Archive for the netherlands

Selim Lemouchi

Posted in memorial, psychedelic rock, retro occult rock, the netherlands with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

This is just a bit overdue, in more ways than one. But, now it’s spring break and I can hear myself think again, and I’ve had some time to digest the news of Selim Lemouchi’s death. Honestly, I’m very, deeply sad about this. The Devil’s Blood is one of the most inspirational live acts I’ve ever seen, and I find myself increasingly grateful that I got to see them play an extended set on the Decibel Tour before they broke up (I knew there would be other opportunities to see Watain). Selim Lemouchi’s solo stuff is also incredible- I need to get me a copy of that album.

As J and I were discussing the other day, it could have been a heart attack, but 33 is awful young for that sort of thing, and things like In Solitude’s lovely post and the complete silence from Selim’s sister make us think that this was a suicide in the vein of Jon Nödtveidt. In which case, if it was, I am sure he had his reasons. Regardless of what actually happened, we have one less brilliant creative mind in the world.

The important thing is that I got to see Selim play live and had the honor of saying hello after the show, an experience for which I am extremely grateful.

Reign in Chaos, Selim. See you on the other side; give Jon our regards.

RIC Selim Lemouchi  (1980-2013) Photo from Last.fm

RIC Selim Lemouchi
(1980-2013)
Photo from Last.fm

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Concert: Paganfest IV, US/Canada Leg (Ensiferum/Tyr/Heidevolk/Trollfest/Helsott, 4/12, St. Paul, MN, Station 4)

Posted in concerts, finland, folk metal, norway, the netherlands, united states, viking metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Friday night I headed out to Paganfest IV, where I FINALLY got to see Ensiferum, something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Once again, the crowd was a mixed one replete with costumes; a group of guys came in with fur costumes on, which must have sucked for them because it was really hot in there. It was also a huge crowd, probably the second biggest one I’ve seen at Station 4 after the Decibel Tour last year. There was moshing, and presumably a figure-8 pit at one point, although it was hard for me to see from the rail where I was standing.

Jamie and I got drinks up in the bar area for the first part of the opening band’s set. Helsott is from California, which is sweet, because the U.S. doesn’t have a lot of pagan metal bands. They were so excellent, in fact, that we finished our beers quickly so we could get in there and watch the rest of their set. The crowd showed up for Helsott too, which was awesome, since usually the early openers don’t draw much of one. A couple of the guys from Trollfest came out during their last song with a bottle of champagne and sang and danced onstage with them. A really fun set, and a great way to start the night.

[America, you have a pagan metal band!]

Next up was Trollfest, whom I have heard of, but hadn’t ever listened to. Jamie remarked that they looked like they had just woken up on the floor of Ensiferum’s tour bus, which is pretty accurate, as they looked a little unkempt. The set was fantastic, however- it was during Trollfest’s performance that the pit was talked into trying a figure-8, and they also got a wall of death going. In like fashion, during Trollfest’s last song, members of the other bands came out onstage and drank and sang along. They also have a saxophone player, which is awesome! Also, bees. I can honestly say that I am a Trollfest fan now, and not just because they kept making funny faces at me (which they did. It was both bizarre and hilarious.) They are A LOT of fun, and put on a funny (and yet, musically, very tight) set.

[I’m still not quite sure what the deal is with the bee thing. It sure is fun, though]

After Trollfest was Heidevolk. I was unfamiliar with Heidevolk as well, thus reminding myself of the fact that I don’t listen to folk metal all that much (except Ensiferum and Finntroll, which I listen to a lot, and when I do listen to it, I binge on it). The band hails from the Netherlands, and plays songs about Viking history and Germanic lore. I thought the long-haired vocalist in particular had a really good voice, and my friend and I agreed that they were also a very aesthetically pleasing bunch of guys. They played a great set, and were a great transition between Trollfest and Tyr.

Tyr took the stage next, and unlike last time, I was up by the stage and actually got to see them. They played a solid set as they usually do, and the crowd went crazy- I had forgotten just how much St. Paul LOVES Tyr. I’m less of a fan than most, although I do enjoy watching them live. Their guitarist also had his hair cut all Robin Finck-style, which I appreciated. They played several songs that I recognized, so several of their hits, as I don’t know them all that well. A very solid performance; those wanting to see Tyr on this tour shall not be disappointed.

[This song. This song is the most ear-wormy thing ever. The clip is from 70,000 Tons of Metal earlier this year]

Last, but certainly not least, was Ensiferum, who is pretty much my all-time favorite cheesy pagan folkish metal band. Ensiferum’s set was everything I ever hoped it would be; they played songs from a range of albums, including Burning Leaves and In My Sword I Trust from the new one. They also played Guardians of Fate, which pretty much made my night. While watching their set, I also learned that apparently Petri doesn’t do any of the clean vocals, something I did not know previously. I also thought there were members than there are; their sound is incredibly full live. For me, the only thing that would have made the night even more perfect would be if they had played Token of Time, but I am completely satisfied with the set I saw. Ensiferum was a perfect end to a fantastically successful Paganfest IV.

[Such a fun, silly song]

[Oh. Yes.]

I ended up buying the Ensiferum edition of the Paganfest shirt, which I thought was really cool looking. I like the knotted background- reminds me of a Celtic knot. I also bought Unsung Heroes finally; I had been wanting it for a while and just hadn’t gotten around to buying it yet. Both were pretty steep at $25 and $20 respectively (the CD I bought does come with a DVD), however, I know that the money is going right back to the band so it’s worth it. Also, some of my friends got Tyr shirts- their designs this time around look pretty awesome as well.

As usual, ignore the cat hair.

As usual, ignore the cat hair.

Dates. 4/12- that's me!

Dates. 4/12- that’s me!

I've been after this one for a while now. A really solid album.

I’ve been after this one for a while now. A really solid album.

Overall, Paganfest IV was fantastic. All the bands were at the top of their game, and they all seemed to get along well too (as demonstrated by the stage sharing and festivities), which is always good. Although Heidevolk and Tyr are not quite my cup of tea, I really enjoyed their sets as well as everyone else’s. If you should attend the US/Canada leg of Paganfest, you should make sure you aren’t on a smoke or bathroom break when Trollfest is on- you do not want to miss them, trust me. Also, American fans, take pride in the fact that Helsott is a freaking fantastic pagan metal band from the States. And, for me, Ensiferum was pretty much everything I wanted. Apparently they tour here pretty frequently, but this was my first time actually seeing them live, and it was well worth the wait. A really fun night, and a highly recommended tour.

-Hagalaz

The Heavens Cry Out For The Devil’s Blood

Posted in musings, retro occult rock, the netherlands with tags , , , on February 6, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Two weeks ago, The Devil’s Blood, one of my favorite bands, decided to call it quits, and today they have doubly verified it. There’s very little info as of now as to the causes for the split, although Anso DF over at Metal Sucks thinks it might have something to do with the vocalist’s reputedly nasty temper, and my friend Jamie posited that perhaps it might arise from professional difficulties- SL tours with Watain sometimes, and we recently watched the blood-smeared Swedes sign with a bigger label. That doesn’t strike either of us as the sort of thing that either SL or his buddies in Watain would let the band break up over, so perhaps it was just time. Either way, it’s really none of my business why the band broke up, nor is it anyone else’s (pardon that snip, but people on Facebook are infuriating).

As Anso DF pointed out, though, the statement was signed by both SL and F (The Mouth of Satan), which suggests that the siblings are at least in on the decision together and could potentially move on to work on more projects together or someday maybe restructure the band. And SL posted on Facebook earlier today that a live DVD as well as some music will become available soon in a sort of housekeeping attempt to get the unreleased stuff out there, so we have that to look forward to. Either way, it’s a big loss for those of us who dig the retro occult rock thing since TDB were one of the absolute best bands to do it.

So for now I guess there’s nothing more to do than go back and listen to the awesome music that we’ve got from The Devil’s Blood, because everything they have done is great. That and, for my part at least, be grateful that I got to see them perform live.

RIC, The Devil’s Blood. Thanks for the truly inspiring music and live rituals, guys. You make my soul sing.

“There begins a journey long past the seventh and ever on
The yonder beckons, I can hear its roaring wail
From the starless spheres of nothing
Where the serpent lets loose its tail”

[For those of you who never got the chance to see this band perform live, enjoy this footage from Maryland Deathfest 2012]

-Hagalaz

Band Spotlight: Melechesh (Israel/Netherlands)

Posted in black metal, featured artist, israel, the netherlands, underground with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Melechesh is another of the bands I will be seeing live tomorrow night, and that I am completely stoked about. I have been a fan since Pandora randomly played them for me one fateful day, and I can’t wait to see them perform live. So without further ado…

Melechesh, which means “King of Fire” in Hebrew, got their start in the holy city of Jerusalem in 1993. Now, if you’re like me, you appreciate the irony behind a black metal band from Jerusalem. Nothing seems quite so cool to me as the thought of black metal from the Holy Land. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like I do, and according to Encyclopedia Metallum, Melechesh, due to problems with the religious authorities and with the deeply religious people of their hometown (as well as “personal and professional reasons,” of which I can’t really comment on as I know nothing about), actually packed up and moved to the Netherlands, where they currently reside. In the words of Nathan Explosion, “now that’s brutal.”

[From their first album, As Jerusalem Burns… Al’Intisar. Melechesh, from their early days, incorporated Mediterranean melodies into their black metal]

Melechesh got started in 1993, and released their demo As Jerusalem Burns… in 1995, after which they were apparently accused of alleged “dark cult activities” in Jerusalem and Bethlehem but were later cleared (NuclearBlast). Their debut came out a year later under the title As Jerusalem Burns… Al’Intisar, and contained the same tracks that appeared on the demo as well as several others (the above is one of the tracks that appeared on both). From the beginning it was clear that Melechesh would not be your typical black metal band; they call themselves “Mesopotamian metal” and incorporate a lot of Middle Eastern melodies in their work, a breath of fresh air in a black metal scene that was increasingly starting to all blend together.

[From 2001’s Djinn]

Also in 1996, the band released an EP called “The Siege of Lachish,” after which they stayed quiet for several years, not re-emerging until 2001’s Djinn, their next full length album. In this long span of no recordings, the band played several shows in the Holy Land and in 1998 relocated to the Netherlands. In 1999, Proscriptor McGovern of Absu (from Texas, like me!) joined the band on drums. 2003 saw the release of Sphynx, the cover art of which was done by a guy who does art for Star Wars (and may, perhaps, have been in the band at some point… my knowledge is scant here and I’m having trouble corroborating sources, so feel free to offer the info up if you know it. Either way, there is nothing about any of that situation that is not totally awesome). According to Nuclear Blast, Sphynx was considered one of the top 10 metal albums of the year in 2003, impressive for a band from so far underground (although not, I think, undeserved).

[This one is from Sphynx, 2003. There’s a rock beat under this one, which is cool. Layers upon layers…]

Armed with a North American/Central American distributer in The End Records, Melechesh pressed on, releasing another EP the following year called “The Ziggurat Scrolls.” Their fourth LP, Emissaries, followed in 2006. This album was the first one I heard by Melechesh, and it seems that lots of people consider it to be the pinnacle of the band’s work up to that point (Nuclear Blast). While they have continuously utilized the Mediterranean musical approaches in their scales and drum patterns, Melechesh has always remained fresh and original in their sound. They have not, then, become some kind of novelty act; with shifting tempos and original song structure, they never become boring.

[This was my first Melechesh song. It about knocked my socks off]

Melechesh’s lyrical themes center around Mesopotamian and Sumerian mythology. This focus is a nice shift away from the typical black metal lyrics, as well as fits well with the band’s musical perspective. Also, it’s complicated by the inclusion of some Sumerian symbols and deities in anti-cosmic Satanism, which is cool. I’m not claiming that’s what they are going for; I don’t actually know. However, the connection is there and is interesting.

Melechesh’s fifth full length album, The Epigenesis, came out in 2011, and they have a new EP out this year called “Mystics of the Pillar II.” You can buy their new EP in digital format right here on their official website. Other websites I plundered for the information in this write up are the Nuclear Blast webpage for Melechesh, and of course, Encyclopedia Metallum and Wikipedia. If you get a chance, I highly recommend giving Melechesh a listen. Their songs are catchy and interesting, and it is fun to hear music so radically different than traditional black metal.

[As a Renaissance geek, this title particularly appeals to me. Love the sitar and drums. From Emissaries (2011)]

For me, the best part about Melechesh is the fact that I get to see them tomorrow! I hope they have patches available; I think my battle jacket could do with a Melechesh patch (or any more patches at all! Having skimp on patch buying sucks! Oh well. Financial stability is near, just as soon as I purchase those damned MDF tickets and can stop pinching pennies). I’ll do a write up of the show at least for Sunday, if not earlier.

Stay kvlt.

-Hagalaz

Gratuitous Birthday Playlist Post

Posted in black metal, blackened death metal, dead, funeral mist, marduk, mayhem, musings, poland, sweden, the netherlands, true norwegian black metal, underground with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Weeeeelll, ladies and gentlemen, it’s my birthday. Which means that instead of an actual post, you shall get a gratuitous, “hey everyone this is what I like” post. So shortly following will be a playlist I strung together for my birthday.

First of all, though, I wanted to express my excitement over my birthday present. I was actually at WalMart (I normally avoid WalMart like the plague; I forgot that they sometimes have stuff) getting some universal remote controls when I stumbled upon this little gem. I had a gift card from forever ago which I’ve never used, because I don’t ever go to WalMart, and my mom paid for part of it for my birthday gift.

It’s a 5 in 1 music player, which is pretty much exactly what I needed. I wanted something I could play my CDs on that had bigger sound than a boom box (this has stereo sound), a tape player, and a turntable. And this has all of that! And a line in for an mp3 player. Awesome. It makes just enough noise for my small apartment, and it’s got good sound for the price. I’m really excited about it, because now I can start buying records. I have often longed to hear Emperor on vinyl; now maybe I can.

I also managed to track down a Funeral Mist shirt. It’s much too big for me to wear, but I plan on making art of it anyhow (although I am keeping an eye out for one in my size as well for the reason of actually being able to wear a Funeral Mist shirt).

So now, for the playlist! (It goes to 11, as all things metal should, and also because 11 is the biblical number for chaos and  “symbolizes the potential to push the limitations of the human experience into the stratosphere of the highest spiritual perception; the link between the mortal and the immortal; between man and spirit; between darkness and light; ignorance and enlightenment.” (Numerology.com)

1. The Devil’s Blood- Voodoo Dust

The Devil’s Blood is one of my favorite bands right now. I recently saw them on the Decibel Tour and ye gods were they amazing. The Mouth of Satan (as she goes by) has an amazing voice.

2. Deathspell Omega- The Shrine of Mad Laughter

I just recently acquired my first DSO album, and it’s not this one. They are part of the same trilogy of albums, however, based on god, Satan, and man’s relationship to both. DSO is black metal taken to its (il?)logical conclusion, kind of like Abruptum. A structured cacophany. Fraaance.

3. Mayhem- Freezing Moon

This one is always on rotation, always. Mayhem knocked me off my feet the first time I heard them, and they, along with Funeral Mist, are probably by favorite metal band ever. This particular version my friend claims is the “best seven minutes in recorded black metal history.”

4. Agalloch- Faustian Echoes

Brand spanking new from Agalloch! Hot off the press! I get to see these guys in a couple of weeks and I’m stoked about it. I’m really digging this song right now, too, because I actually study Renaissance drama, and Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is my favorite play.

“Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place, for where we are is hell,
And where hell is must we ever be.
And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,
All places shall be hell that is not heaven.”

5. Marduk- World of Blades

I think everyone who reads this knows how I feel about Marduk, and if you want, you can read how I feel about their new album, too (in previous posts).  My favorite album of the year so far. This track is one of my favorites (dat bass). (Also, stupid YouTube commentors are stupid.)

6. In Solitude- To Her Darkness

The first time I heard In Solitude I appreciated it because I appreciate metal, but I thought it really wasn’t my style. Since seeing them live I’ve become quite a fan. They are fantastic musicians for their age, and they are very nice as well. This is my favorite off their latest, and it is also their new video!

7. Morbid- From the Dark

Back in February I said something about how it was a good day for Morbid’s “Disgusting Semla,” and got the remark “when do you ever think it’s NOT a good day for Dead?” Which is a good point. I like his voice with Morbid even better than with Mayhem.

8. Immortal- Where Dark and Light Don’t Differ

Immortal is great. They were the first band I really got into in terms of heavy black metal, probably because they are so thrashy. I have always loved them and their approach to black metal, and this album is my favorite.

9. Azarath- Throne of Skulls

Azarath is one that I have just recently learned of. They do that blackened death metal thing that Poland is so good at, and Inferno from Behemoth is also their drummer. He is one of my favorite drummers, and I am very fortunate to have seen him live.

10. Funeral Mist- Anti-Flesh Nimbus

I have lost track of how many times I have heard this song, and it never, ever, ever gets old to me. It’s hideous and beautiful, terrifying and inspiring. In other words, everything I love about Funeral Mist in one nice little package.

11. Watain- The Waters of Ain

This song is for endings. I’d say it’s in my top three of favorite songs ever. It is Watain’s magnum opus, and it even features Selim from The Devil’s Blood. Even when they start touring for a new album cycle, I hope they still end with this one. I can’t believe I *almost* saw Watain two nights in a row! (Damned visa problems).

Well, that’s it. That’s the gratuitous birthday playlist of things I am currently obsessed with (or eleven of them, at any rate). Hopefully you will get some enjoyment out of some of my personal favorites.

I shall be back with reviews soon. Next up, the new Naglfar.

Until then,

-Hagalaz