May 2005 Archives


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Got my hands on Kénôse the new 2005 release by Deathspell Omega (DSO), their prior full length album Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice blew me away last year when I first discovered it in Aquarius Records

Their new EP already sounds to be a grower - and more successful than the also much anticipated 2005 release from fellow Gallic black experimentalists Blut Aus Nord

Like a couple of other great contemporary black/french acts, Deathspell omega distil down what black metal should be - throwing away the unessential neo-classical trappings, commercial leanings and obsessions with pushing imaginary boundaries (the fastest, the most raw sounding etc)]

Utilising gloriously minimalist and dark riffing, DSO create carefully calculated musicality where a chord, phrase or melody is strategically constructed according to the traditional western musical rules. Then one subtle change is made (change in chord progression, a note substituted, timing altered) to set the whole passage off-kilter and give the audience that sense of unease black metal specialises in.

Well researched true satanic themes and music (using modes, intervals and tritones the church spoke out against in the middle ages) this is dark and disturbing but amazingly essential music.

Normally don't post links to those oddball personality quizzes and such that some like to litter their blogs with.

However this [heavy metal quiz] is a quiz/game after my own heart.

Given a small portion of the cover art (front/back/cd label) one must identify the album

in a quick glance I identified a quarter of the albums correctly


I have hunches on a few more, but it would likely take me all day to track down all forty images.

So a worthwhile and challenging puzzle for any self respecting metal head.

And most of them are not even that obscure - many are from classic metal/hard rock. Brought back some fun memories.

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In the mid 90s when I was heavily into Atmospheric Metal I became aware of a band called Sleep who were pretty much hailed as the absolute kings of Stoner Rock (the kissing cousin of Doom Metal).

Sleep broke up in 1997 and like other bands who were before their time: (Kyuss, At The Drive In) subsequent bands by the members of sleep are well worth checking out.

Sleep were a three piece, the guitarist - Matt Pike wasted little time and formed High on Fire whilst the other two (bass/drums) have recently got together for the first time recently to record under the moniker Om

High On Fire's latest album Blessed Black Wings is produced by Steve Albini and in a word rocks, this is not whatsoever an extreme metal album yet still grabs me by the throat and keeps my attention for the entire album. It's a credit to Matt and the rest of High on Fire that they can make something re-invigoratingly exciting out of old school metal, a genre that has been effectively moribund since the early 80s.

Blessed Black Wings has the potential to appeal to a wide audience - metal fans, indie rock fans and of course sludge/stoner doom fans.

In contrast OM's first release Variations on a Theme is very much more a continuation and expansion of their work as Sleep.

A two-piece of simply drums, bass and vocals - Variations on a Theme builds on a slow tempo just faster than a dirge to create a hypnotic almost meditative quality which contrasts with the fact that it is also truly heavy. Completley sans guitar, Om draw deep from the 70's weed infused template outlined in Sleep but take these ideas significantly forward thanks to their incredibly minimalist approach coupled with a meticulous yet understated performance.

Definitely one to appeal to the serious stoner fans and also to fans of the less directly metal Neurosis and Sunn O)))

Overall, both are releases that do more than simply breathe new life into styles and genres thought long dead. Like Unholy's Rapture, these releases are a statement to other bands recording in Atmospheric Metal - "this is how well it can be done - to all the other bands riding on the genre's dying spasms, time to call it a day or be prepared to pick up your game significantly."

If only the festivals and gigs I went to last year had this kind of policy.

If you travel from another country to our festival you will actually get a free festival ticket! Also, we'll be glad to help you out with finding the best way of travelling and of course a suitable accomodation. Just ask us!

Safe as milk festival 2005 despite it's corny name, this festival has Dälek, a band I generally worship due to the way the so very successfully combine noise and hip-hop.

All this a simple hour and a half's drive away from astrid's hometown in Norway. She'll be in Oz by the time the gig starts though.

How I already miss the European summer festival circuit. Sigh.

Maize Batard

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Another in my recent collection of bread baking exploits - this one is from Dan Lepard's latest book The Handmade Loaf

Maize Batard

I've been eagerly anticipating this release for nearly a year now - hope it will live up to it's reputation

SOLEFALD - New Album Due In The Fall

According to Season Of Mist, SOLEFALD is close to completing their new album Red For Fire, Black For Death. Garm of ULVER fame will be making a guest appearance on the album, playing the part of Loki. Solefald masterminds Cornelius and Lars have issued the following statement with regards to the new material:

"Solefald was experimenting when everybody was being true. Now that things are changing and that we've pushed the experiment quite far already, we wanted Red For Fire, Black For Death to be our attempts at being true. This will be a True Nordik, Viking Metal album. Garm's the closest incarnation of Loki I know, there's this tricker, malice thing to him really - he fits the role perfectly! A few selected journalist were invited to a listening session during Inferno this year - they were in for a shock, and the reactions were more than positive."

Red For Fire, Black For Death is scheduled for release on Season Of Mist this fall.

These are made with a light rye sourdough, lightly spiced with a mixture of fennel and caraway seed with baby dried figs liberally studded through the dough.

A very tasty bread, but one that needs a bit more work, particularly with respect to the dried figs as they have a tendency to rob the crumb of moisture and cause the bread to stale prematurely.

This recipe is loosely based on the Barm Bread recipe from Dan Lepard's - The Handmade Loaf

I added quite a bit of atta flour, some barley flour and a little wheat germ to his basic recipe.

Richard agrees that it is the best loaf I have made recently, something I think was partly helped by not actually cutting it until nearly 48 hours after it was baked, giving the sourdough crumb a bit of time to set properly and the moisture balance in the loaf to equalise between crust and crumb.

It's amazing to think that a commercially yeasted baguette would have staled to rock-hard in that same time frame.

I've often talked about my love of baking but not ever got around to really sharing much of it with anyone unless they happen to drop by a few hours after the loaf comes from the oven.

Any later and its generally eaten!

The following posts illustrate some of the more successful loaves I made recently

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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