Apr 212014

I don’t have any rhyme or reason why I combined the items in this post. The mind works in mysterious ways, especially after it has been pickled in alcohol.


A friend of mine who reads the New York Times every day sent me a link to an article by Charly Wilder in yesterday’s Travel section, because he knows I love metal, even though he doesn’t. I’d like to just copy and paste the whole damn thing, but I’d probably get a take-down notice from some lawyers for copyright violation. So I’ll just paraphrase.

The article is about an event (“Taste the Doom”) that has been happening off and on since 2011 in the back rooms of various Berlin bars (Germany, not North Dakota) in which the organizers pair single-malt whisky and doom metal. Until experiencing them together the writer was not a fan of single malt (“a decent drink but hardly worthy of all the macho lore and rhapsodizing on peat content and cask type”) or doom (“with its sludgy guitars and demon voices, it was hard to imagine it being enjoyed unironically by actual adults — or really anyone not planning a murder-suicide”). But when she tried them together beginning two years ago, “it all made perfect sense”.

In the article, she describes two recent pairings. The first combined “The Black Holes of Your Mind” by a Danish band named Black Wreath and a peated whisky from the Scottish Highlands named Old Ballantruan (50 percent). The whisky was described by one of the organizers as “so dark it sucks the light out of the room”. The second pairing combined an unidentified song by the French doom band Monarch with Glenfarclas CWH nine years 56.1 percent.

I’m a fan of both single malt and doom metal, but have not heard the music of either of these bands nor drunk either of these whiskies. However, I now badly want to visit Berlin.

I can’t lay hands on the malts at this writing, but I can check the music, and so can you. I’ve embedded the Black Wreath song below (it comes from the band’s only album, released in 2009), and for the Monarch track I picked one that our guest writer Kaptain Carbon used after he wrote this in a late-2012 NCS post about the band’s 2012 album Omens:

“I feel that this album was truly overlooked. The choir of damned angels singing confirms this fact. Lord and Jehovah hear my pleas. Monarch is a sludge/doom act with a healthy obsession in drone and grand narratives. Their songs are meticulous, plodding, and really fucking long. If they were not so heavy and interesting, I would have a problem. I do not. The vocals come in amazing shrieks and cries as if protruding from a cavernous cathedral from a gaggle of banshees. This is post metal from the bottom of a ravine and is one of the most unsettling records of 2012. I cannot believe I and everyone else missed it. Fuck.”

You could drink a lot of whisky by the time these songs finish — but they’re both very good. To read Charly Wilder’s article, go here and scroll down.







I got into a conversation over dinner last night about vampire movies. In the interest of full disclosure, I should confess that I’m not a horror movie buff.  I get too scared to really enjoy horror movies.  Nevertheless, I’ve somehow managed to see a fair number of vampire movies.  For the reason just explained, the ones I’ve enjoyed the most tend not to be too graphic.

One movie is probably my favorite (of the ones I can remember seeing off the top of my head), because to my way of thinking it’s the most offbeat, with a lot of dark humor to go along with the tension. It struck me as a kind of underground vampire movie (no pun intended), and for that as well as other reasons, it has always seemed metal to me.

The stars include Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton, and that really should tell you almost all you need to know about why it’s so good. The title is Near Dark., and it was directed by Kathryn Bigelow (who later won an Oscar for The Hurt Locker).

There’s one scene that always leaps to mind when I think about the movie, and this is it — in which the vampire crew and their protege invade a roadhouse bar. (I’d be interested in what you think the most metal vampire movie is, should you care to leave a comment. No goth, please.)


  1. I was about to recommend that article to you.

    Also, Shaun Of The Dead is clearly the best zombie movie in existence.

  2. I’d say Nosferatu is the most metal vampire movie (you can’t beat the classics) but the best is either Bordello of Blood or Vampire in Brooklyn. I’ve always thought Nosferatu was especially creepy in that way only German silent films can be (Cabinet of Dr. Caligari anyone?). But Bordello succeeds as being the worst possible followup to a film ever. Tales from the Crypt was fantastic but this…not so much. And Vampire in Brooklyn? Come on, it’s Eddie Murphy as a Caribbean vampire looking for a wife in New York.

  3. Taste the Doom sounds pretty damn awesome. Whisky and metal pairings? Yes, please!

  4. My all time favorite vampire movie is “30 Days of Night”, it has really violent, savage, scary vampires. that seems pretty metal. i also loved the Blade movies, i think those were pretty metal also, in a more slick and polished kind of way. “Dusk till Dawn” was damn good too, and very metal in a rebellious, raunchy kind of way.
    my wife thinks “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” was pretty metal, in a dark goth kind of way.
    i haven’t seen “Near Dark” (which is odd since i freaking love horror movies, like really, seriously freaking love ’em) but it looks pretty damn cool. i’ll have to see if i can find a copy somewhere.

  5. I loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula – the book, but have yet to see a movie that I felt captured the original. One thing that makes the book so interesting is that it’s all built up from various diary entries, etc – which from my understanding was quite a different literary approach for the time – and essentially makes it a ‘pre-video’ equivalent of the found footage genre. I haven’t seen the older classics like Nosferatu so maybe that’d be a place for me to check out.

    I was always a fan of ‘Interview with the Vampire’. I saw it again recently and it seems a bit dated now, but does well to capture the gothic loneliness that pervades the book. Recently, Byzantium was a vampire flick I thought ticked a lot of the right boxes, and I’ve been hearing great things about Only Lovers Left Alive, which doesn’t seem to have been released here yet.

  6. Hammer Films – Dracula (1957) is the most metal vampire movie ever because nothing in Hollywood is more metal than Christopher Lee.

  7. While not a vampire movie (although one could say the Somnambulist could be a vampire) I’d say “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is the most metal movie of all time. I have to call it a masterpiece, because in 2014 that movie still projects a creepy, claustrophobic atmosphere better than most movies made in the last few decades. The chaos of Ulcerate mixed with the claustrophobia of Portal and the mania of Gnaw Their Tongues would make a good soundtrack to “The Cabinet.” I really want to have a whisky & metal night now.

  8. the Twilight movies get me so stiff

  9. You can order Old Ballantruan Peated Malt, along with a whole fuckton of types of Glenfarclas (although not the one mentioned in the article so far as I could see) here: http://www.masterofmalt.com/

    • Another site with a good amount of whiskey/scotch/bourbon is acespirits.com. Pretty good selection, and the most reasonable shipping rates I’ve seen amongst online vendors.

  10. I live in Berlin and was fortunate to go to one of the first “Taste the Doom” events in 2012. It was even better than I hoped it’d be. Those guys are experts in both fields (doom & whiskey) and the wry bombast they used to introduce each pairing was pretty inspired–and hilarious, but also just made the evening pretty damn enjoyable. Tickets go fast, so if you’ll think you’ll be in Berlin (or Copenhagen), get on the email list and reserve the tix as soon as they announce the event.

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