For very unfortunate reasons, Myrkur remains a controversial artist. Being the brainchild of Amalie Bruun, the black metal project has faced intense scrutiny for deviating from the norms of the genre, despite other artists like Ulver (whom have collaborated with her several times) or Alcest getting praised for similar irreverences. While the backlash that targets her for her gender might have dissuaded other artists, she has instead trudged on and pushed back even further. Mausoleum is partly reinvention, but also partly defiance. Taking the songs from her debut full length M and rearranging them with a haunting choir, Myrkur is firmly walking the steps towards post-black-metal greatness.
So, we’re back, unsurprisingly. This week we cover a lot of news, and go deep on politics! Specifically, Brexit and how it affects the music industry, the whole hubbub about complaining about SJWs in metal (not gonna link that article) and the counter-hubbub, David Maxim Micic’s Stock Challenge where he made an EP with just free stock plugins, Steven Wilson’s cover of Prince getting removed from streaming services, this relatively older article about Spotify’s research on metal fans being more loyal listeners, Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel complaining about elitism on their new video, more info about the Agalloch breakup, Cavalera Conspiracy performing Sepultura’s Roots in its entirety live on its 20th anniversary, Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschlager and his copyright troubles with Obscura, Einar from Leprous joining Haken onstage, Wardruna/Enslaved/Skuggsja’s Norse By New York event, and Incendia management’s music PR event. We also talk about new music from Fountainhead, Periphery, Soilwork, Thank You Scientist, The Dear Hunter, Ringworm and Myrkur. Finally, we talk about hype culture and how it poisons everything. Enjoy!
When Alcest released their 2014 Shelter, there were many dissenting voices among their fans. Originally, it was possible to easily disregard these as the usual detractors of any band which tries to change their sound; we might like to paint metal as a progressive and open genre but we have our fair share of conservatives. However, as further listenings to the album opened up understanding, it was felt by many more that indeed, something was off. It’s not that Shelter was a bad album but there was something, some power that Alcest had in their earlier works. By “earlier works” we do not mean their classical, black metal, heavy albums. We’re not joining those who denounce blackgaze or even the dream pop that Alcest had started making. On the contrary, we love those sounds and were therefore disappointed with Shelter, which felt more like lip service to the power those genres can hold.
Luckily, it appears that a second chance is at hand, in the form of a separate, and yet musically linked, artist called Sylvaine.
Metal has, sadly, played a distinct and central role in this conflation of ideas between “viking” and “norse”. By endlessly drawing from a single pool of images to describe these historical people, the same pool available to all of popular culture, it has reinforced, elaborated and cemented the image of the Norse as the ironclad marauder. The viking, in actuality a probably destitute and desperate person pushed from the liminal spaces of their society, forced to risk their life in order to sustain themselves, is depicted as a blood-hungry savage, intent on killing. In reality, vikings prefered quick sojourns on land with as much loot as possible while minimizing combat. Regardless, metal has chosen to view them as some omnipresent, ever threatening and efficient mercenary force, intent on as much damage as possible while holding a certain aloof and superior view towards mainland Europeans, hunting them like dogs. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. There exist several artists and bands within metal and its adjacent genres that work not only to represent Norse culture correctly but also to disseminate it to people around the world. These acts draw on the myriad atmospheres, influences and themes found in Norse texts to create a different image.
Yeah, that’s the actual title! Thanks for listening to us for 20 episodes now! We’re going to keep going. This week we talk about a bunch of new music, including Sylosis, Babymetal, Voivod, Myrkur, Vektor and Danny Tunker’s (Alkaloid) Bare Trap! We also talk about the controversial Patreon by Ne Obliviscaris. Then we go into two topics, the balance between being in a band with friends versus professionalism, and bands that take forever to release their next albums. Then we do our now-weekly “balls deep” on Blind Guardian, which we both really love! Also don’t forget the cool people time at the end!
Eden’s back! That’s good, because we have a lot of news to cover this week. David Bowie’s passing is obviously on our agenda, as is Stereogum’s analysis of Nielsen’s music report, Textures’s new single, Obscura’s new single, and the Behemoth/Myrkur U.S. tour. Then we go into the in depth discussions of the week, the first being my overall review of System of a Down’s career as a whole, since I discovered them last year, and the second being accents of singers who aren’t native English speakers and how that affects their music. Don’t forget the off topic section at the end as well!
Beginning as a solo project in 2009, Montreal’s Hands of Despair digitally released their debut album back in 2011. Billed as progressive death metal, the project developed into a fully-fledged band in 2014 and they’re now set to release their latest offering, Bereft, on February 9 2016 through Deathbound records.
Welcome to the final episode of the year! This week we go over what happened in the metal world in 2015, both in terms of our favorite albums of 2015, happenings in the scene, and some articles we published this year that we thought were noteworthy. At the end, we have a bonus discussion about our favorite movies and video games of the year!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again here: there is simply too much good music available these days. Far too much for any single human to seriously consume it all in any significant way and form meaningful opinions on it. In that sense, these kinds of end-of-year lists…
As a student of history, I have a hard time with categorizing and cataloging periods of time. These definitions always hide more than they reveal, neatly tucking away variations, deviations and anything else that might not fit the narrative they are trying to promulgate. However, that’s not to say that…