Wednesday, 11 April 2007
So, what the fuck, yeah? Maybe it takes about a year for all the acid to build back up in my system enough to cripple me like this. Pain has been hovering round my feet for the best part of a month now, on and off, and this time it is ON!
Back on the intense regime again I guess, and I guess it's should be for good this time, since giving it 16 months didn't permanently purge it. Looks like this is how it's going to be.
Rock and fuckin' roll.
Thursday, 5 April 2007
Since this is still by far and away the greatest album i heard from last year, here's my review of it again for anyone who needs something new and exciting in their lives.
Wolves In The Throne Room
Diadem Of 12 Stars
Living in a self sufficient commune outside
Whilst there are many bands honing the form, creating equally masterful and progressive recordings (see USA’s Leviathan, Sweden’s Watain and Woods Of Infinity, UK’s Anaal Nathrakh and Axis Of Perdition, France’s Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega for examples of how to push the limits of a genre), the continual adherence, even amongst most of these aforementioned bands, to sartorial and musical codes needed a radical shift in attention. For a genre so concerned with rebellion, adherence of any kind should be strictly outlawed, but such is the way of things that the scenes within black metal increasingly constrict themselves and disregard too much which they consider ‘untrue’. This is where Wolves In The Throne Room come in.
With two equally mesmerizing demos behind them, it was with great anticipation that I awaited the album proper, to see what this band could achieve in such a formal setting. From the highly atmospheric, misty forested cover and the scenes depicted on the sleeve, it was clear that this would be something else entirely, including as it does, ‘The Queen Of Borrowed Light’ from the second demo. The shortest song on here is 13 minutes, dead on, which tells you how grand a scale this band work on; cinematic, operatic but deadly serious and not prone to posturing theatrics, this album covers a huge amount of musical ground, seamlessly incorporating Norwegian droning, flights of technical fancy and grinding segments into songs that undulate like rivers, ghosting through the misty forests of the cover art. The album, whilst tense, nervy and aggressive, conjures a pagan, earth-worshipping atmosphere that is being slowly eroded from the black metal field to be replaced with head down violence of the likes of Black Witchery and Revenge and the necrotic filth churned out by the Finnish hordes of bleakness. More akin to
This album is elemental; conjuring spirits and evolving scenes of wilderness, the effect being to make the listener small and insignificant in its presence as if staring up from the foot of a mountain, yet the blood surging through the epic choruses embolden and energise. A return to the ancient sounding BM of old, quite unlike the current breed of destructive misanthropic bands seeking to annihilate and bludgeon everything in their path. Diadem Of 12 Stars is a life spirit, not a death spirit, astral and regal, as the title suggests, not of the earth, the bowels, fire and horror. With no blastbeats and no evilness, what makes this Black Metal at all? It is good to remind oneself that is while listening to this, as there is nothing quite like it around. It may be that with genrefication so acute nowadays, that this band can be considered Post-Black Metal, in the same way that Slint and Mogwai helped forge the term Post-Rock out of the shogazery noise bands.
The title track – (A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem Of 12 Stars – begins with guitars softly intertwining, shrouded in distortion, breaking into gulps of drum beats as crushing guitars crash in and out, the air in between adding weight. Slowly the density drifts apart, a shimmering guitar line slicing through the space, increasing in intensity before bursting into hammering lunges careening towards a thundering section where Jamie and Nathan sing together, one shining light, the other sucking it away. Drums roll turbulently across the churning guitars with the pressure increasing and dispersing like wind, the tone lowering into minor keys and the atonality veering off into soaring near-melodic passages. The lead guitar picks up for a brief moment as the rhythm gets choppy; crunching and biting into the drums, peaking with a sole high note then instantly descending into a funereal stomp with Nathan gradually increasing the strength of his guttural noises until real words gush out, space opening up in the music to allow him through. The drums gather pace as
Which brings us neatly to the point where I started. The essence of Black Metal has always been a rejection of wasteful peripheral materialism and distracting influences, of rejecting normalities and dogmatic instruction, of free spirits and the value of individual expression. The old order has been deposed. The wolves are in the throne room
I’m at the Engine Rooms, and it’s swathed in dark red light, bodies sticking together on contact in the sweaty summer heat. Onstage there is a band of three people. Solid framed, bearded guitarist George is holding a video camera and filming the crowd for the benefit of member Lee, who is on holiday in
Do you rehearse or plan for this kind of audience interaction?
Expect to get shitfaced, expect to have your head caved in in any number of unimaginable ways, but most of all, as Lee says “”Expect the unexpected”. Grizzly Giant are coming for you. Prepare yourselves.
This is an interview I conducted with Brighton band The Flesh happening last Summer. Thought I'd stick it up here in case anyone wanders through.
The Flesh Happening
With a feverish lust like a fire in your chest / You drug and you fuck till there’s no fucking left / Your mind is a mire of hunger and hate / Your body’s the temple that you desecrate
The name is perfect for your band. Where did it come from?
Oliva Spleen – front-man, lyricist, homosexual explorer, undisputed focal point of the band and owner of an incredible soporific pan-European accent says the origin is “A cheesy pulp novel about gay wrestling. It’s really funny. I only just managed to get hold of a copy because they won’t send it to
Can you describe your sound?
Oli: “I just feel like I can’t say anything, I can’t be bothered to say anything with
Well tell me about your lyrics Oli, and where they come from.
The frankness and shocking quality in some of the sepulchral acts depicted in his lyrics are extreme, even by the Marquis De Sade’s standards, though Oli’s actions onstage go someway to convincing us that they are all true. “Mostly all are very autobiographical” he begins. “Some use character based stuff to communicate stuff that might be harder to talk about in the first person. The Jacques Brel thing of talking through characters that David Bowie ripped off and we’ve ripped off – Like Waste – everyone assumes that song is about me getting fucked up the arse and passing on the disease, but some of the stuff like Hitler and Jesus is just about nothing, it’s like a nursery rhyme and Shit On Me…I’ve never had anyone shit on me…..intentionally.”
Is that because you’ve never met the right person?
Oli: “Yeah, about recycling”
Oli: “Most of the songs come from lyrics that sound good or stupid, then I add them to more lines that sound stupid to make a big thing that sounds stupid. Useless Pumping…I didn’t even know that was about wanking…”
Rich warms to the subject: “The only lyrics I like are Rent Boy, Shit On Me and Hitler and Jesus”
Oli: “You don’t like Waste?”
Oli: “You know, when we first got this band together he said that ‘Everything you write is shit, why do you bother, everything you write is shit’, then I went home and just wanted to kill myself. Then people told me that
So how collaborative are you as a band?
So how collaborative are you as a band?
Oli: “People say those are our strongest songs.”
A lot of your songs are quite aggressive sounding, musically and lyrically…
Oli: “And the screeching”
“I don’t know why people say I’m scary I have no desire to dominate other people” Oli replies, exasperated.
Oli: “Well I’m sorry”
Oli: “That’s very kind of you”
Where does the inspiration come for your outfits?
Oli: “I like fisting gloves because they’re good for fisting and I like leather ‘cos it’s made of dead things, so I try and combine it all but make it feminine. My Grandmother was a big influence – she was the person who I used to dress up with when I was four and put make up on and then go back home and my dad would be like ‘Oh, I see the boy’s been wearing make-up again’ and he’d growl, he would never talk to me or look me in the eye and I thought I’d done something really bad but I never found it a perversion…I did find it a perversion when I put on my fathers clothes and got an erection. But the weird thing was that it was a normal thing like a suit and I though he’d get really stressed and growl at me like he had when I’d been wearing my grandmother’s make-up and find it offensive because I’d found it so sexually ‘Eeeeurgh’…oh I was only four like, but he actually went ‘Oh, the lad wants to be like his dad’ and gave me a pat on the head, whereas I’d found it more normal to be dressing in my grandmothers clothes, fur and make-up. Masculine stuff felt more like a perversion. I feel more normal in extravagant clothing and the gay wear like fisting gloves, bondage cuffs and gimp masks and all that other stuff, but it’s essentially…..My grandmother in a gimp mask.”
Would you play any cover songs?
Oli: “‘He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss’ by the
Oli: “Scurrying! Not swimming”
Oli: “I just had this idea in mind. He does like us but I don’t know if he’s that far into it.”
Any plans on releasing a single?
Oli: “Oh yes, that’s right and I had to force you into doing it again.”
Oli: “That’s quite good.”
Ben: “Haha, no, I’d just like to have an album out to leave a legacy.”
The Flesh Happening are all about decadence and excess and also tragedy to a degree, so I wonder about their potential to fit into the Rock and Roll cliché hall of fame.
Rich: “We’re a hideous rock and roll cliché, the rock and roll standard – one drum, guitar, bass, singer with the personalities – we are it. Oli will kill himself and the last ten years of his life people will say he’s the most talentless person on the planet. One day I’m going to write a horrible acoustic folk album that will probably get completely ignored,
Oli: “I’ve already done the sex one…”
Oli: “…and the drugs one almost killed me a few years back”
Oli: “What, having AIDS? I want to die of a mystery disease that no-one’s heard of.”
And with that, it’s time for them to all go separate ways for previously arranged engagements.