May 162013

What a damned fine way to help start the day: Haggis and Bong have released a new video.

I’ve been pimping this South African band since January 2010, when they were just two pipers and a drummer. They’ve filled out since then, adding electrified instruments, turning into a more recognizably metal band. But the Highland bagpipes are still what make Haggis and Bong special. That, and their name.

Their new video is for a track from their latest album, Of Myth and Legend, which can be downloaded from CDBaby (here). The song is called “Revelation of the Gods”. It includes a hard-driving rhythm and two kinds of shred: the skirl of the pipes, of course, and a very cool guitar solo. The video is also really well-done (kudos to director Ross John Warwick and cameraman Theo Crouse). It’s a swirling performance clip, enhanced by shots from Go-Pro-type cameras mounted on the instruments, cool lighting, and some nice visual effects.

Watch it after the jump. That’s an order. Continue reading »

May 072013

I’m hoping everything in this post will tickle your fancy. It includes four quite diverse songs that I heard this morning. They’re nothing alike, but I thought they were all cool . . . and not the kind of thing you’re likely to come across elsewhere (at least not packaged together and hand-tied with a pink bow, like I’m doing for you).


Still one of the best metal band names ever. And still some of the most stirring bagpipe-injected metal you can find. Haggis and Bong come not from Scotland but from South Africa, and they’ve been a favorite topic of mine here at NCS dating all the way back to January 2010, when the band was just a duo of pipers and a drummer (you can find all of my blathering about them over the years via this link).

Since those early days they’ve expanded themselves into a genuine metal band — but one in which the pipes still play a prominent role — and today they’ve released a free single that’s their heaviest work yet. In addition to including some mosh-worthy distorted riffing and pounding rhythm work, “Battle Destroyer” incorporates the pipes in an unusual way — no jigs or reels this time. Check out the song after the jump and go download it here if you dig it as much as I do. Continue reading »

Feb 112012

A video I saw about some difficulties Apple is experiencing with its Siri speech-recognition software gave me the idea for this post. It don’t seem to do too well with the Scots dialect (or at least the Glaswegian variant of it). I wonder how it would do with lyric recognition when voiced by Scottish extreme metal bands. Probably not to fukkin well. And running some bagpipe metal through the thing would probably cause it to melt down.

First, here’s the video. HIGH-larious. (And to see a translation of what’s being said, along with an explanation by the creator of the video, go here.)

As for Scottish (and Scottish-themed) metal, the line-up after the jump is a mix of new, newish, and older music from three Glasgow bands (Man Must Die, Cerebral Bore, and Achren), one from Edinburgh (Zillah),  and Haggis and Bong (okay, they’re from South Africa, but how can we write about Scottish metal without including some new bagpipe shred?). Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

Oct 302010

When we last checked in with our favorite bagpipe-driven metal band from South Africa, Haggis and Bong, about a month ago, they had just made four songs available for free download on their ReverbNation page. That ended a long dry wait for us. Finally, we had the ability to carry H&B songs around with us so we could get skirled to death by the music whenever the fuck we wanted!

A month ago, we also learned that Haggis and Bong had expanded their line-up to include, in addition to the Highland pipes and drums, a bass player and a trombonist. We wondered how the addition of a bass would affect the sound (we thought it would likely make it more metal), and of course, everyone knows that a metal band without a trombone is like a three-legged dog.

And now we know — because Haggis and Bong have added a new song to their ReverbNation player called “Celtic Force” — and it includes bass guitar and trombone!  That player also includes an upload of yet another song from the band’s 2008 debut, Fire in the Bowl.  That one’s called “The Plague”. And you can download both those new songs (in addition to the previous four) at a cost of nothing more than a mouse-click and a dirty thought.

And since we know our readers oh so well, we know all this will really cost you is the mouse-click. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 282010

That got your attention, didn’t it?

Some small number of you might have been visiting this site back in January and some even smaller number might remember that we wrote then about a South African band called Haggis and Bong. Maybe more will remember than we think,  because that’s a name you don’t easily forget.

Back in January, when we first heard about Haggis and Bong, they were a 3-man show:  Angus “Haggis” Nixon on the Great Highland Bagpipes, Thomas “Bong” Hughes on the kit drum, and Dominic “The Dominator” Skelton on the Great Highland Bagpipes.

Yes, you read that correctly.  This was an instrumental metal band that consisted of nothing but bagpipes and drums. But man, could they rip the hell out of a song, combining a furious double-bagpipe attack with lots of blast beats and double-bass.

Now, the line-up has expanded, and Haggis and Bong have added a full-time bass-player, as well as guest musicians, including a trombonist.

Back in January, the band had released one album, brilliantly entitled Fire in the Bowl.  Only problem was that unless you could catch a live show in South Africa, there was no fucking way to get a personal copy of the music.

Ever since January, we’ve waited and watched and searched, and there has just been no fucking way to download the tunes, either legally or illegally. We were completely hostage to the Haggis and Bong MySpace page. Now, finally, that frustrating situation has changed! (more after the jump, including Haggis and Bong music to hear . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 112010

I bet the title of this post got your attention, didn’t it? And I bet that if someone does a Google search for “haggis and bong” in the next day or two, we’ll be one of the first returns. Of course, I can’t imagine why anyone would do that — unless you live in South Africa or you stumbled on this news at Blabbermouth:

South African Metal Festival Aims To Set Record For ‘Most People Headbanging Simultaneously’ – Jan. 10, 2010: 21 of South Africa’s top metal bands will perform at the MotherFUDD festival, set to take place March 12-14, 2010 at Malonjeni Guest Resort, South Africa. The event will also host what it claims to be “the first-ever official Guinness World Record for most people headbanging simultaneously” on March 13.

Following the above intro was a list of those 21 bands scheduled to play at the “MotherFUDD” festival, including — you guessed it — Haggis and Bong. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »