Archive for ghost

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 

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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

 

 

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

Review: Ghost- Infestissumam

Posted in retro occult rock, Reviews, sweden with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Finally, I am getting around to doing this review! Thanks everyone for your patience. Anyway, I’ve heard a lot of murmurings from the Internet from critics that Infestissumam isn’t good. I have come up with the following explanations for this phenomenon; either 1) they are listening to a different album than the one I have, or 2) they hate fun. Because I love it. I love it so much, I was ready to buy it having just heard the intro.

[Seriously. Tell me you don’t love every moment of that]

As you might remember, Ghost landed a huge signing bonus when they signed with Loma Vista Recordings, a branch of Universal. They clearly funneled all that money straight into this album, as it is very grandiose. The songs run the gamut from traditional rock to disco. In fact, the album feels very poppy in a lot of ways, but none of them bad. The production on this album is really clean- cleaner than I typically like, but for Ghost’s sound it works. A rawer production would probably hurt the choir sound. (On a side note, a friend told me that the band had a really hard time finding a choir to sing the Satanic lyrics, as they recorded the album in Nashville.)

[This track feels to me like a logical progression from Opus Eponymous.]

When Secular Haze was first released, I heard a lot of people complaining about it and saying that it sounded like circus music, which I suppose that is one way to take it. I took it more as a creepy organ vibe than circus-y, but nevertheless it is probably my least favorite song on the album. And it’s a pretty good track, so that ought to tell you something. The other singles, Year Zero and Monstrance Clock, are freaking catchy as hell, particularly the latter, which is, I think, pretty much the perfect way to end the album.

It seems like Body and Blood is a favorite amongst my friends, and it is another that seems like a logical move from the first album as it is very old school rock-feeling. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen is probably my favorite song, and was the most surprising song for me as well. I was not expecting a slower paced yacht-rock song anywhere on this album, even though I was expecting some strangeness.I really  like the addition though, as I feel like it makes for a very well-rounded album.

Overall, I’m crazy about Infestissumam. I know I’m a rarity in saying this, at least among critics, but then I’m usually nutty for the things critics complain about. I really like the experimental quality and the wide range of songs, as Opus Eponymous (while amazing) was kind of all the same kind of songs. The album is also a little bit longer, which is nice; whereas the first one left me wanting more, this one feels just right in length.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:

Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
Year Zero
Monstrance Clock

-Hagalaz

 

Concert: Ghost/Ides of Gemini (5/4, Minneapolis, MN, Mill City Nights)

Posted in concerts, retro occult rock, sweden with tags , , , , , , , on May 14, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

[This is a short review. It was a short show. I am used to bills with 8 death metal bands stacked on them. Anyway.]

A couple of Saturdays ago (I am behind, yes) I headed back out to Mill City Nights to see Ghost touring in support of their new album, Infestissumam (which I am working on a review of. I promise.) There were a ton of people there, and we were backed up for a bit before the doors opened. This time the merch was set up in the basement of the venue, which was kind of nice because you could browse before you headed up to the show.

Security was really high again. They actually patted me down outside the door, which I thought was interesting. That has never happened to me at one of these things. They also didn’t let us hang around after the show this time either; we couldn’t even hang out outside. I try to cut the security guys some slack as I know they are just doing their job, but I feel like the guys doing security at this place could really try to be a little nicer when they are herding people away at the end of shows. One guy in particular was making snide comments and really getting on my nerves.

ANYWAY, that aside- the crowd at this one was very varied, with most of it being people I had never seen before. There were a lot of girls there, which I always like to see, as we need to represent more, as well as some people who caused me to feel like an elitist jerk. I saw a few familiar faces, but overall it was a crowd full of strangers, which I guess is a good thing.

Ides of Gemini was the only opener. They are a kind of retro-rock band like Ghost, with a female vocalist/bassist and drummer. It was a perfectly fine set- for me, it didn’t go over so well live, as it was a little slow-paced and repetitive. I think it would be good music for listening to while hanging out at a low-key gathering with friends; what a friend of mine calls “wallpaper music.” One cool thing they did was use mallets on the drums for part of the set. Although the music itself was enjoyable, it made for a kind of boring live set.

[They played this]

Ghost’s set, however, was incredible and everything I could have hoped for. Papa E. even wore green, which is my favorite color! It was of course a very theatrical set, but it was also very straightforward, which is nice. There wasn’t a lot to the stage show minus the costumes, in other words. Ghost played a mix of tracks from the new album as well as Opus Eponymous, so it was a nice compilation of their stuff. They didn’t play Ghuleh/Zombie Queen (of course, I’m probably the only person in the world who likes that song the best off the new album), but it was a pretty even spread of stuff from both albums. And yes, they did have their, uhm, supplementary box set items on stage with them, although none of them were actually used. It was still funny to see. They didn’t play any of their cover songs- a friend was hoping for Here Comes the Sun- but they did end with Monstrance Clock, which made me all happy inside.

[No fair, Washington. Seriously.]

As the above video demonstrates, one fun thing about Ghost is their stuff is easy to sing along with. That doesn’t always happen at metal stuff (yes, I know Ghost as metal is debatable); I mean, I knew all the words to most of Ensiferum’s songs a few weeks ago, but that’s because I listen to it a lot. This show was cool because I got to participate in a different way than normal- there was significantly less thrashing about, but much more singing along.

[Papa’s voice sounds a little odd live because of the mask. Incidentally, I think I may have a crush on him]

I didn’t get anything from the merch booth this time as I had *just* bought the album, but it seemed like they had a lot of good stuff. The most common thing I saw was the tour shirt with the dates on the back, which pretty much looks like the cover of the current album.

It was a great show, and I’m really glad I got to see Ghost this time around (I missed them last time because I had to teach early the next day. In Iowa.) My friend said they were even better than last time, though, and I’m sure the set was longer with more to choose from, so I am completely satisfied with what I saw. I’m still not sure how I feel about the venue, although the sound was much better than last time when we couldn’t hear the vocals during Pallbearer’s set and it is a nice space to accommodate a crowd like the one Ghost drew.

Working on a review of Infestissumam and the new Aosoth album, and I’ll have those up this week as well. Black Witchery and Deiphago on Saturday, and then Maryland Effing Deathfest next week!

-Hagalaz

Throwback Thursday: New Devil’s Blood, New Ghost

Posted in release info, retro occult rock, sweden with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Thought I’d share with you what I’ve been listening to today as I work on this post I’ve been writing for what feels like years. (Sorry for my absences. Life and school happened.)

First of all, the new Ghost album comes out Tuesday, in case you have been living under a rock and didn’t hear about it. It’s been leaked, it’s out there, you can get a hold of it already. But if you haven’t, you can also stream it at Pitchfork right now. And you should do that. Because oh my goodness the intro was enough to convince me to get it on Tuesday. Plus, the Pitchfork stream has the album artwork, so you can look at pictures as you listen.

Also, I’m sure you all know about my mourning for The Devil’s Blood, who are one of my favorite bands and who broke up in January. Well, the band is going to release the remnants of the album that wasn’t later on this month in Europe (no news yet as to when we are getting it in the States/Canada), and they posted a link on their Facebook earlier today with a track from said album. It’s a rough mix, but to be honest, I really like the sound of it. It’s very visceral, somehow. You can listen to it below, and then if you are so inclined, you could go read the accompanying note on The Devil’s Blood’s Facebook page, as it’s very nice.

Paganfest IV tomorrow with Ensiferum (hooray!), which I will review, plus my post on Nachtmystium that I promise will be done soon. Have a retro evening.

-Hagalaz