Thursday, August 30, 2012

Album Review: Unsung Heroes

Dis good shit, 10/10.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Seeing Korpiklaani in Concert

Korpiklaani is coming to Toronto tomorrow, and you bet I'll be checking them out. They're playing with Tyr, Moonsorrow and Metsatöll for their Manala album tour. Expect photos and concert impressions to be posted Friday.

Hopefully they'll actually make it with all the stuff that's been happening to them this tour.. First all their gear got left in London, England. Then, when everything looked alright,  Jonne Jarvela (the vocalist, man) broke his finger. No bad news has happened since then so... yeah.

The concert will be held at a small place called the Opera House. It's a small venue that great bands always seem to play at. By my guess it holds a few hundred people. Not a bad venue in my opinion.

Here's the outside.

Maybe I'll even see you there! I'll be the one rocking my socks off.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, August 27, 2012

Metal Mondays: Korpiklaani

 I'm pretty sure half of my library is from Finland. Those guys make great metal.

Featuring them and promoting their new album. These guys should thank me.
Genre: Folk Metal
Country: Finland

If you like drinking, Korpiklaani may be just the band for you. They are a happy, high-energy folk metal band. No ifs ands or buts about it. In fact, they started out as a purely folk band and made their way into the metal world. Korpiklaani's first incarnation was as the band Shaman in 1997. It was formed by frontman Jonne Järvelä and stemmed from another folk project he had going on. Jonne Järvelä is actually the only founding member left in Korpiklaani. It makes sense though, considering the whole thing is pretty much his ideas and efforts. Korpiklaani was formed from the ashes of Shaman in 2003, keeping all of the folk instruments but adding some much needed metal. The folk can be seen even in their name, Korpiklaani means "forest clan" in Finnish.

Korpiklaani's songs are mostly about drinking and having fun. Songs by them include Wooden Pints, Beer Beer, Happy Little Boozer, Let's Drink, Vodka, Bring Us Pints of Beer and Tequila. They also have an accordion and violin as part of their lineup, with much more folk instruments thrown in when appropriate. Needless to say, these guys enjoy what they do.

That also shows in the amount of music they create. So far, Korpiklaani has released 8 albums. There's pretty much a new one every year. I don't know how they find the time to tour and write so much new music. Especially with such a big band (I would assume it makes everyone more difficult to manage). They are actually touring right now to promote their new album. I guess after the show they go backstage and write some new songs. After all, they just have to write about what they're drinking or how much they're partying and their next hit single is released.


-Zombie Viking

Friday, August 24, 2012

Books and Evil (and Dreaming)

I might as well continue the topic of books and evil by posting this song. The Book of Heavy Metal by Dream Evil. I'm supposed to italicize titles, right? That's correct? Whatever, just sit back and enjoy this epic song. Pretty big coincidence this worked and everything, eh.

I feel I should take this moment to mention a scheduling change coming to this blog. As you may have noticed, there are no Tuesday or Thursday posts. These will be joined by a lack of weekend posts. School is coming up soon and I would like to keep this blog running for as long as I can. It would be easier for me to post less a week but keep a consistent schedule. Be sure to keep checking back for all the new metalz!

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Todd and the Book of Pure Evil

Over here in Canadaland we haven't really contributed too much to the world of metal. It's unfortunate but it's true. That's why when something metal-themed comes out it's so exciting.

Introducing Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. A small independent show from none other than Canada! It follows Todd (obviously), a high school student concerned with stopping the Book of Pure Evil (how creative!) which makes you wishes come true, albeit with an evil twist. He is joined by high school archetypes like Chris, his idiot friend, Jenny, the attractive popular girl, Hannah, the nerdy girl, and Atticus Murphy Jr., the up-to-no-good guidance counsellor. The great part though is that Todd is a metalhead. This means that the town they live in is secretly ruled by Satanists, people die in horribly gruesome ways and the soundtrack is almost entirely metal. Mix it in with a hilarious script and you've got a great show.

Todd and the Book of Pure Evil is mostly shown in Canada on Space and Comedy, but has also been picked up by American and UK networks (Fearnet and SyFy, respectively). That means that you could be watching it right now! Or if you don't feel like turning on the TV (who does?) you can watch it online here. Don't worry, it's perfectly legal.

Look how evil that book is!
Unfortunately, the show was not renewed for a third season. It is currently in TV purgatory, with a third season being written and filmed, but no one to show it. Go to their website for ways that you can help renew the show:

-Zombie Viking

Monday, August 20, 2012

Metal Mondays: Wintersun

Genre: Melodic Death/ Power Metal with Folk Influences
Country: Finland

Wintersun is the brainchild of Jari Mäenpää, former frontman of Ensiferum. It was created after he got tired of the big E and wanted to move further down in the alphabet. Also he has full control over everything the band does, being the only member. For the first album at least, Jari recorded all of the instruments and vocals apart from the drums. This may not seem like the biggest feat, especially after I posted my one man bands post a bit ago. But when you start to listen to Wintersun and you hear how extremely technical and layered it is, you start giving Jari more credit. This compounds with the fact that he is amazing musician. Just listen to his solos!

I ams here to rocks your socks off
Wintersun is one of those few (only found in Europe) bands that doesn't just play music; they also play with your emotions. This is a band where listening to them on a high quality speaker is crucial. It is the only way you can truly experience the music. Like most people, I heard about Wintersun after listening to Ensiferum for a bit (I started listening to Ensiferum after Jari had already left so perhaps my experiences are a bit different than others). The music was pretty good so I added it to my library. My obliviousness went on for more months than it should of before it finally hit me. I was listening to my music when a Wintersun song came on. It was quiet where I was so and I had headphones on I could hear it very clearly. It was breathtaking just hearing how many different layers and instruments were all playing at once. The surprising part was how well it all fit together. From that point on I had significantly more respect for the band.
So much meaning, I just can't.. comprehend it.
Then came the aptly named album Time and its near-infinite delays. Time was going to be Wintersun's second album. It was also going to be released in 2006, a reasonable amount of time after their 2004 debut. The album kept getting delayed again and again, the main reason being Jari's perfectionism. Somewhere along the line after getting a full band together, all of the instruments finished recording in 2007. Then it was the mad wizard Jari sitting in his apartment tinkering with virtual orchestras and adding over 200 layers to the album. The record label even had to intervene multiple times to ensure the album was still being created. The band was forced to play concerts in order to continue to receive funding for the album (since when does a band get forced to play concerts anyway?). Finally, earlier this year Jari and friends announced that Time would now be Time I and Time II. The best part though? A confirmed release date of October 12th for Time I. Let's hope there are no last minute delays.

That's the story of Wintersun for the most part. If you want the same thing structured in a coherent manner, you should probably visit Wikipedia. I just hope that after Time I is released, they decide to tour over here. They've already been announced as the headliner for Heidenfest 2012, but that's (obviously) Europe-only. Despite everything, I'm sure Time I will be a great album. I own the debut album and have been listening to it on repeat in anticipation.

-Zombie Viking

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Small Collection of Alt Art: Super Mario Bros. Edition

Hey everyone! It's been a week filled with long and interesting posts, so I thought I'd tone it down a bit and just post some pictures. Be sure to go back and read the posts if you haven't yet, I promise you'll be intrigued. Click "Read more" below to see the rest of the pictures.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Grindcore: A Pretty Brutal Genre

I want to start off this post by clearing up a common misconception. No, grindcore is not metal. That does not mean it isn't awesome or that you should hate every band in a -core genre. It just means that it isn't metal.
So br00tal
I like to think of grindcore as a subgenre or offshoot of hardcore punk, relating it with metalcore and deathcore. In reality, it's a sort of fusion genre, combining all sorts of extreme music (extreme metal included). Grindcore songs are characterized by very harsh vocals and fast, down-tuned instruments. Lyrics can range from death metal-esque violence to political commentary to absolutely none at all. Some bands just have a vocalist for the hell of it, not shouting anything specific. Drums are usually played in blast beats, which the genre itself popularized. Grindcore is also known for the microsong. Songs are sometimes under a minute in length. A grindcore song over three minutes is rare. Bands such as Napalm Death and Carcass are credited with starting the genre. Since then it has enjoyed... almost no success.

Grindcore is a silly genre. Due to its underground status, bands can pretty much do anything they want. Bands such as Anal Cunt attempt to be as offensive as possible. Napalm Death holds the world record for shortest song (You Suffer is 1.316 seconds long). There are even themed bands like Milking the Goatmachine who, you guessed it, wear goat masks and sing about goats. And the fans love it. Also their vocalist is their drummer.

I have at times dabbled in grindcore, but it is not a genre for me. There's just something about having structure in songs that appeals to me. There are a few bands from grindcore fusion genres though that I do enjoy. Benighted, who I posted about a bit ago, Misery Index and Anaal Nathrakh are all deathgrind bands. It's the furiosity of grindcore combined with the structure of death metal.

While it is not a genre of metal, grindcore is still pretty metal. And by that I mean awesome. There is just so much fun to be had when the bands don't care about anything besides brutality.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, August 17, 2012

Musician Spotlight: Sami Hinkka

This post is dedicated to Sami Hinkka of Ensiferum, the most badass bassist around.
Vikings and stuff.
Sami joined Ensiferum in 2004, right after the release of the Iron album. Since then, he has been slowly taking over the entire band. Sami plays the bass, but that's not all he does. Besides being the most fun to watch on stage, he also provides backing vocals (both clean and harsh) and writes the majority of the lyrics. I'm pretty convinced he's a more talented vocalist than Petri, simply because Petri seems oddly against doing any sort of clean vocals. I don't know if he's tone-deaf, but he shys away from any vocal style besides his trademark screaming. It's okay, because here comes Sami to mix up the music and save the day!

I had always known that Sami was pretty cool, but it wasn't until I saw Ensiferum in concert that it really clicked. I had listened to Ahti a few times on CD and was wondering who did the growling vocals. To my surprise, when they started playing it live, Sami piped up and showed an unexpected vocal range for someone I only thought did chanting backing vocals. My surprise, and later admiration, only compounded when he came out again during Finntroll's set. Carrying beers for every member of the band, he sang the yolking part of Jaktens Tid. A part originally done by Jonne Järvelä of Korpiklaani.

Even in Ensiferum's latest music video for In My Sword I Trust, Sami gets more screen time than the only remaining founding member of the band, Markus Toivonen (rhythm guitarist). I thought it was customary to at least give the non-frontman guitarist the solos.. Well Ensiferum spits in the face of common courtesy and only showcases the most badass of everyone. I am okay with this.

So here's honouring Sami Hinkka, bassist and local badass of Ensiferum. May he continue to make great music.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Vocalist Too Many

I just watched an Amaranthe music video. "Oh boy, he watched a music video" you say, "Why should I bother reading this?". Well I've had just about enough of you, I'm getting to the point already if you'd stop interrupting. "Fine" you say. Good. The point is that they have three vocalists.
Yes, half of this band is vocalists.
I have never been a fan of multiple vocalists in bands. One is enough. Two is fine if you want some male an female vocals, but it should stop there. Having a vocalist to do harsh and another to do clean vocals is just overkill. There are plenty of talented vocalists that can do both. I can spend the rest of the post naming them. If the main vocalist sings very high and does not do harsh vocals to prevent ruining their voice, fine, I can accept that. In those cases it's fine to have someone doing harsh vocals, as long as that's not all they're doing. And vice versa. Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocalypse have both proven that a bassist singing backing vocals can add another layer to the song. If there are so many musicians that can play an instrument and sing backing vocals, why the need for multiple vocalists?

Having more than one main vocalist in a band presents one big concern. All their songs will be the same crap. A vocalist will always sing in their style. Whether or not they mix it up with different vocal types, you still start a song knowing what to expect. When you bring more in, it just means that there needs to be sections in each song for each one of them. Take for instance Kivimetsan Druidi. I know it's not the best example but it's the first that came to mind. Their main vocalist is their guitarist. He does harsh vocals. They also have a female singer though that doesn't play any instruments. She literally stands around and is useless for the majority of the song. When I saw them live, she literally danced around on the stage for half the song before she was needed. Then her obligatory part comes along. She pipes up, regardless of if the song needs it or not, and afterwards proceeds back to doing nothing. For some songs it's a nice change of pace, but there's only so many times I can stand the exact same 'change of pace'. Here's a music video where she gets lost in a forest because the other band members didn't tell her they were having a video shoot that day.

Having multiple band members doing vocals is fine. Just as long as they're playing another instrument the rest of the time. It's always nice to mix things up with different vocal styles and even guest musicians. The problem comes when it's the exact same person every time. Bands should only have one main vocalist. Any more and it ruins the experience.

This rant does not apply to Van Canto of course, which is made up almost entirely of vocalists. They have my blessing to add as many as they need. After all, where would metal a cappella be without them?

-Zombie Viking

Rakka-takka mother effers!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Metal Mondays: Arafel

Told you this week would be a different genre. We're getting our folk on now.
They're in a forest and everything. So folky.

Genre: Folk Black Metal
Country: Israel

Coming to us all the way from the Mediterranean is Arafel. A quick search gives us this: "Arafel, a Hebrew word (ערפל), meaning "fog;" generally used in reference to the Apocalypse." which sounds pretty metal. And pretty Israeli. Actually, being a successful metal band, or a metal band at all, in Israel is pretty hard. Bands such as Melechesh have changed countries because of troubles with the infamous religion police.

This band actually caught my attention when it was announced that former Equilibrium vocalist Helge Stang would be joining. I've always had a soft spot for Asian bands in general because they never seem to get any recognition, so I thought I'd check Arafel out. Needless to say, I was impressed. Their latest album, For Battles Once Fought, contains all the folk you'd need mixed with catchy melodic black metal riffs. Combined with Helge's powerful screaming and growling vocals, it leaves quite a mark. Also they have a female violinist, Nasha Nokturna (that can't be her real last name), which is always a nice bonus.

This is all that comes up when you Google the band name.
Most of Arafel's songs are a bit long, breaking the 5 minute mark. They usually go by quite fast though due to the speedy guitars and great interludes. Death of Archaic World is one of the more unique songs on the disc, starting off with an electronic-ish intro and having a banjo solo. A banjo solo! The only other band I've heard do a banjo solo is Ensiferum in Stone Cold Metal. This one is just as good though, and the song is better. Then it transitions into a violin solo, bridge, and back into the song. Yes, this is my favourite song on the album. Check it out:

-Zombie Viking

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Venue Hunting: Wacken Open Air

I was originally going to do my first venue hunting post on 70k Tonnes of Metal, but with a bunch of bands announcing their inclusion in the 2013 Wacken Open Air, it seemed right. Not to mention that this year's Wacken was held last weekend. Keep your eyes open for my 70k Tonnes of Metal post eventually.
A small portion of the crowd
Wacken Open Air (or Wacken as I'm going to abbreviate it) is the largest heavy metal festival in the world. It was started in 1990 in the small German town of... you guessed it, Wacken. Before the festival, nobody knew this place existed. The first Wacken Open Air was a small festival meant to showcase German bands. There were 800 attendees. Now, it's the temporary home of more than 80 000 metalheads annually. More than 70 of the biggest names in metal (along with some local bands) play their sweet sweet music. And as it is with many other festivals, the majority of attendees pitch a tent and sleep in the camp grounds for the three days.

Wacken regularly sells out months before the actual festival. For this year's, tickets sold out on November 29th, 2011. The festival itself wasn't until August 2nd, 2012. Additionally, despite the 2012 festival just ending, the following bands have already announced they will be playing next year.

See anything you like? If not, check out this year's lineup. If you don't at least recognize some of the bands on here, you really need to listen to more metal. Or at least read more of my blog. If you do recognize the bands here though, I'm sure you're currently salivating.

Agro, Amaranthe, Amon Amarth, Aura Noir, Axel Rudi Pell, Betontod, Blaas of Glory, Boilers, Broilers, BugGirl, Channel Zero, Chthonic, Circle II Circle, CircleIICircle, Coroner, Corpse Garden, Cradle of Filth, Crimes Of Passion, D-A-D, Danko Jones SW, Dark Funeral, Darkest Hour, Dead By April, Decapitated, Delain, Devil´s Note, Dimmu Borgir, Dio Disciples, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, Djerv, Dodheimsgard, Ease of Disgust, Eisenherz, Electric Hellride, Electric Wizard, Endstille, Eschenbach, Exuviated, Faanefjell, Forbidden, Frantic Amber, GammaRay, Gehenna, Ghost Brigade, Gone Postal, Gothic, Graveyard, Hamferd, Hammercult, HammerFall, Helmut, Henry Rollins, Henry Rollins - Spoken Word, Hone Your Sense, In Extremo, In Flames, Inquisitor, Insomnium, Kamelot, Kylesa, Leaves´Eyes, Leningrad Cowboys, Machine Head, Manimals, Manticora, Massacre, Megaherz, MindthreaT, Ministry, Mono Inc., Moonspell, Napalm Death, Nasum, Oomph!, Opeth, Overkill, Paradise Lost, RavenBlood, Red Fang, Riotgod, Russkaja, Rust2Dust, Sacred Reich, Sanctuary, SAOR Patrol, Saturnian, Saxon, Schandmaul, Scorpions, Sepultura, Sick Of It All, Six Feet Under, Soar Patrol, Suffocated, Suicide Silence, Sylosis, Testament, The Black Dahlia Murder, The Bosshoss, Torfrock, U.D.O., Unearth, Victims Of Madness, Vogelfrey, Volbeat, Volxrock, Warbringer, Warpath, Warrior Soul, Watain, Winterfylleth, Winterstorm, Wölli & Die Band des Jahres, Yaksa
Almost every metal band has a video of them playing at Wacken. It's quite an experience. I think that every metalhead should have the chance to enjoy Wacken at least once. I've never been myself, but I do plan on going sometime in the future. After all, who wouldn't want to be in a giant area surrounded by thousands of metalheads?

-Zombie Viking

P.S. The festival is pronounced V-ah-kin, with a V sound at the beginning. It's a German thing, don't ask me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vikings vs Zombies

So I was recently Googling the pseudonym I use here, Zombie Viking, when I came across something interesting. Turns out Vikings vs. Zombies is (sort of) an actual movie. Now, the thing is in pre-production and currently has no investors so I doubt it'll end up getting made any time soon. The thing that caught my attention though was the inclusion of Dragonheads by Ensiferum in the trailer. These guys know how to make a viking movie! If the movie does get made, and keeps the viking metal, I'd see it on soundtrack alone. Here's the official movie site: . It's not much, but it does have the trailer which I have also embedded below.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, August 10, 2012

Breakin' The Law

Breakin' the law, breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law,  breakin' the law.

You've got your balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall, balls to the wall.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Small Collection of Alt Art: Inaugural Edition

As it turns out, alternative artwork was the main source of traffic on my previous blog. With that being closed down and me still having the pictures saved, I figured I'd repost them here. Expect to see a new one of these every so often. Click "read more" to see the rest of the images.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Heavy Metal Naming Conventions

Knowing what genre a band is solely based on their name is a virtue. It allows you to preemptively judge them without hearing a single note. It saves time.With that being said, it becomes a lot easier to know a band's genre if you know the naming conventions.

Heavy Metal: Names are either manly or have some form of metal in them. Examples: Metallica, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Manowar

Death Metal: Band names refer to stuff dying. Not too creative here. Examples: Death, Cannibal Corpse, Decapitated, Dying Fetus, Morbid Angel

Thrash Metal: Also refer to stuff dying, but faster. What is it with American-created genres? Examples: Slayer, Megadeth, Sepultura (Portuguese for grave), Warbringer

Power Metal: Names are epic-sounding. Examples: Dragonforce, Rhapsody, Kamelot, Iced Earth, Firewind

Black Metal: Names are dark and/or powerful. Examples: Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir (Icelandic for dark fortress), Behemoth, Burzum (part of the inscription on the One Ring meaning darkness)

Folk Metal: Bands choose names in their native language. That's the only criteria. Examples: Too many to list

Troll Metal: They have troll in their name. Examples: Finntroll, Trollfest, Trollheim's Grott, Trollband, Trollkotze, Litvintroll, Troll-Myr, Trollhorn, Trollward, Troll (I promise these are all real bands)

Also here's a handy naming pentagram I found.
-Zombie Viking

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Symphonic Metal

The internet often says that metal is the closest current genre to classical music. While I don't fully support that statement, symphonic metal definitely makes it easier to see where it comes from.
Lured in with promises of pretty women and symphonic metal.
Having roots in power and gothic metal, symphonic metal is metal that incorporates symphonic elements (obviously). These include everything from a strong keyboardist to an entire orchestra playing the backing of tracks. Operatic and female vocals are also a staple. It has become a hugely successful genre, even reaching mainstream success in some parts of Europe.

The Swedish band Therion is credited with creating, popularizing and influencing the symphonic metal genre. They started out as a death metal band, but since the mid 90s they've incorporated choirs and other classical elements into their music. Nightwish is another symphonic band you might have heard of that's been around since the origins of the genre.

Symphonic metal as itself isn't really the biggest genre though. As opposed to bands adopting the symphonic style, they've brought elements into their own genres. Symphonic power metal and symphonic black metal are two huge subgenres with arguably just as many bands as plain old symphonic metal. Symphonic!

Symphonic power metal includes bands like Rhapsody and Pathfinder. They play their instruments fast and create an atmosphere with keyboards and backing vocals. But you can read more about that in yesterday's post.

Symphonic black metal includes bands like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor and Carach Angren. They play a slightly slower melodic black metal and add in the typical keyboards and orchestras. Personally, I particularly enjoy this subgenre due to the clash of harsh black metal and beautiful symphonic.

Also be sure to check out Epica, the band in the picture atop this post. They are sort of like Nightwish but have a bit more of an edge to them. Plus the bassist uses growls instead of clean vocals.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, August 6, 2012

Metal Mondays: Pathfinder

Well how about this. For my third Metal Monday in a row, I feature a power metal band. Next week will be a different genre, I swears it.

Genre: Power Metal
Country: Poland

The first thing I realized about Pathfinder while trying to find pictures for this post is that there are tons of things named Pathfinder. I mean, it's a cool name and all, but maybe they should have chosen something more unique. Like Finderpath.

Pathfinder was started in 2006 by bass player and composer (ooo, fancy title) Arkadiusz Ruth. They play very symphonic and epic power metal. They are apparently heavily influenced by Rhapsody (of Fire), but besides both bands being beyond epic, I don't really see the "heavily" influenced part. Needless to say, if you like Rhapsody you will like Pathfinder and vice versa.

So far they've released two albums; Beyond the Space, Beyond the Time and Fifth Element. Recurring themes include space, time, being beyond both, elements and metal. This is not a band that takes itself seriously, which is always nice to see. Metal should not be taken seriously. The music itself is very layered and experiments with all sorts of interesting stuff. A typical Pathfinder song will go from a symphonic intro to blazing guitars to a Dragonforce-esque solo to female vocals and more symphonicness. Check it out for yourself:

Besides the words "epic" and "very", there isn't too much to describe about this band. They've been around for a couple years and released a couple of albums. I think the music speaks for itself. And I hope they continue to release great albums for many years to come.

-Zombie Viking

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Holiday Metal

Metal is often regarded by the mainstream media as a bunch of fun-hating Satanists. While this may be true for majority of bands (screw you, fun!), there are some that just want to have a good time. There are certain bands out there that sacrifice every hope of ever being popular in order to release a holiday metal album. While this may work for pop artists making Christmas specials, who in their right mind wakes up in the morning wanting to listen to Manowar playing Silent Night? Oh wait...

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'd like to focus on two specific bands. One Christian (sorta) and one Jewish (not really) for the sake of diversity. Erlosung and Gods of Fire.

Erlosung is a band that hasn't actually released an album yet. Through some witchcraft though, they have an entire two Christmas albums available for listening to on their YouTube channel. Oh, and did I mention they play black metal? Well, they do.

Here is their biography from their Facebook page:
Erlösung is a Black Metal band started by Sebastian in the fall of 2008 just for the sake of creating metal. The project was well received and Sebastian took that as a sign to continue working with the project. In 2009 Marcellianus and John Quinn joined the band and for a short time they played together. However Quinn decided to take a different path in music and started a his own project Streetlight Sonata. At this point the band was joined by Stephanie who was to preform clean female vocals, but due to distance issues, it was too hard for her too keep up with the band. Marcellianus and Sebastian continued to play, but didn’t get much material recorded. To add to the problem, Sebastian was starting college in Statesboro but before he left, he and Marcellianus recorded the music video ‘Wall of Glass” before parting. Then in the cold winter of 2009, Marcellianus and Sebastian put together their first album, "Christmas ist Krieg." during the summer of 2010 Erlosung broke up, and Sebastian has now taken on the band as a solo project and is now working on the next Erlosung Full Length album.
I'm confused too. Their official website doesn't really help either. Here's a jolly Christmas song by them though.

The next band is Gods of Fire. They are another American band (Erlosung is American, right? I never really understood their bio.) who has actually officially released two albums. Their first album, Wrath of the Gods, is a Greek-themed standard power metal fare. For their second album though, they decided to do something a little different... and released Hanukkah Gone Metal.

The album features such classic Jewish stories as taking back the temple from dragons and escaping the evil Zeus-worshipping Egyptians. Wait a sec, has anyone told them that that's not exactly what happens? Oh well, the music they make is still pretty epic and awesome. Check it out for yourself.

Maybe holiday-themed metal isn't all that bad. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

-Zombie Viking

P.S. Thank you Mike for showing me Gods of Fire.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stop Breaking YouTube

What is this crap? Why did YouTube make the thumbnails for my subscription area bigger? Now I can see even less of what I actually want to see. They've been doing this for years now, slowly taking away more and more features and making the site harder to navigate. I want to do one thing when I'm on YouTube: watch videos. But for some reason they don't want me doing that.

This new layout has been nothing but problems. Half the videos you're subscribed to don't even show up! I don't want to watch "featured" or "trending" videos, I want to watch what I want to watch. What I told YouTube I want to watch. All I want is simplicity.

Does anyone remember when there was a "new uploads" box where it showed videos from the channels you were subscribed to? Whenever you watched a video from that box, it would disappear. They even made it so you could click an x and remove the video yourself if you didn't want to watch it. Now not only can you see much less of your subscribed uploads, but the videos you have watched grey out with a little "watched" there to taunt you. It's like the site is laughing at you, showing you how much of your life you've wasted away scrolling through this huge list it's putting there. I just want that one feature back, the new uploads box. They can keep the rest of their new crap, I'll still be happy.

If they're going to add something new though, how about a "stupidest comment" highlight. It would have to update every 5 minutes or so because of the speed at which stupidity is spewed onto the comment box. Maybe even add a new voting button where you rate how stupid the comment is. That would be a fun little time waster.

Anyway, I just want them to fix YouTube. Ranting helps, but it still doesn't get rid of the problem. Tomorrow I want to see everyone trending with the hashtag #fixyoutube. (And I don't even twitter). Actually, just post that in the comments section of this post. That'll make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :3

-Zombie Viking

Friday, August 3, 2012

Decapitated and Their (Talented) New Drummer

This post is sort of a continuation of yesterday's. So if you didn't like yesterday's... read one of my older posts (yay for views!). Now for today, I wanted to reserve a post for this man. Technically it is not a one man band, because it is not a band, so it didn't fit. Plus the pure awesomeness of the songs beckons its own attention.

Kerim Lechne, also known as Krimh, is the current drummer of the band Decapitated. In addition to filling in the huge role of Vitek (more on that later), he also maintains a fairly active YouTube account. While Krimh is mainly a drummer, he's actually pretty talented at writing songs himself. Here is an example of one of my favourites.

Now since we're talking about the current drummer of Decapitated, I might as well tell the story. It makes for a good read.

Decapitated, as you may or may not know, is a pretty big band in the Tech Death scene. It was started in 1996 by Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka and his brother Witold "Vitek" Kiełtyka. They were just 15 and 12, respectively. Releasing their first album in 2000, they quickly became Poland's and Europe as a whole's most respected technical death metal band.

Six years and three albums later, on October 28, 2007, something very tragic happened. While on tour, Decapitated's tour bus his a truck, killing Vitek who was just 23. Their vocalist, Covan, slipped into a coma which he has still not woken up from. The band was obviously put on hiatus.

 Two years later in 2009, the band was reformed with Krimh on drums and a new vocalist. Their fifth album, Carnival is Forever, was released in 2011. While many longtime fans like to moan and complain on YouTube and other sites, I think the new lineup still makes for a pretty darn good band. At the very least, the band has an interesting new sound. Check out their newest music video for reference.

I'm glad this band is still around and still making awesome music. It definitely helps that they have (and have always had) an extremely talented drummer.

-Zombie Viking

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One Man Bands

One man bands are great. They showcase how much talent a single person has without any crappy musicians to take away from it. They are just such a good way to show how much better someone is than everyone else.
I mean, just look at this guy!
Old Man's Child was one of the bands I listened to when I was just getting in to black metal. It is currently the side-project of Galder (from Dimmu Borgir), who is the only current member. OMC started off as a full band, but everyone left when they realized the name was too long. Galder decided to keep is alive and make an album every so often. He does the vocals and plays all the instruments, except for drums. Guy can't be expected to do everything, right? He brings in a different drummer from another band for each album, making OMC close enough to a one man band for me.

It really is a shame though that most one man bands are side projects. It just takes too much time to go back and forth from instrument to instrument. Even if the drummer in your band can only play the high-hat and snare, it's easier to yell at him than to play it yourself. For some of these bands, like the one posted below, it would be great to hear a new album every couple of years or so. This song is entirely made by a man by the name of Morten Veland.

Some pretty popular bands started out as one man bands. Wintersun was started by Jari Mäenpää as a way of putting together some of his own music. Just look how far that has come. Firewind was also a solo project of Gus G. created for the same reason. Let's not forget Pain, the side project of Peter Tägtgren (the man behind Hypocrisy and one of the biggest producers in extreme metal). Even though these all gained members to become a full band, they still have all the originality and soul of the founding members.

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More Folk Metal

Shortly after writing my folk metal post yesterday, I realized there are quite a few lesser-known folk metal bands that I feel I should at least mention. Hey, if you liked any of the bands I gave yesterday, maybe you'll find something new.

One band I've been listening to nonstop lately is Svartsot. They're a folk metal band with a flute. A flute. A little tiny pan flute that plays in the background of most of their songs. How cute!

Equilibrium is another folk metal band just on the cusp of being considered popular. The don't usually have any folk instruments, but the music is fast and catchy. Definitely check them out if you like Ensiferum. And be sure to check out Arafel, a small band from Israel that Equilibrium's old vocalist is now a part of.

Now for some aptly named Pagan Metal. It's sort of a mix of black and folk. And deals with paganism.. I know I'm not very good at explaining it so I'll let the music speak for itself.

The quality isn't really the best because the genre as a whole isn't too popular. Which is something that should be changed! Bigger pagan metal bands include Wolfchant (as posted above), Varg, Moonsorrow, Black Messiah and Heidvolk (check these guys out if you want something a bit different).

That's all I can think of now. I'm sure I missed something but oh well. I hope no folk metal maniacs leave a flaming hurdy gurdy at my doorstep for missing their favourite band.

-Zombie Viking