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Interview: Lord Imperial/Krieg

Of recent increasing mention is Krieg frontman/composer and maniac Lord Imperial, who took a break from beating the tar out of a passing Cradle of Filth fan to give this interview, for which we are eternally grateful. His work has become synonymous in the underground with raw unbridled release of id in a space beneath the conscious perception of dogma or ideal, and as time has passed and his work has become less chaotic, its acceptance has grown into a cult of personality and art which is catapulting him toward the frontlines of black metal.
most people have feelings for the areas in which they cannot articulate what they actually think. in some ways, art as a whole addresses the area that is beyond articulation for most, but still relevant to the core of their sense as human beings - and thus the most sublimated. does krieg address any issues of human intellectual or emotional sublimation?
I can only answer really for myself and the meaning personally behind my work and not what emotions it reaches to the listener. Krieg for me addresses the primal urges of violence and misery which all creatures, no matter how "moral" or "good natured" they claim to be, wishes to inflict upon themselves and others in their surrondings. More of a doom sense and apocalyptic vision for the aestetics but deep down it's very much about the beast in man.
what collection of thoughts interlocked to form the impetus to begin work as krieg?
Too long ago to remember to be honest. I know that at the time I wanted to create something that expressed what I felt and heard inside myself and to do it within the house that Darkthrone built.
what in your opinion are the differences between black metal and neo-classical revivalists movements besides the obvious variance in intensity and instrumentation?
Dedication to the craft for the most part. Image plays more of an important role to many rather than bringing forth some kind of creation which has meaning and can truly touch whatever nontangible matter exists within the chemicals and electrical messages inside of our shells. Neo-Classical artists are more concerned with that element of creation rather than visage and their works will take up their entire lives whereas most black metal musicans will drop the genre and music alltogether to lead a normal life. This is not for me as I know I will always be creating be it in written or aural form, though the result will not always be classified within the black metal genre.
4. do you think it is impossible for a human being to escape politics?
I think it's apathy in one of its most severe forms when someone ignores politics because such things really shape our lives, not some fantasy tale about wizards and dragons. Though it's not important always to mix one's political views into their creations (works of ficton for example do not always have to mix politicals and moral ethics for it to be a worthwhile read) I feel that those who shun the knowledge of their surrondings and the laws/actions that govern them cannot grow intellectually nor are they truly aware.
what type of concept occurs to you first when writing a song? (examples: some musicians start with a riff, some with a poetic mechanism, some with a rhythm and some with a verbal phrase, and some still with a melody)
It really just depends on the mood I am in when creating, theres no set pattern for Krieg's matrix of creation, just feelings and lucid thought.
6. how do you think america has changed over the last five years? do you see american black metal bands reacting to these changes?
Americans are now afraid of their own shadow because of the damage of two buildings. Materialistic behavior of the past is now ceasing in growth and the economy is seized. Also most of the bands now suck but that's hardly news since Sept 11th
someone called death metal bands "the hippies of the 1990s." do you see black metal as aiming for a different goal entirely?
It's closer to how punk music/culture was in the 1970's, very anti social and very aggressive. This is only if black metal needs to be compared to a past genre/culture, really. I'd say those into black metal are more dedicated to idealism and loyalty to cause rather than death metal or punk. It's more of a think tank, or rather SHOULD be, than any other form of musical expression, save some ambient...
some ancient religions, including buddhism, make note of the evolutionary differences between cultures. what's nice about buddhism is that they did not moralize or polemicize against the negative; with that in mind, how do you feel about black metal bands who are half-apologistic about their beliefs?
They're a pack of cunts that deserve to be publicly humiliated...
some have divided society into haves and have-nots, but others still have decided the split is between those content to follow and those who resist the overwhelming trend toward pacification, compromise and sterility that is mainstream society. where do you see social and class divisions occurring in america, and americanized world culture?
I'm sure you remember the "whoever dies with the most toys wins" craze of the 1990s in this country. The dividing line exists between those who have the most socially accepted and coveted shit, and those who do not. It's so black and white that it makes me want to puke. There's no need for culture in this country anymore, not if you have sneakers with lights, pants around your ankles and the latest DMX release. All fashion, no content. No one reads anymore, no one listens anymore. It's just a group of fucking maggots going out and consuming as much as possible, while gaining NOTHING from the bigger picture...
someone who was moral the other day was talking to me about "evil people." i responded that i believe there's a hierarchy of people based on their distance from an evolutionary origin in (animal) behavior, and that no behavior is evil, nor any people. since you're the most evil person most of us know, how do you see this dichotomy as having relevance to practical existence?
Evil is regarded as whatever is against the majority moral belief at the time. Thus something that was evil awhile ago (like eating meat on Fridays) at some point can be made into a majority action and thus be accepted and not considered evil...reality paints a very blurred picture
some krieg songs, such as "knights of holocaust" and "cold wind flame," combine the raw subliminal terror and hatred of black metal with a classic sense of songwriting that makes them both anthemic and emotive. how do you conceive of such songs in the same mind that produces churning, tumultous musical terrorism?
I drink a lot, do a lot of drugs and keep my mind flexible. Plus I hate everyone....
do you think that politicians play word games to classify some people as "acceptable" and others as the enemy? in that light, where do you stand on the issue of mideast terrorism?
As long as they keep my plane ticket costs to a minium who cares? They are doing their jobs, Americans are doing theirs. In war it's not about who's right, it's about who is left (to quote warhammer records)
the dark tower of suffocated dreams which represents some modern christian nation-states which could be named here but shall not be
how do you feel about christianity?
I'm in the same boat you are with it. It's a grief implied guilt mentality which supresses instinct and the chance for greater wisdom. It crushes the need to be spiritual and make your own free willed conclusions about how you feel the universe was conceptualized and brought to fruition. It rapes the need to feel, the need to grow and the need to fuck without spiritual connection. Pity....
14. most americans seem content with a hot meal, a fast car and a big screen television. would anything ever make you content?
No, I'm always hungry for more knowledge, more experiences and a lot of pussy. I need to push myself to limits unknown in order to feel remotely content.
on one of your albums, there is a line like this: "when i die, may all the world be consumed by flames." do you see each individual as an island, or does each individual to some degree create his or her own reality?
This is of course a quote taken from emperor nero upon whose life "end of time" is partially based. We all create how we see the world around us, thus our own reality I guess. I just see a lot of the "islands" as you say sinking rapidly...
i noticed at the last live krieg performance i saw that women were stalking you despite your rough antisocial exterior. how do you deal with being well-known in a small and fanatical fanbase? what do you think of the "kind of woman" who likes black metal?
HA! You must mean my other members from that gig whom are quit the pusshounds. I try to spend as little time with my "fanbase" as possible unless they are females willing to provide me with sex. But this doesn't happen too often as I am unshapely compared to most skinny black metal faggots. But while their T-cells drop, I'll sit and laugh...
imagine for a moment that you are a black sharecropper in the south, 1866. please describe your existence, or your feelings toward
Livid, since I'd have to pay all those fucking niggers instead of beat them....
black metal is a different animal than it was in 1993, now. when do you think the changes occurred, what were they, and why did they
It happens with any form of art of expression with age. As it ages, the originators burn out or lose interest while new imitators keep stepping up to try to get a piece of the action. This came about probably five minutes after Euronymous opened his shop heheh...
your earliest works are purely chaotic and mostly rhythmic in content, but later material uses melody as a central principle in a somewhat improvisational way. what do you hope to capture using such spontaneous methods?
My inner picture...to give you (the listener) a view into me (the creator) without compromising my position as creator in order to give the listener something pleasent or accessable...
a public display of dislike for the christian crusader nation america
there are two blackmetalheads sitting on a burned-out israeli tank in long beach, ny. the first says: "society hurt me, and so i hate it" - the second says, "society never hurt me, but i think it's fucked up nonetheless." which do you believe?
I believe someone should hand them tissues, kick them in the nuts and tell them to move on with it. Because neither cunt probably has a very vivid or realistic story of what their social woes are, just like most of the mindless majority invovled in rebellious counter culture activity, in order just to fit in and find a place in their own pecking order...shameless and fucking shameful.
f.w. nietzsche once said something to the effect that only the sensitive humans notice what is broken, and thus experience negativity or rage as a result. is this your experience, having known many people of rage?
I'd say that someone who is compelled and driven by the emotions of anger and resent are very well in tune to the true nature of reality as a zero-sum game. Pessimists are created through gaining perception that life in and of itself, is very unfair and a constant struggle unless you are born into a social class that is highly elevated over the normal range. Pessimisim is realism....rage is a reaction to reality.
if a revolution were occurring, what type of civilization or lack thereof would you like to see replace the status quo?
A strong, unified culture of higher knowledge and spirituality in tuned with reality. Creative people with outlets to heighten their creativity without distraction and disruption. Plus the females must be topless.....
do you think there is potential for numbness in the constant human exposure to protocol and its demands for articulation in quantitative methods? (e.g. banks, cops, jobs, purchasing things at wal-mart)
Well yeah, you've been in cities etc in this country and seen how people react to trauma and the general degradation of humanity. They're totally desensitized to it, and just go on through their lives without concern unless it happens to them...then they wonder why no one else cares. A vicious cycle of apathy...
what do you think is new jersey's strongest redeeming quality as a state? do you think there is more to texas than guns, homosexuals, cattle and pickup trucks?
Who knows, I think New jersey must have been nice fifty years ago and has gone to shit since. Texas? Of course..there's Shiner Bock, nice pornography markets, some decent metal and less Mexicans per capita than most states north of the Mason Dixon line.
in christian mythology, people exist first as "souls" and then a character is moulded around them; in existentialist orthodoxy, the human being is shaped by his or her background and experience and only from that develops a "soul." in the christian concept, everyone is essentially the same and therefore an absolutist morality is possible, but in the second conception, a feral order of competition exists. in which of these do you find more inspiration, and why?
Neither fits what I'd consider my interpretation of reality. I feel that each person contains a certain amount of energy, that is static but has the true posibility of dynamics if the person whom contains the energy is in tune to realism and works on building this energy throughout their existence through education and experience. Upon our physical end, our energy goes into a collective knowledge, though our conscious selves disappear.....
do you see death as romantic in any way?
Of course, it's the epicenter of great tragedy. It creates such emotions that it's hard not to romanticize it. It is the one moment where we are truly alive and aware. And then we become nothing, and one with the great void...
how do you think people would act if they were forced to be aware of friedrich nietzsche's concept of eternal return?
Perhaps life would be viewed in a more decadent manner, yet exercising control over individual environments...
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence-- even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine." If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more, and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? - F.W. Nietzsche, "The Gay Science"

the most recent krieg work, destruction ritual, fuses all of the raw energy and pathos of krieg with a more disciplined, almost refined songwriting style and more intensely, song finishing style. what made you deviate to this direction, and in what ways is this style more evocative to you?
It's a maturation process in my mind, nothing more to say on it as far as the style goes...it benefitted the recording and music contained within and I'm already working on new ideas and styles of recording methods...I don't want to reissue the same feeling twice...
you seem to be a man who has terrible luck with record labels. what are your plans for releasing future krieg works, since your music appears to be in demand among the underground of black metal?
I am going to stick with Red Stream since they provide an easy workspace, and great support in my endeavors. I'll also work with various underground labels to continue the unleashing of vinyl torment!
do you think most human disagreements are semantic, or that people argue inherently differently positions based on their status in a natural hierarchy?
Most people disgree just to try to belittle those they are opposing in the arguement, and in order to try to flex some of their mental muscle per say. Arguements should be solved in either a debate style manner or the violent physical pummling of each other until the victor is decided..actions must be taken rather than dishonest threats!
lucas john helder wanted to plant pipe bombs across america in the shape of a smiley face, and claims that this nation is controlled by fear and social pressures. what do you think of the debate over his sanity?
He's right as far as the "fear and social pressures" part is concerned, but the pipe bomb thing isnt insane. it's just overactivly ambitious since it's practically impossible. But thats what America needs, true dreamers and visionaries...
even this rabbi likes krieg!
if you could join one political movement throughout history, what would it be and why?
This question requires a great amount of debate and thought, but I think I will just have to go with my immediate reaction. Of course I'd want to be involved in the Nazi party since the aesthetic and ideals contained within go along with a lot of my own, though I am not sure I have the disicpline to achieve solidarity through this movement. I've always been fascinated by great empires that have swept through the world and taken command and control. Greek, Roman, Mongolian, French during the Nepolianic era, Nazisim, Soviet etc. The thought of might making right is a great concept and these eras all fall under such ideals....
do you think human values have changed on any basic level since the 1900s, or has only the rhetoric changed?
We don't burn enough people at the stake anymore. I think on a basic level humanity is still the same. Instict and feral nature has been supressed for hundreds of years, so thats nothing new. Perhaps we are more carefull and politcally correct in order not to offend anyone or put them in therapy. Plus fighting was a lot easier to get away with in the early 1900s...
if the anus.com staff artist was going to draw you listening to a big stack of CDs, what bands and titles would you want featured in that list?
The entire catalog of Beherit, Darkthrone, Judas Iscariot, The Velvet Underground and Lugubrum...plus Archgoat and Pest(fin) releases would be around as well...
do you think there is a future for black metal?
It will eventually burn itself out and become more of a farce than it currently is, such as the beatnik and punk scenes before. On a wholly underground level, I think it will continue to thrive as long as there are sincere bands and labels doing what they feel must be done...
Within the tiny space occupied by a note or a colour in the sound- or colour-continuum, which corresponds to the identity-card for the note or the colour, timbre or nuance introduce a sort of infinity, the indeterminacy of the harmonics within the frame determined by this identity. Nunance or timbre are the distress and despair of the exact division and thus the clear composition of sounds and colours according to graded scales and harmonic temperaments...The matter I'm talking about is 'immaterial,' anobjectable, because it can only 'take place' or find its occasion at the price of suspending these active powres of mind. I'd say that it suspends them for at least 'an instant.' However, this instant in turn cannot be counted, since in order to count this time, even the time of an instant, the mind must be active. So we must suggest taht there is a state of mind which is a prey to a 'presence' (a presence which is in no way present in the sense of here-and-now, i.e. like that which is designated by the deictics of presentation), a mindless state of mind, which is required of mind not for matter to be perceived or conceived, given or grasped, but so that there be some something. And I use 'matter' to designate this 'that there is', this quod, because this presence in the absence of the active mind is and is never other than timbre, tone, nuance in one or other of the dispositions of sensibility, in one or other of the sensoria, in one or other of the passibilities through which mind is accessible to the material event, can be 'touched' by it: a singular, incomparable quality - unforgettable and immediately forgotten - of the grain of a skin or a piece of wood, the fragrance of an aroma, the savour of a secretion or a piece of flesh, as well as a timbre or a nuance. All these terms are interchangeable. They designate the event of a passion, a passibility for whih the mind will not have been prepared, which will hvae unsettled it, and of which it conserves only the feeling - anguish and jubilation - of an obscure debt.
- Jean-François Lyotard, "The Inhuman"
Death Metal and Black Metal Search Engine

Vikernes Denied Parole Yet Again

Tuesday 30 September 2008 at 2:02 pm

Yesterday Vikernes received the word again that his fourth application for parole is denied. In written response, the parole board stated that he can apply again in a year -- and that one more year in prison isn't enough time to repay his debt to society.

"They can find all the time for new excuses to try not release me. I and my family have repeatedly requested a follow-up of parole, but when they use a year to process my application, I have already missed the deadline they think I should spend on parole. They flout all laws and regulations. They do not do their jobs, something that goes beyond me and other prisoners. I think it is terrible that they can not give me a second chance," said Vikernes.

He continues, "I bought my house thinking that I would have parole in 2006. This is due and will not be collected -- in addition to that there is a lot of expense for upkeep of the housing. My French wife and our son may have to move back to France. The reason is that she does not have the means to keep everything up. I risk losing everything because of a rejection of my parole application. I have learned from my mistakes and become older."

Varg Vikernes not ready for life outside prison walls


Disappointing, but probably predictable. We'd just like to hear new Burzum.

Sadistic Record Reviews, 9-26-08

Friday 26 September 2008 at 6:15 pm We got slowed up by the hurricane a bit, because when the power's gone and the water's gone, there's not much to do except kick back and play acoustic grindcore. But now that we're back online, here are this week's Sadistic Record Reviews, reaming the latest batch.



Metallica - Death Magnetic

We live in a world of hype. We were told this CD would be a return to Metallica's older form, something I oppose (why re-do the past? people want authenticity, and ripping yourself off is not it). What you get instead is a highly advanced form of pander. They sort of do the older style, by dropping to a muffled E5 chord, but that occurs between verses and choruses of their new alternative-metal-grunge-country style. There are surface attempts at extremity (squealy, shreddy leads from kirk, a few pick-ups and breakdowns) but they know their audience, and anticipate that they're thinking slowly, so it has the pace of a heavy metal record with a few brutal downstrums. The problem with such transparency in a CD it's that it's obvious to the pand that they're pandering, and so they make half-hearted attempts which mock good talent, notably in writing melodies that harmonize well between leads and rhythm guitar. If you find yourself enjoying this album, check over your shoulder, because surely an anal rapist is what's making you smile. As with all things Metallica since 1987, the melodies are well-written but the songs are confused and go basically nowhere, so you end up with a catchy chorus in your head and then a muddle as you try to figure out where that great clarity from their first album went. Avoid this turd of a CD. You will hear it for two weeks before you figure out what a farce it is, and then out of shame, will continue to pretend to like it, just like you did with those neo-homoerotic Pantera CDs a few years back.



Lustmord - [OTHER]

It takes one person in a room full of people to stand up and ask the question that shows the emperor's new clothes, unravels the ball of yarn, sends the walls tumbling down, etc. In this case, I have to ask: does anyone listen to noise music except as backdrop? Some noise, like K.K. Null or Maeror Tri, has enough musicality to suffice, but other bands, like Lustmord, Lull and Final, who most resemble each other, are droning passages to nowhere built on the dubious concept of "layers" whereby different sounds are stopped and started at different times, creating a perception of ongoing revelation without really going anywhere. I mean, Final for example had some great material, if you were alone in a silent place listening for a very linear progression from rough sound to the origins of melody, but even that was somewhat one-dimensional. Lull was fun to put on shuffle and put fans up to guessing which track was which, a task they always failed. Lustmord is another neat experiment that will be bought mostly for its novelty value. Atmospheric noise, some wind noise, a few hilarious crashes and thuds, then a guitar gently strumming the same three notes, all zooming and panning through a sonic space that seems designed more to distract us long enough to complete than to bring revelations. I know they work hard on this, and try to take it seriously, and I can see that in the end product, but I think that like postmodern literature, it's time to admit that noise as music had a few good basic concepts, but is an evolutionary dead end.



Auspicium - A Basilica of Black Stars

The introduction to this piece of later black metalwork takes after the Graveland "The Celtic Winter" introduction to the Gates of the Kingdom of Darkness, and then the demo launches onward into fast-strummed but slow-paced black metal with vocals cast upward like cats crying to an empty sky. Think of I Shalt Become and Xasthur in a feeding frenzy on the corpse of Burzum and you have the general idea, and this demo is comparable in quality to the better stuff Xasthur has put out. However, like most bands emulating the Burzum style, there is a lot of riding the drone and the harmony, and not enough dynamic change that makes enough oddball sense to inject meaning into each piece, meaning that we've got the metal wallpaper effect that reduces it to a soundtrack for any given thirty seconds of a mournful part of a forgotten Norwegian TV show. "Saltborne" launches this CD with a variation on the riff from Unleashed "Shadows in the Deep," but slow and fibrously ethereal in the way that distorted guitar can be made by those who want atmosphere. This song barely changes riff cluster (Unleashed-drone riff, dissonant counterpoint, and reversal) and does some "Det Som Engang Var" styled layering, with Ancient-esque Tangerine Dream-inspired lead guitars layered over it, toward the end as it is about to fade out, making it quite linear. "The Crane" has Swans-y drunk on a rainy day chanted vocals, but goes similarly nowhere. Something indicates a Black Funeral influence to this track. The final song doesn't massively deviate from the formulae enumerated above. Better than average / not enough that others will radically notice / we know you know how to write black metal, but what do you have to say with it?



Behexen - My Soul for His Glory

This sounds like Sodom around the time of M-16 put their brains around writing a black metal album, combining the uptempo Burzum moments with the plodding rhythms of Darkthrone, yet keeping the surging riffs and pumping syncopation of later Sodom. The first song does its take on the Burzum rhythm from "Det Som Engang Var," complete with the dissonant harmony toward the second half of the song, but it goes nowhere we the adventurous want to go. Instead, it returns its energy to a loop from which it cannot escape. Where this album really shines is in the riff judo department, where it keeps up high energy like Angelcorpse and Merciless in a cage match. They should really stick to this and leave the black metalisms to others, because here, they don't particularly complement the music. This band should just go retro-speed/death and call it a day. Like most things in life that are good but not good enough to search out, this album's about a B and will amuse the upper quadrile of human intelligences for up to a week. These songs start with riffs that would make anyone want to fight but then drop into Abyssic Hate styled three-note Burzum-ish dirges, and then trail off. They are competent at fast three-chord rippers, and derivative with everything else. I would like to like this. But it would be hard to see it as having any permanence, even if it is a competent continuance of technique.



Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer

Throw Hatebreed, Pantera and Motley Crue into a think tank and have them come up with an album to motivate street snipers to resistance, and it would sound roughly like the Cancer Bats. It's catchy, and chorusy, but just where you think it might get stupid some structural variation bursts forth with enough power to surprise you. One of its better innovations is what I'm calling the chorus majora, which is where a verse/chorus structure expands into another type of chorus, one that restates all its principles in a harmony of disharmony. Vocals sound like metalcore stalwarts Meshuggah or The Haunted, but there's more punk in the rhythms and riff structures, which makes it less of a battering ram preventing you from even thinking about the music playing. It probably will not fit a metal audience since riffs are too close to known archetypes, but might please fans of Superjoint Ritual or later Cathedral.



Helms Alee - Night Terror

As the new gold rush for the music industry, superseding hip-hop which was our last hope to escape the stale hipster repetition of freaky new same old from rock music, post-rock is a new age and yet still undefined enough that people can have fun playing with it. Unlike too many other bands to count, Helms Alee have not forgotten that "to play" music means "to play," and they have created here a fun hybrid of Maudlin of the Well, King Crimson and older Filter, something that rocks and then breaks into pure chaos, through which it finds a non-linear path to resume its linear rockin' along. Insouciant female vocals, buttermilk in a warm tinged with a yet unrealized sourness of outlook, waft through the music like dancers dodging night porters in speakeasies. Chaotic, deconstructed, it tries to leave us behind, but then comes back like a boomerang, needing to be heard even in its total secession from reality. This CD has an obsession with strategically placed silences and elision-as-transition which sometimes reminds me of 90s aggro-pop bands like Joydrop or Medicine. I liked this, even if it isn't my style of regular listening, and if only postmodern prog rockers will really "get it" enough to get the logo tattooed on their flesh. It's probably the best of this batch, living up to its starkly artistic cover.



Elite - We Own the Mountains

Very reminiscent of later Darkthrone, around the Total Death era, or perhaps some of the middle-period Gorgoroth and Ancient material, this CD attempts fast black metal with an explicitly melodic but not rockish outlook, and achieves that fairly well for a solid but not exceptional album. Variations on riff patterns from many years of underground metal appear here, used to great effect alongside droning bass, in a high-speed attack like a black metal version of Centurian or a melodic version of Angelcorpse. It is basic; it is not profound; it is compellingly rhythmic; it is better than most doing this style. What is solid here is the tendency to write in the old school style of verse/chorus interrupted by interludes and transitions, and its ability to maintain speed and energy throughout without becoming redundant anger like some of the past bands attempting this aesthetic. Like many early Swedish melodic bands, Elite develop a simple theme early in the song and repeat it with layers until the song ends, which gives the song a certainty that other styles lack, but also locks this CD in one dimensionality.



A Storm of Light - And We Wept the Black Ocean Within

So if later Corrosion of Conformity and Skepticism were traveling to a gig together, and got thrown into a Vulcan mind-meld, this might be what it would sound like. Droning but artsy, it is Pelican as informed by underground theatrical metal from Therion through Agalloch, more indie than metal but just when you think it is going to veer into R.E.M. territory, it surges back with a metallic power in the conflict between its riffs. Like Skepticism, A Storm of Light know how to set a scene with keyboards and guitars intermeshing as a fuzz which finds harmony only in its most disassembled soundwaves, but like more modern bands they are able to bring their audience to a core handful of rhythms and riff shapes that are repeated despite interruptions. Like Neuraxis, this is a break from the worst of the *-core (metalcore, deathcore, mathcore) in that it aims for continuity -- even if glaringly simplistic -- where others try to keep the chaos in motion as a way of, like riot bullhorns shouting slogans, suspending our ability to think and judge while we nod our heads. This CD will appeal to post-rockers and indie metallers most but shows a better understanding of metal than most of these Only A Sentence Is Enough type band name bands.



Diocletian - Decimator

It's a good season for Thergothon- and Skepticism-inspired doom, probably spurred on by Sunn-goatse who took those and Winter as inspiration, and Diocletian mixes that into death/black of a NYDM-inspired variety. This trudges. It drones. It holds chords and then returns to its original impetus. Then it explodes into racing high-hat blasting mayhem with undertones of melody. It does this again and again, with jazz-like drum commentary in the background. It adds death metal passages and hints of black metal in the chording of its faster complements. There is some promise in the tendency to use bass to provide countertheme, and in its ability to manipulate tempo, but the whole enchilada is not yet ready. Its sense of tempo is reminiscent of Incantation, and its songwriting, of Emperor, but it frequently falls into a rapidly devolving mess. Clearly thought has gone into this work, for which I'm grateful, but it needs more development and more clarity for it to have a personality, a character, as makes classic albums distinctive.



sBach - sBach

Some will call this post-rock, I'll call it postmodern rock or postmodern hard pop. Using sounds collaged from daily life, including video games and telephones and machine noise, sBach make quirky and playful pop that has a metal/hardcore sensibility in how it handles dynamic change. Warning: many of these sounds are irritating, annoying, even, and like a good postmodern novel, it's a chore to get through, but every bite is packed with inventiveness and a sense of ludic absurdity that enjoys mocking the seriousness that shakes its fist at it from the sidelines of rock'n'roll pretense.



US Christmas - eat the low dogs

What is post-rock? It's rapidly becoming rock, and in the meantime, there are bands trying to stake a place in the hybridsphere. If you ask this reviewer, post-rock is ambient rock music, with the drums set back and the standard pop format put on hold; it's like what emo should have been but got sidetracked into buttery self-pity instead. US Christmas takes a straightforward approach informed by indie-alternative in the 1990s style, mixing at atmospheric Pelican-styled drone with Burzumish lush harmonization and Iggy Pop-styled naked whipper vocals. There is not enough dynamic change for metalheads, but a good use of harmony that calls to mind Agalloch or Kyuss, and Motorheadish rhythms that just about anyone can enjoy. Like all post-rock, it blends in a good deal of acoustic and instrumental breakdowns, which is one way this rises above the hordes of post-rock that are arguably just upgraded *-core bands with more drone and emo vocals. Sometimes this reminds me of the second and third Danzig albums, attempting to write an epic song that anyone can toe-tap to, but there's a good deal of atmospheric lead guitar noodling that reminds me of the second Carbonized album or the later tracks from the Repo Man soundtrack. This CD is as much alternative as post-rock, but in doing so, it presents one way for post-rock to get out of the *-core ghetto which keeps it from developing any harmonic structure of interest.



Withered - Folie Circulaire

This band takes the current state of underground metal, gives it proficient riffing and the kind of musical knowledge one gets from studying songwriting, and just about gets away with a very subtle indie influence underneath the kind of underground classic study that can only come from those who love it. Reminiscent of a slower, more musical Fallen Christ, this band throws in the riffs and stops short of making a true salad of them, preferring to return to melodic chord progressions for choruses and to round out their music with instrumental flourish. It holds together well, but does not in the contrast between steps reveal enough in negative space to convey an idea in the underground style, making me think these guys should take the Acid Bath or Superjoint Ritual path and write rock songs with metal riffs, as that lends itself more to their harmonic style. Although it would be more repetitive and less densely riff'd, the album would end up being a triumph because this style of riff is still terrifying to that audience. In the meantime, this technical death/black metal is enjoyable, highly competent, and while nothing new unpainful to listen to unlike the recent raft of new stuff from the "true underground" camp.

Blake, Goethe, Romanticism and Black Metal

Wednesday 10 September 2008 at 08:35 am From the book Blake and Goethe: Psychology, Ontology, Imagination by Martin Bidney:

For Goethe as well as for Blake, fruitful competition between opposing forces is the law of life in both mind and world. The contraries are mutual opposition, but their creative tension is the life-giving power that paradoxically unites them. As Goethe says in one of the "Talismans" from the "Singer's Book" of the West-East Divan:


"Im Atemholen sind zerierlei Gnaden:
Die Luft einziehn, sich ihrer entladen.
Jenes bedrängt, dieses erfrischt;
So wunderbar ist das Leben gemischt.
Du danke Gott, wenn er dich preßt,
Und dank' ihm, wenn er dich wieder entläßt."
("Talismane" II. 17-22)

[In the act of breathing there are two gifts of grace: taking in the air and being relieved of it. The former oppresses, the latter refreshes; life is so wonderfully mixed. Thank God when he burdens you, and thank him when he sets you free again.]


Or, as Blake puts it: "Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence" (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Pl. 3). Contraries are crucial to human existence, and evidently to cosmic existence as well: the concepts of attraction and repulsion had been given prominence in the intellectual world of Blake's day through the influence of Cartesian and Newtonian science. "Without Contraries is no progression," no life in mind or world, is what Blake means when he says, "Opposition is true Friendship" (MHH Pl. 20).



We find in both Blake's and Goethe's visions of creativity in mind and cosmos a kind of breathing motion, what Erich Trunz calls "Emanatio and Regressus," emanation and return. In a passage from Conversations with Eckermann (11 April 1827) Goethe develops this image into a powerful reverie:


"I like to think of the earth with its circle of vapors metaphorically as a great living being, which is engaged in an eternal inhaling and exhaling. When the earth inhales, it draws to it the circle of vapors that approaches its surface and thickens into clouds and rain. I call this condition the water-affirmation [die Wasserbejahung]; if it lasted inordinately long, it would drown the earth. But the earth does not permit that; it exhales again and sends back up the water vapors which spread into all the spaces of the high atmosphere and thin out to such an extent that not only does the brilliance of the sun cross through them, but the eternal night of endless space is seen through them as a fresh blueness. This condition of the atmosphere I call the water-negation [die Wasserverneinung]."


What Goethe calls the earth's affirmation and negation of water is an instance of what Blake would call "Attraction and Repulsion." In the nonhuman universe, Goethe sees no need to distinguish between destructive negations and creative contraries... All contrasts in nature are part of her breathing; one feels that life and death themselves are, by implication, another manifestation of an eternal cosmic inhaling and exhaling.



Commentary:

When distilled philosophically, moral absolutes are simplistic visions of the world in that they fail to grasp the natural mechanism of the whole that relies on the interactions between opposing forces. Good and Evil, Life and Death, War and Peace -- these are dualisms in which we've taken the superficially pleasing force and converted it into an absolute without realising that the opposite is required for the maintenance of a higher force. Although life is pleasant and we would hate to see those that we love die, death is necessary to allow new life. The dualism of Life/Death is transcended for a higher purpose: growth.

Black metal hails the realisations of such thinkers as Blake and Goethe by bringing into focus the denied aspects of these dualisms and praising their functions. Black metal was responding to an age where this rhetorical absolutism as derived from Judeo-Christianity saturates all sociopolitical discussion, aiming to bring a sense of holism echoing the thoughts of the Romantics and of an even older pre-Christian Europe where what was natural was more important than what was pleasant (good) or unpleasant (evil). Darkthrone emphasised the dark, cold, and evil forces that create impulsive, Dionysian passion within us. Immortal constructed a fantastical world of Winter storms and epic battlefields. Emperor created works which brought struggle and chaos into a sense of a majestic order. Most of Burzum's work used fantasy to force us to dream of realms where the presence of exciting aspects that have been utterly denied in life leave us feeling that this concrete, absolutist world is boring and mundane -- perhaps even dead -- and forces us to question whether we live in an age of progress or whether the holistic ancients really lived in a greater, natural, more Human age:


Between the bushes we stared
At those who reminded us of another age
And told that hope was away
Forever
We heard elvensong and
Water that trickled
What once was is now
Away
All the blood
All the longing and pain that ruled
Are away
Forever
We are not dead
We have never lived
-- Burzum "Det Som En Gang Var"

by Kalle

Heavy Metal fans "at ease with themselves"

Saturday 06 September 2008 at 08:39 am

Musical tastes and personality type are closely related, according to a study of more than 36,000 people from around the world.

The research, which was carried out by Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University, is said to be the largest such study ever undertaken.

It suggested classical music fans were shy, while heavy metal aficionados were gentle and at ease with themselves.

"One of the most surprising things is the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal. They're both creative and at ease but not outgoing."

BBC UK


One website for some time has been telling you about the relationship between metal and classical: this one.

Ever since we formulated our theories back in the formative years of 1988-1991, we wrote about the synchronicity between metal in classical in mood, in outlook, in music theory, in song structure, and most of all, in type of songwriting -- the narrative circular composition that is shared between both classical and metal.

Everyone else told us we were nuts. Then out of the woodwork, came help -- Bathory speaking of a classical influence, Burzum mentioning it, Celtic Frost speaking of it, and so on.

We've been right and everyone else has been looking in the wrong place. But as more evidence comes out, the position becomes clearer: it's heavy metal that inherits classical in the popular music realm, thanks in part to its prog and movie soundtrack heritage.

Keep spreading the word.

Whitechapel - This is Exile

Tuesday 02 September 2008 at 07:21 am Whitechapel - This is Exile

Whitechapel - This is Exile

I had a flashback to the early days of 1993. Death metal had just about peaked, and many people were looking for the next big thing -- in terms of style. Brutality was the catchphrase, and since millions of American kids had just rediscovered early Napalm Death thanks to a desperate search for the roots of underground metal, new bands were popping up that promised to be more brutal than before, usually by playing much faster and eliminating all melody. This flashback was prompted by hearing the hype about Whitechapel in one ear, and the reality played in the other.

Cycles repeat because there are usually relatively few different options in life, but infinite ways to pull off the winning option. After death metal croaked and black metal blew itself out, the usual retro cycle came in, where the remnants of the last decade are swept into a dustpan, recombined, and out comes the "new" solution. What has happened in the merging of metal and emo, pop punk, alternative and new hardcore is a lot like what happened in 1983 when the first thrash bands formed: metal riffs in punk song structures. But punk has grown up, gotten more technical, and in order to justify its dystopian nature, has taken the aesthetic from 1960s protest songs -- jarring, slightly dissonant, poignant bittersweet, etc -- and blended it with technicality, creating what I refer to as The Cinema of Discontinuous Image. Much of this is the influence of MTV, which specialized in videos in which rapid cutaways from radically different imagery were seen as desirable; these later influenced how Hollywood films dialogue, so it's not inconceivable they influenced metal. The new hardcore is technical, melodic, and like carnival music in that it moves between ludicrous extremes without building continuity, because being deconstructive is its political fashion.

Whitechapel isn't alone in being part of this new genre -- let's call it metalcore -- that embraces many variants, some as "death metal" as the recent Behemoth CDs, and others as punk as Fugazi but obviously more mile-a-minute. Do people ever get tired of hearing the next most extreme thing? They should, since this stuff isn't extreme; it's sped up, and not in any meaningful way from the first Morbid Angel album. It's like shredders showing off without knowing how to write songs, and since its basic concept of being protest deconstructive is fundamentally opposed to the ideas of songwriting anyway, this music ends up being a random pile of stuff that's hard to play mixed in with stuff that, like Meshuggah, sounds hard to play until you realize it's rhythm noodling on a chord. Whitechapel lives by this variation, where fast scalar single note playing is followed by five-position power chord shred riffs, and then the song collapses into some percussive geometries from the E chord, then repeats with keyboards added, this time. Songs build up to a peak frenzy, and then just end. Nothing is learned, nothing is created, but it has political authenticity -- comrade Stalin is pleased! -- because it is deconstructive protest music that emphasizes the following tenets: life is terrible, there's nothing we can do, give up now, wail and whine instead of doing anything, it's not my fault, it's not your fault.

The synthesized faux death vocals don't help either. I can see how this CD would impress someone new to the genre because it tries to "break barriers," but these are all stylistic. It has nothing to say except perhaps to add on to The Brat Manifesto, which is a giant scroll containing all of the justifications created by the human species for doing nothing about its problems, personal or collective. Whitechapel screams out a kind of fetishism with child abuse, poverty, self-destruction and failure, because these excuse the heavy weight of having to take on life. Hint to Whitechapel: all of the great bands became great because they took on that heavy weight like a charging bull and found a way to convert it into positive enemy, like inverse aikido where the attack ends up converting his own momentum into a throw of his hapless prey. You, on the other hand, have run from it, and that is why you are this season's trend and tomorrow's ash on the wind.

Lord Wind - Atlantean Monument

Monday 25 August 2008 at 8:38 pm Lord Wind - Atlantean Monument



Probably the best work from Eastclan group since 1998, this release culminates the pagan dreamlike melodies that have been appearing in Graveland and Lord Wind releases. Over an hour long, it represents the best music currently available for those who long for the society of honor that ruled long ago, before dualistic religions, technology and finance took over our lives.

Read the review: Lord Wind - Atlantean Monument

Trash Talk

Thursday 21 August 2008 at 12:23 pm Trash Talk - S/T
Trash Talk Collective, 2008



When music runs out of ideas, it recycles old genres. When that happens, smart music fans look for the exceptions that give both style and substance some tweaks to make them compatible with the current time and its challenges. Where the retro-thrash movement has produced some imitators of no substance, Trash Talk comes crashing in with a punk-inspired, thrash-influenced offering that invokes elements of the underground that developed while music festered in nu-metal and metalcore. Although the band compares themselves to Cryptic Slaughter, and comparisons could easily be drawn to Municipal Waste, what fuels this mania is more akin to the suffocated rage and dissident misanthropy that made Eyehategod and Acid Bath favorites of the late 1990s. Songs are sludgy rants that explode into frenetic activity, then smash it all down again, like a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. It is as if Trash Talk enjoy beating on their audience, lulling them into a false sense of security such as they might enjoy from media, religious or government leaders, and then detonating the result in a searing diatribe. While people will compare this record to works from Discharge or DRI, it's more like Eyehategod meets Crass with Neurosis in the wings. It's fortunate to see punk hardcore given another chance with this acerbic testament to the enduring powers of resistance through surliness.

Trash Talk - Dig MP3
Trash Talk Homepage

Jesu - Why Are We Not Perfect

Monday 18 August 2008 at 6:48 pm Jesu - Why Are We Not Perfect
Hydra Head, 2008

Justin Broadrick demonstrated through his early works a desire for that moment of unitivity when the conscious mind and emotions synchronized. Through Godflesh, and later Techno Animal and Final, he showed a passion for bringing colossal structures to bear on moments of quiet contemplation. With Jesu, he resurrects his music outside the ghetto that extremist offerings can be, and melds into post-rock disparate influences from industrial, shoegaze, noisepop, and so forth. Jesu, protean as all Broadrick projects are, in turn twisted from more radiantly noisy to its current softer state. On "Why Are We Not Perfect" Jesu moves the slider closest to shoegaze and pop, losing much of the more complicated structuring and sound that made earlier Jesu challenging. This gambit may prove risky: many in the post-rock fanclub would like to leave behind what so rigidly defines rock and brings the moths to its one-size-fits-all dose, and "Why Are Not Perfect" drapes its nearly ecclesiastical encompassing layered sound over the exuberant shuffle beats of rock/pop. Song structures are not linear but follow a verse chorus pattern culminating in a serenity like the moment after a surf crashes on the beach when water lapses into absorbent, silent sand. Less jagged distortion and cleaner, plaintive emo vocals guide each song and sounds elide smoothly from abrasive feedback to silken, reminiscent of shoegaze classics like Medicine and My Bloody Valentine. While this EP satisfies as a taste, and an exploration, this reviewer hopes Broadrick abandons the past -- and doesn't relapse into his influences -- so he can keep exploring the seemingly erratic, intense jigsaw song structures he served up on the self-titled Jesu debut.

Austin, TX

Monday 18 August 2008 at 09:55 am When I write about metal, I often distinguish works -- which I consider to, at their best, be art -- by how honest they are. It's fairly easy to tell, although most people find that unnerving. An honest work tries to communicate with you; a dishonest work tries to game you by convincing you it's something it's not, so that you do x, or y or z that benefits those who made it. It's a virus, in other words.

Dishonest works are generally the product of The Hipster, which is any person who tries to be hip for the sake of their own ego, instead of having a useful function of any kind. Hipsters are parasites on the social scene in that they want attention for being unexceptional, and since they can't succeed at life by being exceptional -- including making good music, being people we'd like to know, etc -- they become dramatic and draw attention to themselves with increasingly radical styles of dress and behavior. If you ever find someone doing something humiliating, stupid, freakish, or pointless while slyly watching you out of the corner of their eye, you've found the same psychology.

It's not much different from parasitic religions that convince people to fail at life so they can succeed at the board game called "What God Likes." I'm not saying life is about success, or material success, just that if you want to have a good life, you need to have some function and challenge yourself to do it well. Hipsters don't do that. They want the reward without the work.

We have a hipster core here in Texas. It's called Austin. Hipsters are fond of one of many modern illusions, a socialized liberalism -- a well-intentioned emotion channeled into a fashion that pretends to be an ideology, but never achieves its goals, despite making a hash of things on its path -- that like drugs makes us feel better, but doesn't solve any problems, and strengthens rather than weakens its ostensible enemy, the total state. Hipsters are useful because they beat liberalism out of people who are still able to think.

When I went to Austin, I was all about tolerance. I was still clueless as to the problems of the world, mainly because I spent most of my time working.



When I saw the liberal paradise that is Austin, I realized that liberalism is basically parasitism. "If someone has x, and I don't, I deserve it, and I'll force them to share with social guilt"; after seeing that, and the complete social havoc -- where good people were not only ignored but socially persecuted, and vapid whores predominated and suffocated art and culture with their lies -- I left Austin and liberalism behind.

(There may be an honest liberalism. To me, when I was a liberal, it meant not allowing big pointless entities to rule over people in destructive ways. I'm thinking about all the people who got dicked over by their stupid jobs, all the toxic waste dumped into rivers, all the junk products that just ended up in landfills, all the overdeveloped areas where forests were sacrificed, etc. For me, liberalism meant restraining humanity's appetite with common sense. I soon learned that if you oppose power, however, you soon get people who oppose power for power's sake because they're powerless. They have no power in life and no control over their own appetites, so they hate anything that resembles power, but since they're weak, they don't attack directly but through whining. I was a classical liberal, which meant treat people fairly. That philosophy however decays un-gracefully into revenge for the underdog, hatred of excellence, and desire to turn the world into one uniform Safe(tm) place. I realized quickly how this plays into the hands of our leaders. It distracts our best people and sends them off to defend those who have failed at life, and then the activists in turn fail at life, so they spent their time fighting for the right to fail. It's a sick cycle but easily avoidable if you think it through: the problem isn't power, but people in power without a clue, and they're in power because all the failed people want pleasant illusions instead of reality. So if you're an honest liberal, don't take this column as a personal attack, or a political statement. I'm pointing out how liberalism commonly decays into self-importance, hipsterism and other problems, not trying to assault the emotional or psychological impetus behind liberal thinking.)

Austin is the hipster capital of the world, in many ways. I've been to Seattle and to San Francisco, to L.A. (Silver Lake) and to Mizzoula, MT, all of which are hipster-havens. But Austin hipsters have the city locked down. Under the guise of fighting the man, you're supposed to be weird and freaky and do whatever the man doesn't expect. But you go back to work the next day, having learned nothing. It's a good town to work food service until you're 42 and then become a regular, bitter writer on Alternet.org.

Austin suffocates every quality band who tries to set up shop there. Metal bands in particular suffer because, unless you infiltrate the social network and start behaving like a hipster, no one will attend your shows. People are too afraid of being un-hip to go see an unknown, unless that "unknown" is secretly an underground favorite. As a result, the best Austin bands are the ones that have nothing to do with the "seen" (Scene) there.

Emos, hipsters, modern primitives, trend whores, carnies, defiant minorities and lesbians, drug use theorists, mantra-chanting New Agers, feminists, body modification fetishists, coprophages, "witches," faux artists of all variety, embittered defiant hippies, foreskin collectors, and other failures of all sorts cluster in Austin. They have failed at making something of their lives, so they are using cognitive dissonance, and making themselves a Big Deal in social/moral/hip circles.

When I seize power, it will be very unwise for anyone to spend time in Austin. The B-52 carries 27 tons of high explosive and, if unleashed on a city block, literally landscapes it into a moon surface of ceramicized dirt covered in the dust of charred, vaporized plants, animals, and buildings -- this is a consequence of the TNT/HE mix used in modern bombs. The explosions are so loud that people up to a mile away will lose hearing for the next two days. Some of the fireballs approximate a quarter mile in size, and can be seen from nearby cities. A flight of B-52s, properly targetted, can erase a city so thoroughly that from space it resembles a desert, and this is without use of nuclear weapons.

That form of horror, visited upon Austin, will not cost the human race any geniuses. Nor will it diminish its artistic or social potential. Instead, it will increase our potential by removing the false and giving space to something new, like weeding a garden and dropping in seeds for non-parasitic plants. Don't cry for Austin, because that entire town is one giant emo hipster cognitive dissonance passive aggression parasite. Its death in flaming vapor will be a great step forward for taste and beauty.

Metal music, like nature, is not about fashion. It's not about being nice to everyone so they can feel good for being exceptional. It's about results. About making civilizations that make people inhale sharply whenever they see their ruins for the next 10,000 years. About getting art, science, culture, etc. right. About doing things that matter because they're not the same humdrum. Forging new spaces, destroying emptiness, making life interesting and giving us something to live for. Like nature, in metal life is struggle, but struggle for beauty and not the bloated, ugly, self-importance of an ego. Metal is anti-hipster, and anti-Austin.

Dismemberment is metal

Monday 18 August 2008 at 07:48 am
(click for larger image)


Police on Thursday accused a Brazilian man of killing and dismembering his 17-year-old British girlfriend, taking pictures of her body parts with his cell phone and stuffing her torso in a suitcase.

One photo appeared to have been taken in a bathroom shower stall, showing Burke's severed head placed on the chest of her torso along with a bloody butcher knife.
Man accused of killing, dismembering girlfriend


So she was dating a cocaine fueled maniac, probably oblivious, and he dismembered her and got a good laugh out of it. Life is nature, folks. There are predators everywhere. Watch your step, but don't forget the lulz when you accidentally cut up a corpse and post cell phone pics.

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