Archive for black metal

Review: Dödsrit

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , on December 30, 2017 by Magadh

Dödsrit S/T Alerta Antifascista Records/Bloodsoaked Records

 

dodsrit1Moments of absolute perfection are rare. This is probably a good thing since they are indubitably subject to a sort of quantity theory. If we didn’t have things to gripe about, even in the context of things we like, the world would be a duller place. And if our hopes and desires were always being optimally satisfied, life would likewise be impoverished. Maybe the philosophers of dissatisfaction are correct when they say that the payoff that we get never rises to the intensity of the expectation. But there are moments when the joy of realization’s asymptotic approach to the ideal gives one something approximating the joy of real fulfillment.

 

My most recent brush with this region of experience was the first time I spun up Dödsrit’s self-titled mini-LP, available via Bandcamp from Germany’s Alerta Antifascista Records (and in Sweden by Bloodsoaked Records). This disc literally has it all. From the cover photo featuring hoary northern woods bathed in fog, to the skillful melding of crust and black metal styles contained within, Dödsrit is constantly demanding an answer to the question: How could this be done better? And, frankly, most of the time I am left concluding that it couldn’t.

 

The driving force behind this epic is former Totem Skin guitarist Christoffer Öster, already of worthy renown. Those who follow the crust/h.c. scene will know without needing to be told of the complex brilliance of that band. Over the course of two full albums and a number of other releases, Totem Skin bludgeoned listeners with an effective mix of dark styles: from crust, to black metal, to screamo, to passages that verged on the more esoteric realms of emo. Their collective talent for arrangement and composition left in its wake a collection of ripping h.c. cuts the quality of which holds up with the passage of time.

 

In Dödsrit, we have the quintessence of this stylistic mix. The songs are slimmed down (relatively), sacrificing complexity for epic power. Bombastic melodies spiral over cascading blast beats, before spilling vertiginously over broad expanses of battering double bass aggression. This release comprises only four songs, but they are longish, ranging from five to eleven minutes in duration. The question one always has to ask when h.c. and crust bands start crossing the 3 minute barrier with regularity is: Do these cuts really contain enough ideas to justify added length? I will say that, after repeated listening, Dödsrit always leaves me wanting more.

 

It is only a few years since blackened crust really started to be a thing. It’s not totally surprising that those on the darker end of the crust scene would want to try to integrate some of the power and atmosphere that lower fi black metal has often managed to achieve. But all too often this amounts to the excuse for the multiplication of blast beats without concomitant melodic or atmospheric overlays and it ends up just sounding lame. Dödsrit, on the other hand, are the real deal. The integration of crust and black metal elements is absolutely seamless, carrying the listening along on a flood tide of sonic aggression and dark ambiance.

 

Such is the perfection of this record that it’s a little difficult to know where Dödsrit could go from here. At least in my opinion, and you’re welcome to think what you want about what I have to say, they’ve set the bar incredibly high. But that’s a question for the future. For now, it is enough to ride along with them into battle among lonely graves and northern fogs.

–John from the East Side

Varg Vikernes Arrested in France

Posted in News and Notes with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2013 by Magadh

It appears that Varg is poised to become a 2 time loser following an arrest yesterday in France.

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Euro News reports:

Black metal musician and neo-Nazi sympathiser Kristian “Varg” Vikernes was arrested in southwestern France on Tuesday after investigators decided he might stage a large “terrorist act”, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said. The police suspect the Norwegian national of planning a “massacre” and searched his house for weapons and explosives.

We haven’t had a lot of time for Vikerenes and his pseudo-intellectual historical revisionism (the less said about his paramour the better) in the bunker. It appears that his delusions of grandeur will once again find him in the dock and that die hard fans may be waiting quite a bit longer for his Role Playing Game to come out.

You can read the rest of the article here.

– Captain of Games

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

Cronos and the Art of Stage Banter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 23, 2013 by Magadh

ImageMy friend Brian told me I had to seek out the compilation of the stage banter from Venom’s Cronos. Thanks to the fine people at The Great Southern Brain I was able to check it out and feel compelled to share it with you. Give it a listen here.

– Captain of Games

Bargain Bin Blasphemy

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , on December 4, 2012 by Magadh

This is the best tumblr I have seen in some time. What do you get when you combine bargain bin records, a wicked sense of humor and black metal? Magic is the answer. Do yourself a favor and check them out here.

– Captain of Games

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The Northern Cold

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , , on September 5, 2012 by Magadh

It can get a bit boring in the bunker to be honest. Mags is a decent enough fellow but, as a great man once said, all work and no play makes the Captain a homicidal liability. In the hopes of avoiding some form of mutually assured destruction I’ve obsessively taken to searching the seas of 1’s and 0’s for new music. During one of my voyages I was lucky enough to encounter The Northern Cold podcast.

The Northern Cold offers up an hour of trv cvlt black metal. Some listeners may be put off by the inclusion of Satanic Warmaster (whether by politics or competency) but, overall, episode one is worth a listen. Check it our here.

– Captain of Games

Middle Eastern Anti-Islamic Black Metal

Posted in Dispatches, Heads Up with tags , , , , , , on July 13, 2012 by Magadh

The anti-Christian message of metal, hardcore and punk has become trite. Lyrical themes and album images are continually rehashed until they become little more than white noise. Attacking Christianity, unless one veers into the Judeo category as bands like Arghoslent do, is safe and consequence free. What happens when black metal’s blasphemous lens is turned toward Islam?

Kim Kelly, in her excellent piece “When Black Metal’s Anti-Religious Message Gets Turned on Islam” profiles the rise of anti-Islamic black metal in the Middle East. Anahita, front woman of Iraqi black metal band Janaza whose provocative album Burn the Pages of Quran is typical of the subgenre, answers the question posed at the end of the last paragraph. When asked what would happen to her if religious authorities learned of her identity she responds, “They would kill me, and kill all of my friends, by cutting off our heads.” Mk-Ultra’s Let’s Feed the Christians to the Lions seems a little less threatening all of a sudden.

I’ll wrap things up as the thrust of this post was to alert our readership to Kelly’s excellent article which can and should be read here. Anahita and those like her are truly courageous, they are to be commended. Would that kindred spirits in the West displayed the same mettle.

-Captain of Games