Archive Page 2


Another One Bites the Dust

2007 has not been a great year for some of my favorite Norwegian metal bands. Sure, this year saw the release of Mayhem’s fourth LP (Ordo Ad Chao), but the losses have outnumbered the gains. Three of my favorite bands have split up over the course of 2007.

First to go was Arcturus, who split up in April. The news of their disbanding came in a suitably dramatic fashion; vocalist Simen Hestn├Žs (a.k.a. ICS Vortex) opened the band’s concert in Melbourne, Australia by welcoming the audience to the “last Arcturus show ever.” The band later reiterated the announcement on their website, and Arcturus, one of the world’s finest avant-garde metal bands was no more. I (along with many, many others) was sad to see them go.

Tsjuder, a three-piece band playing straightforward black metal in the style of early Immortal followed suit in July. Tsjuder was actually among the first black metal bands I listened to, and hence was instrumental in furthering my interest in that genre. Though their first few albums weren’t particularly remarkable, 2004’s Desert Northern Hell was a vast improvement, showing that the band held a great deal of promise. Unfortunately, it was to be Tsjuder’s final album. In the wake of the dissolution, Members Nag and Desecrator formed a new band entitled Krypt. Judging from what little of their work I’ve heard, it seems to be very much in the old-school spirit that Tsjuder stood for.

The most recent of my favorite bands to go their separate ways was the progressive metal outfit Green Carnation, who dissolved only about a week ago. The band was brain child of Tchort, guitarist for Carpathian Forest and one-time bassist for Emperor. The break up came close on the heels of A Night Under the Dam, the band’s second live DVD. Green Carnation was working on their sixth LP (entitled The Rise and Fall of Mankind and slated for a late 2007 release) when the news broke. The album’s release may be somewhat delayed.

There’s only four months left in the year; hopefully we’ll be able to make to the end of the year without another quality band dissolving.


Fate is a cruel mistress, Malcolm McDowell

Malcolm McDowell in the early days

By now you’ve probably seen trailers or television spots for the upcoming remake of Halloween. Not surprisingly it looks pretty forgettable. One thing that struck me, however, was the presence of Malcolm McDowell in the film. McDowell is most famous for playing the role of Alex in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, a film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s novel of the same name. Unfortunately, McDowell hasn’t been in anything truly remarkable in the 36 years that have passed since A Clockwork Orange, with the possible exception of playing the emperor Caligula in the eponymous 1979 film. It’s really a shame that such a good actor should be relegated to playing the villain in such movies as Tank Girl and I Spy.


Tourette’s Guy: In Pace Requiscat

I recently (i.e. five minutes ago) came across some sad news. Danny, known and loved by millions as the Tourette’s Guy, passed away yesterday from complications of an injury sustained in an automobile internet. I discovered this from an official statement on the Tourette’s Guy website. According to the statement, the administration of the Tourette’s Guy website will be releasing a DVD compilation of all the videos from the website, along with one final unreleased video. All proceeds collected from sales of the DVD will go to Danny’s family.

A caricature of the late Tourette's Guy

The Tourette’s Guy was one of my favorite internet celebrities–as unwitting as his fame might have been–and he will be sorely missed.


A great way to kill time (and zombies)

Anybody who enjoys a good zombie-killing spree (and who doesn’t?) should check out Zombie Grinder, and simple yet extremely addictive flash game created by Olle Hemmendorff. Essentially, you control a fat bald man with a shotgun who runs from left to right blasting zombies. The game features a nifty effect–namely, the screen scrolls at different speeds according to the tempo of the music. Said music is composed primarily of high-speed Grindcore, which means that the game moves along quite fast (at least most of the time). There are, of course, those who might find the music a bit hard to stomach. Those people are weak. They will be the first to be devoured when the invasion of the walking dead begins.

If you like slaughtering zombies to the furious tune of blastbeat-ridden Grindcore, then Zombie Grinder was made for you.


Album Review: The Apostasy

Few bands in the Extreme Metal milieu seem as image conscious as Poland’s Behemoth. From the promo pictures on the band’s myspace profile to their masterfully crafted homepage, Behemoth have developed a visual style that acknowledges their roots in Black Metal yet at the same time creates a theme unique to the band itself. This style is quite befitting of what is easily becoming one of the most popular Death Metal bands in the world. Behemoth’s visual flair was in it’s infancy when the band began the transition from straightforward Black to a synthesis of Black and Death Metal. The Behemoth style has developed by leaps and bounds over the course of the band’s history, simultaneous with the band’s conversion to a musical ethos that is easily more Death than Black. And, to be perfectly honest, one would be hard pressed to find a band anywhere in the world that looks as damned awesome as does Behemoth.


But what of the music? Behemoth has gotten progressively better with each album they release. Does The Apostasy, being the most recent endeavor of Nergal and company, continue this trend? The answer, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is an emphatic yes.

From a production standpoint, the album is razor-sharp. Every note, every strike of the drums and every bestial growl rings crystal clear (though the growling vocals, in true Metal fashion, require a glance at the liner notes before they can be comprehended). The musicianship is just as sharp, if not moreso. Each song is full of great riffs, and the drumming is some of the best the listener is likely to hear in all of Death Metal. Furthermore, the trifecta that is Behemoth have incorporated a vast array of sounds into their latest effort, from choral vocals to brass instruments to elements of jazz piano. From start to finish The Apostasy is a wall of crushing sound that manages never to feel too repetitive or boring.

With their latest opus, Behemoth have crafted a modern Death Metal masterpiece. The Apostasy is not to be missed by any aficionado of Black or Death Metal.I have only one complaint, and that is that Behemoth isn’t playing Seattle any time soon. Not even on this year’s installment of the seminal Ozzfest tour! Drat.


A message to pet owners everywhere

I know it may seen like a good idea at the time, but please, for the sake of all that is good and pure, do not dress up your pets in human-style clothing. It is not cute, and your pets do not enjoy it. It is an aberration of the laws of nature. If animals were meant to wear clothing, they would have evolved a way to make it for themselves (or, as the case may be, a way for poverty-stricken animals in third-world countries to make it for them in sweatshops.)

Additional clothing horrors can be found here.


Required Reading: Steal this Book

Steal this Book is Abbie Hoffman‘s guide to surviving outside the accepted norms of society (alternatively, one could think of it as a handbook for dirty hippies, if one were of a more conservative political persuasion.) It has information on how to feed, clothe and shelter yourself without buying into the everyday rat race. Of course, some of the actions which the book recommends is of questionable legality; one section of the book deals with growing your own marijuana, while another section explains how to shoplift effectively. In keeping with the anti-authority spirit of the book, the entirety of the text can be read online in various places. This is just one of them.