What a marvelous season Spring 2010 promises to be for live music. I’ll personally be attending gigs from 3 bona fide legends: Opeth’s 20th anniversary show where they will be playing Blackwater Park in its entirety in the regal surrounds on the Royal Albert Hall. The mighty Cathedral are playing in a broom cupboard at the University of London in late April supported by Japanese doom icons Church of Misery. Finally one of the greatest alternative bands of all time, Pavement, are playing to most of the population of London on their marathon 4 night stint at Brixton Academy in May. I may be deaf, but at least I’ll be happy.
I’ve recently rediscovered Warrior Soul. Quite why this band slipped largely off my radar for the best part of 15 years I’ve no idea. Some sort of acid-psych-metal-punk hybrid, Warrior Soul made a big splash in the early 90′s but never managed to capitalise on the early success and widespread critical acclaim. It’s a shame, because listening back on their classic albums Last Decade Dead Century, Drugs, God and the New Republic and Space Age Playboys, they the still sound fresh and their snarling polemic is more relevant today than ever. They released new material last year that’s well worth checking out. You can get their albums on Ebay for real cheap, go treat yourself!
I didn’t realise that I was a big fan of Canadian label Profound Lore until I realised that many of my favourite releases of the past year were from bands on that label: Cobalt, Krallice, Ludicra, Worm Ouroboros, Portal (well, favourite is a strong word here, they are certainly one of the most interesting acts I’ve heard recently). Unlike many labels that claim to foster creativity, but merely churn through generic sub-genre acts, Profound Lore are really tinkering on the blurry edges of the metal genre. Try listening to Worm Ouroboros and Portal in the same sitting and you’re likely to need a period of recovery in you local asylum.
Varg Vikernes had a unique opportunity on leaving prison. He had gained near legendary status among the Black Metal kvlt and kudos disproportionate to any artistic merit or talent displayed in his early work. Having released some shoddy synth music under the Burzum moniker while in the locker, his first album proper after Filosofem was his chance to dispel the haters and reclaim his throne as the dark Pope of misanthropy. Gloss over those overt racist views, keep a low public profile (as is de rigeur in BM cirlces) and record the forward thinking, but backwards glancing record of his career – that’s what was needed; the ever conservative BM community would have hoisted the bugger on their shoulders for a victory lap of Hades.
Prison was never really a place to broaden your horizons and hone your media skills. Vikernes came out of prison all guns a blazin’ like the new sheriff in town. On release of his anticipated new album Belus, amidst a mini media storm related to some overtly racist comments, Varg whored himself out to any metal publication that would interview him and proceeded to contradict and undermine himself with every sentence. He claims to hate the media for vilifying him, despite the fact that he’s a convicted murdered. He claims to not care what people think of what he says, so why say anything at all? Apparently whoring yourself out to the media is furthering an agenda of apathy towards them and their readers. He says we’re all stuck in a ‘politically correct sewer’, and thus have a narrow or directed worldview, then aligns himself with NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal – basically a bunch pubescent, redneck, corpse paint wearing Neanderthals looking to irritate their parents) – find me a more narrow worldview than that!
The simple fact is Varg did some very ill-considered and bad stuff as a stupid, naive teenager and paid the price. He’s now a bitter old racist hick who lost half of his life to an adolescent mistake, and has a chip the size of a burning church on his shoulder about it. Now he’s trying to dress his self loathing up in a veil of mystique and black metal misanthropic posturing.
Top work Varg. With your shallow polemic and sensationalist, Daily Mail baiting, cover story grabbing antics you’ve managed to utterly fail to capitalise on your ‘legendary’ status and lost all credibility in the process. You’ve recorded a dated and mediocre album and the black metal fraternity has already disowned you. Bravo Varg! (Perhaps this should have gone in the ‘good’ section!)
Is Doom becoming popular?
It couldn’t happen could it? We’ve been discussing this at length over at Thee Big Black. Suspicion started when Electric Wizard played to an unprecedented Scala crowd last year, then Sunn O)))’s huge Koko gig attended by those of good hair. Since, there have been increasing numbers of sightings of unshaven, poorly coiffured, trucker capped stoner types lurking around the streets of Britain seemingly starting to outnumber the moping packs of pierced Emos. Well, the last thing any self respecting Doom head wants is for a bunch of Jonny come lately’s trampling their arid, barren lawn. Then there was this…on please god nooooo!