kacunk's Profile on Ping.sg Paradise Of Black Metal: August 2010

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

White Medal - Agbrigg Beast

I know this has been out for a few months now, but it's such a stunning piece of work that it still deserves to be talked about. Agbrigg Beast is easily the best demo I've come across this year, and despite its relatively short running-time of 20 minutes, has hours of listening value.

The release marks a huge change in tack for White Medal, who previously had peddled an intense and fuzzed-out brand of raw BM. The old wall-of-sound approach seemed a natural alterego for George Proctor's power electronics project, Mutant Ape; but on Abrigg Beast, all this has gone out the window. The distorted, Wrest-meets-Culto vocals and the grainy production still gives away the project's Black Metal foundation, but pretty much everything else about the demo defies comparison within the genre. There are no blastbeats on show here: instead, songs are propelled by driving punk beats that lurch at the drop of a hat into crawling mid-paced rhythms. The guitars share the punkish flavour, and, though only ever partly distorted, have a real force to them. The chord progressions aren't your usual BM fare, and there's even the odd foray into a major key (on 'The Last Days'). All of these aspects come together to give the demo a sound that is very much its own.

What makes Agbrigg Beast so good, though, is the sheer strength in the songwriting. Every one of those riffs was firmly etched on my mind after one listen. Songs never outstay their welcome, either, and will often catch you by surprise with a well-placed change of pace. The whole product is a brilliant exercise in minimalism, right the way down to the awesome black-and-white inlay (is that a St George's flag behind the Rose of York, or inverted cross? Or is it both?) And with relatively few ingredients, White Medal can conjure up a whole gamut of moods, from the triumphalism of 'Glory Return' to the contemplative 'Lost (Cahrr)'.

And then there's the lyrics. The tape annoyingly only includes the words to the song 'Agbrigg', but it gives you an idea of what WM's going for. As far as I can tell, it's a cautionary tale about a murderous wolf that lurks around the village of Agbrigg. And it gets better: the lyrics are all written in the Yorkshire dialect (see below), which adds the perfect touch to this masterpiece.

It seems that Seedstock Records have now released this on vinyl, along with two extra tracks. So get it, if you can cough up the dough. Otherwise, do what I did and get the original Legion Blotan tape from George Proctor's own label, Turgid Animal for only £4. Best enjoyed over a long walk on't borough.



Tha's heard't howl ut wolf
Down't Agbrigg way
Tha knows t'beast in't wood theer
An up on't moor, she roams theer an all
Shut thus flep an she'll not hear thee
Step'd on't branch, th wolf step'd o'er mardy
Tha's stark legs move ar'a pace
But tha's too lame t'beat her

Alone an thee hear't wolf cry;
Agbrigg!

Threap an she'll bite thee no mistake
Thoil thus burden an break fert wood
Through unkerd wood an moor-fog
Laiking bairn in't wood an thus blood curdles
She's on't way tha shout but he's gut torn
Yer off before his heart stops, beast in'tow
Dassent breathe in nor out and hide by't rock
Then that old howl and tha drops down dead

Alone again, tha'll hear't wolf cry,
Agbrigg!

maudlin of the Well's 'Part the Second' gets vinyl release



This news is huge.

Ever since maudlin of the Well disbanded in 2001, it felt like there a huge hole was left in the progressive metal scene. Despite the wealth of bands out there producing intriguing work as well as the metamorphosis of the remnants of maudlin of the Well into the sublime Kayo Dot, nothing since has seemed to match the compositional scale and imaginative drive that characterised their early records.

So naturally last year, when this horde of Lurkers learned that they had regrouped to record a new album, self-financed and released for free, the joy was something like that of welcoming back a long lost brother. In the time apart changes had occurred, the sound had mellowed slightly, members had left and rearranged, but the resulting record, full of blossoming hypnotic intricacies, was still very much in the same vein as their earlier work, and completely took over our summer, and, indeed, the rest of the year.

We even, in the fledgling, grasping days of the birth of this blog, made it our record of the year.


Now, just over a year after it's initial release, a free gift to the faithful, a full vinyl release is finally planned. Announced today on the Kayo Dot website, Part the Second is to be released on Antithetic Records this autumn, a double LP on coloured vinyl. Preorders aren't up but all the info regarding the release is up at the Antithetic Records webstore.

We're thrilled to bits.

When this arrives I'm sure we will review it again, but for the meantime my wholly inadequate initial review can still be found here, and the whole album can be streamed or downloaded for free from the maudlin of the Well website.

* UPDATE *

Pre-order is now live at the Antithetic Records webstore.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Deleterious - Highly Recommended EP

Deleterious are a four piece outfit from Holland. The band were bought to my attention by Mr. Japenga, who handles drum duties for both Deleterious and Terzij de Horde, at the latter bands recent UK show. The band have made the latest EP, 'Highly Recommended', available to download on their website. If you like the sound of what lies before you, give it a listen. If you like what you hear, get in contact and purchase a CD!

‘Highly Recommended’ is perplexing, confrontational and outright odd from the get go. Opaque, inconceivable time signatures pave way for a myriad of influence that proliferates throughout the EP. Old school thrash, extreme metal, jazz, avant-garde and experimental underpinnings dance and dissipate under the fray of drum work. Cohesive snippets of sound recoil and interject riffs mid play allowing the outfit to cover a scarily large catalogue of sound in relatively little time. We are talking old school thrash freefalling into atonal avant-garde beats as bass and lead guitar form their own unique personality within a matter of minutes. The first track alone exhausts my vocabulary. I haven’t even had the chance to mention the cascading speed of black metal flare-ups that cement the vista of styles and ideas this band can conjure and conquer in smaller time frames than bands can build complete albums from.

Piecing this EP together is nigh on impossible. The interactivity between all elements of instrumentation is beyond words. Steven van Lint’s bass work amalgamates the distant worlds of guitar orientation and time signature abduction with unnerving beauty. You are jumbled and shuffled between maddening riff counts. Constantly left in the trodden territory of the previous second, insanity the only real outcome your detailed attention will ever unveil. You are left completely at the mercy of the juggernaut before you. The unity of a band whose vision and direction never once falters or stumbles on the monumental task they have set themselves. One of the most attention grabbing pieces of metal I have heard this year.

The most perplexing aspect of the EP is the organic feel to the sound. The bizarre arrangements of influence and song structure that Deleterious have amassed over the short 21 minutes of this EP should, almost by necessity, dictate complete unrest and unruly discord. Simply labelling this avant-garde and being done with the migraine inducing process of description and translation from sound into word would not do the music justice. Not one element feels uneasy throughout the demanding listen. You will be taken by surprise and will more likely than not come out the other end unsure what has just erupted before you. It hardly helps then, when during the final track, clarinets and a bumbling, walking bass reveal the jazz underpinnings that have thrived on a cask metal framework all along.

Highly recommended to all LURKERs.

Download / Deleterious

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vestal Claret - Loved Lost Ones EP available for download


The tape only label Novisible Scars has been granted permission to make Vestal Claret's sold out final EP available for free download as a final farewell from the band after they called it quits last year. Vestal Claret performed exceptional Satanic doom/heavy metal of a high calibre and to be quite honest, it's sad to hear a project like this come to an end. As well as the four track 25 minute EP, three covers from bands as disparate and obscure as Lubricated Goat, Thelema and Skin Yard are thrown in too. Great music, very entertaining: don't have to tell you much about it because you can download it here!

The original cassette was released in October 2009, limited to 100 copies.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Woe track online

Just a quick post: go here to listen to a new song from the forthcoming Woe record, Quietly Undramatically (see post here). 2008's A Spell for the Death of Man set the bar pretty high, but if this track's anything to go by, things looks very very rosy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Winterfylleth: Defenders Of The Realm

It was never easy being English. A once great and proud nation ruled these lands, a melting pot of European tribes all vying for the fertile and beautiful terrain. Blood was spilt many times in our past: indigenous Britons were constantly under threat from the Roman, Norse, Saxon and Norman hordes but always stood firm in defence of these invasions. Take the Catuvellauni chieftain Caratacus who, legend tells, made his stand against the Roman scourge at Malvern (my home town).

“Caratacus resorted to the ultimate hazard, adopting a place for battle so that entry, exit, everything would be unfavourable to us and for the better to his own men, with steep mountains all around, and, wherever a gentle access was possible, he strewed rocks in front in the manner of a rampart. And in front too there flowed a stream with an unsure ford, and companies of armed men had taken up position along the defences.” – Tacitus, The Annals.

He ended up being honoured by Rome for his nobility and prowess in warfare. But what of the warlord Boudica, chieftain of the Iceni, who led her tribe in revolt of the iron fist of the imperator, laying waste to Colchester? And who would forget King Harold’s slaughter of the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge?

It would seem the answer is ‘everyone’. And being English doesn’t get any easier these days either, with a culture that is devoid of character where any hint of pride in one’s origins is slated as a menace. Thankfully, Manchester’s Winterfylleth were born out of this dissent and now tower head and shoulders above the rest of the British black metal scene to show us that we do have something to be proud of: The ghosts of our heritage. With 2010’s The Mercian Sphere, Winterfylleth introduce the next instalment of their valiant campaign to raise awareness of what once was…

The problem with the English national conscience is accurately pinpointed by drummer Simon Lucas with a quote from the great orator and musician, Morrissey: "Other countries have held on to their basic identity yet it seems to me that England was thrown away."

He explains: “Paraphrasing him, what he said is that you can go to any nation in Europe and you know exactly where you are because of their unique sense of national identity. If you go to Scotland you know you’re in Scotland, Sweden you know you’re in Sweden, and France you know you’re in France, Switzerland, Russia, Spain and so on. But if you walk down an English street, you could be anywhere, and he was held to ransom over that statement. That’s not racism, that’s just a contemporary observation of the society we live in. And something of a social stigma we as a band seek to change.”

Winterfylleth cemented their presence in the British black metal scene by being unashamedly ‘Anglo-Saxon’ in their approach, as a direct attack on what the band sees as a dwindling interest in England’s national identity. When asked about how the band fell into this thematic stronghold, Simon reveals that it was not a calculated choice but simply a result of a love for one’s homeland:

“It really wasn’t a conscious decision to specifically set up a black metal band that looked at Anglo-Saxon, English and British history. It was just a natural thing that occurred. Chris and I started writing songs that echoed the landscapes and the historical stories that we love and that are deeply set within our hearts. We felt and indeed still feel that it is a subject area that should be close to the hearts of all English/British people and is also one that seems to have had much attention diverted from it. This is mainly done, we feel, to suppress the English people from solidifying a sense of national identity. An approach that the government has taken in the past I personally find utterly disgusting. So as a group of socially and culturally aware people, this is something we seek to re-kindle…. a sense of proud ancestral heritage in our land, our people, our folklore, our stories and our natural landscape. These are important things for a nation. As Winston Churchill once so very wisely stated, “A nation that forgets its past, can have no future.” We want to make sure our nation can have a future.”

Winterfylleth’s melodic folk-esque stylings established an aggressive stomping ground for the band's message to roam free with 2008’s debut The Ghost of Our Heritage. Returning to the fore this year with the impeccable The Mercian Sphere, this time the title directly references a period of English history that is essential for grasping the underlying themes of the record.

“The Mercian Sphere was the reign of King Aethelstan in the 9th century and roughly translates, etymologically speaking, into the protected limits of his kingdom,” explains Chris Naughton, guitarist and vocalist.

“The use of Mercia or Mercian in this context is actually different to that of say modern Leicester and “The Lady of Mercia” etc, as it is not a regional identifier. The root derivation of the term in the context of our album actually represents more of a borderland or protective/encapsulating region around the king’s territories.

“Its use on our new release is linked to that fact that, firstly, the subject matter (in terms of the poetry from the Codex Exoniensis) we are referencing was written during Aethelstan’s reign and identifies with the same time period, and the fact that, secondly, it is our desire to inform about and ‘protect’ the history, heritage, culture and folklore of our islands now, as his kingdom was once protected before. So it felt like it fitted the context of the album well.”

It’s refreshing to see a band in this day and age that is so well versed in what is almost the prehistory of England. Much of the material that Winterfylleth delve into would have been completely lost were it not for the knowledge of monastic scribes and a thriving word-of-mouth folklore that existed not only in Britain, but across Europe as well. Black metal has suffered right from the start with ill-conceived and immature flirtations with Satanism and paganism, but Winterfylleth base their message not only on legends, but also true and inspiring events. Though ultimately lost on a majority of the modern populace, Simon reels off some other landmarks of England’s dark medieval times that have made an impact on Winterfylleth’s music and outlook:

“The Battle of Maldon in 991AD which saw the Saxon leader the Earl Brithnoth lead a small group of fellow Englishman against a massive Viking incursion has already been explored on our previous album. They eventually lost the battle, but it was their spirit, a small band of brothers that stood firm and fought to the last to defend their nation, their homes and their families, and everything that they stand for: It is that spirit that gives us strength. A poem that was written at the time about the battle is what inspired the lyrics to the track on the first album The Ghost of Heritage, documenting the brave efforts of Earl Brithnoth and his proud men. Tolkien was also inspired by this particular historical event.

“Another one is the myth of a great wizard who resides in a forest near to where we live in the North-West, who guards a vast mine and cave system that is the eternal sleeping place of a vast army of Arthurian Knights who will one day ride out to defend our nation against foreign incursion has also inspired the story of The Ghost of Heritage. These caves can be found in North Cheshire.”

Chris adds that he hopes a brief glance over the album’s lyrics won’t mark the end of a listener’s interest in England’s vivid history: “There are many great stories like these on our albums which reference some truly inspiring material that we would like people to go and look in to. I would suggest that anyone with a copy of either of our albums has a look into the song titles or lyrical content and goes to find these stories for themselves. No doubt these links will lead people to find other stories or interesting bits of history that will hopefully inspire them to become more passionate about it.”

The Mercian Sphere has literally flown off the shelves since its release on July 19th, so much so that Candlelight Records were forced to organise an emergency repress to deal with the demand. When asked about the success of the new record, Chris puts it down to the sheer amount of time and effort that was poured into the album, a feat made possible by the support from the heavy-weight label.

“We spent a lot more time in pre-production for this album, spending months pouring over the songs and the structures until we got to the point where we could go into the studio to record. Having progressed to working with Candlelight we have had the backing and support to be able to spend more time in the making of the album, which I think shows through in the finished product and has allowed us to make a record we are all truly happy with. Working with Chris Fielding at Foel Studios has also helped us immensely. It's refreshing to work with someone who instinctively knows what you are trying to achieve and who has such a great track record, having produced some classic albums by bands like Primordial (who are a big influence of ours), Napalm Death and Electric Wizard. I feel that The Mercian Sphere represents Winterfylleth at our most virulent and best. We truly tried to focus on the essence of what was great about our first album and distilled that into this record.

“On how the album sold I think, without wishing to delve into cliché here, that when you make an album, you never consider the response you will get from other people initially as you are so involved in the nuts and bolts of actually creating it. To have had the response to the record that we’ve received is totally humbling and speaks volumes to us about the numbers of people who care about the things that we are talking about in our lyrics and who want to support us because they believe in what we do.

“I’m glad that people have managed to see behind the controversy and nonsense to the point of what we are about and while we did not expect the response that we have had to this record, we are truly inspired by the response we have had as it has allowed us to take things to another level and reach out further than we ever thought we could.”

Of course, “controversy and nonsense” is bound to follow a band who celebrates the virtues of national heritage, a theme that is all too often caught up in the misguided pagan interpretations of the NSBM school and massive misinterpretations from music fans themselves. Simon is however quick to draw the lines between nationalism and fascism:

“We would certainly not consider ourselves misunderstood if people perceive us to be nationalists. We are very proud and outspoken nationalists. But the widespread understanding of ‘nationalism’ seems to be that which the extreme left have been pushing through the left-centric media over the past 40 years to mean something essentially misrepresentative of what ‘nationalism’ truly is. Nationalism in its truest sense should not be confused with racism or fascism ever.

“Both The Nazi party and the Communist party were fascist ideologies however neither were nationalist ideologies at all. The Germans sought to envelop the whole of Europe under their banner, they were essentially the first attempt at some kind of tyrannical EU, and none of us as romantic nationalists would ever want that. It destroys any sense of unique national identity and only serves to further enslave mass populations of people under a single, global regime. The Communist party of the Soviet Union, also did exactly the same thing, they were also a fascist ideology but more historically recognized as being opposed to ‘nationalism’.

“Nationalism is the devotion to the interests or culture of one’s nation, the honouring of its unique sense of cultural and ancestral identity. It does not EVER mean to hate another race of people or their culture. That IS racism. What is wrong with feeling a strong love and a bond for the land and the culture of the nation you are born of? Why is it all of a sudden now that we are made to feel bad for wanting to defend our history? The land that our ancestors have farmed, lived on and defended, our unique architecture and natural landscape, our unique set of cultural customs and folklore, and our unique history and ancestral heritage. None of these things involve hating other races or nations, just the love and care of our own. If we are not to take care of our own, surely we are forsaking our very existence?!”

And with a scintillating response like that, surely no more needs to be said. Winterfylleth are now looking to tour the UK and Europe in support of The Mercian Sphere, “hopefully bringing along our friends and labelmates Wodensthrone and Altar of Plagues with us for support,” says Chris. “Following that we have already begun working on the third Winterfylleth album and are in the process of creating new material as well as researching new elements of history and folklore to coincide with the themes of the third album.”

New music from The Secret (at last)

For days now, Italy's The Secret have been promising to post a song from their forthcoming album, Solve et Coagula. Now it's finally here. Head over to Brooklyn Vegan to give it a listen and to read a decent interview.

2008's Disintoxication (Goodfellow Records) was an absolute stormer of an album, and I still come back to it again and again when I need a fix of dark, intricate and mind-bending hardcore. On the new album, the band set out to "write fast, dark, straightforward heavy songs", and the new track 'Double Slaughter' lives up to expectations. After their debut Luce, an insidious Black Metal influence began to creep into their music; this is now more prominent than ever, with some ferocious blastbeats thrown into the mix.

Solve et Coagula (sweet title) is out on 28 September from Southern Lord. And to keep you keen in the meantime, here's the video for the non-album track 'Where it Ends', released online last year:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stroszek - Life Failures Made Music

Italy's Stroszek is the latest output from Claudio Alcara, guitarist of the black metal band Frostmoon Eclipse. If you got your hands on a copy of the Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer compilation that excited us back in June, you may well be familiar with the material as Alcara contributed the track 'Land des Schweigens und Dunkelheit' which appears as 'Land of Silence and Darkness' on Life Failures Made Music.

Life Failures Made Music is the second full-length release under the Stroszek monicker and, falling well in line with the album's title, represents a slow journey into the depths of melancholy and rigorous introspection. Whereas Frostmoon Eclipse dealt with 'death and the negative aspects of life' directly with a fearless, utterly uncompromising fury, Stroszek is depressingly resigned to the human condition and the personal failures that haunt every one of us. This is best translated by the fantastic vocal performance that laces these beautiful songs from the first track to last. Wavering uneasily between a whisper, sigh and spoken word, Alcara seems to lack the vital energy to go on, as if breaking down in a complete acceptance and realisation of whatever trauma has surfaced in this work. Carrying a melody is not the function of these poignant vocalisations, instead they ooze despair through each gently plucked string and chord, narrating and giving form to the maudlin darkness.

These weakened utterances are supported and dragged from the brink by a flotilla of mournful acoustic guitars rooted in folk, rock, flamenco and classical styles. A majority of the performances are suitably sober, quiet and introspective but Alcara should be credited for building significant climaxes where it becomes imperative that a switch to soaring, distorted choruses should be made. Although Life Failures Made Music is thoroughly saturated with gloomy minor keys, that isn’t to say that the album is an entirely forlorn endeavour. Moments of hope and clarity still manage to shine through the murk, particularly on the gorgeous acoustic guitar and vocal pairing of ‘I’ll Keep Everything’, the souped up ‘A Life Failure’ and the inescapable charm of the aforementioned ‘Land of Silence and Darkness.

With Stroszek, Alcara has successfully distanced himself from his history as an innovative black metal musician but to say comparative lines can’t be drawn between the projects would be a mistake. Anyone familiar with Frostmoon Eclipse’s scathing assaults would remember the incredible juxtaposition of glorious black metal with acoustic accompaniments and interludes. While Frostmoon Eclipse proved Alcara as a first class guitarist, Stroszek has cemented him as a first class songwriter as well. Life Failures Made Music is a despondent yet beautiful work of art, and a more than suitable soundtrack to the failures of Warner Herzog’s drunken miscreant with whom Stroszek shares a name.

Available through God Is Myth Records.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Danishmendt - Un Passé Aride


Danishmendt play some interesting dark ambient instilled blackened doom metal. The music takes a form similar to Cult of Luna loosely interpreting the ideology of Blut Aus Nord with a luring interest in the cold atmospheric effects that droneesque field recordings so often induce. If your taken in by the cover image, enjoy doomy, riff oriented metal and the occasional foray into ambient/drone territory - this is the release you have been waiting for. The overall effect is sinister, suffocating and beautifully cold. I encourage everyone to head over to the Myspace where the new album ‘Un Passé Aride’ is available to stream in its entirety.

Cold Void Emanations & Odio Sonoro are handling the CD release which will take a 10 page digipack fold out form. The artwork gives a great idea what to expect and is modelled on the fantastic Yves Marocchi’s work. Unforgiving, atonal soundscapes that pave their way like hammers through the interjections of dark ambient and possessed vocal arrangements. Perfect music for the accompanying journey through abandoned, decaying frameworks of architectural lapse and the pervasive intangibility of forgotten structures. Heavily hypnotised, robotic riffing that sets pace below gnarled vocals from a rust ridden throat that are heavily reminiscent of Cult of Luna.

Stream now: Myspace / Homepage

Owl: Zeitgeister's mystery band

On the topic of German Black Metal, the new sampler from Zeitgeister Records has had me hooked for the last few days. The label is home to some of the most adventurous metal acts of the moment (Klabautamann, Valborg, Woburn House, etc.), and looks set to unleash some real beasts in the near future. The track that really blew me away is by Owl, a band I can find no information about whatsoever. It's dissonant, blackened death metal with haunting vocals and some tastefully-deployed atmospherics (an actual owl, no less). Does anybody know anything about these guys?

Listen to their song 'Loom' below, along with the rest of this excellent compilation.


All Paths to God - New Krieg track streaming


'All Paths to God', a brand new track from Krieg's forthcoming album The Isolationist, is streaming on Stereogum's metal column, Haunting the Chapel. From what I can hear, this is Imperial treading new ground to explosive, unpredictable results. He states: “[The Isolationist] is my ugliest and most personal child, going deep into the darkest places in my own history on earth. I’m a fucked up wreck, and this record shows that.”

Tracklisting:

1. No Future
2. Photographs From An Asylum
3. All Paths to God
4. Ambergeist
5. Depakote
6. Religion III
7. Blue Of Noon
8. Decaying Inhalations
9. An The Stars Fell On
10. Remission
11. Dead Windows

The Isolationist is out on October 26th through Candlelight.

Through Cruelty to Illumination: German Black Metal

This will be the first in a series of scene reports. If your favourite band of the particular scene isn't represented here, tell us about it!

For some time now the German black metal scene has been burgeoning away. It’s proved itself to be a more than capable successor to the Norwegians of old, straddling the middle ground somewhere between the orthodoxy of the Norse sound and the experimental mindset of the French pioneers. What I find most compelling within the scene is the fantastic melodicism that has wormed its way into the region’s sound almost universally, causing Germany to spew forth some great acts since the mid-90s. Satanic elements have been widely downplayed (though we can forgive Katharsis on the grounds that they are one of the best) with many bands focussing strongly on pagan and folk heritage, and – without trying to pigeonhole the genre more than necessary – Germany has also made brilliant and forward-thinking contributions to the spheres of “atmospheric” and “depressive” black metal. Here are a handful of acts worth your time; some well known, some not so much. Feel free to add your own recommendations.

Luror
Luror are one of my favourite bands from Germany but the project has proved divisive. Some claim it to be bland and uninspired; others hail both The Iron Hand of Blackest Terror and Cease to Live as masterpieces. I am a member of the latter camp, because one focussed listen to Cease to Live particularly exposes the genius behind Luror. The mind in question is that of Unhold, perhaps best known for his work with the notorious Absurd.

I’ve never held Absurd in much high regard but Unhold’s move into solo waters is a different experience altogether. Listening to Luror’s second full-length, Cease to Live is like experiencing a grand work of classical music; it’s majestic, unbound, moving, and has some bloody fine riffing. A conscientiously composed work of black metal, the melodies and harmonies wind in and out of each other in an almost hypnotic fashion. It honestly wouldn’t sound out of place if performed by an orchestra, and when black metal expresses a sense of classicism I am on board (see Make A Change… Kill Yourself).

The debut, The Iron Hand of Blackest Terror, is different territory in many ways. While the production on Cease to Live is, dare I say, perfect for its melancholic despondency, its predecessor suffers from poor recording values. But overall …Blackest Terror is a far more aggressive and raw effort that the sound detracts little from. There’s also the peculiar classical guitar-led number, ‘In A Room In Hell’ that merges mournful clean vocals with utterly insane screeches over the top. The release is deep-rooted in orthodox timbres but remains an intensely entertaining journey. If straight-up black metal isn’t quite your thing, aim for Cease to Live; without doubt a master class in speedy black metal with a nihilistic, depressive edge.

Highlights:
The Iron Hand of Blackest Terror: ‘Into the Burning Fog’, ‘In a Room in Hell’, ‘A Fanfare of War Sounds in The Sky’
Cease to Live: ‘Through Cruelty to Illumination’, ‘Cease to Live’, ‘A Bleak Sun Enlightens Me’, ‘Boundaries of Evil’.

Wigrid

Wigrid awoke in the year of 1998 at the behest of sole-member Ulfhednir and became swiftly celebrated for writing the best Burzum material that Burzum never wrote with the 2002 debut, Hoffnungstod. Fortunately, Varg’s early material that Wigrid draws from remains, for the most part, still incredibly immature and poorly realised. Ulfhednir did away with Burzum’s tendency to descend into crooked pantomime and walked away with several atmospheric and beautifully composed tracks all of varying length and feeling.

Hoffnungstod ranges from brutal, stomping black metal to pondering dirges and moments of clarity, often within the reaches of one song. Vocal work is very reminiscent of Varg’s howls but within Wigrid’s music, it’s effective and heart-wrenching.

My advice is to listen to this album on a grey, rainy day when you’re feeling down on your luck and try your hardest not to get sucked into hopelessness, because it’s practically impossible to not feel worse after a spin of this record. Hoffnungstod represents for myself a place of solace that I can retreat to when nothing’s quite right. The sheer artistry that Ulfhednir conjures from these despairing tones is totally bracing. For this reason alone, Wigrid can be hailed as one of the finest depressive black metal acts of recent times, miles apart from the dross that developed in the wake of this once popular sub-sub-sub genre.

Highlights:
Hoffnungstod: ‘Ort der Eisamkeit’, ‘Die Enstehung’, ‘Hoffnungstod’

Throndt

Throndt seem to be a somewhat hidden gem within German black metal. Not widely known by any rate and barely operational from the looks of their discography. Only one self-titled album exists, with two splits with equally obscure bands on either side. F. Grimnir is the soul behind Throndt’s glorious homage to the forest and winter, taking on the roles of vocals, guitar and bass. Two additional musicians perform drums and cello.

“Glorious” is a pretty apt description for what goes on in Throndt. The album opens with an understated plucking of an acoustic guitar, only to throw the listener into the deep when roaring buzzsaw guitars take form around what can only be described as a ‘jovial’ folk melody. Not quite Nargaroth’s Jahreszeiten mind you. From here the direction is solid; think Darkthrone encompassing folk and you might have an idea.

A downside to Throndt’s attack is that it does come off as very traditional, some riffs are just blatant black metal fodder as can be seen on second track, ‘Das Geschenk Der Holl’. But time and time again I forgive the record on the grounds that it’s a great ride. And listening to black metal fodder riffs will never stop being fun. Whether it’s the down-trodden doom of ‘Im Kerker’ or the warlike attitude of ‘Winterruh’, Throndt never ceases to please. A welcome addition to the album is the four acoustic interludes, spread symmetrically through the album’s eleven tracks. These delicate folk compositions break the album up nicely and shit you up each time the metal abruptly returns.

Highlights:
Throndt: ‘Heimat’, ‘Winterruh’, ‘Zwischenspiel’, ‘Im Kerker’

Lunar Aurora


No article discussing German black metal can deny Lunar Aurora a place. A chance discovery placed me directly in the thrall of the uncompromising brutality displayed on Mond, but each album from this grim institution has a sound completely of its own. Aran and co. were never afraid of experimenting with black metal right from the early days. The cold and synth-laden sound of the 1995 demo A Wandering Winterdream Beneath the Cold Moon founded their archetypal sound which would be built to new heights with each subsequent release.

Whether it’s the strange, off-kilter riffing of ‘Zorn aus Äonen’ from Elixir of Sorrow or the wall of power chords powered by Mond’s ‘Grimm’, it’s nearly impossible to favour one album over another for the vast differences in aim and approach.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest acts to come from German shores, it’s unfortunate that they are currently on hiatus. However, they are still signed to Cold Dimensions where the website lists the classic line-up, suggesting that they are due to make a return at some point. The incredibly strong discography all comes highly recommended.

Highlights:
Andacht: ‘Geisterschiff’
Mond: ‘Welk’
Elixir of Sorrow: ‘Zorn aus Äonen’
Of Stargates and Bloodstained Celestial Spheres: ‘Blutbaum’

Moonblood

Moonblood heroically stuck to their guns when it came to their brand of raw, epic black metal. They released material on vinyl and cassette only, no doubt adding to their cult status. All their promotional pictures were of that brilliant grainy, black and white style; swords, torches, fire breathing and snow covered gravestones all working towards that ‘true’ black metal approach.

Moonblood’s most celebrated release is perhaps the 1996 full-length, Blut Und Krieg, an unsavoury adventure into warlike, raw as hell black metal. The recording is what you’d expect from such staunch purveyors of tradition; wafer-thin guitars, buried drums and echoing snarled vocals but the composition really shines through the low sound quality. Riffs are military deathmarches towards hell, spurring the imagination into images of undead hordes battling elves and humans. Old school? Yes. Good? Definitely.

Highlights:
Blut Und Krieg: ‘…And Snow Covered the Lifeless Bodies’, ‘My Evil Soul’, ‘Blut Und Krieg’

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Suspiria

I've been familiar with the music of Italy's prog rock musos Goblin for a while but it wasn't until I saw Suspiria last night that their twisted and dark compositions were really put into context. Filmed in 1977 by the Italian terror maestro Dario Argento, the tale follows an American ballet dancer as she uncovers the occult history of a prestigious dance school where she has been enrolled.

It's a really gorgeous film; the sets are colourful and hallucinatory, scenes are thrilling edge-of-your-seat experiences but, most importantly, unlike many films of today, the soundtrack is completely inseparable from what is happening on screen. The nightmarish, surreal nature of Suspiria's narrative becomes intertwined with Goblin's bizarre avant-garde vibrations to the point that the film plays like a feature-length music video. The music carries and augments the visuals, and vice versa.

Apparently while filming, Argento blasted Goblin's score at incredibly high volumes to emphasise the unease in both the actors and the eventual audience. It's rather charming in its early horror naivety and very entertaining, not least for the soundtrack contributions from a band that was light-years ahead of its time (check out the 1977 extreme metal vocals on the soundtrack). Here's the best death scene:



I love how the other woman has to pointlessly struggle through a million sets of doors. And the disembodied stabbing hand.
Torrent this and find the soundtrack!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Opeth In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall 4xLP


DO WANT. I'm not sure my colleagues can share my enthusiasm when it comes to Opeth but I've loved them with the force of a thousand undying white hot suns since I was about 14. Always the band of choice for extended car journeys, Opeth have been together for 20 years now (can you believe it?) and have not once released a duff album.

To celebrate this special anniversary, the band are releasing both footage and audio of their recent appearance at London's Royal Albert Hall, which includes Blackwater Park in its entirety and a chronological arrangement of Opeth's finest moments. The limited edition 4xLP includes a shitload for fans like me:

- Double-DVD set of OPETH's performance at the legendary Royal Albert Hall in its entirety. Bonus features include an exclusive interview and the behind-the-scenes documentary, "On Tour with Opeth". DVDs are in 5.1 Dolby surround sound, produced and mixed by Jens Bogren.
- A set of four 180-gram LPs of the concert's live audio in its entirety. The vinyl is pressed overseas to the highest of standards and housed in white poly lined inner sleeves which are packaged as two double gatefold set with exclusive artwork. Vinyl only available in this box set. 
- Exclusive, numbered lithograph with artwork designed by Mikael Åkerfeldt and longtime OPETH designer Travis Smith. 
- 20-page, LP sized booklet printed on coated paper stock that chronicles the night's events in photos. 
- MP3 download of live audio in its entirety sent via e-mail on release day.
- Expanded, exclusive artwork and more.

Birthday present?

Reaping success: Watain goes gold

Watain's single Reaping Death has been awarded gold status in Sweden, after selling over 10,000 copies. In a genre whose fans usually praise albums rather than hit songs, it seems odd that sales of a single should outstrip those of the full-length. Is this a sign that Watain have broken into the more song-centered market of popular music?

The most interesting (and amusing) thing to come out of the single's success is frontman Daniel Eriksson's reaction. I'll let it speak for itself:

“‘Reaping Death’ is a song written as a tribute to the first murderer and Satanist, Cain. Through the murder of his brother Abel, he was the first to break the shackles of creation and went against the will of God. Therefore, he was pushed away and found his way to his true father, the serpent in the Garden of Eden, also known as Satan. To openly praise Cain, his origin, his works and his offspring is something that never would have been possible, say 300 years ago. 300 years ago they tied people such as us up and burned them alive. Now we are awarded gold discs and praise in the media. This is an encouraging proof that this road is leading to hell. “Through black metal we now have a forum, in which we, without being persecuted and tortured, can celebrate the ancient ruin forces, revolutions and the gods of total liberation, and thus give them additional force. This gold disc is proof that the genre as such is one to be reckoned with, and with fire, fanaticism and passion as the driving force, we intend to take it even further, deep down in still unexplored abysses..." (from Earsplit PR; my emphasis.)

Openly embracing commercial success is a striking response from a Black Metal band, and something unimaginable in the genre's first explosion of mainstream attention in the early-to-mid '90s. To say that BM is new and dangerous ('we now have a forum', 'one to be reckoned with', etc.) is pretty disingenuous, but the dude's commitment to his job as an evangelist for the big guy downstairs is perversely impressive.


Well, sort of.

Edit: on the topic of metal in the mainstream, I've had some fun looking up various BM bands' successes in the Norwegian charts. Watain aren't the only ones to sell well in their own country: Darkthrone's Too Old, Too Cold single reached # 11, and Mayhem's Ordo ad Chao charted at #12. Unfortunately, the site doesn't give actual sales -figures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Ghast shows, new EP

To update my previous post, Ghast now have several more shows lined up for the autumn. The schedule now looks like this:

21 September – The Marquee, Norwich
1 October – Gifford Arms, Wolverhampton

UK Mini-tour with: Skaldic Curse, Primitive Graven Image, Throes

8 October – The Unicorn, London – Doors: 8pm, FREE entry
9 October – The Asylum 2, Birmingham – Doors: 7.30pm, £5 entry + Towers of Flesh
10 October – The Croft (front room), Bristol – Doors: 6.30pm, £5 entry + Rosicrucian (Thank you.)

15 October – Le Pub, Newport, Wales
24 October – Bannermans, Edinburgh, Scotland


Todestrieb should have CDs of the new EP, Terrible Cemetery (cover art above), ready and available in time for the shows (no news as yet on vinyl). With a 28-minute running time stretched over only two tracks, this should make an interesting follow-up to the fantastic debut. I'm getting pretty curious to hear what lies behind that awesome cover.

Unearthly Trance + SUMA tour dates


This tour fits like a dream. On the one hand, you've got the misanthropic feedback and dense sludgecore bludgeoning of Unearthly Trance. On the other, the glacial yet ultimately uplifting stoner doom of SUMA. Stateside lurkers have a warm and fuzzy winter ahead. It's also likely that this tour has something to do with a collaboration 12" between Unearthly Trance and SUMA but details on this are thin on the ground. Click on the picture for the dates, I'm not going to list them for you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Axioma Ethica Odini samples


Quick one.
Samples of all nine tracks from Enslaved's eleventh studio album are up on Amazon. Sounds intriguing, be wary of the near-operatic vocals towards the end! Have a listen.

The Nietzschean Outlook of Black Metal

Metal's long affair with the influence of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche is nowhere more apparent than the impact his train of thought has had on the sub genre of Black Metal. Some groups bare their Nietzschean influence more blatantly than others. Judas Iscariot held the flag high on Akhenaten's 'The Cold Earth Swept Below'. Anaal Nathrakh have manipulated phrases for song titles: ‘Human, All Too Human’, ‘Revaluation Of All Values’. UKBM group Contra Ignem Fatuum could not make the influence more obvious, bearing Nietzsche’s fully moustached face on the cover of their upcoming release through Supernal Music. Hate Forest recorded an EP called Nietzscheism. Beyond this basic symbolism though, lies a deeper train of thought that has ties with nihilism, anti-christian sentiments and misanthropy.
Nietzsche himself, a radical outsider, whose vast body of work remains as steeped in literary metaphor as it does in the opinionated misconceptions conveyed by so many scholars’, presents the ideology of a modern day metal aficionado pertinently. In his day, controversy and assumed superiority were all too familiar to Nietzsche. His negation of Christianity, the declaration that God was dead, that man was responsible for his death and the revelation that all that could follow a period of moral-revolt was nihilism and chaotic nothing did not sit easily with his fellow countrymen. Political and social disagreement followed Nietzsche’s every word.
The controversy surrounding black metal was made most famous by reference to the early Norwegian church burnings. Perhaps a bit too physical for the hermetic musings of a great man turned syphilitic lunatic, the early events surrounding the Norwegian scene provided a notoriety of complete political incorrectness. The anti-christian sentiments were also part and parcel of what Nietzsche believed: “I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity…I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind.”
I refuse to cite as influence to the satanic/evil aspect of Black Metal Nietzsche’s grand proclamation that God Is Dead here solely because black metal as a whole is not limited to denying Christianity and embracing evil – and neither is Nietzsche’s philosophy. That would be naïve. The trait runs much deeper, a dissatisfaction with society and commonly held belief, not just glorifying satan for controversies sake. Shallowly this can be interpreted as expressing self enlightenment, misanthropy, nihilism and controversial action. More abstractly it can be represented as a continuation of the philosophical pursuit of truth and disbelief in the self-centered stupidity inherent to the majority of mankind.
At Nietzsche’s heart lies disgust and reprehension to humanity and religious organisations. The beguiling spectacle of mankind’s self imposed significance could not be further from Nietzsche’s opinion. The philosopher writes as if in a constant state of misanthropy, as the prophet Zarathustra retreats to a mountain cave to ruminate over the failure of everyday man to appreciate his insights. Misanthropy in general has played a large role in formulating the atmosphere particular to bands that celebrate nature and solitude:
When one speaks of humanity, the idea is fundamental that this is something that seperates and distinguishes man from nature. In reality, however, there is no such separation: “natural” qualities and those called properly “human” area indivisibly grown together. Man, in his highest and most noble capacities, is wholly nature and embodies its uncanny dual character. Those of his abilities which are awesome and considered inhuman are perhaps the fertile soil out of which alone all humanity… can grow.
Within the belief that Nietzsche understood the world better than the majority of humanity initially resulting in his anger and disturbance by common man, the link between misanthropy and assumed superiority/enlightenment is highly apparent. Black metal as a venture prides itself on its cloistered nature. This is not for outsiders. Only we truly understand and truly comprehend this music… et cetera, ad infinitum - a sense of solace that misanthropes and sociopaths can revel in. Moreover I think Black Metal’s uniquely negating and questioning attitude is essentially a less rigorous Nietzschean philosophy expressing dismay and unhappiness with society as it stands. In a genre often (incorrectly) stigmatised for never really progressing anywhere, we have a burgeoning collection of ideologies and beliefs that sever cultural and social norms to deliver exciting, inspiring artistic movements.
Kind of pointing out largely the obvious, I know. Now I’ll leave you with my favourite Nietzschean quote.
A very popular error: having the courage of one’s convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions!

A DEATH CINEMATIC Interview


Solo musicians floundering in the ether, pay attention; a death cinematic represents both a pioneer and paragon example of an artist who has chosen to go it completely alone. Years of experimentation holed up in an attic with only loops, noise and drones for company has culminated in beautiful, abrasive soundscapes that evoke thoughts of Silvester Anfang as much as Stars of the Lid. No names, no faces, no locations: All this is detritus to the overarching message of the project. The prolific creative force behind these cumbersome yet erudite compositions is also the mind behind Simple Box Construction, a vehicle strictly reserved for the output of a death cinematic, producing beautifully austere packaging for each release. So sit down, grab a cup of tea and bury your nose in this true DIY 101. All work displayed is by a death cinematic.


How and when did a death cinematic come into being?


a death cinematic came into being in the fall of  2007. As to how, I was messing around with the guitar, amp and effects; recording onto a loop station. Just trying to get ideas down fast and raw and shortly after that I borrowed a cassette four track from a friend and started experimenting with that.

What influences, musical or otherwise, coalesce in a death cinematic?


Musical influences range from Nick Cave to Slayer to John Coltrane. Old time delta blues, Johnny Cash and underground metal, noise, ambient, drone stuff. Other influences include books from fiction writers like Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown, poetry from Bukowski to Baudelaire and Czeslaw Milosz. I also enjoy books about quantum physics; aesthetic philosophy and theory; linguistics; and eastern philosophy. I am very interested in films, visual arts and photography. Each category has my specific favourites though the list can be quite long.


I see a death cinematic as a gorgeous merging of free-folk with noise and drone, and as a result the music you create is unbound and meandering. What process do you go through when composing? Does it begin with an idea of the flow of each piece or do they grow naturally through improvisation?

The music is meandering and I suppose that is indicative of the search for sound and melody through improvisation. Sometimes I have ideas for the music and sometimes I just improvise with intuition as the only guide. Nothing is really planned out to the point where I know what the finished track will sound like. I like to keep it a little vague at the outset and let the idea kind of grow and  follow its own direction. It is a bit of a balancing act, I try to guide and push it into a specific theme but I want it to get there on its own instead of forcing the sound.

What effects and pedals are utilised to create your sound?

The effects and pedals that I use vary from delay pedals to several different distortion stomp boxes. Specifically, I use an old MXR distortion pedal, a Big Muff Pi, a Boss octave pedal, a loop station and some other odds and ends. I also use a volume and a wah pedal. This all goes through a modeling amp that gives me a lot of different tones and sounds with a huge number of adjustable parameters.

How do you record your work?


I now record my work on a digital 8 track but until recently I was using a borrowed four track. I used to do all my recording in the attic of the place I used to live but now that I have moved I am setting up a studio in the basement. I do everything myself and I try to get it all down in one take per individual track. Obviously I do a lot of multi-tracking in my recordings. I usually start with an initial track or an idea and then I build and layer around that.

The song and album titles are often quite long and striking. Do they bear some relationship to how each release sounds? Like on the full-length, Epochs Shifting Out of Time, the song titles suggest a narrative. Would you agree?


I would totally agree. The relationship between the titles, the narrative they suggest, and the recordings is very much intentional. The albums are very much concept albums. It is a little tricky to have the individual songs stand up on their own as they feel as if part of a larger context... That they are a part of and support a larger idea.


You are also the man behind Simple Box Construction, which is a record label of sorts but also much more. Can you shed some light on the origins of Simple Box Construction and how you create such stunning packaging for your releases?


Simple Box Construction is not so much of a label as it is the visual side of a death cinematic. The idea for Simple Box Construction came to me way back in 1999 when I was working on a small edition of hand-bound books of photographs titled Nowhere, U.S.A. After I finished the edition, the idea became dormant for a long time. When I started recording music and decided that I would be putting out this stuff myself, I thought that it would be perfect to put this out under the Simple Box Construction moniker. As well as doing all the packaging for the music I use Simple Box to put out small editions of visual pieces, such as hand-bound books of photos and boxes with prints and small runs of t-shirts. How I create the packaging is a little difficult to answer. I come up with the idea and I analyze the cost versus the size of the edition and how much I can do on my own, versus the time spent on each package. The packaging is meant to further enforce the context of the idea for the recording. I see them as inseparable. I do all the artwork, photography, and design work as well as the fabrication and manufacturing. It is a time consuming process.




a death cinematic recently contributed a track to the Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer compilation, put together by Sequences mastermind (and LURKER regular) N. How does 'In the Tumbeling Dawn Light, Their Eyes Fall Frozen Through the Mist and Rain' relate to the overall theme of the compilation?


When I was working on that track I was focusing on the mythos of fog and how it has been utilised in the past as a symbol. In the case of the compilation and the painting that it draws its theme from, I was thinking of the mist and fog as a symbol for man's contemplation at the edge of an abyss. The title of the track is a line from a poem I wrote which is a man's last view as he is about to be hanged at dawn. Fog is usually used as a symbol of the unknown or the subconscious and when things emerge from the miasma it represents realisation and understanding.


You also have a collaboration/split with Sequences coming out later this year. What can reveal about this release and how did it come about?


I cannot reveal much about it because it is still in the very early stages. I know that it will be more of a collaboration as opposed to a split release. Both of us will be working on the tracks and it might be put out under an entirely different name. I was lucky enough to have N. ask me if I wanted to do something with him. I really like what he does and I have a lot of respect for his work so I agreed at once when he suggested it. I am very honoured by the opportunity.


a death cinematic is not just limited to the musical realm as the upcoming album, Prelude To The New World & The New World, also features a book of photography. In fact, you have a couple of solely photographic projects planned for release under the same name. How does your photography relate to your music?


That is true, I have some photo-based small editions that I plan to be putting out very soon. The photography relates to the music in the same way I mentioned before. It brings in a different aspect of the larger context of the ideas and themes represented in the recordings. The photos are almost like stills from a film to which my music is the soundtrack.


What does the future hold for a death cinematic?


Hopefully, following along the same lines. More releases and more creative output. I have a lot of tracks that are ready to be mastered so I will be putting out some new work soon. There are plans for some more split releases and some full-length albums and a few collaborations, including the one mentioned above. Right now I am trying to finish up the space in the basement so I can have the studio take off. I have a lot of things I want to get done.


Any final words?


A big thank you to LURKER and everyone else for all the support and interest in what I do.




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rockwell Kent

Rockwell Kent (1882 - 1971) was a multi-talented artist from Tarrytown, New York. He studied architecture at Columbia University, painting at the Shinnecock School and printmaking under the Ashcan School. While best known for his landscapes and wood prints, Kent was also a writer and political activist. His stark minimal prints often formed the perfect illustrations for politically charged magazines and flyers. A transcendalist and mystic, he steeped himself in the works of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson and found respite in the austerity of the untamed wilderness, spending the latter half of his life painting at  Asgaard, his farmstead in the Adironack Mountains. Kent also contributed illustrations for Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.








Whale Beneath The Sea



The Drifter



Flame



Workers Of The World Unite

Sunyata Recordings August 2010 Sampler Free Download

Sunyata Recordings, ruminating somewhere in these great British isles, is a small independent label that has taken to gathering, releasing and supporting a great collection of bands that ooooze talent. The Sunyata Recordings August 2010 Sampler is a free download. The label has planned releases from all of the following bands in the immediate future: Aesahaettr / Ensorcelor / Sleeping Peonies / Addaura / Cara Neir / Life In The Dark / Livimørket.

A comprehensive set of artists that all individually exude promise and quality. Highlights of the Sample for myself include the ambient doom drone of Life In The Dark as well as the transcendentally black message of Ensorcelor. This is worth your time.

Sunyata Recordings August Sample 2010 - SUN000

Virus on funding 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert'

Ever since the earliest incarnations of Ved Buens Ende and their incessant avant-gardeness to infuse jazz dynamics and an outlandish take on melodics with black metal purity through to Virus - current incarnation of Czral's bizarre black symphony, my heart has weathered considerable respect for Virus and the Czral and Einar duo. Fast forward over a decade, with three highly acclaimed albums behind them and Virus' third album is finally approaching the end of a very tumultuous tunnel.

Recently LURKER had the opportunity to ask Einar a few questions regarding Virus' highly anticipated upcoming opus. Fusing, blending and introducing a large amount of ingredients new and old, 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' is sure to be a bizarre ride. Abandoning Season Of Mist to pursue an entirely fan funded pre-order project that takes center stage to cover studio, production and marketing costs, LURKER was eager to understand where this new found sense of independence and self reliance came from. Queue the questions...


Why make the decision to release your third album off your own back?

Well, it took us some time to realise that the contract we had with Season Of Mist wasn't exactly favourable to us. I guess we should have read it more thoroughly in the first place but oh well, lesson learned. Besides, we got some support from a couple of grants that enabled us to pay a substantial part of the studio costs ourselves. T-shirt and vinyl sales have also helped a lot and with the preorders pouring in, I think we can actually pull it off.

Will Virulent Music release music by other projects?

No, it's strictly an imprint meant for Virus releases. It's sort of a sub label of Duplicate, where Czral and me put our efforts together.

Does the self-release of your third album have any significant implications for the future of Virus?

Well, at this point I'm not sure what the future will bring. Maybe we will release more music, maybe not. We will see how this goes and if there's inspiration / motivation to carry on. We will release another ep next year though, with the leftovers from this album, as we had too much material for one lp. I guess you can call doing everything yourself an ideology. We have lost a lot of faith in other people over the years, it seems we are the only ones not making any money on our music. We don't do this to get rich obviously, but when what little you make falls straight into the pocket of someone else it's very frustrating to say the least. So our ideology is to believe in ourselves and not leave things up to others.

Can you reveal anything about the third albums style?

It has both elements of Carheart and The Black Flux in it, and also several new ingredients. I think it will be both a surprise and that it will live up to people's expectations. It's a Virus album in every sense of the word, it's the only thing we know.

How is the fan response going so far?

Preorders have been overwhelming. We have very supportive fans. In fact we have made enough to pay for some studio time and print the lp already, after just a few weeks. It's really nice to know that people are so eager to help out. I also think they like to be a part of making this record happen. We can't wait to post a preview on Myspace to see what people think, but we won't do it until we're actually done. Shouldn't be too long though, we hope to get the mix done within the month.

To Pre-order 'The Agent That Shapes The Desert' and support a project as creative as it remains refreshing, take a visit over to the Virus Myspace.