Hollywood Metal Episode 25 (audio)
Friday June 13th 2008: Any radio show that starts off with MOONSORROW is going to rule all other known shows. Therefore we led things off with “Aurinko ja Kuu” (The Sun and the Moon) a viking metal masterpiece. MOONSORROW performs all the best aspects of viking metal when very few bands can manage one. Rollicking guitar riffs, atmospheric keys, powerful vocals, epic male chorus’s and the songs continue to stay interesting even though they are often very long due the constant changing of melodies and tempo. To top it off these guys have excellent stage presence. I spoke with the next band via myspace and they were very cool. So cool in fact that they helped me put together another installment of the Hollywood Metal History Connection. A segment that we do to highlight the link between a historical person, place or event and a great metal song. SLARTIBARTFASS is the name of this great band from Germany. The name was taken from “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” novel, and later a tv show. The song we played was “St. Cuthbert” and it was from this song that we developed the History Connection because the lyrics of this song deal with the events that took place in Lindisfarne (Scotland) in the year 793 AD. In this year and on the hallowed date of January 8th vikings from the northlands storm the shores and siezed the monestary on this small island just offshore. Several monks recorded accounts of the event and I read two excepts on today’s show:
In A.D. 793 (796 per some authorities), a Viking raid on Lindisfarne caused much consternation throughout the Christian west, and is now often taken as the beginning of the Viking Age. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records:
In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of Northumbria. There were excessive whirlwinds, lightning storms, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. These signs were followed by great famine, and on January 8th the ravaging of heathen men destroyed God’s church at Lindesfarne.
Alcuin , an English monk of that period, noted:
Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race. . . .The heathens poured out the blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets.
The events that transpired in Lindisfarne are considered the beginning of the Viking Age, for the next 200 years the vikings were some of the fiercest warriors on earth. The song itself is a celtic/viking masterpiece featuring piercing bagpipes. Keeping with the viking theme the next band in the lineup was SVARTAHRID from Norway. These guys are a viking/black metal band that uses the organ sound to intro the song we played “Atter Et Rike.” I’ve always thought the organ is under-utilized in metal, it has the most haunting and creepy sound. This one also has a nice piano melody that is prominent throughout the song. From the depths of Norway to the lights of Hollywood, we pride ourselves on featuring music from all over the world. The next band up was RATTLEHEAD, from Hollywood. My favorite part about listening to this bands latest release was how it made me feel like I was in one of Hollywood’s famous rock ‘n roll clubs. This is due to the albums production which was done with a slightly “muddy” recording of the songs. The song we played was “Red October'” and it features 4 melodic solos that are great. Typically in thrash, especially thrash from LA, the solos feature fast picking and tapping sequences, so I was a little surprised to hear tempo-controlled melodic solos and sweep picking! Awesome stuff here, looking forward to seeing them live around here. Up next was a band from Greece called KINETIC. These guys have a brand new line-up with a non-operatic female vocalist. It creates an interesting sound when the female vocalist harmonizes with the lead vocalists’ harsh death style vocals. At 3:39 in the song “Venturing High and Low” there is an excellent little solo that has an absolutely excellent lead in when Stavros holds the first two notes for like 2 seconds each and then does some small melodic scale work before launching into a fast picking sequence. I wish the first 10 seconds of this solo could be expanded because I keep rewinding the opening part. Check our youtube channel to see me mimic the solo in the studio.. sometimes you just gotta rock an air guitar solo! MANEGARM from Sweden was next with “Vargstenen” the title track off their 2007 release which means “The Wolf Stone.” There’s not a lot to say about MANEGARM that hasn’t been said already. These guys bring the total package and are truly a premier viking metal band. After this song a quick quote from the movie “Troy” played from our production cd unexpectedly but that’s alright because that quote is so epic, just like the movie. We closed the show with ANCIENT RITES from Belgium and their song “Templar”. I like this band a lot because they have catchy guitar parts, atmospheric keyboard melodies and they utilize an almost “Bal-Sagoth style” voice over technique with the vocals. Monk-like chants can also be heard in this middle eastern / crusade themed piece. Please check out our sponsors including SaysMe, which could be the best band resource for promotion EVER!
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