Goatlord guitarist accused in double murder

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Guitarist Joe Frankulin from doom-black metal band Goatlord has been accused of murdering Jennifer Donoso and her 7-year-old son, Lex, in Las Vegas on September 29. According to local news reports, the murders capped off increasing erratic behavior by Frankulin.

One of those neighbors says that Frankulin seemed to come unraveled over the past six months, becoming increasingly interested in hanging out with the neighborhood kids.

“The last six months he kind of gave me a really eerie feeling,” Ermilio said. “Like the way he acted. His demeanor. He would always be around children.”

Ermilio added that Frankulin was a member of a local Doom Metal band called Goatlord. According to the band’s Facebook page, they were active from 1986-97.

While Goatlord experimented in the primitive and unstable sound of bands who wanted to be like Venom but with visible derangement, its previous footnote to history stood at only the production of a few albums enjoyed by some diehard fans (and claimed to be enjoyed by even more posing tryhards) for their erratic atmosphere. With Frankulin’s arrest, the future of the band and its legacy remain in doubt.

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Satyricon frontman diagnosed with brain tumor

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The metal musician turned winemaker Sigurd Wongraven reported a brain tumor yesterday. While the tumor is currently benign, it has already caused him some health complications and may continue to do so, even if it doesn’t turn carcinogenic on him. The news was originally posted on his Instagram page and has triggered an outburst of sympathy from Satyricon fans throughout the world.

Satyricon earned some fame in the early-mid 1990s for their enthusiastic (if fairly disorganized) folk black metal sound. After some experiments with ambient music and guest performances with various other musicians in the Norwegian black metal scene, they eventually transitioned towards a more rock oriented style of music. Wongraven also ran Moonfog Productions, which besides releasing Satyricon’s albums also provided an outlet for many of Fenriz’s projects, including Neptune Towers, Isengard, and later Darkthrone.

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Abbath’s solo project releases its first official track

Immortal’s ability to consistently release content since has fallen by the wayside since 2002 (although their quality was arguably ailing before that) between periods of legal disputes, side projects from band members, and that time in the 2000s when they were literally split up. Abbath has thrown his efforts into another side/solo project, and Season of Mist has seen fit to give us a sample from upcoming material – a semi-live studio track named “Fenrir Hunts”.

This track sounds more overtly like death/black metal than much of the Immortal members’ recent work, which were generally more oriented towards older forms of metal in songwriting even when their aesthetics were not. “Fenrir Hunts” strikes this reviewer as yet another highly polished, technically sound song with some nods to the need for varied structure in an otherwise fairly standard formula. In short, an acceptable effort, but not one that particularly excites me for this release, or one that compels me to listen to it over previously proven and enshrined classics like Pure Holocaust. I can hope that the full album will be more interesting when it comes out (and the early state of this song suggests room for improvement), but it seems most likely that this will be another soul-crushingly “okay” album.

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Interview: Oovenmeester of Noordelingen (2015)

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With the recent release of Kaeck Stormkult, it seemed a good time to look into the members of the band that is leading the charge toward primal yet melodic black metal. Two members of the group come from Noordelingen, a black metal band from the Netherlands, and were placated with the carcass of a fresh-killed hipster for long enough to conduct this interview.

When did NOORDELINGEN begin?

Oovenmeester: I think it began in 2010 as a spontaneous project. I had the lyrics already and Swerc was up for a new project.

I believe Swerc is going to put the Noordelingen album Vaelt on YouTube soon. A real release would be cool though.

What does the name mean?

Oovenmeester: The name means “those from the north” Or “dwellers of the north.” We both live or have lived in Groningen which is a province and city in the northern part of the Netherlands. And I have a lot of affiliation with both city and province. The lyrics used in Noordelingen are stories based in a medieval, fantastical version of this region. Where drunk horses graze under a brown moon, giant homarids look for the rare and valuable substance known as URFT and de kattenmepper van Groningen (the cathunter of Groningen) can be found stalking the streets.

It is different from the term “Noorderlingen”?

Oovenmeester: I think Noorderlingen is the official Dutch spelling, but that’s just not right for us. Just not right… It doesn’t have the right taste.

Who is in the band?

Oovenmeester: Just Swerc and the Oovenmeester that’s enough!

What were your musical influences, and how did that change as you began writing?

Oovenmeester: I think Lugubrum is a very important factor for me. They have absurd lyrics which I really like. With a similar smell and feeling.

Musically you can’t compare it to them, while Noordelingen is more melodic and faster.

What material have you released, and how do people get it? Is there any source of news or information on the band?

Oovenmeester: just follow your nose. Furthermore, there is nothing official out, but I believe Swerc is going to put the Noordelingen album Vaelt on YouTube soon. A real release would be cool though.

I understand you’re now involved with KJELD / SAMMATH members in a project named KAECK. How did this come about, and how is it different from NOORDELINGEN? Will NOORDELINGEN continue?

Oovenmeester: I was asked by Swerc to provide lyrics and vocals for Kaeck. Its content and style are very different indeed. Kaeck is about visiting dark places in your mind. And has a more to the point aggressiveness in it. Where Noordelingen has more of a filthy vibe to it. We will probably continue Noordelingen at some point. But we have nothing planned yet.

We do this for ourselves. If others like it as well, then it’s just a good bonus.

Is it hard for quality black metal to get noticed these days?

Swerc: Depends of what you mean with ‘noticed’ actually. If you want interviews, tours and lots of releases, then yes. But I think the scene is very active and always looking for new quality music. If you are good enough, you will be noticed. But that’s not our priority. We have a very busy normal life, so ‘getting big’ isn’t our goal. We do this for ourselves. If others like it as well, then it’s just a good bonus.

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Sammath’s debut now on Bandcamp

Sammath - Strijd (1999); reissue

Long time DMU veterans should be familiar with our enthusiasm for Sammath. Strijd was well received by the staff back in 1999 when it was originally released, and a re-release on Hammerheart Records in both CD and vinyl format is still planned for the first quarter of 2016. In the interrim, a digital version is now available on Bandcamp, offering potential purchasers a chance to easily preview the album’s tracks and purchase a copy of sorts.

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Nan Elmoth / Maldicion – Live at Festum Tarnis 2015

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This live split contains two lengthy songs from Nan Elmoth and five more conventional ones from Maldicion. These two bands could not form a greater contrast: the prog-oriented, folk metal informed Nan Elmoth with long discursive songs, and Maldicion with fast gripping songs like Mayhem meets Terrorizer.

Nan Elmoth kicks the set off with “Unleash the King of Wolves.” This lengthy song shows what is good about this band and what it needs to work on. Nan Elmoth is confused in both genre, and trying too hard. This song mixed Graveland with folk metal and power metal influences, then tries to cram it into a lengthy death metal tinged song. Perhaps a better approach would be to synthesize those voices into one of the band’s own, and then to not use method as a substitute for content; let the content lead you to an epic song or lengthy instrumental if it can, but forcing it creates a disconnect. These songs hold up well with rhythm and repeated motifs, and stand as some of the more deliberately “pushing the envelope” in extreme metal at this. The next iteration may bring more fluidity and allow them to breathe a bit. Nan Elmoth covers wide ground on riffs and themes and pulls them all together in this song, and a longer second song, “Nan Elmoth,” in which the variation sometimes seems pro forma but some excellent riffs stand out. This fades out into somewhat repetitive violence and then segues into Burzum “The Crying Orc” for a hint at what the past wrought.

Maldicion takes over with its songs which are dark like Mayhem, and feature periodic powerful internal collisions, but mostly seem to be more in the vein of fast death/grind. The result generates a lot of energy, gives it mystique, and then leaves it hanging about half the time. Songwriting is more proficient than most of metal but it could use some editing to determine the parts sufficiently relate to one another. Nonetheless, the raw aggression and vitality of this band outpaces most of what underground metal is doing now. Together, these bands create a set that is varied and strong, and point to future evolution of their sound that could push them farther in the world of underground metal.

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Sacrificium Carmen to release Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa

Sacraficium Carmen - Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa (2015)

The Scandinavian countries have always had disproportionate metal output; Finland’s continues with this debut album from Sacrificum Carmen, an occult-inspired black metal band. Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa is set to release on October 30th and showcases a more melodic sound than is stereotypical of the country’s black metal output.

Saturnal Records issued the following statement:

Hailing from the fertive Finnish black metal scene, Sacrificium Carmen both embody their home country’s prevailing underground idiom and offer a unique, diabolical twist to it. Founded in 2009 by vocalist Hoath Cambion and guitarist Advorsvs, the band draws their inspiration from the areas of occultism and Satanism exclusively. Sacrificium Carmen became active in 2012 with a full lineup, and soon released their debut demo “Sanansaattaja” in 2013 via Finnish underground label Spread Evil Productions. 

After the demo’s release, the band excelled in the areas of live shows and split releases, which all spread well around the underground scene. In 2014, Sacrificium Carmen started working on a debut full-length album, and the demo recordings led into a signing of a record deal with Finnish record label Saturnal Records for the release Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa.



Sacrificium Carmen plays black metal with a melodic and atmospheric touch where all tendencies have been directed into very aggressive and sinister output, where Finnish black metal sound meets murky death metal sound as witnessed with orthodox black metal acts. Across the eight tracks of Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa, the listener is dragged to the sulfurous depths, with vapor trails of hypnotizing melody lingering above the tar-thick sewage. Exquisitely filthy yet exceptionally well-recorded, Ikuisen Tulen Kammiossa presents Sacrificium Carmen as a serious newcomer, a contender to be reckoned with in the years to come, as the band continue to propagate live rituals to increasingly rabid audiences.

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Thevetat releases Desecration of Divine Presence

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Thevetat (ex-Ceremonium) has unleashed its most recent record Desecration of Divine Presence on vinyl for metalheads who like the kind of immersive, cavernous death metal and black metal that Incantation, Profanatica and Immolation made famous. The band issued the following press release:

Another day to spread death! Clearly, it is evident this effort attracts a vile kind. Good deeds unpunished… Fellow wolves, send a message to this page for your orders.
Two color variations are available.
Experience the madness.
There is much minded from beasts. Ave Satani.

Some people need a reminder. “Desecration of Divine Presence” is available now and orders are being taken on this page. This is merciless death devoted to the end of the world. Make your desires known to the devil. Speak for the dead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mgła – Exercises in Futility (2015)

Mgła - Exercises in Futility (2015)

A recent discovery of mine, if far from a newcomer to metal music; Mgła plays a sort of streamlined melodic black metal on Exercises in Futility. There are no real divergences from this formula, even in their slightest form, and even any residual rock or traditional metal influence is assimilated deeply into the overall sound and form of the music. It’s easy to pass this album off as repetitive, dull, and pointless at first glance, but the constraints of this style have bred some much-needed creativity. Continued listening highlights the band’s ability to successfully vary their compositions in a narrower range than most of my recent reviews. This is a difficult skill to learn, and its payoff is often subtle to the point of inaudibility, but the band’s efforts paid off; they’ve secured this listener’s interest and showcased their potential prowess as songwriters.

In general, Mgła leans towards the consonant, the ambient, and (at moments of weakness) the predictable. Exercises in Futility is driven primarily by very simplistic riffs and sometimes even single chord drones, but frequently overlays melodic, treble heavy guitar lead counterpoint over the exceptionally basic chord patterns that serve as its foundation. The rhythm section is muted in comparison to the guitars, but it dutifully follows their acrobatics by offering up its own new patterns as the tracks evolve. While I rarely found my ears focusing in on the drums, I was pleased by how the drummer didn’t treat his subsidiary position as an excuse to mindlessly blast or simply keep time. This was more of a problem with the vocalist, who admittedly also handles guitar and bass. For how prominently the vocals are mixed, the unending sameness of their techniques and how unaffected they are by any other aspect of the recording is quite a setback. Still, the instrumentation tends better than the alternative (incompetence), and when every metal band with a budget can assume their performances will be studio quality, the ability to add nuance is quite important.

Exercises in Futility is still not a particularly diverse album, although it doesn’t necessarily need to be one to be worthy of attention. Its biggest weakness is most likely that its tracks don’t develop particularly well over their duration, although the songs at least have clear (if basic) structures, which suggests some non-trivial effort towards this end. Other problems with this recording are relatively trivial in comparison, as strength of narrative/communication is perhaps the one aspect this genre’s elites can safely say they share. To truly unlock their own potential, the band members will have to cut repetition and achieve a greater level of focus and precision when constructing their songs. They may very well be able to pull it off if they’re willing to put forth the effort.

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Abominor to release Opus: Decay in physical form

Abominor

It is a common trend these days for newer bands to initially release their works in digital form and later create a physical version when funding permits. Abominor, a black metal band from Iceland, initially released Opus: Decay, their debut EP, on March 26th; a CD version will follow on September 4th, and the band promises a tape release in the future.

The band’s label released the following statement:

Forever committed to unearthing the best sounds in the metal underground, INVICTUS PRODUCTIONS presents Opus: Decay, the debut mini-album of Iceland’s ABOMINOR. ABOMINOR arose from the pits in early 2008, with their sole/soul purpose to evoke chaos and drown the earth in audial poison. Across the two epic-length compositions comprising Opus: Decay, the quartet create a slow-simmer cauldron of cold-yet-fiery black metal – cold to the touch, fiery in its passion – fully mesmerizing the listener with an intensity that embodies total death. Dissonant melodies welcome you into the nameless void, and with deft shifts of tempo and texture, ABOMINOR ensnare one’s soul and send currents of said poison through the veins. Rounded off by big ‘n’ booming production, Opus: Decay marks the first triumphant chapter of ABOMINOR’s omnipotent death worship.

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