, no one *actually* had a copy of it. The demand was too high. I had to order our copies online, and I didn’t see it on the shelf anywhere until a couple of weeks after the release date.

Watain is still somewhat underground, but guys, I hate to break it to you, they won’t be for long. If my predictions prove true, their next album will skyrocket them out of it. The band has been sitting pretty at the top of the underground metal scene for a while, but they are probably the biggest third wave band after Dark Funeral, and the press they have gotten from the Decibel Tour has gained them so much overwhelming support that the underground is no longer going to be able to support them. I know we all like to think it can, but I think there comes a certain point in terms of supply/demand when the self-sustenance of the underground scene can no longer really maintain a band. It happened to Napalm Death a long time ago, and having just seen them the other day, I can testify that they are as true to their art as they ever were. I honestly believe that Watain will do the same; they are not in this gig for the money.

Don’t think of it as Watain getting on a big label so they can make more money, think of it as Watain needing a bigger label so that they can distribute to and provide the services demanded to the literally thousands of fans that they have gained in recent years. The Wolf Wear debacle this past summer made it clear that the band needs the help of a distributor the size of Century Media. The label is going to make it easier for you to get Watain merch. They are going to support the band, not the other way around.

That being said, my only concern is that Watain is well-treated by Century Media. The label seems really excited to have them, and I hope that they are good to them and support them in the way that they should.

For their sakes. Because Watain seem perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, and I’d hate to be on the wrong side of Erik Danielsson.

Image

Don’t worry, kids. These guys aren’t going to appear on lunch boxes any time soon. (from rockenweb)

[Also, no one has said the world “kvlt” and meant it seriously since 1994. So quit doing it in reference to this Watain thing. It makes you sound like an idiot.]

***

[You can go here to read the story at The Gauntlet, and if you want to witness the internet’s hissy fit, you can do so in the comments over at MetalSucks.

-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