Chaos Rising – The Singles (2-CD)
41:52 / 42:20
Chaos Rising is an international band project exclusively for female metal musicians, which founder Stéphanie Nolf has been leading since 2019. The line-ups for the individual songs differ, although there are of course overlaps in personnel.
The first song appeared online in January 2020, as did all the others for the time being.
I became aware of Chaos Rising in the spring of that year through singer Imke von Helden, and my joy was great when in the middle of 2022 the announcement went around that all the songs that had been released so far (except for “Still We Die”, which had been released too shortly before) would appear on a double album. And here it is!
The double album is divided into “For The Head” and “For The Heart”; the album opens with the violent, varied Death Metal banger “Silent Dasein” with the truly beastly Iranian Haniye Kian, reminiscent of a grumpy hyena, on the vocal mic.
In general, the classic DM of the best kind dominates on CD 1; few influences from outside the genre can be heard and refresh the flow rather than disturb it. Everything is produced ravishingly and richly, especially in the bass range. Every single song is a headbanger, nevertheless “The Greatness Beyond” with Imke van Helden deserves a special mention – simply one of the best songs that deserves the description “Dragging Death Metal”. You should have heard it.
CD 2 promises something for the heart – as if thunderous brutal DM wasn’t already just that ;-).
Anyway, on average this part is more melodic, but within quite firm limits – I’m looking for Hard Rock here in vain, almost a bit of a pity. A nice Glam Rock / Hair Metal rocker certainly wouldn’t have hurt, but well, a second album is within the realm of possibility.
Also in this second part, the above-average vocal and instrumental performance is impressive, whereby “Distress” in the line-up Isa Lçn (voc), Stéphanie Nolf (g, bg, dr-c, voc) and Barbara Teleki (solo-g) particularly impresses me.
The double album ignites from the first moment and is simply a joy to listen to.
Can be ordered for example at https://chaosrising.bandcamp.com/
Hardly anyone will have missed the fact that these days mark the 24th anniversary of the release of the groundbreaking Reiter 7″ “Dschinghis Khan”.
Reason enough to celebrate with a dignified interview.
How did you come up with the idea of releasing a snappy four-tracker between the enormously successful debut album and the eagerly awaited second album?
The starting point was the cover version of “Dschinghis Khan”, which we had rehearsed at some point in the rehearsal room and which also went down very well at live shows.
It had a certain “horse theme”, so Mongols, horsemen, Genghis Khan, world conquest etc. — all things that somehow interested us. — all things that somehow interested us. The song has a certain metal attitude even without our cover version. So, no sooner said than done, the song had to be recorded and since it wasn’t worth the effort for just one piece, we directly recorded three more songs.
Andreas Hilbert lives a bit away from you; did you travel all the way to Berlin to record the song, or were you just in the area?
The journey took almost 8 hours because the VW band bus had a problem with the cooling system. Somehow air got into the cooling system and the engine threatened to overheat. Therefore, the drive towards Berlin was accompanied by 4 longer breaks, where we simply had to wait until the engine had cooled down again, then we continued at a snail’s pace for 30-50 km.
Dr Pest was the only one who was really pissed off by the whole thing – firstly, it was his bus and secondly, as the driver, he had to stay sober. Fuchs, Skelleton and I had realised straight away that we’d better pack some proper Martinis when we stopped at the petrol station, several bottles went on the way to Berlin and to be honest I don’t know how the journey ended.
At some point in the night I woke up in Andreas Hilbert’s pad (rather, his fat cat woke me up) and Andreas was ranting (also drunk) in turn about the genius of Carcass, Oxiplegatz and Rhapsody.
The next day was hell, as expected. Being completely hungover in the studio is generally not a good idea.
Skell was still so wiped out that he was virtually unable to keep half a beat – which was already killing Andreas.
Dr. Pest and I tried to repair the bus during his drum recordings, but we had to find a slope so that the air bubble in the cooling system could move towards the slope and escape from the air release screw, while water was poured into the radiator at the back. The VW Boxer engine in the rear of the bus was extremely difficult to access and the whole operation took hours. Afterwards, just for fun, we did a push-up competition until our arms and shoulders burned and hurt. A really stupid idea when you have to play guitar and bass shortly afterwards and there are 16 tons hanging from each arm.
Very entertaining, thanks for the story!
The artwork is killer, also the backside. Who was responsible for that?
It’s all stolen from a Marvel comic. Back then, without the internet, that wasn’t so dramatic, because who in the USA was supposed to notice when a small East German underground band wanted to save a bit on the graphic designer and used Marvel’s beautiful collection?
Well, in a way it was also a tradition that we didn’t care so much about the copyright of the artwork, “Firestorm”, “Soft & Stronger” and also “Allegro Barbaro” were similarly “charmingly borrowed”. But in the end, in the good cause of the Reiter, no one ever sued for that either.
Can you still remember how the three original compositions came about? Did your songs form more during jamming back then, or did one arrive with largely finished songs and lyrics?
“Dance with me” was already composed for the upcoming album “Allegro Barbaro”, “Human End Part II” was a piece that could have been on “Soft & Stronger” but ended up not being on the album. “The Price Of Ignorance” was an experiment, because we played with a lower tuning of the guitars than usual. Normally we had tuned down from E to D, but for this song we tuned down from E to A. It suited the song quite well. This suited the piece quite well, but in the end it was a bit “too much”. On “Allegro Barbaro” everything was tuned to “D” again…. From “All You Need Is Love” on we found a good middle ground – we tuned down to “C” and since then this has been our standard tuning for all albums after that.
Thanks for these insights!
For Legacy (or Deftone?) there was once a kind of crossfire with track guessing in the car of a legendary label man. Dave Ingram and Peter Tägtgren were very taken with your music.
Were you already aware at that time that you would take off completely?
Oh, that’s the first time I’ve heard that. But it’s good to know. Taking off is always something you can only see in retrospect, if you want to.
At the moment it always felt more like small steps – but they always went persistently in one direction. To be honest, there was never such a moment of a huge explosion where suddenly 1000 people came to the shows instead of 100.
It was more like a slow step-by-step process, first 200, then 250, then 300 and so on. – I think the most important decision was to give the band the space it needed in your life.
We knew that you had to get beyond the “amateur band” stage if you were really going to continue to be serious about your career.
I think with the signing to Nuclear Blast in 2003 and the planning certainty of always having a good budget for studio recordings for the next few years, the time started when we all quit our jobs and just made music. We just played every tour and every show that was possible and from hindsight I would also say that by the release of “Riders On The Storm” we had brought the band to an economically viable level that allowed five people to live an existence as professional musicians. That’s why you still had to use water instead of bubbly to make coffee, but I remember very well that feeling of looking after yourself, not having a boss and having a sense of personal freedom that I never knew before.
I imagine that’s really great, lifelong congratulations on that.
Is this actually the only Ars Metalli release that has a year on it that actually matched reality?
I honestly don’t know, haha. But it’s nice that the EP was actually released between “Soft & Stronger” and “Allegro Barbaro” as planned, because it was supposed to be a kind of interlude.
There was an edition in red vinyl and then another black one. But that wasn’t planned, was it?
The red edition was sold out so quickly that we had to do another one. We never expected that, of course.
Does Ralph Siegel know this version of his world hit?
I don’t think so.
Do you still play live songs from the record today? And have you ever played in Mongolia?
We played “Dschinghis Khan” live for the last time in 2010. Things got a bit out of hand, because it seemed that some fans only came to the shows to chant “Dschinghis Khan, Dschinghis Khan” over and over again from the first to the last song – that got on our nerves so much that we pulled the ripcord.
Instead, we played “Ghostriders In The Sky” by Johnny Cash (actually, the song wasn’t written by him, but his version is considered the original by many).
The song also had a certain horse romanticism. It has been much more successful than D.K. – even today, this cover version of ours is always in the Top 5 of the most played equestrian songs on Spotify, etc. – and has been for years.
Unfortunately we never made it to Mongolia, but we dreamed of it many times. Since tours to Russia are probably out of the question for the near future, I honestly don’t think I’ll be making my long-planned trip to Beijing on the Transsib in the near future.
A stop in Mongolia was firmly planned and I would certainly have taken along a “Dschinghis
Khan” EP and buried it in the sacred Mongolian steppe. (Just brilliant – m.) But somehow I will surely manage that one day.
You like to listen to the music from the early days, don’t you? I find it incredibly charming.
Maybe once a year. Mostly in the course of doing interviews where it’s about the past. Or when I wrote the band bio – 20 years of D.A.R.. The old music probably also serves as a catalyst for your own brain, because the old music makes you remember things that seem like a long time ago. The rough, chaotic and, from today’s point of view, sometimes somewhat strange way of composing always strikes me.
But Skell always had the motto that there should be no parts where you have moderate passages for more than 30 seconds before you bludgeon and play blast beats again. In this respect, our songwriting was always a bit in the “bludgeoning corset” back then. But yes, it’s absolutely authentic and very charming.
For me, “Soft & Stronger” in particular is also a life-accompanying soundtrack for new beginnings.
From the very first bar, the album radiates unbridled optimism and joie de vivre.
And with that the interview ends, and I say
Norman Glatzer und Vanessa Braun – Mittendrin im Draußen
Pilze, Pflanzen und Tiere direkt vor der Haustür
Allegria / Ullstein 2022
16,90 € (D)
Nature lovers, self-supporters, collectors and rangers have of course known and loved the fantastic “Buschfunkistan” YouTube channel for a long time, and so the excitement was great when the first book by the dynamic duo appeared shortly before the channel’s third birthday.
Will it be a textbook, a factbook, a funny book, or a d.i.y. book?
Well, all of those, of course!
With their own and typical warm-hearted and detail-oriented narrative style, peppered with humour that can also be very black at times, Vanessa and Norman report on believable and unbelievable matters from the local natural world in three large chapters (“Off into Nature”, “Wonderful Life Forms in the Bush and Mirror”, “Merging with the Outdoors”) and in many individual sections, spiced with anecdotes and pertinent references.
And something happened to me while reading these very accessibly written 250 pages:
It was a good seven years ago that I moved from the indescribably noisy hustle and bustle of core Berlin to the countryside, to a settlement with no more than a few houses, a solar field, a closed barbershop and several dogs and cats.
How great was my devotional love for Mother Nature back then! I used every free minute to slide across a meadow on my knees, nibbling edible stalks, drying willow bark, fermenting apples.
At no minute did I regret the move, and I love nature as much as the first day.
And yet, something has changed.
While our relationship (nature + me) used to be like “Oh honey, I’m at your feet and adore your glory!”, a certain “Morning, what’s for dinner today?” has crept in.
“Mittendrin im Draußen” has opened my eyes, ears, heart and all my senses again, it’s like it used to be.
Now that’s a book!
NaturfreundInnen, Selbstversorgende, Sammler*innen und Waldläufer kennen und lieben natürlich schon lange den fantastischen „Buschfunkistan“ YouTube-Kanal, und so war die Spannung groß, als kurz vor dem 3. Geburtstag des Kanals das erste Buch des dynamischen Duos erschien.
Wird es ein Fach-, ein Sach-, ein Lach- oder ein Mach-Buch?
Na alles das, natürlich!
Mit ihrer eigenen und typischen, warmherzigen und detailverliebten Erzählweise, gespickt mit Humor, der auch mal sehr schwarz sein kann, berichten Vanessa und Norman in drei großen Kapiteln („Auf in die Natur“, „Wunderliche Lebensformen im Busch und Spiegel“, „Verschmelzung mit dem Draußen“) und in vielen einzelnen Abschnitten von glaubhaften und unglaublichen Angelegenheiten aus der heimischen Naturwelt, gewürzt mit Anekdoten und sachdienlichen Hinweisen.
Und etwas geschah mit mir beim Lesen dieser sehr zugänglich verfassten 250 Seiten:
Es ist gut sieben Jahre her, dass ich aus dem unbeschreiblich lautstarken Gewusel Kern-Berlins auf‘s Land zog, in eine Siedlung mit nicht mehr als ein paar Häusern, einem Solarfeld, einem geschlossenen Friseurladen sowie mehreren Hunden und Katzen.
Wie groß war damals meine hingebungsvolle Liebe zu Mutter Natur! Jede freie Minute nutzte ich, um auf Knien über eine Wiese zu rutschen, essbare Hälmchen zu knabbern, Weidenrinde zu trocknen, Äpfel zu vergären.
Zu keiner Minute bereute ich den Umzug, und ich liebe die Natur wie am ersten Tag.
Und doch, es hat sich was verändert.
War unsere Beziehung (Natur + ich) früher so ein „Oh Schatz, ich liege dir zu Füßen und bete deine Herrlichkeit an!“ schlich sich mittlerweile doch so ein gewisses „Morjen, watt jibt‘s n heute zu essen?“ ein.
„Mittendrin im Draußen“ hat mir wieder Augen, Ohren, Herz und überhaupt alle Sinne geöffnet, es ist wieder wie früher.
Das ist mal ein Buch!
Boarhammer – I: Cutting Woods for Magickal Purposes
Demotape / Eigenproduktion
The dark duo Boarhammer have released a cassette that makes me jump for joy. Black metal in its purest form is on the programme; it rattles and thumps properly, which is to be understood as a compliment throughout.
The band thankfully avoids any sound polishing, and behind the rough shell appear enchanting guitar runs and beautifully headbanging rhythms.
The vocals don’t really sound like that, but they remind me of Tschösi on the two legendary first Messiah albums.
In general, there is a wonderful old school feeling here; the music sounds as if you had ordered a Black Metal cassette from a good but unknown band in 1996, and not in Scandinavia, but rather in Eastern Europe or something.
Everything about these wonderful thirty minutes sounds authentic, dark, serious and filled with glowing metallic heart and soul.
The attitude is also a joy to listen to; in short, they don’t want to have anything to do with racism, misogyny, sexism or fascism, for example.
The six interesting and high-quality original compositions are rounded off by an unusual, but great Mercyful Fate cover version.
Heart, what more do you want.
As of March 2022, there should still be a few tapes available, so shoo shoo to the bandcamp!
Scorpions – Rock Believer
Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
For God’s sake, what kind of cover un-artwork is that?!
Dear Scorps, this record will sell hundreds of thousands of copies, including downloads, it’s the first official album in seven years and I’m sure you had a consultant, or even two, for this longed-for release.
And then a screaming woman with a bag or curtain over her head?
Granted, this is not the worst cover of your great career, but please do not take it as a compliment.
The compliments start right now, because everything else about this album is just great.
Every single song is a medium to good hit. The fact that there is no world hit rather confirms the very high average of this after all world class album.
Minus said ballads and global hits, “Rock Believer” is most reminiscent of “Love at the first Sting” and even “Black Out”, but with an even warmer rock sound.
After the atmospheric rocker “Gas in the Tank” and its successor “Roots in my Boots”, more melancholic songs like “Knock em Dead” or “Call of the Wild” follow, alternating with heartwarming, optimistic rockers like the title song and probably the biggest banger of the album, “Peacemaker”. And yes, the last song is a ballad. It’s called “When you know (Where you come from)” and is definitely not on any hit parade in the world.
The album is also available as a limited double CD with studio bonus tracks. You can have it, but the listening pleasure won’t be a bit worse without it.
Finally, a personal apology.
Scorps, after the rise of Death Metal, and even more so after the quasi-elitist Black Metal captured me in the mid-1990s, I joined the chorus that mocked and verbally tore you apart, I made fun of your perceived stale image and Klaus’ accent. As if Nana Mouskouri’s Greek accent and Mireille Mathieu’s French accent weren’t just the incentive to buy for millions of fans in the German-speaking world.
But I never wanted to go with the flow. But well, a few years ago I remembered all those moments in the 1980s when the band “Eisenherz” from Frankfurt (Oder) played “Big City Nights” live on the beach at Lake Helene and I went into the splits in a fishnet shirt and skinny jeans and headbanged, playing air guitar as hard as I could.
Scorpions, I love you. Forever.
The lovely label Trollmusic only releases good to excellent albums anyway, but I’m particularly taken with the Swedes from FORNHEM with their new album “Stämman Från Berget”.
High time for an interview with the band, and my interviewer will introduce himself right away.
According to Metal Archives, you didn’t release a demo before the first album. How the hell did you get the record deal with Thor, how did you apply?
This is Solbane (various instruments) speaking to you most of the time in this interview. Vafthrudner (words & rhythm) also talks a bit.
Well, the story behind getting a deal with Troll music is quite simple really.
Vafthrudner and I decided that we didn’t want to make a demo and be under control from a label and be told what to do or not and you’ll get such and such amount of money to record and so on.
Basically, we said let’s record this album with our own money that we know is going to be so good that if no label liked it we could release it on our own. We have never thought about selling a lot of albums and becoming a “big” band or anything. We do the music for ourselves because we have something in us that we like to express, kind of like a creative outlet for the black holes in our souls… if anyone likes our music, we consider that a welcomed bonus. The goal is the music in itself, to create and record.
All that being said, I think Thor and Trollmusic has really worked out great for us. We feel like we have a good, healthy collaboration going! We are surely looking forward to do album number three and four, see if we can shock anyone, or at least raise some eyebrows…
I have to express my excitement once again: The pumping, pounding drums, the wonderfully shimmering guitars and the grating vocals – it sounds very far from modern studio sound and more like 1996.
How old are you actually?
The sound of our albums are very much calculated and intentional.
We surely get some criticism for the sound. “Fornhem has got awful sound” some say, but that is completely untrue! We have a GREAT sound for what we want to achieve! The thing about music is that at least half the experience is the sound, the production. So, can you imagine what a catastrophe it would be if we had a modern plastic over-produced sound? (I can imagine, but I don’t want to! – merula)
It would be horrible. I would be dead against releasing such a product with Fornhem.
I’m not sure that age has anything to do with the sound or the music. Maybe it does? We are three different persons in the band and of different ages with about ten years in between every band member… I grew up in the 70s, maybe that gives an explanation to why the music sounds like it does?
Some people have also expressed that we sound more like a norwegian band than a swedish band. Why is that? Maybe because we have listened mostly to the norwegian bands in our lives? I mean, Bathory are from Sweden but the other bands aren’t strong enough or great enough compared to the norwegian ones. (Hui!)
Do we do it intentionally? Well, I have a view in my head on how I want it to sound. But I don’t sit around with my guitar thinking “how can I play it more norwegian?”… That doesn’t qualify as creative work! Haha!
Do you want to keep your personalities completely out of the music, or do you want to reveal who you are and what you do for a living?
Not completely, but we want to keep out irrelevant stuff like family, favourite ice cream and such, haha! I think that we can talk about what kind of persons we are and maybe if we do something interesting in our spare time that can bring light to the creation of our music. Ok? Vafthrudner and I are, I dare say, old and bitter men with the world on our shoulders.
Love to read. I personally have a huge love for music in general (not including manufactured easy listening types of music you hear on radio and on top lists). Thuleman is the breath of fresh air in the stale black metal universe! He is still young and full of energy, very active in music and arranging concerts and so on, always has a joke up his sleeve, but who doesn’t!?
Well, there are quite a few. It’s nice that you’re more relaxed.
From above, the area around Norrköping looks great, a lot of nature. Do you guys go fishing, hiking and mushroom hunting, or do you focus your senses on the music alone?
It is a surrounding with quite a lot of nature; forests, lakes, mountains. As I said earlier we are three different people but I think we all appreciate being out in nature. Nature freshens your mind, blows out the cobwebs, makes you come alive in a sense, especially if you’ve been in the city for a long time. The city certainly is a great cause for mental illnesses and diseases.
I personally, don’t need much to be creative. Let me near a bookcase of great books to read and have a cup of tea and a couple of guitars nearby, sooner or later it will result in me creating music!
What a sympathetic attitude! Even though not everyone can live in nature, I can absolutely understand that.
“Ett Fjärran Kall” was your debut album from 2017, may I ask how long you worked on it in total (songwriting, lyrics, band rehearsals, recording)?
If memory serves me right we started working on the songs in 2014 and recorded in 2015. After that it took some time to find a record deal and after that it took some time for cover art and so on. And finally a record company has its schedule on when to release it’s titles. All of that contributed to make it a long process from the first ideas to the finished and released album.
In songs like “Úrdjupets svärta” you seem to have a passion for folklore. Do you like Garmarna or also Hedningarna, or do you orientate yourselves, if at all, on original folklore?
If you mean traditional music or folk music, then yes! I like both those bands but there are alot of folkmusic based bands out there. I used to listen to stuff like Skyclad and The Corrs when I was younger and in Sweden we have loads of old bands that embraced the northern traditional/folk music in the 70s.
I strongly recommend you to check out Kebnekaise (who are still active and make albums!).
Recently I also discovered Barbora Xu who is a lady playing various citterns and singing in finnish. Very expressive, minimalistic and most importantly not plastic. (Very good tip!!! – merula)
Other than that; black metal has a long tradition of adding folk music elements to it; Bathory obviously, early Ulver, Isengard, Kampfar, early Satyricon and Enslaved of course. Obviously there are more bands out there but I don’t know every band in the universe so… that being said, I like folk music, classical, medieval and renaissance too without modern influences.
There are four years between your two albums so far. Do you generally work at a medium pace and have been working on new songs bit by bit all this time, or were you busy with completely different things and then suddenly started again a few months ago?
We work a bit slow I think. But you need to understand that Vafthrudner and I have played together since 2013 (in Fördärv first and then in Fornhem) and we just kept plowing, making songs, rehearsing, recording and releasing in a seemingly endless cycle. But after the release of “Ett fjärran kall” we both were exhausted and needed time off. We started rehearsing for the second album in 2018. But this thing called life comes in between from time to time. And since we were only two persons, we have to wait for each other because none of us could finish alone without the other. But since Thuleman joined it will get easier. Because then, if 2 can go on for a time without the third then we will and the third person can catch up whenever he’s ready, no problems.
As much as I like “Ett Fjärran Kal”, “Stämman Från Berget” is a considerable further development. The sound sounds much more differentiated, you also seem to gain more experience in songwriting.
The slowly building guitar melody of “Den Längsta Dagen” develops into an absolute earworm!
Would you like to comment on the album?
Well, first off; thanks for hearing the quality of our music! We have worked considerably on songwriting.
I remember I analysed the first album and asked myself – what is good and what can be improved? One of those things was to simplify song structures, they needed less abrupt changes and more smooth progression.
One of our goals is to create atmosphere and minimalism and you can’t do that if you are too abrupt or play passages too short. I think we succeeded in getting longer lines in the music, creating the meditational atmosphere we long for but it can always be even better.
Melody, as you mention, is also important. For me, hooks and memorable riffs and melodies are very important. If there is no melody or good catchy riff, then there is no song.
If you don’t remember anything from listening to a song or an album, then it’s a failure. I work hard to create music that draws you in and stays with you after it’s passed. I think Fornhem is pretty good at it as a whole but we can still develop and progress even more and further! Just wait for album #3, it will be something special!
I’m very happy to wait and I’m already excited!
One can learn a bit about your lyrics from the booklet, but for those who are unfamiliar with the Swedish language, could you tell us something more about your lyrics, or some of them?
The question now goes to Vafthrudner, who writes all the texts.
Well, on this album there are four lyrics (the fifth track, Untergang, is instrumental) and they all tell different stories while at the same time manage to melt together in some ways.
The first track, Den Längsta Dagen (The Longest Day) is based on Ingmar Bergman’s film, The Seventh Seal from 1957 which takes place during the medieval times.
A knight returns home to Sweden/Scandinavia after fighting ten years in the Holy Land for the church.
During this time he has lost his faith in God and back home there is a plague going on. In a really poetic way he makes a deal with Death, who comes to collect him, to postpone his demise while they play a game of chess.
This track, aswell as the movie, is not so much about losing one’s faith but the fear of death/the unknown.
The second track, Utharba Spa (old Norse: “I predict ruin”), is an imaginative interpretation of a runic stone in the south of Sweden which is quite unique since it contains a curse (the song title). In modern Swedish, this phrase translates to “Jag spår fördärv” and since Fördärv was the name of the project which me and Solbane started up with, releasing the EP The Echo of Emptiness in 2013 and the full length Between the Eternities in 2014, I thought it would be fitting to use this here, also because, in my opinion, there is a lot of Fördärv musicwise in this track.
The third track, Förlist (“shipwrecked”), was initially about a ship going under in a storm.
Since I am born and bred by the coast I´ve always been fascinated by nautical themes. But the lyrics turned into something deeper as the ship/boat is portrayed as a vessel which harbour the spirit on the way through life; an image you can find in a variety of mythologies.
I used a bit of Norse references in this one but I see this kind of symbolism as something universal.
The fourth and final track (with lyrics that is), Stämman från Berget (The voice from the mountain) is based on the opening chapters of Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” where the hermit Zarathustra descends from the mountain where he has been living for ten years to tell the people that “God is dead”.
I see this declaration of Nietzsche as somewhat of a starting point of our modern, secularised Western society and I think this song concludes the album in a perfect way since it somewhat mirrors the first song; in Den Längsta Dagen there is a faithful knight who has been fighting for the cause of God in the isolated desert for ten years and then loses his faith while also facing death.
In Stämman från Berget a hermit concludes after ten years (note; same time span) of isolation (the mountain) that God is dead (if he ever existed that is) and this “new knowledge” will undoubtedly lead to desperation in the people’s search for the meaning of life and fear of death.
Thank you Vafthrudner for these deep insights into your work.
Do you also play live, or do you plan to?
Solbane is back again.
We have no immediate plans so far but we are open to possibilities. Right now we don’t have any plans on playing live but we are not against it. It needs some planning and rehearsing, and we also need to look at a possible live line-up since we need to be at least a five-piece band live.
I have to say though, that I have played live in the past in other bands and the actual time on stage is most of the time the moment you live for and appreciate, unless something goes horribly wrong.
But everything around it is a hassle and eats your energy up. So, that means it’s important for us that the circumstances for us to play live in the future are good to minimise exhaustion and feelings of it being more or less meaningless. Basically, what I’m talking about is that I’m too old (and too cold?) to tour around in a mini bus, playing for a case of beer and petrol money… haha!
Then maybe you should try the “Alt-Fränkische Landbier”, I discovered it a few days ago and am totally thrilled.
But above all: men, thank you very much for your effort!
Thank you for this interview! We liked this because it was a bit different than the usual interviews we get. Great to talk about the music more than ideology for once. To the readers I would like to say; if you’ve come this far in reading then, thank you! Support Fornhem by buying and listening to our music. Spread the word to others that you think may appreciate our raw music!
Over and out, scream and shout! Cheers from Solbane and Vafthrudner. Thuleman says hi too!
Arane Sun – Arcane Sun
Epic Death / Doom Metal
Well, this is not really a new release, but an adequate appreciation of this criminally underrated album was sorely needed, and since Brian Taube’s enterprising label Sentinel Records did a great job, giving the debut album of the Dublin metal pioneers a new coverartwork, a bonus track and a much better sound, and since many younger metalheads don’t know the long out-of-print album anyway, I’ll just classify it as “new”.
The consistently high-class to excellent song material impresses with great variety and progressive structures, but everything is always headbanger-friendly and never over-head.
In the first song “Canto I (The Search)” you think you can still recognise friendly, somewhat chummy death metal with pleasant melodies, but with the following “I Was Alive Then …” the picture changes to great epicness and fate-laden drama. And by the way, you have hardly ever heard such an interestingly staged song transition or beginning before (or since).
“Sundrenched” starts as a heavy death metal neckbreaker before turning into melody and melancholy.
Besides the outstanding guitar work of Mr. Fergal Flannery, Mark Higgins’ superb drumming, which sounds much more powerful in the new mastering, must also be emphasised.
Piano passages and sounds of nature alternate, as do sustained doom, hefty death and graceful epic metal.
And towering above it all is the unmistakable voice of Paul Kearns, who several years later helped the legendary Solstice to the best sung record of their career.
“Promised (So Many Years Have Passed)”, the regular closing track of the album, once again expresses the enormous potential of the Irish, who unfortunately disbanded after a more or less unreleased second album due to lack of support.
The bonus track from the band’s (or Paul’s) unloved album follow-up closes this wonderful, boundary-breaking CD.
Paul Kearns and Fergal Flannery, please do it again!!!!
Abo Alsleben – MAYHEM LIVE IN LEIPZIG. Wie ich den Black Metal nach Ostdeutschland brachte.
bookra Verlag 2020
The likeable scene veteran Abo Alsleben, known to most of you from his cool “Cadaver, Corpse & Bowels” zine, brought Mayhem to East Germany in 1990 and describes in this wonderful book a piece of life from that time, as many GDR metalheads surely still know it well.
The first contacts with Euronymous, then the concerts in the just vanished GDR, finally the disaster.
While reading, I was for a short time back in that time in that place myself, a very loving, amusing, political, thoughtful, interesting Metal journey through time.
The exciting reports, adventures and episodes are peppered with adorable photographs and copies of letters.
Costs 20 Euro and is worth every penny!
P.S. An English-language edition is said not to be out of the question, so keep your eyes peeled!
Jiri Brabenec / Zdenek Vesely – Gestrandet bei der Sonne Epsilon
Utopian novel, 1961
I read quite a lot of books, but in order to create a personal speciality for myself, some time ago I discovered the field of “Eastern European (incl. GDR) science fiction literature up to 1990”, an interesting and rich subject.
One of the most exquisite publications of this subgenre is undoubtedly “Stranded by the Sun Epsilon”, a Czechoslovak book from 1961.
Actually, the group of space travellers is supposed to search for the traces of a lost expedition on a still nameless planet of that sun, eleven light years away from Earth – but then gets into trouble themselves and has a serious accident.
The only way to survive is to break away from the doomed mother ship in a small space glider and land on the planet.
Due to the limited carrying capacity, only the bare necessities can be taken along, and when this vehicle is also wrecked and the rescue chutes have to be used, everyone only has what he/she is wearing.
In addition, the community is divided into a larger group of about 20 people and a smaller one of only three, who end up far behind the next mountain range.
Whether they survive at all is not known.
The larger group, as we soon learn, makes an emergency landing on the planet’s surface, halfway safe and sound, and, since this celestial body has quite Earth-like conditions, is also confronted with a fauna and flora similar to the Earth’s primeval period (Tertiary / Quaternary).
There are two sides to this paradise, namely an overflowing, untouched and food-giving nature, but also powerful and dangerous animals.
The very earth-like biology may seem a little exaggerated, but it doesn’t carry any weight, and in itself I find the concept of convergent evolution absolutely coherent.
What is particularly interesting is the evolution of the technology of the settlers, who fortunately all enjoyed an above-average education.
Thus the path from the pointed stick to the forge is described in a rousing and comprehensibly realistic way, with a dash of dry humour.
The situation is quite different for the remaining space travellers – one woman, two men – who land far away on the backside of the mountain range.
Only three of them, without anything and close to the end, they are confronted with an approaching winter in the mountains, which they apparently have to spend in a cave without a fire.
How will it all end?
Finding out won’t be cheap, because the book is rare and usually costs between 30 € for a somewhat damaged or slightly soiled edition and almost 100 € for a first-class one.
The damaged one will do, of course, and is absoutely worth every penny.
An interesting feature: everyone I know who has read this book and (unlike me) has owned it since childhood reads it over and over again, often regularly every few years.
My thanks to Frank for this recommendation!
Fornhem – Stämman Från Berget
Viking / Black Metal
Raw sound and great melodies not only make a nice pair, but also a pleasant contrast to War Metal on the one hand and Symphonic Wacken Metal on the other.
The best recent example is Fornhem from Norrköping, whose first album “Ett fjärran kall” was already inspiring, but the present second album immediately entered the first league of my heart.
The opener “Den Längsta Dagen” begins with crackling fire and gloomy laughter, a magnificent piece of Viking Metal in its powerful stomping midtempo form.
The guitar theme, as simple as it is utterly moving, is constantly developed. Very slowly, bit by bit more and more dramatic and sophisticated, it leads into the raging fast middle part of the song.
Supported by pumping drums, a croaking vocal and a raw, yet transparent and all the more powerful sound, this song, this album goes deep under the skin.
This marvel lasts eleven minutes before it opens the gates to the fast neckbreaker “Uþarba spa”, where the great drum work stands out once again.
Shimmering guitars and melodic bass guitar accents announce “Förlist”, a ten-minute repetitive-meditative epic of a special kind. Just this repititive element almost brings me to ecstasy, similar to “Hvis lyset tar oss”.
The following title song then sets off again with a tempo that only leaves me with a broad feel-good smile on my face. Boy, when their dragon boat goes off like that, they overtake the fiercest north wind without batting an eyelid!
“Untergang” is the name of the final work on this album, a gripping piece of music, an instrumental, of dense, tension-filled drama, especially striking here the eerie, ominous drums of doom.
Of course for Trollmusic, the music is packaged in an appealing exterior, and the great sound was conjured perfectly by the master Devo Andersson.
There would be so much more to tell about this album, but you know what Frank Zappe said: Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
Which is why I’m off to a quick hour of polka at the Kreiskulturhaus, and you can get your hands on this album in the meantime.