The Macabre Essence of Bergraven

Posted in Reviews on December 8th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

Dude, did you see this plaque on the wall? Yeah, we should totally make it the album cover.I?m a big fan of words that mean other things when you say them. For example, how ?experimental one-man black metal? means ?self-indulgent.? In the case of Bergraven, an experimental one-man black metal outfit from Sweden, whose third full-length comes via Hydra Head, it certainly rings true. Till Makabert V?sen (which according to the big truck in the computer translates to To the Macabre Essence) has a many tempo switches, jazzy interludes, heavy/soft transitions, and yes, even some black metal. It?s not necessarily enough to make me care, but there?s a whole league of people out there who eat this kind of thing up. So be it.

If BergravenP?r Gustafsson on vocals, bass and guitar joined on Till Makabert V?sen by studio drummer Perra Karlsson — does anything, it?s create a mood. The album is unremittingly dark and progressive, coming across like a textbook on inaccessibility. A track like ?Asketens Enda Prydnad? might be a highlight, with Gustafsson?s tortured growls over complex bass runs and sporadic guitar accents leading into heavier, Enslaved-style passages, but a lot of the material surrounding comes on in a wash, so it?s difficult to even appreciate the success of Bergraven?s execution. Goes without saying this is on purpose. There?s to be no celebration here.

Fine. I don?t think it?s out of line to call Bergraven hipster black metal. If nothing else, the Hydra Head connection ingratiates the band to an alternately elitist would-be intellectualism that has persisted in the heavy underground over the course of this past decade. And while I think Drudkh pulls off many of the same turns as Gustafsson with an even more accomplished cohesiveness, there?s no argument that, for what it is, Till Makabert V?sen is bound to please (or not, depending on their level of tr00ness) fans of the style. You don?t need a review to tell you that.

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Fact: Torche Love Making Videos

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’d have to go back and check the archives, but I’m relatively certain it was only like three weeks ago that Floorida (get it? Because Steve Brooks used to be in Floor? Ah, screw you guys) doom poppers Torche put out a video for “Across the Shields.” Fine, it was May. Even so, May to July is awfully damn quick for a band to be doing another. Maybe it’s because their songs are short so it doesn’t take much time to shoot them. Probably not.

In any case, here’s Torche‘s new video for “Healer” from the 12″ of the same name and last year’s Meanderthal, directed by David Kleiler, from MTV.com. Enjoy.

Fuck that shit.

NOTE: As I was getting ready to finalize this post, I clicked play on the embedded video and found an ad for some fucking skin cream or something. Simply put, fuck that shit. No way I’m putting a video on my site with a god damn commercial in it that I’m not getting paid for. That’s called being a sucker. Bad enough MTV would put an ad in front of a video for a two-minute song, but then to expect other people to host it too? Get fucking real. Soon as “Healer” hits YouTube or somewhere that isn’t going to try and sell me something to get rid of pubescent acne, I’ll host it. Meantime, the video’s on the MTV site if you want to go find it. You’ll get no link from me.

Here’s a live version of the song instead:

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Are Torche Doom?

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on May 6th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster

I know I dig them well enough, and they’re way, way heavier on stage than they are on plastic, but are Floridian Hydra Head rockers Torche a doom band? They certainly fit into the realm of underground, semi-stoner metal, but I keep reading about them being doom pop or whatever and I’m not sure if I consider them doom at all, but something else entirely. Just something to think about while you enjoy the new video for “Across the Shields” from last year’s Meanderthal above. Any thoughts, please weigh in with a comment.

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