New Video for THE WRETCHED END’s “Zoo Human Syndrome” Now Online

Despite the fact that “Zoo Human Syndrome” is taken off THE WRETCHED END‘s 2010 record, Ominous, the band have posted the official video for it.  Check it out below.

The video was filmed, edited and produced by none other than Trym Torson (ex-EMPEROR/ZYKLON/ENSLAVED).  Epic song and cool video.

THE WRETCHED END is currently working on their third record and will release news soon.

IHSAHN’s Das Seelenbrechen Set for October 2013 Release

Candlelight Records today confirms October 22 as the North American release date for Das Seelenbrechen, the fifth solo album from IHSAHNDas Seelenbrechen will be available on compact disc, a limited edition digibook (with expanded graphics and liner notes), and double 180-gram clear vinyl. Pre-orders are set to launch via online and physical retail outlets beginning September 10.

“Musically, this album is a very deliberate sidestep to what I have been doing; a necessity to reset the creative parameters so not to fall into formula,” shares IHSAHN. “I think I do my best work slightly outside of my comfort zone and I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time. Free form and improvisational can be scary for a musician but it is very liberating at the same time.”

Recorded at his studio in Norway in collaboration with drummer Tobias Ornes Anderson (LEPROUS), Das Seelenbrechen courageously eschews traditional metal instrumentation in favor of a limitless textural landscape that evokes the freewheeling spirit of artists like DIAMANDA GALAS, SCOTT WALKER, and JOHN ZORN. In discussing the album IHSAHN notes, “even though my music has changed over the years, I feel there is a source of inspiration at the bottom of it all that is constant. The general idea for this album was to try and dig deep into this raw source and express it without too much refinery and do so within a less familiar musical landscape. It is the reason for several purely improvised songs and parts on this album. I spontaneously performed with just lyrics and the idea of the atmosphere I was wishing to create. While many will feel it sounds different, I don’t think it is necessarily different from my previous album. And in my head, it will fit in perfectly with my plans for the sixth album.”

Das Seelenbrechen takes its name from Nietzche‘s famed Human, All Too Human: A Book of Free Spirits. Writings by the 19th century philosopher and other historical figures have often found their way into IHSAHN‘s songwriting. “The title is taken from one of his aphorisms on art and how, in its purest form, is neither good nor bad,” says IHSAHN. The album’s abstract packaging, again conceived by Spanish graphic artist Ritxi Ostariz, embraces the aphorisms essence.

“Of all my albums, my goals for this one have been the most abstract.  I’ve had quite a rollercoaster ride putting it together but now that it is done I must say I am very pleased.”

Video of the Day: IHSAHN’s Full Set at Wacken Open Air 2013

With the recent news that EMPEROR will reunite for Wacken Open Air next year (as well as Bloodstock 2014), it got me in the EMPEROR/EMPEROR-related mood.  Thus, let’s check out IHSAHN‘s performance at this year’s Wacken Open Air earlier this month.

It’s a pretty good set.  It helps tremendously that Ihsahn‘s backing band are Norwegian progsters, LEPROUS.  Good shit.

Ihsahn Issues Clarification on EMPEROR Reunion

As reported earlier, EMPEROR have announced that they will reunite to perform In the Nightside Eclipse at Wacken Open Air festival 2014 with drummer Faust.  However, what was not clear was whether the band would be reuniting for good or simply for more reunion shows.  Ihsahn provided the clarification we all asked for:

EMPEROR will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of ‘In The Nightside Eclipse‘ at next year´s Wacken Open Air. Ihsahn and Samoth will be joined by Faust on drums, and they will perform the album in its entirety.

“There will be no new studioalbum or a world wide tour, only a few exclusive festival appearances next year, to mark the celebration of this landmark album.”

EMPEROR to Reunite for Wacken 2014 with Faust

This past Friday, August 2, 2013, EMPEROR announced that they will reunite once again to perform at Wacken 2014.  To add to that, former drummer Faust will be joining the band to perform In the Nightside Eclipse in its entirety.

From the Wacken website:  “Come 2014, the band will celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘In The Nightside Eclipse‘, with a few exclusive performances. Beyond that, the future, as ever, is a mystery waiting to be unravelled…”

Let’s hope that this performance is recorded so the poor souls who can’t fly over to Germany next year will get to see.  In any case, let us rejoice!

KVELERTAK – Meir

Kvelertak - MeirAfter 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)

New LEPROUS Album in the Works

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:

Song of the Day: ARCTURUS’ “Du Nordavind” from the Constellation EP

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.

Here is the original recording of “Du Nordavind“:

THE WRETCHED END – Inroads

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)

IHSAHN: Eremita Release Date Announced

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).