Monday, July 23, 2012

Algor - Úder Pohanského Hnevu (2003) repost

Today, the black moons have aligned. This album was posted exactly a year ago on this blog, without knowledge of this, I set out to re-post Úder Pohanského Hnevu with working download links.

This remains to be one of my favorite black metal releases, a bold fucking statement I concur, but this album is without a flaw. If black metal has only gone downhill since the 90's, this album is a strong argument to say otherwise.


Murder Construct

I am about 85% stoked for this album. "Murder Construct is an American deathgrind band from Los Angeles, California. The band members are Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation), Leon del Muerte (Exhumed, DIS, Impaled, Phobia), Kevin Fetus (Watch Me Burn, Fetus Eaters), Caleb Schneider (Bad Acid Trip) and Danny Walker (Intronaut, Exhumed, Jesu, Uphill Battle)"

It comes out late August, so it's relatively hard to really care now, but Ryan's toilet bowl scum vocals is always a delight. Here's the bandcamp if you give any shits.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Unsacred - Where The Light Dims (2012)

Dark brooding crusty hardcore in the vein of bands like Young And In The Way, All Pigs Must Die, Trap Them, and HAMMERS. I'm pretty sure I have been meaning to post this one like 4 months ago, I suppose late is better than never. The bells of the cymbals sound like clashing katanas when struck, peril.

Grab if you like: The bands listed above, duh.


Friday, July 20, 2012

GGUW - Gegen Gravitation und Willensfreiheit (2011)

Part 1: I haven't deserted you or this blog yet, the real world has just been kicking my ass. I have some exciting things on the horizon for the blog to make up for this lack of consistent posting.

Part 2: I found this on Fallen Empire and immediately was drawn to the album cover, what the fuck are we looking at exactly? I'll get back to this question.

•  •  •

play this, and continue reading:

More importantly, what the fuck are we hearing? This album by German band GGUW sounds like "The Land Before Time" all grown up and on heaps of acid. It has this absurdly bestial and primordial sounding shriek that pierce through the strange arrangement of raw black metal that borders on sounding like a feral animal struggling for air and wheezing... it's fucking rad and eerie. For this, the first track on this stomps the hardest and succeeds at making me feel oddly uncomfortable.

The reason I used the inexcusably stupid analogy of "The Land Before Time" on acid is because this shit just sounds primitive and archaic… which is why that album cover is so intriguing to me I suppose. I feel like I'm staring at the back of an ancient beast giant that never existed, yet here it is in full realism only without any inclination as to what it's front may look like. A poster comes with the Vinyl of this sold out vinyl, more coming in soon. I will have to buy this so I can lay on my floor, put this bad boy on and stare at that poster until the creature reveals itself to me.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Interview: Beneath (Ragnar Sverrisson)

Behold, I bring you another interview from Iceland, and there is more to come. Beneath have no interest in being pigeon-holed into any particular genre, instead they do what Icelanders do best with their music style; They infuse elements from a wide range of genres to create something less "I heard this before" and more "This is interesting".

In this case, we have a stew of extreme influences…(though, in my opinion often mislabeled "technical death metal"). A basis of straight-forward extreme/brutal death metal create the massive sound Beneath offer, while subtly hinting at elements like black metal, grind, old-school and technical death metal. To me the bulk of the technicality comes from the drumming by Ragnar Sverrisson (who took the duty of answering these questions), you would think the fucker is an octopus with 8 arms… especially with those beautiful and drop-of-a-dime drum fills.

•  •  •

•  •  •

1) Is there a "underdog" quality to being a metal band in Iceland?

Well there is definitely a big barrier between the Icelandic bands and the European live market because we always have the cost of airline transport if we want to play a show in Europe. It's frustrating to not be able to pack-up our shit into a bus and drive to Norway or Germany or whatever to expand your crowd. On the other hand I personally think that the isolation helps creating the unique Icelandic vibe to the bands that many have noted, but the fact that you most probably wont play the material for anyone but the Icelandic scene can be destructive to some bands…

2) What is the worst show you ever played? What is the best show you ever played?

For me personally our worst show was at Death feast open air in Germany were we couldn't hear each other, and we played like crap that day. 
I was really pleased with our performance at Neurotic Deathfest 2011 and I think it must be my favorite show to date. I really hope we can play in Tilburg again soon, it´s an awesome town.

3) Ophidian I tells me you guys share a practice space. I think you guys should squeeze into the practice space at the same time and jam out your respected songs at the same time. I think the force would be so strong it would cause all active volcanoes in Iceland to erupt at once. Okay, I'll ask a real question; What is your idea of being successful? What needs to happen for you guys to achieve your goals?

I think we´d be better off dividing the universe with zero than trying to mix these bands together, I really don´t want to know what would happen.

As for the Idea of being successful in my mind it is being able to play the music you like best for other people as often as you can and keep progressing your music and show. In my mind you are successful if you can keep doing that for a long time regardless of how big your crowd is.

4) Does Iceland have way too much Viking shit, or can you never have too much Viking anything?

I think outsiders think we are all bathed in Viking gold and clad in armor during our daily routine of killing people for no reason, but most Icelanders don´t really give two shits about Vikings, the only time I am usually reminded of the existence of Vikings is when I see the tourist shops downtown or go to a Skálmöld show. But in the right perspective, the fact that we are descended from Vikings and the impact they had on our culture can be very cool.

5) The word on the street is Enslaved By Fear is going to have a 10 minute track titled "Monolith" featuring the use of synthesizers, what inspired this?

Well the basic idea was to have something on the album to weigh against the speedy parts, which is basically all of the other songs. We wanted the song to be as basic as possible but still try to deliver the same amount of energy as in the other songs. I don´t want to reveal much more, but I´ll tell you that Daniel Bergstrand helped with the development of the add on instruments, with much delicacy.

6) I wanted to ask about the album art, but remembered Birkir of Halifax Collect (Who introduced me to you guys) already had that covered a while ago. It was addressed perfectly so I will just cross link it here: "The cover art is something to behold. It's pretty immense and to-the-point rather than being too ambiguous rendering it to feel out of sorts with the album title. It harkens back to the days of thrash metal were you could pretty much make out the lyrical theme by looking at the cover... What inspired you to be so literal in the imagery?" - Birkir

I'm certainly much more interested in album covers that give a certain theme or mood for an album as opposed to covers that are more like randomly Photoshopped stuff. There is a strong anti-religious theme in most of the lyrics on the album and we had a strong vision about the cover which Raymond really brought to life, so to speak. We wanted to have a religious icon, a high priest of some sort that was preaching (or commanding) to the suffering mass of people while being kept safe by armored guards.

7) How important was it for the band to have powerfully visual and conceptual album art?

I think we decided early on that we would be a straight-to-the-point band, both musically and lyrically, and so it was only natural to have the visual aspects represent that as clearly as possible. As said before this album has a strong anti-religious theme so that´s what the cover art depicts, I would imagine that on the next album we would have the cover art depict the lyrical message of that album as vividly as we have done now.

8) Which member in Beneath can grow the biggest beard? Who most fits the description of viking?

Unnar. No question about it. He´s got a thick black beard and likes to ride his motorcycle out in the wild when he´s not deathmetalling in Ophidian I or Beneath. 
He is also the fastest moonshine-drinker I have ever seen.

9) When can I be expecting Beneath to come playing in Toronto, Canada?

Hopefully soon, let´s see where this album takes us and hopefully we´ll be on the road asap.

10) Which 5 bands have influenced Beneath the most?

From the top of my head Misery Index, Hate Eternal, Behemoth, Hate and Morbid Angel.

11) Iceland seems to be a small breeding ground for musicians with fresh ideas and takes on music. Is there something in the air of fire and ice that breeds this unique approach to the music?

I think it´s the location right between America and Europe, and also our nature helps to inspire.  But mainly it´s the access we have to media from all directions of the world and we can then take the best styles and blend them to make our own.

12) I want to come live in your country, I will get my European citizenship and start working as a freelance graphic designer, all I need is for you and our pals in Ophidian I to help me out with some contacts. Deal?

Sure, just bring us some Canadian groupies and we´re all set.
13) Signing to Unique Leader Records must have been exciting, how does the signing help the band branch out further towards your goals? Be honest, are there any downfalls to signing with major labels?

It´s definitely awesome to get signed, both because it´s a recognition but also it´s a sign that you can now focus solely on making music without having to worry as much about how to get it to the masses. If there are any downfalls we haven´t experienced them yet, there have of course been some delays but they were a reality also before we got signed so not much chanced.

14) Did Jóhann really use a screwdriver as a whammy bar while recording in the studio? If so, please accept this HIGH FIVE!

Yes he did, and HIGH FIVE accepted!

15) This will be a difficult question to answer. but since you are staring down the barrel of the debut release is there anything the album as a whole may lack, anything you wish you added or any single element that could slightly be improved?

As a musician you always wish you were tighter on this or that part or may have had an idea that didn´t come to fruition… but there are also new elements that you had not expected, added by producers and others that totally make up for that. Though, any album that I make that doesn't have Eiríkur Hauksson guest singing on it has me thinking afterwards: "damn it, I wish we´d asked Eiríkur Hauksson to be a guest singer on this album".

16) I am going to link some bands, listen to it, rate each one out of 10, feel free to provide some reasoning behind the ranking. Pressure is on!

Oh crap this will be hard as I'm very narrow-minded when it comes to music and very rarely discover a new band that permanently sticks, but

let´s give it a shot:

A) Kvelertak

Hmm, this is some sort of post-hardcore slash black metal? These guys can play their instruments well and this is a pretty original blend (at least to a guy like me stuck in the 1997-2002 era of metal), and the owl tentacle-Gothic twin sisters on the cover are pretty hot, so I guess that brings the total value of this song to me to about....6.5/10. Well done Kvelertak.

B) Heresiarch

Now this is instantly more to my liking, fast, brutal and pretty disgusting. On the other hand I dislike the fact that bands these days are still producing their music with such a crappy sound. Also even though i like the style it´s not a very original song. The cover art is very cool, seems to my like it´s supposed to represent total chaos on the earth.  All this considered this band scores a 6/10.

C) Low Places

Pretty awesome, I can smell the old carpet on the walls at some shitty rehearsal space. Great amount of energy for 43 seconds. 7/10

D) Vomit The Soul

Instantly I am annoyed by those bree-bree vocals, although this has some cool riffs and is pretty well sounding music. The incredibly stupid choice of a band name further enforces my opinion that this band scores 5.5/10 for not making more of their obvious musical talent.

E) Winterfylleth

Whenever I check out one of those bands who are all about the true forestry-frostbitten-romantic black metal, I get prejudice against them for not being original, but damn it, this style of music just has too strong of an attraction for me to judge anyone for playing it, and these guys do it well. This song has a nice build-up and the title pretty well matches the visions the sound of this song brings to me. I´m a sucker for this "it´s raining outside, let´s stay inside and cry" vibe so this band scores a 8/10 and is thus the winner of this little review.

17) Finally, the most important question of all, and one I asked Ophidian I; 'm trying really hard to visit Iceland again this September or October, where would I most likely find members of Beneath hanging out on a Friday or Saturday? Who is likely to be the most drunk? Who is most likely to come stumbling to the hotdog vendor with me?

Tþm (our rehearsal space), Unnar and Unnar.

Thank you Ragnar, keep punishing those skins.

Thank you, and thank you for the interest in Beneath!

the end.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Torch Runner - Committed To The Ground (2012)

Here's the thing, you're a pussy… compared to this album. But don't feel so bad, this album makes Hitler seem like Gandhi. Here we have dark brooding hardcore swirled with crust, sludge, and even the slightest nod to stoner riffing. This album will shit all over your mood, and probably your mother as well.

I told you.

Committed To The Pound

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview: Ophidian I

This week is brought to you by the letter "P" for Procrastination. I got in touch with Icelandic technical death metal band Ophidian I to see if they would be interested in shooting the shit with me. Luckily for them, they obliged… otherwise I would of had to send my flock of rabid gryphons over seas to intimidate them. Halldór Símon Þórólfsson (guitarist) took to answering the questions, with a nod from the rest of the band on the questions dedicated to the band as a whole.

•  •  •

1) What's it like being a technical death metal band in remote Iceland?

Fantastic! The fans are cool and supportive, and we don't have many other tech bands going on so most of our show's are mixed with different metal genres, which is great.

2) I noticed the opening riff in the song Mark of an Obsidian is repeated in the end of the song The Discontinuity of a Fundamental Element, which I like because it gives the album that cohesion of a story… tying everything together. Was this the intended effect, or was there another reason for this?

You nailed it. Glad to hear you noticed!

3) Given the choice: Would you go back in time to a certain era/historical event or would you rather go into the future?

I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings us, so probably the future!

4) When I visited Iceland a year ago I ate about 30 hotdogs at the "Bæjarins beztu pylsur" vendor, I even thought about getting the hotdog logo tattooed in the palm of my hand… so anyway who eats the most hotdogs in Ophidian I?

BB is the best place to eat when you are drunk in downtown Reykjavík haha, but I would say... our drummer Tumi!

5) I was initially going to ask you guys what you thought about Icelandic's own brutal death metal band Beneath and then realized Unnar Sigurðsson is the guitarist for both Beneath and Ophidian I. So I'll ask anyways, what do you guys think about Beneath? Do you feel you guys share any similarities? (On a side-note: I'm very much looking forward to their upcoming release Enslaved By Fear!)

Oh we love Beneath! They are really good friends of ours and we share the same practice space as they do. I dont think we share many similarities musically though… Beneath are more of a straight forward FAST extreme band, and we like to mix things up a bit. Our song structures are completely different.

6) Does being a metal band in Reykjavík mean you are pretty much well acquainted with all the other metal bands in the area?

Pretty much yes, we probably know all the metal bands in the country.

7) The cover art on Solvet Saeclum is beautifully done, can you shed some light on the meaning and connection of the artwork with the album?

The lyrical themes include eschatology (the study of ideas that are believed to be the final events in history, commonly referred to as the end of the world), the past and future of human history and the fate of the universe. We gave the mighty Marco Hasmann a rough idea of how the cover could look like so it would fit that lyrical theme and this was the result!

8) If the year 2012 were to end tomorrow, which 5 metal albums would be at the top of list for "best album"?

I definitely need to check out more 2012 albums but as of now i would say:

Spawn of Possession - Incurso
Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression
Dying Fetus - Reign Supreme
Meshuggah - Koloss
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

9) The production on Solvet Saeclum is quite polished and "clean" sounding as it normally is within technical death metal. Did you guys ever consider taking a more raw and murky route for the production or is this cleaner, polished sound the only choice for the type of sound you were going for?

Ever since we started, we all agreed that we wanted to have that clean sound like most of the bands that influenced us have. So when it was time to record our album, there was no question about it.

10) I just bought the new Sigur Rós album Valtari on vinyl, is that disappointing?

No not at all, they are good at what they are doing.

11) The last band I interviewed for Severed Heads Open Minds was "The Great Old Ones" of France. Have any of you guys heard of them before? They just released their debut album Al Azif not too long ago and it's phenomenal. I command thee to check it out. 

Never heard of them, guess I'll have to check them out now :)

12) Now that Solvet Saeclum has been unleashed onto the world, how has the reaction been thus far?

As far as we know it has been pretty good! But it came out about 2 weeks ago and we haven't even recieved our copies for the Icelandic market yet and the people that ordered it online have not either I think. But we have read a few good comments here and there.

13) Lets get serious (and honest) here for a moment: I know there are 5 members in Ophidian I and individual opinions may differ, but as a whole, as a band, what is the stance on "internet piracy"? How do you guys view/deal with with it?

We don't care at all, as long as the people enjoy our music or support us in any way. But of course we would love it if everyone could buy the album, it would help us and our label out alot.

14) This is an overly asked question, but a fair one: What were the inspirations for making this album (both personally and musically)?

Just our passion for making music and to show people that even bands from small islands like ours can be professional and hopefully grow a lot bigger one day. Musically it was mostly our favourite bands, like Obscura, Necrophagist, Psycroptic and more and more.

15) I'm trying really hard to visit Iceland again this September or October, where would I most likely find members of Ophidian I hanging out on a Friday or Saturday? Who is likely to be the most drunk? Who is most likely to come stumbling to the hotdog vendor with me?

First of all, if you like metal and want to visit Iceland, you should come here in July to attend the annual Eistnaflug festival.
You would probably find us in some of the rock bars. Dillon, 11an ("the eleven") etc.  We all like to drink and have fun and it just depends on each and every weekend who is the most drunk I guess. 

We would all go grab a hotdog with you together!

16) Top 5 bands that came out of Iceland? (Excluding Ophidian I ;)

In my opinion: Beneath, Severed Crotch, Atrum, Gone Postal and Gruesome Glory.

17) Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath?

I have always been a huge Maiden fan, so Iron Maiden for me!

18) If you were to journey off alone on a 2 day hike somewhere in the great unique landscapes of Iceland, and you could only have 1 album on your iPod, which album would it be?

Probably Catch33 by Meshuggah or The Destroyers of All by Ulcerate. The atmosphere on the albums would fit the landscape I think.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!

No problem man, thanks for hitting me up! - Halldór Símon Þórólfsson


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ophidian I - Tectonic Collapse

Prepare, I will be interviewing these technical dethsters from Iceland this week, keep your head up and eyes open!