It’s Sunday morning here at the NCS compound, and that must mean it’s time for another installment of The Rearview Mirror, in which we take a rare backward look at the metal of yesteryear. It’s also time for me to feed the loris horde before they start sharpening their knives again. But I think I’ve got enough time to put up these tunes before they launch an assault; they’re very deliberative.
Today I decided to include music from two bands, Axamenta from Belgium and Ragnarok from Norway. It’s quite a contrast.
Over a span of roughly 10 years, Axamenta put out a handful of demos and EPs and two albums, the last of which was 2006’s Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture — and then split up before releasing anything else. Metal-Archives classifies them as “melodic death/black metal”, but there’s certainly a symphonic component to their sound as well. In fact, there are times on Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture when they really go over the top with the keyboards. But the album also includes some powerful, memorable, and at times unconventional melodic death metal, with potent riffs and majestic melodies draped in a shroud of thorns.
I’ve got two tracks from the album for your listening pleasure — “Demons Shelter Within” and “Ashes To Flesh” (which includes some clean singing in addition to those demon snarls).
Thanks to our reader KONEMIES for recommending this band.
The next band is far away on the metal spectrum from Axamenta. Ragnarok’s approach to black metal is to rip, tear, incinerate, and take no prisoners.
They’ve got seven albums to their credit going back to 1995, the last of which was 2012’s Malediction (yes, they are overdue for a new album). There are a host of black gems in their discography, but I’m only going to include one track, so as not to dilute its impact in any way.
I was reminded of it yesterday when a Facebook friend posted it on his wall. I had forgotten how bloody fast and unremittingly savage it is. The drumming is absolutely off-the-hook, the vocals are berserk, the riffs are electrifying — and it just will not be stopped. The song is “Certain Death”, from Diabolical Age (2000).
(The lyrics are not what you might expect — I’m including them below the YouTube clip.)
It’s silent and the ocean can tell
As no wind blows over it’s surface
Something strange and rare is happening
Such silentness has never been felt
It’s like the time stands still
And never have such earthly life forms
Felt such fear and thought so much
It’s like the last thought of human race
And seconds after the nature
Gives it’s sign of life and existance
But for the humans a certain death
The earth’s surface quivers
And the water begins to stir
Winds of a strength which no man
Has ever believed existed
Waves high flows towards land
Thunder rumbles in the sky
While lightning strikes all over
From the centre of earth
Do enormous chinks open
And what’s left of the human world
Falls down into the depths of darkness
While mountains high melts
And cover the last evidence of this age’s flowers
After this everything is quiet
Only the cool breeze is left
To blow away the smoke
From the wasted landscapes
Everything of this age is buried
And becomes a secret that will never be known
It was malice and the only solution
Axamenta was new to me. Really enjoyed Demons Shelter Within!
Ragnarok is is a somewhat overlooked tnbm band with a flair of “tsbm” to it (Marduk/Dark Funeral) that deserves more attention.
Ragnarok are among the best at what they do, in my humble opinion. Very anxious for their next album.
Really enjoying both of these new finds, especially Axamenta. Too bad they aren’t around anymore.
I was listening to Ragnarok recently. True story.
Quite a coincidence! I hadn’t listened to their music in at least six months — and that kind of time lapse is stupid, because they kill.
Have you listened to that Urgehal vinyl yet?
Thanks to my obsessive watching of Vikings (TV: who knew you could learn something?) I recognised the word Ragnarok instantly – the end of days in viking folklore: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragnar%C3%B6k
Basically, the world gets flooded in water and the gods (and all people) die, so those lyrics are actually right on the money 🙂
“Certain Death” is a bonafide ripper 🙂