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Messages - Tree

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Audiofile / Re: Molested / Borknagar
« on: June 04, 2016, 04:39:56 PM »
Molested - Blod-draum (1995)

Molested - Blod-draum (Original master, Mega)

Audiofile / Withered Earth
« on: June 03, 2016, 04:15:46 PM »
Withered Earth
Withered Earth MP3s

Withered Earth - Forgotten Sunrise (1997)

Withered Earth - Forgotten Sunrise (Mega)

Metal / Re: Folk Metal
« on: April 23, 2016, 12:19:19 AM »
Thank you, Tree. I'll give serious attempt to your recommendations.
I haven't heard Baltic folk music yet, only Scandinavian folk music, and a tiny bit of Celtic music.

You are welcome. Don't feel any pressure to listen to all of the bands that I mentioned (or any of them at all for that matter, haha). I just wanted to express my thoughts completely.

Vikingligr Veldi is great black metal. I agree with you on that. I haven't heard Graveland, and I should probably listen to more Bathory...

Thousand Swords is the only Graveland album with which I am decently familiar. It has a hypnotic quality to it, and the combination of folkish music with hateful lyrics is fascinating (though I haven't decided whether it actually works well). On the other hand, the songs tend to blend together.

"I should probably listen to more Bathory" is a feeling with which I am familiar. Maybe my age is the reason, but I have trouble relating to or "getting into" any of the pre-Blood Fire Death albums.

Lunar Strain has some melodies which would be at home in a Scandinavian folk piece. One track on the album, "Hårgalåten", is literally an old folk tune from Sweden.

You mentioned the problems with In Flames yourself, and I agree. Lunar Strain is their best / least bad album, probably.
If they had gotten better instead of worse after it, maybe they could have been a good band.

I did not know that about "Hårgalåten", but the fact that an actual folk song fits with the rest of the material supports my proposition that they should have written a folk album instead of a metal album. My favorite In Flames material is probably the Subterranean EP, except for the emo lyrics. I think that the songwriting there is better than on Lunar Strain. I also still find The Jester Race somewhat enjoyable, maybe as a vestige of when I was first discovering metal, but I don't think that there is much - if any - deeper meaning in the music of In Flames.

Metal / Re: Folk Metal
« on: April 21, 2016, 12:57:53 AM »
Some styles of metal would probably not work well with folk music. Heavy metal and black metal seem like the best candidates to me. I think that an attempt to musically speak about the things that metal and folk music can have in common would result in the metallic parts resembling either heavy metal or black metal.

I agree that heavy metal and black metal are the best templates for folk metal, though I cannot elaborate why. Perhaps because the former is the most "righteous" and provides the most room to accommodate folk melody, while the latter is the proudest and fiercest.

Are there any folk metal bands that you think are good? Let me know why you like a band that you like. And if no band appeals to you, dissect a shitty one and explain why it's bad.

I would point to Bathory - Hammerheart, Enslaved - Vikingligr Veldi, and Graveland - Thousand Swords as early successes of metal with a folkish spirit. Bathory is more anthemic, Enslaved more introspective and mystical, and Graveland more martial and hateful, but the three have a common "folk-like" feeling that I have trouble describing in words at the moment. Maybe it's the sense of prideful righteousness and triumph in the music. Maybe it's the larger-than-life feeling that they convey, suggesting that oft-overused word "epic." Maybe it's that certain bounciness or even danceable quality in some of the rhythms. Hammerheart is worth special mention because I think that it had a lot of influence on many bands that followed.

Storm and Otyg had a style that appeals to me on paper, and it sounds nice, but it doesn't actually hold my interest for some reason. On the other hand, I find Isengard - Høstmørke very captivating (particularly the first half of the album). It is so...righteous, for lack of a better word, and almost danceable, and I really enjoy Fenriz's prideful singing (Wongraven - Fjelltronen has that singing style too, but that is pure folk music).

The Baltic countries spawned a couple of excellent albums from musicians who felt the metal spirit kindled in their breast, namely Skyforger - Zobena Dziesma and Zpoan Vtenz - Gimę Nugalėt, but these albums are more or less pure folk music. Traditional folk music has a strong presence in Baltic cultures, so it is not surprising that these musicians, who probably grew up reciting old folk tunes, excelled in this area. The Skyforger album is incredibly inspiring and uplifting with its sense of nobility, honour, loyalty, courage, and general manliness, and for me it has a timeless quality. The Zpoan Vtenz album is very emotionally deep, and as a result it can be too gloomy for me, but maybe I am misinterpreting the tone of the music. For metal compositions by these musicians, I would suggest investigating Skyforger - Kauja Pie Saules, which though secondary to Zobena Dziesma is still of high quality, and maybe Ha Lela - Pabudimas and early Obtest (I am not very familiar with these last two).

Some resources for exploring traditional Baltic folk music:
Latvian folk music radio station: www.radiooira.lv
Baltic folk YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/KaukusPameskiet

In Flames - Lunar Strain is quite folky sounding, and I find it somewhat endearing, but I am a younger fellow who came to metal through melodeath, so I am pretty forgiving with this kind of stuff. I can understand if this music makes more veteran Hessians want to vomit. Admittedly, the songs don't go anywhere and the music is definitely too sweet sometimes, and those qualities are problematic in a metal context, so I think that this album should have been written as folk music instead. The choice seems logical, given that acoustic guitars and violins are already present.

Concerning the more mainstream variety of modern folk metal, I find most of it to be formulaic, rock-based, excessively saccharine, and shallow in content (as opposed to deep / heavy), with the folk elements feeling like insincere appendages that provide little more than novelty. For how "epic" the artists try to sound, the music is compositionally unadventurous and awfully cheesy. Regarding cheesiness, personally I do not have a problem with jolly or jubilant music, but it has its place. Upbeat or "happy" sections must be employed tactfully, especially in metal music. Furthermore, the music loses its credibility as soon as it loses its seriousness (music can be jolly without being a joke).

One modern band that stands above most folk metal groups is Moonsorrow. My opinion of them has waned, but some of their qualities that appealed and still appeal to me are: Their music has a large presence both in the moment and in terms of the scope / breadth of compositions; the songs are focused (they hold together as single visions); the songs flow smoothly; the music sounds wintry and possesses a certain elegance; and the tone is triumphant / victorious / euphoric / celebratory (though some of their music is dark). There are some legitimate criticisms of their music:
1. The music is too upbeat and cheesy. This is a common complaint about the genre, and if most folk metal bothers you for that reason, then the first three Moonsorrow albums will probably bother you too (though personally I do not find their music offensive, unlike that of many of their peers).
2. The music resembles rock in a bad way sometimes, in the sense that the "big" sound can end up resembling stadium rock.
3. The songs develop too slowly and never go anywhere in particular / never reach proper climaxes. Some people have described Moonsorrow as boring because of this. As trystero commented in another thread, "They drag on for far too long about not much at all. The aesthetic is very pleasant, some of the riffs are nice. It makes good background music."
4. The lyrics are too vague to be evocative, but this could be an issue of translation into English.

Notwithstanding these criticisms, I think that Moonsorrow is compositionally far superior and heavier in content than most of today's "folk metal." Grouping them with Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, etc. is a mistake, because they are in a different league. Sure, Moonsorrow is on tour with Korpiklaani right now, but as stated in this interview, "As far as the bands we like to tour with, the actual music doesn’t matter as much as the people. Because, we have to be on the same bus for a month so we really have to get along (laughs). [Korpiklaani] are an ideal partner because they are different music from us, but we feel it is the other side of the same coin. We do have some of the audience in common. I like their live shows; I’m not saying I like their music on the album, but we like their live shows."

Moonsorrow's formula is a heavy metal one, though their personal taste for black metal is occasionally evident. Their first album, Suden Uni, suffered from some goofiness and inconsistencies in tone and lacked a strong sense of individuality, but I would argue that they probably mastered the modern folk metal style on their second album Voimasta ja kunniasta, meaning that that is the most that can be accomplished with the style. After that, Moonsorrow made their most overtly rock album with Kivenkantaja. They then returned to more of a heavy metal style, but they explored territory that ostensibly separated them from their peers; their music became darker and very compositionally ambitious. Some Moonsorrow songs to try are "Sankarihauta" or "Kylän päässä" from Voimasta ja kunniasta (though if you are wont to think that folk metal is cheesy, these songs will not change your mind), "Raunioilla" or "Unohduksen Lapsi" from Kivenkantaja, and "Karhunkynsi" and "Muinaiset" from their newer style.

Moonsorrow, Skyforger, and Fenriz have all expressed, or at least implied, dissatisfaction with the state of folk metal today and that folk metal was better before it actually existed / solidified as a genre, back when only a few bands were attempting such a style.

One tangential style of music worth mentioning is the "dark folk" employed on albums like Empyrium - Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays and Weiland, Tenhi - Kauan, and Vàli - Forlatt. This is a nocturnal, pensive, slightly sorrowful, mostly instrumental type of acoustic music that is likely to appeal to metal fans with its romantic spirit and evocations of the natural world. It provides an outlet for some emotions that would be inappropriate in a metal context, its subtle catharsis and soothing effect working beneath the soft sounds.

Is folk metal as a style capable of producing great music, or is it a flawed genre?

In general, folk music and metal exist for different reasons, express different truths (or different aspects of the truth), and serve different purposes, so they are best kept separate. Folk metal is a hybrid creation that can never fill both roles. That being said, great folk metal is possible (see examples above), but it is a flawed genre as long as metal musicians relegate themselves to darkness and evil and alienate themselves from the notion of goodness in humanity. This is why folk metal tends to proliferate in regions where senses of traditional culture, national pride, and loyalty to one's family and one's people are strong (e.g., the Baltic countries, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, etc.): Traditional folk music is an expression of jollity and purity of spirit, and of beauty of culture, and therefore it is an expression of light. Therefore, metal has to move beyond the darkness in order to incorporate that light. Yet this is not really moving "beyond" so much as moving "back," or rediscovering an ancient expression of truth. Or maybe it's both at once.

Note: Edited Moonsorrow section on 22/04/16.

Metal / Re: If you still read or use these forums post here
« on: December 22, 2015, 08:19:04 PM »
I read/use these forums regularly.

Metal / Re: Sacramentum - Far Away From the Sun
« on: December 14, 2015, 06:29:01 PM »
I'd definitely recommend Vinterland's Welcome to my Last Chapter.  Abigor's Nachthymnen is also great if you haven't listened to it already.  They both capture the freezing melancholy atmosphere of bands like Dissection and Sacramentum.

My initial impression of Welcome My Last Chapter was that Vinterland really abused the typical emotional / epic chord progression. That chord progression, combined with copious blast beats, gave the impression of something grand and climactic, urgent and epiphanic, but the music came across as one-dimensional and somewhat empty. Their emotion seemed to lack a point or a context.

I have not heard Nachthymnen, so I cannot comment on that album, but I would recommend the song "Universe of Black Divine" from the first Abigor album to fans of Far Away from the Sun. I think that that song is very well structured. I have heard the rest of Verwüstung but I don't remember much about it, other than thinking that some of the songs were disorganized and / or too emotive. I would like to listen to that album again.

Regarding Far Away from the Sun, I think very highly of tracks 1-3 and 5. I have found the other songs to be less inspiring and I usually get bored during the second half of the album; the other songs are good, but maybe not of the same caliber as the listed ones. My tentativeness in writing off the other songs suggests that all of them attain at least some level of quality, and that this album deserves more exploration, but I do think that the four aforementioned tracks as an EP might be more fulfilling than all nine as an album. Perhaps it is a question of organization: "Obsolete Tears" usually sounds flat and uneventful to me, but that might be because it follows the blistering and emotional "Cries from a Restless Soul." Furthermore, one of the aspects that I like about the first few songs is their fury and momentum, but the album seems to lose some steam after track 5. Some of the later songs sound tired at times.

One of the only albums that has captivated me in a way similar to Far Away from the Sun is Witchcraft, by Obtained Enslavement. The two albums have different spirits and styles, but they share a majestic character, a certain fury (not unlike a snowstorm), a sweeping melodiousness that does not degenerate into the stereotypical, and some songs that are as smooth as butter.

Audiofile / Re: Evoken
« on: November 25, 2015, 08:19:18 PM »
Evoken - Promo 2002 (2002)

Evoken - Promo 2002 (Senditz, dead link)

Audiofile / Obtained Enslavement
« on: November 25, 2015, 08:00:39 PM »
Obtained Enslavement
Obtained Enslavement MP3s

Obtained Enslavement - Centuries of Sorrow (1994) [ CD $20 / Discogs ]

Obtained Enslavement - Centuries of Sorrow (Senditz, dead link)

Obtained Enslavement - Witchcraft (1997) [ MP3 $9 / Discogs ]

Obtained Enslavement - Witchcraft (Senditz, dead link)

Obtained Enslavement - Soulblight (1998) [ Discogs ]

Obtained Enslavement - Soulblight (Senditz, dead link)

Audiofile / Re: Requests/Report Dead Links
« on: July 11, 2015, 05:12:44 PM »
I would like to request Fanisk - Noontide.
And maybe Withered Earth - Forgotten Sunrise.

edit: Looking for the original master of Skepticism Stormcrowfleet.

Interzone / Re: [META] Activities of our users
« on: May 02, 2014, 10:46:53 PM »
Hessians behold! I have crafted a piece of music, and I desire your feedback.

Download here (MEGA). Includes gp5 and rendered mp3 files. I still have no access to musical equipment, so enjoy the computer's flawless performance :P

black/death metal "epic":

I enjoyed this quite a bit!

Metal / Re: What bands are you listening to today?
« on: April 25, 2014, 05:15:57 AM »
Incantation - Onward to Golgotha. Just as splendid as when I first heard it. This album has that eternal quality about it. The best of the best!

Interzone / Re: Is our society worse for smart young women than men?
« on: April 24, 2014, 11:21:00 PM »
Thanks for initiating this topic; it crosses my mind often. In my experience, sane women are more rare than sane men these days.

I think that the answer to your question is yes, Dinaric Leather. Men have collapsed. They have largely morphed into either hyper-macho jerks or skinny nerds. They lack respect, honor, responsibility, integrity, and other important values; they are the opposite of proper role models. These common male personas pressure women to act unnaturally. Romance decays in turn and women retreat into hardened shells, fearing further disappointment. The societal expectations for women have also changed; more schooling, work responsibility, etc. Motherhood has been devalued, and maintaining the home and caring for the man are shunned.

When men are worked to death, anger and vigor build within them; when women are worked to death, their spirits wither. They fold under all of these pressures instead of blooming into beautiful creatures as most of them would uninhibited. They become men, they become whores, they become lifeless robots, and they become aggressive, pretentious, bitter liberals. Women do what they can to survive, I think; they are resourceful in that way. Men will die on the battlefields, but women must survive. Their current status is a reflection of the times, and I think that with a healthy society they may return to their equilibrium state of beauty. Or maybe not. Darkness is upon us.

Some thoughts on why women are more affected than men:
*They are more emotionally-geared thinkers, which is a virtue but leads to easier brainwashing
*They want to nurture things, by their nature; unlike males, they are not capable of active participation in sustained warfare and rebellion

Interzone / Re: It could be worse.
« on: April 23, 2014, 08:54:54 PM »
Indeed, communication with some people is exceedingly difficult. To deliver a message, one must play many games including jumping through hoops, walking on eggshells, and flowing through filters. Weaklings create this terrible amount of trouble to protect themselves from feeling insulted, awkward, uncomfortable, inferior, etc. (feelings that they choose to feel, often based on arbitrary constructs) and perhaps to prevent themselves from hearing the hard truths, the things that they do not want to hear. This is an incredible handicap for straightforward people, honest people, and anyone who simply wants to communicate ideas.

Pardon my lack of understanding crow, but why did you ban Imposition? Please correct me if I am wrong, but to me it seems that you banned him because he insulted you. I worry that your (re)action might have proved his point. Certainly an alternative to expunging him from the forum was discussing and reasoning with him why his classification of your behavior was incorrect, so why did you not choose to do that instead?

This begets a question: do leaders need to justify their actions to their subjects? Part of me thinks that the answer is yes, because:
*If the leader cannot explain the reasoning behind his actions to others, then perhaps he acted personally, emotionally, idiosyncratically, or in another manner that is in discord with nature/reality.
*A leader who spends the time and effort explaining these things fosters in his citizens a care and desire to further the well-being of their society, as well as a continued trust and belief that the leader will steer the society to prosperity.

The only reason for the contrary position that I can currently conjure is that of the mandate of heaven, in which the ruler possesses a divine virtue. Perhaps wisdom of this origin cannot be effectively transmitted via language, meaning that only the leader himself can understand why his actions are virtuous. This argument is not sitting well with me right now because it demands a sort of blind trust.

Metal / Re: What bands are you listening to today?
« on: April 23, 2014, 02:33:19 PM »
Laid down and gave my attention to Necromantia - Scarlet Evil Witching Black last night, and I really enjoyed it. Some thoughts, upon first listen:

*The manner in which the tracks are arranged works very well. Start with the most blasting and straightforward track, and allow the album to open up as it progresses. Track 4, the synthesizer one, is a well-situated and pleasant break from the metal aesthetics.
*The creative (sometimes almost wacky) elements of timbre and rhythm always augment the songs, instead of acting as random distractions.
*The atmosphere is strong and dark, yet the riffs and structures remain tangible and exciting (compare to many modern bands that try to be atmospheric...boring).

Interzone / Re: Strength Training
« on: April 20, 2014, 06:25:42 PM »
How to Get Strong and How to Stay So, by William Blaikie

Quote from: Preface
Millions of our people pass their lives in cities and towns, and at work which keeps them nearly all day in-doors. Many hours are devoted for days and years, under careful teachers, and many millions of dollars are spent annually, in educating the mind and the moral nature. But the body is allowed to grow up all uneducated; indeed, often such a weak, shaky affair that it gets easily out of order, especially in middle and later life, and its owner is wholly unequal to tasks which would have proved easy to him, had he given it even a tithe of the education bestowed so generously in other directions. Not a few, to be sure, have the advantage in youth of years of active out-door life on a farm, and so lay up a store of vigor which stands them in good stead throughout a lifetime. But many, and especially those born and reared in towns and cities, have had no such training, or any equivalent, and so never have the developed lungs and muscles, the strong heart and vigorous digestion—in short, the improved tone and strength in all their vital organs—which any sensible plan of body-culture, followed up daily, would have secured. It does not matter so much whether we get vigor on the farm, the deck, the tow-path, or in the gymnasium, if we only get it. Fortunately, if not gotten in youth, when we are plastic and easily shaped, it may still be had, even far on in middle life, by judicious and systematic exercise, aimed first to bring up the weak and unused parts, and then by general work daily which shall maintain the equal development of the whole.

The aim here has been, not to write a profound treatise on gymnastics, and point out how to eventually reach great performance in this art, but rather in a way so plain and untechnical that even any intelligent boy or girl can readily understand it, to first give the reader a nudge to take better care of his body, and so of his health, and then to point out one way to do it. That there are a hundred other ways is cheerfully conceded. If anything said here should stir up some to vigorously take hold of, and faithfully follow up, either the plan here indicated or any one of these others, it cannot fail to bring them marked benefit, and so to gratify the author.

Advice and motivation from the late 19th Century on the fundamental importance of maintaining physical vigor and health. A bit repetitive, but stirring. Worth reading, if not skimming.

Read it for free here or here.

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