Abhorrence reform to play Tuska Open Air

abhorrence

Finnish old school death metal trailblazers Abhorrence have reformed to play a handful of shows, the first of which will be Tuska Open Air on 28 June 2013.

Perhaps most widely known as the precursor to another notable Finnish death metal band, Amorphis, Abhorrence took the sound of old Nihilist and Bolt Thrower and reduced it to the most crepuscular and nightmarish elements, forming the basis of what would be Finland’s idiosyncratically menacing regional sound.

Following on from the release earlier this year of Completely Vulgar, a compilation of all their early recordings through Svart Records, the band intend to play a small number of gigs for those newer fans that never had the chance to see the original incarnation, before disbanding once again.

According to the band’s Facebook page, the reunion will likely consist of all original members excepting drummer.

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Best of Sweden

Quorthon of Bathory with Swedish flagAccording to Blabbermouth, the editors of Sweden Rock Magazine have named the 100 greatest Swedish Hard rock and Metal bands of all time, with Candlemass, Entombed and Europe topping the list.

Candlemass and Entombed were both highly influential (I actually even liked Clandestine for its goofy humour), but SRM’s list inevitably provokes a (short) DMU list.

In no specific order, I consider the following as a Top 6:

Bathory — The passionate Satanic hardcore punk band, blasting its way through the Heavens with Wagnerian leitmotifs. Totally worthy of its legendary status.

At the Gates — Mix the depressing avenues of Gothenburg with these fellows’ beautiful minds and you get the ultra-melodic, twisted art showcased on Gardens of Grief and The Red in the Sky is Ours.

Dismember — Their first album (and their demos) may have been their only worthy contribution (all right, Pieces is definitely not bad), but it takes them a long way. Like an axe-wielding ballet dancer, its impact is relentless yet sensual.

Therion — At first listen, Beyond Sanctorum may sounds like a random rock album, but pretty soon you’ll realize you’ve stumbled upon one of Metal music’s most magical releases, with riff upon riff flowing like an endless stream of imagination.

Unleashed — Described as “an exercise in the rhythms and textures of the battlefield in musical form” this anti-psychological, windswept creation might very well be the soundtrack of any ancient Norse saga (and, yes, we’re talking about the first two albums).

Carbonized — An almost forgotten side project. Their first two albums and their early demos are excellent. While For the Security paints a nightmarish world of  the Swedish welfare state (or so I assume), Disharmonization flies into space forging its own interesting world. Like some Hamlet, it may seem insane on the surface.

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Anti-Christ Mass XIV

HOD liveFor the past 13 years, Adversary Productions have held an annual showcase of their extreme metal productions in Houston, Texas — Anti-Christ Mass. On December 22, 2012, the fourteenth instalment will feature the following bands:

Perdition Temple (Tampa, FL) – first time in Texas
Blasphemic Cruelty (Tampa, FL)
Funeral Rites (Houston, TX)
Hod (San Antonio, TX)
Blaspherian (Houston, TX)
Demonical Genuflection (Houston, TX)
Burial Shroud (San Antonio, TX)
Legion (Houston, TX)

Hell is unleashed from 6:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. in CST.

Location:
Walters [map]
1120 Naylor St.
Houston, TX 77002

Sponsored by:

The Adversary
Ossuary Industries
Ikon Customs

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Demilich merchandise re-printed and available

From Antti Boman:

You once requested to be notified when new Demilich stuff is available. Well, a new batch of Demilich shirts is ready for sale at Record Shop X ( http://www.recordshopx.com/artist/demilich/ ). Currently there’s the classic design in T-shirt, long-sleeve, and for the first time also in zipper hoodie! When the sales start rolling, I’ll also order more of the other styles, and patches + other shit.

This also means Demilich stuff moves from An Entity Shop to Record Shop X, completely. The good thing is that you’ll be getting your stuff a lot quicker, the bad thing is that it costs more now. I’ll try to keep the prices as low as possible, though.

If you want to get info on the future Demilich releases (new merchandise and the compilation CD/LP), please add your email address at http://www.anentity.com/demilich/merchandise.php

If you don’t want to hear the news, just ignore this. I won’t be using these email addresses again, unless you signed for notifications on the compilation CD/LP at http://www.anentity.com/demilich/discography.php .

It’s hard not to love this progressive death metal band from way before this was a trend. Ignored for most of the 1990s and early 2000s, the band experienced a renaissance in 2005-2008 and has been returning slowly to the fore ever since. Frontman Antti Boman now plays with Jess and the Ancient Ones.

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New Carcass album in early 2013

After 17 years of silence, English grindcore pioneers Carcass are to release a new studio album early next year. According to an interview earlier this month, original members Jeff Walker and Bill Steer are at it again together with new drummer Daniel Wilding.

Carcass made metal history with their debut album Reek of Putrefaction (1988) and their masterpiece Symphonies of Sickness (1989) and hopes are of course that the band will revive some of the spirit from those days. On a more pessimistic note, the band’s last offering was Swansong

Walker himself says the new album “sounds almost like the missing link between the third and [fourth] albums but with some groove in there”. The attitude seems about right anyhow:

We’ve done this recording firstly for ourselves—there’s no label backing even as you read this—in fact me and Bill have spent a small fortune out of our pocket to see this through—it’s more of an artistic/personal statement than anything.

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LaSanche (ex-Necrovore) releases demo Death Magick

Like Necrovore?

LaSanche is the contrivance of guitarist Bjorn Haga (Ex-Necrovore, Thornspawn, HOD).

Demos offer what a band is capable of being. This demo, “Death Magick” (2012), presents a most favorable foundation, though leaves enough space to not exact a direct conclusion of how it’ll stem to the debut.

Seeing LaSanche perform live with new members promulgated a more solid line-up, which had drums pummel the audience into oblivion.

There appears to be a resurgence of the old school. It’s only fitting that those from the pioneering times throw their weight around.

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Chthe’ilist

Fan of Finnish Old School?

Québécois band Chthe’ilist (pronounced “K-tee-list”) play an exciting mixture of death/doom metal influences, where the music is kept crawling among maggots by a healthy dose of Demilich, but is tastefully highlighted by Chthe’ilist’s own twisted inventions.

This is their full demo (also available as a free download from the label), Amechth’ntaas’m’rriachth (I won’t even try to pronounce that):

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A Legend Out of Control

Bathory’s relation to the band’s fanbase is an infected story of contradictory interests concerning very human desires for truth and meaning. Oftentimes fans and creator pulled in opposite directions, fighting over whether to leave the Bathory mask on or reveal Bathory’s inner workings.

Debuting in 1984, Bathory’s cult status was rapidly acknowledged in the musical underground. But during a long time a certain air of mystery surrounded the band. It seemed beyond time, beyond space, and even out of national context (to a Swedish person this Stockholm wonder didn’t seem as typically Swedish as many of the later Death Metal bands). In general, main man Quorthon kept to himself, few pictures of the band existed, and there were hardly any live gigs at all, in particular once the music got closer to Wagner than to Motörhead. Bathory took one heavy metal tradition to extremes: it created a mythos out of nothing more than a few cover images and an interview or two. This obscure and ambiguous myth bound people together. They wanted to live out this vision as they found it more appealing than their world. When the fanbase went looking for answers, and found little else but songs of evil, darkness, destruction and conspiracies with Satan, imaginations ran wild and filled in the gaps with what they wanted to see, not what they saw.

People have a desire for continuity in an individual’s past. In this case, that desire was expressed among metal fans by trying to explain Bathory’s music through references to a heavy influence from a band which prior to Bathory was seen as the most extreme: Venom. In several interviews Quorthon himself has denied any Venom influence, but in many biographies the memory of early Bathory as a Venom clone is nevertheless quite persistent. (According to Quorthon, his main influences were Black Sabbath, Motörhead, The Exploited, and GBH, and later on Wagner, Beethoven, and Haydn among others.)

The will to interpret Bathory’s music as a logical continuation of Venom, and accordingly seek out a sense of “eternity” in the genre which these two bands (among others) officially created in the earliest of times, is hardly surprising. A consistent pattern which suggests some sort of intention is simply more attractive than a chaotic mess of a genesis produced by two groups entirely unknown to each other.

It is, however, easy to recognize among the authors of reviews of early Bathory albums an aspiration towards and an acknowledgement of a distinct identity of the band and its founder. Regarding Bathory’s self-titled debut album and its follow-up, a mantra is repeated: these records are the starting point for a whole genre and Quorthon is its first hero. This is, so to speak, the creation myth associated with Bathory.

Repetition of this myth is presumably what makes it go beyond historicity and is what makes it timeless. It’s a way for a metal fan to not only “create” Bathory, but also be a part of the phenomenon. Even repeated listens to Blood Fire Death is a repetition of a mythical Now, which gives us a sort of “vertical anchoring.” If myth is a celebration of life, a summary of the Past in the Now, then this is certainly what Bathory is to the band’s followers.

Quorthon himself seems to have had an enormous respect for the mythical power of Bathory. Referring to his fanbase as “The Bathory Hordes”, he tried to reach out to it in order to receive answers on how to deal with this beast:

[…] send me a letter of what you think, what you would want us to do in the future […] Remember, it is you the fans out there on whom we depend on. […] Stay united and may the northstar shine on you all, keep metal at heart!!

This kind of democratization most likely rendered him unable to control the myth of the band. As Quorthon “grew out” of Satanism, and myths surrounding his persona still insisted on his being a demonic devil worshipper, he wanted to set the record straight. And this is where things get interesting.

In 1996, Bathory released Blood On Ice, a retro album with liner notes containing a lengthy exposition on the band’s early history. Presumably, Quorthon had wished to update his biography and rid it of the misconceptions that according to him were abundant in the metal world, but it was probably also a way to pay tribute to the legend by contributing to it with a few “behind the scenes” stories.

This, however, proved to be a serious miscalculation of what the fans wanted. The unmasking threatened the consistent cultural memory of Bathory. And reactions weren’t long in coming: fans spoke of sacrilege and treachery in the many letters that were sent to Quorthon as a direct reaction to the liner notes. The memory of Bathory was now to a great extent a social concern and no longer only the creation of one man. Quorthon writes:

I realized then more than ever before that BATHORY was surrounded by the same sort of stuff only legends are made from. The element of mystery and suspense was still very important to a lot of die-hard BATHORY fans. [The truth] didn’t suit the image that a lot people had of BATHORY or myself.

Quorthon died in June 2004, but shortly before his death he founded an official Bathory website in which he denies the old image of himself as someone who eats children, drinks blood, and lives in a cage, an image that apparently still needed to be denied. Quorthon tells of an interview many years after he abandoned his satanic image: despite the time that had passed, he was still expected to pose for a photo session with pentagrams, skulls and cobweb.

Ironically, many fans have as of recently noted that Quorthon himself tampered with the truth quite deliberately. The iconic Bathory goat – which has become a sort of identity marker among fans – is, according to Quorthon, a collage created out of bits and pieces “from several horror comic magazines”. In fact, the goat is taken from a finished illustration in a book on witches from 1981. It wasn’t until 2007 that the originator, Joseph A. Smith, got to know that his drawings had been used as subject matter for tattoos and the like all around the world for decades. It also turns out that the lyrics and title to Bathory’s “For All Those Who Died” is more or less stolen from a feminist poem by Erica Jong.

The legacy of Bathory will nevertheless die hard. Quorthon created a legend so powerful neither he nor its fans could control it, an art that hovers above independently of its creator and its receivers. Yet we shouldn’t forget the core quality of its longevity: Quorthon’s compositions. These are what will always create very much alive “elements of mystery and suspense” in the mind of the listener. That’s where the magic happens. Hence the art of Bathory is stronger than both the fans’ myth-making and Quorthon’s myth-busting.

Going through Bathory’s albums again, experiencing the passionate evil melody of “The Return of the Darkness and Evil” or the haunting existential angst of “Twilight of the Gods,” they contain the same everlasting power they ever did and is what makes Bathory eternal. The mask is put back on. Continuity reappears and everything returns.

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Osmose: Ildjarn / Hate Forest split forthcoming

Cold minimalist black metal got a bad rap back in the 1990s when people figured out that it had basically taken Darkthrone’s techno-influenced Transilvanian Hunger and recombined it with the thrash from generations before.

Ildjarn in particular sounded like an occult nature mystic version of DRI, complete with the idiosyncratic songs made of tear-off riffs. As black metal devolved, more bands tried the brutal short fast and minimalist approach, but none quite achieved the pristine chilling isolation of Ildjarn.

Now Osmose Productions has announced a split between Ildjarn and one of the bands it undoubtedly influenced, Hate Forest. This slab of forest metal, called Those Once Mighty Fallen, presents past unreleased material from both bands, which are now both non-practicing.

Here’s the official announcement:

From the cold blackened graves their shadows rise…. Osmose Productions releases unexpected ILDJARN / HATE FOREST split CD/LP, called “Those Once Mighty Fallen”. Both dead bands are presented with their lost and forgotten recordings, accidentally found not so long ago. ILDJARN’s songs were created in the dark year of 1994 and HATE FOREST’s during cold winter nights of 2000-2001. Now, carefully re-mixed and re-mastered this audio- terror is available first time. A real epitaph to sincere, true black metal. No release date yet to communicate. – Osmose on FacePlant

As a total Ildjarn fanboi, I’ll be seeking this out with bells on. For more interest, read our interview with Ildjarn from back in the hazy 00s.

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Voivod release preview track from upcoming album Target Earth

Quebecois metal gods Voivod have released a preview of the title track from their forthcoming album Target Earth.

If the two tracks released so far are any indication, then the album sounds exactly as the promo blurbs have been describing it (which makes a change): a cross between the claustrophobic, spacey weirdness of Dimension Hatross and the rockier, more mid-paced Nothingface with a touch of the sing-songy style of Angel Rat.

Unusually for a band of Voivod‘s stature, their decision to continue touring and making albums after the death of original guitarist Piggy has been greeted mostly positively. This is probably because his stand-in, Dan Mongrain, at times sounds more like Piggy than Piggy did; studiously recreating the tone and feel of classic Voivod whilst helping craft new material faithful to the era of the band most people always wanted to hear continued.

The album is released in Europe on January 21st and in North America on the 22nd. Eagerly awaiting this one.

Full tracklist for album is as follows:

1. Target Earth
2. Kluskap O’Kom
3. Empathy for the Enemy
4. Mechanical Mind

5. Warchaic
6. Resistance
7. Kaleidos

8. Corps Étranger
9. Artefact
10. Defiance

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