Cnoc An Tursa is Gaelic for “Hill of Sorrow”
GENRE: Black/Folk Metal
THEMES: Scottish History and Poetry
Happy Tuesday! Enjoy some riveting Scottish Black Metal. I’ve noticed that a lot of the good metal I’ve been listening to lately has been from Scotland. There must be something very awe inspiring about the Scottish landscape.
As mentioned above “Cnoc An Tursa” is Gaelic for “Hills of Sorrow,” which relates to the Callanish Standing Stones (similar to Stonehenge) which is an actual place on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides Scotland.
Cnoc An Tursa started in 2006, but only has produced one album, “The Giants of Auld”. In an interview with Teeth of the Divine the band said it took them three times longer to produce the album than they expected. But hey – you can’t rush perfection, right?
The song posted above, “The Lion Of Scotland” is the second track on this album followed by a brief intro from “The Piper O’Dundee.” “The Piper O’ Dundee” is a well known Jacobite war song. The original lyrics of the song deal with the rebellious influence of music during the Jacobite era. The bagpipes were outlawed in Scotland because they were thought of as an “instrument of war.” Many of the other songs on the album are also based off old Scottish melodies.
In this album the guitar does a great job in lacing driving melodies over black metal ambiance. The only complaint I’ve heard about the band so far is the choice of screamed Hardcore vocals. I myself prefer clean or growled vocals, but there are some people who like the screamed style.
If you liked these guys, check out the links below.
“We stand united. We are the sons of war!”
Band’s Country of Origin: Sweden
Genre: Viking/Black/Folk Metal
A pumping folk metal video of warrior dudes doing warrior things. The word Månegarm itself refers to a wolf that lives on the blood of dying humans and at Ragnarök hunts down and swallows the moon – I can think of no name more metal for a Norse Folk Metal Band. One of Månegarm’s signature qualities is that they have had traditional instruments from the start. Their songs have a professional quality violin sound in the background along with the occasional flute as well. I find this particular song a little bit repetitive (a lot of folk metal is honestly), but the power driven melody and chords make up for this repetition. The vocalist also has skill in flawlessly exchanging growls for the occasional clean vocal. It is certainly a song I would put on my playlist – if I needed a playlist for riding a steed into battle followed by some quality drunken shenanigans.
If you want a black metal seizure, behold this video.
Genre: Black Metal
Lyrical Themes: Lucifer, Death and Darkness
“The only way to create something of true beauty of this world is to look beyond its borders…to search outside of the mundane…to step into the realm of liberated wilderness, untamed fire and that ancient chaos to which every true and potent artist has been mouthpiece.” ~ Watain quote.
Watain captures a sort of magical chaos in their performances and music. Like a shaman, they go beyond the boundaries of the mundane to bring us – the audience – into the realm of the unknown. This is a band that has musical skill, but also knows how to this power onto the stage and put on an unforgettable performance. The above song captures the spirit of this anarchy, the feeling of what it is like to be an outlaw. True brilliance will always exist on the fringes of society, not within its borders. This is why many tribal shamans lived outside the tribe, so they could bring wisdom from a different place – a place beyond the accepted norm. So enjoy this musical chaos, this black metal pandemonium.
SAOR means “Free” in Scottish and Irish Gaelic
Band Location: Glasgow Scotland
Genre: Scottish Folk, Atmospheric Black Metal, Post-Rock
Members: Andy Marshall (Can you believe this is a one man band?)
Themes: Scottish Heritage, Highland Nature/Landscapes, Sorrow
Imagine if the Folk Metal band Belenos had a baby with the progressive rock group Pelican. The baby would be Saor: a band that has the power and mystery of Folk Metal, but the creative melodies of Prog Rock. Saor brings the traditional Celtic sound to the music with instruments such as the tin whistle, bodhrán and bagpipes.The music itself is emblematic of the stunning Scottish landscape. If you go to the band’s facebook, you can see some amazing images of Scotland. It’s pretty impressive that one artist, Andy Marshall, was capable of putting this all together.
“Children of The Myst” is the opening track for the album Aura, which will be released June 6th 2014. Saor may be a very new band, it was formed in 2012, but already its music is going to the top of Folk Metal Playlists. If you would like to hear more of their work, check out their facebook:
Most Relevant YouTube Comment: This band is “somewhere between Flogging Molly and Korpiklaani.”
Genre: Celtic Folk/ Black Metal
Lyrical Themes: Cultural heritage, struggle, history
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Primordial was originally a cover band that covered songs by Black Metal groups such as Bathory and Venom. But then they started performing their own Celtic influenced music. In terms of vocals this song has the organic simplicity of a punk, or Flogging Molly song. Yet this song still packs a punch with atmospheric, black metal instrumentals. While this song is pretty simple, it does convey the power of a primordial, ancient past.
This is my church
It stands so tall and proud
It has done for all time
It has no walls
Yet its vast halls
Reach from shore to shore
To whatever shore
You know as your own
We stand as one, we stand alone
We are born
From the same womb
Hewn from the same stone
From the frozen Baltic
I watched sunrise over Athena
Walked the battlefields of Flanders
And saw duskfall at Cintra
Beneath the spires of Sofia
Fields of crosses at Arnhem
Armenius stood tall in Teuteborg
Senatus Populusque Romanus
To the fjords of Hordaland
Shadows of ancient Albion
At the shore of a 1000th lake
Saint Vitus dance in Praha
Yet when to Ireland we Return
I know that I am home at last
And every sun that sets
Takes me closer to her Earth
Singing you into the death-sleep
Wardrunna is a project that was put together by the former members of Gorgoroth. Their focus is on Norse Paganism, spiritualism and the runes.
Hvem skal synge meg—————Who shall sing me
i daudsvevna slynge meg——-into the death-sleep sling me
når eg på Helvegen går—When I walk on the Path of Death
og dei spora eg trår er kalda, så kalda—-and the tracks I tread are cold, so cold
Eg songane søkte——-I sought the songs
Eg songane sende——————I sent the songs
då den djupaste brunni——when the deepest well
gav meg dråper så ramme—–gave me the drops so touched
av Valfaders pant——-of Death-fathers wager
Alt veit eg, Odin———–I know it all, Odin
var du gjømde ditt auge———where you hid your eye
Hvem skal synge meg——————Who shall sing me
i daudsvevna slynge meg———-into the death-sleep sling me
når eg på Helvegen går——When I walk on the Path of Death
og dei spora eg trår er kalda, så kalda—-and the tracks I tread are cold, so cold
Årle ell i dagars hell———-early in the days end
enn veit ravnen om eg fell———–still the raven knows if I fall
Når du ved Helgrindi står ———When you stand by the Gate of Death
og når du laus deg må riva——-And you have to tear free
skal eg fylgje deg————–I shall follow you
over Gjallarbrua med min song——–across the Resounding Bridge with my song
Du blir løyst frå banda som bind deg!——–You will be free from the bonds that bind you!
Du er løyst frå banda som batt deg!——–You are free from the bonds that bound that you!
Quote from Håvamål — The High Ones Speech, Poetic Edda
(This was included with the video on youtube)
Døyr fe, døyr frender—————-Cattle die, kinsmen die
Døyr sjølv det sama————–You yourself will also die
men ordet om deg aldreg døyr———but the word about you will never die
vinn du et gjetord gjevt————–if you win a good reputation
My Behemoth poster fell off the wall as I was listening to this – Behemoth is too heavy for my walls.
Anyone jumping out of their skin in excitement for when Behemoth’s The Satanist comes out on February 4th? Currently my skeleton is running around my apartment headbanging to this song. The Satanist is available for pre-order on Amazon, which means you can have the album shipped to your house the day it is released, listen to it first and gloat about it as all your friends stab themselves with envy.
With that aside, let me proceed to shamelessly gush about this song as if it were my teenage crush. In a previous post I discussed another song from this album: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel. In that song, as well as the one above, I notice that Behemoth has adopted a more Black Metalish sound for this album. The guitar has somewhat of that chaotic all over the place Black Metal sound. I also love the tone they chose for the bass, it is haunting and melodic. It knows when to step into the spotlight when the rest of the music calms down, and hold things together with a bittersweet melody.
Really enjoying the two songs I’ve heard from The Satanist. Can’t wait to get my talons on the actual album.
A perfect theme song for this subzero winter we’ve been having!
Band Genre: Cinematic/ Melodic Black Metal
Location: U.S. California
Lyrical Themes: Self Created Lore
The song above is a folk tribute to a Wintersun song. You can read the song lyrics here.
I am excited to discover a new band I like that begins with the letter ‘x’ so I can own my friends at Metal Scattergories (ever notice how the only metal bands that start with the letter ‘x’ are usually black metal?) But I digress. Xanthochroid is highly influenced by Wintersun, Opeth, Moonorrow, Emperor and many black metal bands.
As mentioned above, the lyrics of the band’s songs are about a fantasy story created by the band itself. I find that more and more bands are starting to use music to convey a story of their own creation. You can read more about their story idea on their facebook or in their lyrics.
According to facebook, their interests are: “hiking, camping, hunting and anal” – a very down to earth crew of folk as you can tell. Just don’t go mountain climbing around these guys with your pants off, because you never know what will happen…
So enjoy some gentle, haunting and at times bombastic music from Xanthochroid!
Exploring a world of sex, drugs, rock and roll….and Satan.
DISCLAIMER: Pagans are not Satanists. Christians talk more about Satan than Pagans do. This article also does not represent every Satanist’s point of view, it just is a basic summary of Satanism in music and modern practice. This is not an article telling people to go worship Satan, it is merely examining the practice as well as the idea of Satan in other areas of cultural life.
Although it is controversial, it is true that Satan has popped up in the subject matter and lyrical content for many heavy metal and rock bands throughout the years. Most of these musicians are not Satanists themselves. So why has Satan and Hell been a popular topic in the realm of Rock and Roll? I’m here to explore this theme and put some popular misconceptions about the whole deal to rest.
Music and art are a manifestation of the subconscious reality within ourselves. It is fascinating that the imagery of Satan, the so called Lord of all Darkness and Evil, has been such a prevalent musical topic and inspiration. So we must question, what does this iconic figure represent? Perhaps, rather than being a symbol of all evil and darkness – he has come to represent man’s suppressed primeval nature.
The Christian Church has long had a monopoly on the sexual and moral laws of man. Yet as the chains on the minds of men begin to crumble, man’s true instincts will bubble to the surface. Rock and Metal music are a manifestation of this primeval out-pour. This is why the legacy of Rock and Roll is sex, drugs and brutality.
Some look at Satan merely as a symbol. Yet there are a few who actually call themselves Satanists. How is Satanism practiced today? Does it involve sacrificing babies and drinking goat’s blood? Sorry, it’s not that exciting. If we’re talking about Satanists of the “Lavey variety,” imagine a room full of ritual atheists drinking wine and talking about their birthdays. That’s right, some Satanists are actually Atheists while others are Theists. These are the two different approaches to Satanism in practice, Atheistic and Theistic.
So this article will look at the emergence of Satan as a counter-cultural icon in an age where the rules of Christianity are beginning to fade away.
PAN – THE PRIMEVAL GOD OF THE FOREST GETS CO-OPTED
What image does the word “Satan” conjure? A red goat man with a pointy tail and trident? The interesting thing here is that the bible didn’t actually give a very specific physical description of Satan. From what I’ve read, he was initially a fallen Angel who disguised himself as a serpent at some point. I don’t remember anything about pointy horns and a tail.
The goat-like image of Satan is an effort on the part of the early Christian Church to defame some of the popular Pagan Gods. Some of the key Gods who were converted into a Satanic image were Pan, a Greek who really knew how to party. Pan represented the free and primitive call of the forest to a place of natural sexuality and savage revelry. It is interesting that the Christians took the God of raw masculinity and nature to re-brand into their chief bad guy. Perhaps they were trying to tell people to ignore their base, primeval instincts.
SATAN AND SEXUALITY
There has long been an association between Satan and sexual power. Throughout the Middle Ages and even in some parts of the world today, many Christians believed that an initiate of Satan would meet him out in the woods and engage in sexual rites. It was primarily believed that witches (females received most of the blame) would have sex with Satan in the woods in exchange for supernatural powers and magic. This is why witch hunters and priests would verify the identity of a witch by examining her naked body, they were checking for “the devil’s mark.” This could be a mole, a birth mark or any kind of scar or skin blemish. The protests of the “witch” usually went ignored.
What is significant about this paranoia? Perhaps these priests were afraid of the Old Pagan Ways returning. After all, druids practiced out in wooded groves, as well as other spiritual folk. This also goes back to Pan, since he was a God of the Wild Wood.
In particular, there was a fear of women having access to magical power. Notice how all the church authority figures were male? This is why most of those accused of witchcraft were female. Yet the church fathers were not only afraid of female power – they were afraid of people getting in touch with their natural, sexual urges. Which explains the paranoia about people having sexual rites with the devil in the woods.
Satan’s role as a sexual deviant would later emerge powerful in the realm of rock and roll and metal.
PARADISE LOST: LUCIFER HAS A NEW MEANING IN PRE-ENLIGHTENMENT ERA
After brutal war between the Protestants and Catholics, many people were getting tired of religion. It is natural that the Enlightenment emerged with a celebration of reason and science – and a general discontent with Christianity.
Before the Enlightenment Era began, the poet John Milton wrote an epic poem about the fall of God’s highest Angel Lucifer to the lowest pits of hell. This was one of the first times that a major literary work portrayed Lucifer in a sympathetic light. He described himself with the now famous quote, “Better to reign in hell, then serve in heaven.” While Satan is still understood to be the antagonist of this work, there has been much debate throughout the ages as to his real role. In this Epic, Satan attempts to raise a rebellion and wrestle control of heaven from God, claiming that God is a tyrant and that the Angels should each be Gods onto themselves.
It is significant to note that Lucifer in this poem represented many of the traits that eventually became important in the Enlightenment Era: knowledge, self-determination, an escape from religious tyranny and individualism. During time periods in which people buck convention, Satan will play a role of inspiration. Later in the 1960’s, there was a massive social revolution spurred on by rock music, psychedelic drugs and “free love”. Here, Satan would once again become a revolutionary symbol. Satanism as a religious and occult practice also emerged into the limelight – or shall we say darkened torchlight – during this era.
“The key of joy is disobedience. ” ~ Aleister Crowley
The fascination with the occult began to rise during the 19th century. This was a time period in which Western Cultures were exploring (plundering) other parts of the world and opening their minds to alternative religions. This trend later continued into the 20th century.
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) is one of the most well known Occultists of the 20th century. He is famous for such works as “The Book of The Law,” “Magic in Theory and Practice,” and “The Book of Thoth.” He was also a reknown sex and drug addict. He enjoyed opium, hashish and mescaline. There is some dispute over the fact of whether Aleister Crowley was actually a Satanist or not. Did he worship the old Pagan Gods, did he worship Satan or was it a mix of both for him?
In his Liber Samekh ritual, there are several invocations to Satan. Yet what did “Satan” mean to Crowley? Was it devil worship or something else? A key concept for Crowley was the idea of the “True Will.” A key quote from Crowley is “Do what though wilt, shall be the whole of the Law.” Perhaps to Crowley, Satan or Lucifer were manifestations of the True Will?
Thelmapedia gives a further explanation for this idea of the “true will.”
“The concept postulates that each individual has a unique and incommensurable inherent nature (which is identical to their “destiny”) that determines their proper course in life, that is the mode of action that unites their purest personal will with the postulated course that preexists for them in the universe (Source).”
Read Thelmapedia for more information on the works of Aleister Crowley.
How would this True Will manifest itself later in the 20th century?
The 1960’s controversial film maker Kenneth Anger made a movie about Aleister Crowley. An interesting fact about this film is that one of the actors, Bobby Beausoleil, was involved with the Manson family (Interview).
RISE OF THE “I-THEISTS”
ANTON LAVEY’S CHURCH OF SATAN
Above I mentioned that the character of Satan in Paradise Lost encouraged the angels to overthrow God and become their own Gods. Many modern day Satanists seek to revel in their own internal power and worship themselves as a God. In particular, this is a key ideology for Anton Lavey’s Satanists.
While not all Satanists are part of the Church of Satan, it is definitely prominent enough to mention. In 1966 Anton Lavey set out to create The Church of Satan and wrote The Satanic Bible. He reigned as the High Priest until his death in 1997.
What are the fundamental beliefs of Lavey’s Church of Satan?
“Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.
Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”
Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person” Church of Satan FAQs.
What are some misconceptions about the Church of Satan?
The Church of Satan FAQ section clears up several of the prominent myths about Satanists. This page explains that Satanists do not perform sacrifices, they do not ritually abuse people and they definitely do not have sex with children. Having sex with children, an animal or any non-consenting adult is strictly against the Satanic Rules and is grounds for immediate expulsion from the church. (Funny how this isn’t always the case for Catholic Churches…oh did I go there, yes I did!)
What kind of rituals do Laveyan Satanists have?
Satanists do not see any Gods or divine forces behind ritual. They still perform rituals, but they see it as a kind of “self transformational psycho drama.” For Satanists, ritual is a means to expunge oneself of emotional baggage or to mark a significant occurrence in one’s life.
Criticisms of Lavey: There are some wild rumors that Lavey lied about portions of his past in his biography or that he even recanted his beliefs on his deathbed. The truth of these rumors however, remains unknown. In the content below however, I will give further examples of some criticisms that other Satanists may have of Lavey and the fact that he tried to turn Satanism into an organized institution.
Unlike Laveyan Satanists, Theistic Satanists are spiritual. It is hard to make assumptions about the beliefs of Theistic Satanists as a whole, since they are a diverse and disparate group of entities.
The common ground for many Theistic Satanists is the importance of knowledge, self-development and individualism. In the Old Testament, Satan was a bringer of knowledge, since he is the one who encouraged Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and leave the limitations of Eden behind. The quest to raise up oneself, and one’s power is important to Theistic Satanists. These Satanists see Christianity as a demand for submission to a megalomanic God. In this dynamic, Lucifer plays the role of the liberator.
Beyond this common ground, there are many different orders, such as The Order of Nine Angels, The Temple of Black Light, Children of the Black Rose, Palladrists, and Luciferianists. Theistic Satanism is also sometimes called “Traditional Satanism.” These Satanists see Satan as an actual deity to worship. Some of the orders mentioned above see Lucifer as something entirely different from the “Devil.”
Luciferianists see Lucifer as a God of Light, Knowledge and equality. The Temple of the Black Light, on the other hand, believes in a militant nihilism. They believe that a true Satanist can never be a part of Society, since they believe society to be founded on lies.
It is difficult to accurately portray the attitudes of some of these orders, since they are closed to the public and are highly secretive in nature. However, there is a belief that some of the more radical Satanic groups despise Lavey’s Church of Satan and his modern attempts to make Satanism into something safe and socially approved. They believe that turning Satanism into a “church” is the ultimate irony, since a church is a part of an organized religion. Satanists from both the Order of Nine Angels as well as The Temple of Black Light have expressed that Satanism is supposed to remain on the fringes of society. They believe that Satanism isn’t supposed to be safe or socially sanctioned – rather, they think Satanism is supposed to be dangerous and embrace the chaos of the unknown.
This primeval chaos certainly manifested itself from the Sexual and Social revolution that emerged from the 1960’s via Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.
SEX, DRUGS, ROCK AND ROLL….AND SATAN
Metal and Rock music played a prominent role in breaking controversial ideas about Satan into the cultural mainstream. First of all, an overwhelming majority of rock and metal music is NOT about Satan. Yet as far as Rock and Metal are concerned, Satan played the same role for modern rockers that Dionysus played for the Ancient Greeks. Dionysus himself was a subconscious manifestation of drunken debauchery, raucous violence, in your face blatant sex and a general enjoyment of Earthly pleasures.
Even the Blues, Rock’s ancestor, was called “The Devil’s Music.” Part of this was the controversial aspect of Blue’s Musicians using the “Blue’s Note” or the flattened fifth in a musical scale. This was already highly unconventional. Yet even more controversial was the gritty lyrical content of Blues Music itself: sex, drink and hardship. There is even a legend that Robert Johnson, a famous Blues virtuoso, received his guitar skills from the devil in exchange for his soul.
The Beginnings of Rock and Roll
Eventually the Blues spawned Rock and Roll with the song “Rocket 88” in 1951, a song about women and fast cars. A key feature of Rock and Roll music in the 1950’s is that it flaunted sex in the face of a very sexually restrained American public. When Elvis started to gyrate his hips on stage, the women in the audience went insane with sexual delight – some even passed out from all the excitement. I wouldn’t blame them, considering that this was the same time period in which Ricky Ricardo and Lucy had to sleep in separate beds on television in their neck high pajamas.
The 1960’s Cultural Revolution
Hmm…a fallen angel, where have we seen that before?
In the 1960’s, Rock Music became a key part of the sexual and cultural revolution. One of the prominent bands of the time, Led Zeppelin, incorporated symbols of the occult in their music and included the occasional allusion to Satan. Houses of the Holy for example contained the following Satanic Lyrics:
So the world is spinning faster. Are you dizzy when you’re stoned
Let the music be your master. Will you heed the master’s call
Oh… Satan and man.
There is some controversy about Led Zeppelin, considering their interest in Aleister Crowley. This interest is fairly obvious – considering that Jimmy Page bought Aleister Crowley’s old house – The Boleskine House! However, in recent years Jimmy Page has denied that he had anything to do with Satanism and that the occult was merely a musical topic – not a lifestyle.
Hard Rock and Heavy Metal
Later, as the genre of Rock and Roll evolved into Metal in the 1970’s, hard rockers continued to use Satanic imagery and symbolism in their lyrics and band art. While these Satanic images were used to cause shock and controversy, most of these heavy metal bands deny any actual involvement with Satanism as a religion. Other artists from this era, such as Ozzy and Danzig, would also deny bowing before Satan in real life. You can read the Danzig article here. In this way, Satanism was more of an artistic concept – a symbol for the return of the primeval self.
The Rise of Black Metal
Eventually, a genre emerged in the 1980’s that truly celebrated Satan – Black Metal. This began when the English Heavy Metal band Venom’s second album, Black Metal kick-started an entire genre. Unlike previous genres that dismissed Satan as a mere artistic muse, early Black Metal embraced Satan very openly. Upside down Pentagrams and bloodied crucifixes became a staple of the genre. Bands like Burzum even engaged in burning churches – although Burzum’s frontman Varg believes in the Ancient Norse Religion, not Satanism. Later in the 1990’s, some Black Metal groups eventually made the split from Satan-centric content and delved into the world of Ancient Paganism. You can read about that in my article: Bathory and Paganism.
Yet there are many Black Metal artists today who still have a strong connection with Satan. Behemoth’s newest album in 2014 will be called “The Satanist.”
Watain is one of the key, openly theistic satanist bands in the world of Black Metal. While they like to keep a majority of their rituals private, they have incorporated this ritual atmosphere into their music and art. Erik Danielsson, the Frontman of Watain, discusses the bands connection to Satanism more in the following interview.
If you would like to see an example of ritualistic ambience in Watain, watch the opening of Watain’s 2012 DVD.
SATANISM IN SUMMARY
Satanism is a diametrical opposition of Christianity’s laws. Where Christianity demands humility, chastity, love for all and obedience; Satanism calls for pride, lust, love for only those you care about and devotion to the self. Some Satanists use upside down crosses or inverted Christian symbols to show their own personal rebellion.
Do I agree with the principles of Satanism? No. I won’t expand too much on my personal opinion here, but I’ll throw down my two cents. Why am I a Pagan instead of a Satanist? I am not looking to follow an inverted form of Christianity. I am looking to follow the eternal laws of Nature as our ancestors did for millennia.
Yet Satanism is clearly significant here in a cultural context. As the hold of the Christian Church on the minds of men began to crumble, people began to look to Satan as a symbol of rebellion in order to break their shackles. Paradise Lost became popular in the 17th century because this was a time when key thinkers were breaking free from the church and beginning to explore new scientific and spiritual ideas about life and nature.
Eventually Satan became merged with our understanding of Ancient Pagan deities – as he represented a sort of raw, primeval power. This chthonic power took root in Rock and Roll and inspired the masses to break the conventions of their time. People began to explore ancient ideas about sex and identity.
December 10, 2013 | Categories: Black Metal, Satanism/Black Magic, The Dark Arts | Tags: black, eleven, gaahl, history, lavey, metal, misconception, myth, reality, rock and roll, rules, satan | 33 Comments
Drudkh means “wood” in Romanised Sanskrit
Genre: Ambient Black Metal
Themes: Nature, Ukrainian History, Folk Lore and Poetry
Drudkh is a very secretive band, even as far as Black Metal standards go. They have given no interviews and have not released the lyrics to several of their albums. Their music is a combination of Black and Folk metal influences with a heavy focus on natural ambiance. The band was formed by Roman Saenko, a prolific metal musician. He is the leading member behind Hate Forest, Dark Ages and Blood of Kingu.
“Lustre” is a one man Black Metal/Ambient project from Sweden. The song themes are often about Nature, Darkness, Mysticism and Primitive Spirituality. The videos for these songs are errant and beautiful like the music itself. I’m not sure if the videos I posted below were created by the original artist or an interested fan, but they are amazing all the same.
ECHOES OF TRANSCENDENCE
THIS MIGHTY SIGHT
THE FIRST BEAUTY
Track was released as a vinyl single in April 2013
Falkenbach Genre: Viking/Black/Folk Metal
Common Lyrical Themes: Norse lore, Heathenism, Mythology, Adventure, Epic Tales
Location of Band: Iceland
This new Falkenbach video is magic on the senses, in both a visual and auditory respect. It is a serene song that simultaneously relaxes and enchants the listener.
This single is also a teaser of greater things to come. It is known that Falkenbach plans to release a new album this year called Åsa, but they have not yet given a specific date. Stay tuned.
A beautiful folk song about adventure, fantasy and a reference to Lord of the Rings?
Country of Origin: Sweden
Genre: (Early) Black Metal, (Later) Pioneers of Viking Metal
If you want to learn more about Bathory, you can read my page about them here.
The Swedish man who fathered the Viking Metal genre would’ve celebrated his 47th birthday last Sunday had he still been alive.
Quorthon played multiple instruments, released 14 albums over 20 years, played Satanic Black metal in the 80’s and pioneered the Viking Metal genre in the 90’s. He was the founder and songwriter of the Black Metal Band Bathory (in the 80’s and 90’s). Later he went on to create his own solo albums. This man is often credited as the founder of the viking metal genre.
Quorthon Interview on MTV
Quorthon speaks about Bathory’s transition from Satanist Lyrics to Viking Based Lyrics
Bathory’s One Music Video
“One Rode to Asa Bay”
What is Viking Metal?
Viking metal is a Metal sub-genre characterized by its slow pace, noisy sound, use of keyboards, dark and violent imagery and lyrical themes about Vikings, Norse Mythology and Norse Paganism. The viking metal genre is also considered a fusion between Black Metal and Nordic Folk.
A New Metal Opposition to Christianity?
The Fall of Satan, The Rise of Odin
When metal music began, it represented a musical rebellion of sorts – a rebellion against authority. Songs such as Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” and Accept’s “Balls to the Wall” are a giant middle finger to the Status Quo.
Part of this rebellion is a religious revolt. From the 60’s to the 80’s much metal was characterized by allusions to Satanism and the Occult as a way of rebelling against Christianity: everything from Led Zeppelin’s vague allusions to Satan, to Black Metal’s much more obvious association. What better way to buck the Old Geezer in Sandals than to write verses venerating his least favorite angel? Unlike the All-Father of Boredom, Satan was down with sex, drugs and rock and roll, and thus made for exciting lyrical content.
Yet the problem is that Satan is still a part of the Christian Mythos. In fact, Satan has been the church’s wing-man for centuries. If you can’t fit the perfect Christian mold, than you are doomed to torment and suffering by the hands of the completely evil and vile Satan for an eternity.
Satan and God have been playing a game of Good Cop and Bad Cop with the Human Psyche for millennia. It’s time to stop playing this game altogether.
The significant thing about the Viking Metal genre is it represents a break from this line of thought.
In the 90’s, as black metal developed, Norse Mythology became another way of countering Christianity. This new rebellion exists outside of the Christian Mythos. It is a return to something more real, natural and enduring.
The Rise of Other Folk Metal Traditions
As Viking and Nordic Folk metal made their ascent into prominence, other folk genres came into their own as well: Celtic Folk Metal, Mongolian Folk, Russian Folk, etc.
Various people around the world began to embrace and celebrate their organic historical roots – roots that transcend Christianity and Time.
Paganism in Other Genres
I’m not saying that Paganism didn’t influence Metal in the 70’s. Led Zeppelin certainly used Celtic symbols in their band’s iconography. Yet I’m saying that Paganism began to transcend Satanism as the main opposition to Christianity via the rise of Folk and Viking metal.
Folk and Viking Metal are still lesser known genres among Metal in general. Death Metal, Thrash and Metal Core are much bigger. Yet Pagan themes have also made their way into prominence in the Death metal Genre.
Famous examples are Nile and Ancient Egypt, Amon Amarth and Vikings, Chthonic and Taiwanese Spirituality.
(You must be careful to note that Amon Amarth is technically classified as Death Metal, not Viking Metal)
Also, when I say Pagan, I’m speaking broadly about Pre-Christian and Indigenous religions – not necessarily Wicca and Western Based Neo-Paganism.
By writing music about the Pre-Christian world, many metal bands are tapping into something powerful – more powerful than they realize. Even if some bands just think of it as a gimmick or a sales pitch, they are subconsciously spreading an awareness of ancient truths and wisdom.
Metal Gaia Bathory Song Picks
MOTHER EARTH AND FATHER THUNDER
BLOOD FIRE AND DEATH
FOREVER DARK WOODS
Agalloch is a soft, resinous wood of highly aromatic smell, and is used as incense and perfume in many Asian countries.
Genre: Atmospheric Folk/Doom/Black Metal/Post Rock/ Metal
Location: Portland Oregon
Agalloch is the essence of what a Folk/Atmospheric/Black metal band should be. Dark, dreary and errant. Listening to this album I imagine a mist covered landscape where the mystery of nature still takes hold. Much like the American North West from whence this band hails. Enjoy!
“Menhir” is a monolithic stone, that can stand alone or with others.
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Themes: Paganism, Nature, Thuringia, History
The Lay of Hildebrandslied is one of the earliest literary works in Germany. It tales the tale of a tragic encounter in battle between a son and his unrecognized father. The importance of this tale lies in the fact that it is the only surviving example of a style that must have been important in the Germanic oral tradition. More information here.
As for the song itself, it is nine minutes long, but I’m sure if you’re a black metal fan, you’re used to songs that go on for eons. This song itself is well worth the time. From beginning to end, many emotions are captured: passion, power, tragedy and beauty – much like the tale of Hildebrandslied. The violin and guitar help capture this dynamic of emotions.
The video itself also does a good job in transitioning from Menhir in concert, to images of ancient Germanic life: heroes riding horses in battle, traditional life in the village, a sword glistening in the sunlight. I’m not a fan of live videos – but this one is definitely an exception to the rule.
A Bathory Fan mixes music from the song “Nordland” with video footage from a history channel documentary on Vikings.
Enjoy rocking out Viking style to some history!
“Those glory days vanished into the past
fury of time is taking your life.
No one can ride forever!
At the end of all paths light turns dark and death”
Country of Origin: Spain
Style: Melodic Death, Celtic, Folk
Lyrics: Paganism and Battles
The gentle, clean guitar starts the song with a sense of ease and peace. Only to be blasted away by the power of the Celtic style violin and keyboard. The chanting in the background brings you to an ancient time of battles and heroism. Melodic death growling vocals are backed by the chanting – and it works to give the song an epic quality. My only criticism is that the guitar riff at 4:05 sounds like the opening riff of Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams” cover, even the tones sound the same at that moment!
But aside from that, these guys are no Withering Rose – regardless of the song name. Their music definitely has a heroic quality that makes you want to bring the glory days back again.
“In this age of utter madness
We maintain we are in control
And ending life before deliverance
While countries are both bought and sold”
The twilight of the Gods is within you and I.
We are coming into an age where two great forces will compete with one another.
The corporate giants who will strive to destroy everything, buy and sell countries to satiate their own greed.
But then there is the internet generation – there are those who have a growing awareness that our world order is wrong.
By connecting to one another, we can educate each other further about the growing evils of this world order.
The twilight of the Gods is growing within us. A sense that we need to reawaken the Gods of old.
That we need to return to Earth Based values.
One Rode to Asa Bay ~ Bathory
The following lyrics below struck a bell inside my heart.
Just outside the circle of the crowd
One old man did stand
He looked across the waters
And blotted the sun out of his eyes with one hand
And his old eyes could almost see
The dragon ships set sail
And his old ears could almost hear
Men of great numbers call out Oden’s hail
And though he did know already
Though he turned face towards sky
And whispered silent words forgotten
Spoken only way up high
Now this house of a foreign God does stand
Now must they leave us alone
Still he heard from somewhere in the woods
Old crow of wisdom say
…people of Asa land, it’s only just begun…
This video was found from the Norse Mythology facebook page.