10 Years Ago: LIFELOVER release Pulver (Hypothermia, Dimhymn)

This was an instantly popular release when it arrived on this day in 2006. LIFELOVER, and this album in particular, influenced a wave of new bands although most lacked the sense of sardonic self-awareness and humour behind these songs of modern urban depression and introspective hate/violence fantasies.

The members disguised their names but I do not remember it being a mystery that they came from the Swedish underground (HYPOTHERMIA, DIMHYMN…)

lifelover-nattdal-2010

Old wounds

LIFELOVER themselves were of course influenced by other unique Swedish bands like the mighty WOODS OF INFINITY. They share a particular “Swedish-ness”.

In the distro: we have LIFELOVER CDs and the Pulver t-shirt in various sizes!

The album was first released by the Australian label Goatowarex on CD. Dani announced the release only a month or so before it was released, and it was released only a few months after recording (Apr-May ’06). Northern Sky (US) put out a vinyl edition on 15 December 2006; by 4 April it was already sold out.

The original label description:

Lifelover rose from the ashes of the delusions of life – a life without promises nor dreamlike sequences. Surrealistic experiences combined with self-hatred are the only way to create true art. It doesn’t matter what appeal to you: Life will always be the same and no one will escape the Vengeance. Musically Lifelover similar to their country mates Woods of Infinity, Joyless.

A few months after the release of Pulver the band began recording Erotik in September. That would be released in February 2007. By October 2009 they had released three records on three separate labels.

LIFELOVER signed a new contract with Prophecy just as they completed work on the fifth release, Sjukdom (recorded April-September 2010).

On 4 September 2010 they announced the “long-term” (meaning multi-album) deal:

With their three full-length albums “Pulver” (2006), “Erotik” (2007), and “Konkurs” (2008), as well as the “Dekadens” EP (2009), LIFELOVER have established themselves as one of the most eccentric and notorious bands on the scene in the last few years. The Swedes’ unconventional music, their cynical image, and their chaotic live performances have had an extremely polarizing effect. After several changes of labels, LIFELOVER have now found a partner for a close, long-term collaboration: they have signed a contract with Prophecy Productions over four albums. LIFELOVER founding members B and ( ) consider the signing of the contract with Prophecy a logical step for their band: “We always strive to evolve with each effort that we pursue as a band. Signing to Prophecy feels like a good progression for us, and we look forward to work with a label for the first time with consecutive releases.” A new album by LIFELOVER is scheduled for release in 2011.

Just over a year after that announcement B (Nattdal / Jonas Bergqvist) was found dead by friends in Kiel. One half of the original band was gone and LIFELOVER were officially laid to rest.

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Nattdal / Kim

23 Years Ago: EMPEROR record In the Nightside Eclipse at Grieghallen – Norwegian Black Metal

From the Bård Guldvik Eithun (Faust) interview in Slayer #10:

The original recording found place the last two weeks of July ’93. But it was mixed in late November ’93, it should be mixed for hopefully the last time in March (the studio bill is starting to get really big). Anyway, there were some minor details that weren’t as they should be as well as the drums. They were a bit low in the mix and we also need more ‘click’ in the bass drums. I’m looking forward to hearing the final mix…

emperor-nightside-recording-info

The exact date of the seventh full moon anno 1993 was Saturday 3 July at 23:47 GMT. Add an hour for Norway. So I think it’s safe that the nearest full moon was the eighth cycle of 1993, on 2 August at 12:11 GMT.

EMPEROR’s classic In the Nightside Eclipse was recorded at Grieghallen with legendary producer Pytten under the waxing gibbous of July 1993!

Of course they are talking about July’s moon, this was just an excuse to look up some historical info. Most of the full-moons that year occurred early in the month: 1/8, 2/6, 3/8, 4/6, 5/6, 6/4, 7/3, 8/2, 9/1 then late 9/30, 10/30, 11/29, 12/28.

Today is 19 July 2016, we are in the last two weeks of the month and at 22:57 GMT it will be exactly the seventh full moon anno 2016!

Perfect time to mark this masterpiece recording!

update: Under an Anglian full moon, midnight 19 July 2016

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The album includes five new tracks, two from the mini album (‘I am black wizards’ and ‘Cosmic keys…’) and one from the demo (‘beyond the great vast forest’, which used to be called ‘My empires doom’). It is an ensouling masterpiece of symphonic and monumental black metal art recorded during the seventh fullmoon anno ’93.
The album is of course a progression from the mini album, the new tracks are more symphonic and atmospheric, but still brutal and intense. The album has a very professional and mighty sound.

In the distro: we have EMPEROR on vinyl including In the Nightside Eclipse DLP, EMPEROR CDs, various EMPEROR t-shirts and hoodies including In the Nightside Eclipse t-shirts, and other EMPEROR merch including In the Nightside Eclipse wall flags.

There are a lot of synth themes including on the album, the synths are used more as an individual instrument now. Synth is a big part of EMPEROR’s music. We also have a permanent keyboard player now (Sverd of ARCTURUS). I think the sound of evilness and melancholy can be created without synths as well, but synths also add a more orchestral and mighty sound which is very important for EMPEROR’s music.
– Samoth, Tales of the Macabre zine #1, 1993

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Emperor and Pytten mixing In the Nightside Eclipse at Grieghallen Studios, winter 1994

20 Years Ago: KATATONIA record Brave Murder Day at Unisound

Twenty years ago this month KATATONIA were in Finspång, Sweden at Dan Swanö’s Unisound to record their classic dark doom album Brave Murder Day.

KATATONIA had used Unisound for previous releases: Dance of December Souls, For Funerals to Come… and others. After Brave Murder Day they began recording at Sunlight Studio in Stockholm.

The influences have changed quite a lot, because when we did the first album, we were mainly influenced by Paradise Lost, essentially, and Tiamat as well. On Brave Murder Day, I’m not really sure, but I don’t think we had many influences when we did that album. It was more like we wanted to try something really new for us, which led to this very repetitive sound, which I think is very dark.
– Jonas Renkse, Chronicles of Chaos (1999)

The album was released by Avantgarde in November that year.

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In the distro: we have several t-shirts including the Brave Yester Days design, some Katatonia CDs and the tribute double-album December Songs on vinyl

We found the front and back cover pictures in an archive here in Stockholm. They have tons of good – and bad – pictures, and we instantly fell for those two as both of them represented what we were doing at the time. The band picture is also cool, we had the photographer shoot our reflections in a pool of oil in an industrial area – I think that gives the picture a darker shade than if it was just an ordinary photo.
– Jonas Renkse, Chronicles of Chaos (2001)

Around the same time the band went on the 19-day European “Autumn Wilderness Tour” with IN THE WOODS… The last three dates were in London, Bradford and Dublin.

We did one tour in 1996, for Brave Murder Day – it was an European tour, a small tour. I think we had something like twenty dates with a Norwegian band called In the Woods… So that’s the only tour we’ve done, and then we’ve been playing some shows in Sweden, but this was a long way back. We haven’t been playing live for a very long time.
– Jonas Renkse, Chronicles of Chaos (1999)

Record of the Week: Instinct – The Black Wound

instinct-the-black-wound_LRG

The more you return the more you will find.
On first impression, The Black Wound may appear to be a meandering, atmospheric and largely ‘ambient’ album. Good, but maybe not standout.
Go back. Within the dense, slow progressions the layers begin to separate. The repeated theme on Thunor Hycgh with its dissonant sting, the fleeting sweet riff buried in Chamber Dark. Touches like that continue until it’s clear Verst has laboured and layered and built a very impressive third album!

BURZUM, abstractly, is a comparison. Intelligent repetition and disciplined song writing. It’s meant respectfully.

Ambience does still play a strong role in the overall atmosphere. Each song fades undramatically into a dark and desolate droning which eventually consumes everything and comprises part II of the title track.

I am the only one who will ever truly understand the significance and meaning of Instinct beyond the musical…

One thing we do know, INSTINCT is nature worship. Blood and bone. The music radiates mystery without pretension, and I think it’s safe to recommend listening is isolation. Whether that’s sheltered or surrounded by vast empty landscapes, there you will find some truth.

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more records of the week

HOLY MOSES Finished With the Dogs T-Shirts & Early Album Reissues (German Thrash Metal)

HIGH VOLTAGE IN MY HEAD!!

Finished With the Dogs t-shirts are back in stock, limited sizes! Classic ’87 design as worn by Sabina.

Finished with the Dogs followed Queen of Siam. Two KILLER thrash albums with a distinct sound and possessed vocals!!

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The first two classic HOLY MOSES albums were re-released in March of this year:

Queen of Siam, originally released in 1986

Finished with the Dogs, originally released in 1987

HOLY MOSES CDs at the distro

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23 Years Ago: DARKTHRONE release Under a Funeral Moon (Unholy Black Metal!)

Recorded in June the previous year, Peaceville released the iconic Under a Funeral Moon on this day in 1993.

We didn’t care really much for the albums at the time, we all agreed that the rehearsals we did was the most important thing. We actually rehearsed a lot… I could sing on the rehearsals… which lifted the whole experience of rehearsing to new heights… All I can remember is really the best black metal magic ever…
– Nocturnal Culto interview video (below)

Summer of the Diabolical Holocaust (REHEARSAL 1992) :

In the distro: we just had a big restock of DARKTHRONE patches, including backpatches. There will be a big t-shirt update soon! Many DARKTHRONE CDs are in stock including Under a Funeral Moon!

As with A Blaze in the Northern Sky in August 1991, DARKTHRONE recorded at Creative Studios.

There is scarce information about Creative, the only trivia I could find is they had two Studer A-80 tape recorders (can’t be sure they were used for any of these but it’s possible…)

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Creative was based in DARKTHRONE’s home-town Kolbotn, Oppegård. In addition to the two DARKTHRONE albums, Creative recorded MAYHEM’s Deathcrush in 1987 and BEYOND DAWN’s Longing For Scarlet Days in 1993.

Flowers of doom, Rising in bloom
You will see, Our immortality!

HADES in June: Recording at Grieghallen 1993-1996 (and a hunt for the Chaucer poem)

June 1993: Alone Walkyng (demo)
June / July 1994: …And Again Shall Be
June / July 1996: The Dawn of the Dying Sun

HADES recorded all three classics at Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway.

Alone Walkyng was a very well received demo. The band printed a couple of hundred, another 1000 were made and sold by Wounded Love Recs. HADES signed to Full Moon Productions for their two albums.
Two songs from the demo were re-recorded for …Again Shall Be (Dec 94), the third (Alone Walkyng) was re-recorded for the third LP, The Dawn of the Dying Sun.

After legal issues with the New Jersey HADES, the band officially became known as HADES ALMIGHTY. They released two albums Millenium Nocturne (1999) and The Pulse of Decay (2001) then fell silent until a triumphant return – Pyre Era, Black! which was just released last month as a split with DRUDKH.

In the distro: we just added Dawn of the Dying Sun t-shirts in all sizes, full colour album-cover design!

hades-band

Searching for Alone Walkyng & Chaucer…

The Dawn… album sleeve notes credit the title and lyrics for Alone Walkyng to “Richard Chaucer in 1572”. I think they’re referring to Geoffrey Chaucer who served King Richard II, even though that Chaucer died in 1400.
The “Alone Walkyng” poem was historically attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer but that claim has been dismissed by later academics, noting the author name had been “added by later hand” (see below). The poem is usually known simply as “Ballad”, “Virelai” (referring to the medieval French verse form it uses) or “Lover’s Lament”.

The disappointing seventh volume of Dr. Skeat’s edition, containing poems once attributed to Chaucer, has little poetical merit. Some of those poems belong to a later age, and are of no interest as illustrating Chaucer – false ascriptions merely, such as the pretty piece:

Alone walking, In thought playing,
And sore sighing, All desolate,
Me remembring, Of my living,
My deth wishing Bothe erly and late.

which for reasons both of philology and sentiment must be placed much later.

– Adolphus Alfred Jack (University of Aberdeen), 1920

The original source of this poem, and therefore HADES lyrics, is very likely from a late 15th-early 16th Century collection. The relevant page is below (right page – left column).
Note the author attribution in the left margin and the Middle English that closer matches the song lyrics (remembryng, lyvyng etc).

alone-walkyng-original-manuscript

The complete book can be viewed at Trinity College, Cambridge, originally from the collection of John Stow.

The song Alone Walkyng goes back further than the demo, further than HADES! After AMPUTATION and the first IMMORTAL demo Jørn joined OLD FUNERAL briefly, replacing Vikernes on guitar, and recorded an early version of Alone… in September 1992 at Kardemommehuset. This session was never released (the band split around the time) but you can find the four songs on The Older Ones or Our Condolences comps.

Rainbow Rising Tour 40th Anniversary (T-Shirts, Hoodies, Merchandise)

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Recorded in February 1976, RAINBOW released their second album Rising on 17 May.

The Rising tour began taking shape that month, starting properly on 11 June in Ohio. They toured through the US, and briefly into Canada, through June, July into early August.

Rainbow on CD
Rainbow official t-shirts and hoodies

In June Peter Crescenti wrote:

It may be a few months before Blackmore’s Rainbow appears in Britain for the first time, but even if they have to wait until distant ’77, Blackmore freaks, when they finally do see the band live, will no doubt decide that the wait, no matter how long, was damned well worth it. Rainbow, now in its second version, is simply one of the most dynamic and energetic heavy rock outfits in the free world.

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RAINBOW arrived in England on the last day of August to play at the Bristol Hippodrome. STRETCH were the opening act for the UK leg of the tour.

Ritchie Blackmore is back, and nobody sleeps when he’s on. There simply aren’t words strong enough to describe how loud he and his band are. But in a masochistic way it was quite a gig. It was Rainbow’s first concert on British soil, and they systematically blitzed the good citizens of Bristol who crammed into the Hippodrome.
– Brian Harrigan, Melody Maker

The final UK date was 14 September and the European dates began, starting in Sweden. Most of the European dates featured AC/DC in support. Eventually they would leave Europe for Australia and then Japan in December (where most of On Stage was recorded).

1976 was over!

For more tour dates and information ronniejamesdiosite.com is a great read!

Record of the Week: Mortiis – Født til å Herske (Review)

Record of the Week

Mortiis artist store

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MORTIIS released his debut through Malicious in 1993. An early release by the label, home to several Norwegian legends until around 96.
These two 25+ minutes songs, recorded with nothing more than a JV30, lack the bombast and scale of later albums or the previous demo. Instead it’s power comes from the sombre, drifting atmosphere – dark, mysterious, ancient… entirely solitary and plaintive.
Intentionally repetitive, not unlike BURZUM‘s ambient (a direct influence), variations emerge gradually, each Part ending in emergent crescendo. Built by layering, evolved and expanded, the result is an hour of excellent dark “dungeon” ambient without the high drama of later albums.

mortiis-band-1994

ROTW: Adorior – Author of Incest (Review)

Record of the Week

Adorior artist store

adorior-author-of-incest-piclp_LRG

ADORIOR of the 2000s became an unassailable force of late eighties thrash at it’s most extreme (ala DARK ANGEL) as it contorted into early death (ala MORBID ANGEL, ORDER FROM CHAOS) with black metal techniques setting much of the foundation, driven to excess by the relentless hammering of bands like REVENGE and AXIS OF ADVANCE. All held tight with intense songwriting and a strong studio production. Never entirely distant from those bands or those with similar influences like comrades DESTROYER 666, but not at all generic and as an LP stands on it’s own merits entirely as one of the UK’s best!

The whole thing has a personal immediacy at it’s heart. The barbarism is not cloaked in much mystery, the intent is a fist (…of the master!) to your skull: brutal and direct. Crushed. Melissa’s vocals howl and roar through the maelstrom, a centrepiece of the album. The message and delivery is savage and proud. Swords and semen, an orgiastic descent into blasphemy. A killer performance.

A rampage of unrestrained hatred and perversion. There are few records that capture and execute the elation of volatile aggression and blood boiling fury like Author of Incest.