Feb 072011

I just took a break from what I usually do during daylight hours to check happenings in the world of metal, and that proved to be quite a long and interesting diversion. It may not be mid-day where you are, but maybe you still need a diversion or two, or three. That’s what we’re here for — to divert you, for better or worse, depending on your alternatives.


Regular NCS visitors know we’ve got a pathological weakness for anything Finnish, so when I saw a come-on for a new video by a Finnish band called Mygrain, of course I had to watch it. Besides, I’ve been meaning to check out this band ever since I read about the release of their self-titled third album on January 12 (via Spineform Records) — especially because it was mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath, Nightingale).

The video is for a song called “Trapped In An Hourglass”. Very cool music — fast-paced, Finnish-style melodic death that’s both catchy and cathartic, with two admirable guitar solo’s (one of which is a jazzy bit of picking at about the 3:00 mark), some clean vocals that even I like, and evidence that Finnish howlers can even shriek underwater.  (more after the jump . . .)

Here’s the video.

For more information about the band, visit www.myspace.com/mygrain.


Raise your hand if you’re a fan of Emperor.

Wow, that was a lot of hands, though I’m not surprised. Did you know that some companies called Metal Swamp (Czech Republic) and Tryzna Production (Slovakia) are planning to release an Emperor tribute album later this year? Well, now you know. And why should anyone care? Because of the bands that are lined up to contribute tracks.  Check it out:

* TAAKE (Norway)
* HELHEIM (Norway)
* TROLL (Norway)
* HORNA (Finland)
* SETHERIAL (Sweden)
* DEMONICAL (Sweden)
* SALTUS (Poland)
* SILVA NIGRA (Czech Republic)
* INFER (Slovakia)
* KARPATHIA (Slovakia)

We’ll let you know when the album drops and how to get it. It looks like a potential must-have kind of thing for black-metal fans.


This is diverting, don’t you think?

I hope you can see it in detail. If not, you may need to do whatever it is that lightens computer screens. It’s the cover to an unreleased album called Spyhorelandet by an unsigned Norwegian band called Formloff. According to a press release, the album is a collection of “rural black metal, thematically embracing the tragedy of everyday life.” The lyrics are completely in Norwegian (in what is described as a rural dialect).

Formloff appears to be a two-man project — Bernt Karsten Sannerud (vocals, keyboards) and Marius Blekspetl Sjøli (vocals, guitars) — who recruited session musicians to help them achieve the sound they wanted for the recording.

During my mid-day break, I only heard one track. It’s dissonant and dark and geared toward the creation of a bleak atmosphere, but I thought it was engrossing and interesting, in part because it includes a saxophone, which I don’t often hear in black metal. If this sounds like something that might appeal to your tastes, as it did to mine, here’s the song (“Skævven”):

Skævven by Formloff

More Formloff music is available at their SoundCloud page (here).

Okay, enough NCS diversion for now. Enjoy the rest of your fucking day.


  1. I’ll get that Emperor tribute for the Taake track alone, they have never disappointed me. (In all seriousness, every time one of these tribute albums comes out, I roll my eyes at them until I actually listen and usually enjoy. There are some really good ones out, I like the Burzum and Iron Maiden ones that I have at home…I’d namedrop the albums except that they’re at home and I’m, well, not. Sigh.)

    As for Formloff, you had me at “dissonant and bleak,” but the saxophone surprised me, I didn’t expect it to work without sounding like a VHS porno soundtrack dubbed over metal…it really integrates nicely. I wonder what else their session players have up their sleeve…

  2. “I didn’t expect it to work without sounding like a VHS porno soundtrack dubbed over metal . . .” Oh so funny! The sax does work unexpectedly well in this song. I’ve been trying to think of other black metal bands who have used the sax (other than Shining) but my relative ignorance about BM is holding me back. I do know of some black metal bands who use the trombone in a way that works (I Divine and Sear Bliss). Maybe some of the black-metal gurus who read NCS will chime in.

    • off the top of my head I can’t think of any other sax wielding black metal bands. You have your set of symphonic / gothic black metal bands that have used orchestras and strings (Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth come to mind). Then you have all your folk bands with their different set of instruments, but many of those bands are more folk than (black) metal. Deathspell Omega have used horns (or really good samples, it’s hard to know) on at least Kenose.

  3. That MyGrain sounds a lot better than their older stuff. I couldn’t get into their older stuff, but this one had me nodding. That Emperor trib looks really interesting too. Is there any way to preview any of the songs?

    • I’d never listened to Mygrain before, so didn’t know how this compared to their previous releases. As for the Emperor tribute, I checked web sites for both of the outfits behind the release and couldn’t find any previews, or any other details beyond what was in the PR piece. I’ve written them now, and maybe they’ll respond . . .

  4. The have really stepped it up a notch myGrain with this new self-titled album. Their first album Orbit Dance was painfully mediocre, but Signs of Existence was a step up, and this new album another step up. Nothing groundbreaking whatsoever, but enjoyable, catchy modern metal.

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