Heavy Metal Philosopher – when Ann talked to Oscar Carlquist, of RAM

In the world of music, there are often two camps of thought – those who have got something to say, and those who just want the attention. It’s obvious that both can easily conflict with one another, and even in the “outside” sphere of rock and heavy metal this is an issue.

So it was interesting to play the latest record from Swedish heavy metallers RAM, and then read the comments of vocalist/lyricist Oscar Carlquist in an issue of Zero Tolerance, where he speaks highly about bands having a responsibility for what they say, and what they mean.

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Me(n)tal-Meltdown – in NORWAY!

 

After unexpected delays due to a head cold and the ‘flu, the latest episode of the Me(n)tal-Meltdown show is finally up and running!


Me(n)tal-Meltdown – the NORWAY edition!

 

It’s the return of the Me(n)tal-Meltdown show – and we’re bringing you an episode EXCLUSIVELY dedicated to the Norwegian scene! Featuring music from Cor Scorpii, Vesen, Aura Noir, Borknagar and more, plus a couple of inside voices, this is going to be a VERY special episode from presenter/host K. Ann Sulaiman – even while she’s under the weather!

Ahab and “The Giant”

Austrian act Ahab, otherwise referred to as “nautical funeral doom”, have recently released a teaser for their upcoming album in May.

Funeral doom, a unique form of extreme music,┬áis a genre that appeals to me because it delivers its intensity through being incredibly slow as opposed to absurdly fast. Since Ahab is regarded (with good reason) as one of the best bands that follow this style, to say that I’m excited is really an understatement. The best way to approach one of their albums, let alone a funeral doom metal album really, is with the lights switched off and the curtains drawn (everything has to be pitch black). Then you need to empty your mind of all thought whatsoever, so that you are ready for when the opening chords weigh in to the point of literally crushing you down.

It sounds romantic (and perhaps sadly pretentious), but it’s a suggestion. Think of it like turning off all the lights and keep your door locked, so you can listen to a radio play or audiobook of a horror story. Distracted, you won’t feel it, but mind emptied and thoughts left at the door, you’re more ready to embrace the impact of what’s to come even if it’s not what you were hoping for.

 

At the same time, I am also hoping – as all music lovers do, before “the new one” comes out – that “The Giant” will typically match what I’m hoping for. Perhaps it’s cynicism talking (as usual, since I’m a negative nancy by nature), but I was surprised by the teaser that the band have put out.

 

On the one hand, it’s reassuring to know that the music doesn’t sound too far off from the established, well-written slant that appeared on Ahab’s previous record “The Divinity of Oceans” – if you’ve found something that works and works well (however you wish to read that), then please go for it the next time around. On the other, it could actually be something else – seeing moving images to the impounding guitar chords.

 

This is utterly dorky, but – outside of the live experience, putting images – any images – to slow, crushing music only takes away from the anticipation more than anything else for me. Like I said above, I prefer to empty my mind so that I can fully appreciate what the music means to me. Having pictures up there, even if it’s video footage of the recording process, only detracts from it.

I think the only solution to this problem is to start listening to teasers, blindfold.

A Taste of What’s to Come

More or less!

Normally I would shy away from posting material that I’ve done for other people to Me(n)tal-Meltdown. However, this seemed as good a time as ever to give a taste of what’s to come next week.

 

I mentioned being in Oslo for four weeks between January and February; part of the task at hand was to gather up material for an individual, five minute radio piece about the topic of our choice. Since it was Oslo and it’s clear to everyone reading this bog where some of my main interests lie, I pocked an issue which had been on my mind for a while – why metal music seems to have more acceptance by the mainstream in Norway, than in the UK where it was born.

 

The feature owes part of its success to chance – before I went to the Inferno kick off party, I met with Lazare’s (Borknagar, Solefald) brother Sindre, who was kind enough to let me record him when our conversation turned to the local scene. He comes as the second voice in the interviews after Lazare, and also brought up an interesting issue that – despite not making the final cut for this piece – I intend to bring up again in future. It was pretty funny to hear!

Voices and Stories project – “Metal Norway”


http://soundcloud.com/radioy/metal-norway

 

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