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Distorted Reality, Mass Confusion, Dark Soul Architects & Slave Pit

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SATYRICON “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”, Napalm Records 2017

Approaching SATYRICON is a meta-textual, meta-musical thing, Satyr and Frost sumptuously providing us with points of reflection to their artistry . We’ve heard that, while Now Diabolical and especially Age Of Nero were „a wall of sound“, the 2013 and 2017 releases aimed at „dynamics“, apparently understood as a less dense soundscape with freedom and amplitude of arrangement. With Satyricon (2013), says Frost, rooms were opened which Deep Calleth Upon Deep explores. The songs are filled with „magical energies“, he continues, although he said the same about Now Diabolical. Being vague is inescapable for SATYRICON, relying on „moods and atmosphere“ rather than any genre definitions.

Considering technicalities, in Now Diabolical we have prominent drums (and bass by none other than Lars Norberg), the „wet“ luscious sound remaining relatively unchanged through Age Of Nero. SATYRICON was a symbiotic duo, powerful drums suppporting fierce vocals.

Satyricon - Deep Calleth Upon Deep

Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep

That changed in 2013: „the dawn of a new age“ promised by the band saw them taking a more „progressive“ introspective direction with nostalgic flair, while retaining both the previous drive and the ability to deliver a memorable, emotive melody.

If the self-titled album was SATYRICON’s melancholic autumn, in Deep Calleth Upon Deep nature has withdrawn into its black-and-white winter. The vocals are subdued (even monotonously recitative, yet appealing), and despite the widely advertised variety in instrumentation, the sound seems dominated by dissonant guitar, as if rehearsing a bleak delayed finale.

It seems to be Satyr’s individual undertaking – he’s always been a leader, but this feels like a solo record. SATYRICON’s token of brilliance with Rebel Extravaganza was a tribute to disdain; Volcano’s „freight train“ consolidated the feeling and opened room for melody which would dominate a few records, culminating majestically in Live At The Opera. Deep Calleth Upon Deep summons us with echoes from SATYRICON’s entire discography: it feels like either Satyr revisiting his legacy, or exploring SATYRICON (and other) tropes, sometimes resorting to self-quotation (we hear Phoenix at the end of Brethren In The Dark). There’s a PANTERA feel in the title track, and The Ghost Of Rome could have been a MOONSPELL song.

The album picks up on Satyr’s contemplative, melancholic tone first heard on Now Diabolical, while departing as far as possible from the smoothness of that record. There’s no problem if traditional songwriting is entirely abandoned, giving way to improvising/experimenting with structure (a play with SATYRICON’s straightforwardness), as in Blood Cracks Open The Ground, which is almost a jazz piece coloured by neoclassical passages. Such elements are atypical for SATYRICON and drawing parallels with Ihsahn; similarly, the song Dissonant is reminiscent of SHINING – puzzling to hear, since Rebel Extravaganza is perhaps more original than the avant-garde Norwegian band. Alongside all this, we have honest (sometimes blatant) cliches in terms of both lyrics and song development, making us question the postmodernist mood we have surmised. The two sides of Satyr’s personality which flowed along on Now Diabolical, are clashing here: the deep-feeler and innovator is being challenged by the „rock-star“ who put forth an „epic“ hymn like Mother North and a commercial hit like Phoenix; this accompanied with reason-defying lyrics such as:

„In the rain alone with your demons claw
Now, let your brother help if the palace falls
And the dragon dies we’ll let the mothers mourn“

There’s difficulty in assessing the album: on one hand, we have its pretense of being experimental, appealing to an intelligent and mature listener, and on the other, there’s the explicit appeal to a simpler, young audience, experiencing metal as cliche: a tendency which already manifested itself, at least lyrically, in 2013. Satyr was never a poet; however, in earlier albums he conveyed infectious emotion.

Who knows – the existential personal adversitiy behind the record might have been difficult to voice out. Satyr reportedly links the notion of black metal to that of the blues – it’s a bottomless feeling. „Dark was the night, cold was the ground“, the legendary transcendent piece by Blind Willie Johnson whom he reportedly admires, has no lyrics.

This record in particular is far from deserving the staggering extolment received by sycophantic journalists, yet Satyr’s appeal and SATYRICON’s fame cannot be denied. If black metal is a mood, an expression of innermost psyche, let judgment be reserved in favour of yielding to the musically-erotic and the depths of Thanatos alike. I was not going to address this release (mainly out of respect for the delicacy of Satyr’s personal journey), but the artist visited my sleep, during New Moon, on the eve of the album’s release; without Frost, unfortunately, of whom I’m an ardent admirer.

To summarise more rationally, this is a diverse record falling in the „progressive post-black“ tradition. If it had done it maturely and consistently, it could have earned high acclaim; alas, its wanderings without sufficient innovation leave a feeling of aimlessness.

Best: Blood Cracks Open The Ground
Worst: Deep Calleth Upon Deep

Diana Chavdarova (5/10)

Daniela Visotskaya (Daniela Shumway) about „Keep the Strawberry’s house“ project

We are extremely pleased that once again we will mention you in The Other Side and for such a good purpose. My list is full with questions but let we start with based.

Why you decide to Resume the petition „Keep the Strawberry’s house“?

I keep an eye on this house from several years I say that I discover a full history of this house. I’m in love it from the first time that i saw it.I adore it! But this is not the reason that i want to safe it from destroying!

In the 2016 this was a topic from many citizens of Sofia.

I have been observing similar topics on Internet for architectural monuments in Bulgaria for a long time, but this house is definitely one of the most discussed.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

Last year, the subscription reached about 10,000 people, which pleased me a lot. The protocol came to the needed organizations and so, we are still waiting for someone to take action. We are still waiting for a solution…

Exactly for this reason I decide to renew the subscription.too much people is never enough. When one side presses more and does not give up in this actions always wins. A simple strategic. I think my decision is definitely not wrong.

The house definitely excites a lot of people from Sofia and we can not ask why the name is „House with strawberries“ where comes from?

Before years ago  there was a lot of wild strawberries. Just as in my house, unfortunately, there is not much now, the forest strawberry is generally self-sacrificing and you can hardly graft it somewhere, You can meet it  in  forest soils.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

In the beginning, you said that you know a lot about the story of the house. What exactly is the style of her architecture?

The architect who built it has studied in Vienna. It was built around 1927.

The house is more of a mix of styles that’s why is so interesting, but it definitely describes the aristocratic beauty and grace very well.

The property is then nationalized. It was a Romanian embassy, a trade representation of the USSR in Bulgaria, a headquarters of the people’s militia, the seat of the administration of various state structures.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

It was declared a national monument of culture, but unfortunately it followed the fate of many beautiful houses with an obscure fortune, which had the bad luck to be built in Bulgaria.

How long are you planning the project?

Доста пъти ми е хрумвало да направя снимки там но голям проект не бях планирала, причините бяха редица тогава. Голямото планиране дойде след като разбрах че нещата не вървят на никъде.

Трудна ли беше подготовката за проекта?

Yes I thought to take pictures there. but I did not plan a big project, the reasons were a lot. Big planning came after I realized that the organizations and government do not take actions.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

Was the preparation for the project difficult?

I immediately got to buy the jewels and other accessories. The busk it was bought for my b-day this year from Avangard shop.

What emotions come when you saw the house from first time live?

It was quite interesting. I was talking to my photographer before and we going out  together was a sunny hot day of May, we went to the other end of San Stefano street. But a policeman directed us. As we walked, we saw a house with number 8, and I remembered telling my photographer: „Oh, my God, the next number must be the house!“

And here I stood in front of it. This house owns  all  majestic beauty. I would say it definitely captivates you.

How did you feels when you first stepped inside her „core“?

I’m very glad you asked me this question. The feeling was very strange at first,I approached confidently but then  was anxiety.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

There was an anxiety with Georgi Velev, coz this is a big project and we could not excitement.

Although We went to a foreign property.

The first time you enter the yard, it instantly rages energy leads you to the past time and seems like  the time has stopped inside. I can say I’m really lucky that i get there.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

The feeling when climbing the stairs of the central entrance to the door is unique to describe. Seems like you  to fall into another dimension. You survival past thoughts, emotions and lots of darkness. This is so beautiful.

What exactly  your photos show ?

With these photos I have to to awaken the long-lost beauty in this place to awaken people’s souls to inspire their support, to inspire their support even more!

The pictures express an aristocratic soul of past time combined with refinement emphasizing the Gothic note that actually has the house owns.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

Are you worried that many people will copying you after they see your photos and dare to get into the house to shoot?

Very often it happens to me that my pictures and ideas have been copied by someone else.

Which only speaks of the person a lack of any creative thought, devoid of any inspiration and taste of things.

A person who can not invent his thought and rather prefers to steal the idea? Someone else because it’s easier. Unfortunately, things can not change …

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

I saw that some models like me had a lot of interest to shoot in the house after me, there will be many models who have dared to get into the house to take pictures, but I will ask you: WHY AFTER ME?

Why, since I was the first person who take over in my own hands the things  you’ve been making a long-time interest but why you did not organize a campaign to collect votes or something like that.

Or the only thing you care about is your career, „pictures for your own ego“?

How long did you shot?

The pictures went well. We shot about two hours, but in a short time we did a lot of pictures and we did not stop for a break. We did everything in one breath.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

Some people  crossed the street and looking around,others just passed because there was a lot of grass and it was hard to see something.

Tell us more about yourself, what your job is?

Apart from Gothic, I have a lot of hobbies, write books, script, I work eight years with metal and rock singing.

I’m training a tennis court unprofessional. I work in the financial sphere but unfortunately I am not allowed to give more information about my work I dare say that for such a young person I am quite ambitious.

.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

What are your observations about the petition and how do people accept the whole organization?

Overall, I saw that there are many people who support my idea but there were also many people who did not care. They are looking like great patriots but suddenly they say, „I am abroad“!

And what is it make you a less Bulgarian?

Why do you think that when you escaping from your country you are not bound to your culture values? Other people made it a pure envy.

Others did not like Gothic and  myself, and think there was something wrong with a goth people. This is far from the true, Gothic is a worldview, the era may be outdated, and the modern people no longer cares about it, and believes that there is something Satanic in it, because they had a  wrong visions and the things  which everyday happens have been imposed upon and they  accepts this like normal.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

If you break your visions the world will become at least as easy for you as you can consider it as personal advice!

Short words about „The Tail of the Devil“ a bg movie Shot in the house…

I can say very much, the movie is a very cool but you just  have to watch it!

A sequential question  why you decided to include RAMMSTEIN’s „Mein Herz Brennt“ song in your slideshow? What is the best of it? Immediately ask? There is no such song like this.This is the most suitable sound for the photos. contains metal with Gothic sound.The song is so majestic it brings both sad, spooky and beautiful radiance just like the house.

And what is better from suitable title – My Heart burns /translation from German/.

Даниела Висоцкая

Даниела Висоцкая

What will happen if your project fail?

This is a very interesting question. Well, I can’t change the circumstances but maybe I know that I done everything and try really everything to keep this house!

RED HARVEST: We are back cause it is more fun now

Hail! Introduce yourself in depth…

– I am Ketil, guitarist in RED HARVEST. I joined RED HARVEST in 1995 and played in the band until we decided to take a break in 2009. We got an offer to play a concert in 2016, and we decided to do that concert. That was fun, and because of that we decided to play some more concert and to release some new material.

What are the news from RED HARVEST?

– Well right now we are doing promotion for the re-issue/re-master version of an album called „Hybreed“ that was originally released in 1996, we work with new music for a release in 2017 and we prepare for a concert in April. We live quite far apart, so rehearsals and activities must be well planned.

In 2016 you celebrate the 20-th anniversary of “Hybreed” and it was re-released… Tell me more about this new edition.

– We, the French late Cold Dark Matter Records wanted to do a re-release and master it with new artwork and bonus tracks. We thought it could be cool with new ears and eyes, and of course we said yes. So basically it has been freshed up and gotten a nice make over. The bonus live tracks were recorded at our first gig in ca. seven years in Bergen, Norway.

Red Harvest

Red Harvest

Let remind to the new generation fans some details… Where and how it was recorded?

– It was recorded in a studio in Oslo in the spring of 1996. It is recorded live. That means we all played together in the studio at the same time, no click or computers. Just additional vocals and guitars were added later. It was recorded on VHS tapes if I remember correctly. We worked with very alternative (at that time) layer structures on the songs, using loops and samples.

Tell me more about your lyrics in it? Who is their writer?

– Jimmi, the other guitarist and the singer wrote the entire album. Music and lyrics. The red line of the album is about cleansing of the soul and finding peace in nature.

Let’s return deeper in the past: RED HARVEST – what is the story behind that name?

– The first name of the band was ARCTIC THUNDER. After a few line up changes in ARCTIC THUNDER, it was also time to get a new name. The guy that played guitar before I joined the band, came up with RED HARVEST. No clue where he had it from. Many years later we have learned it is a very famous detective/crime novel with that name.

How do you describe the music style of the band?

– We play metal with Industrial/Human elements. We are very different from many other bands, so I prefer to call it something like that. It find it hard to label us.

Are you happy with your label Cold Dark Matter Records?

– Yes. It is a very energic and idealistic small label with personal dedication and devotion that I highly appreciate.

Red Harvest

Red Harvest; photo by: A. Linnerud

RED HARVEST split up in 2009… Is time for reunion?

– Well, we are in one way at the reunion now. But we are in no hurry and have no stress. We are back cause it is more fun now than in 2009. We stopped because we had no fun anymore and figured out that it was smart to stop before we became enemies. So we are making new music, will soon record everything and then see what happens. And we take the concerts we find cool and interesting and possible to do for us.

What is your vision upon nowadays extreme Metal scene? What is the situation in Norway? Any new bands with young members?

– I honestly have no clue, cause I don´t live in Norway anymore. But metal as we knew it in Oslo is more or less gone from what I hear. Now I guess Bergen and Kolbotn are the hot spots for Metal music.

Do you know something about Bulgarian Metal scene?

– No, sorry.

Red Harvest - Hybreed

What are your personal plans for the future?

– I will work with the new Red Harvest songs and try to get all my guitars recorded during spring 2017. I will probably record some music for another industrial band play in called KP RIOT BRIGADE. It is a band with base in Florida USA. The debut album was released some weeks ago. And I have also just recorded all my guitar tracks for another band I play in called GOTHMINISTER. New release and tour for GOTHMINISTER will be October 2017.

Did I forgot to ask you something?

– Hmmm, I don´t know. Maybe you have additional questions when you read my answers.

Last words? Your message for the readers of The Other Side…

– Give the new „Hybrid“ a listen. For those of you interested in our kind of metal will probably hear that we were way ahead of many bands at that time. And I hope we can play in Bulgaria one day, cause we never did that.

Mrazek, January 2017

With courtesy of Cold Dark Matter Records

Фотогалерия: IXXI, HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY, SHAMBLESS, BOLG и OCCULTUM

IXXI, HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY, SHAMBLESS, BOLG и OCCULTUM.

София, 27 ноември 2015 г., клуб Live & Loud.

Снимки: Димитър Баръмски ©

По технически причини не разполагаме с фотографии на BOLG и OCCULTUM, за което се извиняваме.

Alan from PRIMORDIAL: blood, sweat and no compromise

Few days before their incredible performance in Sofia,  The Other Side asked some questions Alan, PRIMORDIAL‘s frontman… Read his answers without any redaction.

Interview by Mrazek, live pictures by Unholy Union ©

Hail, Alan! Introduce the members of the band in depth…

this is in our biography on the website

What are the news from PRIMORDIAL?

our last album, our 8th was released maybe 14 months ago. since then some shows and festivals and more planned for this year ahead

Primordial

Primordial

Tell me more about your last release „Where Greater Men Have Fallen”…

like what? was recorded in Ireland for a change…..middle of summer instead of the dead of winter.

Where and how it was recorded?

middle of Ireland…..middle of nowhere? normal way? as live as possible. no click track, no editing, no auto tune. as live as we can

Tell me more about your lyrics in it? Concept? Who is their writer?

it’s me….no overall concept. alienation, traitorous acts, sedition, martyrdom, political crisis, over coming the odds….it’s a bleak dark record for a bleak dark future

Primordial

Primordial

Let’s return in the past: PRIMORDIAL – what is the story behind that name?

thats also in our biography on the website, we chose it in 92. no on else had it…..kinda important

How do you describe your music style?

we don’t. metal……thats up to journalists and fans i guess

Are you happy with your label Metal Blade Records?

sure, great people. no problems. they leave us alone to do our own thing and it all works as it should.

Do you have any plans for concerts and tours?

sure. would it make any difference to list the shows that arent in your country?

Primordial

Primordial

Do you have any plans to make a video?

? we made two for the last album…..

You played here in 2003, what do you remember from Bulgaria?

we had a great time, new and interesting territory for us. we have learned a lot from then. you will see a more powerful band this time

Do you prepare something special for your upcoming show in Sofia?

just the same as ever. blood, sweat and no compromise. it should be a long long show also…..be prepared

What is your vision upon nowadays extreme metal scene? What is the situation in Ireland?

Primordial

Primordial

i dont know really anymore, i dont hang out as much as i used to. i guess there is a small kind of youthful thrash scene and then we have some great new bands like malthusian, zom, slidhr and bands like that, then the old guard like mourning beloveth and cruachan.

Do you know something about Bulgarian Metal scene?

not much really anymore, i am going to check out all the youtube links now to some of the support bands

What are your general plans for the future?

try and not die too soon…..other than that, sex, drugs and rock n roll right?

Did I forgot to ask you something?

i have no idea

Last words? Your message for the readers of The Other Side…

be prepared…….

Courtesy of Live & Loud.

Full photo gallery of PRIMORDIAL’s performance in Sofia (2016)

Интервюто с PRIMORDIAL на български език

First bands on Inferno Metal Festival 2016

The organizers presents the first 5 bands for Inferno Metal Festival 2016, that will take place in Oslo, Norway, in the Easter from 23th to 26th of March 2016! This will be the 16th time the iconic festival will be held and has visitors and supporters from all over the world. The first band is the legendary Norwegian Black Metal band MAYHEM! We also have old school Thrash metallers EXODOS for their first visit at Inferno Metal Festival. The mighty blasphemous Swedish Black Metal war machine MARDUK will make everyone feel unsafe when they enter the stage at Rockefeller. The man with the mighty voice ICS VORTEX will make his first appearance at Inferno Metal Festival with his solo project. And as always we welcome some new up and coming bands, and this time it is Polish Industrial Black Metal beast THAW! See you all at Inferno Metal Festival 2016!
Mayhem

Mayhem

There is no doubt that MAYHEM is one of the most legendary and controversial bands coming from Norway. They are one of the most influential extreme metal bands and the reason why Norwegian Black Metal has conquered the world. Even with their notorious past – the band still stand strong after more than 30 years of mayhem. After all; the music speaks for itself. With classic songs from „Pure Fucking Armageddon“,“Deathcrush“ and „De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas“ to newer material from „Grand Declaration of War“ to „Esoteric Warfare“, the band has a huge back catalog that can make your skin shiver. And so it will when The True Mayhem return to Inferno Metal Festival in 2016!

Exodus

Exodus

EXODUS – If you are a Thrash Metal fan – then Exodus need no introduction. EXODUS is one of the earliest band from the Bay Area thrash metal scene, starting up already in 1979. One of the co-founders was the well-known guitarist Kirk Hammett that joined Metallica after a couple of demo tapes. Riff-master Gary Holt is the bands only long time member that has been playing on every record that EXODUS has released. Today he also play in the mighty SLAYER. At EXODUS‘ prime in the early 80s, the band was known as “Kings of the Bay Area”. Today they are back in good old shape as vocalist Steve „Zetro“ Souza has returned in their line-up. The man was the singer on such classic records as “Pleasures of the Flesh” and “Fabulous Disaster”. Last year the band released “Blood In Blood Out” and there is no doubt that the thrash metal legends are ready to destroy at Inferno Metal Festival!
Marduk

Marduk

MARDUK – the most blasphemous band in the world! MARDUK has lived up to their reputation and still today, 25 years after the band was formed, they sounds like a war machine crushing every religious figure that crosses their path. The band has huge back catalog consisting of great albums, and they are just continuing to release some of the most brutal and heretic Black Metal albums there is today. The band has just released their album “Frontschwein” and it is an instant classic. Their gig at Inferno Metal Festival 2016 will be a fist in the face of god and is not to be missed!

ICS Vortex

ICS Vortex

ICS VORTEX is a name most extreme metal fans should be aware of. He is the front man for such bands as BORKNAGAR, ARTURUS and LAMENTED SOULS and he used to play bass in DIMMU BORGIR. The man behind this voice call himself ICS Vortex and this band is his own playground. His solo project released one album back in 2011 called “Storm Seeker” and they have just performed live a couple of times before. Finally you can see this band live at Inferno Metal Festival for the very first time!

Thaw

Thaw

THAW is an experimental black metal band hailing from Poland. The band has been around since 2010 and already released several splits, demos and albums. The latest one is the atmospheric masterpiece “Earth Ground” from 2014. Thaw has a good reputation for their loud and energetic live shows and they will for sure be something to see when the play at Inferno Metal Festival for the very first time!

Inferno Metal Festival 2016
Inferno Metal Festival is the longest running and most extreme metal festival in Norway and one of the most important extreme metal festivals in the world. We are very proud of this position and we will continue fronting Norwegian metal and bringing bands from all over the world to Norway. 2016 will be our 16th edition of the festival that keeps on growing. 2015 was one of the best years in the festival’s history and highly acclaimed and praised by press, audience and artists. Inferno Metal Festival 2016 will be even better!
Tickets
4 days festival pass (including club night): 1800,- (including ticket fee)
3 days festival pass (without club night) 1500,- NOK. (including ticket fee)
Tickets available at Billettservice. Phone: +47 81533133
www.infernofestival.net
 Inferno

JUDAS PRIEST: An Act Of Affection

A lot of people in the „metal scene“ have been bringing up the futile objection to bands announcing farewell tours, and then continuing to tour. In the case with JUDAS PRIEST, their EPITAPH was thoroughly justified. Rarely have they been as close to perfection, and stretching to give their absolute all in recent years. That they didn’t wait too long to announce another album and tour, was an act of loyalty to their fans, rather than a trick – a fact which needs no explanation to those involved in the love affair with PRIEST for over 40 years. While still having attended only one show on the current tour, my feeling is that of ease and intimacy, of demand and pressure having been lifted off Priest’s shoulders, with the completion of Epitaph.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Redeemer Of Souls itself, with the promise of being „classic Priest“, is far from the quality of their latest studio rendition, let alone the quintessence of Metal which is for example Screaming For Vengeance. They do lie on their glory; with that said, the album is almost every bit enjoyable: whatever this classic band offers as easy-listening, outweighs in quality a myriad of contemporary rock and metal acts. Songs like Dragonaut (nevermind the title), Redeemer, and March Of The Damned are instantly catchy, while Halls Of Valhalla is another opportunity to display Rob Halford’s high-pitched vocal mastery.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

The Metal God never fails to deliver, although exhaustion spells clearly on his face and body. The fact floods me with many emotions – from feeling for him, to feeling closer to him. He is less imposing and more vulnerable. He is close to us literally, noting how good he felt about the venue, a sold-out 2000-capacity, with only a meter or two of distance between the stage and the first row. („We played in Denmark the other day, where the audience was two miles away – ridiculous!“) A small minus about the Ronda hall of Tivoli Utrecht, is the stage being too high; and the sound of the vocals was somewhat lost in the down-front-centre-stage spot where I was.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

As soon as the band appeared on stage (right on time and with no support, woo-hoo!), Mr.Tipton felt the audience with his penetrating gaze, and then maintained the eye-contact, while encouraging the fans to sing along the lyrics. Richie Faulkner provided the muscles and glamour of the rock show, while Mr.Hill and Mr.Travis appeared genuinely enthusiastic as ever.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

And such was the atmosphere that instantly set in between band and audience. Within myself, there was the mixed feeling of happiness and the hesitation to let the band go, after two short hours.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

The concert opened with Dragonaut, to quickly pick up with the groovy heavyweight Metal Gods. After the playful favourite of Devil’s Child, something quite unexpected happened with me.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Victim Of Changes began – and I burst in tears.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

I try to put a name to the emotion, and come up with this… nostalgia. Nostalgia, however, in a very special sense, as described by Halford in a 90s interview which stuck with me: „Nostalgia is a human necessity – it is affection.“ Victim Of Changes represents the whole history of my affair with Priest, which seems to have initiated in the dawn of time. I was crying, and I still am while typing these lines. I don’t want anything to change in my love with Priest. It won’t!

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Enough with being whimsical. JUDAS PRIEST are not 90-years old, they are young men, mostly in their 60s. However, their attitude defies even that, exemplifying spirit over matter, and the mere number which age ultimately is. As the concert progresses, I get the distinct feeling of Rob fancying himself as a young man still, as cocky and devious, as Rock’n’Roll as he has always been. And while later representatives of metal subgenres get lost in comically faux-intellectual reflections on the genre and its „ideologies“, the Metal Gods have long made the statement of what heavy metal is. It is all about having fun. It is about having fun extremely, electrified, making Judas Priest the epitome of ecstatic musical intensity.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

The setlist offers the aforementioned four songs off the new album – a relatively small number, making the current tour another „best of“ this legendary band. After Halls Of Valhalla, we plunge into a Love-Bitez delight – which is to continue with Turbo Lover, met by the audience with special exaltation.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

In between songs, men in the audience shouting „We love you Rob!“ vocalize the emotion for me, stripping me of the hesitation to express it, in order to not offend the entire band. Of course The Metal God is the star – and this gentle, refined yet monstrously expressive man steals the affection. In so many words, we love the man to death. And it fucking bites.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

A lot of fans sorely miss KK Downing, but the duo of his younger replacement and legendary guitar maestro Tipton simply saturates the soul.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

In between Love Bites and Turbo Lover, I was happy to hear March Of The Damned, which in its heavy-rock oldschool feel was my instant favourite off the Redeemer album. I had seen a setlist of the tour somewhere which didn’t include the song, and it made me wonder.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

The song of the same name as the new album follows, and then the aesthetic feast of Rob’s vocal in Beyond The Realms Of Death.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

It is time for lyrical introspection and vocal precision to give way to pure bacchanalia with Jawbreaker, Breaking The Law, and Hellbent. The biker image of Halford and his whip is sure to give a hardon to even sworn male straights.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

There is no interval to mark the supposed encore – indeed, why the theatrics. Electric Eye comes, then You’ve Got Another Thing Coming (where I always love to see Rob dance).

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

The question drummer god Travis poses, which song we still want, is brief and rhetorical. Painkiller it is, and one could hear the cracks in the redhot air.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

We’re Living After Midnight (although it’s still ten o’clock), and Rob takes his time to have the autoerotic ball which has underlied his artistry. He still looks every bit „horny as fuck“, as he claimed he was in the 80s. He still is a mean git on stage – and lovable.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

What I’m probably missing, is a song off Ram It Down; Blood Red Skies during Epitaph was a blast.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

With the spectacle coming to an end, there’s a sense of freedom. Love. And gratitude – from band to audience, from audience to band… the gratitude and contentment of still being together after all these years. There’s a deep unadulterated feeling of bliss which the guys’ faces exude, and it is touching and true. They’re as genuine as a rock artist should be, real as „good old southern blues“ (Halford, 2000).

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Needless to say, I cannot wait until the next time. This time, without a camera. I’ll just be there. The deeply feeling, deeply reflective, yet giving nature of these gentlemen demands all the unmediated, private attention.

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Setlist:

Dragonaut
Metal Gods
Devil’s Child
Victim of Changes
Halls of Valhalla
Love Bites
March of the Damned
Turbo Lover
Redeemer of Souls
Beyond the Realms of Death
Jawbreaker
Breaking the Law
Hell Bent for Leather
Electric Eye
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
Painkiller
Living After Midnight

Text and photos: Diana Chavdarova ©

Redeemer Of Souls Tour, TivoliVredenburg Ronda hall, Utrecht, 14 June 2015

SATYRICON and The Unbearable Passion of Being

SATYRICON have long been defining – and defying – just what that thing might be, “black metal”. They define it by their very background, while defying the prevailing, largely unreflected notions the conservative metal scene loves to stick by.

SATYRICON’s statement is of Black Metal as the indefinable, the obscure energies that pierce through us, while demanding their musical expression. Black and bottomless in their epistemological obscurity, the solitary existential hero is resolved at bringing them to artistic shape.

Satyricon

Satyricon

An intellectual framework is essential for understanding black metal, namely the black metal of which Satyricon maintains to be prime source and example. Indeed, there are no other tamers of energy like Satyricon, not swerving an inch from the pit of their inspiration.

There is simply no drummer like Frost. And Frost’s monstrous tribal power is situated within an intricate structure, provided by the band leader/composer.

What is unique about SATYRICON, and in our humble opinion puts them in a position above all, is the interplay of contemplation and aggression, which they deliver organically. While in other masterful bands (e.g. Enslaved, but also the whole tradition of “dark” and/or extreme progressive metal) these dialectics are apparent in the counterpoint of dreamlike versus harsh lines, there’s no telling apart of both these aspects in SATYRICON’s music. Both sides are at fine interplay here, but in reality indistinguishable. SATYRICON is meltingly intense with the cool awareness of passion being the mistress to rule their act.

Satyricon

Satyricon

SATYRICON are warriors of sincerity. The battle for the Truth black metal has had as its slogan, is but a battle for ourselves. And while this might sound trivial, it must not have been easy for Satyr to free himself from the burden of demands placed upon him. Metal fanatics could crush any aspiring, sensitive, ingenious artist with their narrowness. It is interesting to note that many artists have broken out of punk rock and into their unbounded artistic legitimacy, while metal artists’ vastly valuable but slightly different projects have been spitefully crushed and the artists’ wings broken.

Black Metal, in its individualistic pathos, can afford not to care. If the “genre” (in big inverted commas) can be defined by anything, it is the downright resentment of limits. This all important message SATYRICON has made sure to reiterate verbally, as well as musically. If you want to know what black metal is, refer to SATYRICON. Name it very, very intense rock music, and also be safe – while being aware “rock’n’roll” is but a Negro euphemism for libido. Black metal should then be the act of ultimate liberation of these ecstatic, violent potencies.

Satyricon

Satyricon

In the musical manifestation of SATYRICON, everything’s allowed. This is a progressive band in the most authentic sense. From the early outlines of black metal as genre, through the complex compositional infernalia of Rebel Extravaganza, from there transitioning into the works in the overall frame of “rhythm-and-metal” (popularly referred to black’n’roll, that notion not exhausting Satyricon’s exploration of slightly more minimalistic limits), and to the lush contemplation of their last studio delivery, this is a band the seriousness of whose music has culminated in its choral arrangement with Live At The Opera.

Whether chorally and orchestrally emphasized, or delivered in underground clubs, Satyricon’s music is equally poignant. It is Romantic per se. In the club where the author of these lines had the privilege of seeing them, our souls were torn out.

Satyricon

Satyricon

The atmosphere of sunset warmth the last studio album emitted somehow pervaded the show. There was no pretense, no showing of muscles, and no lustrous image. There was simply the promise: we’re here, and we’re not leaving without you.

The pre-history of such a commitment would be the extensive tour the band did in 2008/9, which left them pressed by the expectations and demand of their product, so successfully executed. It might have been that the imposing artistic output of 2008’s Nero had distanced Satyr from his soulful calling. The mantra of the “truth” in art, of the inseparability of art and existence, rings loud within the artist. It is down with grandiose presentation and all about essence now – a delight for the fan who is interested in the psyche of the loved artist, rather than in hearing “the old songs”.

Satyricon

Satyricon

What is not to love about Satyr – the perpetual wink in the eye, the occasional clumsiness, the intolerance for ignorance, the uncompromising professionalism, not least the vulnerability and surrender to her majesty, the Music. There’s no need for an artistic mask, for there’s nothing more compelling than the man in his integrity, who, after exploring his diverse aspects in consecutive albums, is now giving us himself. There are art-rock greats that are entertainers. There are prophets of humanity like the blues masters, who enamor us by wearing their hearts on their sleeve, skipping intellectual distance.

Satyr has chosen to be the latter kind. His doom might not be much different from the heavy-hanging blues, and he is now showing us that his musicianship and interaction with the audience are marked by a warm spontaneity not unlike the very first originators’ of our genre: making one feel at home, wanted, and liberated. There’s no menace in SATYRICON any longer, there’s the need to be together, and a passionate appeal for the audience to participate. The “existential fear questions” have seemingly dissolved, and with our newly embraced strength, we can get down. There’s no “us” and “them” anymore; the extremity of genuine expression celebrates our communion. It was a feeling like no other to scream the lines together with Satyr. The concert was a gift, and the musical gems – and jams – deeply appreciated.

Satyricon

Satyricon

The soundscape seemed subdued, while enthralling in its tension. SATYRICON are such masters. There’s hardly anything about them which hasn’t been thought out in great depth. The lighting was also impressive, reflecting the atmosphere. It felt like a continuation of the tour for “Satyricon” (2013), an album which has been underplayed live, and perhaps needed longer time to take root.

The setlist was a wisely calculated balance between all albums, with other underplayed songs able to render the fan ecstatic.

Shortly after the intro, the gripping Rite Of Our Cross sets in. Satyr’s vocal phrase cuts through, but unlike the sharpness of Metal God Halford, there are the roughs of a blunt edge that sting. I cannot get enough of Satyr’s vocals, and would have undoubtedly placed him at Number One in a recently published chart of Best Extreme Metal Vocalists by a popular magazine. “Fear!”, “Rage!”, “Lust!”, the spat-out lines cannonade.

Satyricon

Satyricon

The density is somewhat relieved through the amplitudes of the three subsequent songs (Our World, Diabolical, Crow), allowing us to merge with the dynamics, and eventually prepare for another burner: Filthgrinder. The tentative “act two” of the set brings more of the new, followed by an input of the old, getting the “die-hard” traditional fans fully onboard.

The logical center of the concert consists in another three pieces, namely A New Enemy, Die By My Hand, and Infinity Of Time And Space.

A New Enemy deserves a whole chapter of its own. It is a song which Frost himself has claimed “a favourite”, a vessel of that “magical energy”. The fan will forever be puzzled why the song has hardly been played live in the past few years. It was Frost’s playground, his field to deploy all the powers that work within – powers known only to him, but tangible and elating to all. The response was quick, the room illuminated by the audience’s exaltation.

Satyricon

Satyricon

Die by My Hand introduced keyboard sampling of the band’s choral arrangement for the Opera. Disappointingly but predictably, it didn’t work quite well. It never does – and here’s for hoping Satyricon does as many more live orchestral collaborations as it truly deserves. The song carries intricate dynamism which the choir in the Opera performance lifts and emphasizes – as it does Satyr’s genius in general. In a rock’n’roll setting, however, the song is best left speaking as originally intended.

Infinity Of Time and Space launched us into Satyr’s introspective dreamscape. It was a breath of space, and an allowance of time to sneak into the artist’s intimate withdrawal. After favourites such as Pentagram, the artist formally announced his defiance of being “entertainer”, and his fondness of free jamming – an inclination the more perceptive of his audience have witnessed throughout.

Satyricon's Setlist

Satyricon’s Setlist

There were the audience’s favourites still to follow and challenge our necks, with Repined’s absence being felt on this tour. Another thrilling piece I seem to be missing, is Nocturnal Flare; and it would just be brilliant if SATYRICON revived The Scorn Torrent in the future.

The overall feel was indeed that of jamming. Of unassuming unpretense. Of being one with the fan. Of being a fan. I didn’t sense a distance between Satyr’s banging head and mine, between the band’s timing and the audience’s.

And this is what leaves blissful expressions on people’s faces. Metal legends or otherwise. The Dawn Of A New Age tour has, by all accounts, been nothing short of a declaration of mutual love.

Diana Chavdarova

(after The Dawn Of A New Age tour at Szene, Vienna, 19.4.2015)

ACT OF GROTESQUE „Spectrophobia“ (Live, Sea Of Black Festival 2014)

ACT OF GROTESQUE „Spectrophobia“ (Live, Sea Of Black Festival 2014)

 

02.08.2014 Summer Theatre of Burgas, Bulgaria – Sea Of Black Festival

Redeemer Of Souls: new impending JUDAS PRIEST

Here’s to the end of the long-suffered wait for fresh JUDAS PRIEST. As the Gods of heavy metal had promised, it seems the forthcoming record will be a classic example of the genre which PRIEST defined. The true fan must be elated to be transported back in time, into 1984 – not that of Orwell, but the larger-than-life times of Screaming For Vengeance, heavy metal’s quintessence.

Redeemer Of Souls makes a similar promise. Here’s one exclusive instance where „epic“ isn’t a cliche: the inevitable chant „Redeemer, redeemer of souls!“ is backed with exquisiteness. It’s an instance where „old“ and „new“ collide and ease-out into the classicism of metal’s forefathers who are happily still present, 40 years later, with the whole vividness and authority of their prime, and with the polish of time to add.

Besides the happy symbolism of 14-7-14, when the same-titled album will be released, the date can’t be a coincidence. Like David Lynch in a documentary, we start the countdown to the extraordinary event.

Vive!

Diana Chavdarova

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