Velvet Cacoon – Anise Royale (guitar tracks) onsdag, Feb 25 2009 

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Velvet Cacoon deserve som sort of troll-of-the-decade award for putting the internets through more than two years of frustration and despair. It now appears that Atropine, a completely ambient record, is again delayed but will be released ”soon”. P aa opal poere p.33 (or whatever) was the code name for a black metal/shoegaze record that was going to be called Anise Royale but Josh, the person behind the band, decided to never finish the project. He did however post the guitar tracks (some with bass) on the Full Moon Productions forum a while ago and I have reuploaded the files for anyone interested. These are not fake and regardless a quite tragic hint of what could have been an exceptional record. In fact, some tracks like Marylux are quite enjoyable even in their present stripped-down state.

Oh and the images in my previous posts about VC have turned out to depict a person completely unaffiliated with the band (and for all I know the one probably does as well, I just like it a lot).

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Hej Vinterland måndag, Feb 23 2009 

pdh2597006Efter nedanstående hyllning till Immortal måste jag innan våren kommer bara tipsa om att två låtar från Paysage d’Hivers kommande släpp Das Tor ligger uppe på deras myspace. PdH är också i full färd att återutge hela sin demokatalog på egna bolaget kunsthall, där flera låtar går att ladda ner gratis. Både Ewig leuchten die Sterne och Schnee III komponerades till stora delar under PdHs i mitt tycke bästa period, vilket kanske märks tydligast i den fantastiska violinens återkomst (från spår som Welt aus Eis). PdH har varvat otroligt stämningsfulla black metal-epos med krispiga elektroniska verk (t.ex. Koenig winter) som också är väl värda en lyssning.

Cheers to Metal do Inferno for excellent rips of the two unreleased tracks!

Frostdemonstorm torsdag, Jan 29 2009 

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När Immortals första nya skiva sen 2002 kommer ut senare i år kommer kanske de flesta inte komma ihåg att det fanns en tid då Immortal inte var en photoshopmem utan gjorde musik som var som från en annan dimension. På skivorna Pure Holocaust (1993) och Battles in the North (1995) manifesterade de oskiljaktiga Bergenborna Abbath Doom Occulta och Demonaz Doom Occulta sin vision om fantasilandet Blashyrk, en värld där en sorts evig psykedelisk vinter råder. Under denna era var Immortals musik fortfarande en otyglad kakofoni av våldsamt dynamiska slagverk och gitarriff som avlägsna ekon av en underbart vacker symfoni i en dånande snöstorm. Abbath’s röst – kärv som skare –  flaxar över den ”battlade” produktionen och reciterar Demonaz (lika skicklig med en B.C. Rich i handen som med synonymlexikonet) säregna poesi.

A spectral spiritkingdom rise
In stormscreens covered by eyes
Night emits its shadow
There is no difference
Between the ravens

(Cursed realm of the winterdemons)

Immortals artistiska storhetstid fick ett lite ironiskt slut när Demonaz drabbades av kronisk tendinitis i båda handlederna, en direkt effekt av att spela gitarr i för kalla miljöer. Abbaths låtskrivartalang började nu ostyrigt hämta allt mer inspiration ifrån klassisk heavy metal, något som kanske gjorde bandet större i Tyskland men resulterade i fundamentalt ospännande album som Sons of the Northern Darkness och Damned in Black.  Förutom hans avbilds parallela liv på internet kan Abbath ibland även ses göra Lemmy-imitationer med sitt hobbyband Bömbers.

Till skillnad från de andra stora norska banden från det tidiga nittiotalet (Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, Emperor) gav inte Immortal upphov till någon egen subgenre, i alla fall inte i den mån att de fick horder av efterföljare,  och detta berodde kanske på deras stil är så svår att emulera. Ändå så kan man höra deras influens i så vitt skilda stilar som Paysage d’Hivers vinterdyrkan och Deathspell Omegas kanske lite väl knixiga bisvärmsattack i förrförra årets Fas – Ite, Maledicti In ignem Aeternum.

In the battlesky, we lie estranged
-Kings of the ravenrealm
We trample bejeweled thrones of the earth
In an age underdreamed of
Viewing myriad battles
-Yet our eyes sparkling, strident with strength

(Battles in the North)

MyspacePure HolocaustBattles in the North

Panopticon – s/t (2008) måndag, Jan 5 2009 

collapsepostersmall_editEnpersonsbandet Panopticons beskrivning av sin musik som ‘anarcho pagan black metal’ väcker nyfikenhet. Pagan metal brukar beteckna en sorts undergenre till black metal och är en benämning som mest är förknippad med extremhögerband från östeuropa, men Panopticon står musikaliskt ganska långt ifrån den scenen och har uppenbarligen ett helt motsatt politiskt budskap till avarter som NSBM.

Det som är gemensamt är viljan att använda genrens mättade ljudbild till att ge liv åt en romantiserad förflutenhet, ofta med vemod och ett revolutionärt/reaktionärt budskap. Det jag finner mest intressant och berörande i Panopticon är den kollision mellan den urbana politiska samtiden och en primitivistisk längtan som hintas redan i genredeklarationen. Den betonghårda verkligheten gestaltas oftast av blytunga crustpartier och olika politiska samplingar, medan den hedniska naturlängtan tar sig uttryck i vacker och intensiv black metal. Redan i introspåret tas vi via gatans larm och konflikt till ursprungets kall till resning i form av tribalistiska slagverk, för att slutligen höra Emma Goldman deklarera anarkismens filosofi med rundgången från A.s nedstämda gitarr i bakgrunden. Black metal-estetiken i sig har mest likheter med sentida nordamerikanska band som Weakling och Wolves in the Throne Room, med flera paralella underströmmar som turas om att agera någon slags melodi i en böljande struktur. Som starkast blir det i spåret ”…speaking…” som med postrocksklanger och blastbeats vill skildra förslavade djurs stumma klagan (vad är mer allegoriskt för anarkoprimitivistisk frihetskamp än djur i bur?).

Det enda problemet med skivan är att även om DIY-mentaliteten när det kommer till produktion (och allt annat) skapar en väldigt omedelbar atmosfär så är det ganska krävande antalet gitarrstämmor ibland snudd på ohörbara. Som debutskiva är den mer lovande än fulländad, men har en energi och känsla av blodigt allvar som inte har funnits på BM-scenen på väldigt länge.

Lyssna och köp på myspacerapidshare 1rapidshare 2

Deathspell Omega – Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum : Chaining The Katechon (2008) måndag, Dec 8 2008 

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”Han för mig i vall på gröna ängar,
han låter mig vila vid lugna vatten.”

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Something rotten in the state of Sweden tisdag, Sep 23 2008 

It seems to me that Swedish black metal has slowly been carving a new post-Marduk/Dissection niche for itself in recent years. Bands like Woods of Infinity, Shining and Lifelover are all playing demented black metal/pop with lots of samples and an emphasis on creating a sick atmosphere. The lyrical content also channels a different type of adolescency than the ”SATAN OPEN THE GATES!” themes of their 20th century predecessors, dealing more with urban misery and perversion but retaining the dislike of good taste and judgement. While Shining rather undeservedly seems to get the most attention and Umeå’s Woods of Infinity — the most talented of the trio — just make me feel physically ill (more on that some other time), I enjoy the sort of evil pop hits that Lifelover has produced lately. As is the nature of pop music, their albums tend to be a mix of filler material and great songs that stick to your mind immediately (only to inevitably fade though, leaving you with a feeling of what-was-the-fuss-about-in-the-first-place). Their new album Konkurs is due within just a few days, which they will promote by playing live in Stockholm this Sunday. Also, some of their better songs, including M/S Salmonella and Mental Central Dialog are available for free from their webpage.

Eldrig – Mysterion (2008) måndag, Sep 15 2008 

The latest album of the creative soul behind arguably the best band to carry the ‘NSBM’ stigma — Portland’s Fanisk — sees Eldrig take their previously rather neoclassical influences even further. In fact, though I have enjoyed Eldrig’s earlier efforts, the first impression of Mysterion is that it there are moments that bring to mind less flattering references such as cheesy synth-enthusiasts Dimmu Borgir and even (*shivers*) progressive metal. Fortunately, Eldrig is a good bit more sophisticated than that, and further listens reveal the highly evolved sense of song structure that has always been a strong point of Eldrig and Fanisk. This, and the trademark epic crescendos, use of organs (though i suppose not very ‘organic’ organs) and geometric mysticism in both lyrics, presentation and arrangement make this as good a release as any of Eldrig’s. Still, my hope is that the promised Fanisk album Insularum will be the one that sets a new standard in the neoclassical/symphonic black metal genre.

Listen at MyspaceDownload from RapidshareBuy from Supernal

Darkspace – Dark Space III (2008) torsdag, Aug 28 2008 

Since this album was rather untimely released in the middle of blossoming spring this year, I made sure I saved some of the Darkspace experience knowing well that revenge, champagne and kunsthall releases are all dishes best served cold under the starry starry sky. For new listeners, Darkspace is an ambient black metal project from the artist behind highly acclaimed Paysage d’Hiver. Evidently, Tobias Möckl and fellow Swiss don’t play around when it comes to band names; where PdH is as wintry as a snowball fight between Abbath and a polar bear, Darkspace is every bit the endless interstellar journey the name suggests.

Few bands can make use of subtlety in the wake of an unrelenting guitar attack the way DS does. Delicate synth flares twinkle on top of soaring tremolo riffs and carpet the more chugging passages nicely. This time less effort also is put into spacious ambient passages of Dark Space II, making III a summation of the previous two releases in more senses the mathematical. I have always seen parallels to 90’s-era Emperor in both Darkspace and Paysage d’Hiver. However, the approach of the latter bands is less baroque and ‘more’ minimalist (you might even say tasteful), but the grand crescendos and high-pitch vocals share a certain identity with Emperor’s early classics. If fans of modern techno are interested in a gateway into black metal, look no further than right here.

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Velvet Cacoon news tisdag, Aug 26 2008 

If we hadn’t already learn to expect the unexpected from Velvet Cacoon it seems that they are indeed coming out with a new release — only one titled neither P aa opal poere p.33 nor Anise royal and not featuring ”2”. The new album will instead be called Atropine (surprise: it’s a drug) and be a 2 cd release. In the vein of the infamous ‘dieselharp’ myth, the band will use drone tracks that were recorded two years ago and has since been buried beneath the earth… An ambient preview track called Funeral Noir was also made available. My tone might be cynical, but the truth is that my faith that the promised olive-flavoured red pill of sedation might actually appear from VC this year is increasing.

Nortt – Galgenfrist (2008) söndag, Aug 3 2008 

Earlier this year, Danish artist Nortt returned with another unfreshly dug grave for us all to lie in. One of the most conceptual bands on the Funeral Doom scene, Nortt takes the listener to an otherworld of eerie chimes, haunting riffs and undead vocals. Galgenfrist features some very ethereal guitar work in their trademark ultra-slow fashion and definetely surpasses last years rather disappointing Ligfaerd. Still, none of Nortt’s later efforts have touched the absolute masterpiece that was 1999’s Graven in my eyes, an album whose low production values did nothing to lessen the brill… ahum… darkness of it’s composition. Sadly, Galgenfrist is inconsistent, with some tracks – like my favorite: ”Af Døde”- bringing back the riff-driven style of Graven and Gudsförladt, while others the more ambient-based from Ligfaerd. Also, I get a feeling that Nortt has gone for more of a burial-by-sea atmosphere rather than the usual subterranean mood this time around, most obvious in ”Havet Hinsides Havet”. Though many that are unacquainted with this sort of death-worship will perhaps find it depressive, know that in the nihil void that Nortt projects there should be no sadness or fear, only the comfort of knowing that all is already lost.

”fulgte tavse klokker

gik i natten


øjnene til ravnen

skyggen til mørket

støvet til vinden

tiden til evigheden


rakte efter afgrunden

rørte aldrig himlen


– skrevet af døde”


Galgenfrist part I

Galgenfrist part II

Graven

Eldrig – Mysterion video tisdag, Jul 29 2008 

Eldrig’s new album Mysterion is set to ship soon and here is a recently posted preview video. In my opinion, Eldrig’s latest works have not reached the artistic summit of Mr. van See’s first project Fanisk, particularly 02’s Noontide, but the music in this video is promising. Portland’s premier esotericist is promising a high artistic output in the next months with Mysterion, Fanisk – Insularum and Eldrig – Wyrd. Look for reviews on Mysterion and the classic Noontide in the coming weeks.

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Eldrig – 2007 – Kali

Eldrig – 2007 – Everlasting War Divinity

Velvet Cacoon – 2 måndag, Jul 21 2008 

A few weeks ago, a preview track of the ever-elusive upcoming P aa opal Poere Pr. 33 album from black metal shoegazers Velvet Cacoon was posted on the Funeral Moon Productions forum by an account allegedly held by bandmember Angela. Now, Velvet Cacoon is a band surrounded by controversy after countless myths, rumours, fake tracks, made-up instruments and well-founded accusations of plagiarism. Coming into 08′ many, including myself, started to seriously doubt whether the promised follow-up to the submerged romanticism that was Genevieve would ever materialize. But lo and behold, the vocals on this track are indeed identical to their previous releases, and the track is the murky excavation of oceanic depths that VC have always have been fond of but this time there’s some more maturity, and a great riff of course.

Download ”2”
Download Genevieve