Welcome to Napalm Flesh! This week we have another local artist spotlight for you, this time featuring the ambient drone and black metal stylings of Schrei aus Stein. We also have a rundown of this week’s metal happenings as well as reviews of new music from Alcest, Goatwhore and Orange Goblin.
On Friday, Form of Rocket plays Kilby Court with Gaza, music around 7 p.m. $8 gets all ages into the show. Form of Rocket will also be performing on Saturday at the Urban Lounge with DØNE. The 21+ show begins at 10 PM and is also $8.
Also on Friday, A Balance of Power plays with Unthinkable Thoughts and Eriumus at The Wee Blu Inn, 39 N. Main in Payson, UT $5 gets you in (21+)
Saturday, Hardwire, Natas Lived, Reveeler and Dustbloom play at the Paris Café in Ogden. $10 gets you in music underway around 8 p.m.
Also Saturday, Burt’s hosts Cornered By Zombies, Oldtimer, Huldra and Jesust. $5 gets you into the show (21+), music underway around 9 p.m.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Burt’s hosts Whorsecorpse, playing their first show, with support from Oldtimer and Chainwhip. Cover is a miniscule $3 music at 9 p.m. (21+)
Next Thursday Feb. 23, Burt’s hosts Burn Your World with Year of the Wolf and Darkblood. $3 gets you in, again 21+ only.
Interview with R. Hagen of Schrei aus Stein
SLUG: How would you best describe the sound of your band to someone who has never heard it before?
R. Hagen: I've heard the term "Burzumic" thrown around and one early demo apparently had a brief second life as a fake Velvet Cacoon track several years ago, if that tells the reader anything. There’s an awful lot of fuzz and haze to the sound, and the rhythms tend to be rather skeletal. To a certain degree, it’s also as much about ambience and drone as it is about metal.
SLUG: Do you have any recorded material available to purchase or listen to? If so, where can people pick it up/hear it? Do you have any recording plans?
R. Hagen: Schrei aus Stein has released a couple of albums. Talus was released by Starlight Temple Society in 2009 and is close to out of print...the label itself has been retired and resurrected as Krysanthoney Records. I believe Aquarius Records in SF still has some of them, but I do have it available digitally on Bandcamp. Tsisnaasjini was released via the Crucial Blaze imprint of the Crucial Blast label and is available via their mailorder, at Raunch Records here in Zion, or through the Bandcamp page.
I am currently working on an as-yet untitled album for Dethroned Productions in Spain, but it's taking a long time to gestate. I'm playing with a slightly different sound palette in it as well, trying to rely mostly on instruments other than guitars. I was inspired partly by the newest Circle of Ouroborus album, in which it's really hard to tell if the guitar parts are actually guitars or not (either way, they sound awesome). It's getting there though, and I hope to have it done over the summer. Then we’ll see if the label still wants it! In the meantime, there is a demo of new material available on the Schrei aus Stein Facebook page.
SLUG: What is the mental mindset of your band? Basically, what is your band trying to convey to listeners?
R. Hagen: Schrei aus Stein is concerned with the experience of immersion in the sublime, particularly as it manifests in the alpine landscape... seeking to replicate the simultaneous negation and validation one feels when faced with the ruggedness and negligence of nature. It's quite Romantic in that regard, a sort of aural version of the vast foggy vistas painted by Caspar Friedrich in the early 1800s. There’s no specific message involved other than creating that feeling. Black metal is perfect for communion with aspects of existence that evade speech and codification...the “cosmic abyss” as Nicola Masciandaro and his black metal theory compatriots like to say.
SLUG: How do you feel about being part of the metal scene inUtah? If there’s anything you’d like to see change in the local “scene” what would it be?
R. Hagen: I'm not sure if Schrei aus Stein is all that connected to the local metal scene since I don’t perform with this project. However, I play bass in the more hardcore-oriented band Burn Your World and I’ve met some nice folks at the shows we’ve played. I've seen some great bands too—Nevertanezra and The Desolate are personal favorites. I've heard people posturing about their own true-ness and kvlt-ness and so forth, but that seems to be sort of built-in to all metal scenes. I think we should just accept that everyone who isn’t Joey DeMaio is a poseur.
SLUG: What do you think makes your band unique not just to locals, but the metal scene entirely?
R. Hagen: I think whatever uniqueness Schrei aus Stein has is there largely because I’ve been working a lot with ambient, noise and experimental music projects for the past fifteen years or so. I have no problem allowing that influence to dominate the sound and overwhelm the metal at times. Most metal bands who indulge in ambience tend to treat those elements as bookends or separate tracks, while Schrei aus Stein revels in them as an integral part of the whole. I probably spend more time shaping and sculpting this enveloping sound than I do on any other aspect, looking for the right balance between clarity and obscurity. Schrei aus Stein indulges in its share of standard black metal musical gestures, but I also try to include harmonies that deviate from the progressions of minor chords that we all know and love. Not having to worry about playing live helps as well, since it liberates the “band“ from logistical concerns.
SLUG: If there is anything else you’d like to add, consider this question a free-for-all, soapbox or whatever else you’d like to say.
R. Hagen: Remember that all scene drama is just a distraction, even if it often seems *really* important. The introspective, personal, and subjective reverie is the essence of black metal, regardless of whether the musical style is traditional or more out in left-field, and it’s infinitely more important than someone’s haircut or clothing or whether they’re kvlt enough to be let in the clubhouse. Focusing on the outer makes us forget that the ultimate effect and impact of black metal is inner and invisible.
Some also tell us we’re supposed to want black metal to stay “pure“ and ”true” to its mythologized creation long ago in a faraway exotic land, even if the Norway of the black metal imagination might as well be Narnia for all it resembles reality (particularly for those whose vision of “elite” black metal is collapsed into 19th century concepts of European “blood and soil” nationalism). There will always be a place for black metal’s past, but a wish for orthodoxy is essentially also a wish for atrophy. If the music reaches that point, black metal will become like an insect in amber in a museum gift shop: a once-vital and even protean entity frozen in time. It will become little more than a fetishistic object for people to display as a symbol of their own counter-cultural coolness. However, I have to believe the genre holds yet more potential for further blackening, regardless of whether we recognize the outcome as black metal or not.
Blog exclusive CD reviews
Les Voyages de L’Ame
Alcest = Les Discretes + Ameseours + Junius
The cross-pollination of genres is nothing new in the world of metal (and nothing new for Alcest), yet this French group’s combination of shoegaze and black metal elements is still stunning—mostly because of how goddamn pretty sounding it is. Nary a tremolo riff or blastbeat finds its way onto Les Voyages de L’Ame, as the moody melodies of shoegaze dominate the sound of the album. This isn’t a bad thing though, as when the more aggressive moments do arrive (mostly on the second half of the album) they are even more effective. Alcest has found a way to emphasize the trance-inducing qualities of black metal without becoming bound by the constraints of the genre, building upon the basic framework of BM with other atmospheric elements. Intricate guitar passages are layered over constant, distorted riffs and Neige’s delicate vocals rarely incorporate any sort of harshness. The synthesis of these disparate elements is best expressed on "Là où Naissent les Couleurs Nouvelles," where the constant buzzing of a guitar is used to great effect, and Neige even surprises us by letting out some screams over a blastbeat in the middle of the song. Tr00 dudes and kvlt warriors will continue to be unimpressed, but those who would rather pick flowers than burn down churches while listening to black metal likely won’t find a better album this year. –Ricky Vigil
Blood for the Master
Goatwhore = Belphegor + Soilent Green + Eye for an Eye era Corrosion of Conformity + Exciter
This Valentines day, don't fool around with goofy chocolates, teddies, dinner reservations or sex coupons. You're reading metal reviews on the internet, so I'll assume your sweetie's long since lost hope and at this point is just happy you still possess the werewithal not to spray pee-pee all over the toilet seat, let alone remember the damn date. What I'm saying is, instead of wasting your rightly-earned frogskins on some flippant guilt-lust nonsense, give Cupid and his cronies the ol' middle finger by copping something substantial like Goatwhore's blistering fifth album, Blood for the Master. "Project band," members of Acid Bath, Crowbar, Nachtmystium, groovy NOLA sludge...you know the drill, but where Goatwhore's previous efforts tend to run a tad too "samey," Blood... sees the band freely acknowledging all their sonic influences (bay area thrash, Norwegian black metal, NWOBHM), beefing their assault tenfold, without liquifying it into anything pandering, haphazard or ham-fisted haphazard. Lifers can unbunch their unmentionables though. 'Whore's still a slobbering, black-gummed lummix as "Judgment of the Bleeding Crown" carries on their signature Norway-via-New Orleans death-clatter, but a varied approach allows various other metal influences (the Slayer-riffic dive-bombing on "Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word" or the proto-gallop of "When Steel Meets Bone") to seep through the tumult, freshening the execution and keeping finicky listeners roused. Led by the premier riffin' rhythm work of Sammy Duet and Zack Simmons, and foisted above tinny black-metal mediocrity courtesy of Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal)'s megalithic production, Blood for the Master stands as Goatwhore's most interesting album in years and comes highly recommended. I was just kidding about that pee-pee thing...but to hell with Valentine's Day. –Dylan Chadwick
Euology for the Damned
Orange Goblin = Karp + Fireball Ministry + mid period Corrosion of Conformity
Summer of 2011 was awesome for me. I didn't have a job and I listened to Mountain's Climbing every damn day. Riffs, swagger, boogie and cuts about witchy women and the center of the Universe. Dated? You betcha, but essential summer listening for jobless cretins nonetheless. I ain't trying to pawn Orange Goblin off as a slipshot 70's rock tribute band (far from it), but I get the same delightfully resonant douche-chill from the leaden one-two howl of Goblin's "Stand for Something" as I do the opening stick count of "Mississippi Queen." Love it. If you've followed Goblin's career at all in the past few years, Eulogy... won't take you anywhere unexpected. Meat and taters riff rock with prescient nods to proto-doom and unsung AOR rock of years past...and that's just gravy baby. It does run a little samey as it chugs on, as Ben Ward's Lemmy-cum-Lee Dorian vocals lack the range to mix it up, but bolstered by Joe Hoare's axe-work it's an unrepentant and satisfying slab of high octane, in-the-pocket rock n' roll. Check "Acid Trial," the unabashed biker-blues anthem "The Filthy and the Few" and the album highlight "Save me from Myself" to get your spring scumbaggery started right. Fans and newcomers will surely latch on to something decent here. –Dylan Chadwick