The latest act to trot off the impressive Svart Records conveyor belt, Danish quintet Demon Head like to maintain the traditions of Doom. Third full-length Hellfire Ocean Void sees their devotion to Proto and Psych Metal expanded with a little modernity but sticking true to the format, a feat undoubtedly assisted by having legendary producer Flemming Rasmussen at the knob-twiddling helm. Continue reading
For some time now, Californian Psych junkie Zach Oakley has wanted to team up with his percussionist brother Matt, and this wish has finally materialised with new project Volcano. Debut album The Island (Tee Pee Records) is a million miles away from the weird Blues of Harsh Toke, Joy, and Loom, from where the quintet has been culled: introducing African rhythms to whacked-out jams and creating an unusual yet vibrant concoction. Continue reading
Though enigmatic Australian duo BAK released an album back in 2010, new EP Flower (self-released) is the first time the band has released any music in the UK. Despite having a base of Beau Djekic and Kit Dyson this Arabian / Prog hybrid at times involves a full orchestra and up to 100 musicians in total. This release is, therefore, highly intriguing. Continue reading
Saudi Arabian Black Metal? I know. The guys of AlNamrood deserve full marks for merely attempting it, right? When you consider that Melechesh felt forced to depart the allegedly less extreme Israel after fierce opposition to their fiery output, these fellas must have been shitting themselves at times. And Diaji Al Joor (Shaytan) is their fifth album…
If those new to the band are guessing at some nasty old ranting with a middle-eastern influence, you’re on the right path: mystical sounds course through the album, with the percussion of ‘Zamjara Alat’ possessing a hollow tone and augmenting the exotic winds. It’s this blend of such haunting beauty with a sinister horror that grabs the ears from the outset and the eerie, scene-setting opener ‘Dahleen’ is adorned with Arabian chanting and the stirring pipes which grace the region’s music.
There’s an element of the theatrical and (whisper it) comedic about certain aspects: Humbaba’s vocal delivery is a crazed, blustering shout rather than the expected evil rasp; and the swerving riff of ‘Hawas Wa Thuar’ is augmented by what appears to be the sporadic bursts of kazoos. It’s a little like Hail Spirit Noir finding Khaleeji Folk: that outfit’s mad switch of obsidian MOR given a hefty Asian groove in the infectious melodies of ‘Ejhaph’, the album’s rough production and those angry bellows adding an almost Pirate metal, ‘singalong’ element to proceedings.
Those indigenous rhythms and instruments add wads of intrigue and originality to the fire however, and it’s here where the strength of the album lies. Despite a ferocious riff and vocal ‘Adghan’ would be merely a bizarre, Doom-laden take on Rotting Christ without those enlivening Eastern overlays. Here is a true melding of cultural styles and this makes for a curiously joyous experience.
Many will undoubtedly dismiss this as Extreme metal novelty or, even worse, worthy of attention for bravery alone, which would be a travesty because there’s real gravity and a stunning inventive ability at work alongside the rampant hostility. Together with those wonderfully hypnotic melodies, this makes Diaji Al Joor enthralling and, in a ‘mad genius’ way, quite brilliant.
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In Part II of our Q & A with Chef Heather Feher of Black Cat Culinary she detailed for us what she teaches in her private cooking classes, what she thinks of “celebrity chefs”, her food and travel experiences, and her dream gig:
You teach some specialized cooking classes. What does that entail for you and depending on the class, what can I expect to walk away with skills-wise?
My cooking classes are all over the place! It’s all about the group and what they want to learn. The two that I’ve taught the most are basic butchery… and vegan menus. Haha. I’ve taught scavenger hunts as team building activities and I’ve taught ultra modern techniques like sous vide and spherification. I’m doing a really fun combination class next month for a group I’ve taught before – after we learn how to debone chickens, I’m organizing a Chopped style mystery basket competition. Each team is going to get a bunch of ingredients from the farm we’re staying on and have to work together to make a side dish for the meal. I get to offer pointers and tips about their processes, and then judge the final products. One thing every class I teach includes is a basic lesson in knife handling and safety, because that’s really the most fundamental skill you need in any kitchen. My goal is that with whatever we’re focusing on in the class, everyone walks away feeling a little more confident than they did when they walked in.
Thanks to the Cable and YouTube, there are a ton of cooking shows and “experts” out there who are not actually chefs. What is the biggest misconceptions about being a chef?
Oh my god – you’ve hit a nerve! Almost everything, seriously. My biggest annoyance with YouTube/TV “chefs” is that SO MANY of them do things so fundamentally wrong – how they hold a knife incorrectly or hack apart an onion, or their cutting boards are so cluttered and filthy – stuff like that. I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that it’s glamorous and we’re all making tons of money. HA. I wish! The hours are long, the pay absolutely sucks most times, and you miss out on most social events because you’re always working – and if you do get out with enough time to make a party or a show on a weekend night, you always end up showing up smelling like food, haha. With catering, there’s this weird ebb and flow of business where you’re either working 100 hours a week… or you’re practically unemployed. It’s anything but steady, so you have to be really good at budgeting. In a lot of ways, I work freelance. I am constantly trying to get my name out there, contacting every tour I hear about, trying to hopefully get the right person on the right day. In the mean time, I’m also looking for local work to sustain myself – dinner parties, classes, etc. There’s also this weird misconception that anyone who cooks professionally is a “chef”. It’s nitpicky, but it’s an annoyance across the industry – you are not a chef unless you are running a kitchen. Period. “Chef” is a title of respect that is earned after proving yourself for years and years, after being promoted, or after taking the leap and branching out on your own. If you have a boss that is not the owner, you are a cook. Just because you have a show on YouTube doesn’t mean you’re a chef. It’s really obnoxious. I run a company and I still feel kinda weird referring to myself as “a chef”. For me, the transition from “cook” to “chef” was really just a LOT of paperwork! I cannot tell you how much I now loathe emails. It’s making list after list – shopping, delivery, prep, food cost, scheduling, invoicing… it’s maddening. I actually do more paperwork than I do cooking at this point in my career! Our diets are also really fucked up. Most cooks don’t eat actual meals – we have bites here and there. I recently had to keep a food diary for my allergist and it was a nightmare – did I taste the aioli for seasoning 3 or 4 times? How many bites of that braise did I have while it was cooking? It’s absurd. Most of us develop a really weird association with food because actual meals are so few and far between.
I know one of your passions is travel, so what are some of the cool places you have been to and what locales do you favor for amazing food experiences?
I am borderline obsessed with the city of Montreal! Honestly I’ve considered living there so many times. It’s the greatest. The metal scene is amazing, they have the best drunk food in the universe (poutine, omg) and the people are just so NICE. I’ve been to Norway twice now, and I love it there too – the scenery is ridiculous. I’m not sold on their food though, to be honest – though maybe I just haven’t found the right places! As far as amazing food experiences, I am all about trying the weirdest stuff from the most hole-in-the-wall places. My rule is that I’ll try anything twice – even Icelandic hakarl (fermented shark), which is honestly the worst thing I have ever put in my mouth. It’s cliché, but I didn’t have a bad meal when I was in Paris – one of the most memorable moments was eating a fresh savory crêpe from a cart vendor while walking through the side streets of Montmartre. Really, I think I love any type of food that makes me feel a connection to the place I’m in. I lived in South America for almost a year and worked at some of the best restaurants there were – but my most memorable meals were eating ceviche from this totally illegal back alley mom and pop operation, and eating a whole roasted guinea pig with my hands in the middle of the main square during a street festival in Cusco. I remember the experiences I can’t replicate at home the most.
You have some appearances coming soon up on some pretty cool shows, so by all means please plug those!
Well, I was on the Halloween episode of Guy’s Grocery Games – it was entertaining for sure. Catch it on the Food Network if you feel like seeing me cry about my cat. There is more stuff working, but I can’t actually discuss any of it right now – ask me again in a few months!
What is your dream music gig to cater for?
I don’t know if I actually have a dream gig – really I just want to work for bands I like, because there’s nothing better after finishing a long day of work than to turn the corner and be surrounded by amazing music. I actually really like the festival atmosphere – whether it’s just a weekend thing or a multi-city thing – the people really make the gig for me. Though if I had to pick one coming up, it’d totally be the Black Metal Warfare tour. Good cities, good bands, and in my opinion it’s the best time of the year to tour. I think I could have a lot of fun with menus on that tour.
Have an event or occasion to book Black Cat Culinary? Contact her here:
Chef Heather Feher has a passion for all things that involve fine food and grim music. She has catered tours and all kinds of music festivals and has channeled her love of these things into her growing business, Black Cat Culinary. We caught up with the entrepreneur and Food Network alumnus via email about her business and how the music she loves has shaped everything from her menus to her path. Continue reading