Friday, 27 November 2009

"I am still proud of my insane brain decision"

on the side here, you can see that somebody has written a short biography on us. it's ok, but if you REALLY want to know the truth, i can fill you in on the REAL story...

WHEN i decided to take my music further, step it up a notch, i changed name from BLACK DEATH to DARKTHRONE in late 1987. At first, the music was very FREE, drawing inspirations from whatever i liked, from CELTIC FROST to CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER. A chaos, if you like. The first DARKTHRONE demo was also like this, there was a will there to incorporate anything from NAPALM DEATH to epic metal like METALLICA/ENGLISH DOGS. That also shows on our 2nd outing, "SNOWFALL". But then things changed. I think it's safe to say that on our 3rd cassette "Thulcandra", we suddenly seemed more akin to SEPULTURA's fantastic SCHIZOPHRENIA album, 1st DEATH album and not to forget one of the main parts that was extremely inspired by CRUMSUCKERS 2nd album "beast on my back". That cassette was early 1989, and i still "sang" in DARKTHRONE. However, i had to do the vocals at the "studio guy's" apartment, it was too private a setting for me, and i was not happy with the result. I sounded too much like regular NYHC style, although i love that genre i didn't think it fit for DARKTHRONE. In the summer of 1989 i therefore decided that TED/NOCTURNO CULTO should sing, and instead do my own vocals with ISENGARD, and i recorded the "SPECTRES OVER GORGOROTH" demo with ISENGARD that summer.

So it was that in early 1989, DARKTHRONE had become a sort of death-thrash band. With Ted on vocals and with further songwriting and enhanced playing-abilities, last part of 1989 saw us becoming a technical horror-death metal band with the 4th cassette "CROMLECH", which is taken from the soundboard of a gig we did at the BOOTLEG CONCERT HALL in 1989. This style was further developed with more OUTER SPACE feelings mixed with Satanic haunts on our first and second album "SOULSIDE JOURNEY and GOATLORD". We wanted the first album to have ORGANIC sound but it would cost us TOO MUCH! We had no choice but to enter the Sunlight studios with the very kind help from our friends in NIHILIST who had then changed name to ENTOMBED. They were so kind to let us stay with them, even! Nicke, your help and guidance is never forgotten! I have to say that because of budget problems, Sunlight studios was our only option, KNOWING that our sound on "Soulside Journey" would not be as ORGANIC as we wanted. We wanted a more BLACK SABBATH sound or something. The studio guy didn't even want us to bring our own drum set! But i refused that, and brought my whole drum kit on the plane to Stockholm. But when it came to the bass drums, the studio guy WOULD NOT let me bring my bass drums! What the hell! So we had to compromise: I would play on his filthy d-drum pads, BUT tune them so it would be DYNAMIC, meaning that if i played soft it would be soft, and hard - it would be hard. Everyone else just says "it doesn't matter how hard i hit, every bass drum kick should be equally loud". And to me, that is KILLING MUSIC. It sucks.

However, the death metal had become our TRADE in 1990, it is "what we did". But personally, what we listened to before and after rehearsals for instance, had changed. We had become tired of most death metal acts after 1989, in my collection you will find maybe only 4 or 5 death metal albums i bought in 1990. And that is the TRUTH. It was horrible to see that a style that had died before my eyes (THRASH metal) was followed by yet another style that was dying; DEATH METAL. The party was mostly over, as most bands from that genre emraced the PLASTIC sound with triggered bass drums and clinical sound. Our rehearsal room was filled with other music. Cool stuff. Like AUTOPSY, CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER, MOTORHEAD, BATHORY and BLACK SABBATH. All our albums from the 80s was constantly listened to, and there was ALOT of black metal vibes in those albums. SO IT WAS DONE. in early 1990, after having written and recorded the whole GOATLORD album on cassette, Ted and Ivar (Nocturno Culto and Zephyrous) came and visited me in the rehearsal place (which was also my living room). They proposed that we should stop playing the technical death style and instead play PRIMITIVE STUFF THAT RIPPED!. And it was the answer to my dreams, as also i had dreamt of this for a long time. FINALLY! But Dag, our bassist, didn't want to go down that path, so we eventually parted ways after he played session bass on our "A BLAZE IN THE NORHTERN SKY" album. Because of our abrupt change, there is ALOT of death metal riffs on A BLAZE IN THE NORTHERN SKY, as we had already booked the studio time to record GOATLORD. We changed our direction so fast that if A BLAZE IN THE NORHTERN SKY would be PURE black metal, it would only have 3 songs; KATHAARIAN LIFE KODE, WHERE COLD WINDS BLOW and IN THE SHADOW OF THE HORNS. The other 3 songs are a wild mix of death metal and black metal vibes. Many people don't know this, and consider this album as pure black metal, but anyone who is into, i mean REALLY into metal, can hear that it is not so. No one at the time had PHOTOS OF ONE BAND MEMBER on the cover, and certainly not with corpse paint, so that started a whole new estetic that still lives on album covers to this day and will never stop. But it wasn't planned, i just decided that it was right to do it.

Most interesting about A BLAZE IN THE NORTHERN SKY is

1: it was the first time we incorporated a MOTORHEAD style part (IN THE SHADOW OF THE HORNS, start of the last "fast" part of the song"). ZEPHYROUS had written the first slow part of the song, i wrote the last "fast" part of the song, mid paced/fast every other turn there.

2: Also, deep into KATHAARIAN LIFE CODE, there is a riff that is "out of rhythm", but planned that way on purpose. that was directly influenced by the very same "time stretching" in one of the songs from CELTIC FROST's "Morbid Tales" album.

OUR FIRST TOTAL BLACK METAL ALBUM was UNDER A FUNERAL MOON. I was so ANTI on that album that i didn't even use any TOM TOM drums! Just one big floor TOM that i decided should be the loudest thing on the drums set, AFTER the hi-hat. I am still proud of my insane brain decision.

At that point in time, there was no such thing as "second wave black metal", we simply played BLACK METAL (1991) and only inspiration sources was ofcourse purely 80s, as there were no other bands playing black metal, the newest bands were SAMAEL "worship him" album, and the BLASPHEMY album. Oh, and "ritual" by MASTER'S HAMMER, which is actually the first norwegian black metal album, even though they are from Chechoslovakia. Later came the VON demo, the THORNS rehearsal, the IMMORTAL single, and most importantly, we all had "Live In LEIPZIG" by MAYHEM on CASSETTE, long before it was released on vinyl! And 1st BURZUM album finally came out.

Worldwide, black metal was almost completely dead, at that time i had to print MY OWN Celtic Frost t-shirt! Because it was impossible to buy. But a whole gang of us up here in Norway decided and felt that BLACK METAL MUST RETURN. All, and i mean ALL of the recordings all of us made had OLD and ORGANIC sound. When new recordings started to have the sound that DESTROYED thrash and death metal, i felt that also Black Metal was dying, and slowly the war against the modern sound became an obsession to me. This modern sound entered black metal in 94-95, and i could see the genre dying. After TOTAL DEATH album (which i wrote one THRASH metal song for, to make a point that we should go BACK in time again) i had done too much music and had a severe burn out, as i had made 11 or 12 albums in 3 years time (valhall, dødheimsgard, isengard, storm, neptune towers, AND various projects and also ofcourse darkthrone).

When we resurfaced after a break in 1997, it was Ted's idea. My songs was becoming more punk and black'n roll (the style that CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER basically started in early 80s) but i just wrote a few, Ravishing Grimness and Plaguewielder is largely Ted's albums, Transilvanian Hunger and Panzerfaust was 100% written by me. In 2002 i was back in business and HATE THEM was on the steps, drum sound was adjusted to be like "C'MON LET'S GO" by GIRSCHOOL and i wrote more freely, like i would have done in 1987 or 1988, meaning it was many styles, METAL, BLACK METAL, DEATH METAL, DOOM METAL, CRUST PUNK, you name it. Ted still made the style he had done on Plaguewielder and Ravishing Grimness, mostly! This combination of his songs and my songs has continued TO THIS DAY. But from 2005, Ted also writes more freely, and he now makes a very freestyle METAL mix of old black sabbath vibes, early 80s metal, thrash metal, death metal and also punk vibes. YES!

In 2005, Ted AGAIN came to me with a fantastic proposal: what if we bought our own portable studio? YES! YES!! YES!!! Finally what we needed in 1988 became reality! In 1988 we had very little money and to buy an own portable studio was out of our financial reach. BUT if we had it back then, things might have looked very different as THE CULT IS ALIVE, F.O.A.D, and DARK THRONES AND BLACK FLAGS! Yes, our last albums have been the continuation of THE OTHER PATH OF DARKTHRONE that we could have taken in 1988, had we had our own studio and the record collection we have now. And with our new album CIRCLE THE WAGONS (release February 2010), the new decade starts with our own brand of HEAVY METAL/SPEED METAL-PUNK.

Thank you for reading and CARING. Destroy their modern metal!!!

- f e n r i z

Sometimes, dead is better.

Relapse Records have released the entire(almost) output of Swedish death metal pioneers Nirvana 2002 on super limited see through gatefold LP. Which is not available to the public, just the 180gm Black vinyl.
The question I'm asking though, is why? The demos are solid peices of early nineties death metal, free of the Sunlight sound, and definitely influental on the burgeoning European death metal scene, but you know, Nirvana 2002's time is gone. Long gone. Orvar ended up singing on Entombed's Crawl EP, and then didn't make the position full time. Really, what is the relevance of this release? If you are (or were) into that period of DM, you'd have these somewhere. OR, you'd know where to find them online. Have they been remastered? Nope. Just sound like compressed versions of old tapes.
It seems that record companies are too eager to put out compilations of long-defunct bands, hyping them up in the press as forefathers of this or that, when nobody really wanted to touch them in the first place.
Instant Death Metal history! Pretend it's 1991!! Re-package!! Re-sell!!!
If you remember Nirvana 2002 you know how important they were, and you probably have the recordings. I doubt Orvar needs your money, and Relapse sure as hell don't.
That said, if you haven't heard Nirvana 2002, you SHOULD do. ASAP.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Long Live Rock and Roll

(actual size)*

Here is the latest update from Wendy Dio:

"Ronnie has been diagnosed with the early stages of stomach cancer. We are starting treatment immediately at the Mayo Clinic. After he kills this dragon, Ronnie will be back on stage, where he belongs, doing what he loves best, performing for his fans.

Thanks to all the friends and fans around the world that have sent well wishes. This has really helped to keep his spirit up.

Long Live Rock and Roll, Long Live Ronnie James Dio"

*only joking, we at Thee Claw love you Ronnie. Get well soon lad.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Best of 2009 (Patchie)

There have been so many amazing releases this year that it's been hard keeping this article to a reasonable length.
Normally at the end of each year I'll pick out ten or so things that have come out and present them in no particular order, but this year I've been enveloped by three releases so strongly that I had to pick out an actual overall "best" of 2009. So what were those three releases? Well, in third place....

Portal's latest full-length, Swarth, sees Australia's finest antique death metallers fly off on yet another tangent. The music contained on this disc is technical death metal that sounds primitive and raw, with production that makes your first listen sound as hypnotic as any early nineties Black Metal, but is clear enough that after each following listen you can pick out more and more details. Lovecraft inspired metal that actually makes you feel as if you are living in that age instead of just being lyrically influenced.

In second place:

Sweden's Lifelover are a band that I have followed for a while, and on this EP they have delivered their best set of songs yet. Lifelover take the isolation of Black Metal out of the forest and into the cities, creating a sound that is only in part influenced by black metal but ends up sounding more black metal than most other things I've heard this year. I have spoken to a lot of people who hate this EP though, a lot more than like it. Good.
Vocally, a tortured performance from () but Non's drumming being a high point for me, excessive use of the cymbals and amazing drum rolls.
This EP was my best release of the year, then my second best, then the best so many times, and the only thing that made it number two in the end was the fact that it's only an EP and as such a full length album "won" this year. And that album is...

Patchie's #1 release of 2009:

it was a bit of a no-brainer really wasn't it? It was released in April, I first heard it at the end of March and this is what I said about it then:
Set to divide opinion in the world of Black metal is the eagerly awaited debut full length from France's Amesouers.
Described by the band as "a kaleidoscopic soundtrack for the modern era", this is 11 tracks of music that encapsulates everything from shoe-gazing post-rock (how I hate that term), through chanson-style French pop, to - yes- howling Black Metal, quite often in the same track.
They may seem like odd bedfellows, shoegaze and Black Metal, but it works.
I don't know how, but it does.
Black Metal has often been about the alienation and isolation of the northern countryside; what I feel here is an album about the solitude of modern city life.
Many attempts have been made by BM bands to become a bit more modern and urban, but I've always felt that they've failed...not here though.
I'm going to put my neck out and say that this is my favourite release of 2009 so far, and there will have to be some fucking strong albums coming out over the next 8 months to knock this off my top spot.
Like I say, the eclectic mix of styles present here won't be to everyone's tastes, but if you like black metal, and you like the introspective nature of the likes of Ride, Cocteau Twins et al then give it a try.
French metal doesn't begin and end with Trust you know.

Since then i've listened to this album at least once every week, and I have got more and more from it as time has passed. Blending so many styles without sounding forced can't be easy, but Amesouers manage it here, this album really drew me in and made me feel like it was the soundtrack to a film about a busy city and it's dark underground.

Coming Close:

Church of Misery - Houses of the Unholy
Sabbath-infused madness from the Land of The Rising Sun, Church of Misery finally grab doom by the throat and carve out their own, unique sound.
Gig of the year as well.

Heaven and Hell - The Devil You Know
Dio, Butler, Iommi and Appice in a return to True Metal Greatness. What did "The Prince of Darkness" do this year that was worthy of attention? Oh yeah, a World of Warcraft advert.

Sarke - Vorunah
Ted and Sarke combine to bring an LP of modern metal infused with old style soul and wit. Stands on it's own without being a Darkthrone side project.

jesu - Infinity
Beautiful, textured, rich, and in parts back to the heaviness that JKB's fans have been crying out for such a long time for. One track encompassing everything we love about jesu.

The Devil's Blood - The Time of No Time Evermore
Full length from Holland's spookiest retro rockers. Alongside new tracks, a couple of tracks from the demo get an airing here, with ultra-clean production and amazing vocal work.

Beherit - Engram
The first "proper" Black Meal album from Beherit for 15 years, and a total kick in the skull to pompous, overblown "symphonic" BM. Holocausto conveying his (un)usual vocal delivery. Only knocked out of third place by Portal!!

Also well worth your dirty money this year was:

Count Raven - Mammon's War
The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
Tietanblood - Seven Chalices
Fenriz' Red Planet - Engangsgrill
sunnO))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
Baroness - Blue Record
Kylesa - Static Tensions
Candlemass - Death Magic Doom
Megadeth - Endgame
Greymachine - Disconnected
Gravedigger - Ballads of a Hangman
Jesu - Opiate Sun
Olde Crone - S/T
Death In June - Lesson One: Misanthropy
Death In June - Black Angel live!
Urfaust/Joyless - Split EP

Disappointment of the year: Shrinebuilder. On first listen it sounded immense, second listen only lasted two songs. It's still on the shelf. I'm prepared to be proved wrong and I'll admit it here first.....

Friday, 20 November 2009

Donington 2008 - Drinking & Driving is WRONG

A short educational film recorded by THEE CLAW at Donington 2008 - concerning "VIP camping arrangements". (For the record, that can was full of water. Honest.) Background music = Darkthrone

JUDAS PRIEST @ Donington 2008

Even MORE Roadburn 2010 news

Self-hating riff worshippers rejoice! EYEHATEGOD, the legendary Southern hardcore-blues-sludge-and-doom group from Katrina-ravaged New Orleans has been confirmed for Roadburn Festival 2010. With its hateful, hopeless, anguished vocals set against extra-slow Iommi-inspired riffing, EYEHATEGOD are credited with founding sludge-core, one of the most vital new genres of metal to emerge from the 1990’s.
Countless bands have followed their footsteps, and after almost 20 years of creating some of the most corrosive, vile
music known to man, EYEHATEGOD still hasn’t lost the piss and vinegar, propaganda, and despair that fueled them back in 1998.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

THEE CLAW - Best Heavy Records Of 2009

It's getting on for that time of year folks!

We've had a little get together (over a few beers, naturally) and decided on a "Short list" of our favourite records from throughout the past 12 months*. It's been a really great year for hard rock and heavy metal. So here's a list of the newly-released records that we have been listening to a lot during 2009 - All being well the 3 of us are going to get together to work out THEE CLAW's top 10 LPs of the year, preferably sometime before the year actually ends!

You should have already heard - or you should go track down - the following 40+ records (in alphabetical order):

16 - Bridges To Burn
ALICE IN CHAINS - Black Gives Way To Blue
ANAAL NATHRAKH - In The Constellation Of The Black Widow
ASTRA - The Weirding
BARONESS - Blue Record
BEHERIT - Engram
BLACK COBRA - Chronomega
BRUTAL TRUTH - Evolution Through Revolution
CHURCH OF MISERY - Houses Of The Unholy
CONVERGE - Axe To Fall
COUNT RAVEN - Mammon's War
THE DEVIL'S BLOOD - Time Of No Time Evermore
FENRIZ RED PLANET - Engangsgrill
FUNEBRARUM - The Sleep Of Morbid Dreams
THE GATES OF SLUMBER - Hymns Of Blood And Thunder
HEAVEN AND HELL - The Devil You Know
JESU - Infinity
JUDAS PRIEST - A Touch Of Evil: Live
KATHARSIS - Fourth Reich
KISS - Sonic Boom
KRALLICE - Dimensional Bleedthrough
KYLESA - Static Tensions
MEGADETH - Endgame
METALUCIFER - Heavy Metal Bulldozer
NACHTMYSTIUM - Doomsday Derelicts [EP]
OLD MAN'S CHILD - Slaves Of The World
PORTAL - Swarth
RAVENS CREED - Albion Thunder
SARKE - Vorunah
SLAYER - World Painted Blood
SUNN 0))) - Monoliths & Dimensions
TEITANBLOOD - Seven Chalices
WASP - Babylon
YOB - The Great Cessation

Okay, so that's the short-list. We are (hopefully) going to whittle it down to our favourite 10 records of the year... stay tuned!

* - Some of these records weren't actually recorded in the calendar year of 2009. We know this already. If it was RELEASED for the 1st time during 2009, well, that's what we're talking about here!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

KATATONIA @ Rio's, Leeds (07 November 2009) "Murder"

Went along to watch Swedish doomers KATATONIA last night, at Rio's in Leeds. Went along with our good buddy DesignVoid. Great show, though it was done & dusted by 22:00 (Rio's becomes a nightclub after a Saturday night gig you see). As such I think they might have cropped their set from the usual 18 songs to about 12. Jonas (AKA Lord Seth) used mainly "clean" vocals, right up until the last song of the night, Murder, which you can watch below.

In case you weren't aware, 2 of the guys from KATATONIA (the afore mentioned Jonas "Lord Seth" Renkse - he plays bass for Bloodbath - and lead guitarist Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström, who is on the far left in the Youtube clip above) are also in the Swedish death metal supergroup band BLOODBATH. Their E.P. Breeding Death from back in the year 2000 is one of THEE CLAW's favourite death metal records, you should check it the fvkk out!

The new KATATONIA record, Night Is The New Day, is available from Peaceville and all good record stores. I bought myself a copy of it recently from my local HMV of all places... I mean, just how mainstream can you get?!

Many thanks for the good people at Rio's in Leeds for sorting out the photo accrediatation for us.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

More 2010

Roadburn 2010 will see the triumphant arrival of Dr Simon Von Strange, along with his cohorts Emily Pentangle and the nefarious Randolph T. Reaper; where they will unleash their dark twisted formula that is The Lamp of Thoth.

Described by some as a seriously unbalanced, eccentric mix of NWOBHM and th...e Doom cults, The Lamp of Thoth will raise the spirits of dread eldritch horrors and enslave you to bang your head and worship in the name of Heavy Metal!

All Give Praise To Satan - We Love The Lamp!!!

Soon the entire Doomed World will be aware of the Victorian Darkness!!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Nachtmystium @ Roadburn 2010

Slowly but surely the 2010 ROADBURN FESTIVAL is becoming something of a wet dream.

Tickets go on sale on November 28th.