Nine Circles ov…”Fixing” The Metal Hammer 40 Best Black Metal Albums…Ever?

fixing black metal

* 8/29 mea culpa: After some robust discussion online I’ve added a new paragraph addressing in part the thorny issue of including “problematic bands” in a list such as this.  Providing proper context is always important, and I failed to do that.  The fault is mine, and I hope the added commentary helps clarify the choices made.

Ah, social media…where would we complain and spit our vitriol over “Best Of” lists if we didn’t have you? Last week’s ire in a buttercup came from Metal Hammer‘s list of “The 40 Best Black Metal Albums Ever” — a post that at its heart really just outlined 40 really good to great albums influential to the genre over the course of three decades. Compiled and with commentary by Dayal Patterson, a man that knows a thing or two about black metal, the article (I’m guessing titled by parent company Louder/Future Pic to generate more clicks — successfully) instead served as fodder for other sites to call out and complain over as well as get the always sensible metal community to froth at the mouth over what was and wasn’t on a list that in all reality serves as a pretty nice introduction to the early evolution of a now expansive and diverse genre.

Well, for this edition of Nine Circles ov…. we show that we’re not above our own cheap commentary, even if it’s at our own expense…   Continue reading

Weekend Recap: 3/1/2015 – 3/7/2015

Horns Up Background


Well. Here we are again. Preparing ourselves for yet another Monday. As part of that preparation, let’s review this past week and take a look at some posts and highlights from the week that was…

There you have it. All good stuff worth checking out again. Or for the first time, I suppose.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”

– Corey

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up. 

Retrospective: Vinterland’s “Welcome My Last Chapter”

vinterland - welcome my last chapter

Darkness and cold. Eventually, as winter yields to spring, my need and desire to toss those words around will diminish. Which is a shame, because let’s face it: black metal is amazing. Few genres force listeners to fully immerse themselves in the environment constructed around them like some of the black metal greats have done. So, while the snow continues to fly—somehow… even as I write this on the night of March 3—I’m going to seize every opportunity to revisit some of this amazing work. This time, I’m going to dig into the incredible work that is Vinterland’s Welcome My Last Chapter, one of the most prized pieces from the aforementioned style of metal in my collection.

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Album Review: Thulcandra – “Ascension Lost”

thulcandra Is it actually fair for me to be reviewing this album? I mean seriously? A melodic death/black metal band out of Munich, Germany? Personally, I don’t think a new release could be hyped any better than that. There is no chance in hell I could be unbiased about this record. Naturally, I had high expectations for the new, third full-length from Thulcandra—and I’ve gotta say: for the most part, Ascension Lost delivered in exactly the ways I wanted it to. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: May 22, 2014

Well then, we have reached the first day of Maryland DeathFest. And lucky for us, that happens to fall on a Thursday! So without further delay, let’s use our throwbacks for this week on a trip back to MDF 2013. Shall we begin?


Personally, I need to cut to the chase and dedicate this throwback to Vinterland. This is a band that I knew very little about going into MDF 2013. All I really knew was that they were awesome. I didn’t know how so or on what level. And let’s be real, they needed to compete with the likes of Carcass, Ihsahn, and Evoken last year. A tall order. But they delivered. Check this shit out:

I apologize if the sound quality isn’t ideal. But frankly, it doesn’t need to be to understand that is some of the better black metal you’ll hear. For those interested, this track came off the album Welcome To My Last Chapter back in 1996. As far as I’m aware, since that release they were pretty much in hiding until this performance (Evidence? Try buying the album somewhere. I dare you). Color me lucky. Because I knew so little about these guys going into MDF last year, their set was all the more appreciated. I’ll spare you from a lesson in history or why I find this band so great. Frankly, the latter should be blatantly obvious. Vinterland. Black Metal. MDF 2013. All the good stuff. Happy TBT, people.


I’m going to take us back to easily the most ridiculous band we saw at last year’s DeathFest–Chicago black/death metal band Kommandant. If you know black metal, you’ll know that it is, by nature, a subgenre that feeds on ridiculousness. Corpse paint, mock-animal sacrifice and other stage show antics, etc. Kommandant’s set at MDF last year took this bizarre showmanship to another level, albeit a completely confusing one. Check it out:

As the person who posted the video points out, it’s a 13-minute video, yet the band doesn’t really start playing until after around four minutes of COMPLETELY over-dramatized introduction. From there, vocalist Marcus Matthew Kolar launches into a groaning, howling rant on some sort of political, militaristic ideology that they never properly articulate. Suffice it to say, the guys in Kommandant take themselves pretty seriously…you can see it both here and in any one of their other interviews. If I’m being honest, the guys weren’t half bad, musically! But their masks just made me think of them as a more extreme version of Mushroomhead, so in the end, I could really only laugh at the set. Fond memories from MDF ’13.

Make sure you share your #tbt‘s with us in the comments section, or on Facebook or Twitter!

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.