Archive for the local Category

Review: House of Atreus- Into the Brazen Bull

Posted in death metal, local, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, Reviews, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

I have to say, I’m totally stoked by how much attention House of Atreus has been getting lately. They are one of my favorite local bands comprised of some of my favorite people, and it’s great to see their hard work paying off. The band’s new EP, Into the Brazen Bull, is an especially cool artifact for me because of just how many people I know involved with it; along with the band, I’m friends with the graphic designer and the owner of Antitheist Disseminations, the label on which it was released.

That being said, I am still going to try to be as objective as possible without letting the fact that I’m friends with these dudes cloud my judgment. But THAT being said, I really do love this EP, as I’m super picky about my death metal and ItBB is exactly the sort of thing I really dig.
The opening track, “Bastards on the Hillside,” is a fantastic way to start a death metal album. It’s a fun track, fast-paced and with a great fist-pumping moment about 33 seconds in. In particular, the layering of the guitars lends the track a grandiose feel, as well as setting the precedent for the rest of the album in terms of riffs that absolutely kill. (Hint- this is probably one of my favorite live songs of theirs.)

The riff onslaught and warlike themes continue with “Seed of Discord,” which opens with a sample of a battle. “Pitiless Chains” sees a shift in approach, beginning with a mid-tempo section followed by some really heavy guitar work- the layering that appears in so much of House of Atreus’ work is here supplanted by unison guitars. I’m not crazy about this track, I’ll admit- I prefer the band’s faster pieces. However, I think the inclusion of “Pitiless Chains” gives the album an added dimension as it shows the band is capable of more than just lightning fast riffing.

[The Youtube user mislabeled this; this song is actually “Pitiless Chains”]

Into the Brazen Bull, the title of the EP, is a reference to a particularly nasty form of execution in ancient Greece in which the condemned was locked inside a large bronze bull, a fire set underneath in order to slowly roast him to death. When the unlucky criminal screamed, his cries would filter through the mouth of the beast in such a way as to sound like the lowing of the animal. Of course, then, the title track must open with the eerie sound of a bull lowing, the crackle of flames audible underneath. This track is another favorite of mine, as the meter shifts quite a bit, showing off the drumming skills of session drummer George Tzitifas. Tremolo picking near the song’s mid-point gives it an unexpected black metal feel as well.

In a fitting frame to “Bastards on the Hillside,” the EP ends with “In the Shadow of Foreign Horses,” another blistering track perfect for banging your fucking head to. The descending riffs are quite awesome, and I like how they seem to decrescendo in the mix. Like in the previous track, there are some black metal-like moments in this one as well- I’m reminded of American black metal in the realm of Panopticon at about 3:32. The classical riffing towards the end of the track is also fun, and makes me smile as someone who grew up on classical music, and Anxietous Nero’s scream right after it makes me want to scream along.

The graphic design also complements the album really well. The lyrics and artwork are rendered in a bold bronze shade, evoking the image of the torture device from which the album takes its name. Likewise, I really like the contrast between the black and the bronze; while the riffs are extremely heavy, the guitar solos are like flashes of light. Using such sharply contrasting colors mimics these techniques in a visual sense.

Front cover

Front cover

The flames to accompany the bull

The flames to accompany the bull

Liner notes. I really love how the rust color pops on the black.

Liner notes. I really love how the rust color pops on the black

And the CD itself

And the CD itself

The jury is still out for me when it comes to the production on ItBB. It’s a little fuzzy, which is nice because it gives the sound an old school feel, but it’s still bright enough to allow for the guitar solos to come through and the lyrics to be heard. Certainly the sound has a density to it, but the brightness of the guitars makes them stick out of the mix ever so slightly. As a friend pointed out, though, your ears quickly adjust to the mix, making it difficult to notice any weirdness in the production.

Into the Brazen Bull truly deserves all the accolades that it has received thus far, as well as much more. Catchy from beginning to end, the album incorporates an old school, punky death metal style with an original flair. And don’t just take my word for it, give it a listen for yourself. You can find the album on House of Atreus’ bandcamp page here.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:
Bastards on the Hillside
Into the Brazen Bull

Ave,
Hagalaz

 

Gratuitous Birthday Playlist 2014

Posted in 2014, black metal, blackened death metal, death metal, doom, local, mayhem, musings, stoner metal, traditional heavy metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

Well. This is late, and it’s late because I was busy being the birthday girl, something I don’t get to do very often because for some reason I’m always out of town on my birthday. But this year I wasn’t, and I spent a glorious evening with A at the HammerHeart Brewery followed by more hangs the next day with coworkers. And then I’ve been in Chicago, seeing Behexen (!) and Sargeist (!), which I will rave about soon enough.
However, here it is. My gratuitous birthday playlist for 2014!

***

1. Behemoth- O Father, O Satan, O Sun

I really love Behemoth’s new album, and I’m going to be working up a review for it soon. Suffice it to say for now that this song hits me right in the feels.

2. Iron Maiden- The Evil That Men Do

I kind of skipped Iron Maiden, having plummeted face first into symphonic black metal (I grew up on classical music. It was a natural progression). However, countless hours of listening to Maiden at DJ night over the past year has shown me the error of my ways, and I’m devouring this stuff like candy lately.

3. Behexen- Death’s Black Light

Behexen is on here because holy crap I got to see them the other night. That’s nuts. I never thought that would happen. They played this song too…

4. Sargeist- Let the Devil In

Also Sargeist. In terms of things I never thought I’d see live, they rank slightly higher than Behexen.

5. Arckanum- Þjóbaugvittr

I’ve been listening to a lot of Arckanum lately too. I love how meditative it is- the music is atmospheric and repetitive, but the subtleties in the melodies ensure that it never gets boring. Plus, Shamaatae is one of the most interesting figures in black metal to me, and I feel like Arckanum often gets overlooked.

6. Mayhem- Watchers

Y’all know already about me and Mayhem. Just like any long-time fan, I held my breath until I heard their new album, and was pleased to find that I loved it. Especially this song. Those riffs.

7. King Diamond- A Mansion in Darkness

Having secured my King Diamond ticket for St. Louis (!!!), I have also been listening to a lot of his solo work recently. I know Mercyful Fate much better, and I decided that it was nigh time I made myself more familiar with the King himself. This is probably my favorite track on Abigail– I love haunted houses.

8. Sleep- Dragonaut

My all-time favorite Sleep song. Dat bass. Dat doom.

9. Teitanblood- Silence of the Great Martyrs

We’re only halfway through, so I have yet to know for sure, but Teitanblood’s new one, Death, just might be my favorite album this year.

10. House of Atreus- Bastards on the Hillside

I’ve also been jamming out a lot to local legends (and good friends of mine) House of Atreus. Their new EP is brilliant stuff, and I have a review lying around here somewhere that I need to get edited…

11. Dissection- Dark Mother Divine

Shut up. I like this album.

***
So that’s it. My birfday playlist for THIS year. Watch this space- like I said, I’m in the editing stages of my House of Atreus review, and about to start on one for the new Behemoth. I got bit by the black metal bug BAD this past weekend, so I’m probably going to be churning out stuff more frequently again (also I will try to get up a review for the shows I saw in Chi-Town last week).
Ave!
-Hagalaz

Alcest In-Store Appearance at Into the Void Records! (St. Paul, MN)

Posted in france, local, minneapolis/st. paul, post-black metal with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Last week I got to be a part of something REALLY cool- a special in-store appearance at Into the Void Records with Alcest! They played a short acoustic set (just a couple of songs; they had to get on over to the venue) and then hung out for 15-20 minutes for a meet and greet and to sign people’s stuff.

It was an awesome experience to get to meet Neige and get my own stuff signed as well. He was also kind enough to sign a CD booklet for my friend Jamie, who recently moved back to Georgia (and who needs to blog more now that he has time). The event was also really good for the store- it’s a good thing we were stocked up on Alcest albums. I counted 40 people there before the set, and I think a few more wandered in during the performance. Before the band left for the venue they signed a poster that a friend had made for the store. It was a really lovely time, and Into the Void is going to try to host a band each month, at least for signings/meet and greets if not actual sets. (Right now I am pushing for Exhumed in October.)

Pics/vid are below.

The stage is set

The stage is set

Alcest playing their acoustic set.

Alcest playing their acoustic set

Me and Neige

Me and Neige

Neige signing the banner

Neige signing the banner

Tofu forever!

Tofu forever!

:D

😀

[Yeah, so I guess I have a YouTube now. I can’t imagine I’ll use it much, ‘cept for maybe stuff like this.]

Review of the actual Alcest concert coming as soon as I can get it typed.

-H

For the Love of Live Music, Consider Signing This Petition

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, blackened doom, concerts, crossover thrash, crust, death metal, doom, DSBM, folk metal, grindcore, hardcore, local, musings, post-black metal, prog metal, psychedelic rock, punk, retro occult rock, sludge metal, stoner metal, thrash, traditional heavy metal, true norwegian black metal, underground, USBM, viking metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

This petition came to my attention the other day via a friend on Facebook, and I wanted to post it here so that you could sign it if you haven’t. The Canadian government apparently wants to drastically increase the amount of money that musicians have to pay to tour there, which will not only cut down on the amount of live music that Canadians will get to see, but will also be very harmful to small venues and businesses. I don’t think I need to go far towards explaining that for metal bands other than, say, Metallica and their ilk, this legislation is very bad news- any smaller metal bands will be right out of the running for getting to tour Canada. As I am now living in a routine stop on the way to Winnipeg, I can assure you, Canadian metal fans, you don’t want this thing to pass. Marduk and Inquisition are just a couple of bands in the past year that have come up your way. And of course, that is not to mention the smaller bands trying to get off the ground; False just played in Canada, for instance. This cost increase passes and they won’t be able to again.

So please consider adding your signature to the petition if you haven’t already. I did, and I hate signing up for things on the internet. And tell your friends, too, because this is an issue that affects ALL music genres.

Concert: Maledicere/Atrum Inritus/Sacrificial Massacre/Fin/House of Atreus (7/27, Terminal Bar, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, concerts, death metal, local, terminal bar, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Behold Barbarity put together this show back in the spring, and Kommandant was supposed to play originally, but when Station 4 closed for the summer, there was no other venue with a stage big enough to reasonably hold seven people. Between that and Burning Bethlehem disbanding, the bill for this one shifted quite a bit before the final lineup was settled. Local black metallers Maledicere landed the headlining spot, which proved to be quite nice as it will be their last show for a while (Luke is moving to New York; best of luck to him).

House of Atreus started off the night with their brand of thrashy death metal. I really enjoyed them earlier in the spring, and they were really good this time as well. Along with original music they played Absurd and Slayer covers, and I found myself particularly impressed with Andy’s guitar solos (and Dan’s black metal shrieks. That was fun). The only downside was the sound; overall it was fine, but the vocals kept dropping out, taking the bass with them one time. That was not the band’s fault at all, of course, and it’s unfortunate that House of Atreus’ set was the one most plagued with sound problems.

[Audio on this is a little boomy. Sorry. You get the idea.]

Next up was Fin from Chicago, who I believe were the special guests of the evening. I had absolutely no idea who they were, but they played blackened melodic death metal, so I dug it. They also marked the beginning of the night’s stage decorations, with army helmets and other war themed props strewn across the stage. I always like watching two man black metal because it always impresses the shit out of me, and Fin was no exception. I was able to talk with their drummer briefly throughout the evening, and he was very nice and gracious, as well as very complimentary of the other bands (nice dudes rule. Seriously). Sacrificial Massacre joined them onstage to do guest vocals on one song as well, which was an unexpected treat.

[There were only two people playing at the show I saw- the guitarist on the right and the drummer.]

Sacrificial Massacre was next, upping the ante in terms of stage performance. They started their set with a sort of ritual, of which I got a picture that is complete crap (so I’m not going to post it. Seriously, you can’t see anything). The stage was bedecked with animal bones and skulls, the band members smeared with corpsepaint with red accents. Probably the coolest part of their set was the way they mixed Aztec themes with blistering black metal. It was neatly done and a very refreshing and innovative take on black metal, and with the exception of Maledicere, this was the set in which I banged my head the hardest.

Atrum Inritus was the fourth band of the evening, and provided a nice contrast right after Sacrificial Massacre. As is their wont, they brought out all the stops in terms of making the stage into a Satanic ritual chamber, complete with a giant crucifix (inverted, of course) that spent some time in the hands of the audience. Despite a small issue with a guitar strap, the set seemed to go flawlessly; whoever was in the sound booth was even paying attention, as I think this was the first set of the night to not have the vocals drop out at some point. I made sure to pick up one of their patches for the battle jacket.

Maledicere was incredible, as I knew they would be. They didn’t play There Are Wolves, but it was amazing to hear Hail the Black Faith on the eve of what is likely the last hurrah for this band for a great while. I was also glad to see Neil play with Maledicere again, as it was his last show with the band (if you haven’t checked out his blog yet over at Into the Void Records, you totally should. Neil is a badass.) The set, whether intentionally or not, had a bit of a celebratory feel to it; you could definitely feel that there was something special in the air, especially on the last couple of songs. And of course, the show is not complete without a few rotting sheep heads. These had snot dripping off them. I didn’t notice any sound issues at this point, and I’m glad. Maledicere is a really awesome band, and they deserve to have their final show before hiatus go really well.

This show was a great night; a long night, but a good one. I really liked the way that the bands complemented each other while all sounding completely different, and it was nice to see such camaraderie between the local bands and the visiting ones. Everyone played killer sets, despite the bad sound for the majority of the show, and it was absolutely lovely for me to get to hang out with so many friends in one place. Even though it will be sad to see Maledicere go for a while, the performance went off without a hitch in my opinion, and provided a great way to end an era.

Doomy review upcoming. And then I get to see False tomorrow, so that will come too. And more. And more. Because I have to go to all the things before school starts and I have to start being selective again. SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK.

Concert: (Not)Castle/The Terrordactyls/Ashen/Mordwolf (7/23, The Hexagon, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in concerts, crossover thrash, crust, death metal, doom, local, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, thrash, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Last Tuesday, Castle was supposed to play at the Hexagon but ended up cancelling their tour, so the show ended up being three local bands instead. I was sort of disappointed, of course; I love me some doom metal. But at the same time I also like supporting local acts when I can, especially when I know people in them, and I wanted to see The Terrordactyls again after they completely floored me and M at the Holy Grail show.

This was also my first time at the Hexagon, which has a parking lot (YES!!! Sorry. As someone who goes to shows alone sometimes, I like parking lots). I briefly panicked when I walked in and saw a bunch of older dudes sitting around at the bar, but then I found the stage in the back. As a venue it was fine; a little divey, but I’m used to those places and I am fond of them. They also had a bar in the stage area so the two crowds didn’t have to intermingle if they didn’t want to.

Mordwolf was up first, and I really enjoyed their set. I saw them once before when they opened for Municipal Waste/Napalm Death last November, and I believe I was really into them then as well. Although I am very picky about my death metal, I tend to gravitate towards the punkier death metal that Mordwolf plays. Apparently they are working on a full-length album, which I am looking forward to hearing. Hopefully I’ll see them play more, too.

Ashen, a crusty doom band, filled the second spot on the bill. They were fine; I admit I got a little bored, and that’s saying something considering the doom bender I’ve been on lately. However, it was appropriately heavy, which is something I always appreciate, especially in slower, sludgier genres of metal. And as always, it was nice to have two girls up there on stage (the vocalist/guitarist was a guy). Satan knows we need more girls at these things. (Couldn’t find video of these guys, and I will post some if I stumble across it, but they have a SoundCloud you can get to from the above link).

The Terrordactyls took the last set, and were pretty much everything I had expected they would be-another really strong set. There was even a pretty good mosh pit going for a few minutes, carried on throughout the night by one intrepid young man who was going to mosh, dammit, even if he was the only one doing so. That’s the kind of atmosphere you want during a thrash set, however, and once again I left pretty bummed that The Terrordactyls are only going to be around for a few more weeks.

Of course, because of that, I had to buy a shirt to stand as a testament in my closet to the fact that The Terrordactyls once existed.  That the design is based off of Kreator’s Pleasure To Kill just makes it even more awesome.

20130729_233512

I’m really glad I went out to this show. My friends that normally go with me to stuff bailed on me as they were either sick or busy, and, hating to go to stuff alone, I almost opted out. But I didn’t, and I ended up hanging out with a couple of good friends there as well as getting to see a really good local show and support my pals in Mordwolf and The Terrordactyls (I don’t know anyone in Ashen. Alas).

More live reports coming up, as that is apparently what I am doing for the next month. Seriously, I think I’m going to a show every week. And why not? One last month of live, loud music before the semester starts and I have to start being picky about what I go to because of school. Bring it, Minneapolis/St. Paul.

 

Concert: Ambassador Gun/Sadgiqacea/Hivelords/Poney (7/19, Nomad’s World Pub, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in black metal, blackened doom, concerts, doom, grindcore, hardcore, local, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, psychedelic rock, punk, sludge metal, stoner metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

(I am going to start linking to bandcamp in here when I can, so that you can listen to more music and buy more music and support more of these guys. OK? You’re welcome.)

Last Friday I was hanging out at Into the Void when my friend M called me to see if I wanted to go with him, his girlfriend, and a mutual friend to see Sadgiqacea, his friend’s black metal band, play with local legends Ambassador Gun. So of course I said yes, because I love me some live music. The show was at Nomad’s World Pub, a small venue that seemed mostly populated, at least this time, by hipsters and crustpunks. Though small, it was a nice place, and they had a huge tap list as well if that is your thing. The patios, I thought, were particularly nice, especially on a balmy summer night. The sound was good as far as I could tell, but it was insanely loud as well, so

Poney from Madison, WI started off the night with a set of psychedelic/stoner inspired hardcore. They played all the material from their new record as well as several other songs. I really enjoyed their set, and thought that the interchanging vocals were really a cool effect, if not always in tune. Probably my favorite aspect of the music was the percussion; along with a drummer, Poney has another percussionist who uses mallets and other techniques with his drumkit. Looking forward to hopefully seeing these guys again soon.

[Two drummers. Rad.]

Hivelords was up next, and they completely destroyed. After their set, I went to fetch extra earplugs for my friends from the car because the noise levels were pretty much devastating. Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Hivelords plays crushing, doom-saturated black metal, with the vocalist using the old grindcore two-mic technique and echo sound effects. The result is deafening and incredible. I was completely blown away by these guys, and have been pushing them on my friends since.

[Hivelords is devastating in the best way possible.]

Unfortunately I missed most of Sadgiqacea’s set. I was absolutely famished, and skipped over to grab a burrito at Hard Times. I did manage to catch most of the last song, however, and what I heard I really liked. Sadgiqacea also plays a mix of sludge, doom, and psychedelic black metal (and are also, incidentally from Philly). I am going to have to spend some more time with their catalog as I really like what I did hear, and I’m bummed that I missed out on their set.

[I will never stop being impressed by how well you can make incredible black metal with just two dedicated dudes.]

After getting my face obliterated by some of the most crushing live black metal I’ve ever witnessed, Ambassador Gun was unfortunately kind of a letdown. M has seen them before and says that he felt like they were definitely having an off night; one of the vocalists was not in his normal register, he said, so he could tell something was wrong. Even the crowd seemed to have a little trouble getting into the music. Nevertheless, Ambassador Gun’s blend of grind, punk, and metal was enjoyable enough to me. I had come to hear some noise and screaming, and they made sure I did not go home disappointed. I know these guys are a Minneapolis staple and I’d like to see them again sometime when they are having a better night. I also remembered that they played at Maryland Deathfest this year; another indication that I really ought to pick up tickets for the punk stage next time as well.

[Noisy noise.]

I like to support touring bands, and when they are friends or friends of friends I like it even more, so I gave Sadgiqacea and Hivelords the rest of the money in my pocket for gas and took home a sweet Hivelords patch for the old battle jacket. I also picked up a flier and sticker for FTG Illustrations, the work of Sadgiqacea’s drummer (he did their album artwork), in case anyone is looking for album art. After the show, I spent some time hanging out with M and company as well as Hivelords and Sadgiqacea, who were crashing at his place. I am now even more convinced that I need a house so I can put people up, because I love cooking for people and because, as I have bemoaned before, metal bands don’t typically have the support in the underground that the punks do.

20130726_221517

I had a really good time for a show I decided to go to on a sudden invite, and I’m really, really glad I went. Poney was excellent, and Hivelords completely destroyed, as did Sadgiqacea, the small part I saw of their set. I’m looking forward to seeing Ambassador Gun on a better night, as I know they are a big deal, and unfortunately theirs was the weakest set of the night. More reviews coming soon, as I can’t not go to things, including the not-Castle show that took place on Tuesday and the Maledicere show tomorrow  (it’s going to be awesome. Stoked).

-H