High Fighter – The Goat Ritual (2014), Scars & Crosses (2016); Zirakzigil – World Builder (2016)

EP Cover Artwork + by Dominic Sohor Design

High FighterThe Goat Ritual (self-released, 28 October 2014)

 

High Fighter 'Scars & Crosses'      Album Front Cover_ By Dominic Sohor

High FighterScars & Crosses (Svart Records, 10 June 2016)

 

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ZirakzigilWorld Builder (Prosthetic Records, 10 June 2016)

 

Hey folks, how are you? Thanks for stopping by. Are you ready for another dose of good stuff to listen to? I hope so, because once again I’ve got some here to share with you today.

Both of the bands we’ll be discussing today will have an album released on Friday: High Fighter from Hamburg, Germany, will see their first full-length put out by Svart Records, which we’ll talk about in addition to that band’s debut EP that was self-released a while back; Zirakzigil from Portland, Oregon, also have their first LP forthcoming, one which was originally released by the band last year but is now being repackaged (and etched onto vinyl for the first time) by Prosthetic Records.

 

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Bloodred – Nemesis, Sig:Ar:Tyr – Northen (2016)

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BloodredNemesis (self-released, 08 April 2016)

 

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Sig:Ar:TyrNorthen (Hammerheart Records, 15 April 2016)

 

Hey there, ladies and gentlemen of the internet! I hope you’re having an okay start to your week. Typically I’d be talking about how Mondays are so terrible or whatever, but truthfully, I realize that things could be much worse. Around the middle of last week, I experienced a little bit of a minor medical emergency — hospital visit, a couple days away from work, that sort of thing. Everything around here got really disrupted and it kind of sucked, and I can honestly say I’m actually glad to be back to the normal daily routine, however awful and soul-crushing it may be.

Okay, with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the music! I’ve had to shuffle things around a bit since my schedule got so thrown off over the past several days, but we’ll do what we can to get back on track and get to sharing the albums and other news you people need to hear about. Today let’s take a look at a pair of releases from earlier this month, each by a one-member band (although each had some assistance on these recordings), and each having a Viking connection. It has been a month since the last time we talked about Viking metal — don’t forget that Amon Amarth are still in the middle of their North American tour, with a few weeks left — and it seemed like it might be fun to do it again. One of these albums actually includes a reference to the same source material as the Jomsviking album, and the other deals with ancient Viking settlements in North America …

 

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Beehoover – The Devil and His Footmen (2013), Primitive Powers (2016)

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BeehooverThe Devil and His Footmen (Exile on Mainstream, 30 September 2013)

 

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BeehooverPrimitive Powers (UnUnDeux, 26 February 2016)

 

Hey, good afternoon, music fans! Did you know that this website is now in its fifth year of existence? Technically its fifth birthday will be coming up later this year, but I just thought it was interesting to think about that. That might be partly why I’ve been covering quite a few older releases over the past weeks, trying to get some stuff written about and shared with you that I’ve been listening to and meaning to write about for a long time: reaching (or approaching) that sort of milestone can make you do a lot of reflecting back, while also trying to stay on top of what’s happening currently and looking ahead to what’s next.

Anyway, that’s kind of a roundabout way of introducing today’s topic, which will be hitting a bit of each of those things, since I’ll be covering a pair of albums by German bass/drums/vocals duo Beehoover — one which came out in late 2013 (and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying, and intending to get a chance to write about, since around that time), and a brand-new one (that I feel confident you’ll enjoy just as much) which will officially hit the store shelves (metaphorically speaking) tomorrow!

 

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Out Tomorrow: Icy Black Metal On Waldgeflüster’s Third Album

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WaldgeflüsterMeine Fesseln (Bindrune Recordings, 10 January 2014)

 

This week has seen a wave of record-breaking cold all across North America, with sub-zero HIGH temperatures in some places, as well as dangerously low wind-chill factors that prompted widespread closures of schools and businesses in many areas. Those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to be able to stay home under several blankets could be seen bundled in as many layers as possible while still being able to walk, in a vain attempt to protect against the freezing winds. The point I’m trying to make is, it’s been pretty damn cold around here.

And so, I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate time than this, for a new album to be released by the German one-man black metal contingent Waldgeflüster (just that name — which approximately translates to “whispering woods” — evokes images of icy cold darkness). The full-length due out tomorrow (10 January) from Bindrune Recordings will be the third overall from the project, which consists chiefly of a guy called Winterherz (“Winter Heart”). Comprising seven tracks in all, and lasting just over an hour, new album Meine Fesseln (“My Shackles”) also includes contributions from a variety of other musicians, including Austin Lunn of Panopticon (mandolin, vocals, and guitar solos) and Johan Becker of Austaras (violin), among others. Incidentally, Johan has also appeared on Panopticon recordings, and both he and Austin happened to have guest spots on Vit‘s The Dry Season — which had just been released when I spoke with that band’s drummer prior to last year’s Winter’s Wake festival in Pittsburgh; furthermore, Johan had accompanied Vit at that performance, and shortly afterwards he mentioned to me that he was working on a few other upcoming projects at that time — which happened to be my first time hearing of Waldgeflüster. Not that any of that has any particular relevance to this review (or to anything at all); I just thought I’d share some trivia with you.

 

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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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