No matter the time of year, it’s always winter for Norwegian black metal legends Immortal. Feeling nice and warm and looking forward to summer? Don’t be silly. Just one listen to the latest album War Against All (Nuclear Blast) will have you pining for the fjords and wishing the world was a dark, grim, and frostbitten kingdom of cryptic winter storms.
In the new “post-covid” era I have been hearing some awesome cuts coming from all kinds of artists. It makes me wonder how many took advantage of the downtime to hone skills and really dig into some songwriting.
Named after a character from David Lynch’s hit TV show Twin Peaks and hailing from Bergen, Norway are Audrey Horne. Blackout (Nuclear Blast), their first album in four years, follows on from the previous record Pure Heavy (Napalm) in its happy embracing of classic rock and metal influences, much like contemporaries Black Star Riders and Deadlord. A far cry from the Marilyn Manson and Alice in Chains friendly, jagged grunge of their 2005 debut No Hay Banda (Candlelight); Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Pat Benatar are now the primary reference points.Continue reading →
Herbrand LArsen with Enslaved, by Jonathan Arevalo Photography
On the heels of a spectacular weekend in New York last week at the By Norse sponsored New York By Norse Enslaved 25th Anniversary weekend, Keyboardist And vocalist Herbrand Larsen has announced his departure after 12 years.Continue reading →
Iconic Norwegian doom rock powerhouse Sahg have returned with their new album Memento Mori, out today via Indie Recordings. Ghost Cult is proud to bring you the exclusive album stream below: Continue reading →
In the late 80s and mid 90s there was a legendary metalfest in the south of the Netherlands, which definitively put Eindhoven on the map as the epicenter of the dutch metal world, and it was called Dynamo. At it’s peak it boasted 70,000 visitors and the stories about it are still passed down wistfully to the younger generation. Sadly, the fest called it quits by the end of the nineties, and was no more. Until last year that is, when it rose like a phoenix from the ashes before, as Dynamo Metalfest. Things are still small-scale compared to the olden days, with 5000 tickets last year and 10,000 for this year, but I’m determined to go see if this little chick can still bring the heat.
Audrey Horne, by Susanne A. MaathuisPhotography
Because the festival runs only one stage the first band is on before noon, and this early hour meant that I did not manage to catch them, but we roll into the relatively roomy Ice rink (now sans ice) just before Audrey Horne are about to take the stage. One thing we noticed all day was because of the shape of the ice rink venue, once you go off of the grass field in the middle onto the track, where the bars and shops are, the sound bounces a lot under the short roof. This however just gives us another excuse to stay in the sun and once there the sound is more than fine, because the wind can’t play with it in the enclosed rink.
Dynamo Festival 2016, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
The great thing about Audrey Horne is how much fun they’re having on stage, and even though they’re faced with a still very lukewarm crowd, they manage to get them a long in their catchy hard rock party tunes. The music reminds me of bands such as Thin Lizzy, but doesn’t sound dated, which in itself is a feat. But really the bands enjoyment of playing and playing together is what makes them a joy to watch.
Textures, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
After Audrey Horne we get treated to local greats Textures. Their particular style of technical death metal isn’t particularly my cup of tea, but is definitely very modern. It’s also quite impressive how they manage to keep their eclectic and at times confusing repertoire surprisingly catchy. At times the hooks really dig in, aided by the excellent vocal work, only to take you for a wild turn afterwards and leave you somewhat bewildered. They definitely wake up the filling field though, and what they do they do very well.
Obituary, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
Now we got Obituary, filling in for Life of Agony who sadly had to cancel. These deathmetal staples decided they could do a quick show on their way from Sweden to their next gig. This did mean that they had to play in the afternoon, meaning we got a semi headliner in the middle of the day. These guys clearly play a lot, and do so very well. They always give a very good show and the extreme amount of stage miles this band makes shows. Today is no exception, even though the band is “just passing through” pummeling us awake and leaving us in awe just to continue on their way again.
Sacred Reich, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
Sacred Reich are possibly the most effortlessly presented band. They play their songs with very little up-smuck and play them very well, with an almost laid back air of experience. In between tunes they chat to the older portion of the crowd about the good old days of Dynamo Festival, and are clearly enjoying being back immensely. Though the band has an almost carefree stage presence, the crowd is possibly the wildest it was all day, with so many crowdsurfers coming in from all sides the security needs to grow extra arms to catch them all.
Powerwolf, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
Powerwolf cause some controversy among metal fans. With their painted faces and very catchy power metal, they;re by far the most theatrical band on the bill, especially when you count in the twin golden eagle keyboard stands. Say what you will about them they give a very good show, where everything they do is on point. It may feel a tad orchestrated but it works and the field are loving it. They attract do attract a younger audience but fresh blood is very good for the scene. All in all I found them quite enjoyable, in a silly power metal fun way.
Metal Church, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
Metal Church are quite the comfortably confident showmen, and none of the show elements seem to take attention away from the concise and precise racket the band creates. The vocals take some getting used to, but are pretty spot on once you acclimatize to the height and sharpness of them. The band play expertly and the crowd replies with adulation; Metal Church is in service, praise be metal.
At The Gates, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
At the Gates are one of the progenitors of the Swedish melodic deathmetal sound and they clearly show they deserve the praise they get. Effortlessly they level the field, and after just having been taken to church by metal church we now get tossed into the churning masses. The band masterfully whip up the crowd into a moshing and crowdsurfing frenzy on the tides of hard-hitting blastbeats and scratchy screamed vocals, and gentle waves of melody between.
Anthrax, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
Anthrax, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
Anthrax; Never let anyone say hat all the big bands from the 80s have become old men and gone to shit. Anthrax still pack a punch that none of the other bands even manage to approach, keeping an incredible momentum going and driving the crowd wild with crowdsurfers and small pits even at the back of the field. The auditory pummeling this band provide chases me down the road when I sadly have to leave a little before the end of the show in order to catch my transit home.
In the end we can conclude that this little reincarnated show still knows how to bring the heat and melt your face off, and were very much looking forward to see it grow it’s flame. Rock on Dynamo.
Into The Grave Festival, one of the yearly highlights of the heavy music circuit in the Netherlands, took place last weekend in Leeuwarden. A sell-out crowd of over 7,000 people in attendance (not counting bands and crew) witnessed great bands such as headliner Sabaton, Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Ensiferum, Avatar, Betraying The Martyrs, Audrey Horne, and more lite up the stage.
Sabaton live, from Facebook.
Exodus has already been confirmed For Into The Grave 2016. Early Bird Tickets are on sale now for Into The Grave and its sister festival City Rock for next year at their website.
Early in 2013 Scandinavian rockers Audrey Horne put the cat well and truly among the rock pigeons, with a stand-out third album Youngblood. Eighteen months further on and follow-up Pure Heavy is cooling in the racks and the band are back doing what they do best, bringing their brand of rock n’fuckin’ roll to the live stage… In the second part of our feature, Ghost Cult was delighted to catch up with live wire front man Toschie Rod and take thechance to reflect on 2014, shoot the breeze over the music scene and discuss Christmas shopping for the kids.
Moving on to other things now; apart from your own album, what’s been the best record you’ve heard this year?
Right now 24 Carat Gold (Reprise) by Stevie Nicks is utterly amazing; she is such a great singer and a great songwriter; it’s just a mind-blowingly great record. When I hear it I was (*makes jaw dropping expression*): just wow. I love the last Mastodon album (Once More Round the Sun – Reprise) – they always manage to be interesting. I love Against Me! and their last album (Transgender Dysphoria Blues –Total Treble/Xtra Mile) had great songs and she sings tremendously well; the way they are so honest about everything makes it, for me, a better record; I know that people say that it’s just the music that should do the talking and I appreciate that point of view but, here, the honesty about their journey as a band makes the record even more compelling. The other record I have been listening to a lot is Phosphorescent Harvest (Silver Arrow) by the Chris Robinson Brotherhood; he is a singer that I really admire and it’s a record that stuck in my head. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with the YOB (album- that is a brilliant record too. Jesus, there have been so many amazing records this year….
Once this tour is over, will you be heading back to Norway for Christmas?
Yes, absolutely. We will all be going back to our families. It will be nice to spend time at home just having a nice quite time with the family, the kids and some nice food and fine wine.
What do you want for Christmas?
You know, it’s funny. People often ask me what I want for Christmas and I don’t need a lot so I don’t ask for a lot. Some new vinyls would be nice and if you’re offering I can give you a list! Seriously, though, this is all about spending time with the family and having a nice time.
Have you decided what you’re getting the kids?
Oh, that’s done already. They are at the age when they want their own mobile phones so…I’m being a good dad and getting them mobile phones
Once the holiday season is out of the way, what are your plans for 2015?
We will definitely be doing some more touring. We are hoping to be announcing a big tour with a huge band for next year plus some headline tours of our own. Although we have made a lot of progress over the past few years, the best way to grow our band is to get out to as many people as possible so mixing it up by doing a big support slot as well as our own shows is probably the best way to grow our band. We have some new ideas for songs so we will spend some time writing as well. We haven’t decided whether to go into the studio or not at the moment but we probably will have enough stuff to put out an EP that can support one of the tours but its early days at the moment – you’ll have to be patient.
Early in 2013 Scandinavian rockers Audrey Horne put the cat well and truly among the rock pigeons, with a stand-out third album Youngblood. Eighteen months further on and follow-up Pure Heavy is cooling in the racks and the band are back doing what they do best, bringing their brand of rock n’fuckin’ roll to the live stage… In the first of a two part feature, Ghost Cult was delighted to catch up with live wire front man Toschie Rod.
The last time I met Audrey Horne’s affable and effortlessly charming lead singer Toschie Rod, he was wearing only a pair of black underpants. Before your imagination starts running away with you, he was backstage at the band’s triumphant appearance at the London Garage back at the start of last year and was dutifully signing vinyl copies of his band’s latest and earlier works for yours truly.
Upon reminding him of this encounter, Rod is politeness personified; he genuinely doesn’t remember, which I suspect is the best thing for all of us. This latest meeting – fully clothed, I hasten to add – midway through the band’s latest UK tour in support of the group’s latest album, the hard rockin’ Pure Heavy (Napalm) gives us a chance to reflect on where the band are in 2014…
“2014’s been good…it’s been… interesting. Busy. We’ve been busy. I’m just thinking back to even before the start of this year, you know. We have just been so exceptionally busy. After Youngblood (also Napalm) came out we did 3 tours in Europe; one with Long Distance Calling and Solstafir, one with Karma to Burn and Ghold and one with Grand Magus. Oh yes, we also did that a short British tour with The Mercy House. In the first half of 2014 we spent a lot of we spent a lot of time writing music and recording stuff until we went into the studio to put down Pure Heavy; so, yeah, 2014 has been a busy, busy time….”
Have you been surprised by the reaction to Pure Heavy? Has it been a good surprise?
“Yeah, it’s been good. I mean, let’s be clear about this, Youngblood was a turning point for us as a band and also musically. We had reached a point, I think, where a lot of things became “just business” and not pleasing ourselves. We decided that we needed to get back those good feelings about why we had put the band together in the first place. Think about it this way – there is a big difference between writing and recording stuff on your own in a bedroom when you are coming up with small bits, recording it, then doing some more, recording that, and on and on. Whilst you might get some really good stuff from that process, it is stop start and not very… organic. When we released Youngblood it was a completely natural organic process for us. We have tried to do the same with Pure Heavy.”
The self-titled record is a beautifully constructed record; you can hear the influences, see what you are trying to achieve as a band. Youngblood and Pure Heavy feel like you want to be the last gang in town where you don’t care what anyone thinks or what you sound like – albums where you just want to let the music do the talking, if you’ll forgive the cliché…
“Oh, there is no doubt that Youngblood hit a nerve. When Youngblood came out we were like “Holy Shit!!” People were really praising the album, really getting it; we were suddenly a really “cool” band. As good as that is, we did know that when we released Pure Heavy we knew that everyone was going to be looking in every corner and under every cover to decide whether it was as good as Youngblood. You know, I have read plenty of reviews where there have been plenty of “it’s not as good as Youngblood” type comments but, you know, I can understand that as well….”
Do you think part of the more muted response to Pure Heavy was because everyone has been expecting another massive leap forward?
“Oh yes, there’s definitely something in that. We approached Pure Heavy in the same way that we did with Youngblood. It was all done together in a rehearsal and then we went in and recorded it live. That way you can focus on the playing until you get the atmosphere.”
There’s definitely a sound of wanting to capture a band in the moment, as live. Are you happy that you have achieved that?
“Look, we are a good band on album but we are a waaay better as a live band. What you get with Audrey Horne is the same band, the same songs but on steroids. We always consider ourselves a live band first and foremost. We are good in the studio, but live I really do think we are something else. Also, one of the other reasons that I think we are received well is that we haven’t second guessed what might be “cool”- we have just gone in and done it so it’s hardly going to be a surprise that some people like what we do and some don’t.”