Monday, August 13, 2012

Ad Absurdum is forever dead!

As the title says - this blog is dead.
I will however continue and deliver more goods over at Metal Monuments. 
Be sure to update yer bookmarks and stuff

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top 20 debut albums - Part 2

10. Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987)
This should come as no surprise to anyone that's even remotely interested in the heavier aspect of music. I've said before that I actually prefer the more epic and keyboard-oriented side of Gn'R which they so effectivly pulled through in the early 90's with the Illusion-records. But hell, this is one monster of a debut album and it dominated most of my childhood and actually taught me more of the english language than school could ever do. I am pretty tired of the classics here (especially "Sweet Child O' Mine") but songs such as "Nightrain", "Think About You" and "Rocket Queen" always gets me in a certain party mood. It's an iconic debut that almost everyone on the planet has heard and it will doubtlessly go into history as one of the greatest albums ever created.

9. Otyg - Älvefärd (1998)
As I mentioned in the previous blogpost - this is my blog and my personal opinions - but I can understand that people think I might be crazy for putting the debut album from a little folk metal band from northern Sweden that almost no one has heard of, before iconic debuts such as "Black Sabbath", "Altars of Madness" and "Appetite for Destruction". Nevertheless, this album has been played on an almost weekly basis in one way or the other for the last 10 years in my life. Mr. Vintersorg and Otyg brought me the wonders of Swedish folk metal to my ears and I must say that it will probably be the metal genre for me for many, many years to come, even though I'm beginning to grow slightly tired of it. This record is not the best produced, Mr. V's voice is definitly not his best work + the fact that he had a cold when the vocals was recorded. But who the hell cares when you have extremly catchy compositions such as "I Trollberg och Skog", "Fjällstorm", "Myrdingar - Martyrium", "Fjälldrottningens Slott" and "Draugen" to name a few? I definitly don't. But if you do care, then perhaps you should check out the follow-up "Sagovindars Boning" seeing as the vocal work is way better and the songs are almost as equally good.

8. Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine (1992)
This is another album that dominated so much of my younger years and it is indeed a true classic. I remember when a guy at the local youth recreation center played this for me just when the album had come out. I was immidatley blown away by it's fresh mix of rap and heavy riffing. I bought the record the week after, learned every little piece of lyric on it and never looked back. Sadly, this band never could match the intensity or the songwriting from this debut and it feels like it's kind of cemented in time - because "RATM" definitly felt like a breath of fresh air in 1992 (it sold triple platinum goddamn it). It took the band four years to come with a follow-up and by then, the magic was gone. Nevertheless, I'm glad I got to see the band live in 2000 which easily ranks in my top-5 concerts ever.

7. Arckanum - Fran Marder (1995)
This could also be seen as a forgotten jewel since I don't feel that one-man band Arckanum has gotten the attention they deserve. Internet-ninjas seem to feel at ease with just writing about how funny and ludicrous the video to "Gava Fran Trulen" is and that's it. Sure, the video is definitly ludicrous in every aspect, but the song is a fucking black metal masterpiece - way better than anything ever recorded by Mayhem, Emperor or Immortal. The lo-fi production has it's pros and cons, but I mainly feel that it helps to create an amazing atmosphere on the album, even though I wish that it would be a bit louder - but with the same crappy sound. This is not a recording where you analyze how good or bad the drummer is or what cool stuff the guitars comes up with. This is an album that reeks of honest intentions to produce damn good black metal and, as I said before, an amazing atmosphere. Also, I think that Shamataee is one of the absolutly best black metal vocalist in the genre. He attacks the microphone with a frenzy that perhaps only Mortuus (of Marduk and Funeral Mist-fame) could challenge and it feels as the man means every single word he vomits from his throat.

6. Dismember - Like an Everflowing Stream (1991)
If you go back and read Part 1 of this list and check out what I wrote about Entombed's debut album - it pretty much sums up this position as well. The reason that I have this on a much higher position than "Left Hand Path" is the following:
A. I prefer Matti Kärki's vocals over L.G.'s - at least on these recordings.
B. "Like an Everflowing Stream" has, though similar to Entombed's, a much more "rustier sounding" guitar sound.
C. And most important of all - it actually has a way better consictency when it comes to the actual songwriting.
And if you are still in doubt, I only have five words for you: Override. Of. The. Fucking. Overture.

5. The Vision Bleak - The Deathship Has a New Captain (2004)
This is my latest discovery in the metal world (from a few months back) and it feels so bizarre that I never looked up this band when I first heard about their debut "The Deathship Has a New Captain" back in 2004. I knew that one guy was of Empyrium-fame, but since I didn't listen that much to them as I do nowadays, I think that's one of the main reasons I never bothered with this band. Also, they're Germans and apart from Falkenbach and Empyrium, I can't think of any band from Germany that I listen to.
The Vision Bleak is essentially goth metal for the 00's and feels very different from what you would label that during the 90's. They call their own style horror metal and for once, this label actually fit the music very well. The music is melodic, catchy and agressive at the same time. There's everything from thrashy riffs to haunting piano interludes which gives the album a very even feel and never bores the listener (which often can be the case with this type of music). The first four "real" songs (the intro excluded) "Night of the Living Dead", "Wolfmoon", "Metropolis" and "Elizabeth Dane" is a troika of phenomenal songwriting and the four ones that comes after aren't bad in any way. Other things worth pointing out is that the remainder of TVB's discography (three more albums when this is written) is just as even and contains great music.

4. Ásmegin - Hin Vordende Sod & Sø (2003)
Yes, I know that I've ranted A LOT about this record in many previous posts on this blog, but I just can't help it - "HVS&S" is one of the most impressing debuts I've heard in a long time. The combination of folk- black- and viking metal is still surpassed by any band to this day and the record has so much intensity and variation that I still continue to be amazed. The production is still very flawed and way too modern-sounding. And that drum sound is perhaps the second worst I've heard in modern times. Of course only surpassed by that drivel on Metallica's "St. Anger" - coincidentally released the same year. For a more in-depth rant (unfourtunatly only in Swedish) about my thoughts on this phenomenal record, check out this earlier blogpost.

3. Vintersorg - Till Fjälls (1998)
This one made the first place in my top-100 albums of all time, but I'm not sure that I'd put it there if I were to do the list one more time. It is too flawed to deserve the award for that. There have been many nights where I have thought: "What if the production and especially drum sound on this recording were more like it's sequel "Ödemarkens Son"?" "Or what if the vocal delivery from Mr. V were equal to the depth on that record as well?". Then "Till Fjälls" would be the perfect record, because there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of the compositions - they are catchy, melodic, aggressive, beautiful and well thought-through. Mr. V's ability to write a chorus that gets stuck in your head are beyond amazing and it's really impressive that this is his debut. The production values and songstructures were to change during the years, but this full-length debut still stands on it's own feet and the pianodriven epic title track has become a little semi-classic of it's own.

2. Candlemass - Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)
The production on this Swedish doom metal icon hints of the 80's and it could probably have been done better. But the important thing here is that the songs themselves are timeless and that's all that matters. The band originated from mastermind Leif Edling's band Nemesis and never released a demo as Candlemass. Instead the man wrote 6 long songs of pure epic doom metal and recruited one of the best vocalists ever - Johan Längquist in his sole contribution to metal ever - and the result is breathtaking. From the soft, almost ballad-like beginning of the epic funeral dirge "Solitude" to the massive sing-along lines in the closing "A Sorcerer's Pledge", this record has it all. Unfourtunatley, the world was a weird place back in the 80's and people worshipped Europe and their embarressing "The Final Countdown" instead of "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" - where the true talent lied.

1. Moonspell - Wolfheart (1995)
This is an album that I've already dived into earlier, but unfourtunatly only in Swedish. Here's a bit what I had to say from my conclusion then:
"You have to understand. For a record that comes from a - in metalcircles - handicapped country such as Portugal and released as early as 1995, "Wolfheart" was extremly monumental and ahead of it's time. The songs are even and there are no real peaks or lows - the records flows from beginning to end."
To think that this band's previous work (the MCD "Under the Moonspell") was released only one year prior to this masterpiece is nothing but a remarkable effort. The band definitly played over the own capability on that recording and the structures of the songs are a far cry from the wolf at hand.
This is one of the few albums that I have two copies of, simply because I wanted to have the newly released edition with new artwork, liner notes and a bonus live disc. The liner notes calls "Wolfheart" "the ugly duckling of European black metal" and I so love that statement. Because it is the combination of black metal, gothic overtures and Portugese folklore that makes "Wolfheart" so dynamic and so goddamn impressive for a debut album from what was basically a bunch of teenagers that had a difficult time to even find a rehearsal place.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Top 20 debut albums - Part 1

Due to boredom and severe backproblems, I decided to make a list today. So here's my top 20-list of important debut albums. And as always, these positions and albums are based on my opinions and probably differs quite a lot from the general metalmasses so to speak. But what the hell, it's my blog right?

20. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1970)
Anyone heard of these four Brits? They created heavy metal and are also responsible for unleashing one of my favourite genres (which you will see later in this list) - doom metal - to the world. I can only imagine (since I wasn't born then) what impact their selftitled debutalbum must have had upon an unsuspecting world that benchmarked metal with the more rock-oriented likes of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple back in the days. The sinister opening track "Black Sabbath" sent shivers down people's spines with it's eerie guitars and haunting vocals - and it still manages to do the same to me today. And no list including great debutalbums is complete without the godfathers of metal...

19. Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness (1989)
Although I've personally always preferred the Swedish way of playing death metal over the American - I simply cannot deny the importance of this classic. The coverart alone would scare people shitless back in -89 and as the case with spot number 20 - I can only imagine (here I was 9 years old but I was completely unaware of metal whatsoever) the initial impact it had.
As I mentioned earlier, this is quite far from being a death metal favourite album of mine and I'm not particulary fond of David Vincent's snarling vocals which was quite far from the more demonical sound he would develop later in the band's career. But the guitarsound is evil as fuck (though not as badass as it's Swedish counterparts) and the songwriting is definitly very good coming from a bunch of guys that were so young when they wrote this. Being first does not always mean that you're the best, but this debut is so impressing that it still would be a shame to not have it on this list. Today, this band is sadly a mere shadow of their former selves and I would think that the teenage Mr. Vincent would've kicked his own ass if he could see what abominations his Morbid Angel are doing today.

18. Dissection - The Somberlain (1993)
Even though these Swedes made an ever better record two years after this - named "Storm of the Light's Bane" - it is almost impossible not to be amazed by the sheer quality of this debut. Combining death metal melodies with icy cold black metal guitar playing, topped with the impressive vocal work of Jon Nötveidt - Dissection helped to pave the way for the so-called Gothenburg style together with At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity and an unimportant and untalented band called In Flames. But when the aforementioned bands looked to traditional Nordic folk melodies and/or thrash metal - Dissection turned it's eyes to black metal and forged a majestic sound that has been copied by thousands of bands (hello Thulcandra) ever since. Though sadly disfunct as a band today, (due to bandleader Jon's suicide in 2006) Dissection managed to keep a spot-on discography without any weak points and will always be remembered for that.

17. Metallica - Kill 'Em All (1983)
Eventually, this band would become one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) heavy metal bands of all time, but I don't think many people thought this when they released their debut album in -83. The guidelines and rules for these four teens was that thrash metal was THE one religion and the gods they worshipped were Diamond Head and Motörhead. But everything is not about speed even though that seems to be the case with "Kill 'Em All". This record also produced immortal thrash metal anthems such as "Jump in the Fire" and "Seek and Destroy" and I must acknowledge the importance that they have had even though I seldom listen to any of those tracks today. Standouts for me on this album are spelled "Motorbreath", "The Four Horsemen" and "Phantom Lord". The production value on this record is below zero, the vocals from James Hetfield are ludicrous and the song structures are not even nearly thought through. Still, it is an important piece of work that would pave the road to such masterpieces as "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets". Oh, and I should also say that they probably influenced every metal band formed after 1986 in one way or another...

16. Ghost - Opus Eponymous (2010)
Sure I've praised these anonymous satan-worshipping Swedish ghouls on this blog before, but it must once more be said that this is one hell of a debut. This is still not my cup of tea musically, but I get dragged along in some weird way anyway - and this has nothing to do with them being hyped as the biggest thing in 2010. I doubt that I would find them very interesting if the were about something else lyricwise. Furthermore, it sounds like it's not produced in 2010 - I won't say that it sounds like it comes straight from the seventies, since I don't have that sort of knowledge about most of the metal/hardrock productions back then and I've never owned a vinyl player. But the fact remains that this sounds old, but in a very positive way. The songwriting is catchy as hell, the lyrics are about hell and the vocalist is not the best I've heard - but he doesen't sound like hell at least. Did that make sense? Good.

15. Theatre of Tragedy - Theatre of Tragedy (1995)
During the mid-90's, before the crappy likes of Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation and - dare I say - Evanescence made it big, there was only one gothic metal band featuring female vocals that was worth caring about. Theatre of Tragedy's self-titled debut album is hailed as the originators of the so called beauty-and-the-beast-metal where soft female vocals duelled with death growls on top of a foundation of gothic- and doom metal. For this alone, this album deserves a spot on my list - but it also contains damn good compositions that actually have survived the flooded goth metal scene and feels somewhat relevant in 2012 (unlike the beforementioned bands). The opener "A Hamlet for a Slothful Vassal" and the closer "Dying - I Only Feel Apathy" are well-worked songs that I still listen to from time to time. Even though they flipped out totally during the -00's and produced some of the worst garbage known to man ("Musiqué" and "Assembly") they still deserve the credit for pioneering this type of music on this album. Also, be sure to check out the follow-up "Velvet Darkness They Fear" which is even stronger in it's compositions.

14. Falkenbach - ...En Their Medh Riki Fara... (1996)
This German/Icelandic one-man band is definitly influenced by the Swedish outfit Bathory in two ways or another. This brings me to why the classic debut of said band is not in this list - the simple explination is that I never could stand the vocals of Qourthon. Sure, the guy had a few riffs and compositions here and there during his long career, but the vocals immideatly destroyed everything for me, which in in a way, is quite sad. On to Falkenbach then.
This debut album is full of references to vikings and times of yore. One could call it a mix between viking- folk- and black metal but nevertheless, the winning factor here lies in the strength of the compositions. Apart from the two way too long and dull instrumental pieces, all of the songs are gold in their own way. Songs such as "Heathenpride" and "...Into the Ardent Awaited Land" are epic compositions featuring mostly clean vocals (which aren't the best - but fits the music spot on) and catchiness beyond this world. Then we also have sheer agression in the likes of "Læknishendr" and "Winternight", but it is black metal attacking that never becomes boring because the guy knows how to write a catchy song - whether it's black- or viking metal. This album is somewhat of a forgotten gem that way too few people have heard. Give the vocals a chance I say, and once you've got used to them, learn the lyrics and you'll never stop playing this album.

13. 3rd & The Mortal - Tears Laid in Earth (1994)
The debut album (and predecessing EP) by this Norweigian outfit was more or less the only material they released that was metal - before they changed their sound to a more experimental pop/industrial sound later on. The cover is spot on with the music on this album since it has a very "foresty feeling" and it almost feels like you're on a long journey through the Norwegian countryside. The album is regarded as the start of the so-called atmospheric doom metal - namely really slow and crushing doom, featuring female vocals only. Despite the album having lots of keyboards and the addition of female vocals - it feels wrong to use the word "gothic" when describing "Tears Laid in Earth" - hence the atmosphere in the doom metal. Got it? Kari Rueslåtten is one of my favourite female vocalists ever and it's a shame that this band never did any more records in this vein.

12. Entombed - Left Hand Path (1990)
You all should know this. This is the record that was the first to be released after a flood of Swedish death metal demos. This is the record that made all other Swedish bands pilgrimage to Sunlight Studio just to get that certain guitar sound that this album has. I like the record for what it is and I definitly announce it's importance in the history of metal, even though I really don't care for the vocals all the time and that I feel that the songwriting really is below par at most times. Also, that cover painting by Dan Seagrave is beyond monumental.
This album thrusted Entombed into super stardom in Scandinavia and it's legacy spawned a thousand new death metal bands in Sweden wanting to be as big as Entombed. One thing that this album seldom gets credit for, is the fact that it helped fuel the fire and aggression in Norway and their hatred towards the Swedish death metal scene which they called life metal. To put it in other words, I don't think that bands such as Mayhem and Darkthrone would have written such monumental pieces as they did if it weren't for death metal - and in particular this record - becoming so big in Sweden. And since I kinda prefer black metal over death metal I must say thanks to Entombed.

11. My Dying Bride - As the Flower Withers (1991)
If we're talking underrated records, it's a crime not to mention the Bride's debut in my opinion. Sure, it's nowhere near the sheer brilliance of albums such as "Turn Loose the Swans" or "The Angel and the Dark River" but it has that certain something anyway and it's a perfect mix of death- and doom metal, with most focus on the latter. I mean, it contains classics such as "Sear Me" and "The Forever People" - even though I class the latter as one of the worst songs MDB has ever written. It's boring death metal deluxe if compared to the incredible "Vast Choirs" which effectivly fuses death metal into doom metal with brilliance. The growling vocals from Aaron are the best he's ever done in MDB's long career and even though I feel that the record would've been even better with his clean vocals and more of Martin Powell's violins - it still holds up today. It is also perhaps the most aggressive MDB-recording so if the tough death metal guys ever would want to get immersed into the romantic/depressive side of doom metal - this is where to start.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top-10 records of 2011

Yes, it is that time of the year once more. And just like some retarded phoenix - Ad Absurdum once again rises from the (somewhat) smouldering ashes. A funny thing about this list of my personal favourites from 2011, is the fact that among these 10 records, there are only 5 countries represented (Sweden, Norway, Great Britain, Switzerland and Poland) which probably tells a lot about my taste in music in general...

I really don't like comparing record years, but 2011 has from my point of view been vastly superior to 2010 - which only leaves me with good hopes for 2012. Which by the way, will see the light of yet another Vintersorg-record in March (called "Orkan") and a new My Dying Bride-record as well. Also, I really wish for new releases from Moonspell and Satyricon.
But here goes nothing:

1. Vintersorg - Jordpuls
Progressive/Folk Metal. 2011-03-25. Napalm Records.
Now this must come as a huge surprise to those of you who reads this blog or knows me even vaguely. I don't think there exist a day during the year that I don't have Vintersorg's music in my head or ears in one way or the other. This could very much be the longest lasting true love of anything in my life and I do not say that lightly. 
The last Vintersorg-record "Solens Rötter" (2007) was a return to the use of Swedish lyrics, but in the end promised too much when it came to the music. Of course it wasn't bad in any way and it will always sit unthreatened on the 1st place as the greatest record of 2007. But "Jordpuls" takes the songwriting to a whole new level on the incredible opener "Världsalltets Fanfar", the the epic "Till Dånet Av Forsar Och Fall" and especially on the semi-progressive "Skogen Sover". The entire record gives nods to the bands first two classic full-length's "Till Fjälls" (1998) and "Ödemarkens Son" (1999) but as usual is also constantly searching forward, never stagnating. Although, there actually is a dull moment on the record and that is the mediocre "Stjärndyrkan" which doesen't seem to fit in with the rest of the record, both music- and lyric-wise. 
Nevertheless, this was an easy win for the duo and my expectations on 2012's "Orkan" are now sky-fucking-high!

2. Vader - Welcome To The Morbid Reich
Death Metal - the polish way. 2011-08-12. Nuclear Blast.
Polish death metal has actually never been my cup of tea and I had only heard a song here and there with the veterans in Vader prior to this one. I remember reading a couple of reviews saying how good this record was and praising almost every bit on it. I decided to pick it up and to my surprise, the reviews were spot on.
My death metal-liking has perhaps grown a bit in the past years and I although I've always had a good knowledge about many death metal bands, I've never actually enjoyed it completely until now. On "Welcome To The Morbid Reich" there is not a dull moment anywhere to be found. It always 100% death metal in short and consistent songs. But the thing that these polacks do so well is to vary the music so that it never becomes boring. Easily the best death metal record I've heard in many years.

3. Arckanum - Helvítismyrkr
Black metal. 2011-09-16. Season Of Mist.
To me, Arckanum is one of the best (if not the best) black metal bands out there. Although the quality is constantly shifting, the sole member Shamataee has always been real consistent when it comes to creating moods, even though the quality of earlier recordings were utter shit. That never mattered, because the music never suffered one bit and I hold the entire Arckanum discography on a high pedestal.
Shamataee has consistently been putting out one record/year since 2008's "Antikosmos" and 2011 was no exception. Last year's "Sviga Lae" was the weakest Arckanum-record I've ever heard, even though it did posess some quality. The new one "Helvítismyrkr" - is much better overall, even though there are some lows here and there. But there are also some insanely good moments, such as the song you can hear below.

4. Samael - Lux Mundi
Industrial/Gothic Metal. 2011-04-29. Nuclear Blast.
The Swiss quartet Samael is a band that I used to listen a lot to back in the 90's and early 00's. In my opinion "Eternal" from 1999 is their masterpiece and actually the last good thing they've done since then. "Reign Of Light" and "Solar Soul" was decent at the best and their last record "Above" has to be some kind of joke - that's how bad it was.
Needless to say, I didn't have very high hopes at all for "Lux Mundi" and I didn't even think I would listen to it at all. But it turned out to be quite a surprise. For you see my fellow readers, this sounds exactly like the natural follow-up to 1996's "Passage". Here we have the sinister keyboards that does not only add atmosphere but also incredible melodies - oh, how I've missed them. They do their whole "Rammstein-meets-Depeche Mode-meets-random-black-metal-band" so damn good, although I admit one has to be in a certain mood to appreciate them. But when I'm in that mood, Samael are gods.

5. Burzum - Fallen
Epic Black Metal. 2011-03-07. Byelobog Productions.
Varg Vikernes is a complete and utter idiot. There, I've said it. Yeah, I honestly don't care at all about the man behind the music as long as it sounds this good. I've never been a big fan of the Count's earlier works and although last year's "Belus" was a solid effort, the absolutley horrid "production" sounded way too forced and destroyed much of the atmosphere that could have been.
Skipping the pointless intro and outro - on "Fallen", Burzum creates long and winding passages of music that you simply cannot get out of your head. I love music that sounds like this, as if it was trying to be sort of "commercial" although not being commercial in any sense at all. I also like Varg's clean vocals which mostly are spoken, but that Norweigian dialect is simply beautiful.

6. My Dying Bride - The Barghest O´ Whitby
Doom/Death Metal. 2011-11-07. Peaceville Records.
Yes, I am aware that this is not a full-length, but rather an EP consisting of one song which clocks in at over 27 minutes. Nevertheless, this is so good that it would be a shame to exclude it from my top-list just because of the format.
Enough said about that - now on the music. The ever-depressed gloom-sextet from Britain are all about crushing guitars, heavy pounding drums, weeping violins and vocals of despair - in other words - everything is business as usual. But one thing that actually seperates this release from, oh let's say their 4 previous full-lengths is that they have looked a lot more further back at their own past this time. The music landscape is more reminicent to their early releases "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium" and "As The Flower Withers" rather than "Like Gods Of The Sun" or the last masterpiece "For Lies I Sire". In other words, less goth and melodies and way more heavy doom and slow death. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with said formula, I will always hold "Turn Loose The Swans" and "The Angel And The Dark River" as the reigning champions in the MDB-discography. I hope that next year's full-length will continue to evolve the sound they had on "For Lies I Sire" rather than looking back as much as they did on "The Barghest O´ Whitby".
But who am I to disagree if this is the path they wish to tread upon? After all, My Dying Bride is one of my all-time favourite bands ever and they've yet to dissapoint me.

7. I.C.S. Vortex - Storm Seeker
Progressive/Doom Metal. 2011-08-19. Century Media.
Being one of my all-time favourite vocalists ever, Simen "I.C.S. Vortex" Hestnaes had a lot to prove when word got out that he would go solo after being fired/quitted from the talentless hacks in Dimmu Burger. I already knew he had some good songwriting skills after hearing his doom metal band Lamented Souls as well as the incredible songs "Colossus" and "Ad Noctrum" which he wrote in Borknagar.
Teaming up with guitarist Jens Ryland (Borknagar) and the incredible drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Enslavement of Beauty, ex-Borknagar) was not a bad move at all, but the result is far from what I had hoped for. Again, not being bad at all - I guess I just had very high hopes for this one and Vortex did not satisfy me entirely. The music sounds sort of what I would have expected, although I had hoped for a bit more faster and more black metalesqué parts, but I guess that Vortex wanted to distance himself a bit from Dimmu Burger. 
It's quite progressive, dreamlike and semi-epic at some points, but take a song such as "Skoal!" for instance. It begins so god damn great - almost folkmetal-like - and has a really cool melody but once the vocals kick in, there's no good melody left anymore. It seems as though Vortex decided to write a couple of catchy songs, but that he later forgot to also add good vocal melodies to those.
Also, it's kind of annoying that he uses so much reverb and effects on his vocals throughout the ENTIRE record - especially when one knows how good his voice is withouth effects. Shame.

8. Taake - Noregs Vaapen
Black Metal. 2011-09-19. Dark Essence Records.
Taake are one of those long-running Norweigian black metal bands that I haven't listened too much to in the past. I've listened to the essential albums a couple of times, but it's been the overall production that has turned me off. And it's not that I don't like raw production - on the contrary actually - but IMO they've never actually fitted Taake's music. Perhaps Mr. Hoest has realized this as well, because on their latest full-length "Noregs Vaapen" ("The Weapon of Norway") the production is better than ever. But it's the overall feeling and solid songwriting that really gets me off here. This is such good classic black metal that only those people from the fjords can conjure forth.

9. Vallenfyre - A Fragile King
Old-school Death/Doom Metal. 2011-10-31. Century Media.
Paradise Lost's main songwriter and lead guitarist Gregor Mackintosh decided that he wanted to get out a few ideas of his own, set apart from his main band and started Vallenfyre together with a couple of friends (among them is Hamish Glencross of My Dying Bride-fame).
The result is very, very old-school sounding. Here are some small hints from the just mentioned bands, more hints from Celtic Frost and Trouble and massive old-school Swedish death-metal, especially the from the early days of Entombed. Although catchy, murky, dark and gloomy music will always be my cup of tea - "A Fragile King" just doesen't do it entirely for me. I actually had much higher hopes for this one, despite definitly not being bad in any way. It's all be done before and the music is nothing that will make you jump through the roof. It will make you yearn for the early 90's though - which in my book will always be something positive.

10. Shining - VII - Född Förlorare
Black Metal/Rock. 2011-05-11. Spinefarm Records.
Sweden's Shining may be best known for their excentric and somewhat disillusioned frontman Niklas Kvarforth and his never-ending rants about suicide and such - but he's actually a very gifted songwriter which he has continued to show with his own brand of sucidial black metal/rock on Shining three last records. 
"Född Förlorare" ("Born Loser") is no exception although I've always wanted to hear Shining play a bit shorter songs in general, because I tend to loose my interest after a couple of songs. But "Född Förlorare" wins on the track "Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel" ("Despair, My Heritage") alone.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Light At The End Of The World - Part I - The Devil

This is the section where I will discuss, dissect and decipher records that does not exist. Records that were announced by either bands or labels but for some reason never saw the light of the day. I will try my best to bring as much clarity as I possibly can in the record that's being dissected and finally see how low or high the possibilites are, for the record to ever be released.
Perhaps you'll learn some weird facts that you didn't know earlier? Or did you already know that Anathema's sophomore album "The Silent Enigma" was originally planned to be called "Rise Pantheon Dreams" by their original vocalist Darren White? Later, said vocalist's new band The Blood Divine released a compilation under that very title? And did you know that Moonspell was close to name their 1998-album "Dereligious", before settling for "Sin/Pecado"?
But let's start now - and what better way to start this section than by scruntinizing one my all-time favourite bands!

Band: Otyg
Record: "Djävulen" (meaning "The Devil")
Style: Folk metal
First heard of: Right after "Sagovindars Boning" was released in 1999. The band disbanded in 2002.
Known facts: According to Daniel Fredriksson - who handled bass, willow-flute, keyed fiddle, mouth-harp and lute guitar in the band - he claimed that the man in charge (that's Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund for all you unknowing bastards) had written ALL of the music and most of the lyrics. Here are his exact words regarding "Djävulen":

"The music I heard was really amazing… More progressive and innovative than before, and with a little 70:s vibe to it, sometimes... The lyrics were dark tales revolving around the folkloristic images and stories of the devil. But we never got to record anything or even really rehearse most songs so I can't tell you much more about it. But it is a pity it never got recorded."

Other things that we do know about the record are three titles:
"Dans På Blåkulla" (meaning "Dance At Blåkulla")
"Kontraktet" (meaning "The Contract")
"Gastkramad" (meaning "Ghosthugged")
The last song, "Gastkramad" was played live once during the band's last concert in Holland and can be found (along with the lyrics to the three songs) at the ultimate Otyg-page I Trollskogens Drömmande Mörker.

Possibility of ever being released: When asked about an Otyg-resurrection, Daniel Fredriksson is quick to say that he'd be cool with it if it felt right and that everyone in the band still are good friends. The main thing here is of course the fact that Mr. Vintersorg is busy being a parent, a teacher and participating in Vintersorg, Borknagar, Cronian, Fission, Waterclime and Gravisphere. Although, one should not forget that the last Vintersorg album "Jordpuls" was a gigantic leap back in the woods - at least lyricwise. Perhaps the time has come to resurrect Otyg? But of course the question then will be - will the band go back and finish "Djävulen" or will they go for a fresh start? If they do get back together, I think that the possibilities of ever hearing "Djävulen" is very, very low.

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another Week, Another Friday, Volume #2

Hell yeah, it's friday once more!
And although there wont be any drinking or good times for me today, I'll encourage the rest of you to party like it's...ehm, friday. Here goes!

1. Unanimated - Life Demise (Melodic death/black metal)
2. Biohazard - Shades Of Grey (Hardcore-ish)
3. De Lyckliga Kompisarna - Vi Är De Lyckliga Kompisarna (Swedish trallpunk)
4. Fear Factory - Replica (90's metal)
5. Black Sabbath - Children Of The Grave (Sabbath-music)
6. Satyricon - Repined Bastard Nation (a freight-train out of bounds)
7. Sepultura - Refuse/Resist (90's metal)
8. Metallica - The Shortest Straw (Thrash metal. Taken from the "And Justice For JASON"-album with extra bass-sound)
9. Sentenced - Venegance Is Mine (Goth/Heavy metal)
10. Moonspell - Alma Mater (Black/Goth metal)

Click here to download!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Week, Another Friday, Volume #1

Back From The Grave!

Yeah, so I'll basically stop the top-list that I started way back in [something, something] and resurrect this blog with a completely new concept: Friday music!
Instead of making boring Spotify- or Grooveshark-lists, which every other idiot seems to be doing - I will try and get things back to basic. This is a compilation you'll be able to play whenever you want and you wont have to worry about certain songs magically vanishing just because Spotify, a recordlabel or a band have banned said song(s) and basically fucked you in the face.
This as old-school as it gets when it comes to da world wide web - namely an MP3-compilation, complete with lyrics to all the tracks and a unicorn-lovely cover painting that I most certainly spent 3 minutes putting together in Photoshop. So without further ado - here's the first volume of "Another Week, Another Friday". Guess which day of the week this blog will be updated henceforth? If you said monday, you just won a one-way ticket to Vänersborg.

The first compilation features the following songs:

1. Iron Maiden - Be Quick Or Be Dead (NWOBHM)
2. The Crown - Blitzkrieg Witchcraft (Death/Thrash metal)
3. Candlemass - If I Ever Die (Doom metal, though heavily speeded doom)
4. The Coffinshakers - Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (Vampire/Rockabilly Country...sort of)
5. Testament - Legions Of The Dead (Thrash metal)
6. Rollins Band - Step Back (Hardcore)
7. Morbid Angel - Chapel Of Ghouls (Old-skool death metal)
8. Motörhead - Burner (Heavy metal)
9. Darkthrone - Those Treasures Will Never Befall You (Punk/Crust/Black metal)
10. Coca Carola - Kullkastargränd (Swedish Trallpunk)

Also, please comment if you feel like there's too few songs on each volume, or if you like and/or dislike anything else. Whatevva.

Click here to download!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dagens låt 2011-02-21 (Arckanum - Capitvlvm IV - Bafomet)

Band/artist: Arckanum
Låt: Capitvlvm IV - Bafomet
Genre: Underskön svartmetall
Album: Boka Vm Kaos
Årtal: 2002 (Carnal Records)


hvrv iak qviker stodh a iarþerikit. blodoghir ok
sarghadhir (i allom minnom lommom.)
sva ærv þe mik hatlike. man ok kona.
ok sva svm sakt ær. minnar øghvn vpfyltos af nidhir
flytandi blodheno.
øronin atir tæptos ok alt skæggit vpfyltis ok þioknadi af
nidhir flytandi blodheno.
ok blodhit fløt aldra væghna.
ok for þæn skvld at min øghvn varv blodhogh ok ful mz
(ok for þy at min ørvn vpfyltos mz blodh ok hørdho
hadelik ok smælik ordh.)
þy skvlv min ørvn bortvændhaz af oqvæmelike lyghn.
æn þa. beskelike. ropadhe iak mz hardelike ok maktelike

ælska mik i kaos svarti hafi
agios o bafomet! agios o bafomet!
ræk mik þin hand min kærling
agios o bafomet! agios o bafomet!

miþer iarþe lif kvæler mik. min hændrana ær blodheno.
ok min krop ær rvtin.
af kosmos horvm ok skam.
þo iak standa stark ok køn.
þo iak standa hand i handi mæþ kaos.
iak skvlv kyssa skøt þit.
iak skvlv þrænga in i svarti hali þit.

ælska mik i kaos svarti hafi
agios o bafomet! agios o bafomet!
ræk mik þin hand min kærling
agios o bafomet! agios o bafomet!

bafomet. en stiærn himil sigha af þinvm genvartvm.
svm en cirkil. svm en hvirvil.
bafomet. iak havi sparin en stiærna til þik.
i envm hvndraþvm tivghvm þrim ok envm daghvm havi
iak skriftin. skriftin vm þik.
bafomet. þv min sial bæra til Samael.
hæl Satan þo sin giæf til os. æn svart lænk mællom os.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dagens låt 2011-02-17 (Haggard - Per Aspera Ad Astra)

Band/artist: Haggard
Låt: Per Aspera Ad Astra
Genre: Någon typ av opera/medeltida lajv-goth metal (inte så illa som det låter)
Album: Eppur Si Muove
Årtal: 2004 (Drakkar)

(Adesso sono qui…)
An old dungeon hidden from all the light
Thirteen candles enlighten the dark
Shadows are playing their games on the wall
And a shimmering glow fills the arch

Now, as night steps as side, and a new dawn will break
Silently a new age of science awakes

Old theory that has been wrong
Power of the universe
Will take me to the place where I belong

Through the clauds of lies and fear
In silent moments it comes near:

In my deepest hour of darkness
They will shine…
(feel my scorn)
(The sword that killed the unicorn)
Splenderanno … per aspera ad astra

His theories and knowledge
Mean danger in these times
And those accused of heresy
Will not longer be alive
Hide, hide your secrets well
For in your darkest hour you should dwell

(Adesso sono qui…)
An old table covered with parchments and rolls
The great one has children of four
Callisto, Europa, Ganymed e Io
The bright universe to adore

Old theory that has been wrong
Power of the universe
Will take me to the place where I belong

Through the clauds of lies and fear
In silent moments it comes near:

In my deepest hour of darkness
They will shine…
(feel my scorn)
(The sword that killed the unicorn)
Splenderanno … per aspera ad astra

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dagens låt 2011-02-15 (Charta 77 - Herrarna I Sandlådan)

Band/artist: Charta 77
Låt: Herrarna I Sandlådan

Genre: Trallpunk
Album: Tecken I Tiden

Årtal: 1995 (BirdNest Records)

Visst kan det vara enklare att bara titta bort
Och låtsas om som ingenting hänt beundrande
bara följa strömmen
Men att bara titta bort kan även det vara ett brott
Och tro man ser fastän man blundar
och aldrig öppnar munnen

Dom som äger framtiden är dom som köpt historien
tror du dom frågar
Om du vill ha alternativ om du vill ha ett drägligt liv efter

Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan  bara kommer att se på
Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan  bara låter tiden gå

När farbor Wallenberg och farbror Gyll och några till
Går ut och lär oss vanliga att rösta slå fast hur
vi ska ha det
Tror du att farbror Wallenberg och farbror Gyll och några till
Bryr sig om att vi har lust att inte leka hink och spade

För när man äger framtiden genom köp av historien
kan man då göra som man vill
För herrarna kan inte fråga herrarna kan blott beordra
Oss att tiga still

Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara kommer att se på
tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara låter tiden gå

Ibland känns det som man missat handligen
missat att ytan har ett djup

Nya tiden nya sanningen med X2000 mot ett stup
Asa-tro bytes mot Nasa-tro cancer vårdas som kolik
Jasa-tro låter som Vasa-tro tror du att pengar gör dej rik

Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara kommer att se på
Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara låter tiden gå

Om någon tror att svaren finns hos någon sprätt som har en
Skräddarsydd kostym med guldmanschetter och äter allt han skiter
Vad tror du själv att svaren blir när man låter morgondagen
Styras av en uppblåst viktigpetter eller nån som heter Pieter

För fast man köpt historien är inte framtiden här än
Ibland så gäller det att våga
Frihet är inte nåt man får frihet är nåt man tar ändå
Utan att fråga

Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara kommer att se på
Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara låter tiden gå

Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara kommer att se på
Tror du att herrarna i sandlådan bara låter tiden gå