Archive for the neo-folk Category

Happy First of Summer, Everyone

Posted in musings, neo-folk, united states, USBM with tags , , , , on June 21, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Or Solstice, Midsommar, Litha, whatever you call it. It’s hot, and perfect clothes-taking-off weather, so make like a pagan and get to it.

 

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Into the Void Records is Pretty Much Awesome (St. Paul, MN)

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, death metal, doom, folk metal, grindcore, local, neo-folk, post-black metal, retro occult rock, thrash, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

There is nothing quite like a specialty metal record store. Into the Void opened its doors back in November 2012, although I didn’t know about it until January. Since then, it’s pretty much become my favorite store, and I need to be really careful about how much time (and money) I spend in there.

First of all, it’s in St. Paul, which is awesome because Minneapolis typically gets all the cool stuff. Into the Void’s location is also premier as it’s only a couple of blocks from Station 4. While Station 4 may not be the hippest music venue in the Cities (I have seen a lot of people complain about it on Facebook. Honestly, I thinks it’s a fun little place), they do land most of the big metal gigs that come through town. Three of the four shows I’m going to in the next couple of months are at Station 4. As a result, Into the Void’s location is pretty much perfect; you can go to the metal record store and to the show on the same night, in the same place. (There is also really good food over in that part of downtown St. Paul. Triple win.)

Although a friend of mine complained that the store itself is too sterile and fancy feeling, as someone who loves to organize things I appreciate the orderliness of it. They have a lot of stuff, but it’s very easily navigable and well-organized. Into the Void has CDs, records, and even cassette tapes, and a few metal DVDs. They also carry merch, like flags and patches (they just added several new patches, I saw the other day), hats, coffee mugs (who doesn’t want a Marduk coffee mug with a tank on it? Answer me that), and a ton of t-shirts in all sizes. Including smalls, for those of us on the smaller side!

Perhaps the best part of their selection, though, is the music that they are able to get in. They have some of the more obscure stuff from Europe that isn’t as easily accessible in the U.S., which is pretty much an amazing deal to me (alas, my underground French bands don’t distribute very well). The very first time I was in there I was ecstatic to find that they had Horna and Mütiilation CDs in stock, and several of them at that! And considering the stuff that they are able to get a hold of, the prices are incredibly reasonable, ranging from about $9.99-$15.99 a CD usually. $10 for Mütiilation. I know, right? Plus, the owner really encourages you to let him know if there is something you are looking for that they don’t have, and they will try to order it.

My haul from my first visit to Into the Void. You know you're jealous. My Mayhem Deathcrush patch came from there too.

My haul from my first visit to Into the Void. You know you’re jealous. My Mayhem Deathcrush patch came from there too.

Into the Void is also going to be fantastic for the local scene here, I think. They always have flyers out for local shows, and I have seen a few of our local bands’ albums in there as well. You can also buy your concert tickets here, which is something I need to start doing (internet ticket fees are profoundly irritating). There are also a few ‘zines available for sale, which is cool. I need to look a little closer at these next time I am in there to see where all they are from.

I also got my first and only Darkthrone album. Yes, I know. Shut up.

I also got my first and only Darkthrone album. Yes, I know. Shut up.

All and all, Into the Void is pretty much my favorite place right now. I love their selection, and they have some pretty good titles on vinyl that I can begin my collection with (I bought the special edition of Candlemass’ Nightfall the other day). Looking forward to spending a lot more time and money here. Next time you are in the Twin Cities, stop by and check it out.

Into the Void’s Facebook page is amazing and regularly updates their new arrivals. You can check it out here.

-Hagalaz

Metaldudes Cats Book!

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, books, death metal, doom, DSBM, folk metal, grindcore, neo-folk, post-black metal, release info, thrash, united states, viking metal on March 11, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

It occurred to me the other day that I should totally do a post about the Metaldudes Cats Book. I have been following this project on Facebook since shortly after it started, and the time is nigh for the release of the book! Alexandra Crockett started the Metaldudes Cats Book project in an effort to “’[challenge] stereotypes of masculinity and the metal culture. I think we can all agree that cat photos and videos are an integral part of the Internet. Metaldudes Cats Book combines three loves that have a global reach: Kitties, Metal, and Dudes. A love of kitties binds the entire world together, even tough guys who listen to brutal, harsh music.” [from the official press release on Bloody-Disgusting.com]. Personally, I think this is a great idea. It’s always good to see metal dudes just being dudes; also, cats are awesome.

I'm not a metaldude, but this is my metalcat, Leander.

I’m not a metaldude, but this is my metalcat, Leander.

The book will be a coffee table book and will have pictures of some famous metal musicians with their cats, like Malefic (Xasthur), as well as a slew of pics of the tons of metal fans with their beloved pets. As I post this (and I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier- I didn’t think of it until recently), the book is in the final stages of its production, and it should be coming out in April. Alex has been holding benefit shows for the book and for no-kill cat shelters, and is always updating the Facebook page with info about how to support local shelters and lost animals, etc. In other words, she is a stand-up lady as well as a genius and artist and you should support her work! If you’d like to make a direct donation, you can do so at her PayPal (aleksan@u.washington.edu) or Indiegogo or you can buy things from her Etsy store. I bought a poster from one of the benefit shows (it is really nice. Printed on cardstock) as well as buttons for my battle jacket and Leander’s battle jacket. It also came with a thank you note signed by Alex.

It's a nice size, too.

It’s a nice size, too.

Buttons!

Buttons!

I’ll be posting more about this project when the book comes out, because I’m totally buying one. If you’ve got some spare cash, consider supporting the Metaldudes Cats Book. Because everyone knows cats are totally metal.

-Hagalaz

[info from Bloody-Disgusting.com and the Metaldudes Cats Book Facebook]

A Modest Proposal: The United States Needs An Underground Circuit for Global (And Local) Metal

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, concerts, death metal, doom, DSBM, folk metal, local, musings, neo-folk, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

[I wasn’t sure what to categorize/tag this with, so I categorized/tagged it with everything]

The other day, I had a conversation with my friend Jamie concerning the nature of the metal underground in the United States. This was prompted by my sadness at reading that the band Hypothermia (I plan on featuring them sometime; they are one of Kim Carlsson’s [Lifelover] many projects) said on their Facebook page that they would more than likely never tour the United States because it is so expensive. And this is true; I wonder that so many European bands continue to tour here because of the expense. It seems to me, with the already very limited audience for this kind of music, that you would barely break even if you decided to tour the States, especially the Scandinavian countries which I know have to pay very high taxes on whatever they make here.

As I was protesting to Jamie that I would be happy to put the guys from Hypothermia up for the night and feed them if they were to come here (there’s only two of them), I thought, well, why not? The punk subculture in the US has an extensive network of people in cities across the country who give free crash space and food to touring bands, so why not for the metal folks?

Now, I admit that my knowledge about such things is scant, and I know that sometimes the punk circuit does facilitate the metal scene, but I have no idea if there is something like this in place already or not (I have for the most part spent my life in rural areas. This is the first time I have ever lived in a big city with a thriving metal scene). Does anyone out there know if there is a US underground circuit for helping out touring metal bands? And if so, is there any way or reason why not to use it to help bands from other countries fund a US tour? Not just Scandinavian bands, of course. Bands from anywhere. I mean, getting here and paying for travel would still be expensive, of course, but I’m sure that there are enough people and fans in the United States to help provide food and crash space for visiting bands.

I also know that the underground is supposed to stay, well, underground. So if you have info and want to let me in on it, leave me a message on here and we’ll find a way to get in touch that is not so public as my blog. I am very curious as to how and if this could work, however. Also, for you folks in other countries, is there some kind of circuit for touring bands to get help with crash space and meals where you live? How does it work, and is it effective? Does anyone have any idea if a plan like this could work in a place as huge as the United States, which I know is often a deterrent for bands considering a tour here?

**slightly edited, to add the point that we need a good support system for bands in general, our own as well as those who visit from elsewhere.

***

In other news, even though it wasn’t much and it didn’t stick, yesterday was the first snow of the season in the Twin Cities! In celebration, I think we should listen to the Kings of Winter.

Have a good one, folks.

-Hagalaz

Concert: Agalloch/Taurus/Velnias/Ezra (7/18, Omaha, NE, The Waiting Room)

Posted in black metal, concerts, neo-folk, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Sorry about the delay- moving is quite an ordeal. I had forgotten how time consuming it can be. Nevertheless, everything is moved from one place to the next and is *mostly* arranged, so now I can get back to what I was doing before, namely blogging and learning Latin.

Going to shows is also high on my itinerary, and last week I was lucky enough to get to catch Agalloch in Omaha. This was my first ever trip to Omaha, which was exciting, as the venue was in a nice little hip neighborhood and was very well-kept. There was air conditioning and everything! Ha! The bar also had televisions above it that showed the bands playing onstage, which is cool because you can go stock up on drinks and you still can see what’s going on instead of being subjected to something irrelevant like baseball.

Agalloch brought all of their stuff, of which I took several pictures so that I could show my professor from Environmental Lit what I was talking about when I said that Cascadian black metal bands are inspired by the landscape and the culture of the Pacific Northwest. They were touring also in support of the new Faustian Echoes EP, of course, so their pagany nature stuff had a sprinkling of the Satanic this time around.

That’s Faustian Echoes propped up there.

The first band up was a local band from Lincoln, Nebraska called Ezra. I’ve seen them before- they’re a really good band to see live. It’s straight up death metal, but the musicians have been playing together for a long time and Ezra is a very established band, so they have it together. I always enjoy watching them perform, and if I am feeling adventurous tonight I may go see them in St. Paul (there is a chance, however, that I could be more tired than adventurous. This moving stuff sucks).

[The death metal]

The next band up was called Velnias, and you know they are going to be good when their logo looks like this.

From their Facebook.

I really, really dug this band. They played a kind of sludgy black metal that was really slow and drug out. Also, there were no lights during their set- the stage was lit only with a few candles that they scattered about, and they burned incense as well. This was my great surprise of the evening, and I’m really glad that I now know of their existence.

[Velnias is your new favorite band]

Next up was a band called Taurus. Now, when you get up to the stage and you see that the band’s cabinets are Sunn O))) cabinets, you know to expect something a little odd. Taurus is comprised of two girls, one that plays the drums (with all manner of mallets and sticks, I might add) and the other who plays guitar/ambient fuzz and screams. They had a video of surrealist images that played in the background to accompany their set, which was full of long, winding, terrific noise. For me personally, like with most noise music I don’t know that I need an album of that, but watching it live was great.

[I can’t find them on YouTube, which sucks because I was hoping to show you the way they had the videos set up, but Taurus can be found on bandcamp, where you can buy their album for a very reasonable price: http://taurusisdust.bandcamp.com/]

Last was Agalloch, who came on when it was already starting to get late and played a really long set. The stage was decorated with tree stumps on which rested cauldrons bearing smoking incense of the band’s namesake, agollocum. The mood, then, was already set when they opened with “Limbs.” The sound was absolutely amazing- those of you familiar with Agalloch will know of all of the intricacies in the guitar. Well, it sounds just like that live. They’ve got a crap-ton of pedals up there, but everything they played themselves- no recordings, in other words. It was phenomenal.

Agalloch played a huge range of songs from all their albums, including “You Were But A Ghost In My Arms” from The Mantle, which they have never played live before this tour. That one was a special treat for me, because when I was writing about them this spring I focused on that album, and that song was the one that always got stuck in my head. As well as ALL of Faustian Echoes. I figured they would play at least part of it, but I never expected to hear all twenty-two minutes of it. Yet that is what they did. They also ended with Sol Invictus’ “Kneel To The Cross” (I swear there’s a poem “Summer is Icumen In” that’s in my medieval lit collection of lyric poems), which was very fitting both for the band and for the time of year (sweet, because when they played “Falling Snow” I admit to being a little depressed that it was 80 some-odd degrees outside).

[Not from this tour, but relevant nonetheless. You can hear how good they sound, and that’s what’s really important]

After the crowd went wild they did come out and do an encore, so keep that in mind. Agalloch responds to crowd pressure. After the show I got to chat some with Anderson, their guitarist, about English and PhD programs, which was cool. He was really nice, and I’m sure the other guys were too, although I didn’t get a chance to say hi to them. The merch this tour is sweet too- it’s centered around the new EP, and therefore has references to Faust on it.

The front of the Faustian Echoes shirt. You can see the Lucifer sigil on the left sleeve.

The back. I love that the spheres are on here, as one of my favorite parts of the story is when Mephistophiles shows Faust the heavens.

I also grabbed a copy of Faustian Echoes, and I suggest you do too if you haven’t already. I gave it another spin just today, and it’s as perfect as everything else Agalloch has done.

Front cover.

Inside. The CD is see through on the lettering. Way cool.

Fans of Agalloch, I don’t have to tell you that you need to try and catch this tour. I mean, these guys NEVER tour. And they are awesome. One of the best bands I’ve ever seen live, they incorporate all of the technical stuff in their music without recording equipment onstage, and you will definitely get your money’s worth- they played a very long set with something for everyone. I know it’s a short tour, so try to get to see them before they decide to be hermits again, and be sure and watch the openers too. In the meantime, I shall hammer out a review of Nachtmystium (who is also doing a very short tour, so a review will be quickly irrelevant if it’s not up soon), and blackmetallurgy will be back up and running (woo!).

Later,

Hagalaz