Archive for blut aus nord

Gratuitous Birthday Post 2013

Posted in black metal, doom, france, grindcore, local, musings, sludge metal, thrash with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

This post is from yesterday, which was my birthday, for real. But because the internet at the hotel only wanted me to use Chrome, and Chrome likes to eat my links, I saved it until now. Here it is!

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Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, my gratuitous birthday post of “things I am currently listening to” on June 28, 2013. Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to Jon Nödtveidt (R.I.C.), and happy birthday to Frost. Because June 28 is a great day for birthdays and black metal.

Again, the list goes to 11, because Chaos and Spinal Tap and all that jazz. Without further ado, your black metal blog-ess has been listening to:

1. Aosoth- Under Nails and Fingertips

I’ve already ranted and raved about how much I love Aosoth’s new album, as well as the devastating effect they had on me at Deathfest this year. Because I can’t get enough of IV: An Arrow in Heart, this one has pretty much stayed on circulation for me this year.

2. Blut Aus Nord- …The Meditant (Dialogue with the Stars)

I recently purchased my very first Blut Aus Nord album (ludicrous, I know, especially considering how much I love French black metal), Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars. This has quickly become one of my favorite albums; it is glorious, and I want to drive out to the middle of nowhere and listen to it under the stars.

3. Kylesa- We’re Taking This

I had never heard Kylesa before a couple of months ago, and I wasn’t sure what to make of them at first. Since then, however, they have really grown on me, and now I can’t get enough of this sludgy stuff. I really love their new album Ultraviolet (which I am going to review, I promise. I am at a conference right now); this is from that.

4. Cough- Crooked Spine

Speaking of the South and slow things, Southern doom has also been on my radar a lot lately. Cough is pretty indicative of the stuff I’m talking about; Pallbearer as well.

5. Kreator- Command of the Blade

I am ashamed to admit that Kreator has been one of those gaping holes in my collection. Recently, however, I bought a used copy of Pleasure To Kill off my friend, and I have been digging the hell out of it. Thrash is a genre I skipped (except for Metallica, but that’s not special. Growing up in Oklahoma everyone is into Metallica), and I’m really enjoying navigating it.

6. Katharsis- The Last Wound

As far as black metal I should know but never really listened to goes, Katharsis is high on the list. I have been making it a point to listen to bands that I have seen everyone post but me, and so I’ve been spinning these guys lately.

7. Ptahil- The Black Fire

Although I still listen to A LOT of black metal, make no mistake, I have been listening to a lot more black metal genre-melding stuff lately, including blackened doom. Ptahil is from Indiana, and I saw them open for Black Witchery recently.

8. Candlemass- Samarithan

Really? When am I not listening to Candlemass? Now I own the Nightfall reissue on vinyl (it is BEAUTIFUL) as well as their 2005 s/t release, so I listen to them more than ever.

9. Sacramentum- When Night Surrounds Me

When school was ending for the semester, I went into Into the Void to buy myself a copy of Pilgrim’s Misery Wizard (Really. Serious doom kick), and my friend told me that if I didn’t buy this Sacramentum record we weren’t friends. So I did, and I love it. I am not willing to say it is better than Storm of the Light’s Bane; it is different than Storm of the Light’s Bane. But I don’t know that I could rank this album below it, either.

10. Holy Grail- Call of Valhalla

Holy Grail is one of those bands that I checked out because they are playing here soon, and I want to go to the show (the same thing happened with Kylesa). The result was the same as what usually happens when I listen to traditional heavy metal, which is that I think I should listen to more traditional heavy metal. Looking forward to seeing these guys live.

11. Black Market Fetus- Blinded By the Cross

Because every good playlist needs grindcore. Alas, I only got to see Black Market Fetus play once before they disbanded, but they were one of my favorite local bands when I lived in Iowa, and are one of my favorite grind bands ever.

…And that’s all folks. As you can see, DOOM.

‘Til next time.

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“Metamorphosis”: Dissonant French Black Metal (The French Black Metal Underground)

Posted in black metal, black metal history, france, musings, underground with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

As I have watched the list of bands for Maryland Death Fest 2013 unfold, I have become increasingly more convinced that I should go to said festival, even if I have to sell a kidney to be able to afford it. The list is just so good. I mean, come on, Carcass, Pig Destroyer, Ihsahn, VENOM?! (Okay, so Venom was never that good at playing their instruments and it’s doubtful that in the past thirty years they’ve gotten better. Still, seeing “Black Metal” live is a bucket list item, no?) Probably the band I’m most excited about on the bill, however, was Antaeus, a handful of Frenchmen who play gritty, raw black metal. Also, now I see that Glorior Belli will also be playing. My excitement over this prompted the suggestion that I should do a post on the French scene, and I reckon someone should.

I’m kind of unsure how to do these posts. The Swedish black metal one was easy, because I could go off of how it was different from Norway to start with, and then it just blossomed. But the French scene is radically different from the Scandinavian one (for the most part). I suppose I will break it up into genres, and the best place to start is probably Blut Aus Nord, them being early. So here we go…

Metamorphosis- Dissonant French Black Metal (Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega)

Blut Aus Nord is from Mondeville, Lower Normandy, and is probably one of the best known experimental bands in the genre of black metal. They were also one of the prominent earlier bands in the French scene, and one of the forerunners of the more dissonant black metal sound. Though they are always depicted in monks robes, Blut Aus Nord does not play live. Their early material Encyclopedia Metallum labels as atmospheric black metal, and I suppose that is the best way to describe it. It certainly uses a lot of keyboards, which Blut Aus Nord has always used, but it is also very clearly black metal.

[Wait for it…]

And then there are also hints of the more strange ambient stuff that they will do later down the line as well.

[This is what hooked me, initially. So simple, yet powerful]

The band kept with their black metal roots, while transforming into something quite bizarre. You get a hint of that here in this next song, from their fourth full-length, The Work Which Transforms God. The sounds you hear here are sounds I have come to associate with the French scene, namely discordant guitars and effects with wandering, seemingly arbitrary shifts in the beat, and a very stately, majestic feel.

The 777 albums, the latest offering from this unconventional band, continue with the same strange patterns. 777 Sects and the follow-up, 777 The Desanctification, stray even further from traditional black metal and incorporate more avant garde metal with dark ambient noise.

The finale to the 777 albums comes out September 21st, and the teaser trailer sounds really good.

The other black metal band well-known for their avant-garde approach and dissonant melodies (probably the kings of dissonant melodies, actually) is Deathspell Omega. Deathspell Omega is from Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes, and they have never played a live show either. They weren’t always at the head of the avant-garde pack, though; when they started, they played a straightforward black metal.

[Those strident melodic lines have remained, however]

While Blut Aus Nord’s lyrics tend to deal more broadly with individualism and philosophy, Deathspell Omega is staunchly focused on metaphysical Satanism. This focus became more prominent with the release of their third full length album, Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice, the beginning of a trilogy of albums focusing on God, the Devil, and man’s relationship to both, in that order.

[I feel weird breaking this song up from its other two counterparts, but I want to point out the melodies here. They remind me a lot of those in the beginning of the previous track]

As you have probably noticed, things are starting to get a little bit weird, sound-wise. Those melodic lines still punctuate the music- they come soaring out of nowhere it feels like a lot of times- but the melodic structure as a whole is beginning to break down, and the rhythms seem to shift and writhe all over the place.

[Still great for the ears. Can’t say much for trying to wrap your brain around it]

The previous track is from Fas- Ite, Maledicte, in Ignem Aeternum, the second album in the trilogy. This next one is from the album that seals the deal, Paracletus.

[This was my first DsO song. I was frightened away by it. Eventually curiosity won out, and now they’ve won me over. I quite love them]

Deathspell Omega released a new EP (apparently a follow up to the trilogy) called Drought this summer with very little fanfare (in other words, I knew because I was paying attention and looking in the right place at the right time, but they didn’t exactly announce it). It has been very well received, as far as I’m aware, and DsO is getting *just* big enough that people are perking up and saying “Oh. My. What… Um.” Because admittedly that’s the typical first reaction.

And then it grows on you.

[“The Abrasive Swirling Murk”- it’ll grow on you (if Deathspell Omega had any need for a kitschy slogan, that would be it)]

Both Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega have had tremendous influence across the black metal scene. The discordant melodies and stately feel that both bands draw on have filtered into many scenes beyond their own, but they have also strongly taken root in the French scene. Next time I will talk more about the French scene, though which aspect even I am not sure of yet (there are a couple of places I could go with this).

Until then…

Hagalaz