Enjoy. It’s a catch song with quite probably the most accessible riff Ihsahn’s ever composed. The music doesn’t hit you overwhelmingly hard (though it’s beautifully and skillfully written and evokes a sense of tension mixed with confusion). This lyric will however: “Or maybe I’m the bigger fool who nurtures every fight and every loss.”
Tag Archives: Norway
From Star of Ash’s blog.
Blackjazz, the eponymous album that both defined a transition in sound for a band and a new subgenre of black metal, was released in 2010 to little fanfare and through a grant from the 80s pop-band, Aha. It was a tightly wound package of schizophrenic sounds, inspired by Shining’s previous life as a jazz band. After watching the Blackjazz concert on youtube, I immediately purchased the album and listened to it for three or four days in a row. It was an amazing composition, unified by the play and creativity of the band and most specifically its lead singer, saxophonist, and guitarist, Jorgen Munkeby. This was the best review of the album:
So, what is a band to do when a completely experimental sound pays off, and they nail the performance of the album live? Try to push it further or refine it just a touch more. Of the songs on Blackjazz, “Fisheye” is the most intense experience, slamming you with a jazz percussion and saxophone breakdowns, industrial synths, whispered and howled vocals. Putting it mildly, it is such a mind altering experience that it damn well demands your attention.
One One One (2013) is their attempt to refine Blackjazz further. It is a shorter piece than Blackjazz, running just under 36minutes. It contains two more songs, and all of which would be among the shortest compositions off the previous album. The album definitely builds from the same playful, torrential energy of Blackjazz. However, its focus attempts to develop through each individual song, attempting reproduce the same energy in each song.
Their sounds are still intensely dark, rattlingly jazz with black metal guitar and lyrical themes, and industrial synths. The music is good, direct and focused. It rattles and hums, hammering you with more twists and turns that could be expected. “Paint the Sky Black” is the best piece off the album, coming in with focused percussion and Munkeby’s tortured sounding howls. “My Dying Drive” is one of the weaker tracks, sounding like it tries to be too much like “Fisheye” from the previous album.
Ultimately, Shining’s experiment is still successful. Their style is indeed a unique and personally founded subgenre of metal, jazz, and prog. Yet, for all its experimentation and all its hard work, One One One is not as solid an album as Blackjazz. Their attention to shorter compositions makes the music feel a bit rushed in comparison and the album feels like it lacks cohesion amongst the songs. Ultimately, I feel that the removal of the improvisational elements found on Blackjazz hurt One One One while the confrontational elements benefits it greatly. Otherwise, taken on their own, a number of the songs off this album should tickle most fans of metal, prog, or jazz.
A great and well deserved well wish to Baroness as they embark on the road again after their accident. May the recovery of those that are unable to join them occur quickly and well enough to allow them to at least enjoy their lives. While Baroness has never been a great favorite of mine, I do respect just how damn Southern they feel (much more so than Mastodon) and how well they project it through their music. For full details, read this post from their website.
Not an overwhelming fan of this band either (some of their music is good, other parts of it I can leave), but Chthonic is releasing another album. Their bassist, Doris Yeh, (fuck yeah! more women in metal!) provides some interesting insight to their creative process, discusses multimedia art approaches, and otherwise provides a very interesting read. Here is the article from the Examiner.
Norway’s Shining (aka the metal band that became metal after starting as a jazz trio) is releasing another album this year, this time to follow up their genre founding effort in “Blackjazz.” Norway’s P3.no is doing a Shining week as a media event to their songs. Visit this page to listen to “My Dying Drive,” and follow the link to “The One Inside” in the second paragraph under the photo of the band.
Returning to women in Metal and from the Icelandic scene, Angist is working on a full length album they want released this year. Details are here in this interview. Their EP, Circle of Suffering, has not left my music player since I bought it and I’ve listen to it nearly once a week since. While I’m not completely in for the smack you in the mouth harshness all the time, I have to say that this band does it right.
See if this sound’s for you.
A word on the art first… it’s amazing. I love this piece as an album cover and I really enjoy the use of the black/white dichotomy in the swallows with the nude woman sitting atop the skull of a goat. Very nice use of space and motion. I could probably take a far long time deconstructing the piece and its vibrant use of color, but I won’t because that’s not the point. The point is a review of the music for which this piece was created.
Kvelertak is a band I should like: an amalgam of punk, black metal, and rock ‘n roll stylings. I eagerly, after seeing their descriptions a few years back on a number of metal news sites, anticipated listening to their first release. This album was widely loved and adulated as a watershed moment in this style, and I could never find a reason to like it. Flash forward to this year, Kvelertak’s Meir released to mixed critical reviews, ranging from a great follow up approach to decrying this album as a sophomore slump. I told myself that I didn’t like the style and that it had to be me; I wouldn’t listen to it. I would avoid this one and just let it slide. …Yet, here we are, I’m reviewing this album.
Meir’s got a clean, strong sound (if lacking in ambition and drive). Its lyrics are completely in Norwegian which works for the abrasiveness of their approach. Of the North Germanics, I find Norwegian’s staccato and stern sound lends itself well to being used with a harsh vocal tone. Kvelertak, to me, is a G’n’R-esque wall of sound fronted by a howling vocalist, whose acidity strikes the ear harsher than the tone of the music at times. I’m not certain this is a good thing however.
Simplest put, this is modern Cock Rock in the vein of Guns and Roses. It completely reminds me of that band’s use of metal, rock, blues, and pop to create their sound, which created this strange reality in which their songs that were intended to be hit singles were Guns and Roses’ absolute worst songs (strong exception is “Welcome to the Jungle”). Instead, Kvelertak uses black metal, punk, and rock to create their space, and due to the harshness and loneliness all ready present in black metal, I’m not certain returning the sound its punk root (in the vein of Venom and Bathory) is the wisest decision to use. The songs feel forced and at times unnaturally developed. The sounds in them do not really ever feel like they mesh well.
Ultimately, it’s a hell of experiment. If Kvelertak’s successful, they could catapult black metal usage to the forefront of the underground rock scene; however, with approaches like this I’m not certain that this will continue. I enjoy punk; I enjoy black metal; and I enjoy rock. Yet, I’m not certain that in combining these sounds creates anything original or new. I realize that we are in the midst of a retro-music craze where even bands like Opeth and musicians like Steven Wilson are looking to their roots and using those sounds. Hell, in pop, look at Adele. That said, Opeth, Adele, and Steven Wilson have the talent to pull it off well and maintain the core of their sound. At this point, I’m not even sure I know what the core of Kvelertak’s sound is, and to be frank, Orkenjott is the far superior band at this point in their career than is Kvelertak – and they both have a similar sound.
The most successful songs on this album are: Spring fra Livet, Trepan, and Nekrokosmos.
This is the most beautiful song from this wondrous album.