Archive for the labels 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