Saturday, December 25, 2010

Guahaihoque - The Return of the Ancient Gods (2007)

More prehispanic stuff, Guahaihoque from Colombia.

Guahaihoque is the spirit of death, keeper at eternity´s threshold. . He preserves |n the depth dominions of his sacred lagoon the archaic flame of life and death, eternal and ethereal. it is soul in good and evil… it is us, and nature all with time and space, also representing a spiritual path onward the magnificence of human being, as sons of sun we´re, holding on values and principles of memory and ancient tradition.

Many years of efforts & battle to preserve the core of our music passed by, as we introduced ancestral woodwind instruments, as: “Quena-flute, Quenacho-flute, Sikus, Panpipe, Zampoña, Malta”. These native instruments add a mystical & unique spiritual core to the whole Ancient Epic sound.

Guahaihoque constructs its music and sound as a sinergy of various artifacts of Metal “Death / Black / Thrash / Doom / Heavy” and ritual ancestral music originary of this continent… the concept is still growing, as result we have made a recall to our forefathers through emotional & dreaming songs, full of honour, pride & glory, with millenary spirit almost forgotten by today…s mankind, so we can´t deny our origin, legacy and knowledge, a gift from our forefathers, it´s in our soul.
- Quote ("Guahaihoque")

Guahaihoque are an interesting project, definitely a good quality prehispanic metal band, with heavy folk elements, most evident with the use of woodwind. I do feel the mixing of the different elements in the music doesn't seem to entirely fit, but is good nonetheless. This full length album also seems a bit short.

Definitely check out if into prehispanic stuff which is heavy on folk/woodwind.

Album Name: The Return of the Ancient Gods
Band: Guahaihoque
Genre: Extreme Epic/Folk Metal
Year: 2007
Country: Colombia
Track Listing:

2.Elder Evocations04:59
4.Thy Eternal Golden Dawn04:35
5.Woods Whispering04:04
6.Along A Path05:55
Total playing time31:17


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Panopticon/When Bitter Spring Sleeps - Split (2010)

And yet another release from Panopticon.

This time it's a split with When Bitter Spring Sleeps (more on them later).

Panopticon definitely never ceases to push boundaries and experiment within and outside the confines of BM.

WBSS also represent well on this release, and infact, their use of outdoor recording works alot better here than I remember so on their previous release, though it's been quite a while since I heard that.

Check it out.

Album Name: Panopticon/When Bitter Spring Sleeps - Split
Band: Panopticon/When Bitter Spring Sleeps
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Black Metal, Ambient
Year: 2010
Track Listing:

1.Living in the Valley of the Shadow of Death11:32
2.Living Eulogy07:33
3.Make An Idol of Our Fear and Call It God06:30
When Bitter Spring Sleeps
4.Flames That Taste the Rain09:36
5.We Cower in the Storms of Her Retribution11:14
6.All Things Rise05:57
Total playing time52:22


DR & Vaiya - Cast

So something else from Australia, not surprisingly, a split comprised of two side-projects of members of Encircling Sea.


Vaiya (Q, pron. [ˈvaɪja]), or Vaia (pron. [ˈvaɪ.a]) or Waia (pron. [ˈwaɪ.a]), also called Ekkaia, Eccaia or the Encircling Sea, is the dark sea that surrounds the world of Arda before the cataclysm at the end of the Second Age. Vaiya flows completely around the world, forming a sea below it and a form of air above it. Arda is described as floating on Vaiya, like a ship on a sea.
Ulmo the Lord of Waters dwells in Vaiya, below the roots of Arda. Vaiya is described as extremely cold: where its waters meet the waters of Belegaer in the northwest of Middle-earth a chasm of ice is formed, the Helcaraxë. Vaiya cannot support any ships except the boats of Ulmo: the ships of the Númenóreans that tried to sail on it sank, drowning the sailors.
The Sun passes through Vaiya on its way around the world, warming it as it passes. The next layer of "air", inside Vaiya, is Ilmen, and the last layer, closest to the surface, is Vista.
After Arda was made round Vaiya apparently disappeared, although it may have been changed into the upper atmosphere of the spherical world.
- Quote ("Vaiya")

Vaiya is described as "Ritualistic Ambient Black Metal", and DR as "Nightmarish, Dark Ambient Soundscapes" (at the Encircling Sea website). On the RABM forums, the user behind the project Vaiya says this:

Vaiya is a solo project of ritualistic ambient black metal delving into the disconnection and sorrow of so called civilized living. 

It's very exciting to have some more BM projects like this springing up In Australia, to compliment the already established Encircling Sea. Still quite different in sound/recording, especially given these two acts are not bands in the same way Encircling Sea is.

I dig this stuff, especially Vaiya. The intro to Merkstave is this beautiful acoustic piece, making me think of the folk elements of Panopticon and Petrychor. Then it leads into ambient BM, with slightly raw-type vocals. Right up there with Encircling Sea.

Definitely worth checking out for any Cascadian (inspired) BM fan.

Bandcamp Official Website (Free download available)
Buy the split here

Album Name: Cast
Band: DR/Vaiya
Genre: Dark Ambient/Ambient Black Metal
Year: 2010
Track Listing:

1.The death of innocence, the birth of hatred for all God's creatures13:56
Total playing time32:35

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blackbird Raum - Discography

And now for some folk, without metal.

The first thus far in this blog, but this is really a stand out.

"Raum is a great earl, he is seen as a black bird... he stealeth wonder-fullie out of the King's house and carry it whither he is assigned, he destroieth cities and hath great spite unto dignities of men, he knoweth things present, past and to come, and reconcileth friends and foes."
Pseudomonarchia daemonum
Johann Weyer

- Quote Anti-Politics ("Blackbird Raum")

Blackbird Raum formed out of the nucleus of a squatter community living in abandoned buildings and greenbelt treehouses in Santa Cruz, CA, in the early 2000's. Finding themselves living without electricity, they began to learn to play folk instruments from each other and other members of the traveling punk/folk culture. They all grew up playing in anarcho-punk, indie and ska bands and then, knowing next to nothing about traditional music, slowly gathered together the skills to create a new genre of music, based somewhere right in the middle of punk and folk.
Refusing the retro cliches of many of their contemporaries, they write entirely original music (in both senses of the word) that is reflective of the world they live in: a realm of abusive police, ecological devastation, creeping ambiguity and vague fear, but also a strong sense of community and a deep love of a natural world constantly on the verge of collapse. They jump back and forth between extremely fast metal-influenced jug band dance numbers and quasi-medieval chant-and-drone while doing herky-jerky hardcore-influenced time signature gymnastics. They toured the country in a tiny truck, playing mainstream folk festivals, punk houses, squats and all ages clubs. When they aren't touring, they play various American and European traditional music, hang out in the woods, raise children and read a lot of library books.

- Quote Black Powder Records ("Blackbird Raum")

Blackbird Raum is a band from Santa Cruz, California, where they have become a prominent part of the downtown street life. They are well known for their influence on Gypsy Punk but are generally considered to be the founders of a new genre. Influenced by American String Bands of the 1920's and Modern Anarcho-Punk such as CRASS, their music brings together rhythms of olde-tyme music with lyrics that reflects the sense of impending collapse of the current civilization that pervades much of green anarchist culture in modern times as well as criticizing the human and environmental destruction caused by the current civilization. The lyrics and song names often contain references to historical events, mythical creatures and cultural icons, such as a song titled "Silent Spring", which references the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Blackbird Raum has been on several tours, such as the “burnin’ gasoline while there’s still such a thing,” tour a cross-country tour and a 2010 tour to Alaska. They have appeared both as street performers and on stage at Northwest Folklife, a folk festival based in Seattle, Washington.
- Quote Wikipedia ("Blackbird Raum")

What kind of music is Blackbird RAUM? We have no idea, leave the name of the genre for some hack critic to invent. We're influenced by american string band music of the nineteen twenties, anarcho-punk bands like CRASS and a score of other disparate and incongruous bullshit too numerous to mention.
How we think of ourselves: in the same way that gypsy bands like Taraf de Haidouks feel equally comfortable playing village weddings and large concert halls, we're equally comfortable playing squats, parking lots, and riots as we are playing big folk festivals like Folklife in Seattle. In the same way that your local klezmer band act as emmisaries from their tightly knit jewish community to the world at large, we act as emmisaries from your local tightly knit community of anarchists and squatters to the outside.
- Quote ("Blackbird Raum")


So what can I say? This might not be (black) metal, but this is some of the most amazing music around. Certainly drawing from the historical context of the American vagabond, and sound wise gives the feelings of playing music by a campfire, being amongst the natural world, or simply waiting at a crew-change. The acoustic nature of their music makes it so much more organic and Luddite than electrical dependent metal could ever be. The lyrics are as radically Green as any anti-civ BM act around.

Some of the most positive music I listen to.


Official Website
Officical Myspace
Old Website

Album Name: Purse-seine
Band: Blackbird Raum
Genre: Folk/Punk
Year: 2007
Track Listing:

1.Pistol Dance05:04
2.Honey in the Hair04:10
3.We Believe in Us Versus Them03:36
7.It Is a Poor Sack02:43
8.Ars Goetia04:08
9.A Life in the Corn Syrup03:20
11.Fortuna, I Am a Spear Fisherman11:36

Total playing time50:33


Album Name: Swidden
Band: Blackbird Raum
Genre: Folk/Punk
Year: 2008
Track Listing:

1.Valkyrie Horsewhip Reel03:12
2.California/Fetid Adder’s Tongue03:33
3.Rubicon Drawn02:31
4.Silent Spring04:21
7.Story from Strawmouth02:40
9.Shot Coplifting01:39
10.Unregistered Firearm/Ravachol in Valhalla/Crom06:14
11.A Rat in My Dream01:08
12.Still Sick (years after the draft)03:04
13.Honey in the Hair03:21
16.Everyone up to the Wall03:09
Total playing time52:00

Album Name: Under The Starling Host
Band: Blackbird Raum
Genre: Folk/Punk
Year: 2009
Track Listing:

1.Turning Away02:39
2.Catherine's Wheel02:34
5.To the Barricades!02:36
7.The Helm of Ned Kelly03:26
10.Ensemble Suicide04:28
11.Old One Eye00:55
12.Conquest of Bread02:26
13.A Rat In My Dream00:44
14.Path of Raven03:23
Total playing time34:39  


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tremor & Corubo - Ancestral Metal (2010)

And here is the re-release of the split Tremor and Corubo made in 2009, but this time entitled Ancestral Metal, with new artwork, but otherwise, it does not appear overly different to previous version.

The online/mp3 version came out sometime this year (though I was confused for a long time, the download at their myspace page coming up as the 2009 version for quite a while), and apparently a physical version will be released in 2011.

This download is courtesy of their official myspace page.

Check out this previous post for more on Corubo.

Album Name: Ancestral Metal - The End of Sorrow / Guarani Oporonhenói Gueteri
Band: Tremor/Corubo
Genre: Black, Death Metal/Black Metal, Ambient
Year: 2010
Country: Colombia/Brazil
Track Listing:

3.The Hunting03:14
6.Guarani Oporonhenói Gueteri03:04
9.Kuarahy Osemba Rire03:25
Total playing time39:19


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Xolotl - Xolotl (2009)

From the US, Xolotl - a side project of some of the members of Yaotl Mictlan.

Xolot is brought from his eternal rest in the underworld in the mid 2007 during a break of nearly 12 months of “Yaotl Mictlan”. The need to continue to play extreme metal and after some talks between “Yaotl” (drums), “Xolotl” (guitar) and “Adrian” (guitar) lead to invoke one of the most infamous ancient aztec gods, “Xolotl“. To complete this ancient worship they enlisted two mexica warriors, “Nahualli” (bass) and “La Bruja” (screams). The principle idea was to create a studio project band, but after a short time “Xolotl” proved to be the dark infamy that it truly was. So the idea of only being a studio project band was abandoned and now the band takes life as a well established band of aztec black metal. With this new lineup, some hymns are composed but after the first show Adrian disappears and is considered a deserter and is expelled from the band. Quickly a new mexica warrior is enlisted “Mo’ol Balam” on the bass, and warrior “Nahualli” is moved to guitars. With this line up and after many months of hard work by all members of the band, the debut CD is completed which was recorded in November 2008. Immediately an old friend, mexica warrior Joel Morales of American Line Productions (Alprods.) blindly trusts the band and offers to make the debut album under his signature label. In August of 2009 after several delays in the production of the CD the first attack of “Xolotl“, under the production of Alprods sees the light of day…”
- Quote Xolotl Myspace Page

In Aztec mythology, Xolotl (Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈʃolotɬ]) was the god with associations to both lightning and death.
Although often depicted in relation to the underworld, Xolotl was not a psychopomp in the Western sense. Xolotl did, however, aid the dead on their journey to Mictlan, the afterlife in some myths.
Xolotl was also the god of fire and of bad luck. He was the twin of Quetzalcoatl, the pair being sons of the virgin Coatlicue, and was the dark personification of Venus, the evening star. He guarded the sun when it went through the underworld at night. He also assisted Quetzalcoatl in bringing humankind and fire from the underworld.
In art, Xolotl was depicted as a skeleton, a dog-headed man or a monster animal with reversed feet. He was also the patron of the Mesoamerican ballgame. He is identified with Xocotl as being the Aztec god of fire.
Xoloitzcuintle is the official name of the Mexican Hairless Dog (also known as Perro Pelón Mexicano in Spanish), a canine breed endemic to Central America dating back to Pre-Columbian times. This is one of many native dog breeds in the Americas and it is often confused with the Peruvian Hairless Dog. The name Xoloitzcuintle makes reference to Xolotl because, mythologically, one of this dog's missions was to accompany the dead in their journey into eternity. In spite of this prominent place in the mythology, the meat of the Xoloitzcuintle was very much part of the diet of some of the ancient peoples of the region.
- Quote Wikipedia ("Xolotl")

Xolotl as already mentioned, is a side project of Yaotl Mictlan, so some similarities are inevitable. As far as prehispanic BM goes, they both adhere to that genre generally. However, I think Xolotl tends to be faster (I guess that correlates with the short song lengths), and with less ambient/atomospheric elements like Yaotl Mictlan. If you are a fan of one, quite possibly you'll be a fan of the other. Indeed, I like both, but I'm a fan of ambient/atmospheric BM, and for that reason, for example, Yaotl Mictlan stand out more for me.

Album Name: Xolotl
Band: Xolotl
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2009
Track Listing:

1.La gran limpia de Ix Chel03:32
2.Tlamanaliztli (La ofrenda suprema)03:07
3.El regreso de Tlaloc03:26
6.Kulto de Ketzalcoatl03:52
7.El Sol de manana03:04
9.Xaman Ek02:38
Total playing time31:05


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lake Of Blood - Heed the Primal Calling

Lake of Blood from the US.

Lake of Blood is a black metal band from Southern California with lyrical themes regarding existence, morality, and isolation. The band has collaborated with other projects such as Panopticon. Influences are drawn from across a vast spectrum of different metal sub-genres and the band combines an aggressive sound with that of an atmospheric approach.
- Quote ("Lake Of Blood")

Lake Of Blood are one of the less ambient/atmospheric of the Cascadian BM bands around in my opinion, and more heavy.

For those more specifically interested in vegan BM.

Their split with Panopticon can be found in the post on Panopticon.

Album Name: Heed the Primal Calling
Band: Lake Of Blood
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Year: 2008
Track Listing:

1.Nameless I Arise06:11
2.Heed the Primal Calling03:49
3.The Darkest Path04:52
4.Lake of Blood06:03
Total playing time21:00

 DOWNLOAD (via bandcamp)


This four track EP from Milkweed Records essentially captures “…the story of man’s return to a primal state of existence, free from the spoils of civilization..” in epic, raw black metal. Heed the Primal Calling certainly has that underground metal feel, complete with murky production and a slight tinny echo — it all adds to the band’s delivery nicely. Thick, crunchy riffs pile on top of driving rhythms like demons on a fallen angel as Haagr’s vocals spit vehemence and pestilence.
There’s actually quite a bit to like about these four songs. Besides them being brutally raw in every sense, there’s a decent groove to a few moments within each track that will have you banging your horned head along with the band. It’s not inventive or unique, but the band’s sound is infectious as hell.
Nameless I Arise
Dark, ambient noise greets the listener, setting the mood for the first 50 seconds before driving riffs and rapid fire drums explode from the speakers. The riffs that follow are memorable and have a nice groove to them. The vocals come in around 1:30 with a raw, nasty edge. The band halts their onslaught momentarily at the four minute mark for some string orchestration and acoustic guitar. That stillness is shattered quickly though with melodic riffs that carry the listener into a sea of black. Man, this track is epic with sweeping riffs and well timed blasts. The track ends with a bit of ambient noise.

Heed the Primal Calling
The title track wastes no time getting down to business. After the brief silence that ends “Nameless I Arise,” Lake of Blood erupt like an axe wound to the skull with pummeling drums and driving riffs. The drum work is that of a maniac as Haagr comes in with his tortured screams. The second of the track has a chaotic, disjointed feel with off kilter guitar squeals and tempo changes. It’s an interesting way to end the track, and I think I like it.

The Darkest Path
“The Darkest Path” opens up with a flurry of driving riffs and unrelenting pounding of the drums. The vocals come in much earlier than the previous two tracks as the group summon the darkest of demons with churning guitars and bruising rhythms. I think this is my favorite track on the album. For the most part, the tracks straightforward approach is simple, yet barbaric in its delivery. There is a lull in the black storm that stretches on for about 40 second or so before more thunderous drums and driving riffs come back in to end out the song.

Lake of Blood
The EPs final track starts off with eerie, ambient noise for the first 20 second before a cacophony of guitars and drums flows from the speakers in a flood of black metal. There is a nice underlying melody to this aggressively paced track that gives the song a nice layered dynamic. The vocals seem that much more urgent and ferocious as the band shifts quickly from a mid paced tempo to a demonic sprint into hell.

~ ~ ~
A pleasant surprise in an ever growing glut of black metal, Lake of Fire embrace the underground feel, but also push their skills into otherworldly realms of evil with blasting rhythms, melodic guitars and desolate landscapes. Heed the Primal Calling is just what every malcontent needs in their daily consumption of metal.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Arkhanoth - Dark Prehispania

Arkhanoth, of Mexico.

I'm proud of the greatness of this people that is in my blood, his pride, history, mysticism, its culture.

Therefore, there is no better way for me to start this ritual, with the glory that once was the Mexica, its gods, its empire, its imposing Tenochtitlan.

Taking their rites and dances to create a universe similar to Aztec ever existed.

I must say that my intention never has been to be a purist.

My main goal is to revive again the greatness of these stories through sound elements (bleak, symphonic / environmental) and invite you to recreate and through music in this world, and teach their moments of glory and battle, darkness and rite.

All through a dark cloud through which you traveled, and through it and you'll hear that world, being charmed by the songs and atmosphere of that era.
-From the project website

This is how Lord Arkhanoth, brain behind this one man band, define the background of your project, then a truly excellent and full of wit, and a deep pride in the roots of our land.
With clear influences of teacher Jorge Reyes, but more aimed at the Dark Ambient, with some elements borrowed from Black and Ethnic Metal, ritualistic rhythms, voices resembling cavernous and the murmur of the winds, in addition to an abundance of pre-Hispanic instruments and the emergence sudden soprano adding a dark and at times mournful, is part of what we find in 'Dark prehispanic' production launched in 2007 and since 2008 can be found in many stores in the country recognized.
Curiously it is the only record that the project has to its credit, the different subjects treated previously released as is the case of 'Forbidden Chronicles' album which tells a story in which the Church in union with Hell, conspire to overthrow the Templars, and then continue with themes aimed at addressing the most epic / amazing and a tribute to the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, reaching the pre-Hispanic themes.
A project that deserves to be made known to all, check it out.
 - Translated (badly) from the Dark Ritual blog

In my opinion, Arkhanoth is actually one of the better prehispanic Metal acts I have heard. Though not strictly BM, indeed having elements of symphonic metal, the blending of all the different both metal and folk/traditional elements is woven eloquently.

A must for prehispanic Metal fans.

Arkhanoth is a one-man Black Ambient / Ritual project from Mexican artist Lord Arkhanoth, with deep pride in his Mexican roots. "Dark Prehispania" is a work based on the Aztec Mythos, unleashing their Magic. Dark Ambient with several elements of Black Metal, Symphonic, Ethno-Ambient, Ritual Rhythms, cavernous voices and the rustle of the wind. In addition to this an abundance of pre-Hispanic instruments are used, making the music somewhat obscure and at times funerary.
- Quote here.

Album Name: Dark Prehispania
Band: Arkhanoth
Genre: Ambient/Black Metal
Year: 2007
Track Listing:

1.In Youalteteo (Gods of the Night)04.19
2.Naguall (The Sorcerer) 05.51
3.In Xipetlanonotza (Invocation of the Disincarnate God Xipe)04.15
4.Xipetla'toltencuecuepa (In Tlacaxipeue Xipeteopixtla'toltencuecuepa) [Dialogue with Xipe]03.23
5.Xipe Totec Tlamaniliztli (An Offering to Xipe)04.08
6.Tzacualcuitlatecomiu' (Mictlan Otitech) [The Bowels of the Pyramid]06.58
7.In Teoyayao (In Xochyayao) [Sacred Battles]10.22
8.Naualmi'totia (The Sorcery Dance) 03.21

Total playing time42:37

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Echtra - Burn It All Away (2004) & A War for Wonder (2009)

And another Fauna related project, Echtra.

The hero’s journey par excellence, Echtra represents the transition between this world and the others. A seed, carried as close to one’s heart as spatiality will allow, germinates rebirth and a nomadic wandering no longer bound. A symbiosis of brown, green, and red; the saturation of the grey with the vibrant shades of being: these are the transformations made possible when the otherworld reasserts itself unexpectedly. An immersion in the deep past reveals the portal through which the Soul may emerge unscathed, as an unqualified rejection of the mundane bog of modernity loosens the chains. The adventitious dross of this age sloughs off, revealing the unheralded spectral interior light, and all swirls around the spirit in its adventure towards Home.
- Quote ("Echtra")

An Echtra or Echtrae (pl. Echtrai) is one of a category of Old Irish literature about a hero's adventures in the Otherworld (see Tír na nÓg and Mag Mell); the otherworldly setting is the distinctive trait of these tales. More generally, echtra was the Old Irish word for "adventure", the Modern Irish word is eachtra.
The echtra was one of the most popular of Old Irish genres, so much so that the word later came to be used in the titles of any romance, regardless of otherworldly content. Earlier on, however, an echtra's emphasis was on the hero's time in the Otherworld, the journey to which served merely as a frame story. This distinguishes the echtrai from the Immrama, or "Voyages", which focus on the hero's journey rather than the otherworldly destination.
The hero of the echtra is usually invited to the Otherworld by a beautiful maiden or a great warrior, and he must cross either the western ocean or a plain blanketed by a mystical fog. The host is revealed to be one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, or fairy folk, and Manannan or Lugh often figure into the tale. The hero's fate after his sojourn varies from tale to tale. Sometimes he stays among the sídhe forever, and sometimes he returns with knowledge and gifts for his people. Sometimes the hero discovers his visit has lasted for years or even centuries though he thought no time had passed. He is warned that if he ever touches his home soil again, he will surely perish. In the Voyage of Bran, the heroes describe their adventure to listeners shore, then sail off into oblivion. In a popular story from the Fenian Cycle, Oisín touches the ground and instantly ages three hundred years. He tells his story to Saint Patrick and received a Christian baptism before he died.


  • James MacKillop (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford. ISBN 0-19-860967-1.

 - Quote Wikipedia ("Echtra")


Echtra is probably the Fauna related project that I enjoy the most. All songs on every release clock in at 23 minutes exactly, which is a nice song length for this type of music etc, which is comprised (their second release more with more melody/folk than the first) of largely ambient/atmoshperic, melodic, folk, mixed in with of course, black metal.

And though not as long as Fauna in song length, still requires some patience, and listening to it a few times always helps with stuff like this.



Album Name: Burn It All Away
Band: Echtra
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Drone/Folk
Year: 2004
Track Listing:

1.Burn It All Away I23:00
2.Burn It All Away II23:00
3.Burn It All Away III23:00
Total playing time01:09:00


Echtra is the solo project of one-half of the apocalyptic atavist black metal duo Fauna. Originating from the green forests of Cascadia, Echtra’s music reflects the deep sense of reverence that emanates from the surrounding rich natural landscape. Steeped in live ritual, Echtra transmutes betrayal and abandonment into wisdom on A War of Wonder, conjuring visions of the soul achieving its ultimate reintegration into the corpus of Spirit.
Conceived in 2004 and utilized for ritual performance two years later, A War for Wonder chronicles an experimental aural landscape, eschewing allegiance to the strict confines of black metal in the relentless pursuit of personal mastery. Consciousness is immersed in a musicality wherein the abstractions of “genre” drift away as the sound deepens and swirls, engaging the emotional and etheric bodies in tandem with the intellect.
As the wooden timelessness of the acoustic melds with the distorted vibration of electricity, a new gnosis is reached, shielded from the reductive eyes of reason and allowed to loosen the bonds of the true being within. Containing this liberation is the seed of Echtra, the heroic journey of the Self from the shadows. Initially circulated only within a small circle of collaborators, this work is now issued into the world by 20 Buck Spin, as dictated by the spirits and for the benefit of all beings.

 - Quote here.

Album Name: Burn It All Away
Band: Echtra
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Drone/Folk
Year: 2009
Track Listing:

1.A War for Wonder I23:00
2.A War for Wonder II23:00
Total playing time46:00


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Balam Akab - Xibalba (2006) & Sacrificio (2010)

And from Mexico, Balam Akab.

BALAM AKAB was formed in early 2000 and later that year presented his debut demo entitled STORM characterized as a stand-alone and low production, it should be noted the concept of mysticismprehispanic, legends and ancient ritualsThe lyrics are brought from old books (Popol Vuh, Chilam Balam, the people of the sun and other documents) that describe the life of civilization before the conquest.AKAB BALAM worships these cultures and gives our roots, and on this record called Xibalba (underworld)
We describe the kingdom of darkness and the passing of the man killed in the ball game and facing challenges and to see the light.BALAM AKAB has left an important mark on the Mexican scene, metal made in Mexico for the entire world.

- Quote (roughly translated to English)

Mayans parroted the story of their forefathers who were white and called Balam Akab in Quiche language. That's equivalent to Hebrew Balym Ak'ab or Ba'al Ya'Kab meaning "lords of Jacob". Mayans used the word "sac" to refer to white ancestrals (Isaak in Hebrew).

- Quote here.

Another prehispanic BM band, with strong elements of Death Metal. Interesting band, and a nice break from slow ambient/atmospheric BM. Also amongst the prehispanic BM stuff with better quality production.

Balam Akab Myspace Page

Album Name: Xibalba
Band: Balam Akab
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Year: 2006
Track Listing:

4.La Última Batalla04:50
Total playing time32:39


Album Name: Xibalba
Band: Balam Akab
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Year: 2010
Track Listing:

1.Guerrero Jaguar04:41
5.Maiz / Carne - Sangre03:50
6.Kin (Nacer del Sol)05:00
Total playing time30:38


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Threnos - By Blood and by Earth

Threnos (contained members some members who then went on to form Fauna). The band that apparently started the whole Cascadian BM thing.

Early contributors to the eco-spiritual style of black metal in and among the Cascadian region. Recorded and self-released a tour edition of By Blood And By Earth in 2004, though an official pressing was never released.
- Quote ("Threnos")

"song of lamentation," 1634, from Gk. threnodia,  from threnos  "dirge, lament," + oide  "ode." Gk. threnos  probably is from a PIE imitative base meaning "to murmur, hum;" cf. O.E. dran  "drone," Goth. drunjus  "sound," Gk. tenthrene  "a kind of wasp."


–noun, plural -dies.
a poem, speech, or song of lamentation, esp. for the dead; dirge; funeral song.

1615–25;  < Gk thrēnōidía,  equiv. to thrên ( os ) dirge + -ōid ( ) song ( see ode) + -ia -y3

- Quote ("Threnody")

Threnos is definitely a good band. They inspired a new generation of BM. Perhaps I dig some of the projects derived from this one more, the credit due to this band is unmistakeable.

Recommend for any Cascadian BM fan, but esp those interested in the early stages of the genre.

Album Name: By Blood and by Earth
Band: Threnos
Genre: Folk/Black Metal
Year: 2004
Track Listing:

1.The Call04:12
2.Sparks Borne On The Wind05:35
3.The Return13:01
5.By Blood And By Earth15:53
Total playing time46:42


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Falls Of Rauros - Into the Archaic, Of Stone and the Stars in the Sky & Hail Wind and Hewn Oak

And now to admit that I'm wrong, and prove it, like I admitted with Encircling Sea, having a name which is a reference to LOTR doesn't mean you ain't down for the (eco) cause.

And again, the name specifically refers to:

Falls of Rauros or Rauros were the great falls of River Anduin beneath Nen Hithoel, where the river fell from Emyn Muil to the wetland of Nindalf. It also describes the area near the falls.
At the breaking of the The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Sam paddled a boat from the west bank of the river to the east just above the falls and had to use all their strength to avoid being swept over the falls by the current. Shortly afterward Boromir's body was placed in another boat by Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli who sent it over the falls, but it apparently survived the fall; at any rate, soon afterward it was seen by Faramir upon the lower reaches of the Anduin in what felt to him like a dream yet from which there was no waking, and he retrieved Boromir's cloven horn in truth and not in seeming.
- Quote LOTR Wiki ("Falls Of Rauros")

Yes, I did just quote from something called the LOTR wiki. That's some crazy shit. Haha.

The band describes their music as "North Appalachian Heathen Black Folk Metal," exhibited by their firm beliefs in returning the world to a pre-Christian time, as well as their appreciation for nature.
- Quote ("Falls Of Rauros")

Falls of Rauros is a Black Metal band hailing from Northern Appalachia, by the shores of the Atlantic, by the rocky coast of Maine. It is a unified effort by four individuals to encourage drastic, radical change: the upheaval of the modern world. For in these dire times there is only collapse to strive for… 
- Quote

Personally, Falls Of Rauros are distinctly my thing. I definitely enjoy the folk elements, as some may realise I would, however the rawness (as in, like raw/trve BM for example) of the BM vocals don't do it for me. It is good BM, but just not for me. Definitely check it out if you love the conflation of folk and BM, especially if you like the raw BM vocal style.

Please note, this is an incomplete discography. I can't do everything, but that of which that doesn't not appear here contains songs that appear on the releases presented here however, so they are somewhat unnecessary.

Falls Of Rauros Official Myspace (including two free album downloads)

Album Name: Into the Archaic
Band: Falls of Rauros
Genre: Black/Folk Metal
Year: 2006
Track Listing:
1.A Departure01:46
2.Retracing Our Lineage06:29
3.Contemplation of the Forgotten05:44
4.To Witness Existence As A Subservient Entity09:40
5.March of the Valorous Bane11:25
6.The Winter Harvest06:46
7.A Silent Premonition (Of Our End)07:54
Total playing time58:10


Album Name: Of Stone and the Stars in the Sky
Band: Falls of Rauros
Genre: Black/Folk Metal
Year: 2007
Track Listing:

1.Of Stone and the Stars in the Sky09:10
2.The Fire We Fathered11:29
Total playing time20:39


Amongst the woods, winds, and celestial nights lay these compositions that are best described as Black Folk Metal. Utilizing Black Metal as the monolithic basis of the album; acoustic and electric movements provide for intricately detailed song structures that uphold an organic mood throughout.
- Quote here.

Album Name: Hail Wind and Hewn Oak
Band: Falls of Rauros
Genre: Black/Folk Metal
Year: 2008
Track Listing:

1.The Sun Tonight Has Set01:19
2.The Fire We Fathered12:01
3.Hail Wind and Hewn Oak07:38
4.Fury in Our Blood, Thunder in Our Hearts02:05
5.Of Stone and the Stars in the Sky09:00
6.In Waves of Golden Light10:16
7.To Witness Existence10:10
8.And Never Shall There Be07:53
Total playing time01:00:22


Panopticon (+ Wheels Within Wheels, Lake Of Blood, Skagos) - Discography

So more with what you probably already know, the classics. But it's worth having it here, both so I can say I mentioned it (for the perfectionists), to give them recognition for what they have contributed (give credit where it's due), and just even for the reference itself.

It's none other than Panopticon!

So perhaps you have noticed, but I indeed I think there is certainly "something in a name".  And indeed there is definitely something in this name:

The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the incarcerated being able to tell whether they are being watched, thereby conveying what one architect has called the "sentiment of an invisible omniscience."
Bentham himself described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.

... While the design did not come to fruition during Bentham's time, it has been seen as an important development. For instance, the design was invoked by Michel Foucault (in Discipline and Punish) as metaphor for modern "disciplinary" societies and their pervasive inclination to observe and normalise. Foucault proposes that not only prisons but all hierarchical structures like the army, schools, hospitals and factories have evolved through history to resemble Bentham's Panopticon. The notoriety of the design today (although not its lasting influence in architectural realities) stems from Foucault's famous analysis of it.

... Contemporary social critics often assert that technology has allowed for the deployment of panoptic structures invisibly throughout society. Surveillance by closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in public spaces is an example of a technology that brings the gaze of a superior into the daily lives of the populace. Furthermore, a number of cities in England (UK), including Middlesbrough, Bristol, Brighton and London have recently added loudspeakers to a number of their existing CCTV cameras. They can transmit the voice of a camera supervisor to issue audible messages to the public. Similarly, critical analyses of internet practice have suggested that the internet allows for a panopticon form of observation. ISPs are able to track users' activities, while user-generated content means that daily social activity may be recorded and broadcast online.
Shoshana Zuboff used the metaphor of the panopticon in her 1988 book In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power to describe how computer technology makes work more visible. In 1991 Mohammad Kowsar used the metaphor in the title of his book "The Critical Panopticon: Essays in the Theatre and Contemporary Aesthetics" (American University Studies Series Xxvi Theatre Arts). Earlier, Michel Foucault used the term more generally as a metaphor in describing Western society.
- Quote Wikipedia ("Panopticon")

Panopticon, is also an Isis album, I should note.

Panopticon is a one-man atmospheric black metal band from Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America which holds anarchist beliefs. The band was formed by Austin Lunn (A.) in 2007, and in early 2008 he left his other band Anagnorisis to focus all his attention on Panopticon. The band is influenced both by early BM like Darkthrone and Mayhem and by crust bands such as Amebix, and has also named bluegrass, folk music (especially Nordic folk), Tom Waits, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor as influences; A. has also claimed that upcoming material will be influenced by shoegaze.

2008 - Panopticon
2009 - Panopticon/Wheels Within Wheels (split with Wheels Within Wheels)
2009 - Collapse
2009 - Panopticon/Lake of Blood (split with Lake of Blood)
2010 - Panopticon/When Bitter Spring Sleeps (split with When Bitter Spring Sleeps)
2010 - Skagos/Panopticon (split with Skagos)

Throndt was originally slated to be involved with the Skagos split as well, but dropped out of the project. Panopticon’s sides for its 2010 splits comprise two halves of a record entitled On The Subject Of Mortality, which is slated for a forthcoming vinyl release as well). Several other releases are projected for the future and may have already been recorded, and A. is also recording drums for the new Falls of Rauros full-length. A. is also a member of doom metal band Seidr.

- Quote ("Panopticon")

Honestly, what can I say? Panopticon really is the benchmark when it comes to Cascadian (style) BM. If you look at the rates of downloads at the RABM blog, Panopticon releases dominated it. It's a pretty easily understood fact, they have attained a commendable standard very quickly.

Even beyond that though, Panopticon does not find the easy way to such a place. From release to release, there is change, experimentation, evolution, ... risk. More traditional BM fans, maybe not as far as the raw/trve variety, admire some of it. But there is definite folk influences, especially evident in Collapse. For me, though perhaps not neccessarily my favourite stuff, I find compelling and beautiful in of itself. I think any music, be it metal or not, if attempting some relationship with the natural world and pre-modern (lack of a better word) cultures cannot ignore the place and beauty of folk music.

In the middle of the bush, the forest, in the wilderness, it's easier and more sustainible to play an acoustic instrument, etc than anything electric. What else is really in touch with a culture of communion, whilst still using the gifts that is the human hands to graft music that embraces the wild world that both we (hopefully) sustain, and that sustains us?

I really need not say more, Panopticon is a stand out BM out whoever you are, hippie like me or not. Diverse, yet consistent, and with a plethora of releases coming up (or just released).

Highly recommend, and enjoy!

Album Name: Panopticon
Band: Panopticon
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Year: 2008
Track Listing:

2.Flag Burner, Torch Bearer10:40
3.I, Hedonist15:08
5.The Lay of Grimnir13:06
7.Emma's Song06:38
Total playing time01:07:33


Album Name: Panopticon
Band: Panopticon / Lake of Blood
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Melodic Black Metal
Year: 2009
Track Listing:

1.Haunted America05:28
2.La Passione di Sacco & Vanzetti11:37
Lake of Blood
3.Eternal in My Domain03:49
4.Lake of Blood (Live)05:41
5.Eternal in My Domain (Live)03:36
Total playing time30:11


Album Name: Panopticon
Band: Panopticon/Wheels Within Wheels
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Black Metal
Year: 2009
Track Listing:

1....Speaking... (Collapsed Version)10:40
2.The Ghosts of Haymarket Square07:27
Wheels Within Wheels
4.White Light Rains Down On....13:48
Total playing time36:39


Album Name: Collapse
Band: Panopticon
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Year: 2009
Track Listing:

1.The Death of Baldr and the Coming War15:54
Total playing time46:24


Album Name: Panopticon
Band: Panopticon/Skagos
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal/Black Metal
Year: 2010
Track Listing:

1.Smoldering Embers12:33
2.Anamnesis II: A Dry, Sterile Thunder, Without Rain15:15
3.A Message to the Missionary07:06
5.Watching You09:14
Total playing time52:16


And now we wait for the many splits to come, such as the one with When Bitter Springs Sleep.


You might also like: (under construction...)