Brand/New/Slaegt

Back in the beginning of 2016 I did a review on the great EP, Beautiful and Damned, by the danish black heavy metallers Slægt.

Ever since, I’ve been impatiently awaiting their second full-length – and now we’re getting pretty damn close.. On the fifth of may the guys are releasing “Domus Mysterium” – and it’s now available for pre-orders at Van Records.

The band has promised us a mix of the raw punkish black metal on their debut “Ildsvanger” and the aforementioned NWOBHM inspired “Beautiful and damned.”

Until then, you can enjoy the first single of the upcomming album right here:

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Review/Orm/Self-titled

Back in 2015 the Danish deathmetal band By the Patient released the highly acclaimed “Gehenna”, and shortly after announced the surprising descission to split-up..

About half a year later some demo material aired online and on the Danish radioshow Sort Søndag. Speculation on the menbers identities followed as the only information the public had gotten, was that it featured members of other Well-established Danish bands.

In my case I decided to do some serious stalking, and the picture below, posted on Facebook, confirmed my suspiscion. The Patient did in fact survive being put into the ground, later resurfacing as a fourpiece, as vocalist Tan had split from the rest of the band, leaving Simon Sonne Andersen with the vocal-duties, and a new blackened output; Orm was born.

 I had very high expectations for this release, as the demos released beforehand all were pretty good. As it later was announced that the coverart was to be done by italian artist Paolo Girardi, it only added further to the expectations.

The cover, by the way, depicts Midgaardsormen of the shore of the bands home-island Bornholm, with the old castle Hammershus burning on top of the hill. A beautiful piece of work. A typical “Girardi”, you might say..

As first single “Apotheosis” was released a couple of months ago, I immediately knew that they weren’t going to dissapoint me; powerful and grand blackmetal with a strong sence of melody, perfectly crafted by a band that knows how to handle their instruments.

Despite the album consisting of only five songs it still adds up to a total playtime of fourtytwo minutes; the chosen five all being complex and varied pieces – with my favourite “Ancient echoes” being the shortest one, at almost seven minutes.

Throughout the album Orm makes use of beautiful choir pieces. They are certainly not the first band in the history of metal to include choirworks in their music, but instead of comming across as a cheap gimmick,  it adds to building up a haunting atmosphere, equally part despair and beauty, on top of the wall of razor-sharp guitars and thundering rhythm-section.

Orm join the ranks of danish quality blackmetal bands such as Solbrud, Slægt and Denial of God – the first two mentioned both got albums to be released as well this spring – and will definitly have something to live up to, as Orm makes and instant impact and joins the topshelf of Scandinavian metal.

The album is out now on vinyl and “name your price” download via Bandcamp or Indisciplinarian.

Video/Bio/Myrkur

I’ve collected the three small bio clips produced by Relapse Records, in connection with the release of Myrkurs debut full-length.
Also included, are clips from the official video to the track “Onde børn.”
Hope I won’t get into trouble for doing this.. Until then, enjoy..
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Review/Batushka/Litourgiya

A couple of months ago I came across this band totally unknown to me.. Batushka it said on the bandcamp profile. A quick google-session revealed that it supposedly consisted of members from other well know bands; their identities well hidden behind their orthodox (?) robes.

About a month later, I got my hands on the cd-version of the album. The cover of the debut album “Litourgiya” gives us only few hints of the members real identities – but perhaps it’s enough, for us to solve the puzzle. Кристофор (bass, guitar and vocals), Мартин (Drums) and Варфоломей (vocals) are the names credited on this excellent album.

If you run the three cyrillic spelled names through Google translate, you end up with Christopher, Martin and Bartholemew. There is great consensus on some of the metal-boards I follow, that the latter is in fact Bartłomiej Krysiuk – the owner of Witching Hour Productions, and vocalist of the Polish symphonic black metal band Hermh. The album is also released through Witching Hour Productions.

Should one choose to speculate on the identities of the other members, then it’s propably worth noticing, that the guitarist in the latest known lineup of Hermh, is named Krzysztof Drabikowski; adding fuel to the rumour that Batushka is probably Hermh in new feathers.

The religous imagery makes sense the second you push play;  orthodox chants dominates this record from the beginning to the end – creating a dark and intense, yet, highly spiritual atmosphere.

The first track that  personally caught my attention was Yekteniya III. The track starts of with the subtle sound of bells and chants, but quickly gets overtaken by aggressive guitars and powerful blastbeats. A minute and half through the song, THE riff of the album kicks in; groovy as f***..

My obsession with the track led me to neglecting the rest of the album – and in the beginning, I almost forgot to play the album to the end; replaying the same track over and over again. What a mistake, because this album really starts growing the minute you begin to see it as a whole. Everything melts together: the doomy and gloomy passages, the never ending flow of massive riffs, the more traditional black metal vocals and shrieks. On top of all that, the chants and choirs..

I’m not going into a debate whether these are samples, or not. I’ve seen people argueing that the orthodox chants doesn’t sound organic enough, and might be performed in different languages. In my case it’s a matter of “don’t know – don’t care.” I think it suits the cold atmosphere just fine, and works as an integrated part that binds the whole thing together – samples or not..

This is a great metal record, and it might just be one of those boundary breaking releases, that ends up attracting more people to the black metal scene.

The Big question now is, where should they go from here? Right now they’ve released a quite succesful album; is it possible to create a follow up to this record, without repeating it self – the distinct sound and image in mind? The band addressed this issue themselves on facebook a couple of weeks ago, in a link to an interview done by Noise Magazine.

So, how great is your Polish?

“Płyta Litourgiya poszła po internetach, wytworzył się wokół was szum, z nieodłącznym sieciowym hejtem, ale też zebraliście laury jako jeden z najlepszych, jeśli nie najlepszy debiut na polskiej metalowej scenie roku 2015… No i co teraz? Jaki jest pomysł na następną płytę?
-Takiej samej płyty na pewno nie ma sensu nagrywać. Nie wyznaczamy sobie jakichkolwiek konkretnych celów czy planów. A pomysł na następną? Nie ma żadnego pomysłu na następną. Zresztą na Litourgiyę przed rozpoczęciem rejestracji śladów też nie było pomysłu. Na razie nic nie wiadomo.”

As I perceive it, after running the above through google translate, there is no immediate plan or intentions to do a “Litourgiya II.” Instead we should might expect something different on the next release.
Until then you should do them justice – and go buy one of the most refreshing (black) metal albums of 2015.
Update!!! Still want to know the the true identities of the three guys behind Batushka? I think I have solved the puzzle.. The blog is in Danish, but feel free to ask in English if you don’t understand a word, or the Facebook translation fucks up.. Direct link below..

 

Video/Satan/Rides

In regards of church burnings and how to defend yourself with the ease of 23 knife stabs, most people might have learned a thing or two back in the early nineties. Another thing we’ve might have learned, was how powerful the media really is.

Torstein Grude’s documentary, “Satan Rides the Media,” tells you the story of the medias role, in portraying Varg Vikernes and the black metal community in Norway.

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