Svart Publishing, 03.11.17 The Devil's Cradle - The Story of Finnish Black Metal is a book written by journalist Tero Ikäheimonen, based in Helsinki. I haven't read the book in its entirety, and so I'm not rating it, but the book seems impressively comprehensive. Thus, it's not difficult to recommend it to anyone with an over medium interest in Finnish black metal. The Devil's Cradle is not meant as an encyclopaedia over everything that moves in Suomi Finland, but rather as a documentation of the most important acts in the scene. Tero has conducted more than 50 interviews over the past four years, and the bands have been picked out according to the criterion that they must have played a significant role in one way or another. Either they have been ground breaking and genre-defining pioneers or idiosyncratic innovators contributing to further development, or they are just interesting cases that stand out in some way.
The book devotes each ordinary chapter to a particular band, and Tero go thoroughly to work. Bands like Beherit, Impaled Nazarene, Archgoat, Azazel, Horna, Urn, Behexen, Satanic Warmaster and many more are often portrayed through dozens of pages each. The bands are probably more open for telling the truth about often controversial aspects of their respective stories than what they would have been if the book was written 20 years ago, at the time when Lords of Chaos was published. Lots of festive anecdotes from a blasphemous movement's early childhood turn up in this book.
The chapters I've ploughed through, have been very thorough in its presentation of each and every band's chronicles, both in terms of forming, events, ups and downs, as well as descriptively accounting for their releases from the demo days and forward. The method and the meticulous depiction can actually remind a lot of Dayal Patterson's elaborate work Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult, and that must be said to be a compliment.
In addition, there are some chapters dedicated to specific topics, such as the early stage of the scene, tape trading and prime mover in the underground, criminal acts, ties to national socialism, affiliation with the occult brotherhood Star of Azazel, and more.
The book is also full of pictures of bands and covers, which enhance the book's aesthetic ethos in a tasteful manner.
My impression, for this is truly an impression in the fullest sense of the word, is that Tero Ikäheimonen has put an extensive amount of work into the in-depth book The Devil's Cradle - The Story of Finnish Black Metal, which in detail documents the Finnish black metal scene in a very profound way. The book is extensive, even in length. With about 550 pages, one can call the book voluminous. In addition, the language of the English version is by all means approved. The book was translated by Katri Mäkinen and Jean Ramsay, and proofread by Nathan T. Birk, promoter for about 17 renown underground labels, who, in addition to being the editor of Zero Tolerance Magazine, has written for Metal Maniacs, Terrorizer and Unrestrained, and been contributor and co-author of the book Black Metal: Beyond the Darkness.
For any Finnish readers, the Finnish title of the book is “Pirunkehto - Suomalaisen black metallin tarina”.
See excerpts from the book on Facebook, and order it from Svart Records.
Today, Polish Begerith's delightful sophomore album, first self-released early this year, was re-released.
Read my enthusiastic review of A.D.A.M., now available on Minotauro Records
Blood Harvest, 10.11.17 The Besieged Sanctum is Russian Serpentrance's first release, and was originally released on cassettes in limited edition in early 2015.
Blood Harvest has taken on the task of scattering the foul feces to the four winds on our rapidly deteriorating planet.
Serpentrance plays dirty cacophonic extreme metal. With the bonus track on this version, the deranged Russians in the first place present five songs that in collective psychosis clock in at half an hour.
Members from various black and death metal bands, including Aborted Fetus and Pseudogod, constitute the core of the cult that brings ritual and chaotic black/death psychedelia, and the material seeks to induce a trance-like state. Whether or not this succeeds, will probably depend on the listener's mind. Those who ain't susceptible to that kind of stuff, will only hear aggressive, noisy hubbub with rumbling sound. Those, on the other hand, who have warped antennas and perverted taste, may risk becoming paralysed in a spellbound manner in front of the speakers until the hypnosis diminishes.
I struggled myself the first try, and I'm not yet fully into the racket. The slower sequences offer more mood, and thus succeed better at drowning and sheltering me from the outside world. If you're a notch more brutally sick than me, you might just have struck gold.
The Besieged Sanctum is on the verge of a higher grading, but the guys have some way to go.
Based on their first attempt, I assume they will come back even stronger at a later time.
Akslen Black Art Records, 30.10.17
The Norwegian black metal band Minneriket has been rather active since its startup just 3-4 years ago. The band has released an album a year from 2015, and the next album, Anima Sola, is scheduled for release in January.
It's the coming release Minneriket wants to create a little fuss around with the single An All Too Human Heart, released digitally through the bands own label. Stein Akslen hails from Melsomvik, about 100 km south of Oslo, and also plays in the bands Vakslen and Blodsgard, who hasn't dropped anything since their respective debuts in 2013.
Akslen obviously got a taste for Burzum, something that is clearly reveals on the man's latest album, From the Veins of a Nearly Dead Boy, released last January. An album with with cover songs only, as a tribute to Grishnackh. The song An All Too Human Heart also suggests such an inspiration, albeit not quite as obviously.
An evil stench of grievance, disgust and cynical contempt rests over barbed wire and broken glass in this 3:33 long primitive and painful composition. The start can indicate more melody and atmosphere, but those who were hoping for the expression to moved in that direction, can quickly call off the celebration. All signs of a quiet evening are cancelled after just tens of seconds when the song makes a turn for a cruel, harsh, dire, agonizing and cold appearance.
Don't make me harass you with further details. You can listen for your self below.
Finally, let me just say that I'm looking forward to Anima Sola, and that you can download An All Too Human Heart and check out the rest of the discography on Bandcamp.