(Oh, alright. Here’s yet another black metal joke (art not mine)
I don’t know about you, but England is currently in chaos due to heavy snow showers this time of year. Faced with circumstances that would make the average Scandinavian, Latvian, Russian or Canadian shrug and carry on, the country is struggling to continue life with snow affecting the roads and whole towns to the point of near lockdown (if you will). There are even some reports that there’ll be a few miniature blizzards, around the southern regions.
Albion isn’t as savvy with this weather as it used to be a century ago, and it shows.
It’s even pushed me to that special, idle space of curiosity, where one can’t seem to resist the urge to google up song names with the word ‘blizzard’, ‘ice’ or ‘frost’. Well, not exactly… in my case, I do what everyone else does and use Metal-Archives.
Let’s pick one of these words, though… how about ‘blizzard’?
Whenever it comes to pointing out the merits of heavy metal against the complaints of its (often repetitive) detractors, the connection between genre classics and lyrics (be it JR Tolkien, or even the Bible, if we think about it that way) is one that frequently comes up time and again.
In itself, this isn’t anything unique to metal – music as a whole constantly returns to this or other cultural forms to create its own concepts and direction, and the relationship between literature and music is only testament to the knowledge that art does not exist in a vacuum.
In the case of particular niche genres of extreme music like funeral doom metal, such a relationship makes for immensely dark sounds [best heard with the lights down if not switched off – Ann’s recommendation], as heard from the German band AHAB. To listen to an album of theirs is to feel dragged down into the bottomless pits of the ocean, owing to the grand role played by Moby Dick and other whaling adventures in their work.
I managed to catch guitarist Chris Hector, so he could tell me more about this relationship between music and words, and how it came to be for the newest record ‘The Giant‘.
When I was abroad in January, part of our work involved going to various media venues to talk about culture and music. At the time, I remember some promotion going on for this show, as part of a cultural exchange and celebration between Norway and other countries such as India. It’s a collaboration between renowned Classical Indian dancer Rukmini Chatterjee, and the Norwegian band Vreid, entitled ‘Questionings’: Continue reading
Those who read my interviews on this blog (as well as other places) know that I always like to ask musicians about their experiences with music in the past and today. It’s a theme that I personally find interesting not only in regards to learning about the history of music and various scene traditions, but also because it gives an idea of what it was like in the past without the current, advanced technology of today. I enjoy hearing musicians and fans older than myself talk about the state of music in the past, and I find myself often drawn to reading about these people’s experiences in passing with the music scenes and fans of today.
Obviously, this means that a pattern of certain observations tends to appear:
1. There were no illegal file-sharing or mp3 downloads, which meant that the method of tape trading was limited and that to get the music you heard, you had to buy it
2. Lack of advanced mobile phones with videos, games and the Internet meant that people were engaging more often in conversation with one another.
3. Fans seem more invested in bringing out their cameras to film everything. In some cases, this means the whole show itself, from start to finish (as ludicrous as that sounds).
Much hailed as a champion of sorts in the European metal community, Australian stand up comic Steve Hughes brought his brand of sharp, quick to the point comedy to Birmingham’s Glee Club on March 28th. However, while heavy metal is certainly a key part of the comedian’s identity (and thus routine), it tends to be overlooked how this is truly not the main, driving point of his act. There is always much more to a person than one asset of them on display, and the audience of the aforementioned night was treated to more than one side of Hughes as he shared his experiences as an Australian, music lover, colonial and occasional drug taker on a tour which looked at (and also bathed in) mocking the concept of political correctness. Continue reading
Amidst unforeseen hiccups in schedule, such as family matters rendering a temporary setback in my proposal to do an online radio show each week in December (which I plan to amend), your Lord and Mistress of Light Darkness/Dark Light has decided to bestow her everlasting words of wisdom onto you. Continue reading