STILL MORE DIVERSIONARY TACTICS: FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, EASTERN FRONT, AND TAAKE
We seem to be stuck on triads. On each of the last two days, we featured the music of three bands. This being the third day, it appealed to our rudimentary desire for symmetry to feature three more. A triad of triads. Today, we’ve got a fairly new video of Fleshgod Apocalypse (Italy), a song from the recent U.S. label debut of Eastern Front (UK), and a not-new video of a not-new song from a not-new band — but one we finally decided to check out — Taake (Norway). Let’s get right to it:
Don’t know how I missed this. On February 21, a video appeared on YouTube of Fleshgod Apocalypse performing live at The Bonecrusher Fest 2011 in Utrecht, Holland, the night before. If there were such a thing as an official NCS “mascot”, this band would be it. We’ve probably dropped their names in posts and comments more than any other band.
We fantasize about offering them vast sums of money to come live in Seattle and be our official house band, y’know, after one of those stupendous offers of cash from Nigeria or Ghana or Mali or Hong Kong materializes — which we know will happen if we’re patient and continue to lead a clean, godly life and do good works for those less fortunate than ourselves. Can I get a big “Amen!”?
No, no, no, I did not ask for a big “Hail Satan!” Let’s try that again: Can I get a big “Amen!”?
Well, I can tell that ain’t gonna fuckin work with this crowd, so let’s just go back to FA. (after the jump . . .)
This video consists of the first two songs of their performance at Bonecrusher (except for the last few seconds of the second song — the filmographer had to hide his camera because filming wasn’t permitted in the venue). The video quality is quite good, and for fan-filmed footage, the sound quality is above average (though still not wonderful). And it’s fucking Fleshgod Apocalypse, in all their acrobatic, tuxedo-ed, black-faced, balls-to-the-wall glory. Watch it . . .
Sometime late last year, I caught some buzz about this UK band and meant to investigate, but the thought managed to drift out of my head before I acted on it, as most of my thoughts do. They were signed to Candlelight Records last May. In September, Candlelight released their debut album, produced by Andy LaRocque, in Europe and the UK. It’s called Blood On Snow, and it was the source of the buzz. And then Candlelight released the album in the U.S. in late January. I snagged it and finally made my way around to listening.
I’ve barely been through the album once, and I mean to write a full review of it. But I form those intentions about lots of albums and somehow don’t follow through. So, soberly recognizing my attention deficits and general half-assed-ness, I thought, to be safe, I should say something now before my enthusiastic thoughts about Blood On Snow . . . drift away.
The album as a whole is frighteningly good — an acidic drenching of black metal, but with the heavy lumber of death metal swinging at your head when you’re not expecting it. Nordic shrieks and brutal gutturals, rancid tremolo slicing and chugging chords, the speed of a howling wind and the lurching menace of a tank.
But that’s not all. There are songs on the album, mainly in the second half, that are melodic and atmospheric. Add to that a lyrical focus on the battles on the eastern front during World War II, and what you have is a work that isn’t easy to label or sum up — which is part of what makes this such a very strong debut. Here’s one of those more melodic tracks from Blood On Snow, which I love:
“Taake” is Norwegian for “fog”, and it’s the name of a true Norwegian black-metal band that have been making music for more than 15 years. Their last album, Taake, was released in 2008.
It appears that in terms of musical creation, the band is essentially the one-man project of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Hoest. He also has a habit of providing guest vocals for other bands. For example, his snarling rasp appears on a song (“Ulvetid”) by 2010’s Norwegian sensation Kvelertak. When Taake plays live, Hoest fills out the band with session artists.
Despite the fact that Taake have been around a long time and undoubtedly are well-known to all acolytes of black metal, I’m still learning and exploring the genre, so until yesterday I wasn’t familiar with Taake’s music, though I knew the name. Yesterday, I decided to dip my toes in the icy water and I watched this official performance video for a song from the last album called “Umenneske” (“inhuman”). I do like it — a scalding piece of black ‘n roll with a crawling, doom-like finish. These dudes look like they’d be lots of evil fun to watch live.
Taake will be playing in Brazil in March and then a series of dates in Europe beginning in April. The current tour schedule and other info about Taake can be found on their official site (here).
I randomly picked up the Eastern Front album last year, and thought it was quite ok. My one qualm with them is purely aesthetic, the band picture (esp the one on M-A) just seems to go quite poorly with the general theme they’re trying to evoke.
Taake is great and live they really live up to the old rock n’ roll mantra “rock with your cock out”
Oh shit! That photo is hilarious.
They’re more famous for that photo than for their music and for their frontman drawing a swastika on his chest at some concert a few years ago (which is why I avoided them for some time). But their music is really good and often quite melodic.
That opening riff from the Taake song you posted sounds really familiar by the way, as if it was taken from Darkthrone’s Under a Funeral Moon album. I’m not complaining, though, because Darkthrone are one of my favourite bands.
Darkthrone is another band I need to spend more time with. The only album I’ve heard was the recent one, Circle the Wagons. I’ve also got Sardonic Wrath, but haven’t listened yet.
The coolest thing about Darkthrone is that they’re not only one of the best black metal bands, they also realeased a great death metal album (Soulside Journey) before turning to black metal. The four albums that followed it are some of the best black metal has to offer, with Transilvanian Hunger being their masterpiece.This particular album is as minimial and repetitive as black metal can possibly be, but what sets Darkthrone apart from their imitators is that they were really good at writing eerie and sometimes hauntingly beautiful melodies (check out the title track).
The other three albums (A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Under a Funeral Moon and Panzerfaust) aren’t quite as uncompromising and have a little more variety, so they might be a better place to start. Panzerfaust in particular is a great summary of all their different styles. The later albums are competent but they lack the magic of their first efforts.
Sounds like Panzerfaust would be the right place for me to begin. I appreciate the advice.
I’ve not listened to Panzerfaust in a long time, was never one of my favorites, I’d start with Transylvanian Hunger or Under a Funeral Moon.
Just like the OP I think what sets Darkthrone apart is that they are very talented musicians who choose to play very simple music, but pay attention and you notice despite it’s seeming simplicity it’s very performed to perfection.
OK — I’m going all in. Adding Transylvanian Hunger and Under A Funeral Moon to the list.