Norwegian Black Metal

Burzum – Fallen Review

Burzum – Fallen Review

Hey, it’s Burzum time again kiddies. That generally means more serious reflections on Varg the man, the myth, the ex-con and all the drama, baggage and bullshit that comes along with him. Here at Angry Metal Guy, we pride ourselves on a firm no baggage/bullshit policy so we won’t even begin to go down that road. Let’s leave it at the fact that Fallen is his second “post-incarceration” Burzum release and follows very closely on the heels of 2010’s Belus. While some stylistic similarities carry over from the previous album, Varg has chosen to expand the core Burzum sound here on Fallen and he’s taken it in a few surprising and interesting directions. It’s definitely not what I expected and he seems intent on pushing the boundaries of what is traditionally a very static and cult sound. For that alone he gets some props from me.

Iskald – The Sun I Carried Alone Review

Iskald – The Sun I Carried Alone Review

When reviewing albums, I find they usually fall into one of three categories. “Instant Winners” that stick with you and get plenty of praise, “Growers” that may take anything from a couple of listens to a couple of years to finally sink in and then “Duds” that just seem to evaporate as soon as the album finishes. The last category is the hardest to give an honest opinion on simply because there is very little to hook in to and unfortunately, I find Iskald’s latest offering, The Sun I Carried Alone, to be treading down this path.

Nidingr – Wolf Father Review

Nidingr – Wolf Father Review

When I got this disc last year via Jester Records I missed it. I don’t know why it got shuffled off to the side, or what happened exactly, but for some reason it just didn’t get done in time. In any case, I just recently got wind that they’re readying for the US release so I figured I’d break out the Internet-pen and have at a review of this super group’s (Line-up: bass and guitars: Teloch [1349, Gorgoroth, Ov Hell, Orcustus, Umoral, Konsortium]; bass and guitars (again): Blargh [Gravferd, Dødheimsgard]; vocals: Cpt. Estrella Grasa [Kort Prosess]; and drums: Hellhammer [Immortal, Shining, Thorns, Umoral, Mayhem, Winds, Arcturus]) stab at reclaiming Norwegian black metal glory.

Things You Might Have Missed 2010: Byfrost – Black Earth

Things You Might Have Missed 2010: Byfrost – Black Earth

Ahhh, my Immortal. Yeah, I love Immortal and I’m not afraid to admit it. Be it old Immortal, new Immortal, I love it all! I’m plenty keen on Abbath’s solo project I as well. Since Immortal and I can only record so much material and I always want more, I was happily surprised by the debut full length Black Earth from Norway’s own Byfrost (available on Painkiller Records). Hailing from the very same town as the mighty Immortal, Byfrost plays a style of blackened thrash so remarkably similar, that fans of the frigid ones can’t help but smile and thrash along. The vocal style of Heavy Harms (winning name) is nearly identical to that of Abbath and the overall song structures and riffing stylesÂwill remind you of Immortal and I equally.

Vulture Industries – The Malefactor’s Bloody Register Review

Vulture Industries – The Malefactor’s Bloody Register Review

Another one of those bands that has floated in and out of my ‘sphere of knowledge’, I’d never really given Vulture Industries a fair chance. Part of this was probably just laziness on my part, but also the undeniable fact that the band had been pigeonholed as an Arcturus rip-off certainly didn’t make me want to check them out very much. As I’ve been pretty consistent about, I think that rip-off bands are usually boring, unimaginative and frustrating. And with a band like Arcturus that is easily one of the most unique bands to ever show up from the black metal scene, I couldn’t see how it could possibly be even remotely good. Certainly a band cannot re-imagine the most imaginative band from the first wave of Norwegian black metal.

Solefald – Norrøn Livskunst Review

Solefald – Norrøn Livskunst Review

Solefald is just a cool band and they have been for a long time. I first got into their stuff with the epic Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey which came out in 2005 and that record has maintained a standard place in my discography because of its amazing blending of black metal, progressive metal and rock and unique Norse sounds. While I was not equally as impressed with Black for Death and I’ve been a bit hit or miss on some of the band’s older material, I’ve always appreciated the band’s unique approach to the music they produce and their intensely creative outputs. Nothing they have put out has really disappointed me, it’s just a matter of being more or less into it.

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini Review

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini Review

It is not hard to accept one fundamental axiom of the post-black metal Norway that I have referred to recently: Enslaved is easily Norway’s finest band. From the beginning the band has always been strong; grown-ups in a room filled with angry teenagers. This sense has not lessened with the passage of time. While certain members of the scene will forever be singing their equivalent of Alice Cooper ridiculous teen hits as 45 year olds (or older, like the man himself), Enslaved will continue to push the boundaries of black metal with a mature and progressive sound. Starting with the release of Below the Lights in 2003, Enslaved has produced four modern classics of “progressive, psychedelic black metal.” The fourth of this string of amazing albums was Vertebrae, which was released in 2008 and landed the band a tour with Opeth as well as more recognition than they had ever received worldwide. And with good reason: it was the best record the band had written to date.

Limbonic Art – Phantasmagoria Review

Limbonic Art – Phantasmagoria Review

I loved Bathory growing up. I mean, I REALLY loved me some Bathory! That crazy Quorthon and his one man band really tore it up while basically giving birth to the black, folk and viking metal genres all by his lonesome. However, A.B. (After Bathory), many one man bands rose up in the frozen, gloomy black metal basements of the world, some good, many not. Therefore, when I heard that long running Norwegian black metal act Limbonic Art was now essentially reduced to a one man project for co-founder Daemon, I was more than slightly uneasy about the release of this, their seventh album, Phantasmagoria. Further enhancing my unease was the advance word that the album would again feature a drum machine (a long running negative for this band). With unease and hesitation upon all our minds (or at least mine), here we go.

Galar – Til Alle Heimsens Endar Review

Galar – Til Alle Heimsens Endar Review

It would seem that Angry Metal Guy is actually forming review themes, like some sort of ongoing process wherein I discuss the ups and downs of the metal scene while reviewing records, and even debate them with some of the other reviewers. Because reviewing is an ongoing process here, often times things get lumped into groups in my head that others might not see. But what’s interesting is how during this big debate about whether or not bands should really be striving for an original and unique sound I am basically reviewing NÃ ttsol’s new record and Galar’s new albums side by side. Like NÃ ttsol, Galar is a young Norwegian band that is working in the footsteps of Ulver. Released by Dark Essence Records, Til Alle Heimsens Endar (“Until the End of All Worlds”) is the second album from the band, whose first record Skogsvad was released in 2006 and I, incidentally, have never heard it. The record itself is based on the work of Snorri Sturluson’s “Heimskringla”.

Náttsól – Stemning Review

Náttsól – Stemning Review

Norwegian metal is famous for two things in modern times: the rise of modern black metal, and more recently, Norway’s fall into disrepute within the metal scene. Since the latter occurred, we have often been hailed with the new band that is somehow breathing new life into the old scene or still making black metal in the old style,and the next band to be hailed in that line is Náttsól, whose debut album Stemning hits European shores in June and the American shores in July. Náttsól we are told, breathe a new and icy life into the dead Norwegian scene that has been a disappointment to us all since the early 2000s. Surely, they’ll be the ones!