Tag Archives: Metal

A Harrowing, Near-Death Experience Led to Braveyoung’s Beautiful New Album

braveyoung-600

Having recently sold his old Volvo, Braveyoung multi-instrumentalist Isaac Jones started riding a motorized dirt bike to his job at Coava Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. Since he started work at 5:30 a.m., the streets were usually empty, and the drive was uneventful. Then, on September 22, 2015, as the musician cruised down a narrow street, a van ran a stop sign and Jones plowed into the side of the vehicle.

“I flew off the bike and went through the driver’s side window,” says Jones. “My motorcycle was completely bent into the shape of a ‘V.’ I had an old helmet on, but I hit really hard on the right front side of my head. But I was unconscious. I don’t remember a thing.”

Paramedics medevaced Jones to the hospital, and doctors diagnosed him with a hemorrhaging frontal lobe brain injury. Jones’ twin brother and bandmate Zac was in New York and couldn’t be reached, and neither could his parents. So doctors reached out to Jones’ partner to make a critical life and death decision.

“They said, ‘We have to take out the right hemisphere of his skull to mitigate a subdermal hematoma and we have to do it right now or he will die,” says Jones. “But we need permission from someone who knows him.”

Consent was given, and Jones went into surgery for 11 hours. To equalize the pressure in his brain, doctors removed the right half of his skull and placed it in a freezer, where it remained for five weeks. Two days after the surgery, Jones woke up surrounded by his parents and his older brother.

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Nidingr Explore Norse Myth on “The High Heat Licks Against Heaven”

Nidingr

When we catch up with Morten “Teloch” Iversen to chat about his latest album with Nidingr, The High Heat Licks Against Heaven, he’s in the midst of juggling his roles in two bands. It’s not exactly his fault: Nidingr’s first full-length in five years was supposed to arrive shortly after its completion last year, but scheduling conflicts delayed its release to earlier this month. The timing was terrible: Nidingr’s most epic and accessible effort to date hit shelves in the middle of an ongoing, highly-anticipated North American tour by Teloch’s other band, Mayhem, commemorating their classic 1994 album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Teloch’s been a part of that pioneering Norwegian black metal outfit since 2011, when he filled the vacancy opened by longstanding axeman Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen.

The 47-year-old Norwegian multi-instrumentalist and producer spent his formative years amidst the country’s black metal renaissance in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and has been playing music in a host of groups for over a quarter-century. It started in his late teens, when he picked up the guitar and bass and began recording on his own, marking his formal entry into the musical dark arts. In 1992, he founded Audr, a one-man venture named for the Old Norse meaning “desolate” or “empty.” But this lone wolf was a pack animal at heart—and so, four years later, his gloomy solo project blossomed into a fearsome, full-bodied band with a new name, Nidingr, similarly plucked from the Vikings (it’s an Old Norse insult, typically lobbed at scoundrels and villains). Five albums and two decades later in 2017, he may be as well known for his work with Mayhem as he is for Nidingr, or his creative partnerships with Amalie “Myrkur” Bruun, the black metal dynamo whose mystery-enshrouded debut M Teloch co-produced alongside another leaden luminary, Ulver founder Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg.

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Master Boot Record Forges Metal and Chiptune Together

Master Boot Record

The only personal detail I know about the musician behind Master Boot Record, a project that fuses the lo-fi sounds of chiptune with the intensity and instrumentation of metal, is that he’s Italian. He may or may not have also been involved in the European Demoscene—an internet subculture priding itself on bringing art and creativity to cracked and pirated software—and he definitely knows his old-school video games. This mystery man’s output as Master Boot Record relies on more than a few conceptual gimmicks (songs have titles like “CONFIG.SYS” and “FILES=666”) and something mysterious called spellware, but the musicianship is real. MBR’s songs pummel and soar, taking sonic hints from industrial artists from the ’80s, contemporary black metal, and console gaming’s most intense boss battles. The new EP, C:\>COPY *.* A: /V, is pretty glorious—doubling down on spiraling synths and neoclassical song construction. The man behind MBR explained it to us using references to various internet subcultures and Norse mythology, which is all part of the fun of decoding and decrypting MBR.

You have thus far kept your anonymity online. Is that something you’re having fun with, or is it a vital part of your approach for this project? Can you explain? 

That’s because MBR music is processed by a 486DX-33Mhz-64mb, hence any personal information is irrelevant. Only the music matters. I’m not hiding my identity, I’m just leaving it as a quest for those who are really interested to find out. I have many projects, and many people know who I am. Traces of my digital self have been scattered through the network since its very beginning, or even before, on Bulletin Board Systems.

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Album of the Day: Unearthly Trance, “Stalking The Ghost”

The designation “doom metal” may signify the heavy sluggishness of the music’s sound, but it fails to convey how much fun it can be. Long Island’s Unearthly Trance, returning from hiatus with their first album in seven years, seem barely able to conceal their collective glee in performing such deliciously miserable music again. Granted, the trio’s growled lyrics are rooted in tales of death and despair; if you crave six minutes of relentlessly solidified sludge look no further than “Invisible Butchery” off their new LP Stalking The Ghost. The malevolently rumbling riffs throughout the LP are generally slow (per the subgenre’s template), and muddier than the memory of a habitual Substance D abuser. Yet many are also kind of…bubbly? The intro of “Into The Spiral,” for instance, possesses an almost desert-rock bounciness, immediately yanking the listener into the track, which melds Greed Killing-era Napalm Death with Isis’ smoggy post-metal and Godflesh’s less industrial works.

In true stoner fashion, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lipynsky never sounds like he’s trying too hard with his gonzo solos, and—although it may be frowned upon in some proggy circles—he remains fiercely loyal the good old-fashioned art of the creaky pick scrape. Darren Verni, meanwhile, drums with hefty, no-nonsense minimalism. The group’s dynamics and structures are playful too:  the midsection of “Lion Strength,” for instance, softens way down to mere whispers and cymbal jingles in the build up to its inevitable but very welcome crushing crescendo. This ghost feels less stalked than tickled.

— JR Moores

Metal Trio Orthodox on Breaking Genres and Why Black Sabbath is Jazz

Orthodox. Photo by Sergio Martin.

Orthodox. Photo by Sergio Martin.

A decade ago, the Spanish trio debuted with Gran Poder, a four-song slab of madhouse doom that seemed specifically designed to test the parameters of the genre. They would start and stop, go near-silent or maddeningly loud, twisting and turning until they arrived at the borders of their self-described form. It was a wonderfully weird mess.

Orthodox quickly exited that realm, though, leaving Southern Lord Records and, during the next dozen years, plowing loudly into jazz and rock and even bits of electronic drone. But Supreme, the band’s latest album, is the most unapologetically strange and ecstatic record they’ve ever made, bar none. Recorded with saxophonist Achilleas Polychronidis, the one-track, thirty-six-minute LP links the shivering fury of free jazz with the shuddering quakes of doom. Imagine the Melvins, sans vocals, wrestling with Ken Vandermark, or Sleep waking up to find that Mats Gustafsson had replaced Matt Pike. Supreme is aggressive, outlandish, and engrossing, a live-to-tape trip that makes more sense through speakers than on paper.

We spoke with bassist Marco Serrato about the unlikely link between doom and jazz that makes Supreme so good.

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