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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Elfsgedroch - a YouTube Find

Elfsgedroch - "Gieselbaarg"

I'm starting a series of posts focusing on the bands and tracks I find on various YouTube Metal Promotion channels. I might do a weekly post picking my favorite of the ones posted the previous week, or I might write whenever I feel the urge. This may be risky since 99.99% of the projects I've seen there I have never heard of before. So that's also probably good, because maybe these "reviews" will help somebody out! Anyways, today I chose something relatively small, yet very new, and it's a preview of their upcoming release on tape.

Elfsgedroch - Op de Beenderen van Onze Voorvaderen (The Bones Of Our Ancestors)
coming March, 2016

Elfsgedroch is described as NLBM (Netherlands Black Metal), "Inspired by the northern parts of the Netherlands. With it's desolate meadows, haunting winds, hungry sea, ancient spirits, occult myths, dark legends and bloody historic events," (from their FB page, (Play the song as you read: )

Well how can anyone resist a band with such inspiration?! With less than 100 fans on Facebook, less than 500 song views on the band channel, and me being the 11th person to "view" this song on YouTube at Black Metal Promotion, I'm seriously wondering where this band's great recording quality and availability came about (but yes, I do know that some countries consider having released an album a musical profession, and therefore allot tour time, funds, or what-have-you to encourage their career). I just read they record and release their own music themselves - well done! Anyways, I have not heard anything from them until now.

To sum up the sound of the band's latest released track "Gieselbaarg", I hear matter-of-fact attitude  and suspenseful chords (though not unlike a progression heard from the Karkelo days of Korpiklaani), even-rolling drumming (musical term for this style? - I don't know, help me out), the chords continue with barking harsh vocals sandwiching a public speech/dictator style clip of Antichrist commentary, and appropriate tempo adjustments that keep the song interesting. The final seconds seem to be set in a small church with sunday school kids singing a not-so-alarming sounding hymn, which hopefully trails off, or somehow in epic fashion leads into the next song, which has not yet been released.

Because I don't understand, speak, or read Dutch, I found the lyrics on their bandcamp ( and via Google Translate translated them for further interpretation and context. "Gieselbaarg" seems to have no direct translation into English, but the lyrics are well composed (those that translated anyways) - and horrifying (without being gory and graphic). Suddenly the start to this album has a whole new meaning - it's like, we're on a road trip with Log Lady from Twin Peaks and, "Look, over there, between Wedde and Wessinghuizen, there's a story from there..."

Not too unexpected from black metal inspired by - let's face it - the northern region of anywhere, and I'm liking the direct use of the word "voraciously" in particular. But drawing from their inspirations, i.e. "bloody historic events", are we hearing a Holocaust story? An actual witch burning? Is this fact or fiction? Do any of the band members have experience with the land between Wedde and Wessinghuizen?

So many questions!

Comparing this intro track to the 6th track ("Van Helsdeur tot Duivelshoorn/From Helsdeur To Devil's Horn", the only other track currently available for listening at the moment), it does sound more folk metal(ish), and is likely easing the listener into a more harsh sounding album staying true to black metal sound (and subject matter).

I dig it so far. It's not the best thing since this, that, and the other thing, but it's a nice taste of art from our Groningen friends in northern Netherlands. I love how they sing in their first language, but I do hope some sort of lyrics translation sheet/liner notes will be available when the album is officially released - they are not to be missed!

Thanks to Elfsgedroch for making your voice heard in the metal community, and thanks to Black Metal Promotion on YouTube for sharing this track and doing all you do for metal.

keywords: elfsgedroch, netherlands black metal, nlbm, wedde, wessinghuizen, groningen, black metal, black metal promotion, bandcamp, geiselbaarg, Van Helsdeur tot Duivelshoorn, Op de Beenderen van Onze Voorvaderen, northern netherlands black metal, new metal review, 2016 metal releases, jindy, metal music jindy,

Monday, February 08, 2016

Hail Santa VI VI VI! Seattle, Day 2

Picking up where I left off in my thoughts on Day 1 of Hail Santa VI, 2015, I have to say I think the lineup for Day 1 was more true to the Hail Santa "spirit". But Day 2 made itself heard loud and clear with me, and the more I look back, I want to see more! Here's the lineup for Day 2:

Saturday December 12th, 2015

I had partied pretty hard and talked to so many people on Friday that when Saturday came I was excited to see how it would pan out. Brainscraper kicked off the night with their awesome grind sound that I couldn't seem to recall before their set. Since 2014 I've seen them in 3 different contexts: house show, small venue, and at the Highline. I remember their sound being more black metal, but Saturday's set came out much more grind and speed influenced than I was expecting.

image from

image from

Maybe the black metal impression was left due to their band logo that seems to be trying to please everybody?  

Nevertheless, I left feeling surprised - in a good way! The singer, Fryburger, had so much energy and enthusiasm to be on stage for Hail Santa VI that I was constantly drawn back to what was going on stage, rather than side conversations. They were probably the only band that acknowledged that Hail Santa was going on that night, and I love that someone remembered! They truly set the mood for the second grueling day of Hail Santa VI! Which is bittersweet, as I just heard that they broke up after that show and shall not be playing again... bummer, I wanted to see them at least one more time.

Which leads me to the next local opening band, Rhine. At this point I was a bowl and a drink in, and as I shared a table near the back of the room I was experiencing very strong emotions. I'm talking way strong! First I'll talk about their sound (so much to talk about!). Rhine carried the torch in a soft, emotional, progressive rock fashion with professional stage presence and kind, grateful, and humble words between songs. My initial thoughts were "sounds like Tool", "reminds me of Muse", and "I like this part, it's pretty metal". My final thoughts were scattered, panicked, and somehow excited. I said it and I mean it; strong emotions - I was filled with confusion, delight, embarrassment, excitement, love, and hate - because I couldn't decide how I felt about this band! To this day I couldn't answer the question, "Is Rhine good?" (not to be confused with, "is Rhine any good?") without a long winded explanation and pondering of what one considers to be "good". I couldn't help but laugh at myself for literally fighting back tears as I sat, laughed, and listened to the kind, professional, prog-rock-meets-death-metal-interludes band in front of me. (Keep reading, I'm not finished!) I knew it would be hard to keep this section on Rhine nice and concise, but after reading Invisible Oranges' first impression blurb on them I was better able to formulate my thoughts, and came to this conclusion: 

Rhine - "An Outsider", 2016
image from

Rhine is a unique experimental project blurring the lines between highly segregated genres, including metal... 
They just aren't meant for Hail Santa.  

But they are totally worth checking out. I advise you to go see them live:
Feb. 20th Rhine (album release show), Odyssian, Ghostblood, Hexengeist @ The Kraken
Feb. 23rd Gravespell, Embryonic Devourment, Rhine @ the Funhouse

If you must listen before you go, or simply cannot wait until the end of the month to hear these guys, they just released their full-length digital album An Outsider on Bandcamp ( You might be confused, or ride a roller coaster of emotions as I did, but I certainly do not think you will be disappointed.

I guess I was riding the "inconsistent emotions" of Rhine's presence at Hail Santa, so Ghostblood left zero impressions on me. No disrespect, I just don't remember a single thing about them. Actually, I am mustering up one lingering thought: High School Battle of the Bands. In Seattle this probably means something very different compared to High School Battle of the Bands in Buttf**k, Alaska, but based on this one single impression I'd give this band an S, for "Satisfactory." I definitely plan on attending future shows to get a better understanding of their sound and aesthetic. 
Here's their info though: Bandcamp: , Encyclopaedia Metallum: , FB: .

So here's something for you.... As embarrassing as it is to admit, I had never heard Atriarch or Wolvhammer before December 12, 2015. I am a mature adult and accept all shaming consequences of not having done so.... That said, I am so grateful I heard them both for the first time live.  

Atriarch has that meditative quality that I have been satiating through YouTube sound clips of didgeridoo, singing bowl, and handpan players (for months and months now). They completely entranced me with their droney, almost goth-rock type vocals lain pillowy atop blackened doom bedding. Their screachy vocals are oh so "Cascadian black metal" delicious, too. I found their sound to be heavy, stark, and seamlessly composed.

Atriarch, 2014
image from

For me personally, I truly feel the branch of metal in which Atriarch resides is part of what I am missing for true self actualization. 

They come from Portland, OR and I am already mentally planning a short road trip to see them again in 2016. They have 3 full-lengths and a split out, so there's plenty to explore if these guys are new for you too. Enough talk. Go give them a listen! Go! Bandcamp: , Encyclopaedia Metallum: , FB: .

It's hard to follow an act like Atriarch. I remember thinking these exact words as Wolvhammer set up to play, but Wolvhammer wasn't far off from the mark Atriarch left. As the night was wrapping up, I said goodbye to those who were leaving, and stayed the rest of the show on my own. I remember that Wolvhammer entertained, and they entertained hard. I'm reading that they are described as "blackened sludge metal", and although I am not well versed in the ways of sludge, I'd say that is pretty accurate. On one hand, I kind of wish Wolvhammer had played before Atriarch, since Atriarch left me feeling completely and utterly satisfied with the entire night - in a state of zen. But, on the other hand, I'm glad they played last, because after their expulsion of energy and hard entertainment, I don't know if I would have appreciated both as much. These guys also did not seem to know what the whole "Hail Santa VI VI VI" show was about, and did not give a single shout out as a result, but they delivered for sure. I wish I had more to say on these guys, but after having my mind blown twice in one night, I'm not surpirsed I saved my brain energy for remembering the other acts. I'd listen for yourself as I really haven't divulged any information on their sound whatsoever, and I guess I apologize for this.
Metal Bandcamp has a review and a sound clip:
Encyclopaedia Metallum:

There we go! Day 2 Hail Santa VI VI VI! Overall both days were interesting, brutal (in all senses of the word), and full of surprises. Things I was most excited about: uhh, that it happened! I don't think the lineup was announced until 1.5 months before the show because of the issues with The Josephine and scrambling to find a new venue. Also, I'm stoked to walk away with a handful of new bands that I really dig, and can proudly say I saw live the first time I heard them. Last but not least, I was very excited to catch up with people I hadn't seen in a while, some even months. I go to shows for the music, yes, but also for the people. Music comes from people, and both those things energize me and inspire me on so many levels. I am truly grateful that so many people in the metal community were able to make it out!

Now, things I was not so excited about: it was not an all ages show. This happens, but like I said I'm glad the show still happened. I was also bummed about the lack of Hail Santa celebratory "essence", but that is probably just the chained up kid inside me trying to make itself known in the cold, bleak, less-than-enthusiastic air that is Seattle. Although it wasn't the Hail Santa I grew to know, these shows were a great end to an equally interesting, brutal, confusing, roller-coaster year full of surprises that was 2015! I can't wait to see what Hail Santa VII will bring us, but I'm sure everyone has taken a few notes on what they want to see, both new and traditional.


keywords: hail santa vi, hail santa, hail santa seattle, seattle local shows, highline bar, the josephine, brainscraper, ghostblood, atriarch, wolvhammer, rhine, progressive rock, metal, metal scene seattle, black metal, doom, doom metal, blackened doom, goth vocals, brainscraper band breaks up, hail santa day 2, grind, grindcore, grind metal, jindy, metalmusicjindy, seattle girl metal blog, alaska, portland, metal shows, new releases

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Makeup and Metal! Ain't Talkin Face Paint

Photo of me 2006, caption by Alli T.

Hello! So I had an idea for a (not so) quick post about the two main things keeping me sane these days, and those are Makeup and Metal! Don't close the page, just hear me out til the end!

from, (YouTube: emilynoel83)
I watch a lot of makeup tutorials on YouTube on a daily basis, I think mostly because I live alone and having a video with someone talking in the background is comforting and motivates me to get up and get ready to go (I am NOT a morning person!). Also I think makeup can be an amazing creative outlet for someone who doesn't have a lot of room for paintings or that brush-and-color type of art medium. Every day you create a new piece of art on your face, ranging from natural and practically unnoticeable to BOLD BOLD BOLD with heavy lip color, eye shadows, or blushes! This is what I do when I'm not listening to music, working, sleeping, or practicing didgeridoo. 

from JadeTheLibra on Tumblr, (YouTube: JadeTheLibra)
I've seen a lot of dramatic looking makeup videos with a lot of varied responses posted in the comment sections. Lots of love, lots of hate, lots of threads perpetuating the love and hate. Over time I've grown to feel pretty indifferent to the negativity because of the fact that everyone is different, everyone has different taste, and there is no "good" or "bad" or "wrong" makeup look, and somehow in the wiring of my brain I came to realize THE SAME GOES FOR METAL. 

Me, 2002

For me, personally, I remember way back (in Middle School and early High School) sticking with what was familiar as far as music goes; the Anchorage Rock station 106.5 KWHL (K-Whale) and got really into Nirvana, Mudvayne, Disturbed, Godsmack, Slipknot, Ozzy Osbourne, Tool, and Anchorage-born Hardcore/Metal somewhat-celebrities 36 Crazyfists. Although my dad was constantly listening to better stuff (see my post titled A Metal Father's Day: Kreator!), I unfortunately never paid much attention to "the good stuff" until years later. 

Late High School my guy friends were into genres like Screamo, Hardcore, Emo, and "Alternative" (what a boring adult term for what couldn't exactly be identified, huh?). Let's not forget those digital cable "Music Choice" channels where I discovered many "mainstream" metal projects like Tiamat, Hatebreed, and maybe even crazier sounding bands like Carach Angren and Anaal Nathrakh, which I didn't necessarily care for at the time, but I appreciated a mainstream access point for extreme Metal when I didn't own or know of anything like that at the time. Going into college Adult Swim came out with the much loved (and missed) show Metalocalypse, which further solidified my love for, and how much I really missed, Metal. Some newer acquaintances were playing in local metalcore bands like Korupture (death/thrash metal), Sicarius (metalcore), Decepticide (death metal), and Bound by Entrails (black/symphonic metal). 

Me! Ready to see Trollfest for the 2nd time.
Fast forward to my favorites now, which lie mostly in the Black Metal, Melodic & Symphonic Black Metal, Folk Metal, and Heavy Metal Categories. Let's list the CDs in my car rotation right meow: Naglfar (Ex Inferis), Agalloch (Pale Folklore), Encircling Sea (Écru), Ensiferum (One Man Army), Summoning Sickness (To End The Light), and Venom (Welcome To Hell). I don't want to leave out some Doom I've been sucked into lately, like Wolvserpent, Bell Witch, and SwampheavY. This is by no means a comprehensive list of my favorites, but it's a few examples that can relate to what I'm getting at with Makeup and Metal (EVERYTHING is going to be bold and CLICKABLE! by the time I'm done with this I swear! Haha).

I was thinking that my early stages of liking and listening to heavy music and metal is comparable to my early stages of liking and using makeup. The stages of evolving equally so! The more I learned about makeup, the more I realized I was using products that did NOT work best for my skin type, eye shadow colors that did not complement my eye color or skin color, and I was missing good detail products like a mascara that worked for my eyelashes, and primers that help everything stay in place. I liked the idea of what makeup can do, but I was uneducated and had bad taste. My makeup wasn't shitty, but I like to think it has improved!

Me June 2005
Me November 2005

Likewise, the more I learned about music (particularly Metal), the more I realized I liked the idea of Metal, but the metal I was listening to was not what I would have picked myself (ahem, marketing and promotion managers, you got me!). I liked what was available to me, and there was basically 1 (one) music store in my town at the time; pretty limited selection. In a nutshell: I liked shitty music! As with anything, the more familiar and knowledgeable you become about something, the better able you are to choose and use it!

Me(dusa) 2015, Seattle, WA

One of the best things about 
these 2 loves of mine is 
combining them! I love to go 
to costumed events and 
challenge myself to use what 
makeup products I have to 
make a fun (or brutal) look for 
whatever I'm doing. I feel 
more comfortable trying out 
dark dramatic eye makeup
for everyday wear, and 
the extreme ends of the 
spectrum of metal are no 
longer foreign noises that
make me question why 
someone would waste their 
time composing such nonsense.

Me & Elk, 2015, Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park
Calling my early taste in music "shitty" is an exaggeration because we all change, and our preferences in things change as well. That's the point of this I suppose! Mudvayne will always have a special spot in my memories (I can write about that sometime because there is a reason), and Tool is always #1 in my heart. In fact, The bright green or bright lavender eye shadow I packed on before my 1st Period Gym Class wasn't terrible, it was part of the process. Listening to Godsmack and Mudvayne wasn't terrible, it was part of my process getting to where I am today (If you're imagining a blonde girl doing gymnastics with purple makeup, metal shirts, and the Mudvayne logo branded on one ankle, that was me!). We were all awkward metal puppies at one point, so I'm choosing to embrace my past!

There is no "good" or "bad" or 
"wrong" makeup look, and somehow I came to realize

keywords: metalmusicjindy, jindy's metal blog, metal blog in seattle, makeup, makeup tutorials, how makeup relates to metal, metal music, black metal, folk metal, melodic black metal, symphonic black metal, doom metal, emilynoel83, emily eddington, jadethelibra, jade the libra, nirvana, mudvayne, godsmack, slipknot, ozzy osbourne, early 2000's metal music, wolvserpent, bell witch, swampheavy, naglfar, metalocalypse, adult swim, summoning sickness, agalloch, drone, noise, cult metal, encircling sea, tool, 36 crazyfists, kreator, heavy metal, venom, trollfest, sicarius, decepticide, korupture, bound by entrails, tiamat, hatebreed, carach angren, anaal nathrakh, screamo, hardcore, emo, metalcore, thrash metal, shitty music taste, my neck hurts, too many keywords, i hope someone has kitteh that sits on teh warm

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hail Santa VI VI VI! Seattle, Day 1

For 6 years now Seattle has put on an annual holiday-timed metal show called Hail Santa. I have attended IV, V, and now VI, and as I get to know the nuances of metal shows in Seattle, I draw from my experiences in having attended metal shows in Alaska, Argentina, and now Washington. I write to take advantage of my varied perspective of metal music, and hope someone out there gains something from my experiences! Now, back to Hail Santa. No bullshit! I have mixed feelings about Hail Santa VI VI VI (from here on referred to as Hail Santa VI) that I am slowly identifying and separating over time. This is inevitable as a really awesome idea becomes spotlight in a music scene as prominent as that of Seattle, WA. Let's start!

The two previous Hail Santas I attended were at a local DIY venue called the Josephine in Ballard of Seattle, Washington (currently shut down, but rumor says will reopen as an official venue by night and possible record store by day). I fell in love with the DIY show culture Seattle has to offer. Being from Anchorage, AK there were pretty much only DIY shows for anyone who listened to more than just radio rock and pseudo-metal. The local metal scene in Anchorage is practically non-existent, and the shows you do make it out to sound more like garage jam bands that practiced twice and then performed live (I think I'll write about the few good exceptions in the near future).

First, I want to explain the magic of the Josephine experience! The Josephine is the perfect setup for underground shows of all types; experimental, noise, metal, punk & crust punk, new artists and established artists. In addition to the cartoonish intestines painted all over the walls spelling "Josephine", various faces, and other changing images, the space has a "balcony" running above the "stage" area (technically a hallway between bedrooms, I believe - it's an interesting re-purposed and re-re-purposed space). This balcony allows for surprise performance type things, such as Garbage Clause! A bitter, kinda crazed character that literally takes garbage out of trash cans and hands it out to people towards the end of the show (Hail Santa IV). Some additional "gifts" included bad porn dvds and I don't even know what else. Headless Pez (PDX) at Hail Santa IV also sprayed the crowd with green and red goo through a gigantic costume dick (Gwar style). A tolerant group of DIY venue residents, home-done theatrics, costumes, BYOB, and well seasoned riff-shredding BRUTAL as FUCK local Metal Bands shouting "HAIL SANTAAA!!" is what makes Hail Santa in Seattle the event to look forward to every year!

Fast forward to Hail Santa VI at the Highline Bar on Capital Hill.

The Highline is always one of my favorite venues for attending shows. The bartenders do their job, they don't bullshit you with small talk, and they are always attentive (in my experience). The sound guy is good and shows sound great. It's one of the few places I've seen where bands and performers are free to bring stage props (including skinned pig heads on pikes and portals to the Underworld) AND burn incense: This is very important for many local and touring bands. Not to mention the return of the Vegan Kitchen with new & improved vegan tacos, sandwiches, and delicious sides open til 11:00pm every night!

The first night opened with two upside down Xmas trees with red lights and red tree toppers on stage. Yes! I was inspired by this to make my own painted paper tree and taped it upside down on the outside of my apartment door, and put unused band stickers all over as ornaments (I topped it with a bloody pentacle and apparently my weird mostly-also-from-Alaska neighbors dig it). Looking around I didn't see much else as far as Hail Santa decor goes. A few attendees wore Santa hats, and the flier/T-shirt artist/one of the co-coordinators and his beautiful dreadlocked lady were in their metal Santa costumes as usual: A refreshing sight for sore eyes!

The lineup was fantastic, at times.

Friday December 11th, 2015

Saturday December 12th, 2015

I arrived Friday in time to realize I had missed Progenitor, yet again! (But YOU can check out a 3 year old video of them at the late 2 Bit Saloon! , since that is the only online shred of evidence that I can find of their existence), BUT I arrived in time to see the last 4 songs of Substratum! I've seen Substratum play with their old lineup several times around town (mainly at Kraken Bar and Studio 7), but this was my first show seeing them with new members Max Nazaryan and Junkyard Amy Lee! These guys are (and always were) GREAT on stage! I can't decide who stole the show more; guitarist Jonny Haynes with his killer solos and heavy metal spirit, Lead Singer Junkyard Amy Lee with her independent, confident, BADASS attitude and glass shattering Metal vocals!, Guitarist Max Nazaryan's stage presence/costume, dedication to the moment and obvious musically harmonizing chemistry with Jonny, or that KILLER drummer Eric Smith who not only solidifies the entire performance with stoicism and seemingly no effort, but goes almost unnoticed because he's just THAT GOOD. I might be just a little prejudiced in their favor because of my prior connections with these guys, but I don't necessarily think so! The crowd demanded an encore and several people commented to me that they could really be big if they take the band "seriously". Regardless of my stance with the band, Substratum is a real "up & coming" heavy metal project you cannot miss! (arrrggh I hate that term but what else is there?!). Check out some of their amazing-but-does-no-justice-compared-to-their-LIVE-PERFORMANCE-so-please-contribute-to-their-upcoming-recording-sessions DEMO TRACKS at: , and follow them on Facebook! !!

I hate to follow the elating experience with Substratum with a lackluster summary of Raptor. BUT, I guess that's it in a nutshell. This was my first time seeing Raptor (also found under Facebook search term "Raptor Thrash"), so I will not write them off just yet. My taste these days falls more with black metal, heavy metal, and doom, so I can't hold that against them. I look forward to seeing them thrash again in the future at Famine Fest III in Portland, OR. (see the Famine Fest III lineup on the official Famine Fest NW Facebook page: ).

Sarcalogos followed with another great performance with the deadly duo Skylar "Sarcalogos" Occisor and drummer Dave Phillips! I always try to see these guys! They produce so much sound and brutal riffs and beats with just the two of them, I always leave feeling inspired and motivated to sharpen my musical skills. These guys brought me back to Hail Santa for the night (feeling slightly let down after Raptor's performance), but also seemed to close the night for me. Once I've seen two bands like Substratum and Sarcalogos in one night, I'm a happy camper. Not only are they having fun and dedicated to Sarcalogos, going on 9 years of satanic Black Metal, but Singer/Guitarist Skylar "Sarcalogos" is just a great human being to talk with and run into the few times a year I make it out to a Sarcalogos show. Check them out at , and , AND .

Although I have seen Xoth (SEA) live a few times since the disintegration of Medieval Eternity and Phalgeron, I can't seem to remember what they sound like. I seem to remember a similarity to the relatively new blackened Thrash project Void Wraith, but the biggest reason I remember the sound of Void Wraith is because of their black cloak anonymous costumes and my inability to decide if I love the bouncy riffs or hate it for being cheesy. Nevertheless, I am always interested in seeing Xoth "one more time", so something about them piques my interest! Possibly the consistently intrigueing stage presence of Singer Tyler Splugis? Check them out for yourself at , at the Metal Archives: , or even better, their music track packed Bandcamp!: .

Witchaven only got half of my attention as I synced into winding down with the rest of the crowd on the patio outside. A few beers and a bowl in I was having a good time catching up with acquaintances and, unfortunately, being trapped by a sickening display of attempted Twerking lessons. Looking back I wish I had retreated inside to see all of Witchaven's set! No words I have to offer on Witchaven can accurately depict their sound or stage presence, but I WILL say that I thiiiink they were added to the bill for revenue, and offered zero "HAIL SANTA!"s. Thinking on that, they MUST be worth a listen for headlining Hail Santa at the last minute, right? Listen here: , Read here: , and keep up here!: .

So here's my experience of Day 1. All in all, looking only at Day 1, was this Hail Santa worthy of being number VI VI VI??

I think not.

Well, musically, yes it was a pretty good show. So many coordinating, practicing, loading and unloading, TRAVELING (thank you Portland and bands from the beyond!), costume making/face painting, sound checking, throat-clenching, arpeggio-scaling, horn-throwing SAVAGE and UNRELENTING hours go into making this show (and others) happen! I had an awesome time, both with the bands and without them, and would suggest to any fan of metal, or otherwise heavy music, that they make time in their busy holiday schedules to make it out to Hail Santa in Seattle.

Now. Back to the "I think not" in assessing the worthiness of the title Hail Santa VI VI VI. What I'm saying is there was nothing new at this show. Both days, in fact. There wasn't even much of the "old" stunts that were done before. The newest thing I can tell is there were bigger name bands this year. Some of them were thrown on the bill without even knowing what the event was about. I totally understand needing to fill the venue, and no disrespect to the amazing owner of the only Vegan Resto-Bar / Metal, Rock, and Punk Venue in town (I'm talking about the Highline now, but shout-out to Georgetown Liquor Company - step up your show game GLC!), but this show could have been so much more brutal! Negativity aside, I do want to express how great it was to see all my metal friends and acquaintances out for the occasion, as many of us get stuck in our routines and decide to forego even the biggest and best metal events of the year. I also enjoyed being able to pay an affordable entry price ($12) each night to see not only a sizeable number of bands (6 one night, 5 the next), but a few well known, EXTREMELY talented groups.

In a nutshell: Not the Hail Santa I know, but still a good show.

So much went into the show and I'd like to thank the Highline for putting it on, the local bands for being a part, and those from out of town who made the trip especially to play at Hail Santa! Oh yeah, and all of us daemons for supporting an ever-growing local Metal event throughout the years.

Now... ready for Part II?


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Saturday, October 24, 2015

What Makes Us So Metal?

Although my taste in music hasn't changed much, I have to admit that it really has. It has been honed in to black metal for quite a while, which is a stark change in pace from the folk metal I am usually drawn to. I don't know what I am going to say today, so if you have nothing better to do today, read on with me and let's see where we end up.

My ipod bit the dust some 3 months ago and I have done a lot since then. I've gone on a 2 week road trip down to LA, over to Colorado, and back to Seattle. This included a huge extended family reunion in the Rocky Mountains that has helped me ground myself as who I am related to my family members. I've had a procedure done on my right elbow to alleviate pain from "tennis elbow" (btw 5 weeks in and still no relief of pain). I've brainstormed a general outline for the next year or two of my life to shape my career and what I want to be doing eventually.

In the meantime I've been listening to other people's music. Since my ipod died, my computer cable also disappeared somehow as well. My only lifeline to my music and my documents has not been charged and accessed until today. At this moment I am not listening to anything. Three months ago I would have something metal playing, maybe something on the TV, and I'd be writing this in hopes that someone would enjoy it somehow. I think that by being forced to be apart from my music for a while I have broadened my horizons.

Some solid examples are (as embarrassing as it is to admit to it): Alice Cooper. Black Sabbath. Blue Oyster Cult. Thin Lizzy. Even more embarrassing is my rank at the last Rock'n Roll Trivia night which was hosted at The Mix in Seattle (but I still won a Tom Waits album so I feel pretty good about that). Anyways, there are many more examples but here's a few. I am embarrassed to admit that besides Black Sabbath, I could only name one or two hits from these people before being brought up to date on them. These guys are amazing, period. They aren't only stepping stones between the genres of acid rock and heavy metal, they are the mountainous foundation of the range of metal as we know it. How could I have discounted them so during my lifetime? Oh maybe it's because I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty metal dad who always played those guys growing up. Up until recently those were "dad bands". Oh, how I have so much to learn!

One of the best things I've done recently is open an account at Scarecrow Video. I can't believe how many documentaries on rock, metal, and heavy music there are. My boyfriend and I made a declaration that we are going to watch every one of them. The first one we watched was Super Duper Alice Cooper, an amazing first hand account of how Alice Cooper came to be. I won't give a summary, but I have to say that Vincent Furnier (Alice Cooper) is one of the most persevering, ingenious, creative, and personable celebrity musician performers that I have ever had the pleasure to learn about. He had the odds largely against him and his starting bands, and when I think about my own life and how I've given up after a couple tries at something, it makes me sick about myself. But, feeling sick can be a huge motivator for making change happen.

 photo credit

That is what metal has always done for me anyways, more than any other type of music, metal always helps me think critically about my life and my surroundings. An article on Invisible Oranges called "7 Reasons it Feels Like Every Metal Band Is From Scandinavia" explores statistics on what conditions are responsible for producing so many metal bands in the regions they come from. Some factors considered include Catholic population, former Catholic population, Protestant and former Protestant populations, Marxism, proximity to the Equator, music venues per capita, etc. Many scientific factors and extensive numbers were taken into consideration for explaining why "it feels like every metal band is from Scandinavia." Long story short, it seems that locations with the least amount of political corruption spawn the most metal bands, and the article offers the conclusion that maybe the places that tolerate corruption the LEAST produce the most metal bands, or rather, Metalheads don't tolerate corruption. Several other correlations are brought to light and interesting to ponder over so read the article for yourself:
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This brings me to think about my own conditions for liking metal. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Well away from the equator, pretty mellow (white) politics in the area I was in, raised Catholic but since age 15 an ex-Catholic. I've been off and on interested in political and environmental policy. Just an armchair philosopher, I try to financially support the companies and products I want to see succeed, and organizations verbally when I cannot contribute finances. Perhaps my political mindedness and exposure to such a cold, dark, boring (for me) place sparked my love for dark, cynical and critical music. I never even paid attention to music at all until I was 13. I know realistically I listened to a lot of David Bowie, 80s Hits, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, and other radio rock. At 14 I started liking the darker pop culture like grunge. Particularly Nirvana, that pained and honest I-don't-give-a-shit-WAIT-BUT-I-DO-wait-but-I-don't voice of Kurt Cobain's brought new perspective for me. I didn't have to listen to what's on the radio, even though Nirvana, Mudvayne, Metallica, and Van Halen were. Some of what I was raised with was on the radio, but looking at my dad's extensive vinyl and tape collection I was realizing much of it wasn't.

Back to the topic of "dad bands". One might look at this and say "well there you go, it's what you're raised with". But no, it's not! I didn't start liking heavy music on the radio (or "Music Choice" on digital cable, remember those channels?!) until I was 15 or 16. I discovered Tool when they came to play an Anchorage arena in 2002 and my dad offered to pay for me and two of my friends to go (so we could sit in the dry section alone and he and his buddies could sit in the wet section). Win-win for everyone, my dad gets to take his daughter to an amazing show that would change her life forever, his daughter would not feel awkward or embarrassed for having to pal around with dad all night, AND daughter gets to take two of her best friends for free?! (Did I mention my dad is the best?).

I discovered prog rock/prog metal the day I saw Tool live. Not the Tool I heard on the radio and always thought afterwards, "who was that again? I kinda liked it". Tool put on a full fledged light and sound experience that got me hooked. I remember seeing some long haired people headbanging to the sludgy slow beats. I thought headbanging was only for fast music? So many assumptions in my straight A+ student, gymnastics filled, 1+1=2 aligned mind shattered in a matter of hours through flashing lights, stacked amps, and a guy singing in adult tighty whities in the back of the stage. I felt a passion I'd never known, one connected through thousands of strangers piled into a concrete dome to watch 4 guys play music.

No pop, electronic, country, jazz, or other genre fanbase will ever do for me now. I love the music and lyrics for what it is, I love the connectedness I feel with other metalheads. Not all share in the impulse, but there's something to be said for metalheads in that regard. I find fans of metal to be the most independent, badass, creative, and adventurous people I've met (did I mention enthusiastic?). Of course certain subgenres produce some of the most grim, hard to get to, elusive people you have ever seen, but even when I have been fortunate enough to really talk with these people, they are incredible people and just a little bit shy about opening up to strangers in their presence.

Or maybe I like metal because it's in my blood, my genes. Like the molecule in the human brain that gets passed down through generations of past cannibalistic traditions to their unsuspecting offspring. Maybe we can all be traced back to a particular colony of particularly intense heavily dark and gloomy tribesmen somewhere in Antarctica. Maybe the premise behind GWAR isn't so fictional after all. Look at mushrooms, spores, they can survive in the endless vacuum of space! Maybe we metalheads have too.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Metal Father's Day: Kreator!

There have been a lot of new hires at my workplace in the past couple weeks. This means having to train them, hoping that all persons involved in training them have similar styles of working to show them so they don't get frustrated and walk away from the job, leaving us short-staffed even longer, it means answering the same interview style questions, which now, being in my late 20s, even includes "Do you have any kids?", to which I always answer with an uncomfortable laugh and a happy and enthusiastic "Nooo!". I try to let them bring up the topic of music so I don't stand there and ramble on about all the metal I have been discovering in the past several months.

Kreator -Endless Pain (full album)

I am sitting here listening to Kreator for the first time ever. I have been listening to a lot of Triumph from Canada (for some reason I always feel the urge to explain that they are from Canada, maybe it is my subconscious way of honoring their homeland because it somewhat reminds me of mine and I kinda sorta miss Alaska sometimes, though that seems like a far stretch from a good reason for such a compulsion), oh yeah, and I've been listening to copious amounts of DOKKEN!

Once the coworkers turn on the spigot that is the Talk of Music, I literally go on for hours about me, me, me, I, I, I.
I try to ask them questions to keep them involved, but I'm sorry, I just really don't care to hear your somewhat apathetic talk about Taylor Swift and, Jesus Christ, do I have to hear this band name another hundred thousand times before people stop assuming that just because I like heavier music that it must mean that I listen to THE MELVINS??!?!?!

(To be fair, someone has played a large of amount of The Melvins for me recently. And yeah... I dig it. Don't tell anyone though.)

I'm not trying to be an elitist when it comes to music, I am just really excited and enthusiastic about metal so that is what I talk about, wear, listen to, eat, breathe, live.... you know. At least I am lively and passionate about it!

However, speaking about a specific band. I see my friends sporting Kreator patches on their jackets a lot, and it's a name that has always been familiar, but I never really took the time to sit down and listen to them. There was one last push that got me to really sit here and give them a listen, otherwise I would be writing about the wonderful opera-like vocals of Dokken forever and ever and ever.

First off, I want to say that I have had an amazing past couple of weeks. The past few days especially have been just wonderful, we had the Georgetown Carnival here in Georgetown, Seattle, There have been some good local shows going on that my friends were involved in, etc. etc. Needless to say I have had plenty of reasons to drink, toast, and be merry. In a nutshell: I've been drunk for about 5 days straight, and today I decided that I don't need to drink. I need to cleanse my system, rehydrate, plump up my wallet, and save up to travel for my Grandma's birthday party which I have recently been informed is sometime next month.

********* Feel free to skip the next couple of paragraphs and continue reading at the asterisks below. Like, seriously, you should probably not read anything between this sentence and the asterisks that follow. Seriously.
Like, seriously.

So, about the push that made me choose to listen to Kreator today instead of everything I am already familiar with and can sing along with even if I turn blind and deaf tomorrow. Last night was a doozy. I have never, ever used that word in a sincere fashion, in my life. But here we go. I work with pizza. I deliver pizza, I manage the drivers, I work closely with the kitchen. After an awful night of management at work with a new guy in charge of making pies on the line who works about as hard as a broken park bench, half a crew of newbie (albeit friendly) drivers, the return of an hourly manager from hell, a new kitchen lead that makes the hourly manager from hell feel like a breath of fresh air, and having to send 3...

count'em one, two, THREE

of my drivers 15 miles North to pick up dough from another store at different points in time during the night, wasting their gas, their time, and my resources for a busy night... After this excruciatingly painful night of our molasses-slow kitchen consistently putting out pies in 45 minutes and still dealing with this supervisor with a terrible attitude and the worst communication skills I've seen in about 5 years, I went next door to the bar with some fellow coworkers who also could not seem to wrap their head around the poorest management that has been demonstrated on a Sunday night since we were manager-less, down to half our kitchen crew, and offering $100-$200 bonuses to anyone, ANYONE, who could provide a good referral for new-hire drivers because we were so horribly short-staffed, months and months ago.

******** Some coworkers and I went next door and got to sit down like friends for the first time in weeks. We're a good mix of people usually. I ordered a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon because, quite frankly, I am beered-out for a while. After a toast and the first sip. I realized I still hadn't called my dad to wish him a Happy Father's Day! The day was already over, I really should have done it earlier, but it's better late than never. I went outside and gave my dad a call. He and my mom were recording some show, it might have been the new craze that is "Orange is the New Black". I don't watch TV, I don't know. We caught up for a bit, and I was explaining what my new friends here are into. I talked about the metal community here and how awesome everyone has been to me. I feel like I am finally home. He asked what bands pop up a lot in conversation. Eighties hair metal and heavy metal, and that style in general. He perked up and said,

"Oh yeah, I have boxes and boxes of records and tapes of those bands. Bands like Anvil, Dokken, Kreator, right?"

And I felt like a piano got dropped on me. HELLO! My own father is a goldmine of knowledge and endless metal music who I have foolishly (and unintentionally) avoided talking about music with for the greater portion of the quarter century I have been on this Earth.

"Yes! Yes!" I said, "Exactly!"

This is how it went down in my mind anyways. We continued catching up, said Happy Father's Day, and ended the call. I went back into the bar to finish my half hour old wine and had a great time with my coworkers. I didn't even think about the shitty night again, or about the new tyrant lead. None of it matters, it's just work and I can leave my work at the door when I clock out. I now have better, more important things on my mind.

After years and years of somewhat neglecting the "old" music my dad has countless records and tapes of, I want nothing more than to go back to Anchorage and dig through them. I want to listen to every single record, every single tape. I want to learn! There's so much about my dad that I knew, yet somehow still don't know!
I want to share this person with my new friends. It seems silly to write this out honestly, but I love my dad! He's the raddest, happiest, most highly motivated, responsible, coolest, and most FUN person that could have raised me.

I am so happy and feel so lucky that I have a Metal dad.
Why I never thought about organizing some sort of Metal Father's Day thing or something, I have no idea. This is something I may help organize in the future. The fountain of ideas and inspiration is flowing.

This long-winded ramble of a post could have easily been reduced to a couple sentences...

"So I called my dad and told him about my friends. He likes the same music as them and mentioned Kreator. That's why I'm listening to Kreator right now, FINALLY."

But that's no fun.

I am enjoying Kreator, by the way. I have been listening to various albums through the course of the morning as I write this. It's very much my dad's style, and very much what I am enjoying these days. 

Happy Father's Day (though it's the day after now). If you haven't called your dad and you are able to, please give your poppa some love. You never know what you will end up talking about!

 PS- Can I say that I just noticed and realized the amazing coincidence / irony of the name of this band and the topic of this entry?
Kreator, Creator, Fathers, Dads, Makin' babies... creating life... Kreator....

yeah... kinda just blew my mind.

father's day, hair metal, sharing music with my dad, metal dads, Dokken, Triumph, Kreator, metal and father's day, poor management, attitude problems, managers with poor communication, records, tapes, work sucks, I don't know what kind of keywords to put here anymore, listen to Kreator now!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Comradery of Battle Metal and Memorial Day

Memorial Day: a day we all know by name, but the meaning of which, for me, I have rarely thought about. Of course it means remembering fallen and surviving soldiers in this Union of States, USA: what they have fought for or pushed papers for. However, it also makes me think of what I have been paying attention to for quite a while, which is folk metal music. Seemingly unrelated, but it really is related. 

Turisas - The Land of Hope and Glory
Far away, where sunshine never fades
There lies this land, the greatest of tales

A strong golden gate now slowly moves aside
In walks a man, exhausted by the tide

Finally, I have reached my destiny
I've crossed the western sea for the land of hope and glory
In front of me stands the glorious grand city
A feeling that I can breathe, and be free

Surrounding golden walls, finest marble covers the halls
Silver-plated streets that glimmer and shine
Statues, monuments and fountains filled with wine
And trees nearly touching the sky

In the Land of Hope and Glory

I head to the greatest hall,
Take a deep breath and open the door
Is this the Land of Hope and Glory?
Sitting on a golden throne,
An ape holding a scepter of bone
It utters: "The die is cast."

Surrounding golden walls...

Echoing from the homeland

Kaikuen laulu raikaa takaa ulapan
Kotimaan rannat kutsuu poikaa Pohjolan

Hoist the sails, it's time to leave these lands behind
Rain or hail won't stop me, I have made up my mind

Surrounded by dark emptiness
The sea is cold and merciless
All alone, I'm heading home

Over the vast sea, wide and so deep
Ahti I greet thee, I'm heading home!
The wind is rising, cold and biting
Ilmarinen I greet thee
Northern shores - I'm home

No surrounding golden walls, no marble covered halls
No silver-plated streets that glimmer and shine
No statues, monuments nor fountains filled with wine
Only trees touching the sky

Far away, where sunshine never fades
lyrics from, edited by me

I am currently listening to Battle Metal by Turisas. This band is all about the historical settings of warfare and melody, taking us into a moment in time when fighting for your rights was the highest priority in one's life. They are largely influenced by Varangian (viking) folk music and history of the 1000s -1200s AD¹ and have even come to earn the reputation as "The Battle Metal Band". If you have never seen these guys play live, please do yourself a favor and SEE THEM LIVE! They do play some of the most prominent instruments you will hear in their music, including the accordion and violin. As if the badass violinist, accordionists, warcry vocals and Viking influence doesn't make this band amazing enough, their former guitarist, Georg Laakso, in 2005 suffered a spinal chord injury and half leg amputation caused by a car accident, and even before that had miraculously survived being stabbed 6 times in the back by a complete stranger without serious injury²: could any stronger of a man had founded such an influential metal phenomenon that is Pagan Battle Metal band Turisas? I think not. 
I'm listening to these powerful riffs and singing the lyrics that are about discovering magical new lands and preparing for battle, then suddenly it occurs to me that Memorial Day should have much more meaning for me than the hotdog-grilling excuse to loaf-about we have turned it into in North America.
The worldwide folk movement that seems to be happening right now is about more than just music: people are re-discovering their culture, their homeland's values, music, language, patriotism, and national pride. Embracing our heritage means reflection, respect, and research as we look to our grandfathers and grandmothers to remember life before technology and this newfound naïveness. With this we come to realize the importance of the support of ancestors who fought, risking their lives and the welfare of their families, bleeding in fields, losing eyes and limbs to stand their own, and for what? So they could keep their farms and grocery stores and families safe.
We are so self-involved in modern day that we overlook a simple day like today. Apart from Native Americans and First Nation peoples, we all came from somewhere more than America. We all have ancestors from Europe, Scandinavia, South America... one could even argue going all the way back to the Pangaea/Africa world model, that the most distant and common forefathers with whom we are all consanguineous have protected that which they value, and sought what they lacked. Man’s motive for fighting wars has changed very little over the course of time.
Memorial Day now means something very different to me. I am not a civilian of some small European town trying to defend their bread shop, but many distant relations to me most certainly were. Today I’m not just thinking of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, coworkers, and others who have contributed to the independence of us in the USA, I’m thinking of all of humanity who have fought for what they felt was right. I don’t view the USA as superior to other countries of the world. I respect and want to pay tribute to all humans who have died in war, survived war, and wish wellness to those who are suffering, struggling, and fighting as I write this.
Whether Memorial Day to you means a day to catch up on, say, Game of Thrones, or if it means an excuse to give your brothers or sisters a call, take advantage of it! For me, today is a day to reflect on the human condition, and to re-evaluate and reconnect with my patriotism. Of course it is also an excuse to blast all my power metal, folk metal, and battle themed music just like any other day, but now it is finally starting to be about connecting, thinking, and remembering those who have sacrificed so much for people who, much like me, never really truly appreciated it. 

Turisas, battle metal, pagan battle metal, memorial day, memorial day metal music, music for memorial day, historical significance of memorial day, nationalism, patriotism, viking music, viking history, viking metal, folk metal,