Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wulf's Official Response to Decibel Magazine's Top 100 Black Metal Albums (part 2)

89. "The Black House" - Krieg

Man, I always wanted to get into this album. I've already expressed my disdain for 90's USBM bands since they just seemed so lame compared with their European counterparts...however, the whole concept behind this particular record really intrigued me. Back when I was still a bit new to the scene in 2004 I just thought black metal for the most part just involved being Satanic and anti-Christian, so to read about a band who was doing something different lyrically was interesting to me. For those out of the loop, "The Black House" is somewhat of a weird autobiography of Imperial himself portrayed through some nightmarish musical lens. I should probably actually listen to the album before I talk about it in more detail, but I always wanted to sit down with this record and try to get a better idea of what Imperial's deal is. Great album cover too!!

88. "Those of the Unlight" - Marduk

Even though the album cover is fucking awesome, I think early Marduk is kind of mediocre. I don't know why people are so blown away by it! Yeah, it's got its strengths: Bogge's bass sounds great, the drum production matches the atmosphere, and Av Gravf's vocals are really well-done. However, what brings it down are too many mediocre riffs that don't go anywhere, as well as being a bit slow (compared to Marduk's later stuff) just doesn't do it for me. For me shit doesn't start getting real though until Legion and Fredrik Andersson are both in the band and take the intensity up a notch, although it's debatable who is the better vocalist between Legion and Av Gravf. My vote goes to Legion I suppose just because on he looks like this, whereas Av Gravf looks like this (and went on to play in Dimension Zero, which isn't very evil).
Anyway, Norwegian BM during this time was way better during this time as well. This shit is especially whack if you compare it to what Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal, Emperor, etc. were putting out in the early '90s. I know most BM elitists consider Marduk's pinnacle to be either this one, "Opus Nocturne", or "Heaven Shall Burn...When We Are Gathered", but what can I say?? I like my black metal fast and brutal, and Marduk doesn't start getting truly speedy until "Nightwing" (which I would much rather listen to than any of their albums that came before it). Still though, one of my favorite album covers!!

87. "Malice (Our Third Spell)" - Gehenna

I've never really listened to Gehenna. I know that they're an old-school Norwegian BM band from back in the day, but the only song I really know by them is "A Witch Is Born" from their second LP...I think it was back in 2003 or so and I had just read Lords of Chaos and was trying to check out as many new Scandinavian black metal bands as I could find, and this was their only song available on Kazaa. I remember thinking the track was pretty cool, but didn't like it enough to get my hands on any of their records. I'll come back and give this a listen later!!

86. "Black Thrash Attack" - Aura Noir

Surprise, surprise, I haven't listened to this album, sorry!! I know it's got a bunch of big names involved with it from the Norwegian BM scene and blah blah but I'll probably give it a listen after I check out Gehenna haha.

85. "Anno Domini" - Tormentor

God fucking damnit!! I haven't heard this either!! When I first saw this I was pretty surprised...Attila Csihar's old band's 1989 demo...yeah right! No one's heard that shit! Then I looked on metal-archives and saw that it has 9 reviews and a score of 92%. Ugh. I'll have to check it it really that good though?? These guys were like, 17 when this came out (yeah, I know so were the dudes in Emperor, but you know what I mean!!)!

84. "Thy Dying Light" - Judas Iscariot

First of all, I need to mention that the song title "His Eternal Life, Like a Dream Was Obliterated..." is one of my favorite song titles ever (it's also my favorite track on the album)!! Actually, all the song titles are pretty cool on this album...not too sure what the lyrics are since they're mostly just (allegedly) trance-induced improvised babbling (IIRC based on interviews with Akhenaten). I don't know why I enjoyed this album more than his others (besides "Heaven in Flames", that's a good one too). It's been awhile since I've listened to it, but I remember enjoying it because the songs are long, hypnotic, and depressing. Also, he seems like he was pretty fucking serious about this shit. Something about the ritualistic, hypnotic quality of the music and its mysteriousness just gets me. Why it applies to this album more than the others I can't remember, but this one stuck out in my mind as his best work along with "Heaven in Flames". I also just really enjoy listening to his psychotic babbling too! I like to imagine this was recorded on a cold day in a shitty part of DeKalb, Illinois, with weeks of physical and mental preparation and the actual music itself being an afterthought. Worth checking out, but I would put it a bit higher on this list, if at all.

83. "Fuck the Universe" - Craft

I listened to either this album or their latest ("Void") and remember thinking it was just OK. I should probably listen to it again though, as these guys seem pretty evil!!

82. "Gin" - Cobalt

Damn, this one's tough! I really wanted to like it, as Phil McSorley seems like an interesting cat based on his interviews. The fact that the record is all philosophical and nihilistic is cool, but the cover art is what really does it for me! I love it when there's just some old photograph or artwork (in this case, it's a portrait of a young Ernest Hemingway) with a metal logo superimposed randomly on the cover. It's too bad that Cobalt's logo is kind of lame; I prefer the traditional, completely illegible BM logo, but whatever. Anyway, I remember the music on this album to be interesting and fairly original, but nothing special enough to cement itself on some underground metal magazine's Top 100 Black Metal Albums list. I've always been meaning to give it another chance though, as well as Cobalt's earlier albums. Anyway, as with many of these albums on this list, I'll have to revisit it sometime soon to make a final judgement!

81. "Min Tid Skal Commme" - Fleurety

This is one band I come across like once a year when I'm drinking wine by myself on a Friday night and digging through metal-archives for random crap. While usually I'm drawn to experimental black metal, I really don't want to like these dudes just because I think their name sucks (yeah it's supposedly the name of a demon, but that demon picked a pretty shitty sounds like something Tom Cruise would name his daughter or some shit) and the guys just look like dorks. Anyway, I'm just talking out of my ass, I'm sure this is a wonderful album. I'll check it out soon enough!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Seasons in the Abyss

Well, another autumn seems to be abruptly coming to an end. Autumn always makes me feel reflective and a bit nostalgic, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. For some reason, during this autumn in particular, I happened to listen to a lot of albums and bands that remind me of specific times in my life. Most of the bands and albums I stumbled on to were not on purpose, though it seemed like an unconscious force was leading me towards them.

Listening to bands and albums for which I have such strong mnemonic associations lead me to think about how we are possibly (stick with me here) unconsciously drawn to music that we perceive to "fit" into a certain season while that season is occurring. Honestly, now that I write that out, it sounds like a complete pile of horseshit.

However, I think we can all agree, for example, that listening to "Blizzard Beasts" or "Transylvanian Hunger" in the snowy dead of winter makes a whole lot more goddamn sense than listening to them in the blistering heat of the summer.

So after some considerable deliberation, I thought I would list some Metal bands that I think "fit" into a certain season. Of course, you can listen to these bands and albums any goddamn time you want. But to harness their trve power, you have to play them during the right time of year.
Note: I tried to avoid some obvious choices, such as the aforementioned "Blizzard Beasts" for Winter.
The Triumph of Spring
In the spring I picture myself prancing upon fields of tulips and lilac, biking along rivers, and picnicking as the sun bathes me in it's nurturing, uh...not exactly the most Metal of experiences.

It was for this very reason that spring was the most difficult season for which to think of examples. Normally we think of spring as a time of rebirth and new beginnings. This is a problem when it comes to matching this with appropriate Metal bands or albums, because - let's face it - about 90% of Metal lyrically deals with destruction, death, evil, and just about everything that is opposite of concepts of rebirth and new beginnings. So I had to think of happy, triumphant-sounding Metal - namely, Power and Progressive Metal.


Nothing says "EPIC TRIUMPH OF SPRING FLOWERS!" like Dragonforce!

Blind Guardian

Summer Slaughter of the Liver
When I think of summer, I picture myself at BBQs, the beach, and back patio and deck parties. I picture myself drinking outside, going on road trips, and...did I mention drinking outside? In short - carefree, good-times Metal.
I thought Motorhead would have been too obvious of a choice for summer, so I chose Speedwolf who are heavily heavily heavily influenced by Lemmy and his merry band of drunken minstrels.
OK, maybe an obvious choice...but how could I forego listing the ultimate Metal party band of the post-millenium!

Demon of the Fall
As I mentioned in the introduction, fall for me is a time of reflection and bittersweet nostalgia. For this reason, fall is also an ideal time for Graduation Day Metal (a term coined by Mark of the Beast, which is basically synonymous with Shoegaze Metal). For fall, I picture myself hiking (by myself, of course) with the colored leaves falling all around me thinking about...what...could...have...been.
For whatever reason, the French have metal for autumn down pat.


Black Winter Days
This was by far the easiest season to come up with examples for. I mean, c'mon...the most grim and kvlt season of them all!  I imagine myself trudging through the never-ending snow-laden tundra.  Or wandering aimlessly in the forest as snow falls around me.  That or just losing my mind while thrashing around in my bed, because I haven't seen the sun in four months and can't stop reading philosophy for whatever reason.  Really hard to narrow all the choices down, but I focused mostly on Doom and Black Metal.
How can it possibly get more grim or cold than Xasthur?!


Nowadays, people can't seem to stop cumming in their pants over "grim" and "kvlt" production values in Black Metal releases (the majority of which I can only assume were recorded exclusively using Yak Baks). But for me, there aren't many releases that are more "grimly cold" than the slick-sounding "Storm of the Light's Bane".
(old) Katatonia
New Katatonia isn't quite as dread-inducing as their older material, so I included an old favorite of mine as the last entry.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wulf's Official Response to Decibel Magazine's Top 100 Black Metal Albums (part 1)

It's come to my attention that Decibel Magazine just released a special issue that lists their picks for the top 100 black metal albums of all time. Usually these sorts of things do nothing really except bring out an endless spew of whining and complaining from the internet's vast legions of IMNs, but we here at Malicious Intent (i.e. me) felt left out from the party and decided to weigh in with our own thoughts on this controversial list. Here we go!!

100. "Ominious Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm" - Inquisition

#100?? Seriously?? This should be much higher, as it's one of the best black metal albums to come out since 2000!! Killer stuff. Dagon's guitar-playing is top-notch, his croak is gnarly, and the way they layer the instruments in their songs is tastier than the new 7 Layer Bean Dip Crunchwrap Supreme at Taco Bell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously though, even Inquisition's lyrics are both interesting and original as well...most bands blather on about Satan and blah blah, but their take on "cosmic Satanism" is refreshing. As someone who's scared shitless of outer space after reading H.P. Lovecraft and taking astronomy courses in college, these lyrics resonate with me much more than talking about dying and going to Hell or whatever LaVey was trying to convey in The Satanic Bible.
On a side note, I actually met Inquisition when I was living in Sydney, Australia...really nice guys!! Friendly yet soft-spoken and a bit intense, I found these guys to be really cool and genuinely interested in meeting their fans and hanging out. If you're going to check out Inquisition, I would say it's perfectly reasonable just to enjoy the music as it is, but if you read the lyrics along with it I feel like it adds an extra dimension (so to speak) to it that solidifies it in my mind as a masterpiece!!

99. "Vampires of Black Imperial Blood" - Mütiilation

I've never actually listened to Mütiilation (or any other LLN band for that matter) so I'm kind of a n00b when it comes to old school French BM. I'll check it out very soon, but I still refuse to believe that it's going to be better than some of the lunacy the French have been sending our way in the past few years via Blut aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Peste Noire, Spektr, etc. Anyway, yeah yeah I'm sure this is a great album...NEXT!!

EDIT, APRIL 2015: Finally checked out this album.   I haven't listened any other LLN bands at the moment, but from what I've read this is supposed to be the pinnacle of that collective.   It's not bad!   I kind of dig the atmosphere and overall vision of what they seem to be going for, but as far as songwriting goes this isn't very good.   However, I definitely respect this record in terms of influence (raw minimalism, experimentation, vaguely romantic atmosphere), especially within the French BM scene.   I suppose this spot on the list is appropriate for this album, but it's definitely not better than anything Inquisition has put out, EVER!!

98. "Tentacles of Whorror" - Leviathan

First of all, this cover art is fucking insane. I really have no idea what to make of's so bizarre and creepy that I'm just going to let it speak for itself. That being said, I've really tried to get into Leviathan and while I think it's interesting stuff, if we're talking one-man USBM then I'd much rather listen to Xasthur! I usually tend to go for the more atmospheric stuff to see where it takes my imagination, but for whatever reason it doesn't quite do it for me. I still need to check out his later albums tho, plus I'm sure at some point I'll revisit his earlier stuff. I did enjoy his Lurker of Chalice stuff tho, IIRC it's much more atmospheric and strange.

97. "Ordo ad Chao" - Mayhem

This is another great album that should be higher on the list. Yeah, yeah, it's maybe not as good as De Mysteriis, but it's arguably Mayhem's second best LP. Damn...isn't it crazy to think that Mayhem has only released four full-lengths??
Anyway, I haven't listened to this album in awhile but I remember this used to be a favorite to pass out listening to after a night of utter madness!! I don't know why, but it always reminds me of that one scene in Time Bandits where they're trying to escape from the hanging cages (or the last third of the movie where they enter the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness).

96. "Infiltration.Downfall.Death" - Revenge

I've never heard of these dudes, let alone listened to this album. I guess it's a Canadian black metal supergroup of sorts with Pete from Angelcorpse thrown in the mix? I'm pretty unfamiliar with Canadian black metal like Axis of Advance, Weapon, Conqueror, and Blasphemy. Sorry, not really much to say except that their band name is lame and they don't look like very nice guys :(

95. "V - Halmstad" - Shining

I remember when I got this promo in the mail and thinking "WTF is this?" Back then, DSBM hadn't quite become the popular subgenre that it is today, but I would argue that this was a very important album in bringing that style to the metal masses (or at least me haha). And I hadn't even heard of their legendary stage shows or all the drama surrounding Niklas Kvarforth's disappearance, addictions, mental health problems, etc. Yeah, it's pretty emo and I'm not really sure what to make of Kvarforth...he's a weird guy with a big ego for sure, but his vocal performance on this record is great!! I need to give it another listen, but at the time I hadn't quite heard music so atmospheric, depressing, and experimental, and yet at the same time still vaguely be categorized as black metal. I would say this should be higher on the list as well, kvlt warriors be damned (in black)!!

94. "Triarchy of the Lost Lovers" - Rotting Christ

I'm more familiar with Rotting Christ's newer stuff, but I thought this was the album where they started exploring a more gothic rock kind of sound or whatever. I could be wrong, maybe that's "A Dead Poem"...either way, I hate to say it but while I've listened to this album I really don't remember it at all. Sorry!! For what it's worth, I really enjoy some of Rotting Christ's newer stuff!!

93. "La sanie des siècles - Panégyrique de la dégénérescence" - Peste Noire

It's too bad that Famine's such a racist hooligan, because this band's music is awesome!! I put PN in the same boat as Nokturnal Mortum or Graveland; politically-incorrect bands that write some really killer stuff. Anyway, we're focusing on the music here, so I just want to say that I've been a huge fan of this album (PN's best, by the way) ever since Mark of the Beast played it on Malicious Intent years ago. I was blown away by the sloppy, punky attitude of Famine's guitar-playing, combined with his fucking insane vocals and the music's bizarre experimentation. Listening to this always made me think of a Bubonic Plague-stricken France, with peasants living in squalor, cities crumbling, and plague doctors wearing those bird beak gas masks running around trying to save the day all while the unwashed masses hysterically scream for forgiveness within vast cathedrals. Every Peste Noire album has gotten weirder since, but it's still been an awesome ride!! I just wish Famine wasn't such a bird brain!!

92. "Welcome to My Last Chapter" - Vinterland

Damn, 13 reviews and 94% on I've never heard of these guys!! I'll be sure to check it out very soon.

91. "Göetia" - Mystifier

This album cover is awesome!! Sadly, I've never listened to Mystifier even tho I always feel like Brazilian bands come off as way more evil than anyone from North America or Western Europe...I have no idea why. Maybe because so many MMA fighters come fom there?
Anyway, sorry it's amateur hour at Malicious Intent right now!!

90. "Le Secret" - Alcest

Annnndd to finish off with what started with a bang and is rapidly ending in a whimper, we have Alcest's "Le Secret", which I've never listened to!! I'm quite familiar with the Neige's back story and their full-length releases, but I've never listened to this EP. I'm sure it's great though!! I remember Ty from Hammerlord saying that he really liked this release more than their later stuff. Or maybe he was talking about Amesoeurs and their "Ruines Humaines" EP, I can't remember.

Sorry this ended up being kind of shitty! It's pretty disheartening because I really thought I knew my black metal!! Looks like I've got some catching up to do!! Check in soon for further analysis of Decibel's Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time, more zany stories, and mildly interesting commentary!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Grym Kym Interviews: Episode 1

One of my favorite things ever is to ask people what their opinions are on music, especially when under the influence of alcohol or other things.  This interview with Grym Kym was conducted sometime in the freezing Winter of 2012, in the middle of the night outside of town.

WULF:  OK, it's 13 degrees (farenheit), and (Grym Kym) wants to go outside for a cigarrette. 

GRYM KYM:  Well, I'd like to see the stars, actually, because, to be honest with you, that's a fair argument...
(We were listening to black metal, after all...)

WULF:  OK, well let's go see the stars...I'm not gonna lose a metal argument here, to Grym Kym...
(to our audience) Even though you know what?   You know what really sucks?  Grym Kym doesn't know this right now, 
but this is Grym Kym (G-R-Y-MK-Y-M), (and) she's unaware of the existence of Grim Kim Kelly, who is (already) a famous metal writer-
Grim Kim Kelly, NOT Grym Kym

WULF:  Her name is Kim Kelly...

GRYM KYM:  I guess my dreams are completely dashed now.

WULF:  Well, you can spell yours with a "y", the only problem though is that it wouldn't make a difference except (Grim) 
Kim Kelly posted a comment on the Malicious Intent website to Judge Dredd's post in which he linked an article
that she wrote.

GRYM KYM:  Which one?

WULF:   I don't remember.

GRYM KYM:  I read a couple of them...a couple of Judge Dredd's.

WULF:  Yeah, I don't remember.

GRYM KYM:  It seems like he was really kind of taking the reins there...

WULF: Yeah, no definitely.  Well, the thing is, the biggest problem I think I have is as far as productivity goes is that
whenever I have a lot of free time, I'm not very productive. Whenever I'm really busy, I'm very productive.  

GRYM KYM:  Actually, to be honest with you, I think you actually do a pretty good job.  Coming from somebody
who's not productive at all-

WULF:  A good job of what?

GRYM KYM:  Being productive!  On a semi-regular basis, I think you do a very good job.

WULF:  Well, that's very sweet Grym Kym, thank you.

GRYM KYM:  I wasn't trying to be sweet.

WULF:  Well, you know, you're a sweet person.  But anyway, OK, I just want to say, for those who are listening-

GRYM KYM:  Oh, I forgot about-

WULF:  Yeah, we're recording!  For those who are listening, Grym Kym and I are out in the middle of-

GRYM KYM:  Well, who are you?  You haven't introduced yourself.

WULF:  I'm Wulf.  We are in the middle of like, really fucking cold weather.

GRYM KYM:  Only 13 degrees.

1.   "The Funeral Wind Born in Oriana" - Nokturnal Mortum

"Nechrist"-era Nokturnal Mortum
WULF:  (It's) 13 degrees Fahrenheit, and we are in the middle of the frozen wastes of Kansas, and we are looking at the stars
and the moon and farmhouses and Grym Kym just heard Nokturnal Mortum's "Nechrist" for the first time...not the album,
just the first track.  I was explaining to her, about how...they were obviously really into the Ukraine (being) their homeland and (that) they incorporate a lot of folk elements or whatever... ...Grym Kym, what do you have to say?

GRYM KYM:  I was just going to say, I thought you wanted my opinion on it, but you're going into the history of it,
and that's fine.

WULF:  Well yeah, but that all leads up to-
Knjaz Varggoth back in the dizay
GRYM KYM:  Well I just thought that he sounded really upset and-

WULF:  Who?

GRYM KYM:  The singer...I thought he sounded really upset.

WULF:  Knjaz Varggoth is his name.

GRYM KYM:  I also felt like he probably experienced maybe extreme, cold winters but also I feel like the string
folk section sounded a lot like Korpiklaani, and tell me I'm crazy for that, but it sounded a little gypsy-ish,
you know?  And that's my intelligent contribution to this metal discussion-

WULF:  Well here's the thing, I know that you are well-versed in folk (metal), but maybe not the (black/folk metal)

GRYM KYM:  Well that was actually kind of a new combo for me.  That actually made me laugh a lot.

WULF:  OK, well what I want to ask you is, what do you think of the whole onslaught of the sound though?  
GRYM KYM:  The onslaught of the sound?

WULF:  Yeah, like when that first came on-

GRYM KYM:  OK, I got a little excited.

WULF:  But you were like, OK, this is too much, I can't handle this, and you changed the track, and I was like,
no, you gotta wait for like, the shit to come-

GRYM KYM:  OK, fair.  For the stuff that I actually enjoy listening to I would say that for like, pure black metal,
I care for symphonic, and apparently, I care for folk a little bit, I give it, maybe, a 5 out of 10, maybe even
a 6, a little bit-

WULF:  But don't you think they make up for it, though, in like, enthusiasm?  And what I think what really does it for
Old pic of Munruthel
me is, like, it would be one thing if it was just like, the guy screaming and the folk elements, (but) what really does it for me (is) Munruthel's-

GRYM KYM:  Munruthel?

WULF:   The drumming.  The drumming is so frantic!  And is so intense and so urgent, you know what
I mean?  It's so like, "you need to listen to this".

GRYM KYM:  I did feel that, when it was the screaming, kind of your basic black metal, and the folk came in, and it hit you, and you were like "whoa", like, this is getting a little weird at this point, and then yes the drums, you know, with that, as well, and then the onslaught of the sound, I would say, will surprise you.

WULF:   But did it make you kind of like, want to do a little jig?  Made you kind of want to dance around?

GRYM KYM:  Well, yeah.  Anytime I hear something like that, I kind of want to dance a little bit, BUT at the same time I'm thinking, 'well I'm listening to a bunch of nazis and they're really upset because they
sound so upset you know...

WULF:  Do you think they're OK?


WULF:  You don't think they're OK?


WULF:  I'm sorry.

GRYM KYM:  Well it was your topic.

WULF:  Well that was Grym Kym's judgement of the first track off of "Nechrist" (A Funeral Wind Born in Oriana") by Nokturnal Mortum, and we're going to continue.

2.   "Moon Shrouded in Misery, Part 1" - Xasthur

OK, so we just listened to the second track off of the Xasthur (demo) "A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors", but Grym Kym, what do you think of Xasthur?

GRYM KYM:  Of Xasthur, or his music?

WULF:  The music!

GRYM KYM:  The music itself?

WULF:  You just told me you had a whole story-

GRYM KYM:  Sure, but you just asked what I thought of Xasthur.

WULF:  OK, OK, but what's the story that you have in your head (while you were) closing your eyes and listening to it for a little while.

GRYM KYM:   OK, well this is just something that came to me.  (As) I shut my eyes and I listened to Xasthur and his opus, I felt like I was creeping through a castle, that had, like, water dripping from the ceiling, and most of the stairs were crumbled away, and it was a spiral (staircase) up the tower so you had to really get close to the walls while you were creeping up and be careful not to step on any crumbling stairs.  I felt like I got up to the top of the tower, and I don't think it was really me, it was probably someone else. Maybe Xasthur himself.
Malefic right before he told a real knee-slapper
WULF:  Malefic?

GRYM KYM:  Whatever.
So he walks through this doorway, nothing special about it, and there's like this billowing, purple curtain.  And he stands there for a moment because he can't decide, should he get it over with and open the curtain?  Or should he flee?  Because there's this horrible dread in his stomach.  And the curtain is billowing, there's obviously a draft coming through.  And he just like, pulls the curtain away, to reveal a very dark room with high ceilings.  It's the top of the tower.  And everything's OK, he sees like a chair, a makeshift throne in the center of the room with candles on either side.  There's nobody in the chair.  But then his eyes kind of adjust to the darkness and he sees all of his companions impaled and dead on spikes (that) encircle the room.  And the candlelight is flickering on their corpses.  And he's pissed off about it!  And that's about as far as I got.

WULF:  OK.  Well, I think that's good enough so far, obviously the whole album is a journey.  The album was called-

GRYM KYM:  "Xasthur's Fun Times."

WULF:  "A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors".  So I think that kind of matches up!  I think this is very productive so far.
We're going to continue.

3.   "Ashen Cold" - Summoning

WULF:  OK, well personal things aside, we just listened to (the album) "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame" by Summoning.  
(Grym Kym laughs)
OK, I just told you that it was funny-

GRYM KYM:  I know, no, it's funny to say that-

WULF:  OK, now it's funny?!

GRYM KYM:  No, it's funny to have an interview where you go "alright, well we've been gone for awhile, but, uh, personal things aside...

WULF:  Yeah!  It's funny!!  But no, you laughed when I said-

GRYM KYM:  But it's not funny to cry to an Austrian metal band.  It's not funny!  I didn't cry for the record.  At all.

WULF:  OK, yeah, but the thing is-

GRYM KYM:  OK, I cried the whole time.

WULF:  OK, but all personal things aside you did laugh when I told you the album name, which was "Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame", by Summoning.

GRYM KYM:  Eh...I didn't laugh that much.

WULF:  Well you laughed a little bit.  I played the first track, and it was OK, but-

GRYM KYM:  No, the first track was awesome.

WULF:  OK, well that's good, but the track that things got a little emotional (for)-

GRYM KYM:  For (Wulf)...
Wulf got really emotional.

WULF:   Yeah, but it was the track "Ashen Cold" which is my favorite track, that I played for Grym Kym.  OK, so, personal things aside, what did you think of that track?  What did you like?

GRYM KYM:  That track had a little bit of everything.  It had a little bit of mystery...I wish I could go into details, I wish I could talk about it while it was happening because I can't remember it that well.  I know it had a lot of...well, it was mostly uplifting, the tune and the melody of the song was very uplifting.  But then I felt like once the vocals came in it got a little confused.  As well as being an uplifting song, I feel like perhaps the vocals were not as high-spirited as the melody.  But that is what's great about a lot of oldies songs, because they always have really depressing lyrics to really uplifting beats.

Well that's one thing to say, however-

GRYM KYM:  But I don't know what they were saying.

WULF:  But don't you think though that as far as the melody goes and matching the "Lord of the Rings" kind of theme, don't you think like it could have been orc singing?

GRYM KYM:  Oh!  Well I've heard orcs singing before and-

WULF:  Yeah, but the harsh vocals-

GRYM KYM:  I didn't take (orcs) for singers but that's fine-

WULF:  Well one reason why I think harsh vocals mesh well with being (in this style of music) is because I kind of sense it's like, channeling this like, "old world" kind of (feeling) or atmosphere of, like, a creature, or this really crazy warrior or barbarian...but that's why sometimes those vocals don't work well with me when bands are trying to be taken more seriously.  Like, bands like Opeth or Enslaved, where they're like critically acclaimed and it's like, bordering on serious musicianship as far as like, comparing them to bands like Pink Floyd or something.  But then the harsh vocals come in and-

GRYM KYM:  In a way to be more metal, or to keep up with the times, or why do they do it?

WULF:  Well, I think they have the harsh vocals because it's still extreme music, but when it comes to bands like Opeth and Enslaved, it's like because it's like they're still trying...or not necessarily trying...or maybe they are trying?, like, continue that sort of sound but they want to be taken seriously as far as musicians, as far as "The Greats" go and shit.  It's just weird for those bands that are really serious musicians that are bordering on, like, crossing (into) the mainstream...that's why Opeth, on their latest album, they just ditched harsh vocals.

GRYM KYM:  And then what happened?

WULF:  They pretty much just ditched metal.

GRYM KYM:  Well how did that work for them?  Did it work out?

WULF:  For Opeth?  Some people liked the new album, but I didn't like it, but it's not because there (weren't) harsh vocals, I just didn't think it was very good.  But like, if they had put harsh vocals over it, it would have been silly.  But I feel like they've been trying for awhile to, like, ditch metal, because they want to be taken seriously.

GRYM KYM:  So what do they have if they're not metal?  Are they easy-listening?

WULF:  No, just a rock band.

GRYM KYM:  Oh, a rock band...

WULF:   Yeah...but not rock like Clutch or like Witchcraft or something like that, you know what I mean?  Witchcraft are somehow still considered a metal band, or a quasi/proto metal (band) or whatever.

brb, submitting The Black Keys to
GRYM KYM:  I thought they were like, doom...doom-ey.

WULF:  Yeah, they're doom-ey, but like-

GRYM KYM:  They sound like a garage rock band.

WULF:  Yeah!  They're not like, really metal, they're kind of-

GRYM KYM:  They do sound more like The Black Keys than they sound like, you know, Celtic Frost or something.

WULF:  Yeah right!  But I think there are bands like, for example, a metal band.

GRYM KYM:  Blind Guardian.

WULF:  OK, Blind Guardian, right?  Blind Guardian don't even use harsh vocals, right?  But like, what would it take for Blind Guardian to become, like, acclaimed to the point where you would bring them up to people that are really serious about good rock music and are way into the great guitarists of bands and all that shit, and are like "yeah, I'm really into Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd", or even new guitarists like Jack White (of The White Stripes), and all that shit.

GRYM KYM:  He's good.

WULF:  Yeah I know!  He's a really good guitarist, right?

GRYM KYM:  He's a good singer too.

Obviously better than Jack White just by looking at him
WULF:  Yeah!  And you'd be like, "Jack White is a great guitarist, but have you ever heard the Blind Guardian guitarists?"

GRYM KYM:  That would never happen!!
So Opeth thinks that's going to happen for them?

WULF:  Well no, but here's the thing, it's like, yeah, we laugh, but metal fans would be like, "oh yeah, like, the Blind Guardian guitarists are way, way better than Jack White.  Obviously."  You know?  Or maybe not, maybe we're selling metal fans short...or maybe I am.

GRYM KYM:  But it's completely different!  I mean, it's a different art(form) altogether, I think.  It's hard to compare two completely different genres like that.

WULF:  Yeah that's true.  You're right.  But, as a metal fan, I'll even put myself out there and say that I feel like if you look at mainstream stuff, as far as like, Rolling Stone's, top 100 guitarists of all time, or 400, or whatever, the latest issue was, top 200 guitarists of all time, you're not going to have a lot of metal guys.

GRYM KYM:  But then if you did a metal-specific one it would be completely different.  Well if you did any genre-specific (list) I'm sure-

WULF:  But that book that you got me-

GRYM KYM:  Was it good?

WULF:  The Blind Guardian guitarists were on there.  Yeah, it was great!  It was really good!  I was very happy with it.  But, it's metal guitarists.

GRYM KYM:  Are you saying, perhaps, that metal guitarists get overlooked as far as skill goes because of the genre that they're playing?  Like, these guys can be 10x better than Santana and not get any recognition because of the genre that they're playing?  Because they can shred, like, insanely shred, and then you have Carlos Santana playing lame-ass shit with Matchbox 20, but he's good at his solos-

WULF:  Yeah, definitely.

GRYM KYM:  And then the guys in Dream Theater...
I'm just kidding, I just hate them.  20-minute you think they're neckbeards?

WULF:  I don't know, whatever.  But what I want to say is that Mikael Akerfeldt, as great a guitarist as he is, or John Petrucci, or whatever, or maybe I'm overstepping with John Petrucci, but Mikael Akerfeldt or the Blind Guardian guitarists, as good as they are, or whoever-

GRYM KYM:  But they don't get recognized in the mainstream.

WULF:  Great, like, metal guitarists are a lot of great, I don't mean like "mainstream great" like Dave Mustaine or somebody, but like, I don't know, Blind Guardian or whoever, like, fucking Mikael Akerfeldt at least right now would probably not get into those lists even though he's a great guitarist, but that's why I feel like those bands like Enslaved or (whoever) are really trying to almost, may not even consciously do it, but-

GRYM KYM:  Break out of the genre confines?

WULF:  Yeah, unconsciously trying to legitimize themselves, or maybe they're just even sick of metal, or whatever.

GRYM KYM:  I hear what you're saying.

WULF:  But it's unconsciously being like, we're good musicians and trying...I shouldn't say trying, but you know (what I mean).

GRYM:  Like compare any guy who can do double bass to Ringo Starr.

WULF:  Yes!!   That's a great example!

(EDIT:  This may or may not be real, but if it is it then it makes Ringo slightly more metal...although I don't think he'd be cut out to drum for Fleshgod Apocalypse anytime soon.)

GRYM KYM:  I know, I get what you're saying, I do.

WULF:  If Rolling Stone did the top 300 drummers of all time, like, Dave Lombardo of Slayer would probably be on there, but compared to modern drummers now, Dave Lombardo, like...he's influential to them, (there are) guys (who) could wayyy kick his ass as far as really crazy, insane drumming (goes), but they're not going to get recognized.

GRYM KYM:  Because they're playing metal.

WULF:  Because they're playing metal!  I think that is a very good argument.

GRYM:  No, I agree with you, I'm not arguing.

WULF:  No, I'm not saying you're arguing with me, I'm saying we're both arguing that that's a great point.  That's a very great point.  But that's why I think those bands are doing that, consciously or unconsciously.  Anyway, we'll continue on, that was a great Summoning debate, there.

GRYM KYM:  All personal things aside.

WULF:  We'll continue on with maybe one more.

4.   "The Shining" - Anorexia Nervosa

WULF:  OK, we just listened to Anorexia Nervosa's last (full-length) album before they went on an indefinite hiatus, "The Redemption Process" I believe.  We just listened to the first track, and we listened to a little bit to the intro and then, like, the first 45 seconds after that, of "Sister September".  So, Grym Kym, what did you think?

GRYM KYM:  Well, I hate to admit it, but as of late I've been listening to a lot of The Black Keys, and listening to Pandora (and) kind of hipster-ey music lately, and I've gotten to hear a lot of songs that I haven't heard before, and kind of exploring that branch, that genre of music a little bit, but I have to say, out of all the music that I've listened to in the last, you know, pretty long time, that band just now was the most enjoyment I've gotten out of listening to music-

WULF:  Yeah, see-

GRYM KYM:  If that makes any sense, there's this element to their music that I've heard in other symphonic black metal bands, and I don't know which instrument it is, the synthesizer, but certain melodies just sound like you're in a castle...does that make sense at all?  There's the haunting, like, pipes, or's very medieval-sounding and creepy and...energizing, and I would have to say that I would even classify that as kind of like, castle metal.

Grym Kym at one point asked me if I thought
they left their wigs on when they had sex...
It remains a mystery to us to this day.
WULF:  See, I'm biased when I'm listening to Anorexia Nervosa because they're from France, so when I listen to their shit I feel as if I'm transported back to like, the French Revolution, and automatically when I listen to (their music) I have visions of people in like, powdered wigs, and makeup, and moles, and really ridiculous hair and costumes and all that shit.

GRYM KYM:  That sounds really fun.

WULF:  The orchestra and all that stuff reminds me of it, but the violence of the music of the French Revolution so I think of like, the guillotine and really violent mobs rising up against the royalty and the decadence.  But at the same time I also think of simply the decadence.  You know what I mean? Like, the decadence of the royalty and I don't know, massive feasts and orgies and-

GRYM KYM:  That's not what I was thinking of.

WULF:  Well that's what I think of.  But not like, happiness, like-

GRYM KYM:  Denial?

WULF:  Well, I don't know, yeah, maybe.  But just decadence and (the) very kind of nihilistic attitude of that whole era, I suppose, in France.

GRYM KYM:   OK, well I just thought it was great castle metal, so that's all I'm gonna say.  I really enjoyed it, and I did see the similarity to Cradle of Filth, but I felt that with (Anorexia Nervosa's) instrumentals and melodies, it was a bit better than Cradle of Filth.

WULF:  OK, but here's the thing, and here's what I challenge you on, is yeah it reminds you of being in a castle but that really fast kind of urgency and all that stuff, what does that remind you of?

GRYM KYM:  That one part, or just the crazy-

WULF:  The gunshot and the really fast burst of-

GRYM KYM:  What did that make me think of?

WULF:  Yeah, because being in a castle is one thing, with the epicness, but-

GRYM KYM:  Sure, but I wasn't even saying that I was picturing a castle so much that the kind of instrumentals they were using, especially the beginning, sounded just like a castle, like your stereotypical castle-

WULF:  Right, but the really fast, crazy...what does that remind you of?

GRYM KYM:  Well I can tell you it didn't remind me of powdered wigs and moles and revolvers if that's what you're asking.

WULF:  Well they didn't have revolvers, but (they had) the (flintlock) pistol-

A masterpiece. 
GRYM KYM:  Well, excuse me, history major-

WULF:  Well didn't it remind you of The Man in the Iron Mask?

GRYM KYM:  Well I could see that-

WULF:  Come on!  I haven't seen that movie in like 14 years but-

GRYM KYM:  Me neither but Nathan and I tried to find it one time.  We were like obsessed...we just thought of it one day and became obsessed with the idea of watching The Man in the Iron Mask.

WULF:  Yeah!  I want to watch that!

GRYM KYM:  We could probably watch it right now.

WULF:  Pirate Bay that shit.  It would be like...Leonardo DiCaprio has not been in such form-

GRYM KYM:  Did you hear that he's taking a break?  Anyway, let's get back to the metal.

WULF:  Wait, hold on.

GRYM KYM:  He's taking an acting break.

WULF:  Well that's a good segue into...maybe nothing...or hold on, he's taking a break?  Are we going to get sued for libel here?  He's taking a break?

GRYM KYM:  He's taking a break from acting.

WULF:  Django was just too much for him?

GRYM KYM:  He said he'd done three films in the last two years and he was exhausted, but he still has to do this whole publicity tour for The Great Gatsby.

WULF:   Ohhhh, what a hard life.

GRYM KYM:  I know, right?  And he said he wanted to travel around and save the environment.  I think he's having a breakdown.

WULF:  He's like, I already adopted seven kids from Africa, what more do you want from me??

GRYM KYM:  He didn't though, he's a playboy.

WULF:  I know, I just made that up.  That was silly.  I shouldn't say that.  I don't mean to downplay anyone who's done that.

GRYM KYM:  I hope you're not recording anymore because this has gotten off the rails.

WULF:  I'm still recording.

GRYM KYM:  This has gone off the rails.

WULF:  OK, so Anorexia Nervosa, you think (they're) better than Cradle of Filth?

GRYM KYM:  Yeah!

WULF:  Better than Dimmu Borgir?

GRYM KYM:  Um...I don't know.

WULF:  Do you remember (them)?

GRYM KYM:  Yeah I do! They're awesome!

WULF:  OK, so is Anorexia Nervosa the best metal band you've ever heard in your life?


WULF:  Well who's better?
Haggard- best listened to when driving to Home Depot,

GRYM KYM:  Well, I really like Haggard.

WULF:  Haggard's better?

GRYM KYM:  I wouldn't...well, what do you mean "better"?  Better to my tastes, or which do I prefer?

WULF:  Yeah, which do you prefer?

GRYM KYM:  I think I'd rather drive around running errands listening to Haggard-

WULF:  Because yeah, personally I'd rather listen to fucking Devourment than Megadeth.

GRYM KYM:  Well, let's hear it.

WULF:  OK, well, Devourment is up next.

5.   "Abomination Unseen" - Devourment

WULF:  OK, so we just listened to Devourment's "Unleash the Carnivores", and I think Devourment is one of the greatest death metal bands of all time.  Grym Kym?

GRYM KYM:  Well, I'm not a fan of death metal in general.

WULF:  OK, fair enough.  Do you think the best part was the intro?  We listened to track 2, I think it was "Devoured by Pigs" but maybe I'm not sure.
But it was track 2 off of "Unleash the Carnivores".  So whatever that song was.  But you felt the best part was just the intro of that guy talking?

GRYM KYM:  Yeah, that was insane, I enjoyed that clip a lot.  I think that if it is real then that's fucking cool.  To incorporate that into your music, I think that's awesome, I mean...I don't know, I like anything macabre and creepy and disturbing, so to think that that was an actual clip from a serial killer, like on trial or whatever else, an interview on 60 minutes, I think that's really cool!  I liked it.  The drums were good-

WULF:  But you didn't like the cool, like, groove/slam, you couldn't just ride it?

GRYM KYM:  Well, I've heard it before!

WULF:  From who?

GRYM KYM:  I've heard bands like that!  You've made me listen to bands like that, that have that kind of beat to it.  It sounds the same to me.  I'm personally just not a fan.  It made me listen to Brujeria or whatever.  I don't know, I'm just not a fan of death metal, but I can see how they'd be good because I thought the quality was good-

WULF:  Do you feel like you would like it a lot more if you were drunk at a live setting?

GRYM KYM:  Oh, yeah!!  But that's completely different!

WULF:  So if you were drunk in a live setting would you be going crazy?

GRYM KYM:  Yes!  Absolutely!

WULF:  You'd be like, "this is the best band of all time!!"

GRYM KYM:  Well, I'm trying to have an intelligent discussion with you, and it's not working.
But nearly every metal band I would be having a really good time listening to.

WULF:  Live?

GRYM KYM:  Yeah, live.

WULF:  So would you say (with) every metal band live, you'd just be having a ball?

GRYM KYM:  Except for doom and sludge.  And maybe stoner metal as well.  Those are going to kind of make me bored.  Lookin' around at everything.

WULF:  So if you were stoned at a stoner metal show you'd be bored, but if you were stoned at a black metal show you'd be having fun?

GRYM KYM:  If I were anything at a black metal show I'd be having fun.

WULF:  If you were bored at a black metal show you'd be having fun?


WULF:  Alright!  Well it's like 4:30 in the morning so...Grym Kym, any last words?


WULF:  OK, so we're doing this next week?


WULF:  Alright, Wulf (and Grym Kym) signing off.