Jan 252012

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.


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)

Deaf Shepherd: “Double Pipe Set” (from the album Ae Spark O Nature’s Fire)

  27 Responses to “BAGPIPE METAL”

  1. Oh, I love me some bagpipes. Holy fuck, bagpipes are like speed for men who hate underwear. Wait…no, actually, I don’t care if that makes sense. Bagpipes are awesome.

    One of my friends from university is in a celtic rock band (not really metal). He’s a fucking brilliant musician….though I haven’t talked to him in a bit. Thanks for reminding me to do so.

    His band: http://angusmohr.com/audio.html (They play a lot of covers, at least on the album I have, but it’s all pretty damn good, in my opinion.)

    • Hey, I dig that Angus Mohr! Awesome.

      Bagpipe jigs and reels are like the grind (or maybe thrash) of acoustic instrumentation. Along with blistering fiddle music, of course.

      • Schelmish made me feel like the little Celtic girl who could. Who could kick your ass, drink you under the table, and out prairie dog fuck anyone in the world. Then the song ended and I remembered that I’m not even a real boy.

        …….that might have come out wrong…

  2. Ahhhh…sweet, sweet Schelmish.

  3. Haggis & Bong: SO much better without the sax.

    • Is there anything that sax makes better?
      You know how some people vehemently hate like bestiality and make laws against it and laugh at Texans for doing it?

      That’s how I feel about the sax. I’m…saxist….

      • Saxist – +1. Actually, I don’t even know what +1 means but I’ve seen other people do that.

        But no love for the sax? Not even when Jørgen Munkeby uses it to freak shit out in Shining?

  4. FUCK YES. I need to start drinking, but it’s 11am on a Wednesday. Oh well.

  5. Graveworm used bagpipes on the song Thorns of Desolation, but maybe nowhere else.


  6. You can see the new Haggis & Bong video here:


    Not the best video ever, but the music is fucking great!

  7. Hey have you heard Corvus Corax , they aren’t too bad. Thanks for posting about Haggis and Bong that band is awesome!!!! I love bagpipes…..Awesome, with metal.

  8. Listen to Skyforger. Latvian metal with pipes

  9. Drakwald” from france

  10. I found your website after looking for metal including bagpipes and wow am I glad I found it. The bands above are awesome. Currently listening to some Schelmish and do they ever rock.

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