M: Myrkur

Rating: 80%

Myrkur_M_cover.jpgSo, I heard all of this smack about this woman who is a well known Pop star that turned Black Metal. I was like huh? Then I heard how the Heavy Metal community was all up in arms that this woman couldn’t do Black Metal and instantly, everyone began trashing her music. So, I decided to take a listen. Well, I wasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.

Musically, this album contains a lot. Many influences and elements here from classical to folk and yes, classic Black Metal. It’s all thrown together. This album contains a little bit of everything, plus more. Plus, and this is a major plus, she plays everything. She is a one woman band. And talented she is.

The music is very rich and full when you throw in all of the elements of Black Metal, Folk, and yes Pop. Some of the chorus lines are very full. But as broad as this is, somehow Amalie Bruun pulls this off and brings it home. There’s a nice collection of melodies mixed with harsh and clean vocals.  I love the riffs of the guitar all the way down to the folk instruments. With all of the influences, Amalie somehow balances the music out to compliment the overall sound. There’s also some atmospheric pieces which is where the classical or folk comes in. The song structures are pretty good and yet VERY dark.

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So, where are the complaints and controversy? I think, this woman pretty much pulled it off and made an album that isn’t perfect, but an album that damn good. She does have one hell of a good voice and song writer. I think that this album is very underrated.

Track listing:

1. “Skøgen skulle dø” (The whore had to die) 5:17
2. “Hævnen” (The revenge) 3:23
3. “Onde børn” (Evil kids) 4:09
4. “Vølvens spådom” (Prophecy of the Völva) 1:37
5. “Jeg er guden, i er tjenerne” (I am God, you are the servants) 4:03
6. “Nordlys” (Northern light) 2:15
7. “Mordet” (The murder) 3:41
8. “Byssan lull” (Swedish lullaby best known version by Evert Taube) 2:38
9. “Dybt i skoven” (Deep in the forrest) 3:09
10. “Skaði” (Skadi) 4:29
11. “Norn” 2:17

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Ragnarok: Runaljod

Rating: 90%

Runaljod_-_Ragnarok.jpgSo, as many may know or not know, I am a huge fan of Viking and Folk Metal. After buying the acoustical album by Fintroll, I realized how traditional this neofolk music is. It’s deeply rooted in the old Nordic faith, folklore, and tradition.

The vocals are amazing. They’re huge, rich, and soothing. Even the chanting is the same way. This is the type of traditional music that has meaning and purpose. It really does speak to me. There is a mixture of male with some added female vocal work to it. Both, compliment each other and isn’t overwhelming.

Musically, the drums and other traditional instruments are very noticeable. The drum beats give this music a huge sound, while the other instruments compliment the overall sound, style, and feel. The horn is absolutely breath taking when you hear it mixed in with the tempo of the drum.

So, if you’re looking into a type of music to relax to after a very stressful day at work, this works well for me. It does lighten the mood.

Track listing:

1. “Tyr” Týr 6:30
2. “UruR” Urus 10:11
3. “Isa” Ice 7:13
4. “MannaR – Drivande” Man – Pushed 4:09
5. “MannaR – Liv” Man – Life 5:13
6. “Raido” Ride 4:46
7. “Pertho” / (Rune’s meaning still unknown) 2:18
8. “Odal” Patrimony 5:29
9. “Wunjo” Joy 5:20
10. “Runaljod” Runes reading 7:36

Black Aria II: Glenn Danzig

Rating: 60%

Glenn_Danzig_-_Black_Aria_II.jpgIn 2006, I was excited to hear the release of Black Aria II. After purchasing the CD, and listening to it, I was disappointed. The music itself, is a tad bit boring in some places as it didn’t hold my attention. But not all is lost as there are some decent pieces within the tracks themselves. Again, melody is lacking. It is worth listening to around Halloween, but I rather listen to it’s previous record, Black Aria from 1992.

Track listing:

“Overture: Winged Night Demon” – 1:21
“Abbandonment / Recreation” – 4:12
“Zemaragad” – 3:57
“Lamia” – 4:14
“Bridal Ceremony of the Lilitu” – 2:16
“Dance of the Succubi” – 2:21
“Unclean Sephira” – 3:46
“LCKR” – 1:43
“The Succubus Feeds” – 2:20
“Shiddin” – 2:37
“Demons Reprise” – 3:13
“Lamenta Lilith” – 2:36

Embedded: Meathook Seed

Rating: 80%

Meathook_Seed_-_Embedded.pngIn 1993, musicians from two bands came together to form a side project called Meathook Seed. It features Obituary drummer Donald Tardy and guitarist Trevor Peres, who is the main vocalist for this album. It also features Napalm Death guitarist Mitch Harris on guitars and bass along with the programming.

This project is a decent collaboration of combining elements of Hardcore Punk, Death Metal with Industrial Metal. The result is a sound that is very huge and rich. The guitars are polished with a rich sound. There are some very weird guitar riffs on this album that isn’t overwhelming. It’s hardcore, thrashy, and yet, heavy enough using the elements of Death Metal. The bass lines are the same way. The drumming is progressive, heavy, and monstrous. Donald Tardy plays a very tight shift. The electric sound of the programming is another feature one will notice. It’s well balanced and doesn’t take away from the overall sound. This is a good overall album that is somewhat a forgotten record.

Track listing:

1. “Famine Sector” 4:09
2. “A Furred Grave” 3:47
3. “My Infinity” 3:01
4. “Day of Conceiving” 3:20
5. “Cling to an Image” 2:48
6. “A Wilted Remnant” 4:34
7. “Forgive” 3:24
8. “Focal Point Blur” 3:04
9. “Embedded” 2:07
10. “Visible Shallow Self” 2:27
11. “Sea of Tranquillity” 13:43

Daydream Nation: Sonic Youth

Rating: 90%

SonicYouthDaydreamNationalbumcover.jpgI remember when I first heard this album upon it’s release in 1988. When I first heard this, I was like what the hell is this? After listening to it again, I heard very complex song structures that were hard to duplicate on guitar. It’s not wonder why?

Both Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo were great musicians and great guitar players who knew how to make noise into music. Neil Young is another guitarist that has this trait. Listen to his album called “Arc” which Neil Young consulted Thurston Moore about the idea. Then, I heard Kim’s bass lines and I was totally blown away. She is one of the most influential female bassists. Her bass and guitar style is very unique. Her vocals are the same way. Steve Shelly’s drums lines are just as complex as the band. He has some very weird tempos, of beats and rolls.

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Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. Getty Images

Musically, there are some great melodies here. They flow from song to song as if you were in a daydream. The music is smooth, not aggressive, but relaxing. At the same time, there is a certain jam style in between verses that is weird, but at the same time it was written to be atmospheric. There is a great deal of improvisations. The harmony of the music itself it wonderful.

The music also features a good combination of female and male lead vocals. Each member of the band contributes equally. The musicianship is very tight. It’s no wonder why Sonic Youth is such a major influence to Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, and Punk.

Track listing:

Teen Age Riot 6:56
Silver Rocket 3:46
The Sprawl 7:39
‘Cross The Breeze 7:00
Eric’s Trip 3:46
Total Trash 7:30
Hey Joni 4:17
Providence 2:39
Candle 4:57
Rain King 4:38
Kissability 3:06
Trilogy: a) The Wonder 4:27
Trilogy: b) Hyperstation 7:04
Trilogy: z) Eliminator Jr. 2:37

Of Stone, Wind and Pillor: Agalloch

Rating: 75%

of_stone_wind_and_pillorIn 2001, Agalloch released their EP “Of Stone, Wind and Pillor. This album is a decent collection of folk and atmospheric hard rock that boarders Heavy Metal. It’s also a unique blend of electric and acoustic instrumentation and clean and dirty vocals. It does pull some influences from Black Metal or at least the first song,  “Of Stone, Wind and Pillor.”

The musicianship is pretty tight. John Haughm’s vocals, guitars, and drums sounds pretty good. He provides much tempo to the band. Don Anderson’s guitars are pretty decent. Bassist Jason William Walton and keyboardist Shane Breyer also does a fine job at their posts.

Song structures seem to be lacking a bit on “A Poem by Yeats.” But the first four tracks are great. The melodies of each song is different and presented in classic Agalloch way. There are some weird guitar parts and beats which holds my attention. The entire album features many different styles of music influences from Black Metal to acoustical folk music. If your looking into this band, I would go with another album instead of jumping right into this one.

Track listing:

  1. “Of Stone, Wind and Pillor”   6:59
  2. “Foliorum Viridium”   2:43
  3. “Haunting Birds”   3:45
  4. “Kneel to the Cross”   5:54
  5. “A Poem by Yeats”   8:39