Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All Glory to the Gloryhammer!

I logged on to Facebook this morning to discover something more than a little epic. It would seem that Gloryhammer, as you all know I posted about yesterday, shared a link to my post on their official Facebook.

Welcome everyone! And thank you to Gloryhammer for being such awesome gents. I lied when I said the video posted yesterday was the only available. This next video was posted a bit more recently. I've put it below as a thank you to an amazing band and a welcome to everyone who came here because of them.

-Zombie Viking

Folk Metal

Ah, folk metal. One of the newest genres (besides dubstep metal of course), folk metal has taken off in a big way. Some folk bands are among the most popular metal bands out there currently (Ensiferum, Eluveitie and Korpiklaani come to mind).
Accordion = brutality
If you are not already aware (and are too lazy to look on Wikipedia), folk metal is a subgenre that combines, well, folk music and metal. Traditional folk instruments are used such as bagpipes, violins, flutes, etc. (I'm still not sure what a hurdy gurdy is though). The lyrics also take on a traditional tone and are usually in the band's native language. Some bands even play metal instruments in other styles (such as Finntroll and humppa).

It's also the only metal genre to consistently have solos on instruments other than a guitar. It's a nice change of pace to hear an electric violin (Turisas) or flute (Eluveitie) break up the song. 

Every single folk metal band comes from Europe (don't correct me, this might as well be true), with at least 99% calling Finland their home. Yet another reason why the North American metal scene is lacking. By Metal-Archvies' count, there are 2869 bands from Finland. Those Finns sure know how to party. I bet there's a folk metal band playing at every street corner instead of a saxophonist.
Pictured: America
Needless to say folk metal is one of my favourite genres. There has to be some reason why every other concert I go to is folk. Why do no other genres come over here? Weird.. Oh well, I'm not complaining. It's great seeing the mosh pit made up of guys in kilts doing the can-can. Except when they start going crowd surfing (true story).

I'll end with one of my favourite folk metal songs, Inis Mona by Eluveitie. Stay folky.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, July 30, 2012

Metal Mondays: Gloryhammer

Aha! A second week and a second Metal Monday. I'm on a roll here. If two counts as a roll of course.. Hope you enjoyed the past week of posts and I hope you stick around for another.

Genre: Heroic Fantasy Power Metal
Country: Scotland

I present to you Gloryhammer, the epic band from the mastermind behind Alestorm, Christopher Bowes. This week's band has yet to release even a single track. Instead, they've been building up a cult following on Facebook. (Does 3000 count as a cult following?) What have they been doing with this newfound power? Well, teasing their debut album of course! Dudes have to make money somehow.

The members of this band all come from various fantasy-themed bands (Sorcerer's Spell, Emerald, Alestorm.. pirates count as fantasy, right?). They have promised nothing but epic music, and for that there is reason to be excited. Especially with the mountain of crap that Napalm Records has been putting out, this band looks like a needle in a haystack (of crap). I wish I could say more about them but that's literally all I know.. This video is the only (un)official video of the band.

Keep your eyes posted to these sites for any new info:

And be sure to check out their debut album, Tales from the Kingdom of Fife when it hits shelves in... soon. I'm sure it'll be good. After all, Christopher Bowes has proven himself with masterpieces such as this.

Bringing you nothing but epicness since a week ago,
-Zombie Viking

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Black Metal Musicians Are Crazy

Black metal musicians are crazy. That is a time-tested proven fact.The entire scene was founded on craziness and in the blackest reaches of Scandinavia, it continues.
The most iconic feature of black metal is of course the corpse paint. This of course was started by a man known by his stage name as Dead. Dead was the vocalist for Mayhem. That was before he blew his brains out of course. The suicide letter read "Sorry for making such a mess". Dead's stage name wasn't entirely for show. He was very close with the land of the deceased. By close I mean he buried his clothes before concerts so they'd have the smell of rotting and regularly had severed pig heads as part of Mayhem's stage decoration. The corpse paint was just another way he brought himself closer to the dead. Nowadays it's hard to find a black metal band without corpse paint (as I mentioned yesterday). This is either out of respect or just plain tradition, I'm not sure.

Dead, looking lively.
The entirety of founding black metal members were crazy too, not just Dead. They all used to gather in a record shop named Helvete where I'm sure they did very evil things. Not to mention all the church burnings, murder and unwanted attention this group of guys were getting. You read that right, none of this black metal stuff was ever meant to become big. In fact, it was originally made as a genre of music people wouldn't want to listen to.

Over time, the scene has become a bit more tame and less insane. The biggest black metal group is quite a bit less satanic and quite a bit more into having hissy fits that some band members left. However, there are still some less popular people hiding in Norway. Taake is one band that comes to mind. Their only member, U. Hoest, has every bit of black metal spirit as the founding members of the genre. In March 2007, Hoest appeared on stage with a swastika painted on his chest. During the concert he also spat and threw beer bottles at the audience. There was a big controversy about it, and the band released the following statement:
...we truly apologize to all of our collaborators who might get problems because of the Essen swastika scandal (except for the Untermensch owner of that club; you can go suck a Muslim)!
In April 2007, Hoest made a further statement:

My previous statement clearly states that I apologize only to our collaborators who might get problems because of the scandal. This means that I take full responsibility and should receive all "problems" myself. But what problems did I get? We raped Essen on one of the first days of the tour and the word spread within minutes. For the rest of the tour I was such an easy target for verbal or physical abuse on stage, walking around the venues, in the streets, etc. But I didn't receive any confrontation. So keep your pathetic internet debate going, but don't think for one second that I take any of you seriously. Furthermore, I never did anything to make Taake a "big" band. I was hoping to lose some fans with the Nekro EP, so now I certainly expect to get rid of some more.
U. Hoest, what more is there to say?
Thank you Wikipedia.

I think I've made my point. Musicians in the black metal scene are crazy. I didn't even mention all the Varg Vikernes/Euronymous stuff. Nor did I mention the near-hundreds of documentaries on the subject. Just give it a quick google if you want to know more.

-Zombie Viking

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Once You Wear Black, You Never Change Back

Pic related: My Amon Amarth shirt
As every metalhead knows, image is a very big part of the metal community. For lack of a better reason, it helps us find each other in crowds. The majority of us have long hair, band shirts, wristbands, spikes, jeans and leather, not crackerjack clothes. From the moment your first band shirt is put on, it's never taken off. Until it gets really smelly.
Pic related: My Arch Enemy shirt
I remember when I bought my first shirt, my Dimmu Borgir shirt, at a concert and threw it on right away. It's the reason I always carry $40 in my pocket to concerts (don't mug me!). Speaking of which, shirts are damn expensive. I could probably even custom make the same shirt for cheaper. I only do it because I love you guys! The bands I mean. The ones that aren't reading this.. Though while we're on the topic of bands...

Pic related: My Immortal shirt
Black metal especially has a very distinct image. Their use of spikes and corpse paint is so notorious that the mainstream media accidentally gives a crap about us. It's gotten to the point where black metal bands that don't have the whole image are immediately shot down. This of course does not apply to well known bands that don't use corpse paint. But go to any YouTube vid of a black metal band without white faces (if you can find one) and you'll see some angry comments.
Pic related: My Ensiferum shirt
So what are your thoughts on the whole metal image? You don't have to own a metal shirt or wristband to leave a comment below. I know there wasn't really much of a direction with this post, so I'm counting on you guys to flesh it out a bit.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, July 27, 2012

You Think Your University Schedule Is Bad?

This upcoming year I'm entering into my second year as a computer engineer at the University of Toronto. A day ago my timetable was released. Behold. (You can click on the image for a bigger view.)
Semester 1 (fall) courses

Semester 2 (spring) courses

Who Are You People?

I haven't really gone out of my way to promote this blog yet. Just a few posts on Facebook mostly. My blog doesn't even show up on Google when you search "metal on the side" or "with a side of metal". So how, I ask you, how are these people getting to my blog?
What do you want from me?!
The weirdest part is that these sites aren't even in English. Netlog is french and Kallery is South Korean. South Korean. That's just steps away from North Korea. Finding out where exactly there is a link here on these sites is out of the question. Besides the fact that they're in moonspeak, they both require me to log on.

All I want to know is who these people are and how they found my site..

-Zombie Viking

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Giving Back to the Fans

One thing that separates metal from the other facets of life is how close-knit the community is. To see this, you need not look farther than the bands. Metal artists love their fans, and if they don't, well, they're probably angsty teenagers playing metalcore and you should pay them no heed. Or money for that matter.
I bet it's full of sunshine and lov
YouTube is the easiest and probably most popular way for bands to interact with fans. It also keeps them a safe distance from the crazy ones so they won't end up with a lock of their hair on Ebay. Bands like Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Korpiklaani, Sabaton and Eluveitie all have channels that they (usually) keep updated with tour videos, recording sessions, or general shenanigans. Many official channels even respond to video comments occasionally. I'm sure it's just when they find a comment that isn't a religious battle or about Justin Beiber. So you, the viewer, get to have a personalized message from the roadie who got put in charge of shifting through a pile of dog crap. It's this extra bit of effort that makes it so much more satisfying to watch music videos on the band's channel as opposed to the record label (damn you NuclearBlast, stop posting bad music).

Some bands have even taken their fan service to other parts of the interwebs. Mysp- I mean.. Facebook is a great way for bands to post updates, pictures, snippets of their songs and links to websites that will actually make them money (i.e. br00talmetalmerch.com). There's one band in particular that's been spamming the hell out of my Facebook lately though: Pathfinder. They're a small band from Poland with a large amount of things to say. For the past couple months, they've been posting pictures of very non-metal-looking people holding their newest album. Awkward smiles make my day. So does sitting. I love sitting.

The internet is great and all, but nothing compares to the real thing. Which in this case means concerts. Bands that genuinely enjoy what they do put on the best shows. I may be getting a little sentimental here, but it's great seeing bands go that extra little bit. I could get all sentimental here, but I'm just going to post a video instead. It's less writing for me, and this is already a sizable post. Thanks for reading this far by the way. You're great. Anyway, this next clip is of Manowar, you may have heard of them. Sometimes they allow fans to come up on stage and play with them. I just can't think of any better fan service than this. Take a look for yourself.

Just take a moment and appreciate the pure awesomeness of that song. Listen to it a second time if you need to.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why I Watch Superhero Movies

Who is this guy?
I wouldn't say I'm particularly into superheroes. I've never read a comic book or graphic novel and don't know the majority of Marvel or DC characters. The only real way I know about these characters is from video games. Trust me, I played the hell out of Spiderman 2 and Arkham Asylum among others. However, I just have to go and check out every new superhero movie.

I want to give kudos to Marvel for their great implementation of a cinematic universe.Despite the fact that each movie on its own sucked, they were all able to tie in to a much grander (and grandeur) story. The real fun behind these movies is finding out about the bigger universe. I'm sure a die hard comics fan will get a lot more out of these movies than I will, but going on the internet and reading up about these characters adds to the cinematic experience. I hopped on the internet the moment I got home from seeing Amazing Spiderman to see what theories there were about the after credits scene.

Maybe it was emo Spidey out for revenge.
The majority of super hero movies follow the same cookie-cutter formula. Start with an average guy who has some notable flaw and a whole lot of spirit, something illogical happens to him, something illogical happens to someone else, illogical character arc, awesome fight scene, good guy wins, throw in a touch of pathos and bake until ready. After seeing the success of Watchmen and the Dark Knight trilogy, could someone else please make a unique super hero movie? If it weren't for the larger story, I think the only Avengers movie I'd watch is Thor (because he's the most metal).

Super hero movies by themselves are terrible. But when studios decide to do something different (such as a cinematic universe or just mixing up the damn formula), they can become truly super. Let the bitter taste of that cliched pun sit for a bit. Enjoy.

-Zombie Viking

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Important Are Lyrics?

The one thing that is most criticized about metal by non-listeners has to be the vocals. They ask why anyone would want to listen to something where you can't even understand what's being said. Although as we continue to listen we understand more, there are certain vocalists that we will just never know what they're saying.
Above: Crazy French guys
I was driving home the other day listening to Benighted. I've been listening to Benighted for years and yet I still don't understand half of the vocals. Even when I have the lyrics in front of me it's sometimes difficult to match them up. Here's the song I was listening to when I came up with this post. See if you can follow along with the lyrics.

There's this vision of red colour on the stainless snow
Painful senses, kindly coldness
The shy warmness fleeing little by little
Let the place to the emptiness of unknown feelings
Smile then bleed
You smile?
No affection on my face

Each heartbeat I can feel is like a slow step to chaos
Irremediably attracted to the other side

A long way to the breakpoint
I saw the gleam and followed it, this trail tinged with blood
As the macabre furrow of my life

I dream about beautiful work I let behind
Transported by the desire to lose all that remains me
My eyes are closed
And I hear this voice repeating this words "smile then bleed"
White and red together are splendid

A long way to the breakpoint
I saw the gleam and followed it, this trail tinged with blood
As the macabre furrow of my life

The landscape is peaceful and hostility has disappeared
A piece of resplendent cruelty, progeny of the sufferings inside

I let you as memory this glorious picture
Where the colours of life and death are mixed in a last breath
Then I put the light off

A long way to the breakpoint
I saw the gleam and followed it, this trail tinged with blood
As the macabre furrow of my life
Asleep with a smile on my face

The first thing I notice is how awesome those lyrics are. The second is that listening to it a second time without looking at the lyrics, I still don't know what he's saying besides a select few parts. This doesn't stop me from listening of course, Benighted is a damn good band.

Not all metal bands have crazy vocalists like that, as I'm sure you know. Amon Amarth is a popular example of a band that you can understand the lyrics of. I catch myself singing along to Amon Amarth songs, despite the fact that I can't growl (as much as I wish that I could). I also sing along to clean vocals of course. Damn that stuff is catchy.

Even though a lot of extreme metal bands have awesome lyrics, as long as I know roughly what the song is about, I can enjoy the content. I am always able to look up lyrics and have an understanding of the song if I so choose. Compare this to pop artists that you can completely understand but still have no idea what the hell they're saying.
Furthermore, I find that I can only listen to lyrics in other languages if it's sung with harsh vocals. There's just something about the growling that I can relate with more. This of course does not apply to Korpiklaani, who sings in Engrish, because they're just plain great. Observe the following, a Swedish band by the name of Falconer. Despite the great music, I just can't help but feel something missing from the vocals. A lack of understanding.

What type of vocals do you prefer: clean or harsh? Share your thoughts in the comments section, it's free for all! Also feel free to give some music recommendations.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, July 23, 2012

Metal Mondays: Powerwolf

Thank you for checking out my first ever Metal Monday. No idea if this will be a weekly thing or not. Maybe this will be the only Metal Monday ever, and we will all be stuck in a vortex of endless sorrow. No guarantees but I'll try my best to make sure that doesn't happen. So anyway...

Genre: Power Metal
Country: Germany

While they may look like a totally br00tal black metal band at first glance, they actually play a slightly symphonic-tinged power metal. With Christian themed lyrics (both pro and anti-religion) and a church organ as a staple instrument, they sure have a unique sound. Powerwolf currently has four albums and counting.

The band started in 2003 with brothers Charles and Matthew Greywolf, with probably the most metal last name ever. After a few months they had a full band.. minus a singer. When on vacation in Romania though, they met classically trained vocalist and werewolf enthusiast Attila Dorn. It was a match made in hell and the band has been making awesome music ever since.

Now you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that this band has never been to North America. Actually, I don't even think they've left Europe. If this band('s record label) decided to headbang over here for a quick show, I'd be 10th in line! (Those front of the line people are crazy..) This is why I'm doing my part and raising North American awareness of Powerwolf. Tell your friends, tell your wife, tell that guy with the long hair that you pass at the corner every day, he probably listens to metal. Maybe if enough people pirate..er..purchase their albums, they'll come across the pond and give us a pat on the head.

And be sure to check out their official sites:

This public service announcement and Metal Mondays brought to you by:
Zombie Viking

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Metal Wallpapers

My gift to you, my fabulous reader. The title of this post may be a bit of a misnomer, I admit. While these wallpapers are not directly metal-related, they are all the product of a wonderful YouTuber by the name of Tillsilence. He creates charming symphonic covers of metal tunes along with a background picture for each. These images just happen to make for marvellous wallpapers. I'm out of flowery adjectives so check him out here. Additionally, I've posted some more wallpapers after the break.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

YouTube Today

I've fiddled around with the customization options on this blog for a bit so I think it'll be fine for now. Time to write my first real post:
As I mentioned previously, I had to create a new google account for this blog. That means that when I went to YouTube, I was greeted with this.
Ah! The horror!
Now I know what you're thinking, I just posted two pictures in a row with barely anything of substance between them. I have not gotten this blog off to a good start. 

How about we analyze the above image. YouTube suggested a variety of things. Crappy music, that's a staple, nothing new there. Sports have always been pretty popular. Ellen... sure, why not? EpicMealTime is the latest in a long line of people doing stupid things on the internet. UberHaxorNova though, that's new. That's the craze that seems to have been sweeping YouTube for quite some time now; watching other people play video games.

I'm not sure exactly when this started, but its popularity has taken off. Every hour there's a new "Let's Play" or something of the sort. The best part is that anyone can do it! Any pimply teenager with no talent can record himself playing video games. Searching "Let's Play" yielded "About 11,500,000 results".

I am also guilty of feeding this craze, I do not deny it. I've been subscribed to Nova for about a year and various other commentators for even longer. I got into the whole scene because when I started university, I realized I no longer had time to play sweet sweet video games. This is my fix, if you will. It's my escape to a simpler time, when fields were bathed in blood and I didn't have to sleep.

But enough reminiscing from me, my question is why other people do it. Surely everyone can't be a recovering video game addict in university. Some of these series get close to 500,000 views per video. And judging by the comments, some of these viewers are 8 years old.
This is the first comment I found.
In my professional opinion, I think it's because the commentators (the people making the videos) are funny. Why play a crappy game on your own when you can watch someone louder do it? The loudest and most irrelevant commentators seem to have the most views. "But" you say "why do the viewers have to play these crappy games alone? Can't they play with their friends?". My answer, of course, is that these viewers do not have friends. That's why watching people playing video games on YouTube has become so popular. As opposed to finding someone to play with, this mass amount of people has either started playing or started watching video games over the internet.

So if you are a loud and lonely dude who just happens to play video games, maybe you should think of quitting your day job and becoming a YouTube celebrity. Those guys make a lot of money.

-Zombie Viking

I'm Baaack

After over a year long hiatus, I have returned to the blogosphere. Feast your eyeholes upon metalontheside.blogspot.com; Your source for anything and everything that comes to my mind.. with just a touch of metal on the side. It's still a work in progress, but hopefully soon I will build my blogging utopia. For various reasons my previous blog, vogelhut.blogspot.com, is no more. You can still check it out before I delete it if you want to read some old posts. But now we are moving into the future...

I created a new blog, title and email address. Let me tell you, I am not good at coming up with names. I did find this site to be mildly useful and more than comical though: http://wordoid.com/. I was able to squeeze out such gems as Zombience/Zombient, Scients (it's like science, geddit?) and Blogeddon (because Blogageddon was already taken). Oh, and not to forget Muslimetal, which I almost went with but ultimately decided sends the wrong message.

My new email is vogelfrei25@gmail.com. Feel free to send me comments, questions, or anything else blog-related. It means outlaw in German (so metal). Alternatively, feel free to leave comments on any of my posts, as they are open to everyone, no account of any kind needed. I expect at the very least a couple comments from Anonymous saying how much my blog sucks. Don't disappoint me internet.

Speaking of not being good at coming up with names, I'm going to try this signoff for a bit and see how it goes.

-Zombie Viking