Archive for bathory

A Playlist for the Blood Countess

Posted in birthdays, black metal, elizabeth bathory, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

Erzebet, or Elizabeth, Bathory was born August 7th, 1560 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY). While there’s no proof that she actually bathed in the blood of virgins, as those rumors weren’t circulated until after her death, she definitely murdered a whole crapton of young women. There are disagreements as to how many, however; though the official body count seems to be 80, one serving girl claimed that Bathory murdered up to 650. The Countess managed to escape trial due to the shame it would bring to her very influential family, but she was nevertheless imprisoned and sealed up in a castle in Hungary. (I took most of this from Wikipedia.)

Elizabeth Bathory is also one of the patron saints of heavy metal, as her story is beset with imagery of bathing in blood, eternal youth, vampirism, possible links to the Devil, you know, pretty much everything you could want in a gothic sensational tale. So here’s a playlist I threw together of a bunch of songs relating to Countess Bathory, either directly or through blood-bathing references, name-dropping, or other indirect means.

Tormentor – Elizabeth Bathory

[Let’s start this off with a band from the Countess’ native Hungary, shall we?]

Sunn O))) – Bathory Erzebet

 

Ghost – Elizabeth

 

Electric Wizard – Torquemada 71

[This one is more about Torquemada, of course, but the Countess does get name-dropped.]
Venom – Countess Bathory

 

Evile – Bathe in Blood

[Some more general blood-bathing and murder.]

Candlemass – The Bleeding Baroness

 

X-Japan – Rose of Pain

[I swear one of these days I’m going to do a post entirely about X-Japan and how amazing they are. I had forgotten all about this song, and it’s great, just like everything else this band ever did.]

Bathory – Woman of Dark Desires

[No playlist for Elizabeth Bathory is complete without Bathory, of course.]

Cradle of Filth – Cruelty and the Beast

[…And then there was that time when Cradle of Filth made an entire album about her.]

***

I’ll be back soon with a review of Ghost and Macabre, and a big ol’ post about how much I love Shining, since they’ve been around for 20 years now and I get to see them in a couple of weeks.

Until then.

-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

Hagalaz’ Valentine’s Playlist

Posted in black metal, death metal, grindcore, marduk, mayhem, NWOBHM, retro occult rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by blackmetallurgy

Well, it’s that time of year again, when everyone starts pairing off in preparation for the annual spring mating season, which may or may not come to Minnesota this year considering that within the past couple of days we have plummeted into a second ice age. I will be spending MY Valentine’s day with some Schell’s Chimney Sweep and some retro sci-fi flicks, along with mini bundt cakes that my sent me in the mail. Which is really just as well.

Image from fuckyeahmetalecards on tumblr.

Image from fuckyeahmetalecards on tumblr.

But since nothing says “I love you” like a heaping pile of noisy extremity, I decided that I would post a playlist today for all your Valentine’s needs. So without further ado…

#11. Iron Maiden- 22 Acacia Avenue

For all the lonely hearts out there, Charlotte’s gotcha covered.

#10. Bathory- Woman of Dark Desires

Who knows how far Ms. Bathory’s desires went beyond bathing in the blood of virgins?

#9. Ghost- Monstrance Clock

Let’s play the word association game, boys and girls!

#8. Mayhem- Necrolust

Yeah, ok. So that’s pretty self-explanatory.

#7. Cannibal Corpse- Fucked With a Knife

You know. If you’re into that sort of thing.

#6. The Devil’s Blood- Cruel Lover

“I am the sound of the whip, and the pleasure of slaves…”

#5. Anal Cunt- I Respect Your Feelings as a Woman and a Human

Ah, romance.

#4. Gorgoroth- Unchain My Heart

Every time I hear this song or see the title, I’m reminded of the following, which was a big hit back when I was in junior high.

#3. Marduk- Bleached Bones

You know, in case you want some more necrophilia.

#2. Carcass- Microwaved Uterogestation

“Genital Grinder” is the obvious choice here. But you have to admit there’s something romantic about “Microwaved Uterogestation,” too.

#1. Celtic Frost- Tristesses de Lune

Because I love this song. So there.

So yes. Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

-Hagalaz

Songs for the End Times

Posted in black metal, musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Apparently the world is going to end on Friday, as Dec. 21, 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar. I have my doubts, as the end of the calendar was always on Dec. 21st in pre-Christian religions, seeing as that’s the Solstice and the 22nd marks the start of longer days and the end of winter. However, there’s no way to really know until Friday, I suppose, so I figured I’d throw together a soundtrack for the end. I tried to pick songs that addressed the end times in a number of ways, whether that be through human means or cosmic, and from a multitude of mythologies.

1. Rebirth of the Nemesis- Melechesh

So if you’re a fan of Babylonian myth, you’re probably familiar with Tiamat. Tiamat is a sea serpent goddess who created the world but then decided she had rather eat it. The god Marduk tore her to bits, but legend has it that she’s really only sleeping, and will rise from the depths with Chaos on her wings. However, Melechesh advises not to fear the dragon; after all, she’s mother too (even if she likes to eat her young).

2. Pure Fucking Armageddon- Mayhem

Ok. So this one is pretty straightforward.

3. Stellarvore- Watain

“No star shall shine tonight; no star, no matter how bright.” The Black Dragon also makes an appearance in anti-cosmic Satanism “Stellarvore,” or “star-eater,” is a reference to what will happen to time and space after the Lady Dragon wakes up from her nap.

4. Anathema Maranatha- Funeral Mist

A quick Google search tells me that “anathema” means accursed, and “maranatha” means the Lord is coming. These words appear only in one of Saint Paul’s letters, and may be intended as separate sentiments even though they appear next to each other. However, it can also be understood as that those accursed are to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. Anyone who is anathema, or cursed, will suffer the wrath of the Lord on the Day of Judgement.

5. …And the Great Cold Death of the Earth- Agalloch

I thought I would include something environmental on here as well, since the end of the world could very well come around as a result of human destruction of the natural world. Although this song has a myriad of meanings, the line “we are the wounds and the great cold death of the earth” leaves little to be parced.

6. World Funeral- Marduk

Another way in which humans could be responsible for our own destruction is, of course, by blowing ourselves up. Although this song is more along the lines of the personification of war (Four Horsemen, anyone?), it fits in well with the theme of complete annihilation.

7. Maha Kali- Dissection

In Hindu myth, Kali is the consort of Shiva, the destroyer. She has embodied just about everything from loving mother goddess to bloodthirsty destroyer. In the context in which Dissection references her she is the latter, but not in a completely negative way. Dissection associates her with Mahapralaya, or the destruction of the untrue “reality” of our everyday lives that keeps us from achieving our true nature.

8. Hetoïmasia- Deathspell Omega

Another Biblical reference, hetoïmasia is a reference to the prepared throne. In Christian mythology, the throne is intended for Christ, who will sit upon it at the second coming. Clearly this is not how Deathspell Omega intends it, but the sentiment is the same- a throne to be prepared for a diety hitherto absent.

9. Blood Fire Death- Bathory

Of all the end of the world scenarios, charging into battle alongside Odin and Thor is probably one of the more fun ones. Like in the second coming, all false souls shall be slaughtered. Interestingly, Quorthon also presents this scenario as a sort of deliverance for the oppressed. It’s almost like the prophecies in Revelations that promised freedom from oppression for Christians; maybe since Christians certainly aren’t the ones being oppressed anymore, Quorthon is offering some of the same solace for those who still revere the old gods.

10. Astral Path to the Supreme Majesties- Inquisition

The Void. It’s what’s left when the Black Dragon devours everything else, the “abrasive swirling murk,” Chaos. But Chaos on a cosmic scale, the destruction of the entire universe. What will happen, then, a few trillion years from now, when the known universe collapses in on itself and ceases to be. Allowing then, of course, for new universes to form. And that’s about as hopeful as it’s gonna get.

***

So what do you think? Is the world going to end Friday? Will Hagalaz have to narrow down her favorite black metal albums of the year after all when the day dawns bright and sunny on December 22? Or will we all be devoured by the Dark Mother and the cosmos descend into Chaos? And what song/s do you find fitting for the end of the world?

(And don’t forget that keyboard cat is the last thing any of us will see before we die).

Until next time?

-Hagalaz

Swedish Black Metal (Part III)

Posted in black metal history, musings, sweden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

**Edited for clarity, typos (I took French, not German. My apologies for my misspellings), and slight modifications. Thanks to X for additional info**

Previously, I discussed the reason that Swedish black metal has been largely ignored in the metal world (Swedish death metal) as well as how it developed a unique sound (again, mostly death metal). In this installment, I will address some common themes found in Swedish black metal. And also I haven’t discussed Satan yet, and he’s kind of a big deal. So with that said, let’s press forward, shall we?

Themes of Swedish Black Metal

I. Satan 

I don’t know how I made it this far into this thing without discussing Satanism, but it’s long overdue. Black metal has always had an interesting relationship to Satanism that is more or less pronounced depending on where the band is located, who is in it, etc. So let’s dissect it a bit, shall we? (No pun intended. Well, not with too much intent.)

Norway

The Norwegian scene often gets conflated with Satanism, primarily because of the church burnings. In the early 90’s, Varg Vikernes set a lot of churches on fire, which people in the media took to mean that he was a Satanist due to the large scale “Satanic panic” that had been going on for a time, alleging that Satanists were committing horrible crimes. He’s not, although he claimed to be in the early days (and now vehemently denies any association with Satanism, just like he likes to vehemently deny a lot of things). He seems to lean more towards paganism, and was torching churches as a statement against the Christianization of Norway. But unfortunately, he was about 500 years too late, and people were understandably confused.

[Not a Satanist]

Plenty of bands were using Satanic imagery as a stick-it-to-the-man kind of thing, but few of them viewed it with any level of seriousness. Dead of Mayhem was fascinated by Satanic ritual but doesn’t seem to have actually practiced it, and some bands that claimed to be Satanists in their early years (i.e., when they were teenagers) eventually abandoned that train of thought.

[Like Emperor’s Ihsahn. This song is perfect, by the way.]

That’s not to say that there weren’t a few practicing Satanists in Norway. Euronymous from Mayhem claimed himself a theistic Satanist (see my earlier post this week and GO VOTE TO HAVE EURONYMOUS’ FACE PUT ON A PLANE: http://www.halehelter.no/), as does Infernus of Gorgoroth (theistic Satanism viewing Satan as a deity as opposed to the atheistic Church of Satan which promotes individuality and self-gain without the religious stuff). All of them seemed to think atheistic Satanism was stupid, with the exception of the couple of them who were atheistic Satanists.

The main theme however was anti-Christianity, which everyone could agree on. The pagans were sore because they were forcefully converted, or their ancestors were, the theistic Satanists were sore because… because Christianity, and they were all teenagers who were struggling to find an identity, which Satanism facilitated through its focus on individuality.

Sweden

Sweden is different. The Swedish black metal bands did, and still do, take their Satanism VERY seriously. Apparently there was a Satanic “black circle” in Sweden as well, though I’ll be damned if I can find anything on it. Satanism had a hold in Sweden in a way that it never did in Norway. While everyone in Norway was running around panicking about Satanists, who were often not actually Satanists, lighting churches on fire, the Swedish black metallers were actually Satanists and were generally behaving themselves.

There seems to be two major schools of Satanic thought in Sweden. One is anti-cosmology, maintained by the Misanthropic Luciferian Order (MLO), or the Temple of the Black Light. Their big focus is on Chaos, and bands with a link to them are Dissection and Watain.

[This album in its entirety describes anti-cosmology better than I ever could]

Dissection has especially close connections with the MLO. Jon Nödtveidt was one of their first members, I believe (though not a founder), and he sported a “MLO Warrior” patch on his battle jacket. Also, one of Dissection’s bassists actually quit the band to focus more on his esoteric studies. Dissection aptly labeled themselves “Anti-Cosmic Metal of Death.”

[Anti Cosmic Metal of Death]

There is also a camp of Satanism in Sweden that seems to follow the more traditional approach. Marduk is one of these. When the band started in 1990, Morgan claimed he wanted to create “the most blasphemous band in the world.” While he claims now that that was just something he said when he was seventeen, Marduk has continuously churned out Satanic themes.

[Some of them less mature than others (a cover, yes, but nonetheless. This is one of the reasons I love Marduk, though)]

Although I can see parallels between the two, Marduk’s Satanism seems to not be as centered on anti-cosmology as just good ol’ fashioned anti-Christian Satanism. They use a lot of Biblical imagery, and they’ve upped the ante on that ever since Mortuus joined the band.

[Mmm. That’s such a tasty riff.]

Mortuus’ (who goes by Arioch the rest of the time) utilizes much of the same kind of Satanic imagery in his other projects. Arioch has famously said that to him, black metal is “music with a Satanic, destructive message, or a devil-worshipping message. That’s it, nothing else.” (Blabbermouth interview).

[Triumphator is mind-blowingly good. I’ll elaborate more on Arioch’s stuff later]

Of course, Nifelheim also uses Satanic imagery (and I totally forgot them in my first edition of this thing. Ah well. I guess they fall in the same camp as Dissection).

[“Storms” also show up a lot, I’m noticing.]

And of course, these guys. Though I hear some of them are LaVeyans. (Shhh.)

[Not any less serious about the Satan business, just in a different way]

Of course, that’s not the only theme. There are also…

II. WOLVES

Wolves seem to crop up a lot in Swedish black metal too. It may be because they tie in well with the Satanic themes- wolves as opposed to sheep, for example, a metaphor that E of Watain once put beautifully. Wolves are also majestic, and at least here, they are endangered (I am unsure of the wolf population in Sweden). They are pack animals, and they are vicious and excellent hunters. I’m sure you’re getting the gist.

[Watain really likes wolves. A lot. Lots of their merch has wolves on it, including the awesome hoodie of theirs that I want]

[taken from Watain’s Facebook]

[Fairly straightforward.]

Marduk also has an insignia that’s a pentagram with guess what on top of it?

[Yes, that’s my shirt and yes, it’s on me. It was a Marduk kind of day.]

And Morgan has yet another side project, thought less black metal, whose name has nothing to do with wolves.

[Or everything, rather.]

Also, apparently Lord Ahriman of Dark Funeral is in another band called Wolfen Society. I have known of this band for all of three minutes, and they’re actually based in Ohio, but it only helps to prove my point. Where there are associations with Swedish black metal, there are often wolves.

Even Amon Amarth has a song about wolves, but now I digress. Besides, there’s another point I haven’t addressed yet, that point being…

III. War

War is another big theme in Swedish black metal, although it, like the other two themes, is not limited to the Swedish scene. Of course, “Black Metal ist Krieg” according to Nargaroth, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that war is a common theme. There’s the concept of an army or a band of brothers type thing too, which goes along with wolves in the pack mentality as a group of individuals working together to form a single destructive force. Watain uses the slogan “Black Metal Militia,” and Marduk refers to their fanbase as the “Marduk Legion” and often has war imagery in their songs.

Marduk in particularly loves their war history. They’ve devoted concept albums to Vlad the Impaler and his conquests and Third Reich history. …Anyone see where this is becoming potentially problematic?

[They like tanks. BIG ones.]

Because of the small yet noticeable presence of neo-Nazi black metal, using Nazi imagery can often cause people to start talking. Panzer Division Marduk caused some fuss- I’m guessing Marduk lost some fans who thought they were Nazis, and the NSBM bands were stoked because, well, not a lot of them get big (for obvious reasons) and they thought they had finally gotten one of the big names in black metal on their side. Until Morgan dismissed the claims in an interview, which pissed off the NSBM folks and lost them too. Plus, to be fair, the whole album… kind of sounds like that. It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s to the point, and it’s a little repetitive. It sounds exactly like machine-guns firing, however.

[War and Satan. It’s a thing.]

WWII imagery seems to always come up with the Swedish bands- though their music has nothing to do with it, Watain got in a lot of trouble once for something involving swastikas. Their response? They’re not Nazis, because those people lack vision and are too short-sighted.

Ponder that a second. Watain are not Nazis because Nazis are not nearly evil enough.

*cough*…Anyway. Marduk has never quit using WWII imagery and the like, and personally I don’t think they need to. They’ve shot down the rumours that they’re a Nazi band. They just really like big tanks. And that’s okay. It is also worth noting that these guys are from Sweden (I suppose.)

[…And that’s the first and last time you’ll ever see power metal on here. *shudder*]

[I’m sorry. Here, quick! have some Bathory as a palate cleanser]

Though these are by far not the only themes that exist in Swedish black metal, they are some of the more prominent ones and crop up a lot, often in conjunction with one another- both war and wolves can be linked with Satanism. Which can, incidentally, be linked with Bathory.

So next time will be the last installment, I think. I’ll get to the new bands on the scene in depth, finally, because holy crap there is some great stuff coming out of Sweden right now. Until next time.

-Hagalaz

Swedish Black Metal (Part I)

Posted in black metal history, musings, sweden with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Swedish black metal is fantastic. However, it seems as though Swedish black metal often gets overlooked, and that’s stupid. There is a reason for it that can be addressed, and that’s what I’m going to start doing here (but when this thing starts looking like my masters thesis it needs to be broken up into a couple of week’s worth of posts). I’m also going to address how fantastic Swedish black metal is, so don’t get your panties in a bunch assuming I don’t like it. I quite love it. I’m also aware that it had a hard time finding its feet.

It is a story with a happy ending, though.

There are multifarious reasons why I feel the need to write this, and not least of them is the prospect of seeing Watain not once, but twice, in a couple of months. Another is the fact that Marduk is working on a new album, and that has me all giddy, because I love Marduk and I’m stoked to see what kind of brilliance they can come up with after Wormwood, and I cannot wait to see them live again.

Also, it occurs to me that Swedish black metal occupies a weird place in the genre. It seems to be represented as second-fiddle to Norwegian black metal in a lot of ways, and that’s silly. Because Swedish black metal is its own thing with its own merits. Even though they often borrowed from Norway, we mustn’t forget that the second wave Norwegian bands owed a lot to early Bathory, and that it was Dead’s lovely rasp that put Mayhem on the map.

So today I’m going to start talking about Swedish black metal, and I’m going to make this into a series of blogs because it’s going to be too long to cover in one. Today we will start with early Swedish black metal, and the reason why the second wave in Sweden had a hard time getting off the ground (it’s not entirely Norway’s fault, either).

The Beginnings

Sweden’s Bathory, alongside Tom G. Warrior’s Hellhammer and Celtic Frost (Switzerland) were kind of the progenitors of black metal.

We generally refer to them as the first wave (No, Venom doesn’t count. Venom isn’t black metal. They just came up with the name). Bathory got huge in the mid 80s, and were a great inspiration to a lot of bands, including a little band from Stockholm known as Morbid. Morbid played a blend of death metal with some Bathory influence, with Dead doing the creepiest vocals ever (seriously. His work with Mayhem was great, but Morbid!). They sang about death and pastries, and their December Moon demo was big enough to get Dead noticed by Mayhem. So in 1987, that same year, Dead trotted off to Norway. He never came back though he always intended to continue Morbid, and Morbid split up. There was also a kind of proto-black metal band called Mefisto in Sweden who were big rivals of Morbid, and they were a big deal at the time, but they too fell apart after a couple of demos.

[Gotta love Dead’s DIY album cover]

[Mefisto is one of my new favorite bands, also.]

Then, in the early 90s after Dead’s suicide, Mayhem had managed to establish a nice little underground black metal scene in Norway. Bands like Immortal and Darkthrone were taking off, bands like Satyricon and Gorgoroth were graduating high school and listening to the aforementioned legends, and a healthy little scene was starting up. Sweden, of course, was picking up on this black metal theme too. Marduk got their start in 1990 (I think Morgan, their guitarist, knew Dead), and Dissection had been playing since 1989. Finland was also jumping on the bandwagon; Impaled Nazarene and Beherit played their own part in the burgeoning Scandinavian scene (which partially entailed prank calling Emperor. There was a  mutual hatred healthy rivalry going on too).

Nevertheless, there was a serious imbalance between Norway and Sweden in terms of black metal production. The second wave Norwegian scene’s success as opposed to that of their Swedish neighbors can be neatly summed up in the following video clip (Norway would be Thumper).

Alas, though they had support (Marduk was super chummy with Mayhem, and Dissection was a personal favorite of Metalion from Slayer Mag, which certainly never hurt them), Swedish black metal had a hard time finding their feet in the second wave. Norway had surprisingly little to do with it. We have to look at Sweden itself to figure out why.

Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden put its own brand of metal on the map. This is melodic death metal, bands like At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, later on Arch Enemy, etc.

[These songs are from the bands’ first full length albums.]

The Gothenburg death scene took off in the early 90s, and everyone got really excited about it, to the point where if you played black metal in Sweden in the early 90s, no one really cared. This seems a little weird, because Bathory was from Sweden and had tremendous influence on the Norwegian scene, and Morbid also had a great impact. However, Bathory at about this time had undertaken a dramatic shift from the early Satanic black metal. In 1990, Bathory released Hammerheart and Quorthon took the band in a new direction by inventing Viking metal, which relied more on a death metal sound than a black metal one.

Morbid had also been defunct for about three years, Dead having gone off to Norway to front Mayhem and never coming back and the band just deciding to call it quits. The remaining members of Morbid went off to work on various other projects, none of them black metal. The most important band that grew out of former Morbid members was Nihilist, which broke up and later became Entombed. Which is an excellent band. But which is not black metal. Thus, death metal took over Sweden.

Of course, there were black metal bands in Sweden. There was Dissection, who were unfortunate enough to be from Gothenburg and not playing the right kind of Gothenburg metal to get them noticed (although they were greatly influenced by the Gothenburg melodic sound).

And there was Marduk, but they were little metal-babies, and weren’t the behemoth that they are now.

So the answer to what happened to Swedish black metal in the early 90s is simply this: Swedish death metal. As much as it overshadowed Sweden’s black metal, however, the Gothenburg sound also helped the scene develop a sound that separated it distinctly from Norway.

Until next time, when I will address how Swedish black metal found its feet as well as its sound.

-Hagalaz