Friday, October 2, 2015

Exercises in Futility, a.k.a. "What I´ve been listening lately".

While I´m still trying to find some time to write that little studio diary, here´s something I wrote before that. Music recommendations straight outta Trollhorn´s playlist, summer/ autumn 2015, var så goda!

Skogen: I Döden (Nordvis Productions, 2014)

Take one portion of Drudkh. Add a bit of Burzum and Agalloch, and boil for eight minutes. Then start slowly pouring that pinch of Satyricon from the bag to the mix...OOPS! Yeah, I said "a PINCH", you Skogskalle! Not the whole bag! Scraping the worst excessive Satyricon away, add some Kveldssanger while stirring the pot. Let the stew cook for an hour in slow pace and add shamelessly good pop- melodies and reverby choirs last. Serve warm from an unwashed wooden plate to be enjoyed in solitude. For drinks, the chef recommends a mixture of birch sap, blood and honey.

Mgla: Exercises in Futility (No Solace/ Northern Heritage, 2015)
Cholerny Polski jest językiem dziwne! Or something. While most people may find Finnish language as fucked up as Polish, I can´t blame them. However, if they skip this masterpiece, I´d blame them for ignorance and told them to go further down the nest immediately. Everyone and their friends have been praising Mgla for years to me, but each time I´ve tried them out, I haven´t been able to find that speciality they keep telling me about. Until now. The production is also superb, reminding me heavily of certain Swedish bands and the song material has an excellent balance between being hypnotic and still interesting. This album has already been considered as one of the best releases in 2015 in many people´s opinion, and I have to join the flock here. The record label has made a great move and put the whole album streamable in Bandcamp and Youtube, so there´s no really an excuse to not to check it out immediately and buy it because you got so convinced. I know I did!

Marduk: Frontschwein (Century Media Records, 2015)

One of my all- time favourite bands has returned with an album finally as strong as Rom 5:12 which I consider to be the cornerstone of their new era with Mortuus. While some people may have problems with production tricks lifted straight from earlier Funeral Mist- albums, I don´t. Then again, I don´t listen to Funeral Mist that much. This album simply makes my mouth dry and fills my lungs with sand, smoke and gunpowder and has absolutely not a single weak moment during it´s duration. In 2015, everyone probably knows how Marduk sounds like, and if you don´t, you really should find it out right away. Because Marduk sounds like war, blood and darkness in audial form. It´s raw enough, aggressive as fuck, and renews itself with something new combined with something more familiar. It´s Marduk, for Satan´s sake! One of my favourite songs in this album is once again Arditi´s contribution in the form of a (Mediabook) bonus track, "Warschau III: Necropolis". I just can´t stop listening to that. Or Arditi, on that matter. 

Klaus Schultze: Moondawn (Brain Records, 1976) 

As a fan of Tangerine Dream, I introduced myself to Klaus Schulze´s solo works earlier this year and have been really enjoying many of them lately. Moondawn, being Schulze´s sixth solo album, sports way more ambient elements than Krautrock, which is probably why I like it more than some other ones. It´s very hypnotic and evolving music which keeps you in it´s claws until it finally ends- leaving you to realize a minute afterwards that the music stopped and you didn´t notice it. This is an album I´ve been mostly listening in the evenings while sitting at the computer doing things, and when the nights are getting darker and colder as the autumn starts to creep in, I will enjoy this even more.

Graveland: Will Stronger than Death (No Colours Records, 2007)
While I find Graveland´s material usually rather clumsy, and am not really sure if Rob Darken´s grandiose visions of Aryan Übermensch dressed in viking outfits fighting Yetis (!!) are just a great fuck off to everyone, this album has been spinning a lot here lately. While being technically a black metal album per se, it´s really more close to death metal musically than some other works of Graveland. The album has a very strong monotonic and even hypnotic death metal- feeling all over it because of the constant kick drumming and downtuned guitars and reminds me of early 1990´s Bathory playing Incantation- cover songs from the same era. Iced with a horrible overuse of a synth choirs on top, it´s definitely an album worth to check. 

Sephiroth: Draconian Poetry (Cold Meat Industry, 2005)

While some might find Ulf Söderberg´s music disturbing, I found it rather soothing. For me, it doesn´t only tell a story of his travels around the world but it breathes of something lost, destroyed and long since forgotten. It feels like he´s not depicting the places he has seen as much as he´s somehow telling a story about what has happened to them in the distant future where the great places have fallen and the land has claimed over everything man- made again. I was listening this album while encountering an closed and abandoned holiday village/ activity park in eastern Finland this summer and it really nailed the atmosphere of the place: A pale echo of laughter, fun and leisure now standing silently on the side of the road with it´s vegetation- covered former greatness gone forgotten, soon to buried by time and dust.

Triarii: Muse in Arms (Eternal Soul Records, 2008) 

There´s something pervertedly powerful in the imagery of Triarii. While most of the people will get scared away by the themes they implement, it has to be said also here that they are not an ideological band in a sense one might first think. And in a way it´s actually pretty sad that one has to first state anti- political things before getting to the actual music. But the music! Mein gott, the MUSIC! It´s a soundtrack to the apocalypse, an ode to an imaginary empire, and an overture to Order itself. Best labelled to belong to the "martial industrial" genre, it implements a lot of orchestral elements and choirs combined with militant percussion and textures into itself, leaving the listener completely helpless under the crushing boots of the conqueror stomping out of your speakers.

Djevel: Saa Ra og Kald (Aftermath Music, 2015)

A while ago I found out that the vocalist of this band is actually in Kvelertak as well. Good thing it occurred me too late, as othewise I would had probably neglected this album as shit. Despite of that, I actually enjoy my first encounter with Djevel a lot. It has a strong Ljå- vibe both musically and thematically, but implements a lot more of old folk music to their sound and the late 1800´s rural culture of Scandinavia is heavily represented in the overall themes as well. If you have no idea what it is, just think of Emil i Lönneberga gone sour and Satanic. Did you know that Emil is actually called "Zozo la Tornade" in French? Goddamn Frenchies.

Steve Roach: Australia: Sound of the Earth (Fortuna Records, 1990)

If the red deserts gathered one day into a studio and decided to release themselves on audial form, I´m pretty sure this would be the result. Steve Roach has a rather vast discography ranging from tangerinedream- esque pulsating drones to more spacy sounds and back, but I tend to be most drawn to his more ritualistic and nature- inspired tribal albums. Despite of being American, Roach has always had strong ties to Australia, and this album pays a great homage to the land in it´s purest form. One of my favourite albums to be listened with headphones while reading.

Isengard: Vinterskugge (Peaceville Records, 1994)

VINTERRRRRSKUGGGGGEEEEEEE! Just like cleaning one´s home, sometimes you have to throw away the clutter to concentrate on the actualities. And this, my friends, is actuality at it´s best. While I´m not a great fan on the autopsyesque demos in the CD - being a compilation of all unreleased Isengard works- this "Vandreren"- demo included is pure killer stuff. The simple laid- back groove in Vinterskugge is almost enough to justify this choice, not to mention the excellent last track "Naglfar". It´s badly played. It´s completely non- produced. And the singing isn´t exactly Ulver either. But the archaic feeling the music breathes and emits is something which can never be surpassed by adding a top- notch production, cheap accordion samples and whatever nonsense "folk metal" is nowadays about. Definitely not for the fans of Ensiferum (hi guys! :D ) but definitely worth checking, especially if you haven´t heard of this earlier. No go fix that mistake now!