Archive for June, 2013

Chelsea Wolfe and King Dude Sing songs Together

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 17, 2013 by Magadh

Chelsea Wolfe/King Dude

Sing Songs Together

Sargent House

ImageRecord Store Day has long since come and gone with your correspondent leaving his work later than intended and, frankly, much later than this work deserves. Please accept a tardy paean to very sold release.

Wolfe and King Dude shared the stage and the road in early 2013 and this release encapsulates the strength of that partnership. Although just 2 songs and recorded in 1 session the release finds both artists at their best.

Wolfe starts things off with “Fight Like Gods”, a track which would not have been out of place on her previous release Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs. A stuttering drum keeps time as Wolfe’s ethereal voice ebbs and flows with the dirge’s instrumentation. Cowgill’s husky rasp is barely decipherable but still lends an ominous undertone to the arrangement.  The music briefly builds toward a crescendo before dropping down as Wolfe softly intones, “No, we don’t fight like men, we fight like gods.”

Cowgill’s contribution,”Satan’s Ghost” invokes early Nick Cave and gothic Americana. Cowgill’s smoky voice melds with sparse guitar as the song opens. Things quickly build as ominous drums join a driving guitar parts and Cowgill’s vocals are married to Wolfe’s. The song’s mania builds and then breaks as Cowgill and Wolfe’s vocals duel as the song’s death.

While brief, this EP features strong material from both artists and is well worth your time. check the tunes out here and consider pick up a copy. 

– Captain of Games

Review: Black Code

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by Magadh

black code

Black Code Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered Tanker Records

There’s been a lot of interesting music coming out of France recently. Most of what I’ve heard has been bands like Direwolves, Birds in Row, and Haut et Court that, if one may be allowed to generalize, mix elements of power violence with stylistic fragments that recall black metal. Admittedly, this statement doesn’t do justice to the wide variation between the bands just mentioned, but I think it fair to say that they all share a commitment to push the envelope in a direction that involves time and tempo changes and significant admixture of atonality.

Black Code, hailing from Besançon, about 50 miles from the Swiss border in eastern France, are operating on a much different theory. Rather than relying on weird time signatures and atypical chords, Black Code go straight for the throat with a crushing band of metal tinged crust. They have two releases, so far as I am aware. They put out a split EP with Lust for Death earlier this year, and now they come out with a full LP entitled Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered. Both releases are very strong. The guitar sound is crunchy and angular, downtuned with strong metallic overtones. Indeed, if one were to pick out points of comparison with other bands, those might be more along the lines of Dismember or Nominon that of more hardcore influenced crust. Their songs are mostly in middling tempos, with guitar chug and lots of thudding double bass. The songs on Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered are consistently excellent, well arranged and powerful, with enough variation in terms of structure to hold the interest.

Currently it’s a little difficult to get copies of this record in North America. I heard it on Bandcamp where it can be listened to but not downloaded. Paco from Instinto put me in touch their record label who told me that they are going to try to get some copies distributed over here through Profane Existence, but that’s yet to happen. Readers are strongly encouraged to check this out on Bandcamp and then email the band insisting that that they get over to North America and give us a firsthand look at their music.

Magadh

Review: Passiv Dödshjälp

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , on June 8, 2013 by Magadh

Passiv Dödshjälp Kollektiva Mönster Embrace My Funeral Records

pd coverI discovered Passiv Dödshjälp in one of those beautiful moments of internet serendipity in which I was looking for something else. As I recall, I was trying to dig up some information on their fellow Swedes Totalt Jävla Mörker when I stumbled on to an upload of Passiv Dödshjälp’s crushing 2010 release Häng Dom in the indiscriminate vastness of the web. There could hardly be a better advertisement for modern Swedish crust. Simple and aggressive licks dripping with overdrive, spun over a background of thundering drums and a vocalist who really sounds like he’s on the verge of a psychotic break. The songs on Häng Dom are mostly mid-paced. In those moments when they slowed down the music retains its punch, sounding at times like Tragedy’s more downtempo material. This was straight Swedish crust in a d-beat sort of mode, one which for the most part eschewed the melodicism associated with bands like Wolfpack and Martyrdöd in Europe, and with acts like From Ashes Rise on this side of the Atlantic.

Intrigued by this, I sought out their other releases. At the time these included a blistering split with Bergen’s Livstid, and a second full album from 2011 entitled Fasader. This latter release reflected a slightly more melodic approach than its predecessor. What followed, 2012’s Skit På Repeat 7”, was a trip to a much gloomier place. For fans of Häng Dom this was meat and drink. The stylistic theory was much the same as on the first LP, but the sound and atmosphere were if anything darker and angrier than on the earlier release. As on Häng Dom, the songs tended to be built around single string lines structured to accentuate impact rather than melody.

On Kollektiva Mönster, Passiv Dödshjälp’s latest recording, the theory has changed somewhat. The compositions are based around chords to a rather greater degree than on previous releases. A rather more rocking influence seems to have taken hold, with some of the songs reminding one more of bands like Kvoteringen or Fleshrevels than of the darker Swedish crust that marked their earlier style. Still the essentials remain: angry vocals, bludgeoning drums, and that razors-through-flesh guitar sound for which the Swedes seem to have a special talent. There are a lot of shorter songs on this release, but the pick of the litter is “Virtuella Bojor”, which clocks in at over four minutes and is rocking and aggressive all the way along.

In this day and age it is a little shocking to me that so few people outside of Scandinavia seem to know about these guys. Kollektiva Mönster is an excellent introduction to their work: an illustration of the aggression and dark atmosphere that have been the hallmarks of Swedish crust for so long. Andreas tells me that the disc itself won’t be out until sometime in July, so start saving your pennies because you will definitely want to get this when it hits the distros.

Magadh

Our Triumphant Return

Posted in Articles with tags , on June 5, 2013 by Magadh

Things have been a little slow around the bunker for the last few weeks, at least so far as our media activities are concerned. Which is not to say that they have been slow in general. We’ve both been involved in a number projects related to our immediate survival, as well as projects of a more elective nature. The Captain seems to have taken a mate from among the tribes that wander the hoary northwestern forests. I don’t know what he had to pay as a bride price, but I did seem him collecting ears from his fallen enemies over the last couple of months, so maybe that had something to do with it. In any case, the two of them have been sequestered in some far pod of the complex for the last few weeks, involved I suspect in the performance of some sort of extensive blood ritual.

Be that as it may, we need to get back down to business. We have a whole bunch of stuff backlogged for review. I should start working through this tomorrow, but until then I thought I might lay out a little something for your edification.

Readers of my posts will know that I have an interest in black metal. This is more historical than anything else. It was in the early 1990s that I first heard Enslaved’s Hordane’s Land 12″ and the first releases by Emperor. I still remember my shock at hearing Darkthrone’s A Blaze in the Northern Sky after hearing Soulside Journey a year earlier. But as a long time devotee of the hardcore scene (with which I had been involved for ten years by that point), it seemed perfectly natural that the extreme metal scene would move in the direction of a more primitive approach. Back in those days the bands mostly seemed pretty apolitical, although as things went on their fascination with their “Viking heritage” often mutated into extreme nationalism of a particularly idiotic sort. It’s hard to think of any utterance less convincing than Fenriz’s claim that they didn’t intend any political implications by putting the phrase “Norsk Arisk Black Metal” on the back of the Transylvanian Hunger LP.

As time has gone on, I’ve found the emissions of the increasingly commercialized black metal industry decreasingly interesting. But as a historian, I am fascinated by the early history of the “movement” (if such it can be called). The available historical material is very uneven. The release of Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind’s Lords of Chaos in 1998 was exciting although somewhat blighted Moynihan’s underlying politico-social agenda. More recently, Until the Light Takes Us, a documentary film made by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, provided a lot of interesting material on the dynamic between two of the most important early figures in the Norwegian black metal scene: Kristian “Varg” Vikernes and Gilve “Fenriz” Nagell.

Now that a bit more time has passed since the seminal events surrounding the early history of black metal (the murder of Euronymous, the church burnings, the trial and imprisonment of Vikernes, etc) a bit more complex and nuanced historical account is increasingly coming into view. I’ve recently seen two documentaries produced in the last six years or so on the history of Mayhem, both of which feature several of the most important figures involved with the band (including Jørn “Necrobutcher” Stubberud and Kjetil Manheim but not the nutty and self-promoting Vikernes) tell the tale of its earliest history. The testimony of Manheim, who left Mayhem after the release of the Deathcrush and now works in the noise scene, is particularly compelling. He seems to be one of the few people involved in that milieu who wasn’t a complete nutter, and his portraits of Euronymous, Per “Dead” Ohlin, and Vikernes illuminate the early history of the scene in important ways.

For those with an interest, here are the relevant links:

Once Upon a Time in Norway: The History of Mayhem (2007) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h9XzRdFIhc

Pure Fucking Mayhem (2008) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Qoj9ViExY

For those wanting a broader perspective on black metal, this documentary has interviews with people from Naglfar, Gorgoroth, Bloodthorn, Dark Funeral, Rotting Christ, Enslaved, Ulver, and Impaled Nazarene, as well as some less interesting folks. Lots of good information and ruminations on the cultural meaning of the form, but the live footage is not all that super.

Black Metal – The Norwegian Legacy (2008) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lDztQkk0_4

Ok, that your lot for now. We’ll be back in the next day or two with stuff that doesn’t involve listening to a bunch of right wing asshats.

Magadh