Battle Hag – Celestial Tyrant; Kultika – Capricorn Wolves (2021)

Battle HagCelestial Tyrant (Transylvanian Tapes, 11 January 2021)

 

KultikaCapricorn Wolves (Loud Rage Music, 11 January 2021)

 

Well, readers, another dreadful work week is mercifully drawing to a close. We finally made it to Friday. As a treat, today I’ll be sharing not one, not two, … ok wait, yes two … different albums for you to check out! Both were released back in January, both reside somewhere within the realm of doom metal, and I found both to be quite enjoyable to listen to. I hope you will too!

 

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Amon Amarth – Jomsviking (2016)

Amon Amarth - Jomsviking

Amon AmarthJomsviking (Metal Blade, 25 March 2016)

 

Well, it seems like this really turned into a week filled with black metal (or some form or variant of blackened-whatever), didn’t it? That wasn’t on purpose or anything, there just happened to be a few interesting things within that realm that I had wanted to share with you. But today we’ll be turning in a completely different direction: Viking metal!

(That was a little joke to piss off the Internet Metal Nerds, because the subject of whether Viking metal is really a thing, and if it is, how it should be classified, has been discussed endlessly, without ever really reaching a conclusion except for the fact that, as typified by bands like Enslaved and Bathory, it’s [somewhat] widely accepted as a subset of the black metal genre.)

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about at all — today’s topic is more along the lines of melodic/epic/anthemic metal. But I mean, look at that album cover (above)! Listen to the music (there will be previews near the end of the article)! Look at that photo of this band’s incredible stage setup from when I saw them a few years ago (below)! Despite their name (which means “Mount Doom,” a reference to the volcano from the Lord of the Rings books and movies), everything about Amon Amarth just screams “Viking metal”! What else would you call them?

In any case, this bunch of Swedes have a brand new album (their tenth) coming out tomorrow, so we’re going to take a look at that. Also, they’re coming back to the U.S. and Canada in about two weeks, marauding their way across the continent throughout April and May, so be sure to take a peek down at the comment section below where I’ll include the full list of those tour dates…

 

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Now Available for Pre-Order: (drama) – Zastor Tišine

(drama) Zastor Tišine (Altsphere Production, 24 February 2012)

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Fuck me, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open.  I’ve probably had about five cups of coffee today, but still, here I sit staring at this computer screen and it keeps going out of focus.  Why does the last day of work before a break– especially a nice, long holiday weekend– always seem to drag on forever?  Not that things will get any better when I leave here; I am completely dreading the fact that later tonight, and probably much of tomorrow as well, I will have to venture out into the world of holiday shopping!  Suffering through the world’s worst drivers (they always seem to come out in hordes this time of year, don’t they?) to struggle to find a place to park; pushing through huge crowds of horribly annoying people to get the chance to spend money I can’t really afford on a bunch of crap that my family members don’t really need anyhow… it’s enough to seriously bring on an anxiety attack just thinking about it!

Of course, that’s why the past few days I have been cheering myself (and hopefully some of you out there in internet-land, as well) with great big heaps of awesomely depressive doom metal.  Today’s post will complete the trilogy I described earlier (part I | part II), as we voyage to Croatia to check out the debut LP of a band from Zagreb called (drama), which is entitled Zastor Tišine (Croatian for The Curtain [or Shroud] of Silence).

Following a 2006 demo, the band actually recorded this full-length back in 2010 and made it available through various digital outlets earlier this year.  I can’t remember, now, where I first became aware of them, but I know I heard one of their songs somewhere; I enjoyed it enough to be willing to put in the effort necessary to track down more info about the band– which was no small task!  You try Googling the word “drama” – with or without the parentheses, it makes no difference – and see how easy it is to wade through the billions of results!  (By the way, for your benefit I’ve included a list of links at the bottom of this post, so you can have a much easier time learning more about the band and keeping informed about them.  You’re welcome.) Continue reading

Just Released: Enid – Munsalvaesche

EnidMunsalvaesche (28 November, 2011 – Code666 Records)

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Last weekend, my wife and I traveled to enemy territory* to catch the Korpiklaani+Arkona show.  Because my mother’s farm is about three hours closer to Cleveland than the Valley of Steel is, I had arranged for us to spend Thanksgiving weekend at her place.  Well, I think mom saw through my thinly veiled ruse, because in exchange for a couple days’ worth of free food and shelter within easy driving distance from Peabody’s, she decided that I needed to help put up her Christmas tree and hang the lights on it (she has an enormous nine-foot artificial tree, and lately it has become more difficult for her to get up and down a ladder). 

Anyway, during all this decorating nonsense, we were treated to a variety of Christmas-themed music from mom’s extensive collection.  This included a number of albums by Mannheim Steamroller, a multi-platinum selling, new-agey, electro-orchestral project of which she’s always been fond.  Anyway, during the process of assembling the tree, my wife remarked to me that some of the music we’d heard the night before (i.e. the concert) was not too far removed from what was being played at the house that morning.  I can see where she was coming from here — for example, the incorporation of traditional folk melodies and styles, and instruments such as the flutes and bagpipes used extensively by Arkona, into a more modern format, might superficially resemble the methods employed by Mannheim Steamroller.  However, to me the pagan/folk metal movement seems to take the folk/traditional instruments, melodies, song structures and attitude, and directly blends these with metal instrumentation (and often, metal vocals). On the other hand, the traditional folk Christmas carols that are reinterpreted on the albums we heard, seem to be rearranged in more of a classical orchestration and then reproduced with modern, synthesized instruments. I would be more inclined to compare this with something like Wendy (née Walter) CarlosSwitched-On Bach series of albums, although the correllation would be more apt if it were electronic versions of works by classical composers who, unlike Bach, often incorporated traditional folk tunes (either of their own cultural heritage, such as Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances,” or those picked up elsewhere, such as Tchaikovsky’s “Cappriccio Italien”).

Anyway, all of this rambling is leading up to my review of the latest album, Munsalvaesche, by German epic/fantasy/symphonic metal artist Enid, which was just made available last week (28 November) through Code666 Records/Aural Music. Continue reading and you shall see (and hear!) why this album should appeal to fans of the folk-metal approach as well as the modernized folk-music-via-classical-arrangement approach.
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