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

Bullets Over Boston

Posted in Articles, Dispatches with tags , , , , on June 11, 2012 by Magadh

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The good people at Metalsucks.net have a story that must be read to be believed. Mike Eleftheratos (aka Hräsvelg), from black metal band Nachzehrer, was detained by Boston police when a concerned citizen clocked him removing a bullet belt from his bag.

Read the rest of the story here. As a public service announcement, civic minded metal heads and crust punks may wish to amend their sartorial choices so as not to offend the tender sensibilities of Bostonians

Nachzehrer

– Captain of Games

Golden Shower of Fascism: Naer Mataron’s Bassist Elected to Greek Parliament

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , on June 8, 2012 by Magadh

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The bassist of forgettable Greek black metal band Naer Mataron seems to have fulfilled Varg Vikernes’ political dream. In an April 21, 2012 screed entitled, “War in Europe: Part IV – Si vis pacem, para bellum”  Vikernes wrote:

Do not just sit back and relax and wait for us to emerge victorious though. Keep on fighting; spread the truth, resist the lie-propaganda of the enemy and help others do the same. And most importantly; only vote for strongly anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist Nationalist parties! If they do not exist, start them up yourselves, and cooperate with all others who do the same, whether you like them personally or not, or infiltrate and take over the Zionist “Nationalist” parties en masse. If you cannot openly tell the truth without the risk of persecution use the term “banker” instead of “Jew”, and they cannot touch you. Talk about “culture” and “language” instead of “race”, talk about “keeping the diversity” instead of “the threat to your nation”, and so forth. They cannot touch you if you do, and most Europeans will understand what you mean by this anyhow. We Europeans are perhaps too kind and naive for our own good, but we are not stupid – and most of us are sick and tired of being treated like inferior human beings in our own countries.

If you want to hang someone or shoot them in the back of the head, for betraying their own race or for attacking our nations with coward and dishonest means, I understand you very well, but please wait until after we have won, when you can do this lawfully. There is enough rope for all of them, and bullets too, so just be patient. They will hang soon enough anyhow. And their brainwashed offspring too. And their f***ing dogs.

P.S. In case you wonder; I cannot start up any party in Norway myself, because of my criminal record.

Leaving aside Vikernes’ amusing predilection to use Latin, the language of tribal Europe’s Roman conquerors, it does appear Greece’s Golden Dawn is just the kind of party Vikerenes endorses. How happy he must be Naer Mataron’s Giorgos Germenis, user of the charming stage name Kaiadas (the valley where “unfit” Spartan children were thrown to their death) was elected Golden Dawn MP for the Greater Athens district during the 5/6/12 elections. In recent days, Golden Dawn have revealed themselves to be neolithic bullies, something their fellow Greeks already suspected.

On June 6, 2012 Ilias Kasidiaris, a 41 year old self proclaimed weight lifting enthusiast, former Greek special forces soldier and Golden Dawn MP, assaulted 2 female MPs from left wing parties live on Greek television. Kasidiaris first threw a glass of water at Rena Dourou before rising from his chair and striking Lana Kanelli three times. Showing his true colors, Kasidiaris then fled the studio. Eleni Raikou, state prosecutor for Greece, has issued an arrest warrant for Kasidiaris. Golden Dawn have steadfastly refused to condemn Kasidiaris’ actions.

Readers seeking additional coverage of Giorgos Germenis election can find it here; The Guardian has video of Kasidiaris assault on Kanelli (w/ video) here. Readers are also invited to draw their own conclusion as to Vikerenes’ support for Kasidaris’ actions but one can have little doubt as to his support for his politics and those of Giogros Germenis.

– Captain of Games

Lost Wisdom: On Varg Vikernes and Umskiptar

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2012 by Magadh

May has seen the release of Umskiptar, the third album from Kristian “Varg” Vikernes following his 2009 discharge from prison where he was incarcerated for the murder of former bandmate Oystein Aarseth and the arson of several churches. Discussions of Burzum are often nuanced affairs (true believers aside), with his genre-defining albums separated from Varg’s increasingly extreme political views. Through it all, Burzum.org, once a labor of love (or hate as the case may be) of a Russian fan, has served as the clearinghouse for the man and the band. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously opined, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Burzum.org makes clear that consistency is not one of Varg’s myriad preoccupations.

Two days after Anders Breivik murdered 77 of his fellow Norwegians in July of 2011, Varg published a missive entitled, “War in Europe: Part I – Cui bono?”  on Burzum.org. His haphazard analysis hinges upon bizarre associations and improbable allegations including:

  • Breivik was working for Mossad in a “false flag” operation designed to punish Norway for supporting Palestine and to unite Norwegian ultra-nationalists under a false banner.
  • Breivik is a Freemason and all Freemasons are puppets for “international Jewry.” Therefore, Breivik was working for the Jews to dismantle all nations in order to build a global Hebrew temple enslaving all under the will of the Jews and their servants the Freemasons.
  • Breivik is a Christian and Christianity was created by Jews in order to dupe non-Jews into worshiping the Hebrew’s god which, in turn, would turn European pagans into servants and tools for the Jews.

The “facts” Varg puts forth resemble the loose associations of a schizophrenic. This embarrassing essay begins and ends with his tired fixation on a Jewish plot for world domination. Vikerenes never connects the dots, then again, that was never his intention. He ends his essay informing Breivik that, “True nationalists don’t kill children of their own nation.” The reader may comfortably infer non-native children remain fair game.

Varg returns to the topic of Breivik nine months later. In the interim, he utilized Burzum.org to publish, among other items, a pair of exhortations to his fans and fellow nationalists.

The first piece, “The Lords of Lies: Part X – Thieves and Frauds” , is a fairly transparent overture to his fans to help secure his economic interests (sorry, artistic interests) by boycotting and reporting all sites not named Burzum.org. He describes his boycott of social media as a conscious attempt to starve the capitalists and bankers who are destroying Europe. One wonders who he might mean? In either regard, his assertion is particularly humorous as he spends a chunk of the preceding text discussing his limited computer skills and experience.

“The Lord of Lies: Part XI: Under Friendly Fire” , the second essay, laments his rough treatment at the hands of left-wing journalists. Varg references his previous attempts to use media, in the form of interviews, to spread dissident ideas. The thrust of the essay is a plea for fellow nationalists to avoid using the media to draw negative conclusions about Varg himself. He returns to an old chestnut when he concludes only the Jews profit when nationalists fight with one another. Of particular interest is his discussion of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Varg asserts that Jews have a vested interest in destroying Russia because Russians are responsible for releasing “The Protocols” to the world and painting the Jews in a negative light. Readers unfamiliar with the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” should congratulate themselves. The book is a fictitious account of a meeting between Jewish elders in a European cemetery during which they outline their plot to take over the world. Varg addresses the dubious authenticity of the book in the essay’s third footnote where he asserts, bizarrely, that whether or not the text is a fraud or authentic is immaterial. The material issue is the content , which he feels is genuine, and should be read by everyone. He offers no support for the validity of the text itself or the content, but then again, why would he? He is consistently inconsistent in supporting his anti-Semitic worldview.

As to Breivik, Varg revisits him in a July 21, 2012 essay entitled, “War in Europe: Part II – The Price of Anti-Racism” . The essay is an attack on Grethe Bøe-Waal and her article, “The Price of Racism.” His typical meandering analysis features an analogy of a dog being placed among wolves. Varg states that a dog placed among wolves will be destroyed by the wolves who recognize it as different. He concludes this is the law of nature and expounds upon the analogy by stating that, when the number of dogs increase, they will begin to kill the wolves (Leaving aside the obvious flaws in this argument, such as the numerous examples of symbiosis in nature). When Varg finally discusses Breivik, it is telling. Gone is the Christian, Freemason dupe discrediting Norwegian nationalists and serving the ends of international Jews. Instead, he is described thus:

Try to corner an animal and you will see what will happen! Be not surprised when the animal attacks you. Humans are also animals, and people like Anders Breivik act on instinct because you have cornered them. You can actually thank yourselves for the fact that he killed some of you “anti-racists.” You have cornered our entire European race! Like Breivik says more and more individuals in the European nations will react with aggression.

In nine months, Varg’s Jewish puppet has transformed into Norway’s avenging angel. Unmolested by hobgoblins, Varg is free to draw increasingly improbable conclusions to support his deranged world view. He is a dark Don Quixote tilting against windmills of his own making.

What then of Umskiptar, Varg’s interpretation of the poetic Edda Voluspo (excellent translation here)? The album begins well enough with “Blóðstokkinn” featuring sparse drums and sparing use of a horn while Varg solemnly intones portions of the opening stanzas. The introductory track is superior to those on both Belus and Fallen and serves to effectively set the album’s mood.

Tracks like “Jo’ln” and “Aera” are reminiscent of Fallen with their diminished, but still present, tremolo picking and lyrics both spoken and sung. “Alfadanz” makes effective use of a piano intro which gives way to some repetitive guitar work and interplay between both sung and spoken vocals. “Hit Helga Tre’“most resembles the classic Burzum sound augmented by some pretty sweet riffage..

Varg continues to use a warmer (compared to say Filosofem) vocal style throughout Umskiptar. When accompanied with chanted or spoken vocal parts, it comes off very well. However, the later portion of the album is comprised of songs which rely heavily on speaking or chanting coupled with strummed guitar lines. These tracks seems to be an attempt to create something of a somber, ethereal sound and it is here where cracks begin to surface.

“Valgaldr” works reasonably well, tremolo guitar work and harsh vocals eventually give way to a slowing of tempo, a repeated riff and droned vocals. However, tracks like “Galgviör” and “Surtr Sunnan” simply meander on and on. Both tracks build upon simple guitar parts coupled with spoken or droned vocals. Where bands like Agalloch or Drudkh can take that formula and make it effective due their more robust instrumentation, here the songs just sound flat and unfinished.

The album ends limply, with “Gullaldr” succumbing to the same malady outlined above but with even less of a riff to rely upon while “Níðhöggr” is simply a disaster of muted drumming, rasped vocals and the addition of what can only be described as whale sounds.

Umskiptar begins with promise but fails to sustain the momentum. There are signs of an interesting evolution in “Allfadanz” and “Valgaldr” but the failures of the final four tracks really diminish the album. It remains to be seen which direction Varg chooses for future Burzum albums, but the maddening inconsistencies which characterize his personal life have certainly tainted Umskiptar.

– Captain of Games