Archive for inquisition

Catch Up Post! Burning Fist Reviews, Black Metal Summer Camp, and More!

Posted in black metal summer camp 15, burning fist reviews, state of the blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2015 by blackmetallurgy

It has been a very busy, stressful, and agonizing past several months, but things are really looking up for me as of now, and I’m finally getting to dedicate some time to things that I love that aren’t school, like this blog. Really. I need to get out more. I mean, the cat likes the new Shining, too, but it’s good for me to talk with other bipeds on occasion.

I haven’t been completely MIA, as I have done some posts over at Burning Fist! over the past few months.

First of all, I did a (MUCH overdue) review of 1349’s Massive Cauldron of Chaos, which should have been sitting pretty near the top of my best of list last year, but wasn’t because I hadn’t heard it much yet and also I’m an idiot. I just picked up a physical copy yesterday (to get it signed. That falls under the “More!” category up there. I’ll get to that), and, in the words of the immortal Toki Wartooth, Wowee! It’s a pretty thing.

I also did a review of the Inquisition re-release of Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan. Scary goat-priests and all.

I did a review of an underground band called Askrinn, whose new album is more proof that France is where it’s at for inventive new black metal. I like just telling Jason to pick me a band I don’t know. He knows my tastes well.

I did a review of the newest King Diamond compilation Dreams of Horror. And I didn’t go see him live because I would have had to drive 7 hours one way on a school night. Did I mention that I’m an idiot?

I feel like I surely must have shared my year-end post from over at Burning Fist, which was metal in general and not just black metal (but still mostly black metal because that’s my jam). But here it is in case I didn’t.

And Black Anvil’s Hail Death.

And also, and this makes me SUPER EXCITED, I did an email interview with Steingrim of Vried/Windir/Ulcus! So here that is.

And despite all of that, it still feels like I haven’t done a lot. This past semester, I saw Mayhem/Watain/Revenge, Behemoth, Electric Wizard, and 1349. And I think that’s it. It’s been taking more and more these days to get me out of the house for anything short of black metal. I wanted to see Napalm Death, but then I had just had my wisdom teeth out and my face exploded and that was a no.

Speaking of black metal, however, A and I are participating in what we have lovingly dubbed “Black Metal Summer Camp” this year (I guess if you retroactively count Behexen/Sargeist for last year this could be the second year). We have this summer: 1349 (last Friday); Taake (6/20); Goatwhore (6/26- I don’t care if they’re not trve enough for you or whatever, they are fun live, and Ringworm and Black Breath are playing); False record release show (6/27); Kult ov Azazel (8/5); and HELL’S HEADBASH (9/3-6)! That’s right folks, Satanic Warmaster, Sacrocurse, Acid Witch, Midnight, Archgoat, Profanatica (!!!!!!!! I seriously may be more excited about Profanatica than Satanic Warmaster. Don’t tell anyone), and SO much more. Much excite.

As far as what “More!” entails, I will be posting all about the in-store that 1349 did for Into the Void Records, I am planning a passionate defense of Dissection’s Reinkaos, and I am accumulating a whole lot of trivia from reading Dayal Patterson’s books (I got the box set of the new one. More on that as well). For instance, I bet you’ve always wondered who exactly Euronymous was complaining about when he was talking about death metal guys who wear track shoes and sneakers. Well, you’ll just have to check back here to find out (alternatively, you could just go read Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult. Which you should, because it’s brilliant. So go do that. I’ll wait).

So farewell for the moment. I will be around. In the meantime, here is a picture of my cat doing his best Portal impression.

10403384_10102768803821912_3871810777488705811_n

– H

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Review: Inquisition- Obscure Verses for the Multiverse

Posted in black metal, colombia, Reviews, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

Hello again, ladies and gentlemen. Now that I have survived the semester from hell round three (there’s been one in every program I’ve been in), I have time to think again and can start on some of the tons of reviews that have piled up on me. I’m going to start this round off with Inquisition, because their new one is a great album and it’s been earworming me lately.

When I first heard the teaser trailer clips for Inquisition’s new album, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse, I was positively giddy with excitement. I had heard a song off of the new Satyricon album earlier that day and wasn’t that impressed (you can tell by my year end list, I presume, that I have since rescinded that opinion), and I was overjoyed to hear the otherworldly, largely mid-tempo chants that are so familiar, and often so soothing, to me. “At least some things never change,” I thought.

[This one.]

I thought wrong, I discovered when I actually got a copy of the thing in my hot little hands. There’s plenty of experimentation and lots of surprises on Verses, although Inquisition’s instantly identifiable sound is still there. Songs like “Darkness Flows Towards Unseen Horizons” contain instantly recognizable drum patterns and guitar sounds.  “Arrival of Aeons After” is another track that utilizes traditional Inquisition guitar riffs, and the guitars in the verses oddly remind me a lot of latter-era Immortal (which is, I think, probably the closest you can ever come to comparing the two bands, Season of Mist. Seriously. I need to have words with whoever is coming up with those “For fans of:” labels. They don’t know what they’re on about /end rant).

Although parts of the album are pretty standard, Inquisition is doing some really cool things on Verses, particularly with sound editing and guitar distortion. “Spiritual Plasma Evocation” starts off a mid-tempo dirge with some really cool and innovative riffs that couple nicely with the drums, and then shifts into the song proper, which is faster and fueled with blast beats. Likewise, “Infinite Interstellar Genocide” incorporates one of the weirdest guitar riffs/distortions I have heard on a black metal album, let alone an Inquisition record. This song is also incredibly fast for the Colombian/American band, who seem most comfortable with slower paces. “Inversion of Ethereal White Stars” is another big hit for me, as I adore onomatopoeiaic music. The riffing and the high pitches in the guitars makes this song sound exactly like stars twinkling (like this one, in particular).

The production on Verses is pretty standard for Inquisition. I have a good friend who wanted to hear a little better production this time around, since Inquisition is now signed to a bigger label. I am okay with it though; although it would be cool to hear what Inquisition can do with a better sound quality, I like their rawer production as it feels very true to my idea of the band. The production is good enough to highlight the guitar distortion while blending with the drum sound and without becoming overbearing, and that’s what’s really important.

Perhaps the biggest bummer for me in terms of this album was that Antichrist Kramer didn’t do the artwork. I only know hearsay, so I can’t confirm anything, but I heard that the label heard that Kramer had some somewhat unpopular political leanings and axed him from doing the cover art. And that the band later backed them up. Whatever it was, the cover art, to me, is a little bit silly looking, and not nearly as awesome as Kramer’s artwork has been on past Inquisition albums.

Like this one. This is awesome. Someday I think I'll get it tattooed down my side (CultMetal.com)

Like this one. This is awesome. Someday I think I’ll get it tattooed down my side (CultMetal.com)

I purchased the fangirl edition, which helps. This edition was quite pricey; however, it comes with a real, goat-leather keychain and the packaging is really nice.

Fancy pants.

Fancy pants. The box is textured.

The back is really cool. I like how the song titles fit in with the pentagram.

The back is really cool. I like how the song titles fit in with the pentagram.

And this. This is cool.

And this. This is cool.

Everything that came in the box set. Including that silly album artwork on the liner notes.

Everything that came in the box set. Including that silly album artwork on the liner notes.

Inquisition's use of constellations and stars is really cool. They're even in the liner notes!

Inquisition’s use of constellations and stars is really cool. They’re even in the liner notes!

Skulls n' stuff.

Skulls n’ stuff.

Devil Nebula

Devil Nebula

Inside artwork.

Inside artwork.

The patch that came with the box set.

The patch that came with the box set.

Goat leather keychain. Maaaaaaa.

Goat leather keychain. Maaaaaaa.

Overall… Well, I nominated Obscure Verses to the Multiverse as my second favorite black metal album this year. Because it’s good. It’s really, really good. Easily a 5/5 Baphomets for me.

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks:

Spiritual Plasma Evocation
Inversion of Ethereal White Stars
Infinite Interstellar Genocide
ALL OF IT.

-Hagalaz

Concert: Marduk/Moonspell/Inquisition/The Foreshadowing/Death Wolf (2/28, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in black metal, concerts, marduk, sweden, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Last Thursday I got to see Marduk live again for the third time, and Inquisition for the second! Marduk was actually the first black metal band I ever saw live, so they have a special place in my heart. I was really excited to see them again, and the entire night was full of incredible sets. The only downer was how few people showed up; I had seen a couple of people on Facebook say that they were primarily interested in Inquisition, so I expected an influx for their set, but even Inquisition had a smaller crowd.

One note on the venue- Station 4 seems to be updating a bit. They painted the bathrooms, and I have been told by those of the masculine persuasion that there is now a stall door in the men’s room. They’ve also carpeted the stage and added a little kiosk for the purchase of non-alcoholic drinks, which caters to people under 21 in the event of a 16+ or 18+ show (Marduk was 18+). Also, they have upgraded the sound some, which I will get to later (it is MUCH better). I know a lot of people gripe about Station 4 being a bad venue (silly, I think. Everyone who works there is awesome and it’s really easy to see from anywhere in the venue. The place has its merits), but it really does seem as though they are trying to spruce it up a little.

We got to Station 4 about 6:15, just in time to get in, say hello to my buddy Carlos, and get settled in for the local openers. First up was Masshu, who I was going to go see a couple of weeks ago at a local black metal gig that I ended up backing out on. They were really good- in particular, there were a lot of really good riffs coming from the guitars. I’m glad I got to see them this time around, and I hope I’ll see more of them. It’s good to know that we have such good local black metal here.

[This is from 2009, so they’ve been around for a bit]

Next up was Atrum Inritis, another band that I missed at that thing I didn’t go to. While Masshu was very straightforward in their approach, Atrum Inritis really amped up the drama. The female keyboardist/vocalist had her rig set up on a table that was set up like an altar, and regularly drank from a chalice during the performance. They also had bones and candles to add to the ambience, and the members of the band all wore cassocks. It was all very dramatic, but the band was really good- their stage show wasn’t compensating for their talent. They played drawn out, sort of atmospheric black metal, and they did a fantastic job. They are opening for Black Witchery and Deiphago in May, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

[This video does a good job of showcasing all the stage stuff, I think]

After the local bands played, Death Wolf took the stage. Morgan from Marduk started the band as The Devil’s Whorehouse back in 2004 and later changed the name to the current one. I was really excited to see Death Wolf live; they just dropped a new album called Black Armoured Death, which will be out in the States on March 19 (it’s been out since mid-February in Europe). Death Wolf plays more rock-inclined metal that is very punky and traditional sounding, and while it is enjoyable on record, it is amazing live. They are rather early on the bill, and Jamie and I thought they should have been higher up (I guess that perhaps Morgan is not Superman after all and needs rest before going on with Marduk though), but if you are going to make this tour you should definitely plan to see Death Wolf.

[From this tour. First Death Wolf performance in the United States]

Next up was The Foreshadowing, whose set I watched part of from the merch booth as I agonized over which shirt to get. The Foreshadowing are an Italian band, and are kind of gothy doom metal. They are not something I would go out of my way to listen to often, but they put on a good live show. The band interacted well with the crowd, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent up front for their set.

After The Foreshadowing came Inquisition. I saw Inquisition back in October with the Champions of the World Tour, in which they opened and played a 20 minute set (a killer 20 minute set, but a short one nonetheless). They were further up on the bill this time, however, and got to play a while longer. It was tremendous. I will never be able to get over how those two guys manage to do what they do live in such a flawless manner. Their set was amazing, and they played “Desolate Funeral Chant,” which kind of made my night. Absolutely fantastic.

[Ahhhh. Amazing]

Moonspell played a really fun set next. I listened to them a lot a couple of weeks ago trying to familiarize myself with them before seeing them live, and their material is very hit or miss for me. I enjoyed their set; although I felt that the music got a little repetitive at times, the band’s stage presence (and that of the VERY big Moonspell fangirl next to me) more than made up for it. Moonspell’s vocalist had some VERY shiny pants, and their keyboardist/guitarist should win the award for Mr. Congeniality, as he was the happiest person I’ve seen on that stage since that blond kid who played with Melechesh last fall. Despite not being a huge fan of the music and being really ready to see Marduk, I really enjoyed Moonspell’s set. I believe I also heard the vocalist say that they had some albums available at the merch stand that are not easy to get in the States, so if you are a Moonspell fan you might want to check that out.

Last but not least was Marduk, for whom more people should have stuck around. The crowd was small by this point, but I felt like it was a good crowd. Mortuus also seemed like he was in a good mood; he was bantering at the crowd a lot more than normal. Like last time, the sound was good- instead of just being a wall of noise, I could distinguish songs.  And they played pretty much everything I could have hoped for (alas, I don’t think they’ll ever add Prochorovka: Blood and Sunflowers to the setlist). Throne of Rats, Serpent Sermon, Azrael, Baptism By Fire, With Satan And Victorious Weapons, Nowhere, No-One, Nothing… the list goes on, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately (No Womb of Perishableness this time around). They also played a few more songs off the new album in this set instead of just the title track. Temple of Decay was on the setlist, which sounded awesome live even without the chanting. It was cool to have a slower song thrown into the mix too- Marduk doesn’t play them very often live, at least not when I’ve seen them. They also ended the night with Souls for Belial, which was great live. Jamie remarked to me later that they played with the pacing a little bit when the songs sped up and slowed down, easing into it some instead of just shifting suddenly like on record. All and all, it was an amazing show. So amazing, in fact, that I went home and ordered a copy of Blood, Puke, Salvation so I can watch Marduk live whenever I want.

[One from this tour. Wolves!]

[So cool live]

Like I said earlier, picking merch this time was difficult. Pretty much everything available is awesome. This is the shirt I wound up with- I like the decoration on the sleeve. It looks like Mortuus’ work; he always does good stuff.

I like the way the logos are incorporated here.

I like the way the logos are incorporated here.

The back. Very straightforward.

The back. Very straightforward.

A closeup of the sleeve.

A closeup of the sleeve (note that the cat hair does not come with the shirt)

Along with the shirt, I also picked up another Inquisition album. And am I glad I did! Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult is fantastic.

IMAG0766

[This is on there. It’s incredible]

I think there’s about a week left on the Voices from the Dark Tour, so if you get a chance to catch it, I highly recommend it. Every band in the package is excellent- Death Wolf is a must see live act, so make sure you catch them while you’re at it. Inquisition and Marduk are at the top of their game as always, and Moonspell and The Foreshadowing provide a nice contrast to the formidable heaviness. And remember to show up early and support your local bands!

-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

Concert: Septicflesh/Krisiun/Melechesh/Ex Deo/Inquisition (10/19, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in black metal, concerts, death metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

So Friday was the amazing Conquerors of the World Tour, which I saw in St. Paul. This was a strange show for me, because the headliner (Septicflesh) was not what I was really excited for. I was most stoked (as I’m sure you can tell from my madness on here in the past week or so) for Melechesh and Inquisition. All the rest was dessert as far as I’m concerned, however, the entire show was completely amazing with everyone at the top of their game.

Inquisition started us off with a short (25 minutes) but flawless set. Wow. I had started to think that I might could forgive Dark Funeral for depriving me from seeing them in the spring, but I’ve changed my mind. I would like to see that again many, many more times. The very notion that two people can create such a solid sound is amazing to me. The drums fill in the small places where the guitar can’t, and the result is seamless. Dagon’s vocals are also really cool live, as he’ll manipulate where he is standing sometimes to achieve different vocal affects. He also is very animated in his stage presence and moves around a lot. Inquisition is very solid in the show that they bring to the stage, and the United States and Canada are lucky to finally get to see them on a full North American tour. What an amazing experience. It was perfect.

[They played this one]

[This is from earlier this year, but still. Be amazed. That’s two guys up there.]

Next up was Ex Deo, whom I watched from the back of the venue with my friend Carlos. I am not a fan of Ex Deo, really. I listened to snippets of their new album (about Caligula, which is awesome), and they are solid, but are a little too safe for my personal tastes. However, their live performance was really cool. They had Roman standards on stage and armor on (golden eagles everywhere). At one point the vocalist had a whip that he cracked onstage, and he would do hand gestures associated with the Roman emperors (the thumbs down thing from Gladiator, for instance) as well. There was a lot of spectacle, and their set was really fun to watch. The music is a lot more energetic and fun live as well, I think, and so even if you are mildly disinterested in Ex Deo being on the bill like I was, I highly recommend that you watch their set. Mightily entertaining.

[A new video from Ex Deo, which, in a way, depicts why they are not for me. Too overdone, I think]

[It’s much better live]

After Ex Deo’s set was the mighty Melechesh. As I was doing a write up on them earlier this week I’ve been listening to them a lot lately, and it occurred to me the other day that I was really in for a treat to get to see these guys live. I was not disappointed. Melechesh’s songs are so damn catchy it’s impossible to not thrash around to them. I don’t think I stopped moving throughout their entire set. They burned some incense on stage, which I am always a fan of. At one point, Ashmedi used a drum stick across the guitar strings to play the intro to “Triangular Tattvic Fire.” The guy I stood next to who had seen Melechesh a couple of times before said that he has done this before, although apparently this was the first time that he had done so on this particular tour. So that may be something for you all further down the dates to look forward to. I have no idea how he did it, but it was awesome. The thrown drumstick was caught by the aforementioned guy. Carlos thinks that Melechesh’s set was the best of the night, and I am inclined to agree (although damn, was Inquisition great as well).

[I just love this song]

[Again, this isn’t too recent, but at least it’s a good quality vid]

Krisiun was up next, and it became very clear very quickly that they were the crowd favorite. A pretty good pit got started during Krisiun’s set, and I think the band was enjoying it as much as the crowd was. I have to admit that my acquaintance with Krisiun is a fairly new one, so I don’t know a lot about them, but I do know that they played my favorite kind of death metal. Really impressive shredding and a phenomenal interaction with the crowd. It was during Krisiun’s set that I picked up all the bruises that I have today; at one point a guy who was having quite a lot of fun being rowdy slammed into some people to the right of me, which knocked my ribs right into the rail. It hurt, but no concert experience is complete without battle scars. Krisiun played a brutal and energetic set, and the crowd loved it.

[Brutal]

[Crowds love Krisiun. They are great performers]

Finally, Septicflesh took the stage. Several people up front with me got really excited (myself included) by the fact that Spiros Antoniou’s mic stand had a Cthulhu head on it. They also had two banners which looked like H.R. Giger artwork, although I can’t be sure of that. Septicflesh’s set was very solid; I don’t really know all that much about them, but their incorporation of the pre-recorded choral and orchestral parts along with the live music was very well done. Antoniou slung his bass around like it weighed nothing at all, and at times he lifted it up without the strap and played it from up near his chest. Also, he made hand gestures at times along with the music, his hands trembling from how tensed they were. It was a very emotional performance, and I am sorry to say that I felt that I didn’t do it justice. I was in the front row, but after several hours of standing in shoes with no arch support on the metal things in front of the rail at Station 4, I was completely exhausted and my feet and back were killing me. If I hadn’t felt so rotten I would have tried to engage a lot more- a lot of people apparently were there for the earlier bands like I was, but unfortunately chose to skip the headliners. Which is totally lame; Septicflesh played a great set, and I wish more people had stuck around for it.

[Not typically my thing, but good stuff nonetheless]

[They recreate the effects from the studio recordings really well live. Septicflesh’s set was seamless]

I had set aside some money to spend at the merch tables, of course, and I ended up with a rad Inquisition shirt. I absolutely love this album art; it is one of my absolute favorites ever (rib tattoo! Someday, perhaps).

Inquisition shirt (front)

And the back.

The back is pretty rad too. I didn’t realize this was on the back when I bought it, but I’m certainly not disappointed.

I also went home with Inquisition’s newest album, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm, which sports the same artwork as my shirt. Now I finally own my own Inquisition album! Yay.

My Inquisition merch pile also includes a patch for my battle jacket. I’m glad there were Inquisition patches available; I wanted a Melechesh patch too but there weren’t any. Guess I’ll have to track one down on the internet. This matches my color scheme and everything!

So happy to have something else to put on my battle jacket. I miss working on it.

I also bought myself an Abruptum pin for the jacket. I’ve been looking for something Abruptum to put on my jacket (I have a Marduk patch and a Funeral Mist one, I might as well collect them all!), but all the patches I have found are very obviously bootlegs, and poorly made ones as well. But now I have a pin, and it’s really nice and looks awesome.

Shiny.

Later in the evening I got to meet the members of Melechesh and Inquisition, who are all really, really nice people. It’s always good to see my friend Carlos, too, who sells merch for Marduk when they are here (and did so for Inquisition and Krisiun this time). Apparently Inquisition’s picking up more merch in Seattle tonight, so there’s hope yet for those of you who are planning to see them and want an awesome shirt like mine.

All in all it was a great evening, and all the bands played amazing sets. Even the bands that are not what I’d typically listen to I was impressed with; I have seen negative reviews of Ex Deo on this tour, however, I felt that in St. Paul they were very good. Looks like there are only a handful of days left on this tour, so catch it if you can. It’s a great one.

-Hagalaz

Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Vocalists

Posted in black metal, dead, funeral mist, marduk, mayhem, norway, sweden, true norwegian black metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

A while back, Vince Neilstein from MetalSucks wrote a post saying that metal vocalists had outlived their usefulness. Most of them are crap, he said, and pondered the idea that the reason why we keep them around is because they fill a kind of void, that human beings just take comfort in hearing a human voice. He also advocated for more instrumental metal. [Here is the original post, as well as a couple of commentaries.]

Well, I’m sure you all know how I initially reacted to this. “GASP! But what about X, Y, and Z?! No! Vocals are as much an instrument as the guitar is!” The function of the metal vocalist is too important to just shrug off. I mean, we really do need some kind of human connection, and many of the vocalists out there endeavor to do artistic things with their vocals.  Of course, that is not always the case; I am forced to admit that Mr. Neilstein is right on the account that there are some extraordinarily terrible vocalists out there. However, since his post, I have been ruminating on some of the better ones, the ones on whose behalf I objected to Neilstein’s premise with such vehemence.

So let’s do it. Here are some of my all-time favorite black metal vocalists (in no particular order, except for Dead, who I tend to stick at the front of most things).

Dead (Morbid, Mayhem)

Some people say that Dead is famous simply because he killed himself and not because he had any actual talent. Those people are philistines and should be disregarded. Dead is a bloody brilliant vocalist. Although I would argue that his best vocal work is with Morbid rather than with Mayhem, I also think that I would feel less certain about that if we had more studio work with Dead while he was in Mayhem. Dead’s vocals with Morbid are more of a raspy death rattle than the shrieks that he incorporates in his Mayhem work. Both, however, are creepy as all get out, and his knowledge of when to apply which vocals and how was impressive. Dead also has the added bonus of not being a very good singer, which makes his “la la la”s on songs like Disgusting Semla extremely endearing.

[La la la la la!]

[Have some Carnage. You don’t need to hear Freezing Moon again]

Arioch/Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Marduk, Triumphator)

In the same vein as Dead, Arioch (or Mortuus, or whatever he is going by now) has a very unique vocal style. He claims that he considers his voice as an instrument. Jamie says that Arioch is the Whitney Houston of black metal, and I reckon he’s pretty much right. Not only can the man belt out some of the ugliest screams and groans I’ve ever heard, but he does so on pitch. There’s a certain note (yes, note) that he hits in “Anti-Flesh Nimbus” that makes me convinced that he is also a very good singer. The fact that he has managed to do these kinds of vocals for as long as he has (he’s been pretty active since about 1996) without damaging his throat is impressive. One of the most versatile vocalists I have ever heard, his voice ranges from majestic adulations to frenzied screams. In my personal opinion, the best vocal cords/lungs in black metal.

[Resisting the urge to post “Holy Poison” because I want you to hear the crazy screaming]

[Been listening to this song a lot lately. And people say Marduk are a one trick pony. Pssshaw, I say]

Dagon (Inquisition)

I really like Dagon’s vocals because he approaches the entire concept of black metal vocals from a whole other angle than most of his contemporaries.  Dagon claims that he found the traditional shrieks of black metal to be increasingly cliched, and wanted to approach the music from a different perspective. Thus, Dagon’s weird, croaky, and inhuman chants were born. If Inquisition’s goal is to ask us to meditate on the cosmos and the metaphysical, Dagon’s bizarre, yet somehow soothing, chanting provides the perfect commentary.

[I absolutely cannot wait for this to happen live]

Kim Carlsson (Lifelover/Hypothermia/Kyla/Life Is Pain/Kim has been in so many bands he has an “Etc.” by his name on Encyclopedia Metallum)

A very over the top showman, it is tempting to want to dismiss Kim Carlsson because of his seeming enthusiasm to bleed all over everyone and everything as well as his vocals, because to be honest, he doesn’t have that good of a voice. This is precisely why I love his vocals, however. The guy makes do with what he has, and his vocals, while they may not be all that pretty, have a veritable ton of feeling behind them. Kim Carlsson’s shrieks are positively (negatively?) agonized, and are all the better for their lack of finesse. That raw edge is just what the doctor ordered if you are feeling that your blood needs curdling.

[Never really could get into Lifelover, but I still dig the vocals]

[Now that I can get behind]

ICS Vortex (Arcturus, Borknagar, Lamented Souls, solo work, ex-Dimmu Borgir)

ICS Vortex has, quite simply, one of the most awesome voices I have ever heard. His range is simply amazing, covering every inch of ground between harsh growls and vibrato-laden falsetto. A very versatile vocalist, he has sung for bands of every ilk, including doom metal, black metal, and avant garde. Very few singers can claim Vortex’s virtuosity, and songs like Arcturus’ “The Chaos Path” are indicative of his skill (I’m pretty sure they wrote that song just for him, or he wrote it, or something. I am convinced that there is not another vocalist in the world who could do justice to it in the way Vortex does). Also, Vortex seems like just about the nicest guy on the entire planet, with a goofy stage presence and a friendly smile. He is really good about interacting with his fans (he once left me a comment on MySpace back in the day, just, it would appear, to be nice and make a fan’s day). A personality to match his pipes.

[The best Dimmu Borgir song. No, don’t argue. I’m right]

Attila Csihar (Tormentor, Mayhem, and more bands than I could possibly ever name)

In terms of Mayhem’s vocalists, there seems to be endless debate as to who is the best. Attila, for some reason, often seems to get short shrift in this battle. I’ve never really understood why. He’s got a powerful voice, and he can actually sing as well (which is more than can be said for our poor friend Dead). His chanting on “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” is one of my favorite parts of that entire album; it’s instant chills. Also, Attila has a really fun stage persona; when I saw Mayhem about a year ago, he sang to a skull that he brought on stage with him and wore a cape. Besides his work with Mayhem, his band Tormentor (from his native Hungary) was groundbreaking in the early black metal underground. In interviews that I have seen with him, Attila seems like one of the kindest and most thoughtful guys in the black metal scene, making him someone I’d love to sit and have a beer with.

E (Watain)

Erik Danielsson (or E) of Watain should win the award for biggest lungs on the smallest vocalist. His vocals are powerful and his stage presence is mighty, and even though Watain is not the Erik Danielsson show, his charisma on stage makes it hard to tear your eyes from him. Multi-talented, he also plays the bass on all of Watain’s albums (though they hire a bassist to tour with them so that he can focus on doing what he does). I particularly love the way he incorporates his vocals into Watain’s songs; someone on the interwebs once described E’s vocals as “slithering” in and out of the music, and I think that perhaps that is the best way to describe it. E has a way of knowing exactly how to incorporate the lyrics into the song, and that combined with the sheer emotion he exudes makes him a formidable force.

[The first verse of this one is a good example of the “slithering” I mentioned]

Garm (Ulver, Arcturus, Borknagar)

Garm is another of those talented vocalists who has as lovely a singing voice as he has a scream. I love watching videos of Arcturus live and seeing Vortex sing the songs that Garm recorded with the band, because it becomes very clear in such instances what very different vocalists they are, though they have been in many of the same bands. Garm’s voice is a lot lower than Vortex’s, for instance, and he is much more comfortable with screaming and growling. Ulver’s early black metal albums are some of the most influential in the genre, also, and their later work, while often wildly experimental, is never not good.

[One of my all time favorite songs]

Abbath (Immortal, I)

Abbath may have the most instantly recognizable voice in black metal. His grim and frostbitten croak was what originally lured me into the subgenre. Like Dagon from Inquisition, Abbath’s vocals are more of a croak than the shrieks that tend to define the genre, and even when he sings passages (like in “All Shall Fall”), his voice is raw and more raspy than clear. Abbath has often been said to sound like Popeye, and this mixture of seriousness with good-natured humor is one of the main reasons perhaps for Immortal’s continuous success.

Gaahl (Trelldom, God Seed, Gorgoroth)

Gaahl and King ov Hell’s less than amicable split with Gorgoroth left a lot of fans feeling hurt and confused and understandably resentful, but regardless of how you feel about the Gorgoroth incident, you have to admit that Gaahl does some great vocals. His voice sounds almost violent (is the only way I can think of to describe it), and certainly inhuman. With just the right amount of shriek, Gaahl is able to keep in line with the traditional vocals while still maintaining a unique sound. The result is something really quite nightmarish. His band Trelldom is also quite good, and unfortunately often overlooked. Sorry kids, Gaahl is my favorite Gorgoroth vocalist, yes, even more than Pest, whose voice I can only stand when the recording doesn’t sound like it was done on a tape recorder in someone’s bathroom.

[I didn’t tag this as NSFW, so you can watch the video on your own time]

***

In short, I think metal vocalists are still relevant. At length… everything I just typed. So what do you all think? Do you think that vocalists are important to the genre of metal? Who are some of your favorite black metal vocalists?

Stay tuned, I’ll be covering Melechesh before I go to see them on Friday (oh my gosh. So excited. What a show, and Melechesh and Inquisition are the OPENERS).

Stay kvlt.

-Hagalaz

Band Spotlight: Inquisition (Colombia/US)

Posted in black metal, colombia, featured artist, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

I don’t expect any of my readers to remember this, but in a few weeks (on the 19th) I will be seeing Inquisition and Melechesh, two underground black metal bands that are both really remarkable in their own right (of course, I’ll also be seeing Ex Deo, Krisiun, and Septic Flesh, but that’s like dessert). Since they are pretty far underground, I decided I needed to do features on both these bands leading up to the show. First up, Inquisition, AKA “and you thought US black metal couldn’t be kvlt.”

Dagon, who is originally from the United States, formed Inquisition in 1988 in Cali, Colombia, while he was living there. The band started out as thrash metal, and then in the mid-90s shifted drastically to start playing raw black metal. Dagon moved back to the United States in 1996 in search of a drummer. That search resulted in Incubus joining the band, and thus the Inquisition we have come to know and love was born. Here sixteen years later, the lineup has not changed (Encyclopedia Metallum).

[This is what Inquisition’s early thrash stuff sounded like. This is *mostly* nothing like what they sound like now, but is an interesting artifact nonetheless]

Inquisition’s debut full-length album, Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult, came out in 1998, after two thrash demos and an EP and split portraying the beginnings of their black metal dalliances. By this point, the band had largely abandoned their thrash beginnings for black metal, though a lot of the riffage in the guitars still carries hints of Inquisition’s thrash background.

[Trve]

Inquisition’s music is characterized by Dagon’s croaky, frog-like vocals and musical cadences that switch from slower, sludgier passages to fast riffing and blast beats. In an interview with ThatsHowKidsDie.com, Dagon claimed that rather than the shrieks that are traditional to black metal, he wanted his vocals to sound more like an inhuman chant. He also added that he was flattered when people described his vocals as frog-like because his goal was for them to be as inhuman as possible.

[You can hear the thrashiness in the riffage here]

Also interesting about Inquisition is their use of corpsepaint, a tradition that has been less prevalent in USBM. The band’s lyrical themes explore Satanism, spirituality, and the cosmos, and Dagon argues that corpsepaint helps them to realize these goals. “[Corpsepaint] represents the fact that black metal is more than music and is a form of magic and ritual,” he claims. “It represents the fact that the spiritual self is unleashed” (ThatsHowKidsDie.com). Corpsepaint then, at least for Inquisition, symbolizes something more than simply a black metal fashion statement. The tiny ritualistic things that enter into black metal performance are fascinating, and one of the reasons why I love this subgenre so much.

[From Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer (2004)]

Another fun and cool aspect of Inquisition is their really impressive album artwork. The artwork is painted by Antichrist Kramer, who Dagon met in 2002 and asked to be Inquisition’s artist. He was interested in having someone do the album covers who was not working with any other bands, and who could evolve as the music evolved. As a result, Kramer has done the last few album covers for Inquisition, surrealist paintings with diabolical imagery (from ThatsHowKidsDie.com). I love that Inquisition has worked with the same artist for so long; as someone who considers the album artwork and liner work to be an essential part of the experience of black metal, it is cool to see a band working closely with a particular artist in the way that Inquisition does with Antichrist Kramer. Kramer’s work really encapsulates the essence of Inquisition, and it is as though the two art forms feed from each other.

[From 2007’s Nefarious Dismal Orations]

Inquisition’s newest album, which came out last year, is called Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm, and it is awesome (and speaking of album art, this is one of my all-time favorites). If you get a chance, you should really try to catch Inquisition on tour this fall. They will be opening on the Conquerors of the World Tour alongside Melechesh (who I will also feature on here soon), Ex Deo, and Krisiun in support of Septic Flesh. Despite the fact that Inquisition has been based in the United States since 1996, this upcoming tour is their first full North American tour. Ever. Now that Inquisition is one of your new favorite bands, you can understand how momentous an occasion this is. So get thee hence and buy yourself a ticket, because this is a huge deal. You’ll be a part of black metal history.

[Brilliant. And tell me that album art isn’t ribcage-tattoo worthy]

[Here’s some old footage, and a preview of what you’ll be missing if you don’t catch this tour]

Check out Inquisition. Stay true. Support the underground.

Until then,

Hagalaz