I thought I’d provide a quick update of things I noticed while web-surfing and reading e-mails this afternoon. As always, I’m sharing mainly what interests me, while hoping it interests you as well.
We first reported about this tour on December 2 when its existence became public but before any schedule had been announced. Today, all the dates and places were finally announced. And as a reminder about why this matters, the tour features Finland’s Ensiferum as the headliner, as well as Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). Plenty of ass should be kicked by these pagan brethren.
The schedule consists of 21 shows, launching in Denver on March 30 and concluding in New York City on April 21, and it includes Canadian dates, too. Here’s the complete schedule:
This post is about two foreign invasions of North America that are scheduled to occur next year, but these invaders will be welcomed with open arms. I initially thought I’d wait to feature these tours until the schedules were released, but I’m so excited about them that I’m goin’ with it now.
Both tours are being produced by Rock the Nation America, which is the booking agency partnership created about a year ago between Kataklysm/Ex Deo frontman Maurizio Iacono, his agent and Canadian metal promoter Stephan Mellul, and Century Media Records.
PAGANFEST AMERICA IV
The first tour — Paganfest America Part IV — will be headlined by Finland’s Ensiferum and also features Tyr (Faroe Islands), Heidevolk (The Netherlands), Trollfest (Norway), and Helsott (Los Angeles). We’ve prominently featured all of those bands except Helsott, and it sounds like we need to find out more about them because the rest of the line-up kicks ass.
This tour was just announced on Friday and no dates or places have yet been revealed. All I know is that the tour is scheduled to kick off in late March 2013 and will cover both the United States and Canada. I guess I may finally have to break down and get a drinking horn. Maybe a battle ax. Possibly some animal skins. Because I don’t want to be the only person in the audience who doesn’t look awkward.
VOICES FROM THE DARK
News of this tour surfaced several weeks ago, and I’ve been waiting for release of the schedule . . . and am still waiting. The line-up is vicious. Marduk (Sweden) and Moonspell (Portugal) will be the co-headliners, and the tour will also include Inquisition (U.S.), The Foreshadowing (Italy), and Death Wolf (Sweden), which features members of Marduk.
(You remember Trollfiend, don’t you? He used to hang around these parts more often before he started his own metal blog, ALSO, WOLVES. In February, he graciously (and glowingly) reviewed Batavi, the new album by Dutch folk/pagan metal band Heidevolk. The review is here. Subsequently, he conducted this e-mail interview with Heidevolk’s vocalist, Joris den Boghtdrincker. Wait for the insightful Q&A about growing Viking beards . . .)
Your vocal arrangement is pretty much unique. How did that come about? Was it chance or planned?
Me and Jesse, our previous singer, met up at a concert and after a few beers we came up with the idea of a choir-like vocal style for a metal band. It wasn’t long before we got in touch with other guys who wanted to start a folk metal band so we decided to join forces. We took our mics to the rehearsal room and started experimenting with combining our vocals. Ah yes, the good old days of 2002!
How many drinking horns do you own?
One. I used to have two but the other one got lost at Ragnarök festival in Germany. I wonder to this very day if it was because of an overzealous cleaner, or if it was stolen. It hasn’t popped up on E-bay so far. I’m still trying to come up with a fitting curse for the thief in case it was indeed stolen. Any suggestions? A drinking horn can cause a lot of nasty injuries and embarrassment when not handled properly, you know. That reminds me of the time our old guitar player Sebas mistook a blowing horn for a drinking horn. He only found out after he poured the beer in.
(NCS and ALSO, WOLVES are co-publishing this review by AW creator and NCS supporter Trollfiend. The album is the new one by the Dutch band Heidevolk, who we previously featured at NCS here, on Trollfiend’s recommendation.)
I think it’s safe to say that folk metal (or pagan metal, if you prefer) doesn’t have the same massive following here in North America that it does in Europe. Not to say there aren’t tons of folk metal fans in the colonies; I’ve proven (in this post) that pretty much anyone who likes metal likes folk metal to some degree whether they care to admit it or not.
But the fact is, we just don’t live in our history in the same way native Europeans do. We are divorced from our past and our mythology, and while we have carved ourselves a home out of these conquered lands, we’ve really only been here for a few hundred years. Compare that to the fact of many European countries having been settled since the Neolithic (and before) and it’s easy to see why we don’t have the same attachment to traditions, other than the ones we’ve made for ourselves. Like, say, nude pudding wrestling. Or midget porn.
I had a point . . . oh yeah. So part of the reason I first gravitated toward Dutch metal-mongers Heidevolk was because of this idea of living in one’s history. Much as I love Viking metal, Vikings are not directly part of my past, so there is a certain disconnect there. Now I myself am not Dutch, but my family on my mother’s side is from the Netherlands. That’s really my only connection to Heidevolk, but it was enough to get me to give this band a listen. Also, pancakes.
December and 2011 are both over, and with the end of the last month, it’s time to round up what we saw over the last 30 days about forthcoming albums.
We usually try to post these updates on the first of the month, but the first of this month was New year’s Day, and I was moving kinda slowly that day. Plus, I’ve been focusing on year-end lists from a variety of sources, and, well, I’m late with this. I have more excuses, if you’d like to hear them. No? Okay, I understand. I’ll just shut up and get going with this list.
So, here’s the deal: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, we cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.
Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album before December, we wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier.
This month’s list begins right after the jump. It includes some real eye-openers. In fact, it’s not too soon to say that 2012 is already looking like yet another royally skull-fucking year for metal. But as usual, this list is half-assed rather than comprehensive. I confess that in December I was even more half-assed than usual in keeping my eyes open for news about new albums. So, feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here!
It’s been too long since we last showed some love for our blog brethren at Death Metal Baboon, so we’re remedying that. If you haven’t discovered the delights of DMB, you should. Here at NCS, we pride ourselves on promoting underground metal by spotlighting not-so-well-known bands from around the world, as well as the bigger names that everyone has heard of — but in that department, DMB has got us beat. Especially for metal coming out of Europe, they do an excellent job ferreting out musical gems from bands who don’t get much exposure here in the States, and DMB writer (and frequent NCS commenter) byrd36 does the same for State-side music.
Apart from showing some love and appreciation for DMB, the purpose of this post is to alert you to two recent pieces of content at that site I thought might interest you. The first is an entertaining and informative interview that DMB head-honcho Niek Baboon conducted with Dutch folk-metal band Heidevolk. You remember Heidevolk, don’t you? They were included in one of our MISCELLANY posts in late August (here), and that mention has led to increased attention to folk metal at NCS (thanks in large part to the energies of our guest contributor Trollfiend). Check out Niek’s recently expanded interview HERE. When it comes to the Dutch, it takes one to know one.
The second piece of DMB content concerns a 3-piece UK instrumental metal band called Bleaklow. Niek reviewed their latest EP (The Sunless Country) HERE. His review led me to listen to the album, and today he alerted me to the fact that it’s now available for download on Bandcamp at a “name your price” option. The EP is one, long, 24-minute song. Like Niek, I have some trouble describing it, except to say that I like it a lot. It’s more on the prog side of the spectrum than most of the music we cover here, but it’s definitely headbang-worthy. Gritty, compelling, stripped-down prog with heavy balls. And a sweet sax solo in Part IV of the song. I’m including the second part of the song after the jump, and you can stream the whole thing via that Bandcamp link.
To recap the rules of this MISCELLANY game for NCS newcomers: When bands or labels write us, or we get reader recommendations, or we see news blurbs about bands who look interesting, we put the band names on a list. We limit this list to bands whose music we’ve never heard, and the majority of the listed bands are unsigned. At irregular intervals, when I’ve got time, I randomly pick a few names from the list and listen to one or two of their songs, and then I write my impressions for this MISCELLANY series. Plus, I make it possible for you to hear what I heard (or saw, if it’s a video).
This exercise is different from our reviews, which we almost always limit to music we want to recommend. For this exercise, like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, we don’t know what we’re going to get. It may or may not taste delicious. But the surprise factor is part of the fun (at least for me). For today’s post, the bands I picked were Eyeconoclast (Italy), Under Eden (US), and Heidevolk (The Netherlands). I actually picked a fourth band, too, but I’m discussing them separately, to keep this thing from growing even longer than it already is.
I’ll go ahead and confess right up front: I cheated on the MISCELLANY rules for all three bands, because their music turned out to be too interesting to assess with just one song. Yes, I even cheated on the last one, too, though it’s not the kind of music I typically embrace. All that cheating means there’s a lot of music coming your way after the jump, but none of you has a real life, do you? Of course not, so you have plenty of time to listen.