Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Arckanum to release Fenriz Kindir in May

Swedish black metal project Arckanum will be putting out a new album called Fenriz Kindir (that is, Fenriz's Children) on May 14 with Season of Mist.

Fenriz Kindir coming soon from Arckanum
Check out this intense album art! 

According to band founder Shamaatae, "This album is a dedication to the flaming giant-wolf, son of Loki; created from the Chaos-fires of Múspellsheimr. It is a tribute to the wrathful giant-wolf, son of Angrboða, found in the Ironwood where he is breeding hordes of giant monstrous wolves with Angrboða. His victorious name is Fenrir, also called Tungls Tjúgari! Hail Fenrir!"

He continues: "The sounds and music on this album are my auditory vision of the march of Fenrir convoyed with his hordes of giant wolves from the depths of the underworld to face Ragna Rök with warlike glory – deformed giant-wolves swarming in thousands."

Be still my nerdy, little  black metal heart. This recording looks like it's going to be the soundtrack to that Norse Literature course I devoured in college. 

Shamaatae explains:  The Old Norse saga Völuspá (40-41) says, 'In the east of the Ironwood (Járnviðr) she the Old One (Angrboða) sat and there bore Fenrir’s Kin (Fenris kindir). One of which became the most worthy of them all, the One taking down the sun/moon with a two-pronged pitchfork (tungls tjúgari), in a troll’s shape. He fills his belly with the corpses of dead men and defiles the houses of gods with blood. The sun’s beams blacken during summers and the weather grows stormy.' The later saga Gylfaginning (51) reveals Fenrir’s flaming Múspell-descent during Ragna Rök: 'Fenrir shall advance with gaping mouth, and his lower jaw shall be against the earth, but the upper against heaven, he would gape yet more if there were room for it; fires blaze from his eyes and nostrils... The Sons of Múspell shall go forth to that field which is called Vígríðr, thither shall come Fenrir also...'"

I like when a songwriter provides you with the citations from the literature. Do go on....

"This is my tribute to the wrathful, harsh and untamed anti-nature of Fenrir’s mighty essence! The anti-cosmic enemy of the worlds! Heill Tungls Tjúgari! Heilir Fenris Synir!"

Ok, so listeners will be immersed in some themes of deep Norse mythology. What about the music? What should we expect from the talented and mysterious Arckanum. Nothing but magic. Check out the guest players on each track!

The track listing and guest players for Fenriz Kindir are as follows: 

1. Fenris Kindir Grúa
2. Tungls Tjúgari: Peter Asp, horns.
3. Dólgrinn
4. Hatarnir: Lena Klarström: female vocals; Peter Asp: howling guitars.
5. Hamrami: Ljuder-Stefan Westberg: horns and violins.
6. Fenris Gangr
7. Vargøld: Olof Lindberg and Peter Asp: chorus and horns.
8. Angrboða: Lena Klarström: female vocals.
9. Úskepna
10. Spell
11. Sólbøls Sigr: Ljuder-Stefan Westberg: keyed fiddle (nyckelharpa) and violins.
12. Lycanthropia [Necromantia cover, bonus track on digital and LP editions]

My birthday is in May. I know what I will be reserving for myself. I can't wait. 

Here's a track from Arckanum's last recording from 2011.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Growing up with Lord Dying

Lord Dying, an emerging heavy metal band based in Portland, Oregon, combines an intense metal experience with lyrics on the darker side of human existence – songs about depression, doom and dismemberment, peppered with heavy riffs and a not-so-hidden distaste for humanity.
Lord Dying

I’ve (**see note below) known two of the band members – Chris Evans (guitar) and Erik Olson (guitar, vocals) since elementary school, growing up in Sandy, Utah. Chris was the kid who wore black Nirvana T-shirts to school in third grade and Erik’s parents’ basement was a noted pit stop for several bands on tour. We all loved music and played in bands off and on since middle school. Chris reminds me he’s been a metal fan since Erik gave him a copy of Megadeth’s Rust in Peace for his birthday in the fifth grade. This past fall I saw Lord Dying rock in Richmond, Virginia, during their last U.S. tour with the band Red Fang at a completely packed, sold out show. I recently chatted with Chris about their new album coming out this coming June on Relapse.

Since forming two and a half years ago, Lord Dying has developed their own sound and formed a clear metal style. The band consists of four members in addition to Chris and Erik, including Don Capuano (bass) and John Reid (drums). I asked Chris what influences their music and he tells me they draw on various styles such as thrash, doom and prog. He tells me his tastes are much broader now as he draws on other musicians than exclusively metal bands, for instance the classical guitarist Augustine Barrios, whose complex fingering techniques make their way into his own riffs.

Lord Dying has toured with bands such as Witch Mountain, Black Cobra, Gaza, Danava and most recently Down, lead by the singer of Pantera, where they played three shows together in Seattle, Portland and Boise, Idaho. In 2012 they played two U.S. tours, first with Witch Mountain and most recently with Red Fang. It was during this last tour they received their record deal from Relapse Records.
Erik, me and Chris at the Richmond, VA show.

“We were pretty much the last ones to find out,” Chris laughs, “It was a big surprise. One of the guys from Relapse kept calling us before the show to hang out and we didn’t know why.”

I ask Chris if it’s difficult to be on tour. “It’s definitely a lot of driving and waiting around for the thirty minutes we’re on stage, but it’s worth it. We play shows every night and never get enough sleep. But when we get home we want to be back out again.” They plan to continue touring this summer and line up bigger metal shows so they can promote their new album. 

Their musical process involves frequent collaboration and experimentation. Erik writes all the lyrics and song titles and has more lyrics written then they have songs for. After splitting up for awhile, Chris and Erik started playing together again when Erik moved to Portland and came over to jam.

“We wrote our first song right then. John and I started the band and were looking for another guitarist. When we jammed with Erik it all came together. We knew what we needed to do. The chemistry was still there.” Indeed, that first night they wrote their first song, "In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment", which will appear on their full-length LP coming out in June (also available at here) and quickly started playing riffs and pouring out new songs. The band has remained in its current form since Erik joined.

For west-coasters, Lord Dying has two shows lined up in their home base of Portland, one at the venue Branx on March 8th, and Stump Fest on April 20th. You can follow them on Facebook at and Twitter at for tour information and band updates. Expect to be blown away!

**NOTE: This blog post was written by my friend Jacob Koskimaki, who is super smart and works at the University of Virginia. Together with his friends from Lord Dying, we are converting him into a metalhead.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Full stream of Vreid - Welcome Farewell

Vreid, the Norwegian black and roll band that arose from the ashes of Windr in 2004, have a new record, Welcome Farewell, set for North American release March 5, 2013. Their blend of black metal, punky thrash and straightforward rock and roll combined with captivating song writing and lyrics puts them into my "what's not to like?" category. I can put on any one of their albums and listen from start to finish without wanting to skip a song. I only hope a North American tour accompanies this release.

A recent press release about Vreid's new recording describes the work this way:

Notorious for their well-researched, historically-inspired lyrics, the band’s third and fourth offerings, I Krig and Milorg, were both concept albums based around the liberation work in Norway during World War II. Liberation was also the keyword on VREID’s last offering, V, but placed in a broader historical/philosophic perspective. The lyrics on Welcome Farewell describe a lifecycle through a series of short stories, seen from an existential point of view and, inspired by Hváll’s own local community with its nature, architecture and historical artists such as Arne Garborg and Otto Valstad, are more personal than ever before.

The members of Vried are Hváll - Bass; Sture - Vocals/Guitar; Strom - Guitar and Steingrim - Drums.

You can listen to a full stream of the new album here: