Norman Glatzer und Vanessa Braun – Mittendrin im Draußen

 

 

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!

(merula)

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!

(merula)

Boarhammer – I: Cutting Woods for Magickal Purposes

 

Boarhammer – I: Cutting Woods for Magickal Purposes
Demotape / Eigenproduktion
29:46 min
Black Metal

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.
Right on!
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!
https://boarhammer.bandcamp.com/album/i-cutting-wood-for-magickal-purposes

(merula]

Scorpions – Rock Believer

 

Scorpions – Rock Believer
Vertigo
44:31 min
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.
Admirable.
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.

(merula)

Arcane Sun – Arcane Sun

 

 

Arane Sun – Arcane Sun
Sentinel Records
64:13 min
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!!!!

(merula)

Categories: New

Abo Alsleben – MAYHEM LIVE IN LEIPZIG. Wie ich den Black Metal nach Ostdeutschland brachte.

 

 

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!

(merula)

Jiri Brabenec / Zdenek Vesely – Gestrandet bei der Sonne Epsilon

 

 

 

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.
Quite understandable.
My thanks to Frank for this recommendation!

(merula)

Fornhem – Stämman Från Berget

 

 

Fornhem – Stämman Från Berget
Trollmusic
49:11 min
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.

(merula)

Count Raven – The Sixth Storm


Count Raven – The Sixth Storm
I Hate
73:32 min
Heavy Doom Metal

To call singer Dan Fondelius an Ozzy plagiarism is just as inappropriate as denying any comparisons to the gloomy Birminghamers.
Count Raven sound independent and, by the way, absolutely great, but listening to their new (sixth) album, you can’t help thinking about the subject.
If at all compare, then really with the first five Black Sabbath albums, or not even rather with the first three Ozzy albums? Shame on anyone who treats these three works disparagingly compared to the mother band.
Well then, the new album starts with grandiose doom metal of the heavy metal rocking kind – that the band plays their doom far away from the extremes of funeral and death doom should be known.
Hearty, gripping HEAVY riffs meet coherent choruses, and all this is excellently packed into a crushing sound, which doesn’t sound the least bit modern and yet so powerful and clear.
Outstanding!
In the first part, to return to the opening theme, rather Black Sabbath, until the fourth, unusual and untypical song “Heaven’s Door” leaves the inclined listener quite touched.
From then on, if I may say so, it becomes even more Ozzy in the sense of his early solo albums.
On the one hand, it’s more likely to be a hit and more chorus-oriented.
But especially those who have lived through long, difficult and bad times in their lives in an unhealthy relationship with substances, see the early Ozzy records in a completely different perspective than the happy average person does.
That balance, that pairing of deeply tragic, sad, bitter parts with the little smile on top. Concerned people know what I mean.
So in this way dramatish and melancholic the song material turns a little and finds a brilliant climax in the poignant “Baltic Storm”, for which alone I would buy the record.
The long and epic “Oden” is followed by the last song “Goodbye”, and leaves the writer of these lines speechless, with salty water in the corners of her eyes.
Memories are awakened, song titles like “Changes”, “So Tired”, but above all “Alone You Breathe” (Savatage) force themselves upon you.
Brilliant.

(merula)

Metallica – Ride the Lightning vs. Master of Puppets

Metallica – Ride the Lightning vs. Master of Puppets
or: Why “Ride” is the better record.

Cover artwork

Ride the Lightning captivates in beguiling blue, but Master of Puppets’ cover is so iconic that the point goes to “Master“.

Ride: 0 Master: 1

Intro

The intro to “Fight Fire with Fire” is a permanent part of my life, and since I heard it when the first snow fell in 1985, I always think of this epochal album when I hear snow.
Musically, the intro to “Master of Puppets” is even more exciting and dramatic. This point also goes to “Master”.

Ride: 0 Master: 2

First song

“Fight Fire with Fire” or “Battery”? A decision is not possible, both get one point.

Ride: 1 Master: 3

Second song

“Master of Puppets” is better composed, but “Ride the Lightning” is harder and more dramatic.
One point each for both.

Ride: 2 Master: 4

Third song

“The Thing that Should Not Be” is awesome, but “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is one of the greatest band anthems.
One point for “Ride”.

Ride: 3 Master: 4

Fourth song, the ballad

“Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” is great, but “Fade to Black” is godlike.
One point to “Ride”.

Ride: 4 Master: 4

Fifth song, opener of the B-side.

“Trapped Under Ice” goes off like a rocket, but “Disposable Heroes” is then an angry, desperately accusatory work of absolute excellence.
Point to “Master”.

Ride: 4 Master: 5

Sixth song, the “Filler”.

Of course, if we’re talking about a weaker song here, that means these two songs would only get 10 out of 10 points, not 11 out of 10.
“Leper Messiah”, despite its lengths, is better than “Escape” with its inexplicable drumbeats beside the line, though.

Ride: 4 Master: 6

Eighth or seventh song, the instrumental.

“Orion” is breathtaking, sombre and touching. However, it is no match for the song of the century “Call of Ktulu”, perhaps the best Metal instrumental in 200,000 years of human history.

Ride: 5 Master: 6

Seventh or eighth song – what’s left over

“Damage, Inc.” is cool, but “Creeping Death” is one of the greatest band anthems ever.
I was in Lisbon at a Workers’ Party street party. What did the band play there? Of course “Creeping Death”, not “Damage, Inc.”!

Ride: 6 Master: 6

Sound

The very compressed sound on “Master of Puppets” really gets on my nerves and doesn’t stand a chance against the unpolished brute sound of “Ride the Lightning”.

Ride: 7 Master: 6

Overall impression

Two milestones, two adorable works of the century.
But the raw elemental power and impetuosity of “Ride the Lightning” was lost afterwards.

Ride: 8 Master: 6

So the winner is clearly “Ride the Lightning”!
“Kill Em All” I love idolatrously, but I didn’t rate it here, as I only wanted to review the two albums that compare so closely.
“… And Justice For All” would very well be comparable, but for me it falls completely out of the running due to its long-windedness and cheekiness towards Jason.
“Metallica” is a great, fantastic heavy rock hit album, but doesn’t fit in this place.
All the other albums are far from brilliant, but they are also quite good; I listen to them once or twice a year. All of them, including “Lulu” and “St. Anger”. They are not that bad.

(merula)

Die Apokalyptischen Reiter – Soft & Stronger


Die Apokalyptischen Reiter – Soft & Stronger
Ars Metalli
40:02 min
Reiter Metal

The story of the best band begins with a horse whinny, and that’s a good thing.
Sure, before that there was a spectacular demo and a story about the actual formation of the band that was as coincidental as it was endearing and worth believing, but a horse whinny plus bass guitar tones introduce the album that paved the way for the Thuringian formation to a world-spanning career.
“Iron Fist” shows the way, but it’s not until the next song “The Almighty” that the equestrian folk pull out all the stops: varied, hefty and crude death metal with epic interludes, classical piano passages and, above all, the ingenious, defining alternating vocals between deep growls (Eumel) and deviant screeching (Skell).
The wild hunt continues with “Execute” and “Downfall” up to “Metal will never die”, one of the greatest hymns to metal itself. Unfortunately, not everyone understood at the time that the song was meant just as seriously as similar songs by Manowar and thought it was all an annoying joke. Mendacious lot – like listening to “Fast as a Shark” with the corners of your mouth hanging down at the disco at the weekend!

In this early phase, of course, the band didn’t play as mature and balanced as they did from the 2000s onwards, often hacking away wildly, but that was exactly what was so extraordinary about this unique combo: In a world where you thought everything about Black, Death, Heavy, Thrash, Speed Metal had already been said, four guys impetuously pushed their way from their rehearsal room straight to the front row, on and on. Impressive to this day – and in this one certain way also their best album. Revolutionary.
It couldn’t be duplicated, and the clever Reitervolk knew that, and from then on they followed a path of metallic vicissitudes that can be perceived as ingenious or exhausting, depending on taste, but never as mediocre.

(merula)