ARCTURUS – Arcturian

Arcturus - ArcturianThe last time ARCTURUS released new music, they were not at the top of their game.  Sideshow Symphonies was simply not on par with the band’s previous releases.  Ten years later, we have Arcturian and a band that sounds creatively refreshed.  Arcturian is unequivocally better than its predecessor and brings ARCTURUS back on track with some of their best material to date.

The album is sharp, direct, and wastes no time with meandering.  The symphonic elements, the space/prog rock elements, subtle dark electronic influences, and the black metal roots meld together wonderfully.  There are song sections and entire songs that exemplify the band’s previous albums as well as new elements brought to the table.

Crashland” sounds like the stepchild of La Masquerade Infernale with its string arrangements and atmosphere.  “Angst” has the glacier-sized keyboards of the band’s early releases with a ferocity not heard since “Radical Cut” featuring Ihsahn.  “Warp” is archetypal ARCTURUS with spacey synth, solemn pianos, and non-stop pulsing energy.  “Demon” sounds like DEPECHE MODE – in a good way.  “The Journey” is new territory with its new age feel.  It starts out with electronic beat and violins before segueing with acoustic guitars and ghostly vocals sweeping in and out.  “Bane” closes out Arcturian with a strange space carnival caravan, which fits their onstage presentation.  It’s also one of the weakest songs on Arcturian.

As far as performances go, the band are at the top of their game.  Co-founding member Hellhammer is as godly as he always is.  Other co-founding member Sverd dazzles and shows why he is the most legendary synth player in the Norwegian metal scene.  Knut Magne Valle‘s first take-improvised guitar solos are perfect.  ICS Vortex may be the only one to take a hit for some of his vocal lines.  They can come off as off key here and there.  But to his credit, he does sing his ass off and sounds good for the most part.

Arcturian is not perfect but overall, it’s a strong return to form.  There is a lot to love about it.  Welcome back, ARCTURUS.  (Prophecy Productions)

TRIPTYKON – Melana Chasmata

The great TRIPTYKON redefine darkness once again with their second full-length album.  Melana Chasmata is a multi-dimensional exploration of darkness colored in different atmospheres.

TRIPTYKON masterfully utilize a full repertoire – three different vocalists, a wide range of riffing styles, violent and solemn atmospheres, and more.  It’s a great lesson in musicality and serves as a foil to simple, formulaic songwriting.

Each song on Melana Chasmata is its own unique journey. Some are desolate, ominous, and naked like “Boleskine House” and “Aurorae.” Others have an unnerving feeling of instability and doom like “Altar of Deceit.” “Breathing” is just devastating in its heaviness when it picks up the speed. Starting from the sixth track, “Demon Pact,” Melana Chasmata enters a lucid nightmare, which is as vivid as any conscious experience.

Few bands create such powerful and compelling atmospheres, and no band does it like them. TRIPTYKON triumphantly prove why they are pioneers. Mandatory. (Century Media Records)

Industry Profile: Ian Christe

Ian Christie
In APESHIT‘s ongoing quest to speak with the people who work behind the scenes to make it all happen, we caught up metal renaissance man, Ian Christe. Starting out with the familiar starting point of a zine, he moved onto freelance writing for a wide variety of music publications as well as writing music.  His band DARK NOERD THE BEHOLDER appeared on the very cool soundtrack for the uber disturbing Gummo movie.  Currently, heavy music fans can catch his radio show, Bloody Roots, on Sirius XM Radio as well as read the insightful books that his publication company, Bazillion Points Publishing, is putting out.  Ian gives us the inside scoop on some of his coolest projects, including the upcoming books from Bazillion Points.
Continue reading

AGE OF SILENCE & WINDS’ Andy Winter New Solo Album Available Now

Andy Winter - IncomprehensibleKeyboardist/composer Andy Winter of WINDS and AGE OF SILENCE fame has a new solo album, Incomprehensible, which is available now via The End records.  The album features an impressive roster of guest vocalists from MADDER MORTEM, AGALLOCH, GREEN CARNATION, EDGE OF SANITY, PECCATUM, BORKNAGAR, NOVEMBERS DOOM, and WINDS.

Also appearing are Jan Axel von Blomberg aka Hellhammer (MAYHEM, WINDS), Carl August Tidemann (WINDS, ex-ARCTURUS), Øystein Moe (WINDS, ex-ULVER), Don Anderson (AGALLOCH, SCULPTURED) and Mike Young (THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT).

Having continued his approach of always applying a very genre-defying style, “Incomprehensible” is yet another unmistakable and unique record from Andy Winter, and one that provides a different experience altogether when compared to anything else in metal, or indeed most music.

NIDINGR – Greatest of Deceivers

To further prove that Norwegian black metal is far from dead, NIDINGR take a big leap in progress with their sophomore record, Greatest of Deceivers.  The band’s last one, Wolf-Father, was undoubtedly very good but it did not necessarily break new ground.

With Greatest of Deceivers, NIDINGR take a more avant garde Norwegian black metal approach.  There are plenty of tempo changes, eerie atmospheres, unsettling shifts, and plenty of dissonance.  The band never allow the listener to get too comfortable or complacent as the songs constantly shift around.  Naturally, recent DODHEIMSGARD and MAYHEM releases may be points of reference for this record.  Additionally, a good comparison to NIDINGR‘s progression is SATYRICON‘s Rebel Extravaganza as nothing is straight forward and simple.

The guitar/bass duo of Teloch (MAYHEM, UMORAL) and Blargh (DODHEIMSGARD) offer their most ambitious riffing yet. Refreshingly, NIDINGR break new ground in this department as the record crawls, blasts, charges, and stomps about.  It should also be mentioned that bass plays a role in the record.

Clean guitars ring out alongside raging guitars/bass as vocalist El.Cpt.Estrella Grasa conjures the spells.  Drumgod Hellhammer is not part of the record but Øyvind Myrvoll does more than a good job.  Øyvind‘s drums are mixed to give it a very natural sound.  Fans will be happy to know that ULVER‘s Trickster G AKA Garm AKA Kris Rygg makes another excellent appearance.

There is more than enough to digest and understand about Greatest of Deceivers, and that’s precisely its biggest strength.  Props to NIDINGR for taking a big leap forward and expanding their world.  No formulas, no gimmicks.  Just Norwegian black metal for 2012.  (Indie Recordings)

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“:

NIDINGR – Wolf-Father

Despite the fact that Norway is no longer the “big” thing in metal does not mean that the nation is lacking in a new generation of black metal bands. With a five year hiatus between their debut release, Sorrow Infinite and Darkness, and their brand new album, Wolf-Father, NIDINGR has quickly gained ground in the hierarchy of new Norwegian black metal bands. Wolf-Father is distinctly and proudly Norwegian with its high frequency raging guitars, precise blast beats, and black feel. However, do not mistake NIDINGR for sounding old or derivative as they manage to give a fresh take on the famous Norwegian black metal sound.

Teloch (1349, ORCUSTUS, GORGOROTH) and Blargh (DØDHEIMSGARD) dish out the catchy, and, often, simple riffs that are not too far removed from bands such as 1349, DØDHEIMSGARD, and THORNS. The guitars in particular have a sweet resonance, and the perfect tone that you want for this type of metal. Vocalist Cpt. Estrella Grasa’s shouts and proclamations are reminiscent of Aldrahn (THORNS, ex-DØDHEIMSGARD) in a good way. Drumgod Hellhammer lays down his usual top-notch performance that, at times, seems too easy for him to run through. “Baldrs Draumar” explores a different vibe with its doomy section featuring ULVER’s Garm on vocals.

Wolf-Father is a very consistent in tone, style, and approach. On one hand, this characteristic holds the album back from really breaking out into greatness. On the other hand, being consistently good with no discernable drop off is a compelling reason to listen to it. The next release from NIDINGR should be even better. (Jester Records)

FLEURETY Release New Limited Edition 7″; First Release Since 2000

Norway’s FLEURETY have just issued their first release since 2000’s eclectic Department of Apocalyptic Affairs in a vinyl 7″ titled Ingentes Atque Decorii Vexilliferi Apokalypsis.

The songs featured on Ingentes Atque Decorii Vexilliferi Apokalypsis are re-recordings of material from the early nineties. The song “Descent into Darkness” was first featured on FLEURETY‘s first and only demo, Black Snow (1993). As this song did not fit in with the rest of the material on the debut album, it was never properly recorded until now. This new recording features guest drummer Hellhammer and guest bassist Necrobutcher, both well known from the legendary MAYHEM. Vocals are performed by Runhild Gammelsæter, also known from bands such as THORR’S HAMMER, KHLYST and SUNN O))).

The second song, “Absence“, is a remake of a track recorded exclusively for the compilation album Blackend Vol. 1 (1995). This recording also features the bass work of Plenum (VIRUS, AUDIOPAIN) and the drum work of Bjeima (DELIRIUM BOUND, SWARMS).

Both songs show the more traditional metal side of FLEURETY, with an old school grimness not heard from the band since the A Darker Shade of Evil 7″ EP (1994). But there are also indulgent leaps into disco noise territory!

Ingentes Atque Decorii Vexilliferi Apokalypsis is limited to 666 copies. The cover artwork has been made by Trine & Kim Design Studio. The record is pressed on heavy duty white vinyl and includes a sticker in the sleve.

This release is the first in a series of new FLEURETY recordings only available on vinyl. The next release Summon the Beasts–the first with brand new FLEURETY material since 2000–can be expected in early 2010.

Ingentes Atque Decorii Vexilliferi Apokalypsis is being released by Aesthetic Death Records. Email them at [email protected] for ordering details.

GALLHAMMER: Hammer of the Girls

All-girl groups in metal are rare and are typically limited to mall-friendly crap like KITTIE or DRAIN STH. One all-girl group, however, has arisen from an unsuspecting place with an unsuspecting sound. Tokyo’s GALLHAMMER combine the raw sounds of HELLHAMMER proto black metal, AMEBIX crust punk, and subtle new wave/alternative influences. Most importantly, the band have taken these influences and created a unique expression of darkness that is both exciting and fresh. APESHIT got in touch with vocalist/bassist Vivian Slaughter to find out more about this young band and the ominous meaning behind their use of the color white.

Continue reading

HELLHAMMER Reveals Details Surrounding The Demon Entrails

With the release of Demon Entrails on February 26th in the U.S. the days of numerous sub-standard bootlegs of the classic HELLHAMMER demos Death Fiend, Triumph of Death and Satanic Rites are finally over!

Demon Entrails has been specially re-mastered from copies of the original master tapes under the supervision of Tom Gabriel Fischer, and the demos now represent HELLHAMMER exactly as the band sounded when recording these songs in June and December of 1983. Drawing from a wealth of previously unknown historical liner-notes material and artwork as well as plenty of unreleased HELLHAMMER photos from 1982 to 1984, Demon Entrails features all lyrics and essays detailing the individual demo recording sessions.

Currently also working on a book dealing with the history of HELLHAMMER, Tom Gabriel Fischer points out the importance of this release: “The release of these demos is very significant to both Martin Eric Ain and me. No matter how one looks at HELLHAMMER, this was our first recorded music so many years ago, and it represents the radicalness of our own lives at the time. These demos became the foundation to everything we later created in CELTIC FROST. Hell reigned on earth.”

Demon Entrails will be available as an opulent oversized double CD media-book packaging and as a gatefold triple vinyl album. Both versions will feature a lavish booklet and a poster. There will also be a third, bare-bones lower-price CD version. To check out the artwork and some rare HELLHAMMER photos as well as discover more info on this release, visit the following official HELLHAMMER website at www.hellhammer.org or go to www.myspace.com/hellhammerband for further details!