Tag Archives: black metal

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



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 ]

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

album review : Varjot (2011) – Goatmoon

album : Varjot

artist : Goatmoon

genre : Black Metal

year : 2011

Riding entirely along the melodic wave, Goatmoon have released something so impressive that I had to break my silence of words. Having been on a hiatus for more than two weeks now, something told me it would be a black metal release that’d force me to pick up my pen once again.

For starters Goatmoon hail from Finland and have been belting out black metal since the winter of 2002. Much against those who hate the thought of hatred itself, this band has kept it alive and a little more than that. Two full-lengths, several splits and demos later they have decided to take over your thoughts and make it swing their way which happens to be a route of satanism and chilling breezes.

Goatmoon is a one-man band and all the songs are hatched by BlackGoat Gravedesecrator. Probably his name would be one of the very few things not working for the band. Well, that’s none of my business anyways. Varjot, as the album is named, seeks to flood you with loads of black metal with sheets of folk placed very carefully amongst the tracks. There is not much difficulty in finding rawness on the album as Gravedesecrator knows what is the ‘in thing’. Cold riffs with enough reasons to foster melody makes Varjot a must have.

blackgoat gravedesecrator

An otherwise uninteresting 2011 has been perked up by these powerful metal releases and life doesn’t seem to run out of reasons. Although the album could have showcased a lot more variety and taken hatred to an all new level,  Goatmoon have rejuvenated black metal in their own way and my speakers cannot stop blaring the tracks from Varjot.

Rating : 3.5/5

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