Archive for the musings Category

An open post to the internet, because I ought to do this.

Posted in 2016, musings, state of the blog, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 12, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

I had other, fun stuff planned for today, but I should get this out of the way, because I should. I will be back with the fun stuff next week, because I decided I should talk about my favorite albums that came out last year, and the stuff I’ve done (because I have done stuff), and have not recorded here because I fail.

So this is the post about why I failed.

***

I went for a long time neglecting this blog. This is not good, because I love metal and this blog is one thing that has generally never failed to make me happy over the past few years. It’s also not good because it’s not like I haven’t been doing stuff, albeit more sporadically than in the past, and I should have been blogging about Hell’s Headbash last year, or how I went to see Mgła and Mortuary Drape in Chicago in November, of the brief time in which I was fascinated by crust punks and very quickly got so burned out on that business it is not even funny (your rebellion is pointless, keep your politics away from my black metal, and take a fucking shower).

However, a lot happened to drain me and make even the things I love not as much fun anymore. Primarily, depression. Depression is romanticized a lot in music and movies, and we tend to focus on how it can help to channel artists’ creative processes. Everyone knows Nine Inch Nails was at its best when Trent Reznor hated himself. But the worst part of depression, the unromantic part that never gets elaborated upon, is the ennui, the apathy, the absolute destruction of everything that you love. Nothing is fun anymore. The things that used to make you happy turn to ash in your mouth, and it’s hard to do anything that isn’t just going back to sleep because when you’re asleep things don’t hurt and also it’s a good way to just kill off the time because you can’t bring yourself to care. About anything. Couple this with anxiety and you end up with me, sitting at home, not doing anything and making excuses to not see my friends and not leave the house. I managed to keep going to Into the Void, our little local metal shop, may it rest in peace, once a week or so, but I was emotionally withdrawn from the scene in general.

Last spring, I decided to jump ship on my PhD and go to library school. This helped immensely, and last fall I actually was declared in partial remission from my major depressive disorder and went off my anti-depressants in October. So that is good. Things were looking up in general but there were still significant changes that I needed to make to my life and… to be short, I think I started filling up all those vacuous spaces with the wrong things, which resulted in about six months of me feeling afloat, anxious, unsure of who I was and what I wanted, and with no clue about what I needed. I was not in a good place, but I was operating under the assumption that I was. (I mean, I was off the pills, so that was good, yeah?) Which, of course, kept me from fixing it.

I went through a shift recently. March was a rough month for me this year, but I was slowly starting to pull myself back together. And then I went to see Abbath in early April, and about the time they started playing “Tyrants,” something clicked in my skull. While listening to some of my favorite songs, surrounded by some of my favorite people, it occurred to me that… I think I’m going to be okay. And I knew when I got home that I was going to make some changes.

First of all, this blog was getting restarted. Because, crazily enough, in my travels over the past couple of years, I have met people who recognized my Funeral Mist back patch and who talk to me about my blog. There are people out there who read this thing on occasion who aren’t just my friends or long-suffering family members. I owe it to those people who read my stuff (fist-bump, you guys are great), as well as to myself, to keep writing. This is what I do. I write and I analyze. Also, without the record store, I have no place to blather endlessly on about black metal to people.

Next, I need to take better care of myself. I have been trying to meditate, which is not easy because I live at a busy intersection and have a helpful cat who worries about me and bites at my elbows when I sit still too long because he thinks I am dead. But already I am able to get into a deeply relaxed state pretty quickly, even after just about four weeks of halting, often-frustrated meditation. I’m also reading a bunch of esoteric stuff and absorbing it like a sponge; I’ve always been interested in occult stuff because I am a (paraprofessional, not yet certified) librarian and an INTJ and a Ravenclaw and I LIKE TO KNOW THINGS, and while I don’t know how spiritual I’ll end up getting with it, I’m inspired by the individualism implicit in LHP and it seems like a good way to lend me strength and not make me feel like so broken and beaten of a person.

Last but certainly not least, I’ve gotta start being a better cat mom, and a better friend, and get my arse out of the house and remember that I LOVE GOING TO SHOWS and LIVE MUSIC IS MY JAM (I went to a pop concert last month. I didn’t know the band at all. I still had fun. What the hey.) and MY FRIENDS, ONLINE AND IN REAL LIFE, ARE AWESOME. I should be more present so that people stop asking me where I’ve been because I haven’t seen them in several months, and I need to make an effort to get out more and meet more people (I’ve met some super cool folks in the past month that I’ve been going to shows all the time).

So I guess what I came here to say is that it’s been a rough year and half, and this blog has suffered because of it, and I’m sorry about that. It’s going to get better, I promise. It already has, I think. And I fully intend to update at least every Thursday. I’m still in school, because I’m… a glutton for punishment, I guess, and so it’s hard for me to promise more than that, but every Thursday, at least, I’ll be here. I’m going to try to post up a list of albums that came out last year that I liked a lot, as well as a brief overview of the cool stuff I’ve done that didn’t make it up here because I have been busy hating myself. Once again, music has been the thing that has lit a fire under my ass, has pulled me out of the dreadful funk I have been in, has inspired me to keep going and realize that I am stronger than all of this. Like Watain says, WE ARE WOLVES. And wolves fight back.

I feel like hanging a sign out like Granny Weatherwax’s from Discworld, the one that she puts up when she’s out of her body borrowing an animal’s mind that says “I ATEN’T DEAD.” Because I aten’t. Not yet.

-H

 

Black Metal Problems.

Posted in black metal, musings, Uncategorized with tags , on April 12, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

If I had four more sets of ears, I could listen to Watain, Immortal, Mayhem, Gorgoroth, AND Marduk simultaneously.

…Abbath, what did you do to me? (Seriously. Something… is askew in my brain after that show. I- I can’t stop.)

-H

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

Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Releases of 2013

Posted in black metal, blackgaze, canada, colombia, DSBM, france, musings, norway, sweden, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

In 2012, I felt like the overwhelming theme among the best black metal releases were the ones that took big risks- bands like Marduk and Deathspell Omega doing really interesting experimental stuff. This year, for me at least, the heavy hitters were bands that have traditionally been heavy hitters; the only difference is, in many cases, these are comeback albums. Satyricon, Arckanum, and Rotting Christ all put out albums that are, in my opinion, superior the their other recent releases. I decided to keep it to  ten this year- Horna and Woe were among those I cut, and I haven’t gotten to spend enough time with the new Sadgiqacea album, otherwise I’d probably have to revise again.

So without further ado:

Gehenna- Unravel

Gehenna’s mid-tempo dissonance has really peaked in this new album. Unravel is a dirge-like, doomy album, perfect for a funeral or a rainy day. I really like the influences I hear in this one- namely, French black metal and funeral doom- and the way that Gehenna has made them their own.

Satyricon- Satyricon

I didn’t expect much from the new Satyricon. The Age of Nero was okay, and I am one of the few people, I think, who genuinely appreciates Now, Diabolical. Still, Satyricon’s sound has been too polished for me lately, and even though the production is still a little *too* good on this new one, they’ve got their bite back for sure. There are some lovely black metal riffs in there, the ballad is not bad (seriously. What is it with ballads? So far those that have done it have done it well, but I hope this doesn’t become too much of a thing), and holy crap Frost’s drumming. That’s all I have to say about that.

Watain- The Wild Hunt

I was seriously doubting whether Watain would ever be able to surpass The Waters of Ain, and for me, I still don’t think they have. Nevertheless, the Swedes have proven their mettle with The Wild Hunt, experimenting with ballads and clean vocals and sticking it to those people who think they are simply Dissection clones.

Rotting Christ- Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Do What Thou Wilt) [No, I would not like to take a stab at it in Greek]

The new Rotting Christ was one of the first albums that I listened to this year, and I really wasn’t crazy about it. But then, a couple of months ago, I threw it on so I could have something good to work out to (Rotting Christ is great, I find, for inspiring one’s sit-ups), and all of a sudden it clicked. I haven’t been able to get enough of it since.

Deafheaven- Sunbather

Yup. I’m putting Deafheaven on my list. Sorry I’m not sorry, Trve Kvltists. Sunbather is a phenomenal album; I mean, Irresistible reminds me of Placebo, even (yes, the pop band. The awesome pop band).  The commentary that this album makes on American materialism is just proof that USBM never ceases to find interesting new ways to address darkness.

Summoning- Old Morning’s Dawn

Old Morning’s Dawn pretty much knocked my socks clean off when I heard it. This album is one of those that you should keep on reserve to put on when your unbeliever friends tell you black metal is just noise. Beautiful.

Arckanum- Fenris Kindir

Arckanum’s new album, Fenris Kindir, serves as a reminder of all the reasons why Arckanum is fantastic. Tungls Tjúgari is a churning, atmospheric nightmare, and Hamrami’s gorgeous soundscape evokes the mountains and forests in the way that only Shamaatae can pull off. (Listening to it right now reminds me that I need to spend more time in the woods. Wish it wasn’t so freaking cold out.)

Gris- À L’Âme Enflammée, L’Äme Constellée

Quebeçois DSBM masters Gris have graced us with a brilliant and lovely new album in the form of a 2 disc set (!!!!). In case you didn’t hear that right, that’s two whole discs of atmospheric, depressive loveliness. My brain doesn’t really know how to comprehend how cool that is, but I’m doing my best.

Inquisition- Obscure Verses For The Multiverse

Although I am still mourning the falling out between Antichrist Kramer and Inquisition that resulted in what I find to be some pretty silly cover art, Obscure Verses is an incredible album. Good old fashioned Inquisition mixed with some really cool effects with the guitar.

And, last but not least, my favorite black metal album of 2013, the album so nice, I bought it twice….

Aosoth- IV: An Arrow In Heart

Anyone who read my review of Aosoth’s newest back in June has the slightest inkling of just how crushingly hard-hitting this album was for me. As I was reflecting on my top ten again today, I spent some time listening to it again, and it’s still just as fraught with tension and cold as the first time I heard it. Brilliant. (And yes, I really did buy it twice. CD and double LP.)

***

Well, fellow kvltists, there you have it. My best of in 2013. I’m coming up with a not-just-black-metal list for Burning Fist, which is… difficult, to say the least, but I am working on it. And I’ll try to get caught up on the reviews, because I’m sure there are some people who haven’t bought the new Woe yet who wonder if it’s worth their buck (but not Inquisition. Everyone’s already got that one. Or they should. If you don’t, you should hand over your spiked gauntlets, because you’re not trve). Have a lovely new year, and I will see you soon, and often.

-Hagalaz

2013: A Black Metal Year in Review

Posted in black metal, black metal history, concerts, DSBM, festivals, france, funeral mist, mayhem, memorial, musings, norway, sweden, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

2013 was a year full of ups and downs for me, personally; this blog actually seems to be getting some attention, and I am getting to use it to help get the word out on some of my friends’ projects, which is cool. I have also been investigating the Twin Cities metal and punk scenes, which has made me lots of new friends and has ensured that I have seen a staggering amount of live music this year, particularly this summer. Burning Fist is publishing some of my reviews, which is totally amazing, and I still have other reviews on the table for other people, not to mention the ones I have yet to finish for this (Inquisition?). I have also finally melted down in pretty much the most awful anxiety-ridden puddle of despair that I’ve been in, which is impressive, considering the past couple of years, and I’m finally starting to claw my way out of that. That, mixed with taking on entirely too much this past semester because I might be an idiot, has ensured that I am way behind on updating, and that I have neglected this blog far more than I would have liked in the past year. But no more. I’m going to fix that. Next semester shall be less crazy, and I still have a pile of new albums I’d like to blather about.

Anyway, things have also been broiling in the black metal world lately. Between more run ins with the law, attention being paid to great underground bands, and the past rearing it’s head, a lot has happened in 2013. So without further ado, enough about me. Let’s talk about…

20 Year Album Anniversaries

This year contained the anniversary years of a lot of amazing albums. Some of the heaviest hitters, of course, being Immortal’s Pure Holocaust and Darkthrone’s A Blaze In the Northern Sky (the latter has been spinning in my car lately, it being Minnesota and winter and all). Next year, of course, will see the 20th anniversary of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. May have to get myself a vinyl of that to celebrate (and by may, I mean, will, of course).

Obscure, Fantastic Black Metal is Seeping Into the States

Maryland Deathfest has just been an absolute hotbed for great black metal lately, and obscure stuff, too. This past year saw Aosoth and Antaeus playing sets on the same day (poor guys must have been exhausted. I was exhausted, and I was just watching them), along with fellow countrymen Glorior Belli and the incredible Ascension, whom I had never before heard of and stand very much corrected. Upcoming in 2014, MDF has plans to host Mgla, Enthroned, and Taake, just to name a few. Hopefully Hoest can stay out of trouble for long enough to play a set in Baltimore, and hopefully he will have pants (dear god, let him have pants. I’ve already seen more of that guy than I want to).

Black Metal Pop Culture Is At Its Height

Black metal is gaining popularity outside the underground, for better or worse (hipsters are the new core kids, I ‘spose). However, this is not always a bad thing. Vegan Black Metal Chef, for instance, is working on a cookbook, and metal cookbooks are the best. Likewise, we got a multi-part web documentary on one man black metal projects that was quite illuminating. While the fascination of those whom Nathan Explosion would refer to as “regular jackoffs” has resulted in such happenings as the short film on black metal that aired early this year that I ultimately decided I couldn’t be okay with, this interest in black metal has also resulted in such awesomeness as the brand spanking new book, Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult. My copy just arrived in my hot little hands today, and my, if it doesn’t seem like a treasure trove. Have already heard great reviews from a trusted source on the Mayhem bits, and anyone who actually sees fit to provide Funeral Mist with their deserved place in the canon has my full attention. Looking forward to devouring this thing in the time left before school starts. And speaking of Funeral Mist…

Funeral Mist is Alive

It lives! Arioch has seen fit to bless his followers with a box set that is pretty much of epic proportions. I am going to do an actual in depth review of the thing soon, but for the time being, suffice it to say that it is an extremely nice edition, and the sound is much improved, at least from the CDs that I have. Trisagion is a beautiful thing, not least of all because it is proof that Funeral Mist is still alive and kicking, at least for a while longer.

Varg Gets, Predictably, and Actually Seemingly Unfairly, Arrested. Again.

Back in July of this year, infamous murdering racist creepy DnD-picture-staging weirdo Varg Vikernes was arrested, again, along with his wife. Vikernes was stockpiling guns, apparently, and was, predictably, taken into custody because when you’re a famous, high profile criminal, and you’re stockpiling weapons, that’s what happens. From the reports that I’ve read, however, it seems to me that Vargy Varg is actually innocent of doing anything wrong this time. Nevertheless, Varg now has one more arrest on his record. Wonder what the French black metal guys think of him?

Varg Quits Black Metal. Again.

Apparently everyone’s favorite church arsonist is also throwing in the towel in terms of composing black metal, again. As anyone who’s followed Burzum for longer than twenty minutes can tell you, this is not an uncommon occurrence. He’ll probably be back. But just in case he’s not, Varg’s played himself out with this little ditty, which is, once again, quite lovely.

The Lid Finally Blows Off on Blake Judd’s Shenanigans

Blake Judd, notorious frontman of Nachtmystium, found himself having a very bad year indeed despite an apparently successful comeback last year that I actually blogged about. Silencing Machine made it onto my list of best albums for 2012, utilizing an original approach that blended black metal and industrial music, Mr. Judd got married, and everyone was so happy to hear that he was finally recovering from his legendary drug addiction. This year, Nachtmystium has been put on indefinite hiatus, rumors are circulating that Judd stole the name and project behind Hate Meditation (whose new release, Scars, is not bad at all), apparently his wife divorced him, and last I heard, he was behind bars in Cook County jail for ripping off countless people who never got the merch and stuff that he’d promised them, having tied up all of their money in… something. Projects. Drugs. Who knows. I don’t. All I know is that I met the guy last year, and he was really cheerful and nice to me and J, and I am sad to hear about all this, because it always sucks to find that people are not as nice as you thought they were.

Kim Carlsson Dyes Hypothermia Shirts With His Own Blood

Yeah. So that happened early in the year. Fascinating stuff; I decided, however, that Kim and I are just not close enough yet for me to feel comfortable owning a shirt that’s been mixed in his blood. And by that I mean that I don’t know him at all. They are one of a kind anyway. (And there aren’t any more available. Kim has, obviously, a limited amount of materials to work with).

Watain Writes A Ballad

And it’s pretty damned good, I think.

Rest in Peace, Euronymous

I didn’t do a special post in his honor like I do normally, probably because August 10th was about the epicenter of my depressive meltdown that had been oncoming for about a year and a half. Nevertheless, we should always strive to remember our fallen brothers. Hail, Euronymous. Rest in peace.

***

And yes, actually, I’m listening through the new Horna right now, trying to scramble to hear as much new black metal as I can to draft your best of list. (Why does this track sound like Watain?)

-Hagalaz

Ihsahn Review at Burning Fist!

Posted in black metal, burning fist, musings, norway, prog metal, Reviews, true norwegian black metal with tags , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

As of right now, I am finishing up my review of the new Vollmond album, and in the works is reviews of Watain, Woe, Inquisition, Arckanum, Klor, and Deafheaven. I am also going to be submitting some reviews for Burning Fist blog/podcast too, and my review of the new Ihsahn album, Das Seelenbrechen, was just posted there today! Check it out if you get a chance, and, as always, feel free to leave feedback!

-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.