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Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Covers

Posted in black metal, covers, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

So I’ve been planning on doing a thing on black metal cover songs for a long time but never got around to it, and by this point I’m sure there are some on my original mental list that have slipped my mind. But here is at least part one (there’s no Bathory on here, for starters. Mainly because I’d have done Emperor’s cover of A Fine Day To Die but I wanted to do the Mercyful Fate cover).

My personal favorite covers tend to be those in which a band puts their own spin on the original, incorporating new sounds into an old song, so that’s what I’ve tried to stick with here. And so without further ado, some personal favorite black metal covers of mine in random order!

Emperor – Gypsy (Mercyful Fate cover)

I remember reading in The Slayer Mag Diaries that Metalion didn’t like this cover, I think because of what Emperor did with the keyboards. But the added keyboards give the song that symphonic and majestic feel that is distinctly Emperor, laid over the straightforward, traditional metal of Mercyful Fate, and personally, I think that’s what makes it fantastic. Well, that and Ihsahn singing falsetto.

 

Watain – Watain (VON cover)

HERE IS. WHERE HE KILLS. Watain’s cover of the song from which they took their name is great fun, not least of all because Von sounds absolutely nothing like Watain has ever sounded a day in their lives. It’s always a good time to hear a band play something completely out of their ordinary style, and I’m less likely to get all whimsical and teary-eyed like I do when Watain covers Dissection.

 

Shining – I Nattens Timma (Landberk cover)

By all means, if you do not know Landberk’s original of I nattens timma, you ought to get out there and listen to it. It is, I think, actually creepier than Shining’s cover, with a more music-box feel to it and creepy flutes. However much I really like the original, though, I absolutely adore Shining’s version, which is how I fell in love with Niklas Kvarforth’s clean singing voice.

 

Dissection – Elisabeth Bathory (Tormentor cover)

There is literally nothing about Dissection covering Tormentor that isn’t cool. Of course, Jon Nödtveidt will never sound like Attila in the opening voice over, and Dissection’s approach to the song is, unsurprisingly, not as atmospheric or low-fi as the original. But rest assured, they’ve certainly Swedish-ized it, and only in the best possible way.

 

Thorns – Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times (Emperor cover)

Thorns’ cover of Emperor’s Cosmic Keys is totally weird, and completely wonderful. It’s all the Emperor riffs you love, but slowed down to doom speeds and with a spoken-word voice over rather than the shrieks of the original. Slow-building and immensely heavy with a steady, almost tribal-sounding drum beat in the background, Thorns’ creepy, apocalyptic-feeling approach to the track is proof of how lucky we are that Samoth and Snorre were kicking around in the same prison for a bit.

 

Agalloch – Kneel to the Cross (Sol Invictus cover)

I remember seeing Agalloch play this live and being shell-shocked, because at the time I hadn’t heard the original, but I had studied medieval lyric poetry, and all I could think of was this. Anyway. That’s weird. Both versions are fantastic, of course, but it’s interesting how Agalloch’s blackened version seeps the hopefulness out of the original.

 

Melechesh – Babylon Fell (Celtic Frost cover)

Melechesh’s cover of Babylon Fell adds a Mediterranean flair to Celtic Frost’s blistering original. The drums in particular are really cool on this track, with the syncopated drumbeat shifting slightly away from the original. Likewise, they use several different vocal techniques, making for some interesting layering (I am, unsurprisingly partial to the shrieks). And of course, there’s some sitar in there as well, lending this cover an Eastern feel that complements the title and lyrics.

 

Dimmu Borgir – Burn in Hell (Twisted Sister cover)

Okay, so this is once again me posting Dimmu post-them being acceptable to a lot of black metal people, but once again, I don’t care. They covered Twisted Sister, and Burn in Hell at that, and it’s fun as shit, and ICS Vortex is as on par here as he ever is.

 

Limbonic Art – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (Mayhem cover)

Limbonic Art’s symphonic take on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is super cool- the vocals are inspired by Attila’s while still having an original flair to them, and the added keyboards give the song an eerie, almost gothic effect, complementing the original beautifully while still maintaining its own sound.

 

Celtic Frost – In the Chapel, In the Moonlight (Dean Martin cover)

I didn’t realize that this song was a cover until just recently. Now that I realize that it’s not only a cover, but a Dean Martin song, I find that not only awesome but also hilarious. This can also go into the list of Totally Metal Songs to Play at Your Wedding, which is now also going to be a list because I just thought of it. Celtic Frost also definitely put their own spin on this one, considering that it, uh, does not sound like Dean Martin.

 

So there you go! That’s a start of a list, at least, and probably needs more added to it, so don’t be surprised if there’s a part two lurking in the future. I’m working up a review of the Metal Threat Fest Warm-Up Show with Destroyer 666 (!) as well as some other things, but the posts might be more sporadic over the next couple of weeks while I finish up the summer session of school.

Until then,

H

 

 

Gratuitous Birthday Playlist 2016

Posted in 2016, atmospheric black metal, black metal, DSBM, NWOBHM, swedish death metal, true norwegian black metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

Heeeeyyy everyone. It’s my birthday again! And that means you all get a post of what I’m listening to at the moment, about which you may or may not care at all! (I realized that I missed out doing this the past couple of years. I may need to do a couple of other random gratuitous N/P posts to make up for it.)

Anyhow, without further ado, here is what I’ve been jamming lately.

Shining

SHINING IS COMING TO NORTH AMERICA YOU GUYS. I have been stupidly excited ever since this was announced, so it’s probably no surprise that Shining has been on near-constant rotation for me lately. (Niklas Kvarforth is also apparently not a June-baby. Ah well. Can’t have ’em all, I suppose.)

Taake

All of these articles lately with the back and forth about SJWs in metal using Taake as an example has done literally nothing but make me want to listen to more Taake. So that is what I does. Also I just got my own copy of this album after loving it for years. (Also, a bonus. I picked Myr for the list because it has a sample from Rosemary’s Baby. Whose birthday is ALSO June 28th.

Venom

Another thing I recently acquired was Venom’s Black Metal on vinyl. Unsurprisingly, it’s been in the rotation too.

Dissection

Dissection gets a spot on the birfday playlist because they are Satan’s favorite band. Also, today is Jon Nötdveidt’s birthday too, RIC.

1349

It’s also Frost’s birthday, and while something from Nemesis Divina probably makes more sense (since it’s that album’s 20th anniversary), I just got the massive and awesome 1349 Candlelight Years box set- 4 albums and the official unofficial bootleg DVD. So cheers to Frost, who was also born on the best day ever.

Psychonaut 4


I have always been vaguely aware of Psychonaut4, but until my buddy actively pushed them on me a couple of months ago I’d never really listened to them. I love my DSBM, especially in the summertime (summer is the worst!), and Psychonaut4 is some of the best.

Abbath

Because the new album is still fantastic, even 6 months after its release. And because yesterday was Abbath’s birthday (I swear, all the kvltest kids are born in June.)

Dark Funeral


Also, Dark Funeral makes the list this year, because their new album is awesome.

Black Metal Surf Rock


I’ve also been listening to surf rock covers of black metal tunes because it’s summer, and I made myself a mix cd of some of the greatest hits from YouTube the other day.

Ravencult


I also picked up Ravencult’s Morbid Blood the other day, an album that’s been on my list for a long time but I never got around to getting. If you don’t know Ravencult, but you like good, thrash-tinged black metal, you should give them a listen.

So there you have it, kids. Hopefully I’ve managed to channel some frostbitten grimness into your summer.

-H

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

 

 

Ennui

Posted in musings with tags , , , on December 16, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Yesterday I went to meet some kitties, because when I get back to the cities in January, I’m going to get one! (Kitties are totally metal). I also spent some much needed down time playing video games and having a nice dinner with a friend. As a result, today I’m completely swamped with ennui having had a big come down from emotional highs. I finished quite a bit of end of the year schoolwork, and I’m unhappy and exhausted.

So I will post soon (tomorrow? Probably) a playlist for the end of the world. In the meantime, enjoy this video of Niklas Kvarforth snuggling his kitty, because, as I said before, kitties are totally metal.

-Hagalaz

Some Thoughts on Depressive Black Metal

Posted in black metal, DSBM, musings with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Lately I’ve found myself listening to a lot of DSBM (depressive/suicidal black metal, for those of you who typoed and ended up here on accident), because, well, it’s perfect weather for it, yeah? It’s finals week, and my ennui over the past semester has peaked (and it’s been a rough one, moving to a new place, meeting new people, trying to adjust to the financial difficulties that entails). The Twin Cities are covered in snow (and about to get more). The holidays are up and coming, and they are fun, but they are also stressful. Everything at this time of year is full of contradictions, kind of like DSBM. Lovely and tormented.

[Surprise screams]

I’ve always liked DSBM because most of it is actually quite pretty. At times it’s incredibly heavy, and the bands that do it well create some of the most emotionally riveting music I’ve heard. I love the blend of beautiful and horrible at the same time- take Hypothermia for instance. Gorgeous melodies, with Kim Carlsson screaming in agony over the top of it. It also seems like a very healthy genre to me, honestly. The way I see it, it’s almost like pushing through depression and out the other side. There’s hope mingled in there, somewhere. Unfortunately the genre gets a bad rap sometimes, though, and I largely don’t think that it deserves one.

[We also do this pretty well in the U.S. This one is on it’s way to me, currently]

First of all, in the past several years “depressive” has come to be linked with “emo,” which is really quite ridiculous. This is silly; dark emotions are not regulated to some fad. And not only that, but this perspective has made it so that in past several years music culture has managed to trivialize depression and to stigmatize those who suffer from it. None of these guys, I think, are doing this to be cute. To dismiss this music because you’ve somehow gotten confused and conflated mental anguish with fashion is silly. DSBM is not emo. Scene haircuts are emo.

[Bleak]

Also, I think that some of the more… infamous, we’ll say, vocalists have caused people to steer away from the genre. I know I avoided Shining like the plague for a long time because Niklas Kvarforth put me off with his faked suicide. And a lot of them do tend to bleed all over the stage, pass out razorblades to the audience, etc. etc. These stunts can be a little much. However, you don’t have to watch that if you don’t want. The music in and of itself is often really, really good. (And besides, if you’re like me and you don’t live in Europe, good luck seeing most of these bands anyway).

[Plus, if you don’t like this, there’s not a whole lot I can do for you]

Another reason why I think that DSBM is often harshly criticized or dismissed by metal people is because its musical style is, often, not actually based in metal. A large percentage of DSBM is more grounded musically in post-rock, which lacks some of the signature moves of black metal: the tri-tone and the tremolo picking, to name a couple. A lot of it seems inspired by Burzum-esque, repetitive ambient music, but the darker aspects of the music aren’t clear on the surface in many cases. Lyrically and thematically, it’s very much black metal (lots of gazing into the Void, and this brand of depression has nothing to do with teen angst), but as most metal people are probably looking for, well, metal, a lot of DSBM may not be appealing to them.

[Musically this has very little to do with black metal]

I have, however, rather fallen in love with it as of lately. Particularly Lifelover, who I didn’t like at first (this has happened to me a lot. I also did not like Watain at first). I think I was wary because I assumed they were a lot like Shining because they were from the same place and were classified the same (silly me), and also because I didn’t really like the first song I heard by them. But now, NOW, I’m really starting to appreciate them. What a weird, wonderful little band.

[Right now, if I knew I was about to die and could only listen to one last song before I kicked the bucket, this’d be it]

Anyway, there you have some musings. Go listen to Skogens Hjärta. It’s perfect for the wintertime.

[The more I listen to this stuff the more I find that if you like this sort of thing, Kim Carlsson is your man. Anything he touches is good]

-Hagalaz

A Suggestion

Posted in black metal, DSBM, sweden with tags , , , on December 4, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

1. Open another tab.

2. Go to http://www.rainymood.com.

3. Come back here.

4. Click play on the video posted below.

5. Enjoy. (You’re welcome).

[Rainymood.com+DSBM. Of course. Why did I never think of that before?]

-Hagalaz