Archive for Black Metal

Deals & Steals: Call the Dealer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2014 by Lightning Slim

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Now, the dealer in question might be to help with the pantload of stoner metal I just received. He might also deal in speed, sleaze, machinery or poisoned bibles by the looks of things. All prices $US.

High On Fire – Snakes For the Divine $5.59, Death Is This Communion $8.78, Blessed Black Wings $6.39, Surrounded By Thieves $6.39. I’m late to the party on these shirtless riffy wonders, so I pulled the trigger on the whole back catalogue. Awesome fun.

Destroy Destroy Destroy – Devour the Power $6.39. More side project silliness from the American core kids. I’m sure I’m meant to enjoy this Manowar parody stuff ironically, so, shhhhhhhh……

Lazarus A.D. – Onslaught $3.99. One of the finest young bands working in retrothrash today.

Scum of the Earth – Sleaze Freak $3.00. The Rob Zombie soundalikes actually made a second album. Not an original note on it, but kind of fun anyway.

KMFDM – XTORT $3.48. Because I’m a Chris Connelly fan. Also, this is a reissue that allows you to skip the stupid bonus track.

Anaal Nathrakh – Domine Non Es Dignus $6.99. Woah. Seriously nutty industrial black metal from the UK. Like Cradle mixed with old-school Earache Records.

Powerman 5000 – Transform $1.48. Can’t believe this radio-ready bit of nothing got released and Doomsday didn’t. Oh well, price was right.

And now for my new favourite thing:

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Doomriders – Black Thunder $5.58 and Darkness Come Alive $6.39. This side project of Converge has a bit of everything good. At their best they sound like the entire back half of Iron Maiden’s Killers being performed by Danzig. If that description appeals to you, run don’t walk to see them.

doomriders-black_thunder

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Album Review – Skeletonwitch “Forever Abomination” 2011

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  Good Skeletonwitch music is like bad barbecued chicken: it tastes metallic, it’s blackened around the edges, and deep inside it’s still totally raw. Forever Abomination certainly qualifies as a non-fix of the band’s unbroken style, serving up no-nonsense thrash for the beer and burger set. EDIT: Clearly I was hungry when I wrote this. 

I know I give a lot of bands shit for lack of evolution, but there are always exceptions. The Skeletonwitch Method, much like the Riddle of Steel or the formula for Dr. Pepper, should be kept locked down, and screwed around with as little as possible. 

A great way to kill half an hour, Forever Abomination is designed for cruising, with a nostalgic ear for the cassette tape. It makes you want to “flip it over” and play it again. 8 out of 10

Album Review – Samael “Lux Mundi” 2011

Posted in Album Reviews, FourFiveSix with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  Don’t get too excited. Samael seem to have rewound their sound close to the beginning and are now replaying it. In 2009 they released Above, an admitted throwback to their black metal roots that almost (and maybe should have) come out as a side-project. With Lux Mundi they continue their time-travel, this time landing about mid-career with a record that would fit comfortably between Passage and Eternal. Perhaps too comfortably.

The band’s signature style is definitely on display: industrial beats with martial orchestral flourishes march steadily through each track with the pomp of a Roman Triumph. Unfortunately, while Lux Mundi (along with its accompanying Antigod EP) capture the flavour of imperial majesty, they also contain something of a parade’s tedium and contrived artificality.

There’s nothing strictly wrong with the material, it’s just that what sounded revolutionary on Passage and confidently dominant on Reign of Light or Solar Soul now seems a bit tired and forced. It brings to mind the worrying notion that Xy and Vorph may not have any tools left, at least none that fit into the Samael toolbox. Panem et circenses! 6 out of 10

Album Review – Cthonic “Takasago Army” 2011

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on September 29, 2011 by Lightning Slim

  One of the upsides to all the genre fragmentation happening in the metal scene these days is that it does give rise to bands like Cthonic who are capable of crystal-clear specialization. The name of the game is not to fill an arena or put a hit on the radio but to fully explore the concept at hand. Cthonic know who they are and exactly which stories they want to tell. 

The band hails from Taiwan, a hotbed of conflict and political maneuvering with a history of violence and oppression. Takasago Army tells a conceptual tale of the Taiwanese soldiers who fought for Japan in the Second World War, and were later on the frontlines of resistance when mainland Chinese forces occupied the island afterward. 

Sonically, the album is a lush fusion of symphonic black metal with traditional Asian sounds and instrumentation. The techniques scream Cradle of Filth (literally!) and the recording is rich yet precise. It’s one of the most crisp-sounding records I’ve heard since System Divide’s The Conscious Sedation. However, it’s the gut feeling of Takasago Army that really drives each track forward, a snarl of outrage that rivals Soulfly in its embrace of land, culture and resistance.

 Thoroughly enjoyable, and will leave you wanting to hear more. 8.5 out of 10

Album Review – Dimmu Borgir “Abrahadabra” 2010

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on November 28, 2010 by Lightning Slim

   Abrahadabra finds Dimmu Borgir in a relaxed and looser mood than previous outing In Sorte Diaboli, an album which was much more conceptually dependant and lyrically dense. While this will never be mistaken for the Monkees, Abrahadabra is as close as DB might get to a romp, with simpler arrangements and a replayable catchiness on display throughout. Single “Gateways” even has them putting an entire symphony and choir to work and getting their Nightwish on with favourable results. The three remaining members (Mustis and Vortex got the sack last year) are having fun and it shows.

Ah, fun, the ultimate F-word in black and death metal circles. Both Dimmu Borgir and Anglo-Saxon soul mates Cradle of Filth are routinely raked over the coals for their flirtations with more mainstream forms of metal, something which I’m sure doesn’t cross their minds as they choose between Dom and Krug at their club table. Your snob-o-meter might know the difference between Abrahadabra and something recorded in the true black metal fashion*, but your ears will enjoy it just the same, if not more. 7.5 out of 10

*shitty, possibly from prison

Deals and Steals: Hammer Time!

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2010 by Lightning Slim

Just one contribution this time. Last week I was at Beat Goes On and saw a 2-CD label sampler from Hammerheart Records on the shelf for $6.99. I took a chance and grabbed it and I can tell you it was quite a find. It contains many, many bands:

CD1: Thyrfing, Primordial, Necronomicon, Havayoth, The Ravenous, Rebaelliun, Alas, Defleshed, Aeternus, Solstice, Aura Noir, Severe Torture, Thanatos, Skyfire, Hypnosia, Corona Borealis

CD2: Dimmu Borgir, Ancient, Tulus, Avrigus, Hades Almighty, Trelldom, Dead Head, Cruachan, Old Man’s Child, Dead Silent Slumber, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Infestdead, Invasion, Carpe Tenebrum, Kampfar, Halgalaz’ Runedance

As you can see, it’s chock full of grind, black, death, doom, folk and power metal from all the corners of the globe. Hammerheart (now known as Karmageddon) really casts the net widely, although all the songs on this compilation can be said to be loosely bound by their Norse paganism. Long story short; it’s a great deal and gave me some perspective on the state of pan-global extreme music in the early 2000’s.

Game Review – “Brütal Legend” 2009

Posted in Album Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by Lightning Slim

I wish to begin by stating that I am in no way qualified to review video games, which actually ties into what I’m saying about Brütal Legend. There’s been a lot of to-and-fro about this game on the interwebs, and  most of the criticism has been based on a perception that the ideas of the game are bigger than the mechanics of gameplay can contain. I happen to agree, but also don’t care. I friggin’ love this thing. If you’re looking for serious commentary on the way the game works by knowledgeable people who both love and hate it, head over to the forums at CHUD.

Here’s me:

-Casual gamer. I don’t buy anything the day it comes out, and usually wait for things to go on sale. For instance, Brütal Legend cost me $39 CDN of Xmas gift card on Boxing Day.

-Not a huge collector of achievements, don’t care about online stats, not going to stay up all night for the chance to change my characters’ clothes (I’d rather change my own – zing!) The last time I really strained myself was to get the Fourth Survivor mini game in Resident Evil II, and I succeeded at that by having my vacation plans go belly up, resulting in a week with nothing better to do.

-Lifelong, well-educated, dedicated fan of heavy metal music and culture.

In other words, I’m the perfect storm. If the gaming market consisted of just me and people like me, this game would sell like Avatar. I’m perfectly willing to overlook the flaws of design (schizophrenic disconnect between hack n’ slash vs. real-time strategy, repetitive escort missions, short main campaign) to bask in the glory of its metal culture perfection. The look and feel of the game is as if someone reached into my brain and pulled out every fun, stirring, and hilarious cliché from my youth, mixed with savvy topical knowledge of the way the tropes of metal actually work. Tim Schafer has left no stone (rock!)  unturned, whether it be the chrome-plated visuals, world-class character performances by real metal heavy-hitters, or the simply astonishing soundtrack.

The soundtrack, that’s where I really come in. There are over 100 metal songs played in their entirety in the game, organized into four loose categories corresponding to the heroes and villains. If you like glam, classic, black or industrial metal, there’s something good for you here. Schafer really understands his history here – the goth/black sections let Dimmu Borgir rub shoulders with King Diamond, and the main, player-aligned portions are a love letter to the NWOBHM brimming with Angel Witch, Diamond Head and other obscure treasures.

Look at it this way: buying this game is the equivalent of having a 12-disc box set of expertly selected music that happens to have a minor, but fun and well acted video game attached to it. Good deal!

-Slim

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