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Topics - ChapelOfTorment

[1] 2
Metal / Black Metal Should Be Esoteric
« on: November 12, 2012, 11:46:30 AM »
So, I was re-ripping my timeworn copy of Xasthur's A Gate throught Bloodstained Mirrors (yeah, yeah, I know most of the people here hate Xasthur, but I like some of their stuff; in my defense, they were a favorite of the site at one point) to my hard-drive with a different codec to see if it sounded better, and when Gracenote brought up the track titles, they looked like this:
1. Why Do
2. All These
3. Bands Have To
4. Typeset In
5. All Caps And
6. With An Unreadable Font
I laughed, not because this act of sabotage against a musical database was particularly witty, but because I realized that some "normal" person must have stumbled upon this particular Xasthur album when it was reissued a few years ago. Rather than learning how to decipher the artist's chosen elaborate Gothic typeface (a very time intensive process involving looking at the track-listing on the inside of the CD case for upwards of five seconds) or engaging in the slight bit of internet-based research which would have given them the track titles (i.e. "looking it up" on Amazon.com, Metal-Archives, Hydra Head's website, or even simply typing the album's title into Google), they instead chose to pitch a fit and scream their problems to the world via the internet.

I was instantly reminded of this article on Amerika. A hipster was confronted with a massive "NO" in the form of black metal's esoteric aesthetics, and rather than putting forth the modicum of effort required to interpret the unfamiliar and bizarre visual stimuli, they threw up their hands and went back to listening to Wolves in the Throne Room, presumably. I'm glad that in even is this age of commercialization and decay, some small part of black metal still exists outside the mainstream, even if only by virtue of font choice.

Audiofile / Euthanausea
« on: November 05, 2012, 10:31:37 AM »
Euthanausea: Mediafire, Blogspot, Rapidshare

Technically proficient and intricately structured death metal from the deep Finnish underground. They helped develop the melodic death metal genre contemporaneously with Sentenced, but provided a different slant to it with some odd dissonances and jazzy/progressive elements ala Unquestionable Presence. They actually end up sounding a lot like The Chasm's demo. Later on, they succumbed to the death'n'roll plague started in their homeland by Xysma, but their early demos are essential listening for those who enjoyed the Cartilage/Altar split or the sophomore albums from Sentenced and Atheist.

Euthanausea - Euthanausea (1992, Mediafire)

Euthanausea - Melodying (1993, Mediafire)

Audiofile / Decollation
« on: October 26, 2012, 11:17:10 AM »
Decollation: Blogspot, Mediafire, Rapidshare

Kristian Wċhlin's final death metal project before he went solely with the album artwork route. I would describe the music as building on his Liers in Wait work by slowing the songs down, lengthening their narratives considerably, and adding quite a bit of Nocturnus-esque keyboard use, but overall keeping the same vibe of RRRAARRRGGHHH, just a bit less frenetic. The vocals are more of a mix between Barney Greenway's Utopia Banished roar and a Suffer-style hoarse shout than a proper death growl, which might turn some people off, but the music itself is quite excellent.

Decollation - Cursed Lands (1992, Mediafire)

Audiofile / Decameron
« on: October 26, 2012, 10:35:44 AM »
Decameron: Blogspot, Mediafire, Rapidshare

One of the more interesting bands to come out of the whole Gothenburg "melodic" scene back in the mid '90s, Decameron honestly don't have much in common with that scene outside of surface-level aesthetics. I would compare their musical philosophy to the best of Dissection's first album, newer Deceased, Vektor, or Absu's Tara: complex stuff that takes a lot of unexpected turns and chances while straddling multiple generations of metal music. The mixture of styles coupled with their desire to write dense and intricate music (often at the expense of immediate clarity) threatens to pull the whole thing apart, but they generally manage to pull themselves out of the hole with their powers of heavy metal songwriting.

Decameron - My Shadow... (1996, Mediafire)

Audiofile / Sacrilegium
« on: October 14, 2012, 11:03:43 AM »
Sacrilegium: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Mediafire

Epic and melodic black metal band with lyrical themes based on ancient Slavic epic poetry. Probably the most professional-sounding of the early Polish bands.

Sacrilegium - Wicher (1996, Mediafire)

Audiofile / Arkona
« on: October 13, 2012, 04:02:44 PM »
Arkona: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Mediafire
Not to be confused with the Russian folk "metal" band, this was one of the early Polish black metal acts. Essentially the more normal "day job" of the guys from Mussorgski, I would recommend them to anyone looking for a band capable of injecting the atmospheric/calm of side of early Nordic black metal ala Gehenna's first EP and the second Dimmu Borgir album with the hatefulness and ferocity of Carpathian Wolves.

Arkona - Imperium (1996, Mediafire)

Audiofile / Ohtar
« on: October 13, 2012, 02:38:21 PM »
Ohtar: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Mediafire

Right wing nationalist black metal from Poland. Early material is a expansion on Thousand Swords and the first Infernum album. Later on, they morphed into fast harsh melodic black metal comparable to Thor's Hammer and the Capricornus solo album.

Ohtar - Woodland Desolation (2003, Mediafire)
Compilation collecting a couple early demos.

Audiofile / Thunderbolt
« on: October 13, 2012, 12:55:25 PM »
Thunderbolt: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Mediafire

Exceptionally good Polish black metal. Their demos draw from a wide variety of influences (I can hear Transilvanian Hunger, early Rotting Christ, Dissection...), resulting in an interesting take on standard black metal tropes, somewhat comparable to Sorcier des Glaces in both sound and intent. Supposedly their albums moved in more of a Marduk-esque black/death direction, but I haven't heard them yet.

Thunderbolt/Kataxu - Black Clouds over Dark Majesty/Roots Thunder (2001, Mediafire)
This one's in 192kbps. If anyone can find a higher bit rate, it would be much appreciated.

Audiofile / Kataxu
« on: October 13, 2012, 12:51:16 PM »
Kataxu: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Mediafire

Polish symphonic black metal (minus the usual A.I.D.S.). Some of the only stuff out there that approaches the majesty of early Emperor.

Thunderbolt/Kataxu - Black Clouds over Dark Majesty/Roots Thunder (2001, Mediafire)
This one's in 192kbps. If anyone can find a higher bit rate, it would be much appreciated.

Metal / Only Death Is Real: NME
« on: May 09, 2012, 06:11:17 PM »
I just got my double CD reissue of NME's '80s material from Dark Descent, and let me tell you, it kicks some serious ass. I think that the DLA describes their music more effectively than any other written source:
Quote from: Dark Legions Archive
Use of straight hardcore riffs alongside metal-influenced but not modally pentatonic playing gives this band the freedom to make either hypnotically simple tonal continuance or leaps beyond the chromatic for periodic emphasis on structure, yet the essence of this playing is the raw rhythm and relative motion in these riffs that gives a shape to the forward inertia flung out in primitive and brain-maulingly simple pieces.
I'd say that not only is this album an essential amorphous slab of protean black/death, but it's also of tremendous historical importance: for '86, you really can't get much heavier than this band, and they are said to be a huge influence on Euronymous' initial forays into black metal (you can really hear it in the guitar tone and guitar playing itself). What really caught my eye was this excerpt from an old promotional flier included in the liner notes:
Quote from: NME
Do not fear. For life to exist, there must be death. Those who don't believe -- must die!
I'd say that that's right up there with Tom G. Warrior's immortal '83 statement of intent. If you're into Mad Max-style wasteland metal (Bolt Thrower, Blasphemy, etc.), this double CD is an essential purchase.

Metal / Naer Mataron
« on: April 26, 2012, 01:22:44 PM »
Have any of you guys checked out Naer Mataron's music? I'd say that this live video encapsulates what they're about: melding together mid-90's Darkthrone tremolo riffs with consonant Hellenic black metal stuff, and then stitching them together into hybrid black/death song-structures in the manner of the second Necrophobic album. It takes elements from a few different subgenres and takes it in a new direction, but it isn't novel-sounding enough to catch the ear of non-initiates. Pretty impressive drumming as well: no triggers, just brutality. Plus, they have songs with titles like "Revolt against the Modern World" and lyrics like this:
Quote from: Some Greek Dudes Paraphrasing Julius Evola in Semi-Broken English
Which is the best Glory for you
 Than to be laurel crowned in battle?
 But how much greater is the glory
 When you conquer the field of battle
 An immortal crown?

 Being killed you will have the Elysian Fields
 The triumphant will rule over the earth
 For that rise determined war
 Place at the same level of worth

 Pleasure and pain!
 Profit and loss!
 Victory and defeat!

 Be prepared for struggle you Arjuna, ancient warrior
 Now it is vital time for a prime and in depth action
 Until the rebirth of Europa, beyond the ruins of the world
 Which will have been overthrown, and doomed?
I got their first two albums on a double CD for pretty cheap. I guess most people just assume that these guys are another Marduk rip-off with all the blast-beats and tremolo riffs, but they seem pretty legit to me. I'll have to investigate them farther.

Interzone / Useless, Lazy People
« on: April 26, 2012, 01:07:58 PM »
So, I went to check my email on Yahoo today, and I notice this "news" (note the quote marks) article pop up about overrated careers, and it really made my blood boil. I don't know if it's because I've been studying to be a history teacher, but this article really just encapsulates everything wrong with the modern mindset. It's like "Don't be a teacher, shaping young people's minds to better the world; get involved in EDUCATION LEADERSHIP (i.e. useless fucking paper-shuffling middle management). Don't be a chef, crafting delicious food and carrying on proud culinary traditions; get involved in RESTAURANT MANAGEMENT (i.e. shouting at dish-washers that you pay under the table). Don't be a CEO, managing a massive company to keep the economy going and provide people with employment; be a SALES REP (i.e. sell people shit they don't need and suck dicks all day). Don't be a lawyer; be a PARALEGAL (it's like being a lawyer, but with less of all that pesky work shit they have to do; yes, paralegals are important, but why would someone studying to be a lawyer decide to jump ship for that job, if not because of outright laziness or lack of ability). Don't be a doctor; get involved with REGISTERED NURSING (it's like being a doctor without all that pesky medical school, licensure, and surgery stuff; to be fair, nurses are essential to medicine just like doctors, but actively discouraging people who have the drive to become doctors seems pretty fucking stupid to me).

Seriously, it's like someone crafted a satirical piece to demonstrate exactly what the Üntermensch is. Don't take risks, don't push yourself, seek physical comfort over achievement. Play videogames, watch T.V., and scarf down greasy shit. I think D.R.I. did a great job setting this disgusting mentality to music:
Quote from: Dirty Rotten LP
I play Pac-Man and I watch T. V.
 I'm so happy 'cause it pleases me
 I couldn't really ask for anything else
 Maybe my own chain of Taco Bells

 I'm perfectly happy right where I am
 I could live forever in a traffic jam
 It doesn't really bother me to breath the poison air
 I'd choke anyway, I don't really care

 Sometimes I think about getting away for a while
 But when I return I will be out of style
 You may say I'm not an ambitious man
 But let me tell you I've got some plans
 Like there's a new car I wanna buy
 And a video cassette recorder yet I'm not sure why
 I wanna get married and have three kids
 'Cause I'm lonely and I've got the hard dick
 Commuter Man

Then again, maybe this article is actually a good thing: it's inspired me to avoid this shithead mentality at all cost, and it might convince some incompetents to stay out of professional fields, thus protecting humanity as a whole from an untold amount of bullshit and failure.

Metal / Paradise Lost/Vallenfyre
« on: November 28, 2011, 10:08:47 PM »
So, I've been listening to Vallenfyre's album quite a bit lately (finally got around to buying it from a record store about a week ago), and it's steadily been growing on me, moving up from "pretty cool" status to being one of the best recent death metal releases. A side effect of listening to this album has been my renewed interest in the Paradise Lost back catalog, specifically their first two albums. I recall reading that these albums were an influence on the earlier Burzum efforts, which made me think of this sentence from the Sadistic Metal Reviews write up:
Quote from: Dark Legions Archive
The riffs are reasonable, and while sparse in the longer song constructions, the band's habit of treating them as phrases and thus giving them multiple endpoints creates a sombre and contemplative atmosphere.
The development of this whole phrase-based thing (versus the complete focus on riff-stacking of bands like Massacra) was one of the major turning points in metal's development as a genre. The earliest example of this kind of thing that I can think of would probably be something off of one of the early Slayer albums (specifically, songs like "Necrophiliac"). Paradise Lost are probably one of the first, if not the first metal band to pretty much completely base their songwriting around the idea of "phrases" with "multiple endpoints" in order to engender a "sombre and contemplative atmosphere." They have songs that seem simple on the outside, with a lot less in the way of the riff-to-riff stacking complexity normally associated with "complex" metal, but when you pay attention to how the phrases unfold over the course of the song, it reveals something much more subtle and "mature," if that makes any sense. More like classical music, I guess.

The whole idea of a composition appearing to be rather stripped-down on the outside, but very interesting and contemplative when examined is pretty much a defining trait of the second wave black metal movement, and I can't help but think that Paradise Lost may have had a larger hand in that than they are given credit for. They also were a pretty big influence on the tail end of the Swedish death metal sound, with bands like Gorement being some of the last legitimately interesting work done in that style. Paradise Lost are also notable for being one of the first metal bands to rely heavily on layering of phrases, particularly on the Gothic album, where various themes developed over the course of a song simultaneously explode forth in their fully flowered forms in a mock-orchestral style at the song's climax (the opening title track is probably the best example of this). Again, this has its roots in early Slayer (think of the intertwining melodies of the mid-section "Necrophiliac"), but Paradise Lost do it all the time as opposed to just dabbling in it.

Anyway, it's great that Gregor Mackintosh is back writing good music again. The Vallenfyre full-length is dedicated to his recently deceased father, and a lot of the lyrics on the album seem to hint that as well (I think that the titular "king" is his father). Someone on here (I think it was Conservationist) stated that Burzum's early stuff was Varg's way of dealing with his parents' divorce. Vallenfyre seems to be the outlet for Mackintosh's emotions surrounding his father's death. I'm thinking that traumatic events can help put a lot of things in perspective, and maybe this specific event, along with stresses resulting from the impending onset of middle age pushed Mackintosh away from what had become fairly vapid pop music towards the eternal death metal of his youth. Hopefully, he'll continue to channel this newfound energy into more Vallenfyre releases, but the descriptions of the upcoming Paradise Lost material as being a continuation of their post-Draconian Times pop music leave me a bit skeptical. At least for now, we have a really good death metal band around to keep the whelps and upstarts in line.

Basically, check out Vallenfyre if you haven't already, and revisit Paradise Lost's early catalog while you're at it.

Metal / Black Funeral
« on: September 25, 2011, 08:44:45 PM »
So, I remember a couple years ago when Black Funeral's Az-i-Dahak album was the subject of a lot of discussion on these boards. Here's what that album sounds like if you don't remember. It's sort of like Beherit-meets-Godflesh-meets-Profanatica: very drone-based and industrial-sounding (not like "industrial" the genre, but actual factory equipment), with an overwhelmingly ritualistic atmosphere. If you weren't around for that discussion, I would suggest looking into this CD. It's one of the more important post '96 black metal albums, and it only costs like four or five bucks online (mostly because not many people seem to understand it). The general consensus back then seemed to be that Az-i-Dahak and Empire of Blood were Black Funeral's two major albums of note, and the discussion eventually dissolved.

Since then, I've dug more deeply into the Black Funeral discography, and I enjoy a lot of what I've been hearing. Ordog, the immediate successor to Az-i-Dahak, goes "farther down the rabbit hole," to borrow a colloquialism. The electronic drums on this album are even more disconnected from the ideas of traditional rock/metal percussion, churning out repetitive beats that implode in on themselves in an orgy of clattering noises during each drone riff interchange. There's a lot of attention to detail in how these drums sound, not just in what they play. Lots of pitch-shifting and back-masking to make new noises that pull the rest of the music in unexpected and interesting directions. With that said, there's not really an emphasis on "novelty" or "gotcha" moments: it's more like Black Funeral is inventing it's own musical pattern language, and writing songs that are meticulously constructed to fall in line with the new musical rules he's written for himself. Tellingly, this album is generally held in contempt by the black metal scene at large, and a lot of people seem to consider it one of the worst black metal albums ever written. Probably why I like it so much.

The album following Ordog in the Black Funeral chronology, Waters of Weeping, is a bit more outwardly accessible, but still very far removed from nearly all other black metal. There's a lot of emphasis placed on low-end Demoncy-style drone here, but it's even more low-end and doomy than Joined in Darkness. I don't even know if you can call it black metal most of the time; it's more like dark ambient being played with black metal instrumentation. Maybe if Beherit had picked up where Electric Doom Synthesis left off with songs like "Ambush" and "Dead Inside" instead of where they ended up going with Engram, it might have sounded like this album. The thing that this has over most dark ambient is that it actually goes somewhere: Michael Ford's metalhead past keeps him honest, and so he writes pieces of music that take the listener on a journey rather than just evil-sounding background noise. The CD is a concept album dealing with an inverted version of the Kabbalah that reminds of the thinking behind Averse Sefira's band name.

I'm not all the way sold on the latest (2010) Black Funeral album, Vukolak, but it certainly makes for interesting listening at the very least. It's a bit of a retrogression to more traditional black metal, but it retains a lot of the textural and compositional innovations that emerged on the three previous albums. I guess you could compare it to Engram in that way. If you've heard Empire of Blood, a lot of this album will seem familiar, and for the first time in a while, Ford uses real drums (or at least a very human-sounding drum machine), but there's enough of Ordog in it to keep it fresh. Rather than being an immersion in a singular sonic concept like every Black Funeral album before it, this one feels more like a black metal equivalent of Brian Eno's Another Green World or Aphex Twin's second Selected Ambient Works album; it's a collection of short pieces, each being produced and written quite differently, like a series of photos or paintings viewed in sequence, with the primary focus being on inter-track variation while still keeping some semblance of unity as an album.

So, what do you all think about Black Funeral? Are you still enjoying Az-i-Dahak? Have you gone farther into their back catalog, and if so, what did you think about it?

Audiofile / Weiss, Silvius Leopold
« on: July 22, 2009, 03:05:35 PM »
Weiss, Silvius Leopold: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Megaupload

Slivius Leopold Weiss

German Baroque composer and master lutenist. Friend of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Said to have competed with Johann Sebastian Bach in improvisation contests: Bach on the organ, Weiss on the lute.

Lute Sonatas 52, 34, and 94 (Robert Barto, Megaupload)

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