Label: Seasons of Mist Band: Thy Catafalque Origin: Hungary
Thy Catafalque is the brain child of mad musical professor Támas Kátai. The avant-garde musician has been active in bands like Gire, Gort, Darklight and TowardsRustedSoil. The Hungarian musician is active in tons of projects, but this is probably one of his most amazing ones as far as I’ve heard. Enter a completely new domain of musical madness with this band.
Kátai originates from Máko in Hungary, but currently resides in Scotland. It may be a climate more fitting to his frantic, rugged music, but maybe it’s a bit of everywhere anyways. The artwork is inviting, and speaks of a medieval and maybe even spiritual atmosphere. Yes, with animals. Agnessa Kessiakova from Bulgaria is responsible for the artwork. A legion of guests is also active on the album.
After a heavy intro with theatrical black metal, the energy dwindles down on the meandering folky ‘Sirály’, with vocals of The Moon and the Nightspirit’s Ágnes Tóth. Gently swooning music allows the listener to just drift off for a bit. A Ghost like chanting greats the listener on ’10^(-20)’, before it launches into a turbulent, battering assault with sharp guitars and a harrowing set of vocals. Then the song almost unnoticable switches around to a dance track with flat, repetitive vocals and a hacking rhythm. It’s exactly that, which makes Thy Catafalque so wildly unpredictable and amazing.
‘Ixión Düün’ is a track you could just as well expect to hear while playing World of Warcraft in an exciting dungeon, looming with danger. There’s the whole Dungeon Synth genre, which seems to be somehow where the inspiration for this soundtracky tune has been drawn from. Amazing stuff again, but not as impressive as the track ‘Malmok Járnak’. This is a 20+ minute epic, with bombastic passages that slowly creep by, a battery of instruments, effects and strange confusing passages. It kind of keeps on building up, slowing down and then rising up again, sticking to that soundtrack feel.
It’s hard to really write about this album, because it goes in so many directions. Every time you listen to this, you hear new things. That’s the beauty of it and also why you should be listening to it right now. Enjoy!
Label: Independent (Bandcamp) Band: Mesarthim Origin: Australia
Yeah, the name of this album is weird, but in morse code it might mean something like ‘Absence’. A fitting title for the places where the astral journeys of Mesarthim are taking the band. There is no other like the sound of this Australian band. Mesarthim (Gamma Arietis) is the name of a binary star system in the northern constellation of Aries. The name is of obscure origins.
That last bit is from the band themselves, which is a unit of two unknown Australians. Well, that’s that then. Shrouded in mystery, the band is the next in line next to Darkspace and MareCognitum to delve into space metal, continuing the work of Summoning and Agalloch into unearthly realms. This they do well, by letting go of most of the more earthly elements in the music.
The music is therefor hardly grounded in a foundation of heavy concrete rhythm section, but soars freely with synths and vocals that work more as part of the texture than spitting venom at the gods. It’s the sound of majestic nothingness, of floating amongst the stars with riffs that though fast and tight never really urge you in any direction. It’s liberating to listen to this band, who create a completely catchy and enveloping sound that borders on the cheesy but never goes over. It’s like Darkspace is jamming with JeanMichelJarre, amazing.
A record to get lost in, with a production that feels like a poofy pillow when you land your head in it. The keys are the most prevalent amidst the woolly production and offer you moments of introspection, to think of the meaning and insignificance of it all. Maybe this is in fact the most nihilist you can get in black metal, where everything just becomes specs of dust… Those thoughts enter my head when the organ sound fades away slowly on ‘…–‘.
The bombast of the synths and layers on layers of sound is a bit overwhelming, maybe a bit too much for some listeners even. It’s as if the band is trying really, really hard to do something completely new and in doing so they probably lose much of their following. But… In a way it expresses best the thing that it wants to express, which is an experience of space, of the sublime and overwhelming category of experience. Something almost impossible to grasp.
On Eindhoven Metal Meeting 2015 I was trodding along in my Winterfylleth shirt and ran into Simon Lucas and Chris Naughton from Winterfylleth. During an interesting conversation we discussed various topics, which rapidly go from history to politics and metal theory.
I was already sold on the music of this band, but the sharp wit and keen minds of the duo made me even more interested in what lies behind the music and the band. As I’m still a major fanboy, I often forget to get to the point on these moments, but luckily I was able to throw in my question if I could do an article on them. They luckily said yes.
While I was working on this, the band announced the coming of a new album, titled ‘The Dark Hereafter’, which will be out soon on Spinefarm and Candlelight. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to go too deeply into that, but I’m well excited for that record. Having faced their share of controversy in the past and being the band that they are, not every topic was up for discussion.
I hope you enjoy reading about one of my favorite black metal bands around. Chris Naughton, singer and founder of the band answered my questions.
How have things been for Winterfylleth lately?
Great thanks. We’ve been a little quiet this year as we’ve been writing for the new and upcoming releases. Also a few of us became new fathers so we’ve not had the time to commit to being on the road as a result. But we are all now looking forward to the new release and to a fresh run of shows and press – with everything that brings.
You and Simon Lucas (drummer) played together in various other groups like Men Scryfa & Atavist so it seems like you guys go way back. Can you tell a bit about those projects and what they were about? Did they help you find what you wanted to do with Winterfylleth?
For me those projects are largely unrelated to what we’ve done, and become, in Winterfylleth. Simon and I used to do Atavist (and I still do, having resurrected the old line up of the band this year) but that band was much more about exploring Nihilism and Inner Darkness rather than any of the themes we have in Winterfylleth. We did a few albums with Atavist on Profound Lore & Invada over the years and stopped doing anything with the band (until this year) around 2008 (after our tour with Nadja & Satori) to focus on Winterfylleth. Men Scryfa was slightly more related to Winterfylleth, although only because they lyrics to it were about the ‘Men Scryfa’ standing stones and the folk lore and significance to our history. This was a one off song written for a label called small doses records and was a tribute to the work of Julian Cope and his ‘Modern Antiquarian’ book. We never did anything else with this band.
Your music is clearly heavily influenced by historical themes, the same seems to go for your other bands. How did you get into this? I understood there’s a professional background to this work.
Winterfylleth is the only band where we have a really strong link to history and historical themes. We’ve talked about this many times before, but Simon and I met over a mutual appreciation for elements of history and that is what sparked our interest in doing a project together. Initially Simon joined Atavist on the drums, but as we were winding down our attention on that band & starting to form what would become Winterfylleth we also began to solidify the themes around history and heritage that had brought us together in the first place. There is no professional background to this and we are both just interested in these topics and continue to be; linking them to our political awareness to formulate the themes of the band.
It’s been 2 years since the wonderful album ‘Divination of Antiquity’. Are you working on anything new currently?
Yes, we have a few things in the pipeline actually. The main thing is that we have a new record called “The Dark Hereafter” coming out on September 30th in UK/Euro. Around this we are also working on an Acoustic album (which will follow The Dark Hereafter) and then another Black Metal album to follow the acoustic album. As I mentioned before I am also working on a new Atavist album and have also completed work on 2 news songs for 2 new releases for my other band Nine Covens.
Listening to your music, I find it’s very much giving the feeling of paintings from the Romantics of great landscapes, the majesty of nature and such. Is that in a way what you’re going for?
Absolutely. The idea is, and has always been, to connect people with their history, with landscapes and with nature. There is a song on the new release called “Green Cathedral” that really sums this up for me. It’s about how we should focus more on localism and not globalism in our daily pursuits, steering power and influence away from a few people in big companies and moving it back towards people. Returning to nature, at least to some extent, is inevitable for us at some stage. Particularly as the world is so chaotic and resources are so finite. We will have to do something at some point to curb our excesses.
There’s something really upbeat to your sound, there’s an element of empowering in it. I feel, when listening to it, that I want to straighten my back a bit more and get my chin up. I especially like listening to it outside and experience it. Is that something you feel is in there?
Yes I think so. Lyrical themes and imagery can only get you ‘so far’ as a band. I feel like the music itself also has to live up to the beauty and sorrow of the tales we are telling, otherwise the message doesn’t get across. So we use upbeat melodies to highlight and accent the elements of the ups and downs of the stories we are telling as a band. I think that we firstly connect with music as listeners, rather than lyrics etc, so if you get that bit wrong, then the whole point it lost.
You guys took part in the compilation ‘One and All, Together, for Home’ with a lot of similarly minded bands (to an extent at least). Do you feel a connection between bands that are doing something similarly to yourselves?
Of course, particularly bands like Drudkh & Primordial from that line up. They are bands who seem to share similar sentiments about their history and folklore, as well as caring deeply about it. So I think we’ve stuck together to some extent and I think it’s right that bands support one another as some of our content is important around current affairs and is another way of getting the truth out to people.
What is your recording and writing process like? Do you have defined roles and where do you get your subject matter from?
We all write together in my home studio and demo everything before we try it live. Usually Nick or I come up with the initial song ideas and then we build on them together. Although now we have Dan and Mark D in the band, we will start to see some of their influences coming through, I’m sure. Once we have done all of the pre-production, I write the lyrics and we take the songs to the studio and let Chris Fielding help us bring them to life. Lyrically, the themes are about ancient history and how that relates to the struggles of the modern world. So sometimes we talk about wider global themes and sometimes we relate them to pressing issues. All through the lens of ancient poetry and prose, adapted for modern means.
When we met at Eindhoven Metal Meeting, we discussed some of the accusations you’ve faced as a band, being labelled nationalist and even NSBM. Can you tell a bit about what that all was about?
I think – to our earlier discussion – that there are still veins of people who think we are evil because they have seen some reactive nonsense on the internet about us from 2007. Things happened that are well documented and we took steps to distance ourselves from them, so while there is a bit of a back story, it’s behind us and was 8 years ago. The kind of people who dredge this up are usually just virtue signalling ‘right on’ types of people who have never bothered to dig deeper and find out the real truth about us; and who seem to like having a cause to post on social media against. People that read our lyrics or engage with what we have to say in interviews are typically much better informed about what we truly stand for, and are the kinds of people who would defend our points, and our name, to others who know very little about us. I try not to get involved in things like this online anymore but I am happy to speak to anyone and answer their questions (in interviews or to our band page) both positive and negative because I think it is important to confront accusations like these head on and to address our critics honestly.
You explained to me that the t-shirt with the Warrior herd print had a specific meaning behind it. Can you relate that story and is it representative for your views?
The Warrior Herd shirt visualizes how there is always an evil behind the banners of war. The image depicts an evil being behind the flag of men charging into battle. It basically shows how we send our troops off to war under the pretence that they are defending our country, or our way of life from tyranny, yet usually we are actually invading another country for their resources or for some kind of financial or political gain. We revere our soldiers (and rightly so) as they give their lives for what they believe. It just happens that usually they are sent to do that under false pretences and there is usually a hidden agenda at play. I think that is an important lesson for how the world works and is something we are keen to make people think about when considering the topical issues of the day.
Winterfylleth notably doesn’t use much of the black metal aesthetics that are traditionally associated with the genre. What prompted that decision and how do you feel about bands still adhering to the ‘traditional’ look of black metal?
We are a BM band from England who formed 15-20 years or so after that kind of aesthetic was used and it just doesn’t represent who or what we are. Also, it has been done to death by too many bands now as well. To me, the corpse paint/traditional aesthetic of BM is the property of the bands from that era and was a reaction to their musical/political/social landscape at the time, and represents a feeling they had. To me we shouldn’t be trying to emulate that, as we are from a different era, a different country and have different issues that we are confronting in our music. The genre started around nihilism and satanism and reaction to religion etc. To me now, we are discussing issues of nature, of environmental distress, of socio-political importance, of history repeating itself and of power structures. It doesn’t work for me to utilise their aesthetic to do that, we have to find our own. So that is why we choose to be as we are. Our outward personal image is less important to us than overarching image of the albums and the message of what we are saying. Thus we avoid the traditional aesthetics.
Recently I watched the documentary ‘British Black Metal: The Extreme Underground’. A really enjoyable view on the British scene. What bands do you think are currently carrying the torch for British black metal?
With no ego, I think we in Winterfylleth have always tried to lead the charge in terms of contemporary British BM and have strived to bolster and promote the British scene for as long as we’ve had a platform to do so. We’ve helped get lots of key bands signed, we’ve A&R’d lots of bands for labels and taken as many of them on tour as we could to widen their influence and exposure. That said I don’t think UKBM would be anywhere without the combined efforts of a key group of bands… Wodensthrone (RIP), Fen & A Forest of Stars – who were other bands that really helped to re-ignite the British presence on the global BM map around the same time we were forming.
I think what we and those other bands have done is to create a platform on the global stage for British BM again and have allowed other bands the space (and possibly the inspiration) to bring their own spin on it to the world. As a result, lots of bands have come to the fore over the last few years that are really starting to strengthen the UK’s position in BM. Bands like, Cnoc An Tursa, Saor, Eastern Front, Falloch, Old Corpse Road, Wolves of Avalon, Ethereal, Necronautical, The Infernal Sea, Mountains Crave, Kull, Arx Atrata and lots of others.
In the documentary you also mention travelling the country for inspiration. Which are the best spots to listen to every Winterfylleth album?
You should travel to the places where the cover images were taken (Castleton in the Peak District, Snowdonia National Park and the Lake District), go for a walk and take in the beauty and majesty of those areas while you do. They inspired us to write the music, so hopefully they’ll creatively inspire you as well.
What does the future hold for Winterfylleth?
A new release called “The Dark Hereafter” is due on Sept 30th 2016, and we will follow it up with some shows and touring next year. We are also working on 2 future releases as mentioned above, so we are busy with what comes next before the new release is available.
Final question, if you had to describe Winterfylleth as a dish, what would it be and why?
I think we’d be a satellite dish, as we help connect people to each other around important issues. 😉
Label: Season of Mist Band: Sylvaine Origin: Norway
Myrkur has opened the floodgates it sometimes seems of more ambient, folk and soundscape oriented dark music, but maybe I’m just imagining that Sylvaine is of the same cut of cloth, but definitely aiming for a more shoegazy sound on her second album ‘Wistful’, which is out on Seasons of Mist.
The term doomgaze has always been a bit peculiar to me, but listening to this album I can see where it comes from and how it fits in with the compositions of the fey-like Norse lady. The artwork also speaks of the musical experience, with a foggy painting of a natural setting. Misty in the early morning light, amidst the trees. Atleast, that is how I picture it.
The sound of Sylvaine is deeply melancholic, regardless if its a single piano playing or a barrage of guitars. The songs build up rather gently, offering a glance into the unknown at first, before rising up and fully overwhelming you as a listener. The dreamy voice of Sylvaine lures you into the mist, into the swampland. Throw in some comparisons, like Sinead O’Connor‘s rendition of ‘The Foggy Dew’ or maybe even Sigur Rós, it is all in there.
Once there, the heavier sounds start. Even wild schrieks can be heard on ‘Earthbound’, never follow the faeries… They’ll lure you to the waters and the wild, but what for? Interesting fact, on this album the multi-instrumentalist gets help from Stéphane ‘Neige’ Paut (Alcest), which might have a more significant impact than you’d think. Shoegaze is a term that doesn’t fit anymore for music like this, it moves on to something between ambient, black metal and folk with a hint of doom. Doomgaze just feels too hip sounding.
The listener of this album will feel as if lost in the mist, trying to grasp at the essenence of Sylvaine’s music, but never fully reaching it. You feel confused, lost, introspective even and weary by the end. It’s so dense with atmospheric elements that sometimes the fog just too overwhelming. The rare part where you get some direct contact with the vocals, is like a sunray piercing the roof of leaves and illuminating for a brief moment the shining truth, the angelic voice and those moments alone make this album such a mesmerizing experience.
Label: independent Band: MASTER BOOT RECORD Origin: Italy
Somewhere in Rome a rogue computer has started producing or assimilating heavy metal and chiptune music. Yes, all gates are open now, with the arrival of Master Boot Record, which/who dropped 4 records in a short amount of time. I decided to check out ‘C:\>CHKDSK /F’ as a topic for a bit of writing, because it just souned weird.
The occult imagery is blended with DOS-screens and circuit boards, that is pretty cool. Also, MASTER BOOT RECORD has been doing some stuff for a while, covering hit songs like the soundtrack of old DOS games. Think of DOOM, Syndicate and Turrican. I do suppose that some people think this is silly, but if you’ve grown up in that time and age, you know how awesome this record is to me.
So what you get is pretty awesome. Remember how good those game soundtracks, even in midi could be? Everyone can hum along with the Mario and Zelda tune, right? Well, imagine combining that with guitars, bass and drums, to create a driven, electro rock sensation! The typical thing about the game music is that it’s always pushing you forward, it’s energetic and upbeat, so this is one whole record of invigorating music that easily fades to the background, while you engage in the mundane tasks.
On ‘Config.Sys’ there’s even a bit of classical music, played in midi with raw, shredding guitars and then suddenly picking up the synthwave beat. It’s just all there, everything blended to it’s maximum effect of awesome. The superfast riffing, mixed with the midi sound, it just works great. Sure, this is probably one of the most geeky things to enjoy, but the way the record is made is just incredibly catchy and captivating.
I may not know the exact words to describe this record, but it’s the combination of oldschool gaming sensation with the balls to the wall approach of heavy metal and that works like a charm. Enjoy the other records of MASTR BOOT RECORD for free on Bandcamp!
By now, the band Barshasketh has relocated from the Lord of the Rings-y New Zealand to the similar, but more rainy Scotland. The man behind the band is Andrew Campbell, more well known under his moniker Krigeist. He’s been active as well in bands like Belliciste and Bròn. It actually seems that Campbell has now relocated to the Czech Republic even, but it’s a bit hard to tell. Maybe Belgrade, based on the info on the Belliciste page? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter that much either when we get to the music.
The sound of Barshasketh defies the local anyways, even more so on this new endeavour. To create a full band members were found in Falloch, Haar and Finnish Hautakammio. It allows for an album that will not soon be forgotten. Of that I’m sure. I’d like to point out that there’s some excessively amazing art work in use by Barshasketh, done by Daniel Valencia of Fomeno Design.
There’s a hint of melodic black metal bands like Keep of Kalessin hidden in the music of Barshasketh, thanks to the combination of familiar elements of distortion, tremolo guitar play and feisty blast beats with a thoroughly melodic element and a willingness to create a harrowing type of beauty through sound scapes. This is all woven into the fabric of the album and overridden with the bestial, raw roar of Krigeist himself.
In the music, one often hears that a repetitive static is created. This allows for other elements in the music to paint fantastic realms in the sound, allowing the listener to really sink into it as in an almost meditative state. Even the most furious parts have that calm hidden behind it in the form of melodic lines that gently weave through the ferocity that is Barshasketh. Sometimes the static sound almost feels like doom metal in its slow, foreboding progressions.
It combines the old and the new in the sound, which has excellent production. Interesting fact is that the titles are numbered, which creates the feeling of one piece of art, based in chapters. It works very well to express the long stretch in separate elements. This is an album that will surely appear in some End of Year lists. Great stuff!
Label: P3lican Partisans Band: Vėlių Namai Origin: Lithuania
Ambient music is like most electronic music genres quite a thing in the Baltics. It’s fairly easy to acquire the means to make it and I suppose it fits in the nouveau hip state of the countries, which you find in the capitals mostly. Still, ambient can also turn back and look at the past or nature, which is exactly what Vėlių Namai is doing on this record ‘Laumių Šokis’.
This one man project is done by Julius Mité, who is a Lithuanian that appears to travel a lot. Still, his music or art (I feel that ambient often drifts in that direction more) is firmly rooted in his motherland. The album is dedicated to Laima, the goddess of earth and pictures of him in ethnic clothing can be found on the Facebook page. This immediately draws me even closer to the music, having just undergone a Romuva wedding in Lithuania myself, this feels close to the heart (yes, my own wedding indeed).
‘Migla’ sounds like what it means, misty with drops falling and gentle piano play piercing the hazy air. It feels a little like some of the ’90s postrock bands. The sound shifts after a good 7 minutes when we shift into ‘Prabundu’ (I’m waking up). The music is introverted, maximizing only the elements it needs to achieve its purpose. Carefully crafted drones fill the lower sound regions and convey the voice of the earthy, while the cobwebs are still lingering in the fuzzy sounds.
The music lends itself for silent contemplation and introspection, it’s slow progressions and eerie soundscapes seem to be of the darker sort, but so is the mind. The listener is suddenly awoken from those thoughts by the vocals on ‘Mudu du, pilkume’ (us, in grey), by Hannah Knowles. Easy going, it breaks the solitude of the songs and breaks the cycle for the listener. After this we get back tot the solemnnity of the drones, synths and rare guitar line, as we find on ‘Laumių šokis (The dance of laumės). The record is not a very open one, the sounds are cavernous even and therefor the earth feels like the surrounding element.
Also there’s a sense of feeling forlorn, drifting through this undeground world and its wide expanses by yourself, weightless with just the mesmerizing drones accompanying you and painting the sight that fails in darkness. Slowly buts surely, all the other stuff falls away and just the elements remain on a minimal song with lamenting tones like ‘Vėlių takais visi mes eisim (The home beyond)’. Graceful and with a natural beauty.
This album is an experience, possibly best enjoyed with the Baltic landscape in view. Get closer to the essence and to the self and this is your soundtrack.
I have a profound love for the Baltics. The rugged land, the history, the people and the beautiful culture. Like the culture of the bards in Russia, the Balts have their own style of singer-songwritership that holds close ties to poetry and ethnic culture, but I digress. I’ve been listening to the music of Imants Daksis for years and though the words and language are something I struggle with, I love his unique sound. It feels completely honest, in addition to having an urgency to it that feels very personal.
Think neofolk, maybe even a bit of the martial stuff and we’re getting towards the sound of Imants Daksis. Ethnic instruments are present, the words are abstract and thought provoking. The voice can be shouting, whispering and everything in between. Daksis is a creative sould of 33 years old. He always appears to be exploring and expressing new forms of art. I don’t know enough about the Latvian music world to say much more.
The title ‘Mūžīgā ģeogrāfa piedzīvojumi’ translates as Eternal Geographical Travels and on it Daksis is, like Rainis and Dostojevski as he writes he writes. As an artist he is trying to make sense of the world. The jangling, slightly dissonant guitar on opener ‘Ir baigi apjaust, ka esi šeit’ is accompanied by the foreboding vocals of Daksis. Never are they polished completely. They always retain a bit of their natural force and roar. The voice is the main instrument for Daksis and therefor always used in exactly the way its intended. Though the sound is essentially Baltic in origin, in addition one can detect various influences. Therefore the music takes on a universal feel and that fits very well into the concept.
The slow trickling ‘Jūdas dziesma’ deals with the forlorn deserts of the land of Judah and the wars that rage there and the meaningless of it all. It sounds so mellow, but haunting as well and slowly grips you. Sometimes playful, always a bit raw on the edges and never overly complicated. Daksis likes to keep things simple and accesible for the listeners. Personal favorite is probably ‘Rudens sapņi’, where in an almost 9 minutes lasting track all the best features of Daksis’ music pass by. The contained energy and expressive voice are captivating and enthrall the listener.
The great charm of Imants Daksis is not merely the force of the music. It’s the subtleties and poetic aspects of the tunes and words, which are utterly brilliant. It’s never giving more than needed, yet neither less. Dream away to a time before the modern age with this album, you’ll enjoy it.
Continuing on the topic of audio expressions of Lovecraftian lore, love and random fandom, I would like to take you down to a more serious form of expression, that is more Roadburny in nature.
The Doom that came over Lovecraft
To me, ever since Thergothron, doom is the ultimate music for reading Lovecraft. There’s been some great stuff on that, so I’m now venturing into personal recommendations. It’s something about that heavy pummeling, the anticipation and the cosmic stand still. In Lovecraft’s work, humans are the most puny, insignificant things. The slow pace of doom feels remniscent of that, so that’s the core of what I was looking for and I found kindred sounds.
A bit different for starters than, Nikoletta from Arizona makes Stars Eat Worlds, which she dubs surfer metal. Though this is just a demo, it shows a lot of promise. If the surf can take over a bit, it might become something grand to listen to. The songs now sometimes end up just being barrages of noise, lacking the atmospheric.
Now, I know I’m pushing this even further, but Mr. Zoth and the Werespiders produce a drone like music, infected with dungeon synth and ambient elements, to create a harrowing, nerve wracking sound effect, great for your Lovecraftian moments. More cool, these guys are designing games too.
If you can get into it, some really good, blistering noise could be working in your favor. Xothun does a great job in creating eerie soundscapes of crackling distortion and screams. Might be too much again, but I must say I dig it.
Again more ambient/drone, but with a name like Erich Zann Chamber Orchestra we can hardly ignore this Polish contribution to the sonic pantheon of Lovecraftian idolatry, right?
Time to get serious, with no other than Obed Marsh. This Perth, Australia originated group of doomsters makes the sounds of uncanny sludge and heavy proportions. This is the soundtrack to which the nameless ones rise from the deep and sing their unholy songs to ancient Cthulhu. This is indeed exactly what I ment, talking about doom.
I got to see Arkham Witch play live in Malta, where they did songs from their old band The Lamp Of Thoth. The old school heavy metal mixed with doom is catchy and just in a very simple way cool. I think they’re a nice listen during the enjoyment of a good New England story.
My personal favorite and I think one of the most awesome bands out there is The Great Old Ones. Already having an awesome bandname, their sound is monolythic, grand and full of the looming danger that is represented by the great old gods. This is the right atmospheric tune for your moment of immersing into the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft.
A bit more theatrical, but also dirty and grimey is the Dutch collective Swampcult, who pay homage to the master of the cosmic horror with their recent album. The album is a version of the Lovecraft story ‘The Festival’, in its entirety and it’s one gloomy immersion that you’re facing here.
Enjoy these bands, they’re really cool but also channeling their very own experiences and feelings with the stories of Lovecraft into music. That in itself is a great thing. Listening to these bands might allow you to explore new flavors and colour to the timeless works of Lovecraft.
In this 20th edition of books that I read, which is quite a few over time, I’m discussing Dayal Patterson, R.A. Salvatore (again), Gene Simmons and Marco Martens, who all wrote cool books that I enjoyed.
Dayal patterson – Black Metal: Into The Abyss Cult Never Dies Productions
I’m a huge fan of the work by Dayal Patterson, who manages to captivate the black metal scene in his own unique way. Name it scholarly or even ethnographic at times, the man lives and breathes black metal and manages to track down the most reclusive strangers for brilliant interviews. It sometimes seems that the weirder you think they are, the more normal they seem in retrospect. In this edition of the series, Dayal digs up some old bones in Poland for example, finding the roots of that strange black metal scene and continues to search for answers.
I’ve mentioned part of the Polish scene that gets attention in this book, but more or less the outsiders like Stigmata, Furia and others. Another element are the Norwegian bands of the latter generation, that return to a more purist approach, like 1349 and One Tail, One Head. The best part is how open Patterson gets to talk to some of these artists, of which some never did an interview before. It opens up a scene that has been shrouded in mystery and trust me… It doesn’t take away any of the magic.
Gene Simmons – KISS and Make up Crown Publishing
Gene Simmons is an enigma, a character larger than life and hated and reviled as much as he is loved and praised. Gene is a straight shooter and always speaks the truth. No surprise then, that his book details his humble beginnings with as much detail as his later sexual adventures, poverty, riches and glamour. It also features a lot of history of Kiss that before was hidden behind the paint and more or less a mystery. We’ve moved on to a time where things have aged enough for some of the truth to come out. After the accusing books by Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, the book of Simmons feels much less cool and more raw and honest.
Why does that matter? Because for example Frehley, whose book I read, is glorifying his own behavior most of the time and rarely speaks with any warmth of the bandmembers he shared the stage with. Specially Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are depicted as money grubbing monsters, regardles of the fact that Gene Simmons saved his life. Simmons seems to lament the path of the others and speaks as candidly about his own failings and shortcomings, even insecurities and such as about others. This is a book of a sober man, who is honest, but that’s my opinion. It also is a really kick ass story, isn’t it?
R.A. Salvatore – The Sellswords (Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King, Road of the Patriarch)
It’s surprisingly nice sometimes to take a side step in a long series, and so it is with the Forgotten Realms ‘Legend Of Drizzt’. In the short series titled ‘The Sellswords’ we focus on the characters of Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle. Two oppertunists, who venture to a new land to reap the fruits of whoevers labour after daring conflicts with the mercenary bands Bregan D’arte. It’s a great bit of reading and a completely different kind of adventure with more depth and knowledge about the characters you might loathe or secretly love already by this point and will get to know and understand much better by the time you finish.
During the first part, Jarlaxle gets challenged for his leadership of Bregan D’Arte, so he has to flee with Entreri. During their flight they meet up with Cadderly (who has met Drizzt and company before, but is known from the Cleric Quartet). In the second part we fnd the duo in the Bloodstone lands, fighting with, alongside and against King Gareth Dragonsbane in an attempt to gain riches while doing rightious things (known from the Bloodstone Pass series from the eighties). In the final part we travel to Memnon with Artemis Entreri to find his past and illuminate the merciless killer he has become, where we will find something new and surprising in the character. A lovely journey for the reader.
Marco Martens – Rubberboot
It’s only a little booklet, but in it we find stories that are recognizable and funny, sometimes touching and familiar. Marco Martens used to be active in hiphop and now in a sort of spoken word setting. Poetry is also part of this short bundle. An enjoyable, though brief read that you can probably still pick up somewhere if you’re lucky. If not, than you don’t.
Marco Martens is a talented writer and story teller. This book is a small display of his talents, but I hope it won’t be his last endeavour in the written word. Like his record ‘Ieder Huis Is Uit Vertrekken Gebouwd’ (out on Bastaard Platen), his writing is a mixture of humor, nostalgia and grief, all packed up into a nice cocktail that sticks. You can read it here.