May 252010

We don’t spend much time on this site poking fun at metal bands. It’s not that we’re morally opposed to the practice. In fact, we have fun reading other sites that do exactly that on a daily basis. It’s just not our style.

But once in a blue moon, we just can’t resist. Like today. We’ll probably feel guilty about it later.

So, the band that caught our baleful eye today is a Ukrainian outfit called Semargl. Try saying that out loud. Even the name is kinda funny, though it’s probably drawn from some ancient demonology text, or at least H.P. Lovecraft.  [Update: Based on a little more research (see the comment at the end of this post), Semargl appears to have been a Slavic pagan deity, depicted as a winged lion or winged dog.]

In addition to the demonic (but funny-sounding) name, the band has got the corpse-painted aspect of a grymm black metal outfit, plus Latinate album titles like Ordo Bellictum Satanas that inspire thoughts of satanic recipe books for the cooking of your fellow man in the fiery depths of Hades.

And to carry the theme further, the band’s web site includes a creed called Satanosophy that proclaims principles such as “Our message is: God should be destroyed” and “Our superiority is Satanic Infernal fire” (in addition to photos of a naked chick who looks like she’s meditating about Satanosophy).

So, with that lead-in, you probably think you’ve got a pretty good idea about Semargl’s music — but you’d probably be wrong. What we’ve got here, at least on the strength of the band’s new video for a song called “Credo Revolution”, is pop music with black-metal trappings, corpse-paint with plenty of tits and ass, tremolo picking and electro dance beats (courtesy of Jonny Maudling from Bal-Sagoth).

We’re still trying to wrap our minds around that concept — but it seems to be working out quite nicely for Semargl.  And we can guarantee that even if you’re having an unbelievably sucky day, this video (and the song) will put a smile on your face — or your money back! (more after the jump, including that video . . .)

We thought black metal was supposed to be grymm and icy. We thought satanic bands were supposed to sound evil. We expected the video would at least include bowls of maggots feasting on fresh gore.

But instead of squirming maggots, we’ve got hot squirming babes in shiny black underwear swiveling their cheeks to the beat. We’ve got pop-rock with broken-glass vocals.

If Varg Vikernes paid attention to this music, he’d probably want to slaughter all associated with the project (or at least he would have been so tempted in his younger days). But there does seem to be an appreciative audience out there for this music.  The band’s MySpace page and web site are pretty slick, and Ordo Bellictum Satanas (which hit the streets in March via the German label Twilight-Vertrieb) is the band’s fourth — so someone out there is diggin’ this shit.

Actually, hate to admit this, but we’re kinda diggin’ this catchy shit too, in a totally non-serious, it’s-better-than-Lady-Gaga way.  And the video makes a nice bookend to that Goldfrapp video that’s been making the rounds on the netz.  What? You haven’t seen that video? Well, what the fuck, we’ll put that one up for you right after this nasty bit of gargle from Semargl:


  4 Responses to “SEMARGL (The Pop Fringe of Black Metal)”

  1. The name looks/sounds like a butchered version of Smeagol.

    • I can see why you would think that, but I did a little more research and found this entry in Wikipedia: “Semargl, Simargl (Old Church Slavonic: Семарьглъ, Симарьглъ) is a deity or mythical creature in East Slavic mythology. Idol of Semargl was present in the pantheon of Great Prince Vladimir I of Kiev. Probably, it is the equivalent of Simurgh in Persian mythology (probably borrowed from thence) who is also represented like a griffin with a dog body. But according to Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov, the name of Semargl comes from the Slavonic *Sedmor(o)-golvъ «with seven heads».”

      I also found this from Encyclopedia Mythica: “Slavic deity. One of the gods mentioned in Kiev’s Primary Chronicle as being worshipped officially by the Russians before their conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. Generally mentioned as the protector of seeds and new plant growth. Simargl was depicted as a winged lion (sometimes a winged dog); both his name and image suggest strongly that he was borrowed from the Scythians or Sarmatians, who worshipped him as Simurgh, the divine gryphon of Persian mythology.”

  2. Well. Damn.

    This is an Oscar worthy performance in comparison to the Razzie that Abandon All Ships’ video gets.

    Sure, there’s some T&A involved, but the song itself works. See, it can be done, guys!

    I’m not too keen on the anti-Christianity stuff posted on their site, but it’s not really that bad, hateful, vile or anything like that. Still, even though I’m not exactly Christian (but not exactly not either), I am a bit hesitant when a band is saying stuff like this. Oh well. There’s much, much more out there.

    A couple other things I noticed, as I try to get that Goldfrapp video out of my mind. Which could take a while, and I’m not willing to risk serious injury by watching the videos on the page that brought me here in the first place again.

    All the songs on their new album begin with Credo. Am I missing something here?

    They have a female drummer in the video. Metal needs more female drummers, and hopefully the one shown here is a real one and not just a model they told to sit behind the drum kit and bash things.

    • Yep — all the songs begin with “Credo”. None of the three dudes pictured at the top of this post is a drummer. On various sites, they list two drummers, one of whom is named Anima — so that could be her in the video (as opposed to a model). But I just saw a Facebook post from yesterday (July 5) saying that a drummer named Koldbrann has joined the band and will be playing with Semargl at festivals later this month. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

      As for the Satanic rhetoric, it doesn’t prevent them from being pretty nice people, as I learned after I created this sorta sarcastic post. See the follow-up post here:

      Good luck on getting the Goldfrapp video out of your mind. It took me a while.

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