A little over a year ago, we introduced our readers to Fadades, a one-man black metal project from France that is either the best genre piss-take since Vegan Black Metal Chef or the greatest misunderstood metal genius this side of Dwarr. Either way, his music videos, which generally feature lots of Egyptian iconography and UFOs and Monsieur Fadades shaking his fist in the air while he roars like a constipated Brian Johnson, are endlessly entertaining, even though his music — always presented in 5.1 surround sound! — consists of little more than inexpertly played, doom-metal guitar chords, lurching, arrhythmic blast beats and the occasional celestial choir and thunderclap.
That video, for a song called “La Colère de Ramsès” or “The Wrath of Ramses,” was discovered by the metal community in 2012, briefly turning Fadades into a viral sensation. But it was originally posted in 2010, and was actually its mysterious creator’s eighth attempt to find visuals worthy of his primitive but oddly compelling take on black metal. Tracing Fadades’ origins back before “La Colère de Ramsès” is actually a pretty interesting exercise in seeing how some weirdos are made, not born. When he was just starting out, there was little indication that Fadades would go on to become the black-metal nut job we all know and love today.
Fadades’ very first video, “DAS,” uploaded in 2008, features some sweet computer graphics and, about four seconds in, what appears to be a fleeting glimpse of Fadades himself sans makeup, looking quite normal and clean-cut, actually. Even the music itself, more of a cross between industrial and groove metal, isn’t all that mind-blowing.
For his next video, “Nucléaire,” he’s still operating in a groove-metal/industrial/EBM vein, but his vocals are beginning to develop that tell-tale Fadades death rattle. He also shows up again briefly in this one looking like a clean-cut college grad, only now he’s at least strapped on a spiked cuff and studded leather shoulder strap. With these tiny steps, the metamorphosis begins!
After a series of weird but not very good videos that cribbed most of their visuals from video games, Fadades finally took his great leap forward in early 2010 with “La Fureur d’Outre-Tombe” (“Fury From the Grave”). The Fadades character emerges here fully formed, with black rooster wig, fishnet shirt, elaborately spiked cuffs and tongue gymnastics all in place. The Egpytology stuff would come later; here, he’s just rocking out against the rather conventional black metal backdrop of an old graveyard, presumably somewhere near his hometown of Mulhouse in Alsace, near the German/Swiss border.
And he’s been rocking the one-man metal and bizarro music videos ever since. Through 2012, he churned out his ridiculous videos at a pretty steady clip, including this one, which may be our favorite, because it features Fadades crash-landing his UFO on a planet the color of Pepto-Bismol and using his raygun to do battle with killer fern fronds and a giant perfume bottle. Can’t wait to watch it now, can you?
Since 2012, Fadades’ output has been more sporadic, but he’s still out there somewhere, wandering the Egyptian desert and/or the frostbitten wastes of whatever part of Alsace black metal fans congregate in. Actually, scratch that last part — Fadades clearly doesn’t go anywhere other people congregate, even black metal fans. If ever there was a lone wolf of outsider metal, it’s Fadades.
We’ll leave you with Fadades’ latest video, “Jurassic Extinction,” which he just released last month. In it, our hero uses his awesome homemade guitar, the Hyperbolika (seriously, it’s a pretty sick-looking axe), to ignite a nuclear holocaust that triggers the extinction of the dinosaurs. At least we think that’s what’s happening. In any case, it features both Fadades and computer-animated dinosaurs, so you know it’s going to rule.
P.S. Shout-out to readers Lou and Yummi Tomato, the former for introducing us to Fadades and the latter for reminding us that for some unknown and inexcusable reason, we had yet to add him to the Weird List. About time we did, right?
A dude by the name of Dave Tremblay contacted us awhile back looking to swap links with his website, Can This Even Be Called Music. Because we’re flakes, we kinda blew him off…but yesterday, he emailed us again, and this time, there’s not enough flakiness in California (the Flake Capital of America™) for us to ignore his latest project.
As Dave explains it, Paysages Éphémères is an experimental grindcore project created entirely without stringed instruments. That means no guitar, no bass, no violins…just percussion, vocals, electronics and maybe a severed artery or two. He’s released four chapters so far out of a planned 53 and it’s all varying degrees of batshit weird. I hear some influences from other experimental metal artists like Igorrr and Jute Gyte, but Monsieur Tremblay is on his trip here.
Oh, P.S.: When you hear any vocals, that’s Tremblay reciting the Enchiridion of Epictetus, an ancient Greek Stoic text. So it’s educational as well as skull-crushing.
You can hear the rest of the project on Bandcamp. Dave released the first four parts in only a week, so check back often, because he seems to be on some kind of crazy roll with this stuff.
Black metal’s been around for long enough now that most of it isn’t really all that “black” anymore. Most of it is beige, formulaic bullshit, recycling ideas thoroughly explored by Mayhem and Emperor 20 years ago. Even Mayhem’s current guitarist, Teloch, told us recently that he’s stopped listening to black metal “since most albums released is shit.”
That’s what makes Missouri one-man black metal band Jute Gyte so awesome. Adam Kalmbach has figured out a way to make black metal interesting again: by adding microtones, those notes between the notes that you usually only hear in certain kinds of non-Western music. When you add those tones to black metal, suddenly the music is just as evil and ominous and disorienting as it was the first time you heard it.
Jute Gyre has cranked out a ton of material since 2002, but he just started getting into microtones of his last two albums. Here’s a track from his most recent, Vast Chains. Warning: may cause seasickness and/or feelings of utter despair.
For more Jute Gyte, check out his Bandcamp.
P.S. Shout-out to reader Yodeling James for reminding us about this guy. Definitely one of the few black metal artists pushing the envelope these days.
Back when they were still all just kids, Mayhem guitarist Euronymous and then-drummer Manheim had a short-lived side project called the Langhus Experimental Grave chamber Orchestra, or L.E.G.O. for short. The project has achieved somewhat mythic status among black metal fans, mainly because as far as anyone could tell, they only performed a few times and never recorded a note. On his blog back in 2009, Manheim casually mentioned that someone had videotaped one of their shows, but no copy of that videotape had ever surfaced online or elsewhere. Until now.
Today, a Mayhem fan by the name of Finn Håkon “Snærkpung” Rødland finally posted the long-lost video on YouTube for all to see. It’s only 10 minutes long and mostly just features Manheim playing guitar with his back to the audience while Euronymous makes a valiant attempt to play drums, but it’s a pretty fascinating document of the band’s early history nonetheless. They were so young! And—let’s be honest—they’re painfully shy, awkward performers. It’s hard to believe one of them would go on to become one of the most influential figures in heavy metal history.
Manheim’s 2009 description of this performance, which was apparently their first as L.E.G.O., provides some context for what we’re seeing:
“We needed to give the concept we were talking about a name, and having had a few drinks, Metallion (from Slayer Mag) had a moment of clearness when listening to our strange talk. Like an almost dead person suddenly springing into life he opened his eyes, put his finger up in the air and declared ‘A fly’s death!’ We immediately loved the idea, and decided to arrange the piece according to a fly’s life from birth to death. I do think Metallion almost immediately went back to sleep, but we stayed up building the concept.
“One day we held the concert and it is on video tape. Probably it is out there in the internet cloud. I remember playing the violin for the first time in my life that evening. It was a wonderful way of showing the agony a fly must feel when it is reaching its time of death. :-)”
So there you have it: The life and death of a fly, as reenacted by a couple of 18-year-old metalheads who were also listening to a lot of experimental and avant-garde music by artists like Conrad Schnitzler and Diamanda Galas. Turns out there may have been more things influencing the Norwegian black metal scene besides Venom records and Satanism.
Remember when we told you that Drew Daniel of Matmos was releasing an all-electronic album of black metal covers through his solo project, The Soft Pink Truth? Well, the album arrived this past week, and it’s even more hilariously batshit than we could have hoped for. You can hear the whole thing via Spotify and other fine streaming sites, or watch this extremely gay and frostbitten video for his hardcore techno version of Venom’s “Black Metal” for a taste of the project’s highly irreverent approach to its source material:
Daniel, who is gay, loves black metal but hates its politics, which tend to be a wee bit racist, homophobic and, y’know, white supremacist. So he meant for Why Do the Heathen Rage? to be equal parts homage and piss-take. “I wanted to be a kind of Satanic serpent that sneaks in the Garden of Eden of black metal and fucks with it,” he said in a recent interview with XLR8R, “takes the sacred bands, like Mayhem and Darkthrone, and trashes them. I mean, it’s a trashing that’s born out of love, but it’s also born out of a desire to provoke and piss off.”
It’s both a queer and punk-rock way to tackle black metal, which is so hidebound in rigid conventions and notions of “authenticity” that even some of the genre’s purveyors have grown sick of it. When we interviewed current Mayhem guitarist Teloch and asked him about experimental black metal bands like Deafheaven, he had this to say: “To me, when you say experiment and black metal together in a sentence, it’s no longer black metal. To me black metal has strict rules and codes to follow for it being black metal, but that’s also the reason why I quit playing/listening to black metal years ago.”
Lest there be any doubt that Daniel was casting a queer eye on black metal, he premiered one of the album’s tracks, “Ready to Fuck,” on the website of BUTT, a British gay magazine.
The rest of Why Do the Heathen Rage? is in a similar glitchy, electronic vein, but with definite touches of black metal’s death rasp vocals and pounding, relentless sense of doom. It’s dark music that will put a smile on your face. You can order up a copy of the album from Thrill Jockey Records or via Amazon.com.
Listen, we do OK in the readership department, but Christ knows, we’re no Metal Injection. We probably don’t even have as many readers as Hell Furnace. So when we hit up Mayhem‘s label, Season of Mist, to see if we could interview the band around the release of their latest album, Esoteric Warfare, we weren’t really expecting a response. But dip us in honey and feed us to the bees, cuz the Season of Mist folks not only wrote us back but hooked us up with Teloch, the band’s still-sorta-new guitarist. We’re not worthy!
Teloch answered all our questions via email, which is admittedly lamer than phone or Skype or in-person…but, it does give us the opportunity to tell you this: Teloch uses emoticons. He gave us the fucking winky sign at the end of this thing! And he didn’t even put devil horns on it! This changes my entire impression of black metal forever.
Anyway, we got the interview back a few days ago but decided to wait until Friday the 13th to post it, on account of it being the day of ultimate evil and all. Teloch answered all our questions except one that was specifically about Euronymous, which is fair enough, I guess. Nobody likes to talk about the dead guy they replaced.
Oh, did I mention that Esoteric Warfare is out now? Yep, it finally dropped on June 10th here in the States and everywhere else on June 6th. If your life seemed a little more miserable than usual this week, it’s probably because there was just a little more darkness in the world. You can stream the full album exclusively on Terrorizer…another site that probably gets more traffic than ours. Bastards.
Weirdest Band: You’ve worked with drummer Hellhammer for many years on other projects before you joined Mayhem. How did the two of you first meet?
Teloch: We first met when we where doing a warm-up gig for Mayhem with Nidingr [Teloch’s previous band]. But it wasn’t until later we started hanging out.
WB: What was your first-ever show with Mayhem like? Where did you play?
T: It was strange, we played here in Norway at a place called Jessheim, where Mayhem had played a gig maaaany years ago. Of course since it was my first gig with them there was some nerves involved, as it always is performing the first gig with a new band.
WB: Were those early Mayhem records an influence on your band, Nidingr?
T: Haven’t really thought about it before but I’m pretty sure it was one of the influences, together with the rest of the Norwegian Black Metal bands, but we have never tried to sound like Mayhem, that’s for sure.
WB: How does Esoteric Warfare compare to the rest of the Mayhem catalog?
T: It’s hard for me to say, ’cause the only Mayhem albums I have listened to top to bottom is Mysteriis and Ordo, the other albums went completely under the radar for me. Also I have only listened to the songs they wanted me to play live.
WB: What guitars and other gear (pedals, effects, etc.) did you use during the recording of Esoteric Warfare?
WB: The first song released, “Psywar,” talks about how modern society brainwashes people into submission. Is that what the title of the album is referring to: that our governments have declared war on people’s ability to think for themselves?
T: In a way, it’s more like there is this constant secret war in the world all the time. Also it’s about mind control and military control, secret societies.
WB: What do you think about the black metal scene these days? Are there any bands doing work you admire?
T: I have no idea, I don’t follow the scene at all and have no idea what’s going on. I would say there is probably nothing worth following, since most albums released is shit.
WB: What do you think about bands like Deafheaven and Amesoeurs that use elements of black metal but mix with them different styles like shoegaze and punk? Do you appreciate bands that like to experiment with black metal, or are you more of a purist?
T: Don’t know the bands you mentioning and have no idea what shoegaze is, but sounds like a fucking mongoloid looking at his shoe for no reason. People can do what the fuck they want, I really don’t care as long as I don’t have to listen to it, really. To me, when you say experiment and black metal together in a sentence, it’s no longer black metal. To me black metal has strict rules and codes to follow for it being black metal, but that’s also the reason why I quit playing/listening to black metal years ago, not that fond of rules, especially when it comes to music, it constricts you. But that’s just my opinion, and it’s not important.
WB: Mayhem’s early history has been sensationalized in the press. Do you find that some of the band’s fans are more into the mythology surrounding Mayhem than the actual music?
T: Yup, and looks like it’s going to be like that forever. A solution would probably be if the other members stopped talking about the old days and start focusing on what’s in front of them. 😉
We knew electronic duo Matmos had a punk streak when we saw them rock the fuck out of a Buzzcocks cover on their last tour. But we weren’t expecting this: Drew Daniel, the younger, punkier half of Matmos, is releasing an entire album of black metal covers. And he’s doing it mostly with electronics. And he’s doing under the name of his weirdo house music alter ego, The Soft Pink Truth. And he’s putting it out on pink vinyl.
So basically, he’s making a black metal album specifically designed to piss off black metal fans, which…since the whole point of being a black metal is to be pissed off at pretty much everything…might make Why Do the Heathen Rage? the most black metal of all time.
The Soft Pink Truth’s Why Do the Heathen Rage?: Electronic Profanations of Black Metal Classics is due out June 17th on the greatest label in the history of everything, Thrill Jockey. It will feature guest vocals by such totally non-metal singers as Antony of Antony & the Johnsons and Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and promises, according to the press release, to transform its source material from such corpse-painted doom mongers as Mayhem, Venom, Darkthrone and Hellhammer into “hyperactive dance-floor bangers.”
We are so excited to hear the whole thing we can hardly stand it. Here’s a taste: a cover of Venom’s genre-defining classic, “Black Metal.”
Side note: Although Daniel is apparently a for-reals fan of the black stuff, he’s also gay and therefore has some issues with the genre’s more extreme racist/homophobic/white-supremacist elements. So he explained the whole concept behind the album in part by noting, “Just as blasphemy both affirms and assaults the sacred powers it invokes and inverts, so too this record celebrates black metal and offers queer critique / mockery / profanation of its ideological morass in equal measure.” And in case that’s all a little too intellectual for you to process, he also makes his point by ending Why Do the Heathen Rage? with a cover of “Grim and Frostbitten Gay Bar” by our other favorite black metal piss take, Impaled Northern Moonforest.
If you want to pre-order one of the pink vinyl copies of Why Do the Heathen Rage?, and watch a trailer video, hit up the Thrill Jockey online store.
Sometimes our readers remind me of my cat. They show up on my doorstep with the remnants of something gross and decaying in their jaws, but they do it as a love offering. I’m pretty sure it was in that spirit that reader XIC left a link to the Gnaw Their Tongues video below on our Submit a Band page.
Gnaw Their Tongues is a black metal/drone/noise project created by a guy named Mories who describes himself on his Bandcamp page as a “demon channeler.” After listening to “Destroying Is Creating” and a few other tracks, we think he may be telling the truth.
If you feel like diving deeper into Mories’ pit of despair, check out his website.
Our new favorite weird artiste from France (and if you read this blog on the regular, you know there’s some stiff competition) is a one-man black metal act called Fadades. Fadades seems to exist in some crazy-town sweet spot midway between the conspiracy-theorist bedroom metal of Skull and Bones and the lo-fi black metal piss-take of Impaled Northern Moonforest. It’s a place with no drums but plenty of Edward Scissorhands costume accessories. And green screens. Lots of green screens.
Speculation runs rampant over whether this guy is serious or just punking the black metal community. Since his only official online presence is a YouTube channel and a MySpace page in French (which we’re pretty sure is indecipherable even to French people), it’s hard to say. But in the end, who cares? No matter what his intentions are, the results are amazing.
Many thanks to reader Lou for introducing us to this guy, after a day when we could use a good laugh.
Here’s a factoid that’s gonna make some of you feel really fucking old: It’s been 30 years since Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem slouched out of the frozen woods of Norway and into our cold, black hearts. 30 years! And they said it wouldn’t last. Especially after the lead singer committed suicide and the guitarist got murdered. But when you basically invented the entire black metal genre, murder and suicide kinda go with the scenery.
Anyway, to celebrate 30 years of making the world a darker, more depressing place, the remnants of Mayhem are releasing their first new music this year since 2007’s Ordo ad Chao. The new album’s gonna be called Esoteric Warfare and you can hear the first single, “Psywar,” in a YouTube video below. Fortunately, it’s a lyric video, because otherwise there would be no way to figure out what the hell Attila is saying.
Heavy as fuck, am I right? My altered persona definitely just got triggered. Now pardon me while I go break stuff.
OK, I’m back to let you know that “Psywar” will be released as a single on Season of Mist on April 25th (April 29th here in America, because we suck). It’ll be on limited-edition vinyl in different colors with different artwork, all of which you can pre-order here. Looks like the red and grey vinyl are already sold out but the black is still available, because even in black metal circles, colored vinyl is still cooler than black.
Esoteric Warfare drops May 23rd (May 27th in the U.S.). It’ll feature the surviving “classic” Mayhem lineup of Necrobutcher on bass, Hellhammer on drums and Attila Csihar on vocals, with the new addition of Teloch standing in for the late, great Euronymous on guitar. Will it live up to the legend? Probably not, but who cares? As long as it means they’re bringing their severed pig heads to a theater near us soon, we’ll take it.