Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Darkthrone - Transylvanian Hunger

Darkthrone achieved so much in the early 90's with no motivation but to make purely satanic black metal. First they helped germinate the sound known merely by their circle of like-minded Norwegian teenagers with "Goatlord" and "A Blaze in the Northern Sky." "Under a Funeral Moon" was a raw exploration of the catharsis of this new sound and song craft. Having arrived upon "Transylvanian Hunger" and reaching what I believe to be their pinnacle in this journey in just three years is remarkable. This band was gravely inspired and flourishing with productivity, much to the satisfaction of nearly every black metal fan to ever lend the genre their attention since 1994.
The personality of the songs on these albums is so refined and honed that to try to find comparable musical influences has always proven difficult for me. Of course a heavy Bathory and Venom element is there in the forcibly driven pace of everything, but the riffing seems to call upon very noodly and cantankerous buzzing kraut rock. At age 22 Nocturno Culto's style of playing repetitive dissonant chords and harmonizing with lead guitars to achieve a memorable, vivid melody is remarkable in its own right.
The production value on this album mirrors the song writing in this sense. At first listen I'm always forced to take a step back to remember how to listen to this album. Its got an obscure, glossed over and murky hiss to it all. At the end of some of the songs you can hear the instruments all brought to silence, and all that is left is the extreme tape hiss that lends so much to the atmosphere. The lack of clarity beckons you to focus your ears upon the droning subtle melody. The more you tune your attention to its permanent barrage of darkness, the more you enter its despicable realm of utter satanic majesty. One of my favorite characteristics of black metal is the interplay of rhythm and lead guitar to achieve complex harmony and melody.
To think that frantic, buzzing, clashing, racket can be so evocative, enigmatic, ethereal and beautiful is a challenging notion. The fervor that these 19 year old Norwegians found use for over the course of three years will never be equaled again. The greatest black metal albums of all time have already been written, fortunately one of them is Transylvanian Hunger.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So today I was doing some browsing and I happened upon an MP3 blog and I saw that it offered the new album from Amorphis. I've never really been a fan of this band but I keep reading great things about their albums, and I haven't heard anything current since "My Kantele." So I decided, "Meh, I'll give Amorphis another shot and give this a listen." When I went to download it, I got a message that it had been removed due to a reported violation. I've been seeing this more and more lately as I 'm aware labels are cracking down on blogs of this nature, and some sites follow through with removal requests. Without getting into a whole debate about the whole mp3 argument, I just felt a tad miffed. I wanted to hear Amorphis, and their label Nuclear Blast, was making it so that I couldn't listen to Amorphis. Isn't that a little backwards?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bad Music

I was listening to Death Grips' "Exmilitary" album the other day. This is an album I'm still struggling to decide if I even like, but I keep coming back to it from time to time. If you haven't heard it, let me just say that its really weird and you're probably not gonna like it. Anyway it did manage to get me thinking about how I'm having a hard time describing reasons that I don't like it, and I think its mainly because of how original it is. Thats not to say that I've decided yet that I dislike it, but I can more easily say positive things about it than negative things. If you played me some top 40 country I'd most likely hate it and it would be easy to say how bad it is because I've heard what they're doing a thousand times before. I easily have a frame of reference and I know straight away that I hate it. So its much easier for me personally to say that something sucks because it sucks exactly like something else that sucks. I would guess most people would be the opposite and say "oh I like this, it reminds me of Lady Antebellum." Or at least they would say that its not bad because it sounds like something that they think is good or have heard before. They say people are always afraid of things they don't understand. I think over the years of being a huge music nerd I've grown accustomed to seeking out the absurd, the original, artists that defy boundaries. Artists that do that are the only real catalyst to progression within the art. So I defy you next time you say something is bad. I dare you to ask yourself why you think it is bad. If you had no frame of reference for what bad was, would it still be bad?

So here is Death Grips. I'm impressed by it and I applaud it for it's ingenuity, but I'm still on the fence about the album as a whole.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Havent posted a playlist in a long time. Been really busy with a new job and new house and such. Been discovering lots of new great music.

Midlake - the Courage of Others [ Lush and extremely well written folk. Has a real 70's vibe to it, but far from boring and really really catchy ]

Lugubrum - De Ware Hond / Albino de Congo [ One of my favorite black metal bands, still as original, contorted and relevant as ever ]

Isengard - Høstmorke [ This is a huge classic, always worth singing along to]

Melechesh - Epigenesis [ Headbanging fun for all ]

Merkaba - Bones of the Sacred Forest [ Undeniably powerful and evocative modern black metal, i'll be listening to this for a long time ]

Horn - Naturkraft [ Traditional raw german black metal. Well written from start to finish ]

Yearning - Plaintive Scenes [ I've always liked this band, nothing too ground breaking but an album definitely worth owning ]

M83 - Hurry Up, Were Dreaming [ This give me a raging 80's hard-on. Wonderful album ]

Septic Flesh - Esoptron / Temple of the Lost Race [ I've always been kinda tepid with this band, but i found these releases to be a little more "gorey" than the other more greek romantic sounding stuff ]

Cry of Silence - Wandering Through pagan Times [ THIS is the new Xasthur. Xasthur who? ]

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cromlech (swe)

I discovered this band years ago when I was doing some research on the amazing Eucharist. Technically somewhat unrelated because the guitarist of Cromlech only played in Eucharist for a short bit after Mirrorworlds was released in 1997, but the two bands styles can be easily compared. They may not have made much of an impression having never released a single album, but Cromlech leaves behind a handful of absolutely blistering melodic death / black metal songs spread across 5 releases totalling 15 songs. I want you to download them below and listen to them all. If listened to properly they will cause blistering in your groinular region. The performance, creativity, and intensity are unmatched.


Friday, September 9, 2011


The last time I was in Chicago, I was able to spend some time with my friend E from the band Njiqahdda. We got to talking about performing music live versus putting out albums. E has managed to release 46 albums in the last three years, and hasn't performed the music live once, so needless to say the man knows what he is talking about. For years I have personally enumerated reasons for not playing live, but the reason E offered was something I had never considered. His answer explained my sentiment better than I have ever been able to. He explained that performing music is not creating music, and he was only interested in creating music. Most people consider performance something that goes hand in hand with creating music and being a musician. The difference between creating it and performing it however, is night and day to me.

Performing music on stage for humans is an act. It is a portrayal, a visual and human interaction of the medium whose subject matter and demeanor can often be the exact opposite. It relies on many people and a lot of money to be able to fall into place. The relevance of the audience when creating music pales to that when speaking about performing music on stage.

Would you really want to see Deathspell Omega's "Paracletus" album performed on stage? I for one like the album so much that I would hate to subject the music to such potential scrutiny. Would you want to listen to early Mortiis or any of Arcana's discography on stage? If you can find a reason to say no, then so can any artist.

Friday, August 5, 2011


A really good friend of mine and I were talking about music the other day and he arrived upon a very compelling point that I had never considered until then. I thought I'd share it with you in the hopes that it intrigues you as well. This definitely wont apply to the average music listener so I hope this is able to resonate with you.

I was talking about how I wanted to achieve optimum audio quality with a music project I'm working on, and I presented my goals to him. I feel like my goals were somewhat rendered irrelevant by what he then said. The audial fidelity of any recording (actually EVERY recording) is entirely subject to representation that it is being given; ie listening to it on a burned CD on a small stereo, listening to it on vinyl with nice speakers, or streaming it online with a pair of ear buds. No matter what the recording sounded like when it was created, it will invariably sound very different with every other listener's listening configuration and setup. Therefore this lend a lot of validity to the idea of performing music live, and listening to it in person as the artist intended it to be heard.

So the idea that every person hears every album differently, and largely different from the artist has had me in a lot of ponderous moods this week.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Liturgy - Renihilation

After reading Chris Grigg's open letter to Liturgy's Hunter Hendrix, I was compelled to give Liturgy's album an honest listen. All politics aside, there is probably some music here and I'm compelled to listen to it and reflect upon it, mostly because I'm really bored.

Though I encourage an open minded approach to black metal, several upheld traditions make the genre a very reliable and enjoyable style to many of us. When a less thrash oriented, more atmospheric type of band attempts to build some sort of tangible emotive atmosphere, production value lends a lot of credibility to the overall communication of said atmosphere. Regardless of whatever intentions this band has with their style of music, the recording quality and overall fidelity is shit. It sounds like a bad mastering job pressed to vinyl then played through my mother's "vintage looking" wooden record player that she got at K-Mart. The guitars are annoyingly hard panned and tinny, buzzing and unpleasant. Zero cymbals are heard and all Im getting out of the drummer is constant blastbeats that make me want to go to sleep. If you pay close attention there is a monotonous bass tone that isn't really offering anything musical to the album. Oh and the vocals, well I almost forgot about the vocals. I guess they sound ok. Take all of that and unnecessarily compress the hell out of it all out of habit and you have what this album sounds like. Its probably what our parents all think black metal sounds like only this really sucks to listen to. Its seriously taxing on the ears. Maybe that's what they were going for, who knows?

I'm going to give Liturgy a hell of a lot of credit here and go with the assumption that they have engineered an entirely new mode of chaotic black metal in that all musical idealism has been shed. Liturgy have said "Fuck melody, fuck composition, fuck any goal of making memorable music having character, personality, structure or originality. Lets just take all the sonic qualities of black metal and do whatever we can get away with." Renihilation is the musical equivalent of clicking on an internet advertisement promising you a 55" HD television only to come up with a trojan horse that infects your computer with shitty fucking music. So in that respect...sure, the album is really chaotic and has all sorts of "not good" floating around just meandering, stumbling, tumbling and crashing into a picnic table like a drunk bum.

You know how sometimes bands will play a really powerful song (usually in the live setting at the end of a set) and then outro with that syncopated slowing down type of thing? I could be wrong but I believe its called "trash cans." You'd know what I mean if you heard it. Anyways this whole album feels like that, only I guess it sorta sounds like black metal. I honestly hope not a single human being lets this album at all represent the black metal genre to them.

I want my 40 minutes back :-(

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Fang - Murder the Mountains

Like showering at my moms house, stepping into a genre I don't normally pay attention to just feels really weird, but I really liked the new video from Red Fang. I liked it so much that I decided to check out the album. I didn't buy it, I downloaded it because Relapse owes my label a serious amount of money. Which is honestly too bad because if anyone in the underground deserves yours or my money, its this band. I put these hard working fellas up for the night a few years ago and we shot the shit and drank PBRs til 4 in the morning on my porch. I feel more inclined to send these champs a box of frozen hot pockets rather than giving money to a label that earns its way on the backs of smaller and less fortunate labels.

Hey, this is about how rad Red Fang is, so I'll do my laundry at my mom's instead of here. On "Murder the Mountains" these beards show a great stature of maturity and songs nailed to the fucking wall with 8 inch spikes. They sound like they're having a fucking blast playing these songs and it exhudes throughout the album. What I feel sets these guys apart from their counterparts of the genre is that they never quite let you get bored, which I easily do both with this genre (Indian, Electric Wizard, Reverend Bizarre) and even other genres. There are no token "tripped out" bong rip breakdowns, no silly witch intros, and not a bunch of generic Maiden riffs mucking about, basically this album contains zero bullshit. I'm really liking how playful and experimental they've gotten with some interesting and innovative second guitar work, use of piano, acoustic guitar and synth / atmospheric parts. Each member totally shines as an instrumentalist for the majority of the record. Their playing really drives these songs forth with a solid live sound and a familiar fervor.

Two strengths that Red Fang bring to the table: groove with more power than most metal bands are achieving today, and GOOD FUCKING RIFFS. If you don't believe me check out the song "Number Thirteen" at about 2:26. That riff is like an airplane full of coffee smooching your prostate right in the fucking brain stem. The riffs are not cheesy and rather memorable. I'm sure I'll be humming the riffs along with the record by my fourth listen. In fact what initially brought me the point of giving the whole album a listen was that after seeing the video for "Wires" only one time, I was singing the chorus to myself in the kitchen a few days later.

As always, a band jumping on with Relapse is a big step. With Murder the Mountains they have taken it in stride and shown that this was a wise move for all parties involved. I hope Relapse really pans out for Red Fang because I know they deserve everything they achieve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Demonaz - March of the Norse

In 1999 I was literally pining for the new Immortal album "At the Heart of Winter" to come out on a daily basis. Demonaz was then and still remains my favorite guitarist based solely on what he did on the first four Immortal albums. I had spoken to Harald (Demonaz) on the telephone earlier that year after I had heard he had quit Immortal due to carpal tunnel. He assured me the he would be back playing guitar in no time and all would be fine for us die hard Immortal fans. What happened after hearing the album was nothing short of a breakdown. I hated it. I pretended that it didn't exist for 5 years or so. To this day it takes a bit of a memory jog to correct my notion that Immortal died in an ice storm in 1998. After Damned in Black and Sons of Northern Darkness came out...and I heard them, I was further proven that this band was unrecognizably disfigured. In recent times I have become a tad more forgiving, and I can listen to At the Heart of Winter once a year or so without puking. Though laughable I thought the "I" self-titled album was somewhat fun and the newest reformed Immortal album was the better of the "era 2" albums.

To me the new style that Immortal (and this album) dons is cruel and criminal due to the overwhelming amount of creativity, ingenuity and character that the earlier days had. March of the Norse sounds like something straight out of 1986 only with far worse and more flaccid, underwhelming production than bands were achieving those days. March of the Norse could pass as an embarrassing Bathory album on any day of the week. The arena rock solos and leads are just about enough to give me the runs. The only redeeming quality found on March of the Norse is decent song-craft. Two riffs per song played in two different alternating keys for dramatic effect, acoustic interludes, alternating between chugging electric guitar riffs and ring out type riffs, then choruses about mountains and trees repeated until the song fades out. If that sounds like a good time to you nine times over, then you're in for a party, man!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Clean Mountain

I'm proud to announce that you can now download the entire discography of my project Clean Mountain here:

Monday, March 7, 2011


I demand that you lend me your ears for a moment. About two weeks ago I took on the task of working for Pagan Flames as a real actual job that pays me and stuff. So far its been nothing but pleasure. It doesnt even feel like a job and when I get paid real actual dollarbucks I'm all like WOAH. One of my goals going into this employment was to take on a new artist, and already I am enamored with delight to announce that we'll be releasing the newest onslaught from Canada's Brulvahnatu this summer. Its called "Menstrual Extraction Ceremony" and you can experience a good portion of it by going here: Its not exactly our standard fare of black metal, its not traditional by any means, but its eerie, original, entertaining, and strikingly challenging. We want to maintain a diverse but focused hordes so this couldnt be more perfect. Brulvahnatu's sole creator Kib Sreng is also a prolific painter and his works can be seen here: On top of that we have a new incredible full length from Njiqahdda, Panopticon's newest split with Wheels Within Wheels and another embattled opus from War Plague.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hellwitch - Syzygial Miscreancy

Look up "over the top" in any metal dictionary and this album is featured right there. This album is so chock full of all different types of metal that categorizing it can be treacherous. The playing on this is phenomenal, the song writing is unique and mind blowing. Luckily too is that Scott Burns did a wonderful job of producing this mighty slab. I would say that Syzygial Miscreancy is something like taking Death, Nu-Gorguts, Atheist and 5 handfuls of Discordance Axis and splatting them at a wall. Its a low down shame that this band didn't get a Nobel peace prize for their efforts but hey at least they have this sweet album to listen to, and so do we:


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


In the late 90's several European metal bands took a left hand turn and it was all of a sudden well suited for many bands to be avante-garde, "jazzy", or neo-whatever. Its hard to say what Beyond Dawn's ambitions were around this time but Revelry came at a perfect time for people interested in this movement. The uber-dreary pace and rejection of excited tempos and repetitious melody have been shed, and its clear here that Beyond Dawn are steady on a different direction, even if the direction they were on before was quite different.

Less claustrophobic production, less reliance on heavily distorted guitars, more rock oriented drumming and singing are what lend to Revelry being a more in this vein than Pity Love was. I have to cringe whenever I use this term "avante-garde". I understand the intent in its relevance, but I feel like its more of a genre unto itself rather than a genre referencing anything stated in its moniker. Just because a band uses horns, or unconventional instrumentation or song structure, certainly doesn't make them avante-garde. However, the term punk used to mean that which was different from regular music, and then once that became regular, alternative sprung up, then all these post-____'s came about. So I take issue with this proverbial "chasing of the tail" that we music nerds do. I find it as if people will use a rejection of a certain genre to sell music and I usually prefer to stay away from labels and genre's anyways because more often than not it robs the art of its identity. I do wholeheartedly feel like a lot of these bands were seeking their own new grounds at this period in time but I cant explain how so many of them ended up sounding so similar. Anyways I should talk about this album huh?

After a pretty accessible start the album takes off at track two. The song consists of a strong upbeat tempo and catchy horn riffs that give the song a unique blend of ideas. The reliance of electronic instrumentation becomes more prevalent here. Beyond Dawn consistently achieves their dirgey slowed down mirth of gleaming depression and I respect them immensely for that. They have a knack of going about it in so many different ways. In the middle section of the album it tends to drag on a bit I have to admit. Until "Breath the Jackal" which is probably the albums best tune, there isn't much to munch on after track two. Vocally here Espen is lazily carrying his patented tune, not unlike a more spoken and whimsical version of Michael Gira, only "real" singing more during the more urgent choruses.

As a whole this album suffers from being kind of same-y, as in after a few good tracks it tapers off into a handful of songs that all sort of clump into one ball with few memorable highlights. These songs only serve to fulfill the demeanor of the album and all in all I'd say this is the turning point for the band as we'll see with Electric Sulking Machines, which is an even greater leap into the unknown.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Dear Blog. I'm so very sorry for the neglect. I never wanted to be this type of blogger, and yet, here we are. Either way I've gone through many changes, but I am once again a free man. I will blog again. In the mean time you can check out my new Podcast here: and please be dangerous.