Tag Archives: black metal

Solar Deity’s Aditya Mehta: “Exhumation is nowhere on my priority list”

solar deity band logoSoaked completely in black metal, Indian band Solar Deity started off as a studio project. Besides being a full-time live band now, Solar Deity is the only Indian metal act whose propensity for Satanism cannot be ignored. Clad in black robes the members take the stage not only with their instruments but also a clay pot, to quench their thirst. In short, they mean business.

I sat down with my pal Aditya – vocalist/guitarist of Solar Deity to discuss the Indian metal scene in general, Laveyan Satanism, Exhumation, the upcoming Black Metal Krieg gig and of course Solar Deity! Let’s proceed with the interview already, shall we?

  • Yo, Mehta! I’ve known you for years now. Why do you think I’m excited about interviewing you at this point in time.

Aditya – Because you know I’m going to say controversial stuff! I’m very cheery these days because the new EP is doing so well, and in general everything’s going great. Life is good, man. But I won’t disappoint you, old friend, so go ahead and hit me with the rest of your questions. I place my hand on the e-book version of the Satanic Bible and promise to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

Now that’s what I call creative relief. Alright, moving on…

solar deity band

  • You bash the Indian metal scene and many of the bands at the drop of a hat. It clearly shows that you, as an artist, are either uneasy or unhappy about the scene progressing or regressing in a particular direction. What, according to you, would be an ideal Indian metal scenario, where you don’t see yourself blasting, be it in interviews or conversations.

Aditya – Oh, balls to everyone! The scene is filled with poseurs and ass-kissers who are dying to be liked and accepted. Anyway, if these bands want to jack each other off it’s none of my business… but this underground scene is a fucking joke. There are very few bands that are actually worth something. The rest can die in a plane crash or get crushed under a bus.

So there is no ideal Indian metal scenario. You’ve clearly given up…

  • aditya mehta pot solar deityLet’s skip everything about how and why Solar Deity was formed. Tell me what does black metal mean to you, and how much of your ideologies could Solar Deity successfully imbibe.

Aditya – Black metal is music for the soul. I still love death metal the same way, of course, but black metal is what touches my spirit. Death metal is craft, black metal is art. I’m doing everything in and with Solar Deity that I couldn’t do before; I don’t have to hesitate at all. My vision is clear, the others in the band share it and and we are achieving it together.

  • You keep saying you are a Laveyan Satanist. I, myself support what Anton Lavey had to impart because it is logical. But, apart from the obvious, what do you mean when you say you are a Laveyan Satanist. How different your life would’ve been had you not known who Lavey is.

Aditya – Oh, come on, this is like asking Muslims what they would be if they hadn’t been born into Islam. I don’t know… I would’ve been a trendcore poseur, I guess… ahaha! Okay, seriously – I wouldn’t have been this strong mentally, I wouldn’t have been this focused, and I certainly wouldn’t have had this drive. My whole life changed the day I realized I was a Satanist… everything became very clear. There is total clarity in my life, and zero bullshit. It gets better as I grow older, it gets even more powerful with time. Around two years back the change in me was very noticeable: I realized nothing was happening with Exhumation and that I would have start another band to make extreme music… That was a fucking moment. I gave up drinking for almost a year, and the focus and drive came right back and I embraced the anger and hatred that was in me. I accepted it completely. It’s beautiful, y’know… the things anger and hate can drive you to do… it’s fucking amazing.

The right question pumps you up!

aditya mehta animesh das solar deity

  • Your jam sessions are a tribute to the devil, and your live shows are rituals. What’s the deal.

Aditya – Eh! I make a big deal out of everything. Eating muskmelon ice cream is a ritual, and when we eat aam-ras and the works in the summer I behave like there’s a grand ceremony taking place. It adds fun to my life.

  • Am I forgetting the band that put you into the Indian metal history books in the first place. No, I’m not. No news about Exhumation, no shows, and a lot of rumors. Put an end to it.

Aditya – Exhumation is nowhere on my priority list. Solar Deity is my main band and I have a few other projects waiting to happen: Spirit (death metal), Angry Dwarf (avant-garde noise), Heretic Magus (death/doom and funeral doom) and Bludgeoned Sociopath (goregrind). Apart from all this, I have a book of short stories to complete (I haven’t written a story in four years), more books to write, cats to take care of, and a life to live. If anything more needs to happen with Exhumation, it will – but I’m not exactly bathing in anticipation. Also, I’m fucking sick of being asked about Exhumation, so if anybody really wants me to talk about it they can first buy me a quarter of whisky.

OKAY, now that clears the air…

solar deity devil worship artwork

  • Solar Deity facts: 3 Eps, 1 single and an on-going three city tour. How receptive/supportive has the Indian metal scene and the non-existent metal media been to the group. You might want to add what more is in store.

Aditya – Pretty much the whole scene was stunned when we released In The Name Of Satan. Nobody really expected me to do anything after Exhumation started fizzling out, but I’m me, y’know? It’s so much fun when people forget what I am because I love reminding them. Then we released Snowless, and then The Darkness Of Being and now Devil Worship… we still have so much more to do, and we’re looking forward to it.

A few websites gave flimsy reasons for not writing about us, but they either disappeared into oblivion or came around eventually, when they realized we weren’t a random band that had come to pass time. The websites that did help us, however, really helped us – and they are responsible for spreading our music in a big way, and I’m very grateful to them.

  • Are you excited about this landmark all-black metal event Black Metal Krieg 3 that Solar Deity is part of. The audience is aware that Solar Deity would be unleashing their stuff at the gig. Tell them why exactly should they be present during your set.

Aditya – Of course I’m excited about Black Metal Krieg 3! Any extreme-metal fan will fucking come in his pants at the gig… I mean, look at the fucking lineup! I think this show is going to be great for Solar Deity because Mumbai and Thane will get to see our all-new lineup, and we’ll be playing a long set with stuff from all the EPs… and we’re getting to share the stage with these awesome bands. Kunal Choksi and Kunal Gonsalves are pulling off some mad shit here… every metalhead worth his/her favourite black t-shirt is going to be at BMK3… fuck yeah!

Solar Deity is:

Aditya Mehta on Guitars / Vocals
Animesh Das on Bass
Amogh Sharma on Drums
Niraj Singh Chauhan on Lead Guitar

solar deity band live

To stay updated about the band join their page here: https://www.facebook.com/SolarDeityIndia

Website: http://solardeityindia.com/

Aspire to be a groupie? Drop an email to: solardeityindia@gmail.com.

[ Black Metal Krieg 3 (featuring 1833 ADStark DenialSolar DeityCosmic InfusionWinter GateDark DesolationWinter ProphecyDormant Inferno and Spiked Crib) is the only event in India that pays tribute to black metal. The event is going to demolish a venue in Bombay on the 8th of December, 2013. Stay updated here: https://www.facebook.com/events/626388167400031/ . ]

Must read:

Interview with 1833 AD ahead of their headlining gig in Bombay (December 8th, 2013)

Album / Ep / Demo / Teaser Reviews

2010 article about the Indian Black Metal Scene

gig review : Black Metal Krieg (December, 2010)

Gig / Concert / Festival Reviews

Diverse Articles


1833 AD’s Nishant Abraham: “The usage of chord progressions that typically define Black Metal, come to me naturally”

1833 ad band logoAhead of 1833 AD‘s headlining gig in Bombay, Nishant Abraham – frontman of Indian black metal act 1833 AD talks about the challenges faced by the band, their 2012 debut record ‘My Dark Symphony‘, why they love playing in Bombay and tackles a few other questions that need a credible black metal band’s opinion.

Read on…

Imagine a world completely devoid of black metal. There is no reference point and such a genre doesn’t exist. Would 1833 AD still have existed.

NishantTo a certain extent, yes, but I wouldn’t have been so creative to term it Black Metal. I would have gone with something cheesy; Dark Metal, at best. The darkness that Black Metal creates, like any other form of music, is because of the arrangement of notes. And the usage of such chord progressions that typically define Black Metal, come to me naturally. Instrumentally, would we have sounded similar? Definitely. In terms of vocals? No chance in hell. I came from a very mellow vocal background and wouldn’t have considered screaming into a microphone even in my wildest dreams.

Three members in Delhi, and one member in Bangalore. Two different cities. Considering the obvious issues of management and lesser jamming sessions you guys still manage to pull off a tight gig. What does it take to make that happen.

Nishant – It is tough. With the distance, we have to practice regularly on our own to ensure we know our parts like the back of our hand so that it all comes together as one fluid piece when we perform. We feel it’s important to jam together at least once before a show. For this, we usually try and reach the city a day before. Sometimes it’s on the day of the show. Once, all we had time for was on-stage sound check. It was the biggest challenge we ever faced but we pulled through and were extremely proud of ourselves.

1833 ad black metal

A band wants to cover obscure underground songs that they truly believe in. And often it is overheard that the choice should’ve been a mass favorite. Your thoughts.

Nishant – Hmm, interesting question. Maybe it comes down to the band’s ideology. Are they trying to win points with the crowd? Or are they showcasing their music and influence? Personally, I wouldn’t mind either and we have done both in the past. We would do a song that no one knows if we feel the audience could use a good lesson in Old School Black Metal, but we would never play a song that we don’t believe in just to please the audience.

I’m aware of the staggering numbers that went into the production of ‘My Dark Symphony’. Resulting in a product that is top notch. No compromises there. What was going through the band’s mind when it came to the financial aspects of recording the album.

nishant abraham 1833 adNishant – How are you aware of that?

I know everything (laughs). Anyway…

Nishant – We had spent a lot of money just to get the music ready. But the concept we went with was incomplete without the artwork. Did we really have to spend so much on artwork? Maybe. Maybe not. Why settle? We wanted to create something that was never done before. The artwork has a vague storyline going on which is a mystery in itself. Trying to understand what each page means, how it possibly relates to a song, division of the chapters, et cetera are some of the alluring things My Dark Symphony has to offer. Something our fans could buy and feel that they got their money’s worth. And I think we did that with My Dark Symphony. If you are reading this and have no idea what we’re talking about, shame on you!

Alright, there are people who take 1833 AD’s music seriously, and that’s where the true fanbase comes into picture. Any upcoming gigs these people should know about.

Nishant – We love our fans! We get emails from our fans asking us for lyrics, tabs, minus tracks, etc. Everything we do, every penny we’ve ever spent, it all seems worth it with each of these emails.

We are playing two shows at the end of this week. Chandigarh on the 26th and Delhi on the 27th. We are also talking to few organizers in Jaipur and Pune. If something materializes, we’ll announce it on Facebook.

Bombay is going to play host to the third edition of Black Metal Krieg (BMK) event on the 8th of December, 2013. Sign-off the interview by telling us how do you plan to captivate your audience at BMK 3.

Nishant – We love playing Mumbai. The fact that it’s BMK just makes it more special. Getting to share the stage with so many other Indian Black Metal bands is a great privilege and we look forward to it. The Mumbai crowd returns the passion with which we perform. We will be throwing in a few surprises, some of the unforgotten classics perhaps? It’s gonna be wild!

1833 ad band live

1833 AD is:

Nishant Abraham on Vocals/Guitars
Rahul Mehalwal on Guitars
Sushmit Mazumdar on Bass
Raghav Sehgal on Drums

http://www.1833ad.com/

https://www.facebook.com/1833ad

If you want to contact the band directly, shoot an email to: 1833ad@gmail.com.

[ Black Metal Krieg 3 (featuring 1833 AD, Stark Denial, Solar Deity, Cosmic Infusion, Winter Gate, Dark Desolation, Winter Prophecy, Dormant Inferno and Spiked Crib) is the only event in India that pays tribute to black metal. The event is going to demolish a venue in Bombay on the 8th of December, 2013. Stay updated here: https://www.facebook.com/events/626388167400031/ . ]

Also read:

In-depth review of 1833 AD’s debut album ‘My Dark Symphony’

Dormant Inferno’s debut demo ‘In Sanity’ reviewed

2010 article about the Indian Black Metal Scene

gig review : Black Metal Krieg (December, 2010)

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festival review: Ihsahn live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

And now the fanboy speaks…

The only reason I had decided to travel all the way to Bangalore, almost a month back, was to see one of my favorite black metal vocalists and musician extraordinaire Vegard Sverre Tveitan in flesh, also known as Ihsahn to the world. When Emperor had dis-banded it was like a personal loss to me because I knew I’d never see them play live or record an album again. But that was that.

ihsahn live at bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 03

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In 2005, Ihsahn formed a band under the same monicker to experiment with the various ideas that his creative and passionate mind kept coming up with. Not black metal by definition, Ihsahn made sure the underlying theme remains dark and picked up from where he left off on Prometheus – The Discipline of Fire & Demise, Emperor‘s 2005 release. Hence the progressive nature of the music on all of his solo works.

ihsahn guitarist live at bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 02

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When Ihsahn stepped on the stage with his guitar, I simply couldn’t believe that I was staring into his eyes. He was the same man who wasn’t into any kind of politics when the black metal scene erupted in Norway in the early-1990’s. Instead he made more and more music to make his point. It took me, personally, a good ten minutes to survive the fact that I’ve seen a person who encouraged me to get my first tattoo dedicated to him, who opened new avenues in my mind, who made black metal my lifestyle and was influential to me in so many more ways.

ihsahn guitarist live at bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 03

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This multi-instrumentalist performed tracks from Eremita, which released in 2012 as well as tracks from all of his previous releases After (2010), angL (2008) and The Adversary (2006). The years have been mentioned besides the album names in order to show his consistency as a musician. Although Ihsahn is a solo project the live members include Tobias Ørnes Andersen (drums), Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitars, backing vocals), Øystein Landsverk (guitars, backing vocals), Einar Solberg (keyboards, additional vocals), Rein T. Blomquist (bass) – All of whom are members of Leprous from Norway. Leprous were also part of Bangalore Open Air and they performed just before Ihsahn on the Ronnie James Dio stage.

ihsahn live at bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 01

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A legend made an appearance in India, entertained us, even said he was very happy for being able to make it and left me and I’m sure many others speechless by his humility, stage presence and undying love for music. It is moments like these that remain stored in a shell inside our subconscious mind and it is moments like these that make life worth living. I know Emperor fans are still trying to get their head around the fact that they actually saw Ihsahn, and we all should thank the organizers of Bangalore Open Air for making an intelligent and worthy choice. All the way from Norway!

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[ Pictures – courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha’s tumblr page ]


album review : My Dark Symphony (2012) – 1833 AD

With the Indian black metal scene starving to a painful death, one band has managed to break open the vaults and is making it difficult to be ignored. Open your ears to 1833 AD.

album : My Dark Symphony

artist : 1833 AD

genre : Black Metal

year : 2012

Introductory thoughts

We are living in an exciting time when metal bands from across the globe are waking up to the fact that they still haven’t played a gig in India. Move over how the Indian Premier League united cricket aficionados from everywhere and how our country is now posing a missile threat to far off nations. The evolution of the Indian metal scene, which includes the bands and the fans, has been expeditious. But obviously metal being the devil’s best friend, popular and hence shitty media in India do not tilt the torch towards it. There has also been a rise in the number of instrument players ready to take on their neighborhood with their own brand of metal. Amidst all this the genre of black metal seems to be in a deeply unconscious state. To the point that one can count the reliable providers on one finger, if you know what that means.

My Dark Symphony – True to the roots

The above paragraph gives you a fair idea of the lack of inspiration, and the crisis surrounding black metal in India. Picture this. It took a good eight years for a band like 1833 AD (they do have fans) to release their debut effort My Dark Symphony! The motivation had to come from the notorious Norwegian scene, which itself is burning out, has a handful of passionate releases and can only boast about a diminishing graph of the quality of albums. 1833 AD‘s first studio full-length My Dark Symphony has stamps of several bands on it. If you’d find a Burzum portion staring down at you, there is another place where Watain would knock on your door. The classy old-Immortal makes an appearance,  with Emperor and Darkthrone sprinkled here and there. Now, although inspiration is important for any band, it should not reach a point where the band is not taken seriously. Here, thankfully, only a leaf or two have been smoked. Exactly why you’d be able to relate to this record is because along with the aforementioned bands you’ll see that there are traces of some underground depressive black metal outfits you might have heard sometime.

When all this is frozen, and the tracks are wrapped with several layers of originality, that’s when you’d get the product that is named My Dark Symphony. Do not expect to understand what true to the roots means unless you’ve spent considerable amount of time putting yourself through the sweet torture that is black metal. The drug of darkness will eclipse all the non-sense in your life, and this record would come across as a stranger to you if you want just music. Because My Dark Symphony brings forth a certain state of mind which is not within everyone’s reach. Apart from being a tribute to the originators of the genre, it is a gift of rage for the fans of the genre too. 1833 AD‘s influences are in place.

Vocals

Although 1833 AD has an inspired sound, the members have held their own. The shrieks incorporated on My Dark Symphony are an assurance that the band doesn’t want to be typecasted. Vocalist Nishant Abraham is as unique as unique can be and can be best described as scraping. One cannot make a mistake in identifying Ihsahn‘s vocals, nor can you not compliment Jon Nödtveidt. There is style, and there is exclusivity. 1833 AD has both. Style that cannot be cloned, and exclusivity that will be remembered.

Well, it’s okay to get confused between Quorthon and Abbath‘s vocals. Get over the resemblance already.

Nishant pulls off a Dani scream on a song, that obviously happens when you aren’t noticing. Guess the song, and you will win nothing. The scream seems logical though unlike Dani Filth, who is nowadays seen screaming for no reason whatsoever. You agree, don’t you? You will get your money’s worth on Sephiroth’s Curse where a million dollar scream gives birth to a mysterious situation. Be prepared…

Guitars

One striking attribute carried by 1833 AD is melody. If all will fail it is the singlemindedness shared by the band and melody that is sure to provide them blowjobs. On a serious note, the shortage of black melody in India has been supplied through intense tremolo riffs, produced by the intertwining of supremely raging instruments that we know as guitars, handled by Nishant and Rahul Mehalwal. The guitar tone vents out a strong mirage of the band’s ideology. Shrilly caricatures all painted in black, will haunt the listener’s mind.

The synopsis of My Dark Symphony lies in the melodic ripples of oppression which is sure to keep you glued. Hell, the solos seem like a result of years of research as to when and where they should fit what. Go figure…

Bass

The ravenous kingdom of bass has always been tricky. While the rest of the band walks away with top honors, it becomes a difficult job for a bassist to slyly assist the drummer. On this release Sushmit Mazumdar hits the strings, and is equally dominating but could have been louder. Blame your speakers for being a bit unfriendly with the bass, or blame yourself for liking 1833 AD‘s music…

Drums

For an unrelenting black metal band, finding a drummer who shares a passionate firmness is as important as a hunter who knows when to pull the trigger. The hunter here is Raghav Sehgal. Fact is that anything (drums played perfectly, maybe?) can be recorded on an album to gel with the on-going proceedings of a song, but another fact is that this very band has reciprocated their songs during their live sessions, gathered all those horns raised towards them and have looked back with a grin. So, the drumming isn’t ‘virtual’, it is for real and is like a dagger pressed against your weak god’s neck. Heard a groovy black metal album before? My Dark Symphony would be out soon. Don’t keep your senses closed…

Songs, production and artwork

My Dark Symphony is a concept driven album (the inlay would have it all), does not contain time wasting fillers, all tracks are written to fit within a radio-friendly time period and has been produced by the fine hands of Anupam Roy (Grey Studios). Apart from the four songs that were previously released online, the album has five more full length tracks. The twelve songs are broken into three separate chapters and each chapter has one inductive song for the other three tracks that follow. Holding the written concept in your hand when being musically entertained by the record would definitely be a smart move. Speaking of which, the inlay artwork by Reuben Bhattacharya crosses borders of imagination and delves deeper into the subject of visual art.

The songs have more strengths and less weaknesses. Ma Nishada, Ten Gods and 1833 AD deserve special mentions, as they go on to show how the band has branched out post their Ep ‘End of Time‘. The song which, according to me, is a complete embodiment of venomous darkness, winning musicianship and detailed songwriting is Wiser Than The Wisest. If someone would come and ask me to name one song that defines the sound of Indian black metal I’d recommend them this herculean song. Period.

1833 AD is now confidently carrying a bright torch for the up and coming Indian black metal artists who wish to follow suite. They provide you a slice of well-adorned black metal without the gimmicks of anti-christianity, have no corpse paint to cover their weaknesses, do not encourage naked whores dancing around them on stage, and they give a fuck about their metal.

All said, I do not want to remember one of India’s only active black metal band as just a mere by-product of my favorite artists. Getting My Dark Symphony out was necessary for the band, to break even, to put forth their version of ‘ancient art’. I hope next up on the agenda is sharpening up their skills, crossing the border more often to play bigger gigs (which has already kick started), churning out another album that would take the band straight into Fenriz‘s band of the week, and the clock has already started ticking.

Rating : 4/5

[ And, this band, right here, is promising and yet unsigned. Are the record labels taking note of this? ]


Wolves in the Throne Room live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012 : A review in pictures

Without an iota of glow on-stage right from Wolves in the Throne Room‘s entry, through their performance and even after they left the band left everyone clueless as to which member was standing where. But being a fan of the band’s music, especially the last record Celestial Lineage, it really was a big deal for me to watch the Weaver brothers live, and the speakers did a great job of helping me recognize the band’s music. WITTR is on the borderline of black and melodic metal, and are one of the few talented American black metal bands who became visible through their intricately detailed sorrow-ridden albums that are loaded with honesty. And, at the second edition of I’ll Be Your Mirror, London the band presented themselves in the same manner I wanted them to. They did not give a shit about posers trying to understand black metal, nor did they bother posing for the cameras. The West Hall of Alexandra Palace, where the band performed, was filled with a chunks of attractive and mysterious dark melody. They sent me straight to my grave and back, and it was an insult to the band when some ridiculous couples were spotted making use of the much needed darkness inside the venue to fucking make out. Death to posers, I say!

WITTR’s set-list for the night

Thuja Magus Imperium
Dea Artio
I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots
Prayer of Transformation

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Slayer live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

Melvins live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

Sleep live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012


album review : Obsidium (2012) – Enthroned

album : Obsidium

artist : Enthroned

genre : Black Metal

year : 2012

After a few not-so-terrific releases, Enthroned has managed to capture the essence of some real black metal we all need at the moment.

That Pentagrammaton wasn’t an impressive album is something I had made very clear but little did I know that Enthroned would take it so seriously and produce such a fiery black metal record in 2012. Enthroned is a five-piece satanic black metal band hailing from Belgium and they are very much from the early nineties era. 1993 to be specific. Despite one or two weak releases in the last few years one cannot ignore the strong force of musicians behind the venomous black metal that Enthroned have been offering. Things have been mended at the Enthroned camp, and Obsidian is spot on.

All their understanding of occultism have been squashed into nine different raging tracks. Diving straight into some pure uncompromised dark riffs, Obsidium contains a lot of desirable music which would very comfortably canoodle with the side of you that likes pure no-bullshit black metal. The riffs on Obsidian are like heavy winds blowing in pitch darkness, ready to blow away everything in their way. The blast beats (by Garghuf) would turn a dilapidated place into a palace. Take for instance the supreme song Nonus Sacramentvm – Obsidium. It, in no way, shows any signs of weakness. Right from the point of introduction, this track has oodles of black metal which can only make your spine stronger.

Then there is The Final Architect carrying a very heroic aura around it. Nornagest and Nerath Daemon time their entry with their respective guitars to merge with the band’s theme. Rarely do I get to see such empowering metal nowadays in the genre of black metal, considering there isn’t much to experiment in this genre or so is the image being portrayed by today’s bands. It has come down to a point where I listen to a new album and instantly know whether this is worth my time or not. If a band has it, it just has it. Well if it doesn’t then just move on. Horns AflameOblivious Shades and Thy Blight Vacuum usher in the negativity, the progressive bits, and the growth in the album is already on display. Petraolevm Salvia is my pick from Obsidian for being ferocious, cold and energetic at the same time.

With Obsidian I can see Enthroned visiting their old days with double the determination and triple the belief in their music. You might hit and miss Obsidian, but that is why I am here for, to remind you about the best, worst and the mediocre releases. There have been better releases in 2012, no doubt, but Obsidian definitely isn’t littering our black metal. Light a campfire, sit around it and play Enthroned‘s new record to darken the occasion.

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Umskiptar (2012) – Burzum

album : Umskiptar

artist : Burzum

genre : Black Metal, Ambient

year : 2012

The story so far…

By now you know everything about this one man who single-handedly annihilates every description of black metal. Google would help you, and not your god, to get to know Varg Vikernes better. The most read articles on Absurd History ever are the reviews of links : Belus and Fallen which are Burzum‘s last two releases. You can even go through them to get an idea about this man who should be the only person commenting on true black metal. But if you have noticed he has never opened his mouth or spoken about his music. That’s says it all about him.

Three years have passed by since Varg Vikernes a.k.a. Burzum (also known as Count Grishnackh) was released from prison. During and before the Hliðskjálf years, Burzum had already usurped the throne of metal’s most underground genre and moved on ahead. In 2010, the man with the dark touch was ready to burn down every established black metal act. Belus happened, and lives changed. The formula was repeated in 2011, and Fallen brought out the black clouds out of the sky yet again. Now, we are in 2012, hearing Umskiptar. Can you feel your erect hair everywhere on you? It is an indication that the bell has been rung, and the year’s most awaited release is here to show you how important your time is.

Umskiptar (2012)…

So what do we have here? Another masterpiece or a strong man’s silent efforts to make everybody obey him? We are looking at a fully charged and matured musician out with his tunes where he reads out verses from a Norse poem, Völuspá. When he said vocals are going to be the most important aspect of Umskiptar, he bloody meant it. What you hear in abundance are the words performed entirely in Icelandic. And if you’re thinking that there has been a compromise in music then let me assure you, my friends, that Burzum has taken himself out of his own boundaries to compile a release that will trample albums without any efforts.

Be very scared of the intro that is named Blóðstokkinn (meaning ‘Soaked in Blood’), for if you do not obey the master you are in for a thrashing which follows in about a minute. For the first time Varg speaks on his intro music, which has chilling beats in the background. Jóln (meaning ‘Deities’) pulls the cloth and we are already participating in the yearly Burzum ceremony. Bring out your dancing attires and robes, because the music is in established Burzum-style. Lush riffs, persistent guitaring and entirely thematic in its approach, there is no difference on song number two and what we know this man for.

As you spend six precious minutes of your life breathing in Varg‘s breath coming out of your speakers, lined up next is a totally unexpected piece of piano intro. It’s called Alfadanz (meaning ‘Elven Dance’). The piano is then transformed in exact same fashion into guitars and drums, carrying the story forward with more determination. I did not realize the nine and a half minutes that passed by during Alfadanz. That happened due to a plain fact that even though you are three songs into Umskiptar you are still reeling under the pleasant shock as to how poetry, folk, darkness and the instruments are all woven together into one record. This song goes slow, and at places releases loads of energy at once with some tricky benders.

Song number four is Hit Helga Tré (meaning ‘The Sacred Tree’). Progressing at the same rate as before, Hit Helga Tré ushers some more grimacing facets and it has harmonies that should be respected for they pause the proceedings in your mind. On the next two songs Burzum talks about honour and esteem. I don’t need to add separately that these qualities have already been showcased on Burzum‘s previous records. Æra (meaning ‘Honour’) and Heiðr (meaning ‘Esteem’) are short, to-the-point, final words on the two qualities which are less about the music and more about the concrete meanings.

Fold your hands as the next three songs are prayers. Valgaldr (meaning ‘Song of the Fallen’), Galgviðr (meaning ‘Gallow Forest’) and Surtr Sunnan (meaning ‘Black from the South’) take you into a fantasy world and to understand what I’m saying you need to just translate the lyrics. Do that much. With consoling twin guitar work and almost no-drums, Varg isn’t in a hurry, as he croons the passages gently so it reaches us. The album’s longest song, at over ten minutes, Gullaldr (meaning ‘Golden Age’) is a one-sided conversation where we, the audiences, gain Norse wisdom. Beautifully put together, the entrancing epic phrases are unfolded, so this one’s about the ambience. The album sealer Níðhöggr (meaning ‘Attack from Below’) mixes and matches various instruments to produce sound that makes sense as the doors to Burzum‘s ninth full-length are seen closing.

Not the ultimatum, the tale continues…

Although many around would see this as a black metal ultimatum being issued by Varg, but it is only a matter of another year or so before he will come down heavily with another biggie. He does not make an appearance, nor does he comment on anything unnecessary. He only enters the studio, records his albums, and gives them to us lowly creatures so we can continue discovering the meaning of our lives. Far from the disturbing world, in one corner of the planet we have this person named Burzum who caters to the known as well as the unknown aspects of the glorious nature of black metal. Bow down.

Rating : 4.5/5


album review : Fallen Angels (2011) – Venom

album : Fallen Angels

artist : Venom

genre : NWOBHM/Black/Speed Metal

year : 2011

Influential metal band Venom are back with their thirteenth release, and the copyrights for the term ‘black metal’ still remain with them, courtesy of their 1982 album that is still fresh in our minds. I hope so, for your sake.

We’re here in 2011, and on Fallen Angels, the band appears laid back and I think they wrote their lyrics while strolling in a park. Loud bass scold the listener to reciprocate with respect, as Venom comes out with another album that rightfully classifies to be a part of New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). It’s been a while since they kept quiet, and three years later the band sounds refreshed and is wanting to be on the crest of the wave all over again.

They’ve rolled the speed/thrash dice on the album in ways that attempts at only producing the maximum count. There are patches on songs where the speed is faster than what we would normally associate with Venom. I’d remember the album also because of the solos, as Venom has written some scintillating ones. A raw sound to take you back to where they began, and the band makes it tough for the dust to settle down. Fallen Angels has a character of it’s own.

Out here, on Fallen Angels, it’s a dark rock ‘n roll party along with some noticeable hard rock. The band is known for talking about Satan and taking the listener to hell all the time but on this particular one you will hear Venom referring to ‘Satan’ so many times that the first person you meet after hearing the album is bound to get introduced to the supreme Satan himself! Relax, relax… Fallen Angels doesn’t touch the finishing line but even today, after all these years, Venom is hard to catch up with. They had a hindsight ahead of time, and they maintain their eminence even today.

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Vortex of Death (2011) – Hat

album : Vortex of Death

artist : Hat

genre : Black Metal

year : 2011

Pretty much in the same league as the other bearable black metal bands at the moment, Hat from Norway is still a band I would pay attention to. On Vortex of Death they do not sound forced, and that in itself adds to the anti-life idea they are promoting here. They too hate Christ, so what’s exclusive about them is the name itself. Hat means hate in Norwegian. So I could just take a hat with thorns inside it and go to someone who deserves to wear it and say ‘Hey! this hat is for you‘.

The only reason that would bring me back to what Hat is playing on this record is the constant riffing that is going on in the background on almost all their songs because that is essential, it glorifies my favorite genre. The on-going fast paced beats and raw vocals just adapt themselves to everything that the album is providing to our ears. Al though I’ve heard stuff like this countless times before, Hat has still managed to surprise me with Vortex of Death. I’m impressed.

Rating : 3/5


album review : Celestial Lineage (2011) – Wolves in the Throne Room

album : Celestial Lineage

artist : Wolves in the Throne Room

genre : Black Metal

year : 2011

It all began with Diadem of 12 Stars, and American black metal enthusiasts with the most original name, Wolves in the Throne Room have chosen the end of 2011 to brief us about their present understanding of darkness. Exclusivity being the key on their music, this two member group has yet again tuned the frequency of their music with that of black metal fans and the resonance produced on Celestial Harmony is not going to freak you out.

Churning out anthems of sorrow, Wolves in the Throne Room continue to leave a mark with every release and Celestial Lineage showcases how an original sound can evolve over albums. The band revisits the most unmixed way of writing songs with a barrel of raw riffs being filled with melody drop by drop, and the screeches are held responsible for minimum leakages.

Aaron Weaver and Nathan Weaver

Celestial Lineage succeeds in the entire idea of taking the listener into a hypnotic state, and the longing to stay there remains as they keep chanting about nature. Wake up and smell the black metal coffee as poured by Wolves in the Throne Room who also have one of the most illegible logos out there. With this they have met all the rules and henceforth they shall be addressed as makers of music that is of the genre, by the genre and for the genre.

Key tracksThuja Magus Imperium, Subterranean Initiation, Astral Blood, Prayer of Transformation

Rating : 4/5


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