Apr 072023

photo by Bobby Bonesy

In writing about the music of the New Orleans ensemble Anareta we feel a gnawing sense of inadequacy (more than the usual). There’s an anxious conviction that to do it true justice would require more knowledge and learned appreciation for classical music, including the beautiful interplay of instrumental voices in chamber music, than we possess. On the other hand, we do know a thing or two about extreme metal music, and that turns out to be equally relevant.

Of course, Anareta aren’t the only band who have sought to integrate compositional and instrumental traditions of Western classical music with the harshness and aggression of heavy metal in some of its more extreme forms. But many other bands in that space use orchestral synths to weave in the classical elements. Even the more subdued sounds of string sections are usually the result of programmed samples.

Anareta, on the other hand, have a more authentic approach, with a line-up that includes performers on viola (Mackenzie Hamilton), cello (Sam Hollier), and violin (Louise Neal), along with the more familiar metal instrumentation of guitar (Carey Goforth), bass guitar (Sarah Jacques), and drums (Boyanna Trayanova). And it’s not just the instrumentation that’s so multi-faceted, because three of those performers (Jacques, Neal, and Hamilton) contribute to the vocals, and they’re varied too. Continue reading »

Jan 222023

Tulus – photo by Morten Syreng

Well I slept late again today. But unlike yesterday it wasn’t really a luxury this time. Did some partying last night and didn’t succumb to sleep until after midnight, so the sleeping late was just an effort to be barely functional today, with not a lot of hours of rest to show for it. The day is now pretty far along, and there are NFL playoff games rapidly approaching, so I’ll have to cut back on some of my own words here and there (I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth).

Prepare for a very twisty and turny trip that sometimes stretches the limits of this column’s usual focus in unusual ways.

TULUS (Norway)

From 1993 through 1999 this Norwegian group released three demos and three full-length albums, after which Tulus became dormant. Two of its members (Sarke and Blodstrup) went on to form Khold and recorded six albums under that name from 2001 through 2014 (the last of which in that period was Til endes).

When Khold temporarily went on hold in 2006, Sarke and Blodstrup revived Tulus and released Biography Obscene in 2007, as well as Olm og bitter in 2012, even after Khold itself had been resurrected. They were joined in both Khold and Tulus by bassist Crowbel. Continue reading »