August 31, 2008

Knutna Nävar - De Svarta Listornas Folk

Band/artist - Knutna Nävar
Genre(s) - Folk
Origin - Sweden
Album - De Svarta Listornas Folk
Year of release - 1973

I've uploaded plenty of actively leftist music on here but so far this one just takes the cake. Knutna Nävar (meaning clenched fist) are a seventies folk band with strong ties to the
Kommunistiska Partiet Marxisterna-Leninisterna, Sweden's Stalinist party of those times. Strange how it took the fall of the Berlin wall for most who called themselves communists to figure out that Stalin, Mao and their respective legacies maybe just weren't all that socialist and that the Eastern Bloc was not quite a worker's paradise. This disk, the title meaning something like blacklisted folk, is full of 100% pure acoustic propaganda music, and is quite inspiring to listen to considering its revolutionary appeal. And some of the tracks are just pretty good - especially the title track, I Alla Länder (adapted from Bella Ciao), Arbetarbröder (adapted from Ernst Busch's Der Heimliche Aufmarsch, which I plan to upload in due time as well), and Strejken på Arendal. It also shows the spirit of the times and, to be frank, the lack of criticism within the leftist circles to their own accomplishments or lack thereof. I listen to this one a lot: it's simply a very fun glorification of bureaucratic state capitalism hiding behind a socialist façade, but also warms my heart with the flame of revolution. Arbetarbrödar, vi måsta skapa et Kommunistiskt Parti!
  1. De svarta listornas folk (Blacklisted folk)
  2. Hundra procent (A hundred percent)
  3. Greppet hårdnar (Reach higher?)
  4. Strejken på Arendal (On strike for(?) Arendal)
  5. Hör maskinerens sång (Hear the song of the machines)
  6. I alla länder (In all the countries)
  7. Ho Chi Minh
  8. Ut till fronten (On to the front)
  9. Sången om Stalin (Song about Stalin)
  10. En arbetarkvinnas sång till sin son (A worker woman sings for her son)
  11. Arbetarbröder (Worker brothers)
Load it down

August 30, 2008

Elvenking - Heathenreel

Band/artist - Elvenking
Genre(s) - Power metal
Origin - Italy
Album - Heathenreel
Year of release - 2001

The most good-natured style of metal has always been power metal, but most bands try to disguise their fun factor as epicness or heroism. Elvenking is not one of those bands, singing about dancing more than about fighting, and playing sprightly music that at times only reminds of metal because of the pace and instrumentation. Especially the vocals are exuberant and truly Elflike - i.e. a bit androgynous, but this fits just right, and this mr. Damnagoras is a very good singer. Heathenreel breathes a fresh, invigorating wind through a tired genre ridden with clichés by the inclusion of minor folk (metal) influences, lending the album a festive, foresty sound of its own. Simply said, the music sounds like everything the band name, album title and artwork remind you of. In large doses it can all get a bit tiring on the ears due to the insistent gaiety and the many twists and turns that the compositions take. But this is mitigated somewhat by enough variety and some great melodies. It has happened, however, that I could not get to sleep because I still had passages of this album stuck in my head.
  1. To oak woods bestowed
  2. Pagan purity
  3. The dweller of Rhyms
  4. The regality dance
  5. White willow
  6. Skywards
  7. Oakenshield
  8. Hobs an' feathers
  9. Conjuring of the 14th
  10. A dreadful strain
  11. Seasonspeech
Look, the moon is dancing too!

August 16, 2008

Monarque - Fier Hérétique

Band/artist - Monarque
Genre(s) - black metal
Origin - Québec, Canada
Album - Fier Hérétique
Year of release - 2007

Some nice Qu
ébécois black metal in the vein of their homeland's tradition (Akitsa, Forteresse...): raw yet atmospheric, and I figure as ethnocentric as the rest of 'em. I wonder if the desire for independence from the rest of Canada is as strong as the presence of so many nationalist Francophone bands suggests (in Maple Syrup country, separatism seems to have strong, unhealthy links with far-right traditionalism - I blame the poutine). Back to the music, it is hardly spectacular and it doesn't redefine black metal in any way but tracks like Le Vent du Nord and Marches Funèbres breathe a wonderful sense of nostalgic pride. Another point of praise concerns how the music fills your entire cranial cavity, an ability usually reserved for the better bands in the genre.
  1. Intro - Ces charognes éparses (These scattered corpses)
  2. Fier hérétique (Heretic pride)
  3. Le vent du nord (The north wind)
  4. Passage dans la vallée (Entrance into the valley)
  5. Extinction
  6. Marches Funèbres (Funeral marches)
  7. Outro - Isolation
Load it down

August 3, 2008

Triarii - Ars Militaria

Band/artist - Triarii
Genre(s) - Martial ambient, neoclassical
Origin - Germany
Album - Ars Militaria
Year of release - 2005

When I first heard of the genre called martial ambient/industrial and military pop I was fascinated by the concept and the bands' images. Most of the bands couldn't really interest me, however; I had hoped for something a bit more romantic and less industrial than most projects within the genre proved to be. Triarii is one of the exceptions: with its focus on ominous, bombastic neoclassical arrangements set to slow, heavy percussion and snare-roll marches it's just as apocalyptic as I imagined the whole genre to be. Listening to Sun, Serpent & the World Ending, the most devastating track on the album, or the proud, nostalgic Son of the Sun you
can just visualize the legions marching by.
  1. Anthem from the iron flame
  2. Europe in flames
  3. Mother of pain
  4. Dark skies over Europe
  5. Der verwundete
  6. Legio Vi Ferrata
  7. Regicide II
  8. Marche du capitulation
  9. Neuropa
  10. Serpent, sun & the world ending
  11. For the fallen ones
  12. Son of the sun
Load it down