Tag Archives: norwegian black metal

festival review: Leprous live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

leprous bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 05

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Many might not have figured this out, but in Ihsahn‘s band there were only members of Leprous, apart from the main man of course. Hence Leprous got this big break of travelling all the way from Norway to not just perform with Ihsahn but to showcase their own slab of avant-garde progressive metal. Since I am a huge fan of Norwegian black metal I went there thinking they are just a band that’s there to fill a slot but they proved me wrong from the very first note.

tor oddmund suhrke leprous bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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What’s so peculiar about Leprous you ask? It’s their flair. Grabbing eardrums by way of closely scrutinized progressiveness and attracting eyeballs by way of dressing up in a distinct fashion (think Akercocke, Ghost). Norwegians have these magnetic personalities and you end up bobbing your heads anyways.  Up on the Ronnie James Dio stage, Leprous made a major contribution to Bangalore Open Air, 2013. Downright progressive metal with characteristic riffs and consummate drumming crippled many in the crowd which directly earned Leprous many new fans.

Coal, Leprous‘s third full-length, was released this year and hence the set-list included most of the tracks from the new record. Each member brought in their own influences, and it looked like a large assembly on the platform with five members in the band. Vocalist Einar Solberg also doubled up as a synth player. Almost every other member, except drummer Tobias Andersen, boosted the band’s sound through backing vocals. Let’s not forget the elephantine addition by the other three significant members Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitars), Øystein Landsverk (guitars) and Rein T. Blomquist (bass).

einar solberg leprous bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 01

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Thumbs up from India to this progressive act, by not just me but the audience who took pleasure in their music and the people who are going to discover them bloody soon through word-of-mouth. The conglomerate that is Leprous is a force to reckon with in the years to come, and I’m going to keep track of the happenings in their garage. Cheers, guys!

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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 ]


Enslaved live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012 : A review in pictures

Hailing from Norway, Enslaved were the next band for the evening after Job For A Cowboy. This was the second time I watched Enslaved live. I was never a stranger to their music and the band was sounding much more confident than they did during their India gig. They started the show with Ethica Odini from their last full-length, and the set-list also included their popular cover of Led Zeppelin‘s Immigrant Song. The dazzling combination of progressive black and viking metal was brought alive for an audience that reciprocated by banging their heads left, right and center. By the time Enslaved had finished half their set the venue was starting to get packed, and the audience gave a roaring response to Enslaved‘s tracks. The band pretty much deserves every bit of it, because they have believed in their music since 1991 and that, my fellow metalheads, is a fucking long time. As for their performance at Destroyers of the Faith, I would not have replaced them with any other. May the soaring Norwegian metal scene continue to entertain us forever.

The pictures I clicked when Enslaved was performing for us. Click to enlarge

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Click on the link to check out Triptykon at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012

The indomitable Cannibal Corpse live at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012. Click. Now!

Go right here to watch pictures of Job For A Cowboy performing live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012


album review : Mare (2011) – Kampfar

album : Mare

artist : Kampfar

genre : Pagan Black Metal

year : 2011

Easily the most evolved sound by Norwegian band Kampfar, they have silently made a lot of meaningful noise. Their releases have always dependable whether it was their purity in producing black metal early-on or the more recent excess pagan/folk approach. On Mare, the band’s fifth full-length, Kampfar seems to have mastered the art of continuous learning. All their four albums have been closely filtered, several new elements have been included to that thereby supplying this new and improved healthy sound.

The architecture of songs on Mare has a strong foundation which can be felt from the songwriting. Swinging between melody, brutality and pagan gusto, Kampfar will blow the fans as well as new listeners of their music. All these sparkles have a lot to thank the band’s strong viking mythological interests for. The riffing is structured aligning with the energetic vocal approach by Dolk. His screeches will appease you to enough to repeatedly play this album.

Things are heating up in the Scandinavian black metal scene with so many uniquely artistic bands. It is about time now that several of those bands with just one or two good albums to their credit make way for bands like Kampfar who have consistently managed to shake the neck of black metalheads worldwide. More respect and more support to Kampfar. Mare is must have.

Rating : 4/5


album review : March of the Norse (2011) – Demonaz

album : March of the Norse

artist : Demonaz

genre : Epic/Black Metal

year : 2011

Once Immortal, forever Immortal.

One of the founding members of a legendary black metal band Immortal, Demonaz Doom Occulta (he wasn’t Demonaz by birth, he was Harald), decides to make similar kind of songs with lyrical influences also not too original but calls the band by his own name. Immortal co-founder Abbath also joins hands and together they form Demonaz. Maybe because they think the world has had enough of Immortal or maybe because we did not enjoy All Shall Fall much. Truth remains that we have always sat through Immortal‘s albums with alert ears even though Abbath could rarely manage his vocals to not sound like Quorthon (Bathory).

Expanding that thought a little more there was another band named I that was formed in 2005 with an almost similar line-up, just that Demonaz only contributed lyrics to their album. Ok, enough of confusion. The crux is all of this began with Immortal in 1990. So, Demonaz and Abbath re-return with battles and mountains keeping their obsession with the north intact.

It had to be a Northern Hymn introducing project Demonaz to us. March of the Norse, as an album, is practically the same story and I am referring to both the bands – Immortal and I – although I find more traces of the latter one more here. I don’t like trying too hard when it comes to my music but here even that did not provide the results that I had set out to obtain. Track after track the only discrete feature is Demonaz‘s screeches and he sings clean pretty well at required places. There are vocals by Abbath too on the record. I’ll remember this album for A Son of the Sword, Under the Great Fires and Legends of Fire and Ice.

Although classified as epic black metal, there ain’t exactly anything epic about this music neither is it as black as you’d expect it to be. Let’s just settle with metal. This is metal like any other metal out there. It might sell because it has Demonaz‘s name but once the listeners have heard it (maybe twice) they’ll return to playing the albums by Immortal, I and then Demonaz. In that same order.

Rating : 2.5/5


single review : Gateways (2010) – Dimmu Borgir

The wait for the new Borgir release is still on with the release of their new single Gateways. The departure of Mustis and Vortex does not seem to have impacted the spirit of making dark metal by the band and that is evident on Gateways. Well structured and composed in an epic fashion, the song is a welcome break from their sound on In Sorte Diaboli. Thanks to a certain orchestra that assists the band in sounding eerie. The lost black melody is loosely found and the choirs along with Shagrath‘s vocals only make it better. With the album release date approaching I can only hope the days get shorter as we get closer. And with Abrahadabra releasing in India too the whole thing could not have gotten sweeter.


documentary review : Until The Light Takes Us (2009)

Rejoice black metalheads! Not many are interested in taking up the black metal scene as a subject on which a documentary/movie can be made, but Until The Light Takes Us is another valuable addition to the short list of black metal documentaries. Released in late-2009, the movie is based in Norway. It has musicians who lived through the early-nineties Norwegian period telling us exactly what happened then. I always repent the fact that I was not present at the right place at the right time. The movie has answered most of the prickly questions that I had accumulated in my mind concerning the scene. And the sources of my answers could not get more authentic.

The opening sequence has Gylve Fenriz (Darkthrone) preparing himself for a shot. And the best part of it is I can already feel the right vibes. The movie traces the entire journey from the roots of Norwegian black metal through the controversies that brought Norway to everyone’s attention back in the early nineties, the reason behind arson, and the truth behind the murder of Euronymous (Mayhem).

from the docu : fenriz

Why this documentary is different from the other documentaries out there? – the movement that we know today as the True Norwegian Black Metal includes a couple of events that we have always been reading about. If I have to summarize the events it would include the church burnings and hatred towards the protectors of cross, Euronymous (Mayhem) opening a records store called Helvete, Dead (Mayhem) committing suicide, the killing of a homosexual man by Faust (Emperor), and Varg murdering Euronymous. Until The Light Takes Us makes the protagonists recall the events. The featured artists are Varg Vikernes (Burzum), Fenriz (Darkthrone), Hellhammer (Mayhem), Abbath (Immortal), Demonaz (Immortal), Garm (Ulver), Frost (Satyricon), Bjarne Melgaard (visual artist).

from the docu : varg

For me this movie is special for a simple reason that Burzum has got maximum footage. We are taken inside the maximum security prison where Varg had been kept until he was released this year. I would want to thank the makers for bringing out the real Varg and most of all his sense of humor. A very pleasant personality his wit makes you want more of him. Moments when you get a chilling doze for your senses include the part where Burzum tells you how it is to stay confined for so long and ofcourse the uncanny silence when he confronts stabbing Euronymous in the skull.

the makers : aaron aites and audrey ewell

The documentary has been well directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell and has a personal touch to it. The production has also been handled by the duo. Norway has been depicted as we know it to be, absolutely enchanting. Background score has to be fine as we are talking black metal here. The song that appears to be the theme track of the movie is The Ballad of the Broken Birdie Records by Múm. I remember looking for the track after the movie. Enough said, too much of praise tends to spoil the watch. Buy the movie, download it or just steal but it needs to be watched. Well if black metal is your thing then I bet you already have watched this one.

Rating : 4/5

Check out this article on the Flaming Skull E-Zine here : The Flaming Skull E-Zine : August 2010 issue

Also read :

category : Recommendation

category : Diverse Articles

category : Polls

category : Album Reviews


album review : Demonoir (2010) – 1349

albumDemonoir

artist1349

genre : Black Metal

year2010

Putting themselves to shame with their previous release, 1349 has definitely made some serious effort to bring us out of the shock that was Revelations of the Black Flame. The only reason for not writing a review for their last release was not only the fact that I did not know how to praise them as I love blasting their first three albums, but also did not know whether I will be able to sound as disappointed as I want to. Well, shit happens and in less than an year comes Demonoir.

Demonoir is not the 1349 that the band is known for but still is above par as compared to Revelations. The album cover might put off the music but we have had worse artworks. With thirteen tracks having names you do not want to remember, the album opens with an almost silent intro Tunnel Of Set XI. But actually the album has just six tracks. Whereas the remaining seven that are named from Tunnel Of Set XI to Tunnel Of Set XVII are inserted between those six tracks. These numbered tunnels are around one minute fillers where the band showcases their ability to fart in darkness. Of the six songs only When I Was Flesh and Pandemonium War Bells are the ones that 1349 should be proud of.

Personally I call the genre 1349 plays as apocalyptic black metal purely because they put me through catastrophe with Liberation, Beyond The Apocalypse, and Hellfire. Considering they are amongst the premier Norwegian black acts they have to get their act together and find their way back to their older stuff lest they will end up as just a four-digit number signifying some bullshit that happened in the year 1349.

Rating : 3/5

Also read :

Old Habits Die Hard

album review : We’re Here Because We’re Here (2010) – Anathema

Interaction with P. Emerson Williams


Random (Re)Discovery #2 – Legacy Of Evil

If you are in the mood for black metal and do not know what needs to be downloaded or bought now you can get in touch with me. In matters as crucial as black metal I trust only myself. By the time you pass this off as over confidence I’ll go and hear the only black metal band from Turkmenistan. Continue reading for this time’s recommendation where I provide a kickass album from my black metal archives.

Limbonic Art is not your ordinary another black metal band. If you haven’t heard them then you should. Those of you into Limbonic Art know the revolution that is Moon In The Scorpio. While you recall the last time you played the album I’ll recommend you to get their 2007 offering Legacy Of Evil. This album is fast, dark and more evil. Those looking for that Moon In The Scorpio synth work will find less of it here.

Legacy Of Evil tells you not everyone can play black metal the way it should be played and not everyone can be the force that is Limbonic Art.


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