Metalheads are geeks (I know, because I am one), and they have long memories. Many of them also love burrowing down the gopher holes of history, trying to learn where things started (yes, I’m a metal gopher, too). And many also zealously honor bands who played pivotal roles in the evolution of genres and sub-genres (and sub-sub-sub genres), even when such bands recorded precious few songs, and did so decades in the past. Which brings me to the Norwegian black metal band Strid.
I first learned about Strid only nine months ago when Neill Jameson devoted part of his NCS series on black metal to the band’s 1994 self-titled EP, and I’ll take the liberty of quoting part of what he wrote about them then:
About a week ago we premiered a stream of Turm Am Hang, the new album by the German band Horn. The brilliant last track on that album is a cover of “The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way” from the 2013 album Coven of the Wolves by Iowa-based When Bitter Spring Sleeps, with a guest appearance by the latter band’s vocalist Lord Sardonyx.
It’s a great cover, and it also caused me to revisit the original song. The lyrics are wonderful, and the song is too. So that’s the first track I’m including below in this Sunday’s look back at metal from past years.
Almost exactly nine years ago Misery’s Omen released their debut album Hope Dies . . . and have released nothing else since then, although they seem to be dormant rather than dead. The album is very good, which perhaps should be expected, given that this Australian trio’s members have participated in numerous other bands including Mournful Conregation, Martire, Sacriphyx, Johnny Touch, and Cauldron Black Ram.
Hope Dies is almost an hour long, and it begins with the title track, which tops 11 minutes and is the album’s longest track by a significant margin. It’s also a remarkable song, and that song alone is the subject of this Sunday’s Rearview Mirror column.
For this Sunday’s Rearview Mirror post I’m reverting to the original concept for the series, and just posting one good old song.
Correction: This song isn’t good. It’s goddamned stupendous.
The song is “Life Is A Coma” by the super-group Demiurg off their last album, 2010’s Slakthus Gamleby. And yes, Demiurg are a straight-up super-group, with Rogga Johansson as guitarist and vocalist, Dan Swanö as lead guitarist and keyboardist, Ed Warby hitting the skins and vocalizing, and Johan Berglund on bass. Oh, and let’s not forget Marjan Welman from the Dutch goth metal band Autumn, whose vocals on this song are one of the twists that make it so stupendous.
(Andy Synn steps in for this Sunday’s look back at metal releases from the past.)
Christmas Day, for many, is not just a time to spend with family and friends (or whatever fictional deity you prefer)… it’s a time for reflection, a time for looking back and taking stock. So I suppose it’s only fitting that we publish another one of our Rearview Mirror pieces today.
This time around it falls to me to take you all on a journey into the misty depths of days gone by, all the way back to the fabled year of two thousand and ten, to discover the wonders of the first (and, so far, only) album by French philosadists 11 As In Adversaries.
I’ve already forgotten how I came across Mordicus. It was only a month or so ago, but my memory is porous and things leak out. But I didn’t forget the music. The first song I heard (“A Thorn In Holy Flesh”) wasn’t what I was expecting. It struck me as something very different from much of the death metal from that era that I’ve discovered over the last decade. As I listened to the rest of the album which includes that song, the initial impression was reinforced. And the album is really good.
Mordicus came together in Joensuu, Finland, in 1990. The members were in other bands at the time and were interested in death metal, which was still a new thing. In 1991 they recorded a couple of demos, and then the following year a U.S. label named Skindrill Records released a 7″ Morticus EP named Three Way Dissection. In 1993, after sending promos to different labels, they reached a deal with Thrash Records and recorded their debut album, Dances From Left, which also turned out to be their last album. It was released in 1993.
For this Sunday’s backward look over our shoulders at metal from yesteryear I’ve picked two songs from a striking album released by Necromantia in 1995.
Necromantia is a hallowed name not just in the circles of Greek black metal but in the global covens of black metal fanatics as well. The band originally came together in the late ’80s, releasing their first demo in 1990 and a debut album called Crossing the Fiery Path in 1993. Their last full-length was 2007’s The Sound of Lucifer Storming Heaven, but their only new music since then (as far as I can tell) are the two tracks they contributed to their split with Acherontas in 2008.
The two songs you can stream below are the opening tracks to Necromantia’s second album — and probably their best — Scarlet Evil Witching Black. It was originally released by Osmose Productions in 1995, and then Osmose reissued it on CD and gatefold vinyl in 2014, and it’s also now available through the Osmose Bandcamp.
Welcome to another Sunday edition of our look back at metal from years past — in this particular case, 25 years in the past.
This is one of those one-and-done little gems that I’ve been drawn to in other episodes of this series, a demo that came out in 1991 by an Illinois band named Maimed, who then disappeared without ever recording anything else. And as far as I can tell, none of the band’s four members went on to record anything with any other metal bands either. (Correction: guitarist Eric Ondo is a member of the Chicago sludge band Pale Horseman and was also in a Chicago band called Couldron.)
Of course there’s a story to be told about why a band capable of recording something this good — and this far ahead of its time — did nothing further. But as curious as I am, I haven’t found any explanation in my google searches.
(Andy Synn wrote this Sunday’s edition of our regular look-back at metal’s earlier days.)
2016 marks Enslaved’s 25th anniversary as a band, and 22 years since they released their first album, Vikingligr Veldi, which is the subject of today’s post.
Originally released on the now-defunct Deathlike Silence Productions (which was founded by original, and now deceased, Mayhem vocalist Øystein Aarseth, a.k.a. Euronymous, to whom the album is also dedicated), Vikingligr Veldi has recently been given a fresh coat of paint and a spiffy new remaster for its long-awaited release on vinyl.
And although the original version still sounds pretty damn good for its age (yes, it’s a little buzzy in places, and occasionally the keys can get a little overbearing, but there’s a pleasing amount of clarity and depth to the overall sound, and each instrument, including the oft-neglected bass guitar, is given a good amount of room and space to breathe), the remaster just gives the album that extra bit of polish and shine, without detracting from the raw energy or rough and ready sensibilities of the album as a whole.
More often that not, these Rearview Mirror posts look back at entire albums from metal’s past, but today the subject is just one song and a video that was made for it.
When I saw the video yesterday, the name Maceration rang a faint bell in my addled head, but the more I learned about the band after seeing the video, the more I thought I really didn’t know about them — because with their line-up, I think I would have remembered.
According to Metal-Archives, this Danish band’s first output was an “Official Livetape” that included eight tracks, including covers of songs by Obituary and Death. And then they recorded their only album, released in 1992 under the title A Serenade of Agony. By that point, the band’s line-up on the album included two members of the thrash band Invocator, Jakob Schultz (bass, guitars) and Jacob Hansen (drums, guitars, backing vocals), plus guitarist Lars Bangholt — and Dan Swanö as the session vocalist for the recording.