Archive for the sweden Category

Black Metal Videos, Take 2 (2016 Edition)

Posted in 2016, black metal, france, greece, music video, norway, sweden, videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

DUDES. I’m sorry this is late. I got bogged down in work and homework and then I went to see Jaws in a theater and I forgot to post. Anyway, here’s this spacefiller post that I’m totally not happy with. Hopefully someone gets something out of it.

***

The other day, I read back over the post that I did on black metal music videos a few years ago, and decided it was probably time for another. This coincided with the release of the new Dark Funeral video for “Unchain My Soul,” which is astoundingly goofy and worthy of sharing (although the song is very decent, says the girl who doesn’t like Dark Funeral all that much). There’s not much of a point to this post beyond “look at this cool stuff that has happened” and some observations about the changing nature of black metal cinematography, but it’s always good to have more music video fodder, yes?

So let’s just start Dark Funeral, shall we? Dark Funeral has a new album coming out this year, and I actually like “Unchain My Soul,” despite my typical stance that they haven’t done anything good since the 90s (it’s horribly overproduced, in my opinion, but it’s catchy). The video, however, J described as looking “like a video game from 2004.” I’m not sure what the message is here, unless it is that dark hooded figures associated with black metal and Satan like to walk in the woods, which is kind of a given. Although the pig’s head is a nice touch in a throwback-to-the-early-nineties-Mayhem sort of way. (Aaand I’ll be reviewing this album soon over at Burning Fist, so yay!)

My personal favorite part of this video is the flaming pentagram and inverted crosses. It’s got a certain “Satan’s first Geocities website” flair to it.

Fortunately for all of us, it seems that we may get more silly black metal videos as Dark Funeral’s competition over in Norway, Dimmu Borgir, have promised us a new album for 2016. You know you’re excited for more stuff like this. I share this one because it’s obviously the best Dimmu lineup.

I also share it because I don’t know what’s going on here. At all. But it’s going on in glorious, high definition.

Rotting Christ has also been busy with the video-releasing in support of their (awesome, excellent, you need to check it out if you haven’t) new album Rituals. First of all, there’s this little gem that I yelled a bit about last week, which is a hymn to Shiva, and then No Clean Singing brought this to my attention a couple of days ago, making me glad I held off on this post. Watching this video brings out even more really cool aspects of the record, and now I’m looking forward more than I was before to doing a review of this for y’all.

Additionally, Abbath’s new video for Winterbane is also really cool. You get traditional Immortal synchronized headbanging, but that’s… about it really. There’s no crabwalk, and this video actual features a shaman-ish troll-ish forest creature thing… I have no way to accurately describe it. But it crawls into the water all Jenny Greenteeth-like, but since I’m pretty sure the imagery isn’t Celtic that doesn’t fit. Either way, it’s super cool, and where the stars go all sparkly at 3:07 makes me super happy. King ov Hell’s bass lines also get emphasis in the video, which is cool (hooray for bass in black metal!) and Abbath’s look at the end is fantastic.

Bonus- there’s an un-corpse-painted Abbath face in this video.

At the risk of inundating you with lyric videos, because that is the hip thing to do if you are black metal band putting out music in 2016, I will leave you here with an older video. I like to imagine that Aosoth made this video at the behest of a long-suffering agent, and chose the longest song on the album out of which to make a terrifying visual. It’s gloriously creepy and obnoxious because of it’s sheer length, and you get to listen to Aosoth while it plays (you luckies).

Enjoy, kids. And I’ll be back soon where I will assuredly scream about fun things like the fact that I get to see SHINING and PANOPTICON in the fall and DESTROYER 666 and GHOST next month and that MARDUK ❤ is coming back to play in ma ville. Also the brand spanking new book that Necrobutcher wrote that appeared on my doorstep yesterday, and all sorts of fun things.

-H

 

 

The world could do with a little more…

Posted in black metal, memorial, sweden, viking metal with tags , , , , on June 4, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

Peace, love, and the understanding that Blood Fire Death is the best Bathory album.

Nope. That’s not an opinion, just a fact. Sorry. I don’t make the rules.

I am also aware that this is a day late. RIP, Quorthon. You were a genius, and the metal world still misses you.

-H

Band Spotlight: Arckanum (Sweden)

Posted in band spotlight, black metal, sweden, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

A few years ago, I was in the record store and noticed that we had a copy of Arckanum’s Fenris kindir on limited red vinyl. Actually, we had three. And my first thought was, “Why are these here? Why have they not sold?” My nigh-simultaneous next thought was, “Arckanum? Is that that troll-looking guy? Why don’t I know anything about them?” So I went home and listened to me some Arckanum, and then I went back and bought that record because holy crap it’s fantastic. And then I scolded my Facebook friends and said, “You guys, there’s only 150 of these red vinyl copies in the whole world and this is a great album! Go buy it and quit embarrassing me!”

fuckoffarckanum

It also comes with a friendly message.

 

And then I became completely and utterly puzzled, because as I started perusing Arckanum’s back-catalog, I realized that literally all of it is fantastic. So why is this band overlooked in all the black metal books, etc.?! As I normally do when I get frustrated about good bands being overlooked, I’m going to write a post about it so that you know who Arckanum is beyond “that troll-looking guy” and you can tell all your friends that they’re goofballs if they don’t like it.

osmose prod

“Come along, kids, and we’ll learn about Chaos-Gnosticism and wolves together!” (Image from Osmose Productions.)

If you know Arckanum well, well, this article isn’t for you. If you don’t know Arckanum well, this is probably what you know Arckanum from:

This little cinematic gem is Shamaatae doing really serious shit in the woods; unfortunately, it’s damn near incomprehensible if you don’t get what he’s all about and it’s sort of goofy-looking, because black metal wasn’t something you filmed with fancy cameras back in 1995. There’s a lot more to Arckanum than what you see here. Although, yeah, he’s still got that getup. Still.

spirit of metal

Shamaatae in HD. (Image from Spirit of Metal.)

Arckanum grew out of Sweden in a little town of 10,000 people called Mora. Mora is an ancient place; according to Wikipedia, there are signs that humans have inhabited the area since 4000 BC. It was also the site of a famous witch trial in the 18th century, and is the home of a church that is all the rage on Google maps in terms of things to tag. Mora municipality is just south of the Swedish mountain range and the town is bordered by lake Siljan and lake Orsasjön, and it also is situated on the west side of Europe’s largest meteor impact crater. Which basically means that Mora is in the center of a metric crapton of geographical awesomeness. It’s also probably the reason why Arckanum just sort of sounds like the woods. (Info on Mora is from Wikipedia.)

Arckanum sleeve

And then you get lovely images like this one, from the Fenris kindir LP sleeve.

The band was formed in 1992 by Johan “Shamaatae” Lahger, AKA the guy in the mask, and Shamaatae has remained the one constant band member throughout the years (Wikipedia’s page on Arckanum cites Sataros and Loke Svarteld as former members). Shamaatae writes and plays all the music himself, and dedicates his albums to his wife and kids (can this guy be any more wonderful? Oh wait, he can? Keep reading.) Arckanum is also one of those bands that is fortunate to have a consistently strong catalog. Of course, as the years go along, the production gets better and Arckanum has definitely found a formula that works, but the band’s catalog is full of cool chants, trancelike passages, and interludes that are, quite frankly, just flat-out beautiful.

Arckanum’s imagery is more felt than is something you can understand through the lyrics, mostly because, in my research, I learned that the lyrics seem to be in an old Swedish dialect that most Swedes today don’t even understand, and that even Shamaatae isn’t entirely sure 100% of the time though he tries to keep it as true to form as possible (I wouldn’t have known. My Swedish is atrocious. Jag talar inte Svenska). (I did some digging and found info on this both on the Arckanum Wikipedia page and on NWN’s message boards.)

[This is apparently a modern Swedish translation. I trust that about as far as I can throw it, but then, what do I know. I don’t speak Swedish.]

In terms of the band’s sound, I once tried to describe it to a friend as “sort of like Burzum-sounding, but Swedish,” but I still feel that’s only partially right. Many of the songs have a repetitive, atmospheric quality that I associate with Burzum’s early stuff, so that’s probably why I described it that way. However, I wasn’t kidding about the Swedish part. Swedish black metal tends to be much more melodic than Norwegian black metal, no doubt because of Swedish death metal, and Arckanum is no exception. The repetition in Arckanum’s music speaks to the band’s spiritual focus- personally, I find that it feels almost like a meditation. Likewise, Arckanum uses lots of forest sounds in the music, particularly wolves howling (Shamaatae must really like wolves. Wolves and Fenrir all over the place. Which is not surprising). These samples give the music a suitably wild feel.

Which is flat out cool, by the way, and one reason I love Arckanum so much. In another true to form example of Swedish black metal versus Norwegian black metal, Arckanum is all about Satanism in a way that, we’ll use Burzum as a corollary because it seems to work, isn’t. Specifically, Arckanum’s music focuses on anti-cosmic Satanism, and did so way before Dissection and Watain made it cool. However, Shamaatae seems to put a lot of focus on Scandinavian mythology as well; “Svarti,” the first track on Antikosmos, invokes Loki, Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr, for instance. You guys know me- I get super excited about mythologies I know things about, and when you get special blends of stuff like you do with Arckanum, I get even more excited. Not to mention that Shamaatae has also done some workings with Pan, which is pretty much instantaneous I-love-you-forever points in my book.

Oh. That’s right. Maybe I didn’t mention that Shamaatae, who also goes by the names Vexior and Ekortu, is a serious practicing mage and writes books on the occult, namely anti-cosmic Satanic material, Chaos-Gnosis, and Thursatru, which links Chaos-Gnosis with Scandinavian mythos. I’m not going to spend a ton of time talking about this here because this is an article on Arckanum and not Vexior/Ekortu’s occult writings, but even more importantly, I’d like to read them myself before I blather on too much about stuff I haven’t read. Suffice it to say, however, that the man behind Arckanum is a seriously cool and interesting individual, which places him pretty much at the top of my list of people I’d love to sit and have coffee with. Or strange tea. Whichever.

In short, if you’re not familiar with Arckanum, you should be. Arckanum is much more than just that band that made a completely inexplicable video that crops up on everyone’s “silly black metal videos” list. It’s consistently good black metal, alternatively raw and atmospheric, a reminder that the Great God Pan is not dead and of the importance of the woods and the wild places that still remain.

wormgearzine

Image from Worm Gear Zine.

-Hagalaz

Hagalaz’ Favorite Albums of 2015

Posted in 2015, best of, black metal, doom, doom metal, drone metal, finland, funeral doom, marduk, melechesh, orthodox black metal, sweden, traditional heavy metal, war metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

The other day, I was thinking of catch-up posts I needed to do and I thought, “Oh! I’ll do a post about my favorite albums of 2015!” I didn’t plan on it needing to be ten or eleven like I normally do because… it’s almost six months late, so why do you care? But then, lo, there were that many, so the list is eleven after all.

So without further ado, in mostly random order, my favorites of 2015.

11. Ghost – Meliora

After the huge fanfare for Infestissumam (and there was a lot of it. Remember when Ghost released those sex toys?), there was practically none for its follow-up. Really. I didn’t even know this album was out until about a week after it dropped, and I worked at a metal record store. Meliora feels like a throwback in a way; it’s more stripped down in the way that Opus Eponymous was, and I dare say a little heavier than its predecessors, “Cirice” feels almost doomy.

Favorite Tracks: He Is, Absolution

[Here’s Ghost playing “He Is” with the grandpas guitars.]

 

10. Sunn O))) – Kannon

Sunn O))) near the end of the year released their first full-length album (not with Ulver) since 2009’s Monoliths and Dimensions (which is absolutely, stupidly, dumbfoundingly awesome). Clocking in at barely over a half hour, Kannon is over a whole lot faster than you would hope (if you’re me), but that’s literally my only complaint about it. Here’s to Attila doing more crazy things with his throat!

H’s Favorite Track: Kannon, Pt. 3

 

9. Baroness – Purple

I was stupidly happy to hear that Baroness would have a new album out; after their terrible bus crash in 2012, I would not have been surprised if they never put out another album. Purple is a return to a heavier sound, and it simultaneously incorporates a lot of new sounds and styles, like in “Shock Me” and “If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain).” J thinks that 2012’s Yellow & Green may prove to be a transitional album if the band continues in this vein, and it will be interesting to see where Baroness goes from here.

Favorite Tracks: Shock Me, Kerosene

 

8. Melechesh – Enki

Melechesh is one of those bands that I think is really cool and innovative and doesn’t get nearly enough attention. 2010’s The Epigenesis was when they got the production budget to really hit their peak, and I wasn’t sure that they would be able to top it, but Enki definitely does. It’s tight, fast, full of fun shifting drum patterns and Eastern-influenced riffing and instrumentation. Now if we can just get them to tour here again… or headline…

Favorite Tracks: Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged, Doorways to Irkala

[And this is just track one.]

 

8. Shape of Despair – Monotony Fields

I was also very excited to hear that Shape of Despair had a new album coming out. Angels of Distress is one of the most upsetting albums I know- it’s beautiful, but it really is distressing. Monotony Fields (there’s one that came out between them that I didn’t know about! I will have to get on that) is another treatise in funeral doom the way it should be done- it’s bleak and slow-moving with some awesome keyboard parts. It’s also got some surprising turns- “Descending Inner Light” is almost joyful. For funeral doom. Which is really kind of the opposite of joyful. Huh.

Favorite Tracks: The Distant Dreams of Life, In Longing

[Here’s another track, because there are entirely too many high points on this album]

 

6. Saturnalia Temple – To The Other

Speaking of doom- Saturnalia Temple’s To The Other really is like gazing into the Void. Creepy, heavy, and just plain downright daunting (smothering?), this album reminds me of all of the ugliness and sonic twistedness of something like Teitanblood, but slower. Much. Much. Slower. It’s sort of like being slapped with a sledgehammer. But in a good way.

Favorite Tracks: ZazelSorath, To the Other

[Enjoy your nightmares.]

 

5. Shining – IX: Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends

Shining released their ninth full-length album last year, called Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends. This new album features an introductory track that is entirely fugue-like classical riffing, and later employs the use of a sitar. Say what you will about their stage antics and the general notoriety of vocalist Niklas Kvarforth, Shining remains, in my opinion, one of the most innovative black metal bands currently out there.

Favorite Tracks: Den påtvingade tvåsamheten, Besök från i(ho)nom

 

4. Mgła – Exercises in Futility

Mgła also returned with an offering every bit as good as everyone expected it to be. While I am still very partial to With Hearts Towards None, Exercises in Futility proves that Mgła is not slacking and is easily one of the best black metal releases of last year, even if it doesn’t really break any new ground. Blending old school style with third-wave melody, Mgła’s albums are consistently solid and enjoyable.

Favorite Tracks: IV, VI

 

3. Marduk – Frontschwein

2015 also saw the return of Marduk, and specifically the return of Marduk playing war music. Not to say that their past several albums haven’t been absolutely fantastic in their focus on Biblical/apocalyptic imagery, but let’s face it, war is kind of what they’re known for. Frontschwein does not disappoint, bringing in some of the best reviews that Marduk has seen in years and proving that black metal’s war machine hasn’t sacrificed any of their brutality.

Favorite Tracks: Nebelwerfer, 503

[Yes. That’s a tambourine.]

 

2. Amorphis – Under the Red Cloud

This is the weird one on the list. I have never listened to Amorphis before last year. At all. Basically, Shane just played it a lot at the record store and it really grew on me. While not typically the sort of thing that I listen to with any amount of frequency, Amorphis’ Under the Red Cloud is, I think, easily one of my favorite albums of 2015.

Favorite Tracks: Death of a King, Tree of Ages

[Again. There isn’t a bad song on this one either.]

 

1. Clandestine Blaze – New Golgotha Rising

My number one album of 2015 is actually a black metal album this year. If you’re not familiar with Clandestine Blaze, you should be, and if those vocals sound familiar… well, that would probably be because Deathspell Omega also channels their works through Mikko Aspa’s vocal chords. Only here he does everything. New Golgotha Rising is, on the surface, a relatively straightforward raw black metal album, but the more I listen to it, the more I find that it shifts around beneath the surface, like some kind of parasite in a sci-fi horror film. All of Clandestine Blaze’s catalog is seriously good stuff, but this new one is one of my favorites.

Favorite Tracks: (All of it, ya goofs, but if I have to pick,) Evocation Under Starlit Sky, Passage to New Creed

[I wanted to post this track because it does a good job of showing off that slippery riffage that Clandestine Blaze does so well.]

So there is a list of stuff I liked last year. Because dudes, I already had eleven. Which is why Enforcer isn’t on there along with other notable exceptions, and there’s still stuff I need to catch up on (Arcturus). The back catalog on the stuff I need to catch up on is huge. But, here is the stuff I was jamming a bunch last year for you to peruse while I try to stay on top of this year (new Rotting Christ is incredible, and Behexen and Inquisition’s new stuff is sounding really, really good).

Until next time…

-H

 

 

Review: Marduk- Frontschwein

Posted in 2015, black metal, marduk, Reviews, sweden with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2015 by blackmetallurgy

If there’s one thing Marduk does extraordinarily well, it’s war. Since the release of Panzer Division Marduk the band has been known for their tributes to rolling tanks and an unholy fusion of war and occult imagery. And it’s a poignant connection- apocalypses in plenty of religions involve warfare of some kind, and nothing smacks of evil quite like the Third Reich, which was actively involved with mysticism and esoteric practices. Nevertheless, with the exception of 2011’s “Iron Dawn” EP, the Swedish juggernaut hasn’t released a fully war-themed album since Panzer Division.

In 2015, the black metal war machine is back, and they’re as brutal as ever. Frontschwein is war-themed from front to back, and blends Marduk’s old-school, blistering, machine gun-esque blastbeats with Mortuus’ gut-wretching vocals, making for an album which combines the variety in Marduk’s later material with the sheer ferocity of their early work. This work is aided heavily by the addition of drummer Fredrik Widigs, a 26 year old prodigy whose efforts on this album are absolutely dumbfounding. Tying the entirety of the album together is Morgan’s masterful guitar riffs, sonically linking this newest of Marduk’s works to the rest of their considerable canon.

The album starts off with the title track, which bursts out of the gate with one of the catchiest riffs you’ll hear in 2015. Pretty standard in its straightforward approach to Marduk-brand black metal, “Frontschwein” accompanies such tracks as “Afrika” and “Rope of Regret” in its hearkening back to Marduk’s early days. The latter in particular is reminiscent of the brutality of Panzer Division Marduk, unceasing in its sheer speed. A traditional song, it makes for a great early release teaser in a promise that fans can expect a Marduk more tethered in its roots this time around.

Of course, not all of the songs on Frontschwein are sheer force. Songs like “Nebelwerfer” and “The Blonde Beast” utilize slower tempos, the former putting me in mind of such earlier tracks as “Prochorovka: Blood and Sunflowers” (which might be my favorite Marduk song. I don’t know. They are all my favorites at some point or another). The feel of this track is slow and inexorable, reeking of despair and hopelessness, another eventuality of war and destruction. In contrast, “The Blonde Beast” has an extremely catchy pacing and rhythm, the beat shifting onto the upbeat at 3:12.

One of my favorite aspects of Marduk’s music has always been that they do not mix out the bass as a lot of early black metal does, choosing instead to show off the low-end at varying points in their albums. As usual, Marduk makes full use of bassist Devo Magnusson’s considerable skill, amplifying the basslines in tracks like “503” and “Doomsday Elite.”

“503” is probably my favorite track on the album, and certainly, I feel, the most original. One of the slower tracks on the album, it’s in sharp contrast to its predecessor “502” on Panzer Division Marduk. What’s also exciting is the tambourine (yup, you read that right), which gives the roll-call a creepy, dancelike feel.

Likewise, Mortuus’ vocals are varied this time around, with “Thousand-Fold Death” featuring vocalizations at such speeds that it is almost like he is rapping, the speed of the lyrics mimicking the velocity of the drums and guitars. The title track also showcases more of Mortuus’ vocal talents, the higher pitch and rawness of the vocals so startlingly different from what I have come to expect that I was unsure that it was him at first.

The album artwork for Frontschwein keeps with the war theme; the regular edition features a color scheme a greyish green of army camo. Because I’m a huge nerd, I of course had to get the special edition version, which reminds me much of the special edition for Serpent Sermon. The war imagery continues here, with a shield on the front and an iron cross forming the “O” in the album’s title; the back also says “Marduk Legion,” a reference of course to the band’s supporters as well as another to war.

Front cover of the special edition. Ignore the Hello Kitty pants.

Front cover of the special edition. Ignore the Hello Kitty pants.

Back cover. Warshau III is the bonus track on the special edition- it's largely an atmospheric track.

Back cover. Warshau III is the bonus track on the special edition- it’s largely an atmospheric track.

Marduk Legion

Marduk Legion

A booklet containing images and extra layout serves as the extended liner notes, with a classy black field accented in silver. I really like the type font used in the notes, as it’s very stately. Once again, Holy Poison Design did the layout and Endarker the production, keeping much of the album’s work in-house. Perhaps the only thing I don’t like about Frontschwein is the packaging where the CD goes- these little slip-in covers scratch my CDs when I take them out to listen to them, and it’s profoundly annoying (I’m not sure if I bitched about that in reference to the last Watain album, but if I didn’t, I should have).

An example of the font. Sorry for the glare.

An example of the font. Sorry for the glare.

The pics are shaded in silver as well. Here's Devo for an example.

The pics are shaded in silver as well. Here’s Devo for an example.

Icky slip case.

Icky slip case.

Frontschwein is a fantastic release. It will certainly make it on my list of front-runners this year, and I personally think it ought to be on everyone else’s as well. I’m reluctant to say that it’s better than other albums (picking a favorite Marduk album is like picking a favorite child as far as I’m concerned), but it’s certainly a return to Marduk’s roots in blood-soaked soil. The ferocity in this one is unrelenting, and once again Marduk has proven their ability to subtly add new techniques to their arsenal while maintaining the relentlessness that has made them famous for their war albums.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:

Frontschwein
503
Falaise: Cauldron of Blood
Thousand-Fold Death

Concert: Mayhem/Watain/Revenge (1/17, Mill City Nights, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in . watain, canada, mayhem, mill city nights, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, revenge, sweden, tours, true norwegian black metal, watain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2015 by blackmetallurgy

Well, over a month after it happened and almost two weeks after I wrote this thing, I am finally putting up my live report from the front row of the Mayhem show. I blame my not-nearly-as-quick-as-I-had-anticipated recovery from oral surgery (turns out, getting your wisdom teeth out when you’re 27 kind of sucks), as well as preoccupation with school (one month left til I start my prelims, y’all).

But anyway, here it is. I treated this review as of a co-headlining tour, as I picked up from The Internet that that’s what it was, with Mayhem and Watain alternating the closing spot each night.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I got the rare, rare chance to see two of my favorite bands on the same stage in the same night. I don’t think I need to tell you all exactly how I feel about Mayhem, and Watain likewise holds a special place in my heart. Currently, I am in the midst of cultivating a love of Revenge, who I have clearly not paid enough attention to, although I know that they are a favorite amongst some friends of mine. Considering that they were one of the bands I missed at Maryland Deathfest a couple of years ago, too, I was looking forward to the opportunity to see them live and make that up (although I absolutely do not regret trading my potential time with them at MDF for meeting fucking Ihsahn).

A and I tried to get there early this time, figuring that there would be a ton of people going. Earlier in the day, A told me that she had seen several dudes in black battlejackets roaming the streets in downtown Minneapolis, so you know something was brewing. It’s not every day that black metal fans roam downtown in packs in broad daylight. However, we really didn’t have to wait in line long at all, the ticket handling seeming to run rather smoothly.

When we got inside the venue, A and I made our way to the front to stake our claim on the rail. Revenge started us off, obliterating everything with sheer, military-grade force. A friend of mine said that the sound was really bad during their set, but I admit I didn’t notice; I don’t know Revenge’s catalog that well (I KNOW. I’M WORKING ON CHANGING THAT. JEEZ.), and anyway, everything is exceptionally noisy when you are that close to the speakers. Revenge played several songs from the breadth of their career, including “Altar of Triumph,” “Traitor Crucifixion,” and “Banner Degradation- Exile or Death.” Despite any potential issues with the sound, Revenge’s set was pure brutality, and their straightforward approach to war-inspired black metal made for a devastating clarity.


[Also, it was fun to see all the dude-friends freaking out like little schoolgirls. Masculine ones, of course.]

If you ever wondered if Watain pulls out ALL of their stage set for an co-headlining slot, I can now tell you: the answer is yes, indeed. The Dark Gods are not going to settle for anything less, not when they know what they can expect from Watain. Even though their set was shorter than a standard headlining one, Watain completely destroyed it, both theatrically and musically. All the ritual was there too, with E praying at the altar at the end of the set and everything. The only thing that would have made it more perfect would be if the crowd had not seized the opportunity to yell a lot.

Watain also played songs ranging throughout their albums; “The Wild Hunt” was of course the mystical ballad song this time around (I am finally ready to admit that I may have missed my chance to see “The Waters of Ain” live), but they also played “Underneath the Cenotaph” (which I don’t think they played last time), “I Am the Earth,” and “On Horns Impaled,” ending with “Malfeitor.” It was nice to see a setlist so varied from the last one I saw Watain play, and they even altered the stage set this time around too, with skeletons and cages replacing the fence-like structures they brought with them last time.


[I am pretty sure I caught a glimpse of black wings somewhere during Watain’s set.]

Last but certainly not least was my beloved Mayhem. Attila did not disappoint in his unusual fashion choices; this night he was wearing military trappings on an unbelievably ugly sports jacket, and what I believe were rain boots. Throw in the bottle of wine that Necrobutcher was plowing through and you’re ready for a Mayhem party. Teloch was right in front of A and I, fully decked out in shrouded hood and cloak, which is cool, because I really dug his riffwork on Esoteric Warfare and it was fun to see that reproduced live.

Despite the fact that Mayhem is undoubtedly touring in support of Esoteric Warfare, their set was not concentrated on the new album (and when you have such an extensive backlog and history as Mayhem, that’s not surprising). “Psywar” they played, of course, but the set also featured songs such as “My Death,” “Chainsaw Gutsfuck,” “Freezing Moon,” and “Carnage” (for which I completely lost my shit. I LOVE that song). Of course they opened with “Deathcrush,” as usual, and they also played a track from Grand Declaration of War- hearing Attila’s version of Maniac’s voiceover live is its own kind of awesome. “Funeral Fog” was conspicuously missing, but that’s alright; there was more than enough old school Mayhem to keep the crowd satisfied.


[Follow the Freezing Moon…]

And speaking of the crowd, the one at this show was not the best, or so I am told. A and I were right up front, as I said, so we were out of the press for the most part, but I do recall some moshing going on, something I’ve never really understood at black metal shows. Watain got on and off stage without P having to crush anyone’s hands this time, though, thanks to Mill City’s stage setup, and as I mentioned, the only thing that I would have liked is if the crowd had quieted at the end of Watain’s set. But I guess we’re not all there for the same thing, and that’s okay too.

I had a Mayhem night at the merch booth. I had planned on getting a Revenge hoodie because I love their hoodies, but they didn’t have any, and Watain had very little merch as well. However, I was able to nab myself a standard issue Mayhem shirt (good because as least one of my Mayhem shirts is falling apart), as well as a Mayhem hoodie. Combined with a high five from Necrobutcher after the show, and that makes for a pretty awesome Mayhem experience.

Pretty standard, but awesome nonetheless.

Pretty standard, but awesome nonetheless.

Hoodie front

Hoodie front

Hoodie back

Hoodie back

Surprisingly, I didn’t experience any issues with security this time, although they apparently made life a little hard for a friend of mine delivering a stage prop to Hellhammer (it was not, nor had it ever been, alive, if that’s what you’re wondering). The security guys in front of me and A seemed cool enough, and they kept a good handle on some of the rowdier crowd participants without using the opportunity to be jerks.

Overall, I had a great time. I got to watch two of my favorite bands share a stage, and I got to grow a little more familiar with Revenge, whose music I clearly need to spend more time with. For a show that fell right after Dead’s birthday, it couldn’t get much better.
-H

Hey Dead

Posted in black metal, black metal history, dead, mayhem, memorial, norway, sweden with tags , , , , , , , on April 9, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

I didn’t forget you. I just got crazy busy and didn’t make a post in time. I’m sorry.

Keeping my reflections private this year, at least for now. Maybe I’ll spill later. Probably I will. But right now I can’t.

Suffice it to say that I haven’t forgotten you.

Hope your rest is peaceful.

-H