Archive for the viking metal Category

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

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: Paganfest IV, US/Canada Leg (Ensiferum/Tyr/Heidevolk/Trollfest/Helsott, 4/12, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in concerts, finland, folk metal, norway, the netherlands, united states, viking metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Friday night I headed out to Paganfest IV, where I FINALLY got to see Ensiferum, something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Once again, the crowd was a mixed one replete with costumes; a group of guys came in with fur costumes on, which must have sucked for them because it was really hot in there. It was also a huge crowd, probably the second biggest one I’ve seen at Station 4 after the Decibel Tour last year. There was moshing, and presumably a figure-8 pit at one point, although it was hard for me to see from the rail where I was standing.

Jamie and I got drinks up in the bar area for the first part of the opening band’s set. Helsott is from California, which is sweet, because the U.S. doesn’t have a lot of pagan metal bands. They were so excellent, in fact, that we finished our beers quickly so we could get in there and watch the rest of their set. The crowd showed up for Helsott too, which was awesome, since usually the early openers don’t draw much of one. A couple of the guys from Trollfest came out during their last song with a bottle of champagne and sang and danced onstage with them. A really fun set, and a great way to start the night.

[America, you have a pagan metal band!]

Next up was Trollfest, whom I have heard of, but hadn’t ever listened to. Jamie remarked that they looked like they had just woken up on the floor of Ensiferum’s tour bus, which is pretty accurate, as they looked a little unkempt. The set was fantastic, however- it was during Trollfest’s performance that the pit was talked into trying a figure-8, and they also got a wall of death going. In like fashion, during Trollfest’s last song, members of the other bands came out onstage and drank and sang along. They also have a saxophone player, which is awesome! Also, bees. I can honestly say that I am a Trollfest fan now, and not just because they kept making funny faces at me (which they did. It was both bizarre and hilarious.) They are A LOT of fun, and put on a funny (and yet, musically, very tight) set.

[I’m still not quite sure what the deal is with the bee thing. It sure is fun, though]

After Trollfest was Heidevolk. I was unfamiliar with Heidevolk as well, thus reminding myself of the fact that I don’t listen to folk metal all that much (except Ensiferum and Finntroll, which I listen to a lot, and when I do listen to it, I binge on it). The band hails from the Netherlands, and plays songs about Viking history and Germanic lore. I thought the long-haired vocalist in particular had a really good voice, and my friend and I agreed that they were also a very aesthetically pleasing bunch of guys. They played a great set, and were a great transition between Trollfest and Tyr.

Tyr took the stage next, and unlike last time, I was up by the stage and actually got to see them. They played a solid set as they usually do, and the crowd went crazy- I had forgotten just how much St. Paul LOVES Tyr. I’m less of a fan than most, although I do enjoy watching them live. Their guitarist also had his hair cut all Robin Finck-style, which I appreciated. They played several songs that I recognized, so several of their hits, as I don’t know them all that well. A very solid performance; those wanting to see Tyr on this tour shall not be disappointed.

[This song. This song is the most ear-wormy thing ever. The clip is from 70,000 Tons of Metal earlier this year]

Last, but certainly not least, was Ensiferum, who is pretty much my all-time favorite cheesy pagan folkish metal band. Ensiferum’s set was everything I ever hoped it would be; they played songs from a range of albums, including Burning Leaves and In My Sword I Trust from the new one. They also played Guardians of Fate, which pretty much made my night. While watching their set, I also learned that apparently Petri doesn’t do any of the clean vocals, something I did not know previously. I also thought there were members than there are; their sound is incredibly full live. For me, the only thing that would have made the night even more perfect would be if they had played Token of Time, but I am completely satisfied with the set I saw. Ensiferum was a perfect end to a fantastically successful Paganfest IV.

[Such a fun, silly song]

[Oh. Yes.]

I ended up buying the Ensiferum edition of the Paganfest shirt, which I thought was really cool looking. I like the knotted background- reminds me of a Celtic knot. I also bought Unsung Heroes finally; I had been wanting it for a while and just hadn’t gotten around to buying it yet. Both were pretty steep at $25 and $20 respectively (the CD I bought does come with a DVD), however, I know that the money is going right back to the band so it’s worth it. Also, some of my friends got Tyr shirts- their designs this time around look pretty awesome as well.

As usual, ignore the cat hair.

As usual, ignore the cat hair.

Dates. 4/12- that's me!

Dates. 4/12- that’s me!

I've been after this one for a while now. A really solid album.

I’ve been after this one for a while now. A really solid album.

Overall, Paganfest IV was fantastic. All the bands were at the top of their game, and they all seemed to get along well too (as demonstrated by the stage sharing and festivities), which is always good. Although Heidevolk and Tyr are not quite my cup of tea, I really enjoyed their sets as well as everyone else’s. If you should attend the US/Canada leg of Paganfest, you should make sure you aren’t on a smoke or bathroom break when Trollfest is on- you do not want to miss them, trust me. Also, American fans, take pride in the fact that Helsott is a freaking fantastic pagan metal band from the States. And, for me, Ensiferum was pretty much everything I wanted. Apparently they tour here pretty frequently, but this was my first time actually seeing them live, and it was well worth the wait. A really fun night, and a highly recommended tour.

-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]

Review: Enslaved- RIITIIR

Posted in black metal, norway, Reviews, viking metal with tags , , , , , , on February 18, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

So this is a little late in coming, considering that RIITIIR came out September 28th, but I suppose it’s better late than never, and I did only get it recently. On clearance at Hastings in my hometown, because apparently the good people of my hometown don’t know when awesome metal falls into their laps (it is more an epicenter for red dirt music anyway).

I have to admit that I have rather mixed feelings about a lot of Enslaved’s newer material. I like the prog approach well enough, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a prog fan. It’s not something I listen to often, although I appreciate the musical complexity of it. The further Enslaved goes along the more they tend to work back towards darker metal, though, and I think that is why I enjoy RIITIIR as much as I do. It’s very much in the vein of what Enslaved has been doing for the past several albums, but their black metal roots bleed through in places, making a really cool blend.

Opening the album is the first song released, Thoughts Like Hammers. I was skeptical when I heard this song for the first time; I mean, I liked it, but I wasn’t totally sold. Veilburner, the second song released, I immediately liked much better. After I gave RIITIIR a few more spins, I told Jamie that Thoughts Like Hammers was by far the worst song on the album. And it’s a good song. It’s just that the rest of the album is even stronger (and the more I listen to it, yes, the more this song grows on me).

The weird drum sound at the beginning of Roots of the Mountain made me think my car was falling apart for a few minutes when I first heard it, but it adds an urgency to the song that contrasts well with the chorus and causes a kind of claustrophobic press in the first couple of minutes of the song. The title track is a really cool song as well; transcendent sections of clean vocals and soaring guitars are backed up against a churning segment with a somewhat Mediterranean beat in the drums and a really heavy feel.

For me, Materal is one of the coolest songs on the record. Not only does it have a wicked black metal feeling tremolo riff at 1:14, but the structure of the song is really cool as well. I love the drum break after the first chorus and the layering of the harsh and clean vocals. Another song I really love is the final track Forsaken. The keyboards and guitar at the end are just so haunting. It’s lovely, and at the same time unsettling. Perhaps it’s the echo in the keyboards reminding me of industrial music in its calmer moments. Also the way the musical phrase just drops off- it’s like a music box, with an end to the melody but no real closure. A really interesting way to end the album.

I felt like the production for RIITIIR was well done; there is a lot going on in any given moment, but no one part felt like it was dominating. Of course, there are a lot of interesting fills from pretty much every member of the band on RIITIIR, and in those moments the respective parts rise a bit from the mix, as they should. You can even hear the bass in places! The beginning of Veilburner is, I think, a good example of the mixing on the record. It is very clean production, but for the complicated nature of the music on the album, I think it almost has to be. It would be easy to lose some of those parts if the production was less polished.

The album art is completely awesome in the same way that Enslaved’s album art normally is. I really like the concept of the hands reaching upwards, as Enslaved’s music always kind of reminds me of reaching beyond the material world, whether to the gods or your ancestors or whatever else. And the cover art is painted.IMAG0726

IMAG0727

IMAG0728

[I also like the simplicity in the discs. Very straightforward, very classy]

Because I bought the special edition version of RIITIIR, I also got the Behind the Veil: The Making of RIITIIR bonus DVD. Leander and I watched it yesterday, and it is a really cool inclusion and well worth a watch. It’s interesting to see how the band goes about recording and their comments about how at this point in time, they record sort of like a live act as they are so used to playing together live (Enslaved are total road dogs). They also included segments showing the artist designing and painting the artwork for the album, which I found really cool since I love the artwork so much.

All and all, I’d give RIITIIR probably 4 or 4.5 out of 5 stars (pentagrams, what have you). It’s a very solid album, and I love how the band’s old black metal sound slips into the mix at unexpected moments. It not only takes the edge off of the progginess, but it makes for a truly original sound. The packaging is nice as well- album art is stunning, and the physical disks themselves have a very sleek look. Finally, RIITIIR has captivated me and I highly recommend at least a listen for those of you who, like me, generally prefer Enslaved’s older material. It did, after all, make it onto my list of the best albums of 2012. Subsequent spins of the album have convinced me even more that they deserve a solid place on there.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:

Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
Materal
Forsaken

More soon!

-Hagalaz

Concert: Enslaved/Pallbearer/Royal Thunder/Ancient VVisdom (2/4, Minneapolis, MN, Mill City Nights)

Posted in black metal, concerts, doom, norway, united states, viking metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

**I just realized this is my 100th post! Woo! Maybe someday when I have a real job I can do giveaways for stuff like this!**

About a year and a half ago, Enslaved went to St. Paul with Alcest (!) and I had to miss the show because of a late class. The band was nice enough to sign a poster for me as a consolation prize, which Jamie brought back for me and that was awesome, but I was still bummed that I didn’t get to see them. But now I have! (And now I feel like I might deserve a signed poster).

Once again, the show was at a venue that was new to me. Mill City Nights is, nicely enough, right off the Warehouse District light rail station, which makes it very easy to get to. It is also a much nicer venue than I am used to being in, and I have to be honest, I like Station 4 a lot better. I don’t feel quite so much like I’m being judged; my friend said she feels like they run it a bit like a nightclub sometimes, and that’s what it felt like to me. A lot of security, and a coat check you had to pay for. I mean, the venue was nice, and the sound was very good, but it was a weird experience and I’d much rather be at a place that will allow me to loiter with my friends afterwards.

It’s interesting to see how Enslaved or their label or whoever does it picks the bands that open for them. Last time it was Alcest and (was supposed to be) Ghost; this time it was all bands from the United States South. I appreciate the variety, however; death metal shows, for instance, are usually not too good about varying the bands on the lineup, although I suppose there is something to be said too about six hours-worth of death metal.

The opening band was Ancient VVisdom from Austin, Texas. They are an interesting band; their drummer stands the entire time, their vocalist used a chain for sound effects on one song, and they have an acoustic guitar player. Although the music was pretty standard hard rock (it reminded me of a lot of the stuff that was on the radio when I was a kid), there was a certain Southern tinge to it, perhaps as a result of the acoustic guitar. The lyrics were also centered around Satan, which I found very interesting- people where I come from tend to be scared of the Devil in a way that most people aren’t , and he is certainly not something you ever talk about. It was a little refreshing to see a Southern band do it, then. They played a strong set; Jamie saw them a while back when they opened for someone else, and he said that they were much better this time (the sound was messed up when he’d seen them previously). That being said, they really were not my thing (although I did appreciate the acoustic guitar).

[Live at Roadburn. I think they’d grow on me if I let them. Certainly original]

Next up was Royal Thunder, who I was really happy to see added to the bill a few weeks ago. Royal Thunder is that dirty, sludgy sound that the Georgia bands do so well, and they also have a female vocalist (hooray for girls in metal!). Her voice is awesome- it has a gravely growl to it and really complements the music well. They were also a three piece for our set- I’m not sure what happened to the other guitarist, but the sound was still very solid despite his absence. I had expected many more people up on stage than just three- their sound is tremendous. They played a very solid set, and I am really glad I got to see them perform live.

[Lovely]

Then was the mighty Pallbearer, who played easily one of the heaviest sets I have ever seen. Holy crap. The speakers were turned up so loud that the vocalist kept getting feedback when the sound guy tried to turn the vocals up. As a result, the vocals were a little hard to hear from where we were. Jamie went out to smoke at one point and said that you could hear a little better from further back, though. One of the drummer’s cymbals fell over during the first song, but Ancient VVisdom’s vocalist ran onstage and righted it, and it was quickly fixed before the second song. My gosh were they amazing. Heavy heavy heavy dooom. I am going to have to catch them headlining sometime, when I can maybe see them play more than three songs.

[Doooooooom.]

Finally, Enslaved took the stage (and the sound, thank goodness, was better)! They were incredible! They played a lot of stuff from the new album, including Materal, which is obviously the best song on RIITIIR. They also played quite a bit of their more recent material. I was a little worried for a while; they’d played about 45 minutes already, and although I do enjoy Enslaved’s newer material, I prefer the black metally old stuff. It was silly of me to worry, though. Ivar Bjørnson brought out the black guitar, the signal for “the old stuff is coming.” They then proceeded to play another 45-50 minutes of their older material. It was insane- if you go to see Enslaved on this tour, you will definitely get your money’s worth. They ended with their cover of the Immigrant Song, which was a lot of fun to see live, and came out and played Isa as an encore (yeeeessssssss). It was an excellent set, a great end to a night of really good music.

[Epic]

[Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-ssssaaaaaaaaaaa]

Over at the merch table, I picked up a couple of more buttons (Ancient VVisdom and Royal Thunder) and an Enslaved shirt. They had a lot of really cool shirts to choose from (including a white RIITIIR shirt, holy crap), but I couldn’t resist the Frost shirt.

IMAG0718

All and all it was a really awesome evening despite vocal difficulties and missing guitarists. Enslaved was everything I hoped they would be, and they had something for everyone in their set. My getting to see Enslaved was a long time in the making, and they did not disappoint. Pallbearer was also earth-shattering; I wish the vocal sound was better, but it couldn’t be helped, and they sounded fantastic even still. Royal Thunder was as much fun live as I expected they would be, and Ancient VVisdom was a really interesting and original band, if not quite my style. Overall, ‘twas a good night.

(I promise I am doing my best to update this whenever I can. School is insane this semester. Just did a big presentation that went off without a hitch, but that means I get to devote less time here. I’m working on it. I promise).

Coming up soon- a review of RIITIIR (where I can go into detail of why Materal is the best song on the album), some more updates to my jacket, a bit on the new metal record store in St. Paul (because St. Paul is cool too!), and a review of the local black metal show I’ll be going to on Saturday. Whew. A lot, basically (and there’s more where that’s coming from, as long as I can make time to post things).

-Hagalaz