Entries tagged with: Solstafir
by Doug Moore
Solstafir at Inferno Festival 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro)
For such a long-running and accessible band, Iceland's Solstafir have flown remarkably far under the crossover radar for most of their career. Though they started their run in the '90s as an Enslaved-style Viking black metal band, they've since evolved into an adept and extremely hooky progressive rock act that draws as heavily on various "post-" genres as on their native BM. 2009's Köld is a minor masterpiece; it's a miracle that the American indie press didn't catch onto it at the time.
Solstafir may be comparatively obscure in the States because they've never played here...until this year, anyway. We already knew that they're on tap for this year's edition of Maryland Deathfest. It turns out that they've taken advantage of the opportunity to schedule a short run of non-fest North American dates, too, including a NYC appearance happening on 5/16 at Saint Vitus Bar. They'll be accompanied by American post-rockers Junius on all dates (though not at MDF). Tickets for the BK show are available now.
Stream some Solstafir and check out their full run of dates below...
By Doug Moore
Behemoth at Irving Plaza, 2012 (more by Greg Cristman)
Behemoth frontman Nergal is kind of a badass -- he's an extremely gifted musician and a live-performance powerhouse who's played an important role in putting the potent Polish metal scene on the international map over the past 20 years. He's also a cancer survivor; after his 2010 leukemia diagnosis, he underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Two years later, Behemoth were back on the road and plowing through high-energy live sets like nothing had happened. Again, badass.
Behemoth announced a 2014 release for The Satanist -- their tenth album, and their first in half a decade -- a few months ago. I admittedly haven't been too excited by their last few efforts, but after watching the NSFW video for leadoff single "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" (streaming below), my enthusiasm for the band has been rekindled. It's far moodier and more patient composition than the cluttered, robotic death/black metal that they've produced recently. They can still put the hammer down when they need to, though; the song's final minute is both the catchiest and most intense moment I've heard them produce since the mid-aughts. The video is pretty cool too, especially if you're into artsy black-and-white shots of evil rituals happening in slow motion.
In related news, Behemoth were also recently announced as part of the initial lineup for the 2014 edition of France's Hellfest, which will take place from June 20 through 22 (6/20-6/22). The lineup so far is huge and crazy: there's a "huge rock band" stage, featuring Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Soundgarden, among others; a big-name thrash/black metal stage that spotlights Slayer, Death Angel, Emperor, Iced Earth, Behemoth, and more; a death metal stage that will include Death To All, Carcass, Opeth, Nile, Gorguts, Hail of Bullets, and Weekend Nachos; a smaller black metal stage topped off by Watain, Gorgoroth and 1349; a sludge/stoner stage featuring Electric Wizard, Monster Magnet, Unida, Kylesa, Godflesh, and Clutch; and a punk stage topped by Walls of Jericho, Millencolin, and Turbonegro. Wow. You can reserve tickets now, if you feel like parsing the Google-Translated ticket page.
Check out the Behemoth video and the full set of Hellfest announcements below.
by Doug Moore
Okay, this shit is just getting ridiculous. Maryland Deathfest just announced their fourth round of bands, and there are some doozies. Here are the new additions:
CANCER (UK) - Exclusive US show and first time in the US since 1993.For those unfamiliar with "Nocturnus A.D.", Nocturnus was one of the first death metal bands to use keyboards; their debut LP, The Key, was a minor death metal classic and quite a controversial album when it came out in 1990. Drummer/vocalist Mike Browning (also a former early-days member of Morbid Angel) has been trolling the MDF Facebook page for the past few weeks and repeatedly offering to play the festival, and the organizers apparently caved. So basically, this is a godsend for death metal nerds.
SACRIFICE (Canada) - Exclusive US show and first time in the US since 1992.
NOCTURNUS A.D. - Playing "The Key" album in its entirety.
DEATH TOLL 80K (Finland)
Stream some Nocturnus and Cancer below; check out the MDF lineup to date while you listen.
BBG is back in Oslo, this time for Inferno. Here's what he's catching at the Norwegian metal festival...
Autopsy @ Inferno
It's true. Everything in Europe is a little bit different than the states. Case in point, the classic European mosh pit. In the USA, there's always a few knuckleheads walking in circles and trying to assert their pit supremacy with flailing arms, swing kicks, picking-up-change, and skanking. Kudos to an American band, Autopsy for showing me that European moshing is basically a mass of ear-to-ear smiles, pogoing, and kids bouncing off of each other like pinballs.
Agalloch had just started their set at Inferno by the time I got to the venue on the festival's third night, so I missed sets by Merah, Necronomicon and Aeon Throne. I have seen Agalloch a few times and am used to seeing them in a much smaller space; the Portland band on the gigantic Rockefeller stage was nothing less than epic, probably aided by the amazing knob-twiddling skills of the one and only Billy Anderson (who is touring with them as their soundman). Songs from their recent Marrow Of The Spirit and Ashes Against the Grain never sounded so good.
Agalloch's touring partners, the great Velnias, held down the John Dee in the set directly following, and their grand statements of black metal majesty have never sounded so big. The last time I saw the band was at the DIY space Acheron in NYC, so this was decidedly different.
No offense to either Agalloch or Velnias, but after two sets of multi-part epic black metal, catching Tsjuder on the main stage was a welcome change. Tsjuder were everything I wanted at that moment from a "true Norwegian black metal band" (self described, of course); simple in approach, nihilstic, relentless, hooky but without the corny, and with breakdowns straight from the Celtic Frost playbook. The crowd ate it up like it was a coconut curry (one of the only things to eat at the venue), and so did I. Side note: Tsjuder wins the prize for band with the most fans with a tattoo of their logo at Inferno.
Dead Trooper was next on the John Dee stage, and their thrash hybrid contained elements of black metal and many other different influences mixed in. While that in itself isn't a deal breaker, the alternating growls and clean singing in Hetfield style (sorrow becomes sorroooooo-wah) truly put this band over the "not interested" hump for me. Sorry homies.
I washed my hands clean of Dead Trooper with the always amazing Absu. The lightning fast Texas crew played favorites like the new album opener "Earth Ripper", "Four Crossed Wands", "Thirteen Blows" and my personal favorite Absu track, "Pillars of Mercy." The last time I saw Absu (at Europa), I was told that the song was arranged for two guitars so I am happy that the trio figured out a way to take that Tara classic on the road. Such a unique band, one of the few that can get away with campy song introductions and still rip as hard as the best of them.
Clad in cowboy attire, hair braided, and opening with riffs that sounded like more metallic versions of Morricone soundtracks, I thought I had Solstafir pegged as a progressive metal band with a southwestern slant. Though they started a bit shaky, the band tightened up by the end of the first song and played an interesting set of psychedelic metal with black metal parts that had some great moments. The crowd were nuts for the band, and I was surprised and definitely impressed.
Autopsy was the main attraction of the night, and rightfully so. The primitive death metal legends got the crow riled up and brought the first mosh pit of the evening with songs like "Severed Survival", "Gasping for Air", and later fare like "Maggot Holes" and "Hand of Darkness". So animated. So brutal. So amazing. I can't wait for the Bell House show.
Pictures from day three of Inferno are below.