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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

 

 

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Concert: Mayhem/Watain/Revenge (1/17, Mill City Nights, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in . watain, canada, mayhem, mill city nights, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, revenge, sweden, tours, true norwegian black metal, watain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2015 by blackmetallurgy

Well, over a month after it happened and almost two weeks after I wrote this thing, I am finally putting up my live report from the front row of the Mayhem show. I blame my not-nearly-as-quick-as-I-had-anticipated recovery from oral surgery (turns out, getting your wisdom teeth out when you’re 27 kind of sucks), as well as preoccupation with school (one month left til I start my prelims, y’all).

But anyway, here it is. I treated this review as of a co-headlining tour, as I picked up from The Internet that that’s what it was, with Mayhem and Watain alternating the closing spot each night.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I got the rare, rare chance to see two of my favorite bands on the same stage in the same night. I don’t think I need to tell you all exactly how I feel about Mayhem, and Watain likewise holds a special place in my heart. Currently, I am in the midst of cultivating a love of Revenge, who I have clearly not paid enough attention to, although I know that they are a favorite amongst some friends of mine. Considering that they were one of the bands I missed at Maryland Deathfest a couple of years ago, too, I was looking forward to the opportunity to see them live and make that up (although I absolutely do not regret trading my potential time with them at MDF for meeting fucking Ihsahn).

A and I tried to get there early this time, figuring that there would be a ton of people going. Earlier in the day, A told me that she had seen several dudes in black battlejackets roaming the streets in downtown Minneapolis, so you know something was brewing. It’s not every day that black metal fans roam downtown in packs in broad daylight. However, we really didn’t have to wait in line long at all, the ticket handling seeming to run rather smoothly.

When we got inside the venue, A and I made our way to the front to stake our claim on the rail. Revenge started us off, obliterating everything with sheer, military-grade force. A friend of mine said that the sound was really bad during their set, but I admit I didn’t notice; I don’t know Revenge’s catalog that well (I KNOW. I’M WORKING ON CHANGING THAT. JEEZ.), and anyway, everything is exceptionally noisy when you are that close to the speakers. Revenge played several songs from the breadth of their career, including “Altar of Triumph,” “Traitor Crucifixion,” and “Banner Degradation- Exile or Death.” Despite any potential issues with the sound, Revenge’s set was pure brutality, and their straightforward approach to war-inspired black metal made for a devastating clarity.


[Also, it was fun to see all the dude-friends freaking out like little schoolgirls. Masculine ones, of course.]

If you ever wondered if Watain pulls out ALL of their stage set for an co-headlining slot, I can now tell you: the answer is yes, indeed. The Dark Gods are not going to settle for anything less, not when they know what they can expect from Watain. Even though their set was shorter than a standard headlining one, Watain completely destroyed it, both theatrically and musically. All the ritual was there too, with E praying at the altar at the end of the set and everything. The only thing that would have made it more perfect would be if the crowd had not seized the opportunity to yell a lot.

Watain also played songs ranging throughout their albums; “The Wild Hunt” was of course the mystical ballad song this time around (I am finally ready to admit that I may have missed my chance to see “The Waters of Ain” live), but they also played “Underneath the Cenotaph” (which I don’t think they played last time), “I Am the Earth,” and “On Horns Impaled,” ending with “Malfeitor.” It was nice to see a setlist so varied from the last one I saw Watain play, and they even altered the stage set this time around too, with skeletons and cages replacing the fence-like structures they brought with them last time.


[I am pretty sure I caught a glimpse of black wings somewhere during Watain’s set.]

Last but certainly not least was my beloved Mayhem. Attila did not disappoint in his unusual fashion choices; this night he was wearing military trappings on an unbelievably ugly sports jacket, and what I believe were rain boots. Throw in the bottle of wine that Necrobutcher was plowing through and you’re ready for a Mayhem party. Teloch was right in front of A and I, fully decked out in shrouded hood and cloak, which is cool, because I really dug his riffwork on Esoteric Warfare and it was fun to see that reproduced live.

Despite the fact that Mayhem is undoubtedly touring in support of Esoteric Warfare, their set was not concentrated on the new album (and when you have such an extensive backlog and history as Mayhem, that’s not surprising). “Psywar” they played, of course, but the set also featured songs such as “My Death,” “Chainsaw Gutsfuck,” “Freezing Moon,” and “Carnage” (for which I completely lost my shit. I LOVE that song). Of course they opened with “Deathcrush,” as usual, and they also played a track from Grand Declaration of War- hearing Attila’s version of Maniac’s voiceover live is its own kind of awesome. “Funeral Fog” was conspicuously missing, but that’s alright; there was more than enough old school Mayhem to keep the crowd satisfied.


[Follow the Freezing Moon…]

And speaking of the crowd, the one at this show was not the best, or so I am told. A and I were right up front, as I said, so we were out of the press for the most part, but I do recall some moshing going on, something I’ve never really understood at black metal shows. Watain got on and off stage without P having to crush anyone’s hands this time, though, thanks to Mill City’s stage setup, and as I mentioned, the only thing that I would have liked is if the crowd had quieted at the end of Watain’s set. But I guess we’re not all there for the same thing, and that’s okay too.

I had a Mayhem night at the merch booth. I had planned on getting a Revenge hoodie because I love their hoodies, but they didn’t have any, and Watain had very little merch as well. However, I was able to nab myself a standard issue Mayhem shirt (good because as least one of my Mayhem shirts is falling apart), as well as a Mayhem hoodie. Combined with a high five from Necrobutcher after the show, and that makes for a pretty awesome Mayhem experience.

Pretty standard, but awesome nonetheless.

Pretty standard, but awesome nonetheless.

Hoodie front

Hoodie front

Hoodie back

Hoodie back

Surprisingly, I didn’t experience any issues with security this time, although they apparently made life a little hard for a friend of mine delivering a stage prop to Hellhammer (it was not, nor had it ever been, alive, if that’s what you’re wondering). The security guys in front of me and A seemed cool enough, and they kept a good handle on some of the rowdier crowd participants without using the opportunity to be jerks.

Overall, I had a great time. I got to watch two of my favorite bands share a stage, and I got to grow a little more familiar with Revenge, whose music I clearly need to spend more time with. For a show that fell right after Dead’s birthday, it couldn’t get much better.
-H

Review: Watain- The Wild Hunt

Posted in black metal, Reviews, sweden with tags , , , , on November 22, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

**EDITED** 10/26/14: Edited to add corrections concerning Erik’s vocals on They Rode On and the bonus track. Much thanks to Jamie Pell for the helpful comments!**

Earlier this year, I expressed my trepidation concerning the new Watain album. Like all trve black metal fans, I feared that the band had changed, that perhaps being on a label like Century Media had forced them to stifle their creativity and cater instead to the masses, that perhaps there just honestly wasn’t a way to top The Waters of Ain, and that perhaps they had shed some of the Satanic aspect of their mythos.

And Watain has changed, but not in the way I expected.

The Wild Hunt is an odd but brilliant album. All That May Bleed, the single that had me so worried, is quite the earworm once you’ve listened to it a few more times, and I have come to appreciate the ritual sacrifice aspect of the lyrics. I will admit, I had to listen to it quite a bit before I was okay with the more unconventional aspects of the album, but it has really grown on me.

The Wild Hunt starts off with a lovely intro in the form of Night Visions, which sounds as though it could be a companion piece to The Waters of Ain, and creates a nice flow between the albums. Following this intro track are two most traditional Watain songs on the album, De Profundis and Black Flames March. Although it’s sort of a cop-out answer, the former is probably my favorite track; the frantic guitar riffing paired up with the mid-tempo, tympani roll-enhanced chorus really does it for me. Black Flames March is probably the most conventional track on the album, as it is reminiscent of other songs that are fun to chant along to, like Reaping Death.

That’s pretty much as far as the similarities to older Watain material go, however. The Wild Hunt abounds with the treading of new ground. For instance, The Child Must Die incorporates a somewhat punky feel in the rhythms (and since Opus Diaboli has been in the world, we know that Watain digs punk) and some awesome melodic guitar riffing. Outlaw, one of the stranger songs on the album, features dissonant guitars and chanting. And the ballad that was the talk of the autumn, They Rode On, has a very traditional 80s metal feel to it while managing to not be too cheesy and retaining its darkness.

Since The Waters of Ain happens to be in my short list of favorite songs ever, I knew that it would be difficult to impress me on this release, which is probably why the title track didn’t do a whole lot for me at first. That is, until I saw it live (and yes, I saw Watain live recently. I’m not going to review it because I missed most of the show- I saw two In Solitude songs and Watain’s set, which I won’t lie, I teared up a little at the end of. It was glorious; P spit in my hair but then also gave me his pick, and it was a good night). Live, The Wild Hunt makes a lot more sense, or at least that’s what made it click for me. It is like The Waters of Ain in that the lyrics deal with looking beyond this world and to the next one, and it’s every bit as moving in a new way. Also, seeing Watain live confirmed for me that E does in fact sing the clean vocals on this track, which is kind of awesome (I am informed that he also does them on They Rode On. I guess hearing his voice in that low of a register throws me).

Like most Swedish melodic black metal releases, The Wild Hunt has clean production, and that is totally fine as it highlights the intricacies within the album, like those awesome timpani rolls in De Profundis. Another thing I thought was cool was the way that the into, Night Visions, seems to form a lovely segue from The Waters of Ain (which is the last track on the previous album, for all of you non-Watain die-hards). When the drums come in, the song sounds like some of the more courtly sounding parts of the latter, and the eerie opening is reminiscent of such tracks as Withershins from Sworn To The Dark. It’s as though Watain is commenting on their past while very obviously looking forward.

I bought the fangirl edition of the album, ]at least of the CD version. Time will tell if I shell out for the vinyl fangirl edition that comes with an altar cloth. The version I got came with a bonus track, which is awesome, even if I’m not sure what it is. A friend told me he thought it was a re-recording of an old, unreleased track, and if anyone can verify that or tell me what it is, I’d appreciate it. (I am also informed that the track is “When Stars No More Shine,” a re-recording of the first track on the ’98 EP Go Fuck Your Jewish “God”). The packaging for the album is also really cool, with a nice case and liner notes that have book-binding on them. Also, the paper the liner notes are printed on is really nice and heavy. The only complaint I have is the slot for the CD- it makes me really nervous that I have to slide the CD into it as opposed to popping it onto a thing on a jewel case (I believe “thing” is the technical term), as that seems like a good way to scratch it. I really love the cover art, both on the album and on the special case. The latter seems like a brilliant tattoo idea, too.

The cover of the special edition case

The cover of the special edition case

This packaging is really cool/nice

This packaging is really cool/nice

You slide the CD in on the right... makes me nervous

You slide the CD in on the right… makes me nervous

Nice heavy paper, cool graphic design

Nice heavy paper, cool graphic design

Rawr!

Rawr!

Overall, I’m really impressed with The Wild Hunt. It’s not what I expected, and the more I listen to it, the more I’m happy for that. With the couple of songs that sound like old-school Watain thrown in with the much more prominent experimental parts, I really do feel as though the band is acknowledging what came behind while venturing into new realms of shadow.

4 out of 5 Baphomet sigils

Hagalaz’ Favorite Tracks

De Profundis
The Child Must Die
The Wild Hunt

New Watain Single “All That May Bleed” To Be Released June 21st (With Musings from Yours Truly)

Posted in black metal, musings, release info, sweden with tags , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

This morning Watain issued a press statement on Facebook about their new single from their new album, which I gushed about on here recently. The single will be called “All That May Bleed,” and it will appear on the album The Wild Hunt later this year. Said single will come forth on June 21st (the summer solstice, of course. Which makes me realize that Walpugisnacht just flew right past me this year without me noticing. I was going to see Ghost; I was distracted.) That’s also just in time for my birthday (woo).

I’m going to be skeptical for once, even though I love Watain, because I am curious about some things. Namely:

1)     1)  “The lyric is an invitation to sacrificial blood letting, ecstatic zealotry and human sacrifice.” This is really interesting to me, especially coupled with the pyramid and sacrifices on the cover. It doesn’t seem like Watain’s usual schtick, so I’m both intrigued and cautious about the experimentation that this move implies. Is this going to be a new way of approaching the Chaos-Satanism their music usually addresses, or is this something else?

2)     2) The artwork is really cool, but E usually does their artwork and he didn’t do this one. It seems like somewhat of a deviation from the Watain that is responsible for the whole package, which is what I’m used to seeing. That puts me on edge, and it makes me kind of sad because I really like E’s work. Hopefully he will still do most of the artwork for the album.

Artwork by Bp. Necropolitus Cracoviensis Zbigniew Bielak II.

Artwork by Bp. Necropolitus Cracoviensis Zbigniew Bielak II.

3)     3) “Gottfrid Åhman from In Solitude participates on solo guitar” on the B-side track. I am skeptical about a lot of things, but not this. This makes me very excited. In Solitude are amazing, and they are so young and have so much potential, I’m really happy that Watain is choosing to perform with one of their members on this single. It’s a kind gesture. Hooray for solidarity.

4)      4) Only available in vinyl and digital download? Really guys? For a single? Pssssh.

All that being said, I am excited to hear this thing when it comes out.  I’m nervous, especially with having someone else do the artwork and the shift in lyrical content, but I am also looking forward to hearing what is in store on this new record. Some of my favorite albums of last year were the ones that were trying new things (Serpent Sermon, RIITIIR). Plus, I really want this single/album to go well to prove to the haters that Watain aren’t selling out just because they signed with a bigger label. Because I wrote a post defending you guys, Watain, so don’t mess this up.

Anyway, we shall see, I suppose. [Still working on that other stuff. More soon. I’ve been so long with no time to blog, and now I have too much time].

-Hagalaz

[All of the quotes, artwork, etc., came from the above post which appeared on Watain’s Facebook earlier today]

New Watain Album This Year!

Posted in black metal, release info, sweden with tags , , , , on May 1, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

So yesterday, Watain announced on their Facebook that there will be a new album this year! The album will be called The Wild Hunt, and dates are August 19 in Europe and August 20 in the U.S.

I am very glad that I heard of this while in the privacy of my own home, as I may have embarrassed myself if I’d learned it while out in public somewhere.

I am going to be working up a review of the new Ghost album, as well as going to see Ghost this weekend (and reviewing that), so I will be posting again soon. I am going to have to relinquish my battle jacket for a bit after this weekend, though (my friend and I are flying to Maryland Deathfest, and I don’t want complications on the plane), so I am madly sewing in my spare time trying to get it as done as possible before the end of the week. Pictures will, of course, follow.

Until then, listen to this song because I am obsessed with the main riff, particularly at 5:10, when it shifts a little.

-Hagalaz

Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Releases of 2012

Posted in black metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Finally, the list is here! Cutting people off it was excruciating- there have been some really fantastic new albums come out this year. After much pain and deliberation, however, these are the ones I have narrowed it down to. These are also of the ones I have heard- although I would love to listen to all the new black metal that gets released, until someone starts paying me for this blog, I’m on my own for supplying my music, and I am but a poor college student.

So without further ado, in *mostly* random order:

Enslaved- RIITIIR

I was skeptical of RIITIIR for a while, since- don’t get me wrong, I love Enslaved, nevertheless- I am more a fan of the Vikings’ older black metal stuff than their newer proggy stuff. I am happy to say I was wrong; RIITIIR has a lot to offer to old and new fans of Enslaved alike, and their subtle blackening of the prog works VERY well.

Nachtmystium- Silencing Machine

Silencing Machine, while not the return to necro black metal that we were promised, is incredibly dark nevertheless, and the interchanges between metal and the grinding feel of industrial music often backed by hooky rock beats is very artfully done.

Alcest- Les Voyages de L’Âme

Les Voyages de L’Âme, Alcest’s newest offering, is everything you could possibly want from an Alcest album. In places it is raw, in others it is uplifting, and it is always, always lovely.

Behexen- Nightside Emanations

Behexen’s Nightside Emanations (while having a really silly and suggestive title to my 12 year old sense of humor- no offense) is another extremely strong release. The album is straight up, good ol’ fashioned, melody-tinged black metal, but Behexen manages to do it without sounding contrived or stale even after all these years.

Master’s Hammer- Vracejte konve na místo

The new Master’s Hammer, Vracejte konve na místo, hasn’t appeared on any of the big metal blogs’ lists I’ve seen this year and that’s ridiculous (although my pal Carlos put it on his list, because he knows what’s up). Always unpredictable, Master’s Hammer have worked another masterpiece, this time including such elements as a mouth harp.

Merrimack- The Acausal Mass

Merrimack’s The Acausal Mass is a fantastic release, and a great way to solidify the band’s presence in the scene. Though they’ve been around since the early 90s, Merrimack didn’t really come into their own sound until 2009’s Grey Rigorism, when they mixed the perfect blend of French dissonance and Swedish melody. On The Acausal Mass that sound has ripened, resulting in a very strong record.

Deathspell Omega- Drought (EP)

Drought, while a simple EP, is another heavy hitter this year. People who don’t like Deathspell Omega love it even, and that is saying something. Finally ending their trilogy and supplemental EPs cycle (perhaps?), Drought provides a welcome reprieve from the methodical mayhem of albums like Fas without sacrificing any of the ugliness.

Watain- Opus Diaboli (DVD)

Watain’s long awaited live DVD/movie, Opus Diaboli, made me change the title of this post from “albums” to “releases,” because it deserves a place on here. With fascinating commentary on the symbolism that the band uses, a stellar live set, and a really impressive 2-disc live CD, Watain really outdid themselves with this one.

Teitanblood- Woven Black Arteries (Compilation)

Although a compilation comprised of only two songs (“Purging Tongues” from the 2011 EP of the same title and “Sanctified Dysecdosis”), Woven Black Arteries is easily a masterpiece. A mere thirty minutes long, it’s Teitanblood at their finest. This wins the “False” award of the year, for short little things that easily slip through the cracks if you’re not paying attention, but which melt your face off if you are.

Marduk- Serpent Sermon

Marduk’s Serpent Sermon is easily one of my favorites this year. Often dismissed as Old Reliable (by people who have been living under a rock since Rom. 5:12 came out), Marduk took some huge risks with this one and succeeded brilliantly.

Mgla- With Hearts Towards None

Mgla’s new album With Hearts Towards None has not shown up on many best of lists this year, and that’s absolutely baffling to me. With Hearts Towards None is inventive and very hooky for black metal, and for me, this is probably the year’s best.

***

So there you have it- a bunch of stuff that I think is awesome, and I’m shocked that so much of it seems to be largely overlooked (seriously. The metal blogs should be all over that new Teitanblood and Master’s Hammer). With that being said, there are plenty of other really good releases that I had to file off my list- the Agalloch EP (Faustian Echoes) for instance, or the new Shining, which is also really strong. But I decided to cut it off at 11, because, you know, but also because I can’t put everything on it unfortunately.

And unfortunately, there’s also plenty other new stuff that I haven’t heard enough of yet- the new Godseed and Blut Aus Nord, for instance- and stuff I haven’t gotten around to at all yet- I have been told there is a new Enthroned that I missed completely, and Svartidauđi has gotten some excellent reviews. Dordeduh, Krallice, Mutilation Rites, Panopticon; there’s still so much to listen to. But maybe I will get around to listening to those albums and can review them or something, because I’m sure that some of them have easily earned their way onto a top ten (or eleven) list.

In the meantime I’m going to try and get some more written for this thing. It’s been touch and go for a while because I’ve been working so much, but hopefully I can get more done soon.

Have a very kvlt New Year.

-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