Jul 172010

Almost two weeks ago, we tried out something new here at NCS, kind of like what some people do with their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts when they tell you hour-by-hour (or minute-by-minute) what they’re doing — except we limited our disclosures to metal and hoped it would be more interesting than a lot of the social networking blather.

To be more precise, I posted a log of exactly what I listened to or watched on that particular morning, whether it turned out to be good, bad, or indifferent. I got enough encouragement from readers that I decided to continue doing it.

In the interests of complete candor, I should say that it takes very little encouragement for me to do anything, unless it involves actual work, in which case it takes a great deal of encouragement, plus threats of being pistol-whipped.

So, here we go again — a log of exactly what I heard or saw in one of my recent sessions of poking around for new music to check out, and what I found, for better or for worse.  (after the jump, of course . . .)


I started off the musical day by firing up my iPod and listening to the new album whose album cover is at the top of this post (A Small Turn of Human Kindness) by Georgia noise-sludge metallers Harvey Milk. I’d been meaning to do this for weeks because of all the jizzing over this album that I’d seen on metal blogs. To pick just one of many examples, Gary Suarez over at MetalSucks listed it in his Top 10 albums of the year to date.

I’d never heard anything by this band, even though this is their seventh album, and I didn’t know what to expect. I made it through three songs before I started thinking of ways to kill myself.

It’s just unrelentingly gloomy in every way that songs can be gloomy, from the lyrics, to the song titles, to the music. Listening to it is like trying to swim through a vat of paving tar — cold paving tar.

I waited patiently for the pace to accelerate past the speed of a slug on quaaludes. It didn’t happen. By the second song, I thought maybe this album was an intentional joke.   Maybe it is.

By the end of the third song, I started skipping ahead, playing the first 20 seconds of each remaining song, in the hope of finding life, kind of like one of those robotic rovers that NASA persists in sending to Mars.   No luck.

I’m wondering whether this is one of those albums that music critics like because they think they’re supposed to like it, because by liking it they can show how much more deeply they think than people like, uh, me. Because I’m having a hard time understanding why anyone would be attracted to this.

I will keep an open mind, so if any of our readers happen to find something worthwhile in this music, or at least understand why other people like it, please leave a comment.

Here’s a sample of the music. I think one song probably isn’t enough to induce suicide, but, to be safe, if you’re in a particularly fragile emotional state at the moment, it’s probably best to just skip over it.

Harvey Milk: I Know This Is No Place For You


So after clawing my way through the near-impenetrable sludge of Harvey Milk, I dived into the webz  — and almost immediately came upon some fan-filmed video footage of Amon Amarth performing “Guardians of Asgard” on June 21, 2009 at the Hellfest in Clisson, France.

I thought, “Fuck Yeah! Just what the doctor ordered!” Even though it’s not new music to me, and not even a new video, I was in desperate need of a pick-me-up, so I watched.

Aside from the fact that this is super-prime headbanging material, I got to see Johan Hegg drinking from a horn (which I don’t remember him doing when we saw AA in Seattle about 3 months ago), and the video also includes some eye-catching silhouettes of things between the camera and the stage, including random feet up in the air and what looks like someone using sign language to spell out the lyrics in the midst of all the flashing horns:


Continuing to browse the web, I came across a blurb and accompanying video about a Chicago-based thrash/doom metal band called Earthen Grave. By sheer coincidence, this is a band I had intended to check out, so I thought now would be as good a time as any.

I first read about this band only two weeks ago when I happened to be in Chicago. In fact, I read advance news about the very concert at which the video was made in one of those glossy monthly magazines named after the city. The reason this concert was featured in such a thing was because of Rachel Barton Pine.

She was a child prodigy at the violin, has won all sorts of awards at international violin competitions, plays as a soloist with symphony orchestras all over the world — and last year joined Earthen Grave in order to play metal on a 5-string Viper electric violin.

On July 11, she headlined a free concert at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millenium Park on the occasion of her receiving the 2010 Great Performer of Illinois award from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. After playing some classical music, Rachel played a set with the other members of Earthen Grave — the first time a metal band has ever performed at the Pritzker Pavilion.

That was the forthcoming concert I read about in that glossy rag in Chicago, so I definitely stopped to check out the video of a song from the show itself. In the video, the band honored Ronnie James Dio by playing a cover of Rainbow‘s “Stargazer” (written by Dio and Ritchie Blackmore).

I’ve managed (intentionally) to by-pass every Dio tribute video or song that I’ve yet come across — but this one I had to see.  I gotta admit, watching this gave me goosebumps.


After making a mental note to listen to more Earthen Grave later, I next moved on to the MySpace page of a Finnish black-metal band called Cavus that I’d read about a week ago. Honestly, the fact that they’re from Finland is about all the teaser I needed to check em out.

They’ve put up a new song called “Death Rattle” from their forthcoming debut album on Listenable Records, Fester and Putrefy. And oh, does it beat you about the head and shoulders like a back-alley mugging.

This isn’t cerebral black metal (yes, I think a lot of black metal is cerebral). It’s black metal that rocks the fuck out, but is still ominous enough to creep your flesh. Probably more like blackened death metal, but with an organizing force that wants to carve deep grooves in your forehead with a heated knife.

There’s a lot of death ‘n roll influences in this song, and it was shudderingly fun to hear. So, I went hunting for a Youtube embed I could stick into this page, just so you could hear the song since I don’t have a digital copy of it to share — and holy fuck, what I found!

I found a video, with all of 85 total views, posted on July 10. I’ve seen no publicity about this thing from the band, or otherwise. I don’t even know for sure that the band is responsible for the video. Fuck, I don’t even know for sure that the video was made for the song. I do know that it’s astonishing.

It looks like an excerpt from a movie made in the 1920s, and maybe that’s exactly what it is. If it was made for this song, it’s even more impressive. But either way, it’s a brilliant melding of visual images with this music. Definitely, the find of the day:


We wrote Cavus to ask about this video, and received the following reply:

Hails, Seattle!
Thank you for you interest! The video is actually edited by an “outsider” so to say, but it is based on our idea. The material itself comes from F.W Murnaus film “Faust” from 1922. The idea of the movie is that Faust abbandons God and makes a deal with the devil to salvage his city from the plague, at the same time that the devil has made a bet to corrupt the righteous Fausts soul and all the things divine in him.
The plot is very closely related to the theme of the “Death Rattle” song and Cavus itself, so we decided to use them together.
We will shoot a rat-infested music video ourselves for the upcoming album this autumn, but more of that later. Too much plague makes Jack a very sick boy.
W / Cavus

We will be looking for Cavus’s new album, and that promised video, and we’ll write again when those days come.

After watching the Cavus video, I paused to check my e-mail and found one from a friend urging me to read the post at this link:


Which I did. It’s not metal, but it made me laff my fucking ass off, so I randomly read another post at the same site, here:


Still laffing my fucking ass off, I read another one:


Having soiled myself with laughter, I decided I ought to stop reading and finish this post.

So now I’m finished and I will go read some more, possibly after changing my shorts but maybe not, because that would involve effort, and then I will probably listen to more metal, or possibly just spend the rest of the morning tearing up bills without paying them, though come to think of it, I could do that while listening to more metal.

Have a nice fucking day.

  17 Responses to “MISCELLANY (NO. 2)”

  1. Harvey Milk sounds like it’s been sitting in the fridge for a bit too long. Or, for anyone who’s old enough to remember, it’s like playing a 45 at 33 & 1/3 RPM instead. Sludge (the musical variety) isn’t exactly easy to get into and I’m not sure these guys are the kind of band for newbies – or even experienced listeners. I don’t put much faith into anything Gary Suarez writes, especially after his mockery of album reviews that was posted for Oceano’s Depths. Since that review and Gary’s joke of a “firing”, I don’t visit MS on a daily basis anymore.

    Cavus sounds decent. Like you, I don’t know if it’s vintage film footage or something made specifically for the video. Decent find.

    Earthen Grave seems promising, and they have Rachel Barton Pine in the lineup, so they’re worth another listen in my book. As far as covers go, I don’t think anyone can touch Dream Theater’s version (from Black Clouds & Silver Linings) with this song, but Earthen Grave did a pretty damned good job with it. The crowd didn’t seem all that into it, but they didn’t storm away angrily either. And some people did seem to enjoy it.

    For more violin goodness…

    A cover of “Toxicity” with three hot chicks, two on electric violin and the impressive Meytal Cohen on drums: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMKmQmkJ9gg

    An impromptu version of Hotel California’s guitar solo on violin at a store: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LinK-cqjj6A

    Oh, those links… best I can tell (based on what I’ve read online, especially with the seven legged sppider pic), they’re all made up. But the sad thing is, some people do shit like that online. And there are, of course, some very strange, deranged people out there that make these kinds of things look sane – real or not.

    That fucking bastard cube must be at work again or something. I think it just made my cat throw up.

    • Odd, the blog says there are no comments to this post. I know there are. I’m looking at one.

      Cube, damn you!!!!

    • Watching that cover of Toxicity made me jizz my pants. Why couldn’t they have been playing that NAKED. They are freaking HOT.

      • Ditto. Glad I decided not to change my shorts after soiling them earlier. The cover of “Toxicity” was hot too. Wonder if they’ve done anything else musically?

        • I know there are some other videos Meytal has uploaded. Don’t know if she’s in a band proper or if she’s done any recording, whether with the two she’s in that Toxicity video with or anyone else. But if not, she should. I thought she did a pretty good job and metal needs more females that aren’t singing or playing the keyboards. There are still some female bassists around (which is kind of the first spot they really started to appear in), but female drummers and guitarists are still quite rare in metal – at least in what I’ve seen/heard. There are several out there, but there needs to be more.

          • I watched some of those other Meytal videos after I saw the Toxicity cover you suggested, and she is pretty good. I’d be happy with more covers by this threesome. Seems like other people would, too, because that video has about 2.5 million hits on YouTube.

    • I now know where the Cavus video came from. Check the “Update” we’ve added to the original post.

  2. From the Font of All Knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Barton_Pine

    “On January 16, 1995, Barton Pine was severely injured in a train accident in the suburb of Winnetka, where she taught violin lessons.[2][5] As she was exiting a Metra commuter train with her violin over her shoulder, the doors closed on the strap to her case, pinning her left shoulder to the train. The doors, which were controlled remotely and had no safety sensors, failed to open, and she was dragged 366 feet by the train before being pulled underneath and run over, severing one leg and severely mangling the other.”

    If her surviving, much less performing, after that accident doesn’t qualify as metal, I don’t know what does. This chick is bad fucking ass.

  3. I love 27b/6. That dude is awesome. If its faked, it’s still damn funny.

    And for some more short destroying hilarity….http://www.dontevenreply.com

  4. I didn’t really like the Harvey Milk song either. I’m not really familiar with sludge, but I looked up sludge on Wikipedia lol, and it says Mastodon is like a mixture of sludge and you guys here at NCS like that band. Well anyway the only “sludge” band I have really listened to is Lair of the Minotaur and even then I don’t remember what they sound like but I know I liked them lol.
    I enjoyed the Amon Amarth video “Maybe you need more beer, I know I do” haha also, he didn’t sound like he had an accent, interesting :p
    I think the vocal performance from Earthen Grave was so awesome, he is truly skilled but the rest of it was okay because I’m not a Dio fan.
    When I started listening to Cavus, my volume was kind of low and I thought “it’s okay” but after I turned it up, then it sounded great. I will definitely check more into this band, thanks. From that picture of them you posted, they also have some good looking guys in there too hehe (I am a girl just in case you did not know). But yeah man, that song was good. Do you like the band Krypt? Because that is who I thought about when I listened to Cavus.

    “I spent three days down a well once but that was just for fun.” and “I admit to being in desperate need of increasing my body strength. My ten year old child often turns the taps off in the bathroom very tightly and I have to go several days without washing. I feel bad constantly having to ask the lady from next door to come over and loosen them for me” Hahaha I love those! Thanks for showing us this website, this is the first I’ve seen it. oh yeah and I can’t forget yours “I will probably listen to more metal, or possibly just spend the rest of the morning tearing up bills without paying them” Lolol. okay I’ll stop quoting everything I like. You should do that email thing, they would be hilarious 😀 except they would probably include alot more swear words lol.

    • I can see why Mastodon might be mentioned in an article on sludge, because some songs have some sludgy elements to em, but I would never mention them and Harvey Milk in the same sentence. (Ooops.)

      Glad you liked Cavus after achieving the proper volume. I’m so deaf that I have to listen to everything at eardrum-rupturing levels. Maybe that’s why almost everything sounds good to me (except Harvey Milk). I don’t know Krypt — but now I’m gonna check em out!

      You really think I should do that e-mail thing? Well maybe I’ll give it a shot. I was actually kinda toying with that idea already. Don’t wanna get in a rut around here. Variety is the spice of life! Definitely would have more swear words.

      (Oh, and thank you for saying all those nice things. I particularly like receiving compliments from girls. Particularly because I don’t look like any of the dudes in Cavus.)

  5. Everything on this post was cool, but that Harvey Milk, after i listened to it I could have sworn I just drank curdled Milk. Not a fan, not a fan at all.

    That violin player with the long black dress reminded me of the new Apocalyptica “End Of Me” video. Earthen Grave is like Orchestrated Ledzeppin, or somethin’ to that effect. I’ve gettin’ that symphonic stuff lately.

    It’s along song, Earthen Grave, I mean.

    Hahaha, Shannon is Missing Missy cause she is LOST!!. Man that that was Fuckin’ funny!!!

    • I knew Harvey Milk reminded me of something, just couldn’t put my finger on it. Harvey “Curdled” Milk! Exactly! But without the Coco Puffs in the bowl.

      “Along song”: Earthen Led Zeppelin! You’re on a roll!

      27slash6: I still think this is my favorite: “I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead. I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter.”

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