Monday, January 16, 2012

Tour of Duty: Tvr3 N0rVV3gian Blk Metl

For the first of this lengthy series, we'll take a look at the birthplace of modern black metal; Norway. I won't bore you with crap you either know, or that can easily be found elsewhere, instead, I hope to show many of the bands (or releases) that get shafted from the limelight.
If you don't like Immortal you're a stone's throw from being mentally incapable of being interesting or cool.
Strid, a band that can arguably be called the fathers of depressive black metal, Mysticum, who were one of the first advances into electronic music from a black metal point of view, Dødheimsgard  who took cues from Teutonic thrash as well as Sacrofago but got progressively weirder, then there was Manes who eventually developed into a sound like none other while incorporating symphonic influences, nowhere as simple as early Gehenna. Thorns gained notoriety for all the wrong reasons, before man main Snorre was incarcerated his demo work was light years ahead of every other metal band in the world. Many should know the name Ulver, I've included a demo track of theirs which shows how undeveloped some of their great ideas were.

There's Forgotten Woods who were one of the first to offer a glimpse into the winning combination of black metal and post-rock. There's also Ildjarn who was one of the first to strip black metal down to an oi like stomp and make it as harsh and primitive as possible, and  Tulus who win the award for stupidest album cover of the lot (but they played a wickedly brazen and sometimes bizarre style). And, of course, there's Zyklon-B, an all-star outing with Frost (Satyricon) on drums, Draug Aldrahn (Dødheimsgard) singing, Samoth (Emperor) on guitars and bass and fellow band-mate Ihshan on keyboards; maybe the most misanthropic and nihilistic out of all the Norwegian acts.

1. Ildjarn - "Svarte Hjerter" - Norse (1993)
2. Zyklon-B - "Bloodsoil" - Blood Must be Shed (1995)
3. Dødheimsgard - "Lost in Faces" - Monumental Possession (1996)
4. Tulus - "Midtvintermåne"- Pure Black Energy (1996)
5. Ulver - "Tragediens Trone" - Vargnatt (1993)
6. Thorns - "Funeral Marches to the Grave" -  Trøndertun (1992) 
7. Manes - "Uten Liv Ligger Landet Øde" - Under ein Blodraud Maane (1999)
8. Gehenna - "Angelwings and Ravenclaws" - First Spell (1994)
9. Mysticum - "Crypt of Fear" - In the Streams of Inferno (1996)
10. Strid - "Det Hviskes Blant Sorte Vinder" - Strid (1994)
11. Forgotten Woods - "The Velvet Room" - The Curse of Mankind (1996)

As well as trying to stay with lesser known acts, I've also limited this collection to releases from 1999 and earlier. I would have liked to do earlier than that, but Manes's demo material was just too foggy and poorly produced to include rather than their magnificent debut Under ein Blodraud Maane (probably my favorite effort here).

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