After being totally immersed in music for a decade or two (or three), it’s easy to grow desensitized to the untainted joy and fresh excitement that music can bring. Thankfully, there is Norway’s KVELERTAK that easily remind us all why we became music freaks in the first place. With their second album, Meir, the band easily meet the lofty expectations set by their explosive debut.
KVELERTAK have matured as songwriters and have taken their fun and exciting hybrid of Norwegian black metal, rock ‘n roll, and punk to fresh places. The trademarks of the 8th note downstroked riffing, blast beats, bluesy solos, and gang vocals are still intact. The band effectively use melodic guitar leads, acoustic guitars, and soulful rock ‘n roll riffing with their black metal dimension. Meir can sound equally happy and fun as well as ugly, mean, and black. Arguably, the highlight of the album is the blazing “Nekrokosmos.” The song starts off in a fairly standard way before it ends with a long instrumental bridge that is beautifully reminiscent of EMPEROR‘s “With Strength I Burn” and “The Wanderer.”
CONVERGE guitarist Kurt Ballou has done a perfect job with the production side of the album. Meir is perfectly balanced, warm, and has natural tones.
Meir generates the kind of emotions that excite a person to (re)dedicate their lives to music. Fresh, fun, exciting, and just so fucking good. Buy or die. (Roadrunner Records)
After spending a very eventful and busy year promoting their latest album release, Bilateral, acclaimed Norwegian progsters LEPROUS have now started their recording sessions for their upcoming, currently untitled studio album, set to be released before summer 2013 worldwide via InsideOut Music.
LEPROUS singer/synth-player Einar Solberg checked in with a status report:
“As many of you already know, we’ve started recording our new album. The drums are finished, and we’re now focusing on the guitars. Also this time we’re using Vegard ‘Ihsahn’ Tveitan and Heidi ‘StarOfAsh’ S. Tveitan as our producers / technicians. The drums were recorded in the really cool and old school Juke Joint Studio (http://www.jukejointstudio.com/ ), and we’re really satisfied with the result.
“As far as the new music, we can only remind you that LEPROUS will never be the kind of band to re-create the mood from previous works, and it’s very important for us that each album has its own strong character. We have great belief in this album and we promise something fresh, challenging and soulful! This album will also be mixed and mastered by Mr. Jens Bogren @ Fascination Street Studios.”
Check out a special studio video from the drum recording sessions here:
For today’s Song of the Day, let us revisit one of the greatest underground metal bands of all time, ARCTURUS. Back in 1994, the band released the Constellation EP via guitarist Samoth‘s Nocturnal Art Productions. Simply a groundbreaking piece of Norwegian symphonic black metal. Absolutely mandatory.
After making a strong debut with Ominous, Norway’s THE WRETCHED END easily proved their worth. Now, with Inroads, the band have honed and focused their sophisticated, multi-dimensional style of extreme metal to a blacker, more desolate place. Everything from the classic album artwork to the atmospheres and overall sound possesses a distinctly Norwegian black metal undercurrent. However, this is not a rehashing of past victories. This is the band’s modern expression of Norwegian black metal fused with the other elements of their sound. The thrash elements of their sound make less of an appearance this time around.
Soon after Inroads begins, it’s clear that THE WRETCHED END have further defined their style with new sounds, vibes, and dynamics. Lead guitars are effectively, succinctly, and frequently used to add color. Norwegian black metal dissonance is utilized in riffs such as in “Tyrant of the Mountain” and “Deathtopian Society.” “Death by Nature” and “The Haunting Ground” have killer grooves. “Cold Iron Soul” constantly shifts tempos with the subtle, contrasting riffs that flow well together. THE WRETCHED END deliver the sense of ominous urgency with the run away train feel of “Fear Propaganda.”
In addition to the subtle complex song arrangements and sounds, the sheer spirit of Inroads is very reminiscent of the mighty EMPEROR. Indeed, THE WRETCHED END reach new heights as shown on the absolutely invincible, decadent melodies at the end of “Blackthorn Winter,” the powerful emotion of “Hunger,” and the total domination of closer “Throne Renowned of Old.”
While all the various dimensions of Inroads may not be readily discernible nor fully appreciated at first, it all comes out over time.
In an ever crowded and formulaic extreme metal scene, THE WRETCHED END easily distinguish themselves as one of the best. (Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records)
Candlelight Records has announced that Ihsahn’s new album, Eremita, will be released in North America on June 19, 2012.
Alongside Ihsahn, the album features performances from drummer Tobias Ornes Andersen (LEPROUS), saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby (SHINING (Norway)), guitarist Jeff Loomis (ex-NEVERMORE), and vocalists Devin Townsend, Einar Solberg (LEPROUS), and Heidi S. Tveitan (STAROFASH). The album’s packaging has been created by award-winning Spanish designer Ritxi Ostariz viewable here.
Reflecting on the recording process Ihsahn notes, “This is right where I want to be musically, with lots of room for dynamics and expressive variety. Tobias and Jorgen have really added to the organic vibe I was going for and have contributed to the overall feel with their fantastic musicianship. And to have Devin, Jeff, Einar and Heidi adding their special moments, I am very privileged to be able to work with such a talented group of people. I really feel this is some of my most inspired work yet.”
A special two-minute video preview for Eremita, featuring audio segments from the record and exclusive footage filmed during the album’s creation can be viewed below:
Eremita will be available on standard CD and a limited edition deluxe digibook (featuring an exclusive bonus track).
THE WRETCHED END‘s new video for “Death By Nature” has been posted online. The song comes off the band’s new album, Inroads, which is scheduled for an April 23, 2012 release via Nocturnal Art Productions/Candlelight Records.
THE WRETCHED END are currently in the studio recording their sophomore record, which is set for a 2012 release (read more details here). The band has posted the following video showing drummer Nils Fjellström laying down the drum tracks:
There are two things that come to mind after listening to Bilateral: (1) Wow, this is very impressive; and (2) why haven’t I heard of this band earlier? Album number three from this Norwegian progressive band is just so damn impressive that it easily nullifies the existence of lesser bands (and there are plenty of those).
LEPROUS can do so much and they exercise that ability by blending in progressive rock/metal (i.e. DREAM THEATER, KING CRIMSON), Norwegian black metal, heavy rock (i.e. FAITH NO MORE), MESHUGGAH, and DEVIN TOWNSEND among others. While they do show their incredible musicianship, it’s never done as a wank fest like so many contemporary progressive bands indulge in. It’s always done within the context of the songs. A standout characteristic of Bilateral is that with each song, you don’t know what to expect. They never tread the same ground or follow a predictable song formula but at the same time, this isn’t a cut and paste or genre hopping record. A song like “Mb. Indiferrentia” is very quiet and gentle whereas the preceding song, “Thorns,” has a slow, heavy, and dark part with none other than friend, Ihsahn (EMPEROR), on guest vocals. Contrast that with “Waste of Air” that starts off with blast beats and becomes an exercise in building and releasing tension.
While I hate to single one member out among this talented band, Einar Solberg (vocals/synth) is absolutely fantastic. He’s got a comparable vocal range and presence to that of the great Devin Townsend and Mike Patton. So often with these kinds of bands, the vocalist can really make or break it for many listeners and Einar definitely makes it. C’mon, EMPEROR and IHSAHN have utilized him for live performances. What does that say?
Bilateral is an intriguing, adventurous, compelling, and stimulating experience. If you’re looking for such music, then look no further. (Inside Out Music)
In 2011, the world knows and reveres legendary Norwegian black metal bands such as EMPEROR, MAYHEM, IMMORTAL, and SATYRICON. But where’s the love for the seminal Norwegian band that helped to spur the creative explosion of the 90′s black metal scene?
Formed in 1989, STIGMA DIABOLICUM, which would later be named THORNS, helped to pioneer the cold, black atmospheres and riffing style that would become synonymous with the label “Norwegian black metal.” The band only have two official releases, which include the godly self-titled album from 2001 and the equally stimulating 1998 collaboration with EMPEROR that are both available on Satyr‘s Moonfog Productions. Prior to that the band had two demos/rehearsal tapes, Grymyrk and Trøndertun. Thankfully, the good people at Kyrck Productions released both on a limited edition release under the THORNS name entitled Stigma Diabolicum. As the side note, Kyrck Productions has put out a lot of rare demos/early releases by, now, legendary black metal bands. Check them out.
By their nature, the songs on Stigma Diabolicum are raw and unrefined in their production values, performance, and songwriting. But man, you can hear and feel the birth of a new sound in these songs. Plus, it’s so easy to hear how influential this band was when you compare it to what followed. One of the most obvious homages can be found in DISSECTION‘s “Where Dead Angels Lie” by way of THORNS‘ “Aerie Descent.”
If you can get your hands on this limited compilation, do not hesitate.