Monday, December 30, 2013


Parsifal is a Swedish/Norwegian/Dutch power metal band consisting of a few Youtube celebrities that decided to get together and form a band. I'm pretty sure you haven't heard of them because their Facebook page has about 150 likes and the songs on Youtube have around 1000 views. And don't bother trying to search up the band on Google, all you'll find is the opera that the name is inspired by. The page for Parsifal is about some dance DJ but is slowly being taken over by the far superior band. They do however have a Metal Archives page, so that's nice to see. But needless to say, this band needs some more exposure. That's where this blog comes in.

Clockwise: Bjarte, Oscar, Victor, Bram
Parsifal is made up of Bjarte (guitars), Oscar (vocals), Victor (bass), and Bram (drums). I've been subscribed to Bram and Oscar for years, back when they were both making videos regularly and I subscribed to Bjarte shortly after I found out about the band. I don't know if Victor has a Youtube channel, but I'm sure he's a cool guy regardless. Needless to say, they're all extremely talented musicians. Bram has covered almost all of my favourite songs pretty close to flawlessly. Oscar does (used to do?) "different" covers of metal songs, singing clean vocals over ones that are usually growled. If you wanted to see the standout videos on both of their channels, it would definitely be Oscar's heathen warrior cover of Cascada's Every Time We Touch and Bram's epic collaborative cover of Sons of Winter and Stars originally by Wintersun.

Bjarte, Bram, and Oscar all have channels full of covers of other bands, but with Parsifal they've shown that they can create great music of their own. In my opinion, the band is best described as power metal with folk influences. They even throw in some keyboard and other instruments at times, possibly from a ghost player because no one seems to be credited with any extra instruments. The songs in their debut album, Here From the Past, cover a nice range, from slower to fast (but mostly fast, just how I like it) and atmospheric to slightly less atmospheric. The only thing that needs to be said is that Oscar's vocals take a little bit to get used to. It's an odd thing to say because his vocals are all clean, but he definitely has a unique voice. My only real criticism of the album is that Oscar's vocals are not always used in the best way. In most songs the music compliments his voice really well and it all creates a great atmosphere, like in Forever till Dawn. But other times he tries to fit too many syllables into too short a time or there's too many vocal tracks going on at once. I think it's just a matter of the short time the band has actually been working together and I'm sure it'll get better with each new song they write. My other issues with the album deal with the mixing and sound quality, but I'm guessing it was made with a very small budget so it's well within the limits of acceptable. The sound quality is actually surprisingly good with all things considered.

Whether or not I've sold you on the band, you have no excuse to not check out the album. Here From the Past is available for free on Parsifal's site. That's right, just go to and scroll down until you see the download album button. And best of all, clicking the button won't put you on some stupid mailing list like so many "free" download links nowadays. Give the album a listen or two and then consider pressing the donate button right beside it. Just think about what these guys could do with their next album(s) if they had a bit more money to work with. Alternatively, it's available for "name your price" on the band's Bandcamp.

Parsifal is a band with all the talent and none of the fanbase. They definitely deserve to become better known and maybe have some money thrown their way so they can make more music and maybe even tour (am I being too hopeful?). The band's members are to blame too for not getting the word out about their own band. You guys all have Youtube channels, put some Parsifal songs/videos on them! It's not selling out or shoving the band down our throats because the album is free! Since I wasn't subscribed to Bjarte at the time (the only member who has Parsifal videos on his channel), I only found out about the band due to a small post on Bram's Facebook page. Just knowing the name isn't enough since you can't search "Parsifal" anywhere and get the actual band to come up in the results. It all just seems kind of silly to me. Oh well, hopefully they'll get popular enough that this won't be a problem anymore.

You can find Parsifal at the following internet locations:
Metal Archives

-Zombie Viking

Friday, December 27, 2013

Out of the Ordinary #2: Semargl

What comes to your mind when you think of black metal? It could be church burnings and the grim forests of Norway. Or possibly blasting instruments and low production values. Maybe your image of black metal is entirely based around Immortal. Or perhaps you think of a band covered in pentagrams and corpse paint... playing pop music with growled vocals. If that last one doesn't come to mind, then you haven't been introduced to a little band called Semargl. They're definitely out of the ordinary.

Semargl is made up of (from left to right) Romulus, Anima, Rutarp, Adele Ri, and Shaddar. They make a unique blend of black metal and pop that they call "satanic pop metal". That's also the name of their most recent album, what a coincidence! They started off back in 1997 making pure black metal and somehow gravitated towards this equally amazing amalgam of music.

Of course, any time a band betrays their fanbase and changes to a completely unrelated genre, they're going to have some backlash. In fact, it's sometimes hard to sort through the pile of negative comments on their music videos and various website profiles (ie. Facebook,, their official site..), so I'm going to say what needs to be said: Semargl is a great band and makes great music. There, I said it. And I will stick by it. They started off making quality black metal and now they make quality pop metal. I've been looking for something like this since I stumbled upon the genre known as industrial metal. You can try, but you'll never find anything quite like Semargl.

I'm not exactly sure what prompted their change into the band that you see in the video above. They're a Ukrainian band, which is not exactly an area known for its metal. They've also gone through plenty of lineup changes. Rutarp and Shaddar are the only founding members left in the group. I'm sure it had something to do with Rutarp. Just look at that face. Plus, what kind of vocalist would willingly give up their position as frontman to play keyboard? Someone who's busy transforming their band's genre, that's who.

Semargl released their first full-length album in 2005, Attack on God. By all means, this was a good black metal album. It had blast beats for days, symphonic keyboards, and all the devilish screaming you could ask for. It's a very different sound then the band you were introduced to.

The band even had a whole satanic mythology/philosophy that they created and centred their first 4 albums around. They put a lot of effort into their work and fully developed their ideas until it was time to try something new. I'm still not sure what prompted the change into their specific genre, but it can be seen as a new phase of the band. Semargl changed their members, they changed their logo, and they started making a new type of music. Their black metal days are behind them but they keep their costumes and face paint as an homage to their roots. If you strip away everything, Semargl is a band that just wanted to try something different. And different they did.

Rutarp is keeping his own black metal spirit alive with his side project of the same name. You can check out one of his songs here. I also wanted to include this remix of Credo Revolution by Zardonic, since it's how I found out about Semargl in the first place.

You can find Semargl at the following links (copied from their website):

-Zombie Viking

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


This concert was absolutely amazing. It was everything I was expecting and more. After meeting with the band, I went back outside, picked up some dinner quickly and went back to waiting in line. It was a split between two different experiences, almost as if I had gone home and come back the next day to see the actual concert. My two friends arrived and joined me in line and before long we were inside the venue.

I'd like to thank Starkill for putting me and my friend on the guestlist (I really got a lot of free stuff at this concert), which was quite a different experience. I'm pretty sure we were the only names on the guest list and it allowed me to bring a third person. After we were inside we went straight to the merch booth and I bought a Time I shirt for a friend that couldn't make it. All the Wintersun merch was awesome. Buy some if you're going to any of the other shows.

Starkill was up first and man did they get the crowd going. They had a huge amount of energy, constantly getting everyone to chant and throw up horns. It also didn't hurt that their songs were catchy and translated really well to a live performance. The crowd quickly woke up after only the first song and everyone was running, jumping and moshing right away. The Opera House is usually spotty for sound quality, with some concerts sounding really good and others just a mish-mash of sounds. The only problem I really noticed with Starkill was that their guitars were a little quiet, but that was turned up a couple songs into the set. It's a good thing too, because they have a bunch of crazy solos. New Infernal Rebirth and Wash Away the Blood With Rain were my two favourite performances. Overall they were my second favourite performance of the night and they definitely took away a significant amount of my energy (more on that later).

During one of their awesome solos.  
Arsis was up next. They're the only band I didn't listen to prior to the concert and sadly, they'll remain that way. They gave a decent performance but the aforementioned Opera House sound quality came back to bite them. The drums were way too loud and it drowned out most of the other instruments. It also didn't help that they had very little consistency in their songs. I don't know if it was just because I was watching it live, but it felt like every minute or so in a song they'd just switch up the riff to something completely different. I didn't know what tempo to headbang at for half the time, and that is just a terrible feeling. Their frontman looked like he was about to die for the majority of the performance. He was completely drenched in sweat and managed to make his guitar and the floor around him slightly more shiny. I checked out a few of their music videos before the concert and let's just say that this guy looks a lot older without his long hair. I swear, he looks like a father. That being said, kudos to him for giving his all. Even though he was sweating so much, he never missed a beat and managed to scream out every word with the same power. Arsis' bassist was also a great guy. He was constantly jumping around and climbing up on the amps at the front of the stage.

Just shredding and sweating away.
I was really excited for Fleshgod Apocalypse to come on. Apart from releasing an awesome new album in a couple days, they brought along an opera singer on the tour just to add to the sound. They have such a great blend of brutality and beautiful symphonic elements. Unfortunately, the Opera House struck again. All the sounds were just blended together and I could barely hear any of the vocals, guitar or piano. It's a shame because they brought along an actual piano to play on, not just a keyboard. The opera singer was drowned out for most of the set, but she actually sang along to every single song so that's a bonus. She shined during the clean vocals sections where she sang along with the bassist (and the crowd!). I was afraid the drums would overpower everything, but they drastically reduced the sound so that even the blast beats were a bit quiet. Don't get me wrong, they still put on a great show, but the sound was all a little off and it's really unfortunate that it had to happen to these guys. There were still many moments where just the symphonic parts were playing and it created such an epic atmosphere. Crowd favourite song The Violation was also beyond awesome. The moshpit was probably one of the most brutal I've seen and the band loved it, encouraging everyone to join in the fun. Fleshgod managed to finish on a high note with The Forsaking which sounded really good live. It was a great choice on their part. Oddly enough, none of us managed to take a decent picture of Fleshgod, but here's the best I could find.

It was a crowded stage when these guys were on.
And then there was Wintersun. The last thing they said to me during the soundcheck was "enjoy the show" to which I replied "as long as it's as good as last time". I forget who in the band said it, but they responded with "it'll be better!" and "well, it'll be longer". I couldn't agree with them more, their set was both longer and better than the previous time they visited (which I thought would be impossible to top). Jari started it off filming the crowd cheering with his (or someone else's phone), which you can now check out on Youtube, and then the band went straight into Sons of Winter and Stars. The crowd was nuts for the entire set, singing along to every single lyric of every single song. Especially great was everyone humming along to the main riff of Land of Snow and Sorrow.

Luckily enough, I was able to get (and keep!) a nice spot just a couple rows back from the stage. I was out of the way of the mosh pit, but it was still pretty crazy. Everyone was crowd surfing and jumping and singing and pushing every which way. I loved it. I loved it so much that halfway through Wintersun's set I completely ran out of energy. I have never been so exhausted in my life but I stayed at the front the entire set. I was just unable to sing along to most of the songs or jump around too much. As much as I loved the concert, I was actually kind of hoping they wouldn't come out for an encore just because I was so tired. Luckily, they played everything before they left the stage.

Jari and the rest of the band were so nice, always saying how great it was to be playing for us and pointing at different things in the crowd (like the huge Finland flag one girl brought). Afterwards they all came to the front of the stage to shake the crowd's hands and throw a bunch of souvenirs at us. Before the final song, Jari asked us what we wanted to hear and was met with a few "Time II" shouts and one guy who really wanted them to play Sleeping Stars. He kept yelling out the song title throughout the set. They never played it. They did manage to play every single other song in their repertoire though except for Sadness and Hate. Seriously, they played every single song except for two. They even played The Way of the Fire which sounded great live and made everyone really excited for Time II. There was even room for a Teemu solo and a part of a song that reminded everyone that there are actually good bands to come out of Canada.

Sound issues aside, this was a great concert. It seems like every concert I go to just keeps getting better and better. If this keeps up, I won't be able to walk for a week after the next one! Both of my friends (who admittedly haven't been to many concerts) loved it and asked when the next band I'm going to see is in town.

I want to thank Wintersun again for the amazing VIP experience and Starkill for the free tickets and getting on the guest list. I'll never forget this night.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Meeting With Wintersun

I haven't updated this blog in over a month and I'm running on about 5 hours of sleep right now, but last night was just so awesome and surreal that I have to write a blog post about it. I still can't fully believe that I was shaking hands and talking with Wintersun. They're all a bunch of great and down to earth guys who just happen to be Finnish and make amazing music.

I'm still not sure why I was picked over everyone else. I sent in my submission only a couple days before the winners were announced and I just look weird in my picture. The only info I got about the process was when Kai told me that their manager, Florian, was picking the winners all the way from Finland. Kai isn't picking them because he'd just choose the people here that he already knows, and what fun is there in that? Here's the picture of my ugly mug that got me picked. It was the best out of the 30 or so that I took.

We were told to be at the venue at 3 and text the tour manager to let us in. I got there about 10 minutes early and met Brett, the other winner, waiting outside. I have to admit, we were both extremely anxious. 3 came and left with no sign of the band, but it gave us a chance to talk about Wintersun and metal in general. A couple of other guys joined us as well, about to wait in line for 4 hours. They were from out of town and had nowhere to go before the show so they decided to just wait in line. They were nice guys but I question some of their decisions. There were also guys from the bands just walking around getting supper and stuff. One of the guys from Fleshgod even asked us where the nearest Starbucks was. I don't think there were any in the area though, unfortunately for them.

After about 40 minutes of waiting (and asking Jukka to let us in when he walked by), we were each handed an awesome backstage pass with a Wintersun "W" and escorted inside. Everyone was busy working to set everything up. There were 2 sets of drum kits and a piano on the floor along with a ton of amps. Kai was sitting at his drum kit on the stage just messing around. Even seeing him play random crap was entertaining. Him Jukka and Teemu started playing riffs and trying out some new sounds. I'm pretty sure they were playing a new song from Time II, I know you're all extremely jealous. Jari came out shortly afterwards and gave us a big wave (he really is the nicest guy ever). Then they ran through part of Sons of Winter and Stars and Sadness and Hate while we watched from the floor.

After everything was perfect, they all came out and shook our hands. We just stood in the middle of the Opera House chatting it up with Wintersun. We talked about a bunch of random crap like Canada, touring and everyone's old bands. They even handed us a bit of swag like signed drumsticks from Kai, a Wintersun flag and Wintersun picks. We of course did the usual things like getting our albums signed and taking a picture with the band, but only after Kai kept reminding us. We were so star-struck that we just kept forgetting all the stuff we wanted to do. I tried to be the level headed one (Brett must have thanked them at least 20 times), but the whole thing was just surreal.

Yeah, Teemu really is that short. For comparison, I'm a little under 6 feet. I won't hold that against him though, he's a pretty cool guy. So is Jukka, he just gives off an aura of cool. Everything from his voice to his sunglasses. Jari is just as you'd expect if you've watched any interviews with him. He also has the smallest hands of the group, which is a little interesting tidbit for all of you. And Kai is probably the most conversational. He seemed to genuinely enjoy talking to us and was really humble considering all the compliments we were giving him and the band as a whole. The whole band was just happy that we enjoyed their music so much.

When we were finished talking, Brett and I headed over to the merch booths (who were still setting everything up) to see if we could buy some things in advance. Kai and Jukka came over with us and even shuffled around the boxes a little bit to see if they could find what we were looking for. I bought a Wintersun wristband which I've wanted for at least a couple years now. They had some really cool merch too, like a Wintersun hat and shorts. If only I had unlimited money... Kai even hung around with us for a bit longer after we probably should have been kicked out and just talked about drumming.

I really can't compare this experience to anything else. Just a week ago I was listening to the debut album every single day on my drive to work and now I can say I've met the band. They are the nicest rockstars you'll ever meet and they put on a spectacular show afterwards. Thank you so much to Wintersun and all the management staff for putting this together, you guys rock!

You can find my full concert impressions right here.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, June 28, 2013


I'm here to spread the word on a genre that you may not already know about. In fact, judging by how hard it is to find bands, I'd say this stuff is even less popular than metal. But it's just as awesome. It deserves to be known so I'm posting about it and hopefully at least one of you will find it as good as I do.

This type of music goes by many names: EBM, electro-industrial, dark electro, hellektro or my favourite, aggrotech. It's a dark and heavy subgenre of industrial music. You may know about industrial through some industrial metal bands like Nine Inch Nails or Pain (the best). Industrial itself is already a subgenre of electronic, so we're currently at least three levels deep in musical inception. I mean, just check this crap out. Electronic music is crazy! Just as a side note, clicking 'aggrotech', 'dark electro' or 'electro-industrial' on that Wiki page all link to the same place.

The timeline of the emergence of these genres is pretty confusing since they're often referred to as the same thing. Industrial music began in the early 1970s, around the same time as metal itself. Then EBM spawned off of it a decade later in the 1980s. In the mid-1980s, the awesome electro-industrial was created. Then in the late 1980s and early 1990s, dark electro and aggrotech appeared. To be honest, I still can't tell the difference between electr-industrial, dark electro and aggrotech. What I do know though, is that these guys have been making deliciously heavy music for about as long as metal bands have been doing the same thing.

So why should a metalhead care about some obscure electronic genre? Well for starters, it's metal as fuck. These guys focus on making the heaviest and harshest electronic music possible. Vocals are usually screamed, the lyrics are about typical metal themes like horror, anarchy and being awesome, and the music itself is complex and layered. Some bands even throw in down-tuned guitars when they feel like making a song extra metallic. While genres like industrial metal bridge the electronic-metal gap from the metal side, aggrotech bridges the gap from the electronic side. I would even go as far as to say that this is the most metal music you'll find outside of the metal genre.

One interesting thing is the countries that aggrotech comes from. South America (Mexico included) as a whole is a big exporter of this sweet sweet music. Personally, I enjoy the fact that I'm expanding my global repertoire of music by listening to this stuff. It's a place with a very scarce amount of metal bands. The second biggest aggrotech base I've found is located in Germany. These guys make both awesome metal and aggrotech. I think it's just because the Germans are so naturally aggressive. What a lovely language.

Another interesting thing is the online presence, or lack thereof, of these bands. There's no online repository like metal-archives to find profiles on everyone. The closest thing is vampirefreaks, which you can find the majority on. The only problem is that vampirefreaks doubles as a gothic social media site, which is its main focus. With the lack of functionality on its band pages, it's less effective than Myspace, and that's saying something. The only viable form of information seems to be the band's official website (if they have one) or their Facebook page. You'd better hope they update it semi-regularly. Practically none of the bands have a dedicated Youtube page, and neither do any of the labels. While Youtube is still the best place to find this music, almost every single video is some crappy slideshow that a kid put together in Windows Movie Maker. It's like a time machine to 5 years ago.

Here's a list of some of the better aggrotech bands I've found. Man I love lists...
  • Asphyxia
  • C-Lekktor
  • Combichrist
  • God Module
  • Grendel
  • Nitronoise
  • Phosgore
  • Suicide Commando
  • Xperiment
The highlighted ones are better starting points in my opinion, but you should check out as many of those bands as you can.

So turn up the bass and throw on some aggrotech tunes. This is an awesome genre that deserves more attention than it's getting. It's something that's not too far from metal yet a nice change every once in a while. Check it out!

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Out of the Ordinary #1 Arkona

I like weird bands. I don't know why, but something just draws me to them. Metal as a whole is already a niche genre, which some people find weird, and it seems to attract a bunch of interesting music that just wouldn't fit under any other category.

The first band I'll focus on is probably the most popular, though I'm not quite sure why. Probably because they have a female vocalist and metalheads go crazy for that kind of crap. The band is Arkona, or Аркона if you're Russian, or Arkona if you're Australian. Though the band is from Russia so good on you mate for checking them out all the way from down under. The band is a pagan/folk metal band. Not too weird so far. Their vocalist, as I mentioned previously, is female and does both clean and harsh vocals. Also they're entirely in Russian. With a mix of singing, chanting and screaming. If that doesn't sound completely different from anything you've ever heard, then let me also add that bagpipes and accordions can be heard loud and clear in the majority of their songs. Wikipedia also lists bandmember Vladimir "Volk" Reshetnikov as playing "wind ethnic instruments". Last but not least, their vocalist Masha Scream is also one of the craziest performers I've ever seen. Just watch this.

I can attest to the energy and craziness, I've seen Arkona live. I had the pleasure of seeing them at Paganfest last summer. Let me just say that the band is darn good live and that Masha knocked over the mic stand at least 5 times. Like, completely knocked over to the point where one of the roadies had to come out on stage and pick it back up.

This is either a metal band or some really bad cosplay.
It's not just the fact that Arkona does a bunch of stuff that you haven't seen before that makes them weird, it's that the things they do shouldn't work so well together. Russian chanting with every kind of folk instrument over furious metal and a crazy amount of energy sounds like a recipe for disaster. Just watch one of those Russian dashcam videos to prove my point. But Arkona makes it work, and their music is extremely catchy as a result.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, June 24, 2013

Metal on the Side Mondays: Rotting Christ

Perhaps the first thing most people notice with Rotting Christ is the name. They must be some crazy Christian hating black metallers! And while they are black metal (some of the time), the band isn't quite what you'd expect.

What are you looking at?
Staying on the topic of the name for a bit though, they have indeed gotten a lot of slack. The name Rotting Christ was chosen with the thought "we'll see what happens" as far as I can tell. The band wasn't really looking to directly offend anyone, but at the same time they kind of were. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth fame refused to play with them purely because of the name. These guys have been doing it for longer than anyone though - 25 years. It makes you wonder how Rotting Christ lasted so long with a name like that. They got picked up by Century Media just 3 years after releasing their first album though, which probably played a big part in keeping the band around. I mean, the only band I can think of with a more offensive name is Anal Cunt, and they only lasted 23 years on and off. But they disbanded because their vocalist died, so I guess it's kind of insensitive of me to bring it up... Anal Cunt was also chosen as the band's name purely because it was the most offensive thing Seth Putnam could think of.

Lyrically, Rotting Christ likes to mix things up with all sorts of themes. They range from the typical anti-Christianity to occultism and even Greek mythology. The lyrics are also sometimes in Greek, the band's native tongue and country, just to be a bit different. Truth be told, there aren't too many metal bands from Greece (Firewind is the only one I can think of off the top of my head), so that already makes Rotting Christ a bit more unique.

With a Rotting Christ song, you never quite know what to expect. The band has gone through a few styles, from grindcore to black metal to gothic/dark metal and back to black with some folk influences. Songs sometimes include chanting, delicious clean vocals or wonderful growls on behalf of vocalist/guitarist Sakis Tolis. Just as an aside, brothers Sakis and Themis (drums) have been in the band for the entirely of its 25 year existence. That's a pretty big feat in the metal world! Getting back to the music, the riffs are also probably unlike anything you've heard. Rotting Christ just has their own unique sound and I can't think of any band to compare it to. The only thing I could say to give you some idea is that their riffs sound like they have a bit of Middle Eastern influences. But I could be completely mistaking Middle Eastern with something else. Needless to say, the music is good. Some songs are catchy and have you chanting along while other songs just create a sombre atmosphere. It's worth mentioning that you should listen through an entire album before making a judgment. That being said, every album has its own feel (and usually a different genre) and these guys have released 11 albums so I won't mind if you just stick with a couple albums for now. In fact, their most recent album, Kata ton Daimona Eaytoy, is pretty darn good and worth a listen or two.

Even a typical Rotting Christ song doesn't stay with one style. They'll usually start with one riff or chant or slow buildup. Then, just when you're getting sick of it, the song will completely switch pace and never use that riff again. This can be found in both songs above. Rotting Christ does have a tendency to repeat riffs for a bit too long, but this is easy to forgive when it's only used for a part of the song.

If you can find another band like Rotting Christ, I'll eat my own hat. These guys are just so unique and cover so many different styles that unless you're offended by their name, they're definitely worth checking out.

You can find Rotting Christ at:

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Changing Vocalist

Before you start reading this post, press play on the song embedded above. Let the sound wash over you and take you to a mystical place you've never been. The waves crash on either side and strange but enchanting beings fly all around. A new age dawns before your very eyes and takes over your soul.

The first thing I thought when hearing that song is how surprised I was that a band called Fairyland was so awesome. I mean, no one in their right mind will ever take this French band seriously. Poor guys. They make good music though and that's all that matters. So I thought I'd check out their previous work. Turns out Fairyland has 3 albums total, with Score to a New Beginning being their latest and greatest. When I found a song from the previous albums and pressed play, there was something pretty unexpected in the sound.

This band has changed vocalists every single album. It's such a weird concept and it changes the sound so much. Every album sounds like a different band, and I found myself only really enjoying Score to a New Beginning. They even switch from female to male vocals between their first and second albums. It's a shame because I'm a pretty big fan of what I heard initially. Just the fact that I can say I listen to a band called Fairyland is enough for me to add them to my library.

You hear all the time of bands switching up guitarists and drummers. Even that is more newsworthy than a new keyboardist or bassists, poor guys. An instrument can be made to fit a band's sound and the style can be changed to fit that of a musician that has left the band, but vocals can only change so much. This is of course added to the fact that vocals are usually the main focus of the song.

I'll compare this to another band that has a constantly changing lineup: Ensiferum. The only two albums where they've actually kept every member of the band is between From Afar and Unsung Heroes. Oddly enough, these albums have some of the biggest changes in sound between them, but that's besides the point. Between Iron and Victory Songs, the entire band changed except for guitarist Markus Toivonen. The only thing people seem to have a problem with though is the new guitarist/vocalist Petri Lindroos. The songs generally sound the same as the first two albums, it's definitely the same band, but the most noticeable change is the vocalist. Perhaps this is an unfair comparison because Jari Mäenpää had a big part in writing songs for the first two albums and is a very talented musician in his own right, but I think it still argues the whole idea of a vocalist changing in a band.

It's interesting how much one member can change the entire sound of a band and it leads to the question of how many member changes a band can go through and still be considered the same band. There are bands that have completely changed every single member since their inception yet still go by the same name and still play songs that they had no hand in creating. One such band is Stratovarius. Their longest-lasting member has been in the band since 1994. The band itself was formed in 1984 and released three albums before Timo Kotipelto joined. While the don't necessarily play any songs from those first albums, they still carry on a name that other people made for themselves. Should this be considered stealing? Well there's a pretty famous case between the former and current members of Gorgoroth that tried to argue that very point. Give it a read if you want a laugh. Those black metal guys are crazy.

Anyway, I think I've rambled enough. These are questions that may never get an answer, though they're still something to think about. Even though Fairyland has a very different sound album to album, it doesn't change the fact that they're a good band and should be listened to. After all, it gives a whole new feel to old songs hearing them live with a new vocalist. The albums released will always stay the way they are, nothing can change that, but the band will live on.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, June 17, 2013

Good Workout Metal #4 Dragonland

Dragonland is a Swedish power metal band from Sweden. They're also the first power metal band I've featured in my workout metal series of blog posts. They just have that extra element that makes them great to pump iron to. Sure, you could throw on any old power metal as you hit the gym, but nothing works quite as well as Dragonland. Let me tell you why.

The first thing you may notice about Dragonland, besides that they're awesome, is how heavy they are for a power metal band. It's got all the power elements right there; the high-pitched guitars, powerful vocals, quick drums and epic symphonic keyboards, but everything - especially the guitars - are just played in a crushing manner. The riffs are deep and methodical, giving a crushing feeling with every pick of a string. The drums also contribute to this feeling with slightly different patterns than are typically found in power metal. It's not just a constant double-bass-fest, they actually have drums that compliment the guitars and give the whole song that extra push.

The groundwork is solid, but then these guys throw a whole other epic layer on top of it. The keyboards are great and fit well with the rest of the music. They also add a bunch of other ambient noises just for the hell of it. The vocalist is very talented and belts out every word with the same amount of feeling. Plus the lyrics are always about something grand, whether it's an epic journey, battle or just being in space. While this is a typical thing in power metal, Dragonland pulls it off amazingly every single time. Every song has the same epic feeling backed by the hard hitting instrumentals.

They also like to throw in harsh vocals every now and then in case you need that extra push during your last set.

Dragonland is simply the best power metal band to work out to. They're heavy enough to keep you motivated and epic enough so you don't get bored. The lyrics are always about something grander than yourself so you stay motivated. And they're just an overall awesome band so you should be listening to them anyway. So throw them on your music player of choice and hit the gym, fatty.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, June 7, 2013

Black Sabbath - God is Dead? Impressions

As an added bonus of being forced to listen to the radio, I also got the chance to listen to Black Sabbath's new song God is Dead?. Yes, I am in fact implying that I wouldn't have listened to it otherwise. There's just something about musicians reuniting after doing nothing for so many years for the sole purpose of making money that's just off-putting. Here are my impressions of the (long awaited?) track.

It sounds like ass.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning. I had heard snippets of this song occasionally while changing through radio stations. These experiences went something like this: "What the hell is this?" "Is that Ozzy?" "Meh" and then I changed the station. It wasn't until I happened to hear one station's broadcasters mention that the new Black Sabbath song was up next that I thought I should give it a listen. Even if I didn't like it, I could still blog about it at least. So I took my hand off the dial and listened through God is Dead?. Here are my impressions.

It sounds like ass.

Mmm, delicious mushroom cloud pasta.
I have so many gripes with this song it's almost hard to decide where to start. First off, why is there a question mark in the title? It's a very mysterious song, posing many questions and then failing to answer them. Is god dead? Was this song just made to make money? What is a metal song doing on the radio? Why is it so bad? This is what runs through your mind while the same riff repeats over and over. I have the same main problem with this song as I do with most pop songs in that nothing happens. Up until the song actually picks up around the end, it gives the feeling that it's all building up to something yet consistently failing to actually deliver that thing. It's just boring, for lack of a better word. Ozzy's vocals don't help.

I can't really understand most of what he's saying, but it sounds like the song is about a young reader of Nietzsche pondering life's burning questions. In this world of sinners and blasphemies, has god abandoned us? Did he actually exist in the first place? Oh no, here I go with the questions again. Damn you Black Sabbath!

The face of metal, ladies and gentlemen.
It's pretty obvious that this whole reuniting thing is just for the money or else Ozzy wouldn't have been a part of it. These guys did create the whole heavy metal thing, and I respect them for that, but there comes a time when you have to pass on the torch to the next generation. Especially if you have nothing worth making music about. Like I talked about in my previous post on the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, there are already younger bands stepping in and playing in the classic metal style while the bands they've taken inspiration from are still pumping out music. What a strange world we live in. Though I'm sure there are plenty of fans who grew up listening to Black Sabbath that are more than thrilled that the band is putting out another album. What do I know?

So as it turns out, God is Dead? is not a great song. I'm just now realizing that I probably heard the shortened radio version, but there's no way in hell I'm going to check out a 9 minute version of this song. It's not worth it. I'll go back to listening to music made by bands who formed yesterday now.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why the Radio Sucks

I have recently experienced a tragic event in my life. My CD player in my car stopped working. It takes in the disc, says it's loading for a few seconds and then spits it right back out. With no auxiliary input to speak of, I've been forced to listen to the *shudder* radio. Believe me, it sucks.

Don't look at me like that, you smug bastard.
I'm fortunate enough to have all my preset stations set to rock music. I've heard some of the stuff on other radio stations in the past, and it's not pretty. Those songs just repeat the same sentence over and over again for 2 minutes (seriously!), broken up by a short and boring interlude. I don't have a problem with pop music in general, whatever floats your boat. And honestly, some pop music is pretty darn catchy. But this stuff that's on the radio, I don't know how people listen to half of it. The singers can't sing and there's no other music integrity to speak of. I stay as far away from those stations as possible, changing my dial to channel 200 just in case any stray radio-waves decide to wander in my direction.

The "rock" stations still have quite a few issues of their own though. When they play a song I recognize like Rush or The Who, it's great. It's no metal, but it's definitely bearable. All of the new bands sound the same though. It's the same sort-of deep singer voice and repetitive riffs. There's usually no solo or bridge to speak of, just a long stream of mediocrity. Sometimes I turn to a station and the stuff playing actually sort of sounds like metal until the vocalist or another bad riff comes on and ruins to moment. Damn you, mainstream media!

Sometimes I even change to a station right as a country song comes on. Yee-haw! That's a real day-ruiner right there. Just makes me want to go out and kill a puppy. The worst time is when all other stations are on their radio break so I have to suffer through another Subway promotion. Anything besides country music. Speaking of commercials, they're another huge downside to listening to radio. And this is something they couldn't fix even if they wanted to. Sure, I get it, radio stations have to make money. But (and I don't know if they do this on purpose or not) they all synchronize their commercial breaks with one another so I can't change to any station and hear actual music for a good 2 or 3 minutes. Screw you guys. I turned on the radio so I wouldn't have to sit through a silent drive, but sometimes it just gets to be too much.

When it gets to be too much, those are the moments where I just shut off the radio and listen to my crappy phone speaker. Basically every song turns into black metal, but it's still metal dammit! I'm forced to find and play simple songs in order to actually hear what's going on. No Wintersun for me, just Manowar and Hammerfall. I can't actually hear any song with more than 4 instruments. Those are the moments where the only thing stopping me from careening off the shoulder of the highway is the stack of precious, but currently useless, metal CDs I have in my car. Curse you CD player! And curse you radio! I do not wish my situation on even my worst enemies.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, June 3, 2013

Good Workout Metal #3 Fleshgod Apocalypse

You may be noticing a common theme in these workout metal posts, that the music is heavy and at least partially death metal. Well that's just what makes for good workouts I suppose. But now it's time for the deathest metaliest band of them all: Fleshgod Apocalypse!

The thing that makes Fleshgod so good to pump iron with is that they're always on. At any given point in a song, there's blaring blast beats or guitars or double kicks, or usually all three at once. Even the slower parts of their songs are about 1000 bpm above what a typical band would play. There are more snare hits in one Fleshgod song than there are on an entire album of, well, any other band in existence. Besides maybe Behemoth, but don't get me started on that. There are too many snares for any sane person between the two bands.

Fleshgod's songs are both beautiful and brutal, throwing in numerous symphonic elements throughout. It gives both the feeling of a good hard workout and of becoming a larger-than-life beast. It's hard to describe feelings though, so listen to the following song and feel.

Oh jeeze, I need to stretch after that. And find a shirt that's not ripped. Well at least now you know why everyone at a Fleshgod Apocalypse concert is jacked. I wouldn't go anywhere near that moshpit.

At the time of writing this I have just come home from a good workout. I was listening to Fleshgod, so I can attest to their magical workout metal abilities. Add them to your gym playlist, there's nothing more that needs to be said.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Musical Journey

For those of you that wonder how I find new music, or are just looking for some new bands, I've decided to do a "live blog" of one of my youtube journeys. This is where I'm watching a music video for a band I like and I just start clicking on the related videos until I get into uncharted territory. Sometimes I find some great bands hidden away behind all the links and other times I fall into metalcore territory or just a bunch of boring bands. Luckily, this time turned out pretty successful.

This journey all started from this link:

I don't remember how I got there, I just had it written down from another day. The only other Taiwanese band I've listened to is Cthonic, and Anthelion has a similar musical style (especially the vocals). This vocal style and the fact that it's in Mandarin just sounds so much different from anything else. It's a breath of fresh air, especially in black metal where too many bands sound too similar. These guys are just a quality, groovy and catchy black metal band. You may also notice in the related videos that Massakren shows up. As you may or may not remember, that's the band that now goes by the name of Starkill and is awesome.

Here's Anthelion's metal-archives page. Turns out there's another band under the same name from Italy, but they've since split up. It's kind of crazy that these guys have put out so little in the band's lifetime. The band is over 10 years old and has only released one album. Though that's the way some bands are I guess. Still, I'll be sure to check out this album a bit more in depth.

Just looking at all the related videos gives a great reminiscent feeling. There's some Powerwolf, Dimmu Borgir, and a band that I haven't listened to in far too long: Anorexia Nervosa. Be sure to check out that song (Sister September), it's a good one. I think I'll check out Satanized next, they have a cool name.

Though it turns out that despite having a cool name, the actual band's music is pretty boring and uninspired. They sound like a poor man's Hate, which is a band that comes up in the related videos for this song anyway. Just check out Hate instead, there's some good Polish blackened death metal (also, RIP Mortifer).

I seem to have gotten into the bands-from-interesting-places part of youtube.. There's bands from Taiwan, Iran, Spain.. Not something I'm used to seeing. I got scared and clicked on a band called Immortal Souls.

Now this is good melodeath. Plus they have corpse paint on. No band wearing corpse paint has ever steered me in the wrong directions, so I will definitely be checking these guys out. They're also Finnish. This band just keeps getting better and better!

From reading the comments, it seems that this band is christian, or at least partially. From what I can tell, they seems to talk a lot about winter and coldness (like one of my favouritest bands ever, Wintersun), but I always enjoy bands that break out of the typical "metal" mould, such as the Christian Unblack Metal band Antestor.

After I few more clicks I stumbled upon Torture Squad. These guys are from Brazil, another place without that many metal bands. This is some really good quality thrash. I don't normally like thrash so I always have an eye open for thrash bands that I actually enjoy. It's just my desire to have as much musical diversity in my library as possible. I'm actually really happy I found these guys, this is really good and catchy music.

I blacked out and woke up on this video. The band is Ekho, a folk/black metal band from freakin' Israel! I already like them.

I'll end this escapade with a band I'm not quite sure of yet: Purgatory. They've got a cool name and all, but I'm not too sure about the music. It's some really solid death metal, but it's one of those bands that I'll either really like after a while or just never listen to again. I'll check them out later... much later.

Well that's it for this journey. I also accidentally stumbled upon a few metalcore bands that I didn't mention above, but I quickly navigated to another page when I realized what had happened. They started doing the weird metalcore thing of throwing their whole body up and down during a breakdown. It just looks silly and the opposite of brutal. Oh well, not the topic to get into right now. So I'd say I found a nice bit a of bands to check out. From here, I usually look up some more songs from each artist and decide if I do actually like them or not. This happens anywhere from the next day to the next month, depending on how interested I am in the band and how busy my schedule is. There's so many gems hidden away on youtube, you just have to know where to click.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, It's a Thing

Have you ever been strolling down the street and just gotten unreasonably depressed because "classic" rock and metal musicians are now in their 70s? Just kidding, no rock star lives that long. Now who's depressed? Well younger musicians are apparently, because quite a few bands have been popping up recently that are attempting to bring back the sound and style of 80s metal. This movement is so new that there isn't even a Wikipedia entry on it yet. I'm so topical.

Metal! (circa 2010)
My guess is that with all the classic bands on the verge of putting down their instruments for good and descending to play sweet solos with Satan, these younger bands are looking to fill in the void. Luckily, they're starting now so there won't actually be a void needing filling. They're thinking ahead. And it may be a while before these guys are needed, what with Black Sabbath and Accept reforming and Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Manowar, etc. having never stopped making music. This is good though since it means the NWOTHM bands will have a few albums under their belt and maybe even some fresher talent that they've inspired by that time.

I just found out about this movement a month ago and have only gotten around to checking out White Wizzard and Holy Grail, but I really like what I hear. These guys aren't just rehashing old songs, they're updating the sound to the 21st century while keeping all the attitude that made it famous. Holy Grail especially throws in some elements of thrash and power here and there. Just listen to a song by either of these bands and tell me you don't like it. Hint: you can't. (The actual song starts at 40 seconds in)

That fricking song came out in 2010! It's a time machine in there. Some other bands of the genre include Enforcer, Cauldron, Steelwing and Hellhound. Let me know if they're any good since I honestly haven't listened to any of them yet.

Another great thing about this movement is that a big chunk of the bands are American. The biggest plus is that it really increases my chances of seeing them live in concert. It also sure as hell beats what America has been putting out the last few years in terms of "metal".

So br00tal bro!!!!11!!1!!111
So New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal. It's a thing. A thing that should really consider sticking around for the years to come. What it needs now is more attention. The only "official" page I've been able to find about it on the internet is this page. So listen to it. Tell your friends. Tell your friends to tell their friends. This is a good thing we've got going here and we have to do everything we can to prevent it from dying.

-Zombie Viking

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Amon Amarth Debuts New Track, Announces Tour Dates

First of all, go here and listen to the new Amon Amarth track from Deceiver of the Gods. Just let it play in the background while you read this post. It's another quality song from what is continuing to look like a better and better album.

The actual album will be released on June 25th, after which the band will go on a crazy North American tour. That's right, this is shaping up to be an amazing summer with two of the best bands I've ever seen in concert (Amon Amarth and Wintersun) coming back for more. Amon Amarth will be coming to Toronto July 10th to play at the freaking Molson Amphitheatre. For those who don't know, the Amphitheatre is one of the largest concert destinations in the area and I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that I would see a band perform there. It's usually reserved for the likes of Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers but these vikings are about to tear it up. They're going on a grand tour across the continent. No other band can do it like them.

I'll be adding Amon Amarth to my growing list of concerts I'll be attending this summer and buying a ticket the moment they go on sale.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, May 27, 2013

Metal on the Side Mondays: Wolfchant

It's no secret that I love me some folk metal. But sometimes I'm in the mood for something a little heavier while still keeping all the pagan themes I know and love. Sometimes I'm in the mood for an awesome band known as Wolfchant.

Wolfchant is a pagan metal band from Germany and they make great music. I don't know what happens over there, but there seems to be a constant stream of amazing bands coming from that country. Must be something in their milk. Wolfchant is also a huge band, with 7 current members. For comparison, that's as many as Eluveitie. So what's Wolfchant's deal? Do they also have someone playing the hurdy-gurdy? Well, no not really. See, Wolfchant is more focused on the pagan and black metal side of their music and slightly less on the folk. The band consists of two guitarists, a drummer, bassist, keyboardist, vocalist and.. a second vocalist?

Observant readers may remember that I hate bands with two vocalists with all of my blackened heart, but these guys are different. First of all, both vocalists are damn awesome. Lokhi takes care of the harsh vocals, snarling every word like a rabid wolf. He also previously played bass in addition to taking on vocal duties before the band got a full time bassist, so the band is already forgiven in my book. Playing an instrument as well as doing vocals immediately takes them off my list. However, the band didn't even have a second vocalist at the time. Nortwin didn't appear until the Determined Damnation album and didn't join the band until the year after it was released. He sings the deep clean vocals, giving the songs a more epic feel and allowing me to sing along when no one is around. Huge props to the band for mixing up their sound and keeping things fresh. As if that wasn't enough, Nortwin is also the lead vocalist of another great band by the name of Rebellion. Check them out, seriously, they're great. While two vocalists would be a detractor from any other band, Wolfchant rocks it like it's nobody's business.

I can't just post one song so here's another:

Wolfchant's songs are about typical paganism, being awesome, wars and drinking. Each album sounds quite different with the band trying new things each time. As I mentioned previously, both vocalists are awesome and the songs are epic and catchy. They currently have 5 albums under their belt so you have plenty to choose from. Though I suggest listening to their most recent, Embraced by Fire, and working your way backwards. The most recent two albums are their best in my opinion, but everything is worth listening to at least once if you've got the time.

Out of the bands I listen to with a wolf theme, Wolfchant seems to embrace it the least. Powerwolf centers their entire image around wolves and Varg makes sure to include a few on each album cover. What Wolfchant does have though, is that their logo sort of looks like a wolf a bit, but even that's been changed with their most recent album.


They do have a couple songs about wolves such as Stormwolves, Under the Wolves' Banner and Die Nacht der Wölfe (I assume since I can't speak German), and the album cover for A Pagan Storm does in fact have a wolf on it, so I guess they're aware of their name at least. But wolves are awesome and this band is awesome so it's surprising that they don't embrace it more. Get it, that's a word from the album title. I'm so funny.

Normally I'd put in some criticism somewhere in a post about a band, but I can't really think of any. My only real complaint is that Determined Damnation was a bit weaker than their other albums, but to fix that situation I just listen to their other albums instead. And you should too, because Wolfchant is a great band that deserves your attention. My other complaint would be about their lack of youtube channel or label's youtube channel. Come on guys, it's like you're relying on people like me to spread your wonderful music. Oh well, I guess it's my duty then to give you the following links.

You can find Wolfchant at the following places:

-Zombie Viking

Friday, May 24, 2013

Good Workout Metal #2 Eluveitie

Folk metal, you ask, isn't that just weird Finnish people prancing around in fields of daisies? Yes, I answer, there is quite a bit of that, but if you look just past the surface a whole new world opens up. Finntroll and Eluveitie are perhaps two of the heaviest folk metal bands you'll find in this so-called "new world". They also happen to be two of the most popular. Odd how that works out. While we're on the topic of working out though, let me tell you about Eluveitie. I'm sure Finntroll works too, but it's slightly harder due to their bridges and sometimes odd song structure.

Pictured: Daises. Dammit guys, get out of there!

There really is no feeling like pumping iron and hearing a flute in one ear and a freaking hurdy-gurdy in the other while some grizzled dreadlocks guy screams over everything at the top of his lungs. Then they throw in some grandpa's guitars for no reason. Hey Chrigel, you're not Swedish, you're no Skwisgar. You want to know how I know that? Name a popular folk metal band from Sweden. It's like those guys aren't trying hard enough. They've got the whole viking mythology thing down pat, just look at Amon Amarth. It seems to be combining that with classic folk instruments that they stop dead in their tracks. Sweden should learn a thing or two from Finland in that regard. Though I'm sure Finland could learn some things from Sweden as well. Either way, they both make some pretty awesome metal. Where is Eluveitie from again? Oh, right, Switzerland...

Now for this sound in your ear that I was previously talking about. The words are in a mysterious and extinct language, unless you're listening to an album other than Spirit in which case it's pretty much all English. There's at least 40 different instruments playing at any given time except for the "metal" sections, which are pretty much 50% of the song and consist solely of guitars and drums. It seems that the only thing Eluveitie is consistent with is their inconsistency. Honestly, I would strongly recommend that you listen to Helvetios if you plan on working out with certain songs from Slania and Spirit thrown in because the other two albums are way too slow and folky to work out with. Only certain songs from their first two albums though, since the band does get pretty in touch with Mother Earth at some parts. Those hippies.

Helivetios is definitely the best album to throw on your iPod if you're heading to the gym. It, more than any other Eluveitie album, is just a constant barrage of melodeath. I've said this in the past but this is not a bad thing, it just gets a bit tiring listening to the whole thing in one sitting. That being said, if you're going to work out, you're going to be tired anyway so a full sitting of Helvetios is just what the doctor ordered. It's great music to pump you up. The guitars are heavy and Chrigel's voice is like a shot of pure adrenaline. The folk instruments just serve to make the songs more catchy and to give everything some variety. It's all good.

Eluveitie is not just great folk metal, it's also good workout metal and for that they get a cool post on my blog. Keep it heavy brothers and sisters.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Like This Blog on Facebook

Oops, I think I just created a Facebook page. Over there I'll be reposting links to all my blog posts and maybe some additional music videos and such because why not? It'll also make it a whole lot easier to share with your friends, so do that too.

Be sure to click the new "like" button over on the right or find this blog on Facebook by searching "Metal on the Side". 

Or just click here:

Thank you.

-Zombie Viking

Amon Amarth vs. Parkway Drive

A friend of mine asked me a bit ago to check out Parkway Drive. Despite them being a metalcore band, and therefore unable to ever earn my full respect, I said I'd check them out. And I meant it, damn it! It just took me a bit to get around to it. But the metal gods have given me a grand opportunity to check out this almost-metal band in an environment that I feel completely comfortable in: a battle to the death.

Loudwire is doing some band vs. band poll battle thing over on their website (vote here) and the current battle is Amon Amarth vs. Parkway Drive. It seems that sites like this are doing these types of things all the time. Whatever generates traffic I guess.

Here's the two songs that they posted:

By the way, if I haven't already said it, Deceiver of the Gods is an awesome song and it really sounds like the album is going to be another great from Amon Amarth. But I said this post would be about Parkway Drive.

Let's get all the good things out of the way first. Wild Eyes starts out surprisingly good. The chanting crowd at the beginning is pretty catchy... after you get past the damn 40 second sound clip. I can imagine this would be pretty sweet at a concert. Skipping ahead a bit, the band has a pretty talented vocalist. I'm proud to report that there are no whiny clean vocals or anything approaching them in the entire song. The drummer is also good, mixing up his beats a lot throughout the song and pulling off some admirable blast beats. The guitars, while much less talented, have some pretty good melodeath parts here and there.

Now for the bad. After the great beginning with the chanting, the song goes right into a damn breakdown. And then it seems every 30 seconds another breakdown comes along. They also have the terrible metalcore cliché of going from one breakdown into another. These guys don't even know how unappealing this is, having absolutely no musical integrity for an extended period of time. Breakdowns, when done right, can really help a song. I don't understand why no core band can ever do it right though. Besides that, the song just isn't very interesting (save for a few parts). It's kind of a shame, since the band shows promise at multiple points throughout the song before falling into yet another dreaded breakdown. 

Help, I'm falling into a pit of breakdowns!
And don't get me started on the damn music video. One of their guitarists has a stupid baseball cap on, the vocalist takes a stupid stage dive right before his next line and the whole stupid set is just dirty. They should have really had a shower before filming this, yeesh. Also, why are there girls in the audience? This is not like any concert I've ever been to...

It's pretty obvious that Amon Amarth is going to win this battle. At the time of writing this they have a 75% lead. All the core kids in the comments are pretty mad. It's pretty funny. You should definitely vote if you haven't already, and if you have time check out the comments section. Also be sure to check out Deceiver of the Gods when it's released June 25th.

-Zombie Viking

Monday, May 20, 2013

Metal on the Side Mondays: Dragonland Extravaganza

Dragonland is a great and underrated power metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. I think their music speaks for itself, so here's my pick of the songs easily available on Youtube. And yes, Astronomy is probably their best album, though every album from these guys is pure genius.

-Zombie Viking


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Reanimate Todd

I don't normally throw money at things, I'm a very frugal person. But this is for a good cause. This is for Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. If you haven't heard of the show, first read my post about it and then go watch all of the episodes. All of them. It's a small quirky show that was ended before its time.

The show is Canadian, which is already a cool thing. It also has a nice dosage of metal coursing through its veins. The show itself is a gory journey about highschool kids (sometimes) attempting to rid the world of the mysterious Book of Pure Evil, or just to find out its secrets. And it's hilarious. What's not to like?

I love you guys!
If you actually clicked that link and read my previous post about the show, you'll notice that I mentioned the third season was in TV purgatory. Well, things haven't improved much since then. The team has cancelled plans to do a third season but is instead raising money to make an animated feature-length to wrap up the story. The campaign is over on indiegogo. Consider giving them a buck or two if you like what you see. I know I did. Be sure to spread that link around too, time is running out. At the time of this post, there's only 21 days left in the campaign. Get these guys as much money as you can!

If you're still not convinced, see what the cast has to say about the whole thing. They explain everything better than I ever could. Click here. Or just watch this video, you lazy person.

-Zombie Viking

Friday, May 17, 2013

100 Posts!

Please, please, hold your applause. When I started this blog just under a year ago, I thought I would make it this far at least, and now I have. This is truly a momentous occasion. I shall celebrate with Wintersun! So basically it's just a normal day. Feel free to go back and read some of the 99 other posts I've written, I promise you they're at least decent.

-Zombie Viking

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good Workout Metal #1 Varg

I thought I'd try this new thing because I've recently started working out and I listen to metal when I work out and stuff. There's undoubtedly some better bands to listen to while pumping iron compared to others. Bands that get you pumped up or are just plain heavy. This of course isn't just for people who work out, you can listen to these great bands any time, it's just that they're also great to listen to in the gym. Let's get this started.

The first band is Varg. These guys have been built from the ground up as good gym metal. Just starting with their name, it's the Norse word for wolf, the animal most associated with ripped Spartans. Or maybe it's just that one scene from 300... Either way, Gerard Butler is a hell of a man.

The actual music is pagan metal - a mix of melodic death and black metal with a touch of folk. I'm not sure what they're actually about since the lyrics are in German, but I think they have something to do with wolves and battles and apocalypses and having a good time, typical pagan and German stuff. By the way, the German lyrics just add to the whole muscley-man strong hard music deal. Listening to German just makes you feel stronger, even if you have no idea what they're saying. Their official website is so metal it doesn't even have an option for English. Nein!

The riffs are strong and the vocals heavy. The faster songs give a good constant beat to work out to. Normally, I'd skip over slower songs, but Varg really knows how to play crushing riffs, especially at a slower tempo. You can tear through an entire album during your workout since every song is just well crafted to what you're doing. I could not think of a better band to start off this series with.

You there, start working out.
If you're going for a workout and don't know what to throw on your iPod, check out Varg. They're heavy, catchy, German and have a good mix of fast and heavy slow songs to keep you going. They've also got sick face-and-body-paint. These guys are so extreme that people bring dumbbells to their concerts and just lift weights in the mosh pits. Trust me.

You can find Varg at:

-Zombie Viking

Monday, May 13, 2013

Metal On The Side Mondays: Xe-NONE

Xe-NONE is a Russian band from Kirov formed in 2004. The two founding members were Lexy Dance (a very manly masculine name) and Newman (an equally manly name). The band combines metal and electronic in a very interesting way, dubbing their music "dance metal". It's a bit different from anything you've probably heard before. Here's a little taste.

Xe-NONE is terrible, there's no two ways about it. Everything from their questionable name choice (no aliens?) to the actual music fails to demonstrate any type of talent. The metal and electronic elements are barely mixed at all. Most songs you can't even hear electronic except for certain sections. The metal itself is unimaginative and usually consists of playing the same few cords over and over. The vocalists are both terrible, there's nothing more that really needs to be said about that. The only reason Lexy (the guy, let me remind you) is actually listenable is because of the doctoring done on his "screams" between recording and actually putting them on the album. This can clearly be heard when seeing them live, where any semblance of music just gets thrown out the window.

That video was posted on the band's official channel which means that they're actually proud of the steaming pile of crap. Lexy's vocals just devolve into a shouting contest with himself. He also throws in some "yeah"s and "oh"s and "hey"s to mix things up. EvilAnn (the girl) actually seems to be trying, which is commendable considering how everything around her is falling apart. The quality is too bad to actually make out any of the other members, though you can hear Newman's synth every so often. Good for him. The only reason anyone should even consider seeing this band live is for Lexy's impeccable dancing ability. And his impeccable biceps.

Xe-NONE have released two original albums: 2008's Dance Metal [Rave]olution and 2011's Dancefloration along with Dance Inferno Resurrection in 2009 which featured metal covers of popular old Eurodance songs. Their cover album didn't really do anything for me because I don't recognize any of the original songs, not that the band did them justice anyway. I did quite enjoy this cover though. I'm not quite sure why, but it may just be how darn catchy the song is. Their original albums are pretty much more of the stuff that can be found in the two videos posted above. Some songs are louder and some songs are slower, but everything basically melds into a giant sound wall of mediocrity.

Look at how many bros there are in this band!
I'm not even quite sure what genre the band falls under. They're one of the very few bands I've found that actually has a Wikipedia page and doesn't have anything on Metal Archives. They sure don't fall under Electronic due to all the non-electronic elements they shove into their songs. What does that leave? Rock? Country? I guess dance metal is the only tag that this band actually falls under, despite not being able to dance or headbang to any of their music.

Xe-NONE is a band that anyone with a penchant for cheese should check out. They're truly so bad that they're good, in every sense of the word. I've been listening to them for a few years now and can't wait to hear some new material when they're ready to take a break from playing a concert a month. They're such a unique band that I just can't avoid giving a recommendation. You can find Xe-NONE at:


Check them out!
-Zombie Viking