When it comes to bagpipe music, my sense is that most people either love it or hate it. I don’t know anyone who falls in the middle ground. I happen to love it.
I know of a handful of folk metal bands — including Arkona, Suidakra, Skyforger, Cruachan, and Eluveitie — who feature the bagpipes in some or all of their music. But until yesterday, I only knew of one metal band who used the bagpipes as their lead instrument: South Africa’s Haggis and Bong (still one of the best band names ever created). We’ve featured them at NCS more than once, and most recently here.
Yesterday, thanks to groverXIII (The Number of the Blog), I discovered another band who use bagpipes as their lead instruments: Germany’s Schelmish. Now, based on a little reading about Schelmish, it appears that they’re commonly referred to as a “medieval rock band” — a style of music that seems to have originated in Germany — but they sure as hell seem metal as fuck to me (with punk in the mix, too).
Between 2000 and 2010, they’ve released 10 albums, including a live performance CD. But I’m writing this post based on only one song — “Chaos”. It happened to be the first Schelmish YouTube video I watched after groverXIII recommended the band, and man does it sell.
Reasons why the “Chaos” video is the shit:
First, this band appears to have not one but five pipers. Second, the ends of the drones on their bagpipes look like the flared mouths of ancient muskets. Third, Schelmish also have some gargantuan drums to accompany the bagpipes. Fourth, the band members themselves are gargantuan (with the exception of one whippet-like piper who looks like Johnny Rotten). Fifth, they can really jam. Sixth, the song is called “Chaos”, and the music lives up to the name.
It’s a purely instrumental song. If you hate bagpipe music, it will make your ears bleed. If you do like bagpipe music, or if you might enjoy watching a bunch of massive hairy people with massive, blasting, ear-bleeding instruments rock the fuck out in a packed house of worshippers, watch this:
Having forcibly penetrated your ear canals once, I might as well fuck them again.
HAGGIS & BONG
I’ve been waiting and waiting for a really high-quality video of South Africa’s Haggis and Bong performing live. I’m still waiting. The drums and the bass are too prominent in the audio of the following video and the pipes are too submerged in the mix, but the video is still better than nothing. So, if you’re still with me and haven’t run screaming into the streets, check this out:
P.S. In preparing to write this post I discovered the slobber-happy news that Haggis and Bong has finished a new album. Check out the artwork:
Also, it appears the band have a new music video in the works — which means you will be seeing more Haggis and Bong up here at NCS soonish.
You know, I’ve gone this far, I might as well keep going.
One of the reasons I enjoy bagpipe music is that it has the same wild, cathartic feel as extreme metal. That’s why, despite the fact that I’ve sworn off nearly all music except metal, I still make room for pipe music. For non-metal pipe music, my go-to bands are The Tannahill Weavers and Deaf Shepherd; both are from Scotland. Here are songs from each. Like most bagpipe sets, this shit puts my head in a blender every time I hear it: bagpipe shred.
The Tannahill Weavers: “Good Drying Set” (from the album Leaving St. Kilda)[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/01-Good-Drying-Set_-Good-Drying_The-MacFarlanes_The-Whistlebinkies-Reel_Mulhairs-Reel….mp3|titles=The Tannahill Weavers – Good Drying Set]
Deaf Shepherd: “Double Pipe Set” (from the album Ae Spark O Nature’s Fire)[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/09-Gav-On-Crutches-Jig_The-Foxhunter_Gav-On-Crutche.mp3|titles=Deaf Shepherd – Double Pipe Set]