Saturday, March 31, 2012

Burzum : " Umskiptar"

Varg Vickernes is back.the man the myth the legend, Americans built in their minds as a black metal Charles Manson. This album is devoid of any sensationalism, the fresh out of prison novelty has worn of and the elder statesman of Norwegian black metal is now making music for the sake of making music. This album is a companion piece of sorts to a book Varg wrote called Sorcery and Religion, an exploration into Norse folk lore and mythology . The lyrics taken from the poem Völuspá are once again sung in Varg's native tongue.
Umskiptar means metamorphosis, a fitting title because it steps further way from black metal or what we traditionally think of as Norwegian black metal. This is going to be a sticking point for fans of pre-incarceration Burzum and for those who thought "Fallen" wasn't kvlt enough. If you have read or watched interview where he is allowed to actually talk about music this should not come as a surprise, in numerous interviews he compared "Fallen" to classical music. Bookend by two pieces of minimalist ritualistic ambiance, there is really only nine songs here.
The first real song "Joln" ...or deities, is classic post-incarceration Burzum, the guitar is both abrasive and droning. The vocals have a very ritualistic feel, a heavily reverbed mike makes them sound like an invocation, which given the lyrical content is fitting, harsh vocals space these chants out, there is a weird clicking in the middle section where the drums drop out . Suppose a click track of sorts, I put my head to the speaker to see if my ears were playing tricks on me. There are alot of subtle sounds on this record and best listened on headphone. A far cry in the production from when Varg asked for the shittiest microphone they had.
"Alfadanz" the elf dance follows, after a piano intro launches in to pretty straight forward mid-paced metal riffage,accompanied by more chanting, which is a theme of the album as , the "clean" vocals here are less sung and more recited in almost a conversational tone. While I like this song, it trudges in pace more than what you would expect from Burzum and reminds me for some reason of Carpathian Forest.
On "Hit Helga Tre" or the sacred tree... the plodding thunder continues, this time in a more compelling manner as it's layered with tremolo picked guitar.
"Aera" or honor, brings harsher vocals back to the table, the angry thrash guitar is still pretty straight forward and more blatant than what I from Varg these days.
"Heair" or esteem...brings to mind the breakdown section in "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" the this is not your father's Burzum continues on "Valgaldr" this might be Var's prog song as it goes from a waltz to almost a depressive black metal feel as it descends into a more solemn dirge.The doomish depression continues on "Galgviar". This songs comes close to being a ballad, I like the guitar melody but very different from what I think of Burzum .Varg's baritone lament is more more emotive than his vocals on "Fallen" . The slow dissonant guitar creep along making it a song i don't see making the transition over to my Ipod. To be the albums longest track "Gullaldr" never really builds into anything, the guitar has too much space to make the song flow.
I'm on board for 7 of the 9 nine pieces I consider songs,though the album is growing on me, I don't think I will latch onto it as I did with "Fallen". Take into consideration I'm a pretty big Burzum fan , who is down with the maturation of post-pokey Varg when I give the album a 7 out of 10
and yes this the beginning of my my scoring since I get requests for that sort of thing

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Alcest / Deafheaven

While there is a funny story within a funny story about this show, we can skip all that and go straight to the rocking as there was plenty to be had. With Speedwolf playing the after-show, the crowd was a weird mix of two divergent schools of hipster metal. The main show was post-rock/hip-black metalists, if such a subculture exists outside of Brooklyn Vegan, this was it , then the thrash/punks no big frame glasses just beards and denim vests, funny enough all the participants of this scene were not even born when"Practice What you Preach" was released but are quick to call Alcest fans poseurs there's some Irony Maiden. But being the tough guys they are that crowd milled about and the overall vibe was very relaxed for a metal in comparison to the Deicide crowd.
UberChriist first up sounds much less like the want to be Darkthrone live, while the harsh vocals were a disappointment from what I have heard of their Studio, the addition of bassist Lamar from Wolves and Jackals was a wise choice as he holds them down better for the guitar to explore more ambient territory, live the came across more High On Fire than the raw black metal kvlt stuff they are supposed to be parodying ,but much improved you can see where their real identity begins now.

Deafheaven was up next and the crowd for these guys was even much different from the crowd for Alcest, as it seemed more like a hardcore show with out the windmilling and kickboxing dances.Deafheaven with out a doubt stole the show. They had an intensity to them that could not be denied. Front-man George Clarke's stage presence makes up for his one dimensional vocal attack. The playing was spot on with a shimmer slaps you and then shakes you while the cathartic exorcism explodes into the ether on waves of delay and distortion. Either I'm going deaf or I expected them to be louder.

Alcest took the stage with an understated meekness about them. The mix they got did not do their style any favors and the mix played against their strengths which are the vocals. Neige's lighter upper register singing floated against the grain and the bass and drums dominated, the reverse of their albums where guitar and vocals have the spotlight. So from one perspective live showcased another element of their sound the recordings don't.Their set was a well balanced mix of the old and new giving a fair representation to their many facets.The guitar parts were executed as with expected finesse but needed a boost as on their albums the fairy land melodies ring out in such a way it carries you away before you miss the bite most metal has.The heavier sections towards the second half of the set really stood out, the drummer was really smacking his snare on the blast beats rather than playing gravity blasts, there were several builds that did capture their awe inspiring sound and enjoyed their set but left wanting to seem them louder in a environment more fitting to their capabilities.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Heidevolk : Batavi

With Tyr's last album not doing much for me, I really needed was for these Dutch Viking LARPers to set up their game. Let's get my little political qualm out of the way first with these guys and get onto the music, and it's more for the fact we have the record straight, guys the Dutch were only Vikings in the sense that they were part of the territory covered during the Viking expansion movement, I history classes in America but they should in the Netherlands, so describing this band as Viking metal we are really just saying it has more balls than run of the mill folk for me moving on.
Every metal band will tell you their next album will be their heaviest yet, Heidevolk would not be telling you a lie, every thing here is stepped up. The production the most notable and the vocals really benefit from this. They are double tracked and bellowed out from a booming baritone, see kids you don't have to growl to sound heavy. Now the war chants in the back ground will prove rousing anthems to raise your beer to in the parking lot at Renn-fest, they might one day seem obnoxious to me but for now they don't detract from my listening.
One thing this album gets points for is that in the days of the Ipod where most listening is done on shuffle, this album proves a smooth cohesive journey front to back, no songs I would feel should be excluded from the Ipod,though considering summer has come early, I won't really need to feel like I'm galloping through the snow covered hills til next fall, so it will stay on the hard drive for air conditioned listening.
I have noticed by the acoustic guitar on the 6th song,the more melodic feel was welcome departure as the songs start to take on a similar feel and this is due in part to one of the albums strong points mentioned earlier the vocal production, which gives every thing a similar feel as all the songs are sung in dutch so lyrical content doesn't distinguish them. However even with in that , their are peaks and valleys, the rare appearance of harsh vocals and variations to the guitar attack. The drums while improved performance wise often have the same driving feel as if the double bass is trying to out run a dragon.
The 6th song is an instrumental interlude of sorts and leads back into more of a power-metal type guitar attack, any way you slice and dice this it's more epic on a budget than most of your bigger label releases of this sort of thing, it's very honest and while I don't believe their cosplay, I trust these guys to bring the metal with little pretense. Also they get credit for using their native tongue and folk melodies with out sounding like they are frolicking at the shire with Korpiklaani.
This going to be brutal enough for everyone, but if you like mid tempo power/folk/epic/viking whatever the hell you want to call this then these guys are worth checking out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Now that's Fucking Metal

We are going to discuss Sex and Metal . Why? Well, it hit me the other day while listening to the new Sigh album that it would be a great soundtrack to fornicate to.I know Americans have all kinds of hang ups in this department and Metal heads are often to busy being grim or on-line debating the next big sub-genre to get laid, not too mention loners by nature when gathered together we lean more towards getting drunk and moshing. So with that in mind the might appeal more toward those of us who have snagged a female or happen to do so in the parking lot at the Maiden show or in the lobby of Dragon-con(yes I know this being written from a male point of view so translate over as applies to your gender).

First off Grim Kim Kelly in the past over at Invisible Oranges/Metal Sucks, has brought up Girl friend metal...any band accessible enough to lure your girlfriend into listening to metal (yes , i used the term girl friend, you might be gay or married, I am a hedonist/poly-amorist so little off on my conventional relationships)Some of the bands I am going to mention here might fall into that classification and might not be Troo or Kvlt enough for you and that's ok, you can go back to fapping to e-harmony videos and hentai.

I prefer having sex to music, it keeps things varied and well-paced as well as provides atmosphere. You say you don't have the time or energy to give thought to your sex-soundtrack... well your five minutes of missionary will inspire partner to go find someone who does put thought into it so no worries they were taking away from your quests anyways, how can you level up with that bitch around.

If you are not dating a metalhead, and no Tool doesn't count... then it's up to you to take charge here. I have tried to tread the middle ground here and just use my Last Fm Library or Ipod on shuffle, this is effective in introducing metal into the carnal realm but leaves a margin of error which doesn't always work for me, granted each persons sexual expressiveness varies, I am dominate and aggressive so I need music with those qualities though at the same time needs to have dynamic variations...just blast beats works about as well as just jack hammering her. While it has it's place "Transylvanian Hunger" might not be the best choice, if you have a problem with pre-mature ejaculation then forget that I said that and by all means.."So pure so cold it ..." , I think Sigh's "In Sominphobia" struck a chord for me is because it is more of a journey and has a certain sleazy swagger in it's chaos.But the act of sex has many dimensions to it just like good music, so here are my suggestions which have been road tested by myself as to what makes a good soundtrack.

Fore-play- Works best with darker music, slower paced ...slightly doomy. Recommended listening... "October Rust" Type O Negative,"Book of Kings" Mournful Congregation "Marrow of the Spirit" Agalloch,"Green album" Woods of Ypres "Vertebrae" Enslaved

Oral- We are picking up the pace here and it depends on who is doing what if you are tremolo picking with your tongue follow the guitars something with alot of changes and a slight gallop..."Them" -King Diamond "Allison in Hell" Annihilator "Practice what you Preach" Testament if you are bobbing your head something a little quicker and not a busy "So far so good so what" Megadeth,"Domination" Morbid Angel "Bonded by blood" Exodus

Anal-this is not my thing but I imagine you would want some with grit and grime to drive the point home "Behold the monolith "Disma , " Dope sick" Eyehategod, " the Destroyers of all" Ulcerate

Intercourse- here's the attention to detail longer songs with peaks and valleys come into play I have a top ten here though they are in no particular order
1-Neurosis - Through Sliver and Blood
2-Acid Bath- Paegan Terrorism Tactics
4-Watain -Lawless Darkness
5-Dissection- Reinkaos
6-Iron Maiden- Some where in time
7-Negura Bunget-Vîrstele Pămîntului
8-Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum- In Glorious times
9-An Autumn for Crippled Childern- Every thing
honorable mention...even though it's not metal , has a close enough vibe ...Swans- the great annihilator

Heavy Bondage- more commercial black metal "puritanical euphoric misanthropia" by Dimmu Borgir "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise" Emperor "Incipit Satan" Gorgoroth

Bukkake or masturbation-youcock is the snare hit "the Bleeding " Cannibal Corpse "Legion" Deicide "Reign in blood" Slayer

"Here's to your fuck Frank" Blue Velvet

If you are delivering the goods and getting it done, the other person won't care if you are playing the entire Anal Cunt discography on a loop...why keep metal out of your sex, it's empowering so go get some.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Catching up with the Jones

ok it's starting to either trickle out or catching my attention, this is a similar fashion to how i catch my self wetting the i dream about wetting the bed, so in other words here are the abysmal hymns... you might wanna cop a listen to if you are looking for some new metal, some of these just got lost in the shuffle with my writing for Global Domination such as our first entry on the list which I have an article pending with Global Domination

1-Sigh - In Somniphobia- A progression from Scenes from Hell, though it's a progression away from Black Metal, which I'm still split on and not sure I am on the band wagon with this being hailed by some as a perfect album, there is some great playing on it and perhaps it needs to grow on me

2-Drudkh- Eternal Turn of the wheel-another one on the back burner for GD, still ingesting this one, unlike Sigh this is a turn to a more classic black metal feel, I can say I like it better than the Old Sliver Key team up they did with Alcest, faster and more venomous a step away from the folk metal undertones
the souls

3-Alcest- Les Voyages de l'Âme...or the journey of souls , Neige's more accessible work at first it struck my as bland until repeat listens , though a few songs the drumming and cadence of the octave chords remind me a little of the Foo-fighters. It is better than anything you will find on rock radio however.

4-Abgail Williams - Becoming ...OK you guys are there , stick with this bands wagon, I had dismissed this band as a death-core band who wanted to sound like Dimmu ... and then they went and made this nice slab of dark sonic nightmares...good work guys now a full length like this and I will forget everything that came before

5-Goatwhore- another great turn around from a band whom I wanted to like due to their Acid Bath past, but their style of blackend death metal bored me on previous releases , this takes a direction more akin to Skeleton Witch but angrier and spitting hell-fire back up at Jehovah, good qualities to have in metal along side some thrashier riff-age

6-Cormorant- Dwellings ...ok this got alot of praise at the tail end of last year and falls under the category of just slipped past me though I was aware of it's release as guys like Anthony over at the Needle Drop and Angry Metal guy both spoke highly of it. When playing it at band practice the other night one of the guitarists thought it required a wolf to ride while listening to...and perhaps it may, it takes the Opeth/Enslaved progressive death/black metal and spins it around add a dose of epic to it and rocks out, it deserves to be listened to by any discerning ears for the metal

7-Mournful Congregation- Book of Kings- this came out in november the review quickly covered at GD and I haven't gotten a chance to writing anything on it ...Doom with a capital D, when you thought it couldn't be done with any more aching beauty than Loss, these Australians came behind them and raised the bar, If i had more time along with the Comorant album it might make me re-think my top metal releases of 2011, the guitar cry out for you to kill your self like sirens from the grave, I love napping to this albums and I mean that In the same way that I used to go to sleep to " Venus in furs " , it makes me want to float off into the after life on a bunch of pills, I can't listen to this album enough

8- Semargl- Satanic Pop Metal - so this does reek of Hot-topic, in some ways it makes me think of if H.I.M had gone black metal, it's metal cotton candy, well made pure sugar

9-Heidevolk- Batavi - just got this one , it rides in ...yes on a wolf , a bigger one than Comorant, a dire wolf straight from Game of thrones and conquerors all the problems of the previous album's production, sounds more polished which in turn makes them sound more epic and that is what they needed.

10- Xiu Xiu- Always- ok it's not metal, but it's dark and bleak, granted electronic and quirky, not too mention the lead singer is flaming as the nine hells but it's good music for those wishing to venture outside of the chugga chugga