I’m not going to lie to you, it has been an absolute beast of a start to the holiday season. Not in a good way, nor a bad way, but in a way of some form or another. Anyway, aren’t you all lucky, because I still carved out time to blast back a few beers to some heavy metal and talk about it for some reason. This time around I give you Temple Of Haal from Nekromant and the Landbier Dunkel from Schilling Beer Co. They have nothing to do with each other in any way, shape, or form (that I know of), but I sure needed both today. Let’s share feelings!
The Tunes: Nekromant – Temple Of Haal
Well, shit. This random selection from the promo pile has been a hell of a lot of fun. Out today on Despotz Records, Nekromant (formerly know as Serpent) have offered up a traditional heavy metal album that checks the right boxes in the right ways. Considering how worn out I’ve felt about… fucking everything, this is the energy injection that I needed to wrap up the week. Anthem after anthem, this thing gallops along effortlessly. I don’t really know what to describe about Temple Of Haal specifically, nor do I feel the need to compare any of the tracks against each other, so we’ll stick to the high level descriptors for this one. But the Nekromant power trio really did create an awesome… sword-raising… spell-casting… form of true heavy metal, with just enough shades of Black Sabbath, Pentagram, and the like to give it that nostalgic appreciation. Is it over-the-top? Sure is, in all the ways it should be. Does make its point over and over again? You betcha! And that’s what makes it such an enjoyable listen. The leads and solos are awesome, the rhythms and percussions are energizing, and the soaring vocals bring it all together. Could the production use a little bit of work? Sure, I guess. But the reality is that I’ve listened to this thing over and over again today because, frankly, sometimes this kind of thing is exactly what you want (or need).
The Booze: Schilling’s Landbier Dunkel
So as Temple Of Haal restarts for about the 15th time today, I finally pour my first can of the Landbier Dunkel from Schilling that I picked up the day after Thanksgiving. Which feels like a month ago. For those unaware, Schilling makes (probably) the best beer in New Hampshire. And yes, that does mean something. Specializing in German styles, they carved out a place in a scene that was completely oversaturated with IPAs, and we are all better for it. Side note: they do have a side project called Resilience that does specialize in American ales, but that’s a story for another day. Right… where were we? Ah, yes. Add in the fact that they are based in Littleton, New Hampshire, an incredible town north of Franconia Notch along the Ammonoosuc River, and you have the full package. As far the beer scene goes, this is THE place to visit in the state. So now I’ll pivot from gushing about the brewery, to gushing about this beer in particular. Dunkel, dark lager, has long been one of my favorite styles. The Landbier is an incredible take on the style, adding a dry rustic element to what has always been reliable. It’s so refreshing, maintaining the sweet malty taste that defines a dark larger, but the flavor is propelled with an earthy quality that makes this variation unique. For me, it’s both a reminder of the first liter of beer I drank in Munich over a decade ago, but also a tribute to the rivers, woods, and mountains that I call home. Sure, it’s not PBR, and therefore not the Official Beer of Metal I guess, but I think we all know by now that no real connections exist because what I’m drinking and what I’m listening to. This is just an excuse to blab about shit I like. So… there you have it. Das boot.
Somehow, someway, we have reached the end of what has been quite the stretch this week. While their alignment isn’t… obvious, this is the beer I knew I needed, and the album I didn’t know I needed. It’s a good note to roll into the weekend on, and I’ll try keep those positive vibes for more than just the next 30 minutes or so.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”