METAL NEWS MAY 31, 2007
~ Norwegian Black Metal Focus Of 'Comprehensive' New Web Site ~
Music Information Centre Norway reports that a new and comprehensive web site dedicated to Norwegian black metal is now up and running. The site should allow the international adherents to the genre an unprecedented insight into the maze-like edifice that is Norwegian black metal.
A large part of the allure of this musical style has been the obscurities of its history and the myriad interrelations between its main personae, all of which themselves represent something more than mere musicians and rather function as a pantheon of living symbols of blackness and frosty tanatos. From the outside world, and even domestically in Norway, the entity of Norwegian black metal has always been notoriously difficult to dissect and overview. And that is indeed the point one could argue, if not consciously then still a function of the emotions and attitudes that go into this music; regarding both its protagonists and its fans. So in a way it is perhaps counterproductive to Norwegian black metal's stature that it should now be exposed in its make-up and machinations. Still, it is undoubtedly true that a bit of transparency cannot harm an artistic expression, for it means simply that it is the music itself that becomes the centre of focus. And this is indeed also the expressed aim of the site. The conception of the scene known as "true Norwegian black metal" may be of interest but, as the site points out, the legends and rumours of the formative years in the early nineties are more about teenage bewilderment than anything else. Untangling the web of bands, projects, persons and the antagonisms between them makes the purely musical considerations; developments, influences and collaborations stand forth in new light. And from a musical standpoint this is more interesting than the obscurities of personal relations.
In line with this the site features categorical clarifications, lists of bands and records. The latter are organized subjectively, according to quality, it is stated, but despite this they constitute fairly comprehensive overview. Further the site is supposed to feature reviews of all new and recent releases, news and, not least, links and tools for further reading and indulgence in the music. For even though the tales of the scene's conception and personae will perhaps become demystified, the site offers some discussion of the cultural and historical background that makes this genre a distinctly Norwegian phenomenon.
All in all the site must be said to contribute a very valuable source of information and insight into Norwegian black metal, something clearly in great demand among the many fans of this genre around the world who have for a long time been left in out in the dark, rather than invited into the dark, due to language barriers and the de facto lack of a comprehensive site as such. This is not to say, of course that it is not the music itself that constitutes the darkness, but sometimes one wants a little extra-musical flesh on the growling, screaming skeleton.
*(Note: We are proud to say that 2 releases on BlackMetal.com Records have made it onto norsksvartmetall.com's 'TOP 100 Norwegian Black Metal albums' list: 76. MASSEMORD "Skogen Kaller", and 81. SYKDOM "Mjollnir - That Smashes")
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~ EMPEROR Frontman, Wife Collaborate With Norwegian Folk Musician ~
Mnemosyne Productions has announced a brand new musical collaboration between EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn, Starofash (a.k.a. Ihsahn's wife Heidi S. Tveitan, a.k.a. Ihriel) and one of Norway's most well known folk musicians, Knut Buen. The project is called HARDINGROCK and the album is titled "Grimen".
According to a press release, "Grimen" presents folk tunes on the Norwegian national instrument, harding fiddle, text and melodies based on Norwegian mythical tradition, arranged and recomposed in modern form with influences from heavy metal and classical inspired electronica. It is said to be an experimental project where folk tunes are thematically broken down and expressed in a new rhythmic and harmonic form with guitars, piano, keyboards, percussion, recitation and song.
"It has been a great experience to work with such a fine musician as Knut Buen," says Tveitan. "The process has been challenging in terms of us having to work within the tonality of Norwegian folk music, and to make non-rhythmic music into 'rock 'n' roll rhythms.'"
"Even though the elements the three of us brought to the table were very contrasting, I think we're all very pleased with how it came together," says Ihsahn. "The material provided to us by Knut is a huge part of Norway's cultural treasure, and I think the album definitely is a worthy development that rocks!"
This album is set for release on June 11 via Nyrenning Forlag, and is distributed by Musikkoperatørene AS.
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~ OBITUARY: New Album Title Announced ~
Florida death metal legends OBITUARY have set "Xecutioner's Return" (Candlelight Records) as the title of their forthcoming album. The CD's release date has been pushed forward to August 28 from the previously announced September 11. The band is finalizing U.S. touring plans now that will kick off in early September. Full tour details will be announced shortly.
OBITUARY is working with artist Andreas Marshall for the cover art for "Xecutioner's Return". Marshall has worked with the band for "The End Complete" and their most recent record "Frozen in Time". Tracking of the record has now been completed with mixing and mastering now on schedule in the coming weeks.
OBITUARY's first-ever DVD, "Frozen Alive", was released in Europe on December 11 via Metal Mind Productions (it arrived in the U.S. on January 16, through MVD Visual). The disc includes a seven-camera shoot of the Warsaw show plus the "Insane" video, the previously unreleased "On the Floor" video, interviews with Frank Watkins (bass), Trevor Peres (guitar), John (vocals) and Donald Tardy (drums), and three documentaries - the making of "Insane", the making of "Frozen In Time" album, and "Backstage In Poland".
OBITUARY's latest CD, "Frozen in Time", was released in July 2005 via Roadrunner Records. The group's first collection of new songs since 1997's "Back from the Dead" was self-produced by the band, with Mark Prator and Scott Burns engineering, and was mastered by Tom Morris at Morrisound.
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~ DEICIDE Parts Ways With Guitarist RALPH SANTOLLA ~
Florida-based death metallers DEICIDE have parted ways with guitarist Ralph Santolla. A replacement axeman has not yet been announced.
Santolla (ex-DEATH, ICED EARTH) told blabbermouth.net last month that he was looking to join a new band "in any genre of metal." "I like to keep busy writing, recording and touring," Santolla said. "Down time drives me nuts. Anyone looking for a guitarist can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com ."
Santolla appears on DEICIDE's latest CD, "The Stench of Redemption", which was released in August via Earache Records. The follow-up to 2004's "Scars of the Crucifix" was recorded at Morrisound in Tampa, Florida and marks the first DEICIDE recording following the departure of the Hoffman brothers.
DEICIDE released a DVD, "Doomsday L.A.", on February 6, 2007 via Earache. The set, which was filmed using multiple cameras on November 10, 2006 at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles, features the group's most recent lineup of Glen Benton (bass, vocals), Steve Asheim (drums), Jack Owen (guitar; ex-CANNIBAL CORPSE) and Santolla. The bonus material incorporates exclusive interviews and promo videos, including the recent "Homage for Satan" clip.
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~ SONATA ARCTICA: 'Unia' Tops Finnish Album Chart ~
Finnish melodic metallers SONATA ARCTICA have topped the album chart in their home country with their latest effort, "Unia". Released in North America on May 22 via Nuclear Blast Records, the CD was mixed at Finnvox studio in Helsinki and was mastered at the Cutting Room in Stockholm, Sweden.
SONATA ARCTICA's "Paid in Full" single recently entered the Finnish chart at position No. 1. The video for "Paid in Full" is available for viewing at YouTube.
Formed in Finland in 1996, SONATA ARCTICA's career is filled with eye-raising accomplishments, among them being voted "Best Newcomer" by the Finnish Recording Industry Association in 2001; their second album, "Silence", going gold in Finland; by-passing EMINEM on the Finnish singles chart in 2003 and landing the #1 spot with "Victoria's Secret" off their third album, "Winterheart's Guild" (a Top 10 album in their homeland); opening for IRON MAIDEN in Europe; and landing a #1 single AGAIN the next year with "Don't Say A Word" from "Reckoning Night", which went gold in Finland and sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.
SONATA ARCTICA's third North American tour begins on September 12 in Fort Worth, Texas and includes a performance at ProgPower USA VIII Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
*(Thanks: Metal From Finland)
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~ MANEGARM: 'Vargstenen' Lands On Swedish Album Chart ~
Swedish "Viking metal" act MÅNEGARM has entered the national album chart in its home country at position No. 59 with its latest effort, "Vargstenen" ("The Wolfstone"). The CD was recorded at Studio Underground with producer Pelle Saether.
MÅNEGARM previously stated about the new CD, "We are really, really satisfied with the album recording. The songs that we have recorded feel great and Pelle Saether has, as always, done a fantastic job with the sound and with the mix. We all think that the production is the best ever and we are totally convinced, and we hope that we can convince the rest of you, that this is going to be the best MÅNEGARM album we have released so far."
The new CD is MÅNEGARM's first for Black Lodge after a ten-year collaboration with Displeased Records.
MÅNEGARM is currently searching for a session-drummer for upcoming live performances. All applicants should live in the Stockholm area and have touring/gigging experience.
MÅNEGARM has been confirmed for the Metal Mean festival, set to take place July 21-22 in Mean (in the middle of the Wallonie), Belgium. Mean is located at around 50 kms from Namur, 100 kms from Brussels, 80 kms from Maastricht (The Netherlands), 175 kms from Cologne (Germany) and 350 kms from Paris (France).
*[ News source: blabbermouth.net ]
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~ IRON MAIDEN Guitarist Remembers Old School ~
The U.K.'s Hartlepool Mail reports that IRON MAIDEN guitarist Janick Gers has sent a commemorative plaque to his old school after it left a lasting impression during a recent visit.
Gers is from Hartlepool and attended English Martyrs School before going on to success with the international hard rock band.
He managed to squeeze in a visit to the school during a busy tour, and was pleased to find the music department had been extended with state-of-the-art technology and a new studio.
The school's head of music, Andrea Boyton, said: "The plaque arrived totally by surprise but we know Janick takes a really keen interest in how kids are getting into music.
"He is an inspiration to the music students as someone who has made it but still cares about where he came from and the grassroots of the industry.
''In fact, many of the students can be seen wearing IRON MAIDEN T-shirts."
The plaque is of the record "Dance of Death", which is a track written by Janick. It will take pride of place in the new music studio alongside a signed Fender Strat guitar.
Janick left the student's with the message: "The most important thing about music is to have fun."