I’ve been accumulating the names of more and more bands whose music I don’t know but who look interesting for one reason or another. Yesterday, I decided it was again time to pick a few names at random off the list and see what I might find. That, of course, is what this MISCELLANY series is all about. With the internet at my fingertips, I go exploring and I record in this post who and what I heard, not really knowing in advance whether the music will be worthwhile.
For each of the bands whose names I pick, I listen to one song, and only one song — those are the rules I set for myself when we started this series. Yes, it’s pretty random and runs the risk of not giving the music a fair chance, but I think it’s better than nothing, and over time it has proven to be a useful vehicle for exposing myself (and you) to bands we might not have discovered in any other way.
In this particular installment of MISCELLANY, I checked out three bands: Fejd (Sweden), Praetorian (U.S.), and Forsaken (U.S.)
My first stop in this edition of the MISCELLANY tour was to watch a new video from a Swedish folk-metal band called Fejd. I saw a press item on Blabbermouth about them, which picqued my interest (though I can’t really explain why). Fejd was formed in 2001 by two brothers, Patrik Rimmerfors and Niklas Rimmerfors, who had been playing in a folk music band called — fittingly — Rimmerfors. To create Feyd, they joined together with some childhood friends from a metal band called Pathos. As they explain, the resulting music features “the weight of heavy metal in symbiosis with the typical melodic language and sadness of the Nordic folk music.” (more after the jump . . .)
The video is for a song called “Gryning” off the band’s second album, Eifur, which was released last month on Napalm Records. I can’t say that I’ve had a wide-ranging exposure to folk metal — I find a lot of it too cheesy and not terribly original. But I really liked this song. It’s dramatic and melodically memorable, and includes music from some interesting folk instruments, including the bouzouki and the moraharpa, which is sort of a keyed fiddle that’s played with a primitive-looking bow.
As portrayed in the video, the song tells the story of a wife’s sudden and violent death, the husband’s anguish, and ultimately his decision to find her again by joining in her fate. The video narrative is saved from sappiness by the intensity of Patrik Rimmerfors’ vocal performance — he looks like he’s really feeling the music, like it means something important to him. In an ideal world, that would be true of all musicians and the music they perform. Hope you like this one as much as I did.
For more info about Fejd, visit their official web site here, or their MySpace page here. Two previous EP’s can be downloaded for free via Feyd’s official web page (click the link called “Music” when you get there).
We got an e-mail from this six-piece Long Island band inviting us to check out their debut EP, To Dwell In Darkness, which the band released in June. Yes, it seems that we write a lot about Long Island bands, but we’ve had such good luck with others from that area that we will continue listening. It’s obviously a strong local metal scene with lots of budding talent.
This particular band is no exception. The EP includes six songs, and the first one was short enough that I guessed it was an intro, so I skipped to the second one, called “Enticing the Serpent” — and was immediately hooked. The sound is symphonic death metal with pronounced black-metal influences. The instrumental work is quite good and the song includes an attention-grabbing solo leading into a harmonic dual-guitar interlude. The keyboards provide an epic overlay to the music without becoming excessive (and thankfully, there’s no cheese factor). The vocals are also very satisfying — full and varied and nasty.
The song reminds me of Scandinavian bands like Keep of Kalessin, and it doesn’t hurt that the EP cover is a hot-shit piece of artwork. I’m really looking forward to hearing the rest of the EP. For now, here’s “Enticing the Serpent”:
There are a couple of bonuses in store if you like the music. The first is that the band has made the EP available for free download at their Bandcamp page (here). The second is that Praetorian plans to record a debut album next summer and have already lined up Eliran Kantor to create the album art (he provided the art for Atheist’s impending release, Jupiter, Sodom’s In War and Pieces, GWAR’s Lust in Space, Sigh’s Scenes from Hell, Testament’s Formation of Damnation, and many others). I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing this band’s name bandied about in bigger circles in the months to come.
Our deathcore advisor, IntoTheDarkness sent me two messages in the last couple days. One was about Oceano’s new album — but I already know that band, so they don’t qualify for this MISCELLANY post. In his other message, he recommended a band from Connecticut called Forsaken the Sky. So, I went in search of music, and promptly got confused.
There’s a band called Forsaken the Sky that released a six-song EP called Heaven.Earth.Hell in July 2009 (which is available on iTunes). There’s also a band from the same Connecticut town whose MySpace URL is “forsakenthesky” but whose name is simply Forsaken. They’ve got two new tracks streaming on their MySpace player, both of which are available for free download on the band’s PureVolume page (here).
There is an overlap between these two similarly named bands — the drummer and the two guitarists are the same — but Forsaken features a different vocalist and a different drummer. So, our guess is that the band changed its name and its line-up. I think the name change was a good one, but I decided to treat these as two different bands for MISCELLANY listening purposes so I could hear the before and the after. I picked one song off that 2009 EP (“Two Thousand And Twelve”) and one of the new tracks (“Death Sentence”), just posted a few days ago on the PureVolume site.
The older song is rhythmically schizophrenic and morbidly discordant, with more than a little death-doom in its flavor. Of course, it includes a breakdown. I like the new song better. It’s still got a death-doom flavor to it, it’s still dissonant and massively down-tuned, but the groaning guitar work is more interesting and the vocals are more straight death-metal gutturals and less a back-and-forth blend of growls and shrieks, as on the older song. It’s vicious and heavy and even includes bursts of grim melody. Here are the songs I heard:
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you in this installment of MISCELLANY. All in all, not a bad outing. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend, won’t you?