(All the way from sunny Norway, our blog brother Gorger is back, this time with a special mid-week edition of our usual Sunday column focusing on metal from the past. To find more of Gorger’s writings, type “Gorger” in our search bar or visit Gorger’s Metal.)
In Norway, pilsner, a light golden beer with a mild and refreshing taste, an eponymous brand originated in the Czech area of Plzeň, or Pilsen if you will, has by far been the beer of choice for most people for decades.
As a white wine of beers (not that it’s weissbier (wheat beer), it’s rather a pale lager), not too unlike Heineken, Budweiser, Miller Genuine Draft, or perhaps Miller Lite, I’d suppose. It’s an unrivaled thirst quencher, but for those moments when you want to enjoy some rich flavored beer, some of us have always turned to the red wine of beers, bayer (a dark lager), ale, porter, and such.
Beer is metal, but it’s not music, so by now, you’re undoubtedly wandering just what the hell this has got to to with metal. As darker, tastier types of beer have grown in popularity over the past few years, and micro breweries have popped up everywhere, we’ve seen a rash of bearded hipsters enjoying it. And whilst it’s a positive thing, it also accumulates that angered feeling of “why the hell didn’t you drink it ten years ago, like some of us did, if it’s so tasty, you fucking pussy”.
Similarly, we all have some obscure underground gems that we almost keep to ourselves, and only sport whence appropriate. If these became majorly famed, hell even trendy, that would undeniably ruin some of their magic, right? Still, I feel like I’ve had these bands to myself for ages, and time is ripe for sharing the murky grandeur with you all. Besides, this music ain’t becoming totally mainstream any time soon anyway. Brace yourself for a true pitch black attack!
Let’s abruptly initiate by looking at the basic facts, amongst others including the discography, which you can study closer on your own if or whence desired. I’ll be focusing on the three studio albums, in a style that we could call presentations rather than reviews.
But first, those obligatory objective facts (I hope and trust).
The Swedish duo known as Armagedda excised from 1999 till 2004, albeit under the moniker Volkermord during the two years adjoining the millennium shift. Guitarist and bassist A. Petterson, and guitarist/vocalist Graav formed the foul core, with drums handled by external rhythmic muscles, and occasional out-leasing of the bass duties. The former main member is still an active musician, as of now in Stilla amongst others.
The primordial album, The Final War Approaching (2001), was indeed a rather primitive one. It kicks off with Sign of Evil, a name symptomatic for the content of this recording. It sounds homemade, but evil indeed. I pretty much think that word sums it up. It’s raw, naked, cold, and grim. I’d like to see the face of the trve necro blackmonger that would turn this down. No, wait, I’d like to bust his fucking face. Oh lord and depraver of spirit, I think I’m getting a bit too affected by this hat-filled misanthropic nihilism. Point is, this is crude but unholy.
The drums where handled by one Phycon, nowadays raining death and destruction (in a reigning fashion) on Feral‘s drum kit.
Want your dosage of “ivil” with a tinge better sound? Try sophomore Only True Believers (2003), but only if you truly are a righteous believer of the left hand path. Venture not hither if you don’t belong on the cloven-hoof trail under the horned branches of dead woodland. This is a pitch-black hellride that doesn’t need any analysis. The whole album’s a bloody blitzkrieg unfolding between your ears, and when it’s done, you feel just a little bit more dark inside, whilst ready to plunge in for more. Perhaps even a bit louder than the previous time. It’s raping every part of your sanity that’s been influenced by commercial, corporal, and constitutional society, leaving nothing but cynicism and dismay in its wake.
A certain Erik Danielsson (from Watain, if you’re no good with names) delivers the rabid pace with two pieces of wood and a lot of panache, and an even more renowned Swedish fellow by the name of Tore Stjerna (from Necromorbus Studio, if you’re lousy with names) was taking care of the sound.
Ond Spiritism: Djæfvvlens Skalder Anno Serpenti MMIV (2004) sees the duo developing from rabid pitch-black into a deteriorated mental abyss of utter dark depravity. The never-ending spirals of lunacy, descending into an entrapping well in the soul where the consciousness is forever snared in a subconscious limbo. Forgive my pretentious description, it’s only meant as a cover-up for my lacking abilities to describe this vile and depressed outlook on bleak life.
This album is without a doubt the one that will appeal to most fans of the black arts, thus making it a commercial sellout. Bullshit aside; this one, their final album I’m afraid, combines the ferocity of the past with a moment of negative contemplation, resulting in an extremely pessimistic view.
Erik Danielsson did the artwork and contributed with a lyric for this one, while drums where left to Tore Stjerna, appearing under his the artistic pseudonym Necromorbus.
A few EPs and splits, plus a live video, are the last remnants of this great band. Despite this, the story ain’t over quite yet. A. and Graav also did two albums and then some under the moniker Lönndom, concentrating on folk metal with an eerie Viking touch. They are also the minds behind Lik (short for Lekamen Illusionen Kallet), not to be confused with the death metal band from Stockholm (also recommended!). Lik is still active, but with Graav as the only remaining member, along with JM from Stilla, et al.
Lik delivered a bizarre avant-garde approach on bleakness and darkness with their three first albums. Their fourth album, released after a minor breakup, I have not heard.
Another disbanded band in the wake of Armagadda is Leviathan, not to be confused with the more renowned American black metal band, or any of the other 14 bands by the same name. Leviathan is seemingly “on hold”, but if I were to hold my breath, I’d be stone cold dead by now. Come November, 14 years will have passed since the sole release Far Beyond the Light. This is the side-project closest to the mother-band, seeing A. joining forces once again with Phycon (from The Final War Approaching) to spew forth savage evil plagues of utter coal-black dismay.
Despite everything nasty erupting from Sweden over the years, this has for a long time been one of my absolute favorites. Embracing the essence of the initial second wave, and presenting it with a distinct signature of their own, Far Beyond the Light is just what the title suggests, an icy fall into an oblivion where light fails to sustain its presence. Want gloominess and despair presented through aggressive hatred? (Why would anyone miss out on such a deal?) Look no further, for ye have found the path to the netherworld.
Of Armagadda‘s demo, three splits, three EPs, and two compilations, I can’t recommend too much, but the Echoes In Eternity compilation may be worth checking out if this hostile war-machine is compatible with your inner demons, and the three albums simply ain’t enough. I unfortunately haven’t seen the 33-minute Live in Nurnberg video, recorded on their only tour back in 2002 and released on DVD in 2012. Take a sneak peak at A World Full of Lies.