Having been involved in making underground music for nigh on thirty years, vocalist Gaahl has amassed a body of work ranging from high voltage Black Metal with Gorgoroth and the less polished Trelldom, to the traditional folk stylings of Wardruna, ramping up his progressive blackened leanings with God Seed, before releasing GastiR – Ghosts Invited (Indie Recordings), the debut offering of current vehicle Gaahls Wyrd, in 2019.
Ghost Cult’s Tilburg, NL correspondent Susanne A. Maathuis attended a listening part for Gaahl’s Wyrd’s debut album Gastir, due out on Season of Mist on May 31st. Check out her report and the new video for ‘From The Spear’!
Black metal legend Gaahl (a.k.a. Kristian Espedal) will host a wine symposium next month. Gaahl will lead “An Introduction To Natural Wine With Kristian ‘GAAHL’ Espedal” presented by Sponfest & Old Empire at TT Liquor in London. Best known as the lead singer of legendary Norwegian band Gorgoroth, God Seed, Gaahl’s Wyrd, and a member of Wardruna, will lead a discussion and tasting born from his passion for wine. Continue reading
Nidingr heartbeat Morten “Teloch” Iversen is a guitarist of note in the Norwegian Black Metal scene, as not only has he racked up time in acts such as Myrkur, God Seed and Gorgoroth, he is the main songwriter for Mayhem. With such a prestigious career to dateContinue reading
Abbath, the namesake band led by the iconic ex-Immortal front man of the same name (Olve Eikemo (a.k.a. Abbath) will see its début album release this coming January from Season of Mist. Abbath made its live début this past June at the Tuska Festival in Helsinki, FI. At that concert Abbath played two new songs, some Immortal classic and even some black metal covers. The band has already been named as one of the headliners of the all Norwegian lineup of Blastfest 2016.
Abbath’s current line-up
Abbath – Vocals/ Guitar
King Ov Hell (Tom Cato Visnes) Bass
Baar Kolstad (God Seed/Borknagar) Drums
This July Abbath unsuccessfully bid to secure the rights to the Immortal Band name in Norwegian court but lost to his former bands mates; lyricist/guitarist Demonaz (real name Harald Nævdal) and drummer Horgh (real name Reidar Horghagen). Abbath recently gave an interview to Metal Hammer about the split and going solo:
“I didn’t want to go solo in the first place. I wanted the best for Immortal. I didn’t want it to end this way. First of all, I just wanted my music out. I wanted to record the [next] album [because] it’s been so many years since ‘All Shall Fall’. And both Demonaz and Horgh, they have kids and families now, and it just hit that point where I couldn’t work the way they wanted to work any more. I wanted things on my terms and they wanted things on their terms, and it was very difficult.”
“I wanted to rehearse at least three times a week, but often it was only once a week and things went so slow. I sat there with all this material, I kept the rehearsal space and recorded the stuff on click track, but it was a very strained atmosphere and the Last time we worked together was in early June last year.”
Asked if the decision to part ways and seek out new band members was inevitable, Abbath said: “I was forced to do it this way. I wanted Immortal to continue, but not the way it was. The dialogue has not been there and it’s also my mistake. I should have brought up this shit a long time ago, but Immortal, after Demonaz‘s problems with his arms, it never became a band after that.”
He continued: “Immortal is a very special situation. [Demonaz] hasn’t been in the band, but then I always wanted to do the best for everybody, to have the band spirit, and that’s why when we decided to start Immortal again, we tried to get the spirit back, and bring him on tour, and just share our thing and be a band and have a kick-ass time. But it never worked out. The chemistry wasn’t there with the Immortal guys and hadn’t been for a while.”
“I believe in my music and I believe in my expression, but time flies and we grow apart. Maybe in the future we can go back again, I don’t know, but right now I just want to do my thing and just be Abbath and have people around me who support that.”
Former Immortal front man and international black metal icon Abbath (Olve Eikemo) debuted his new band with his namesake, Abbath, this past weekend at the Tuska Festival in Helsinki, FI. Video from their set can be seen at this link and below:
Abbath is joined by King Ov Hell (Tom Cato Visnes from Ov Hell, Gorgoroth, God Seed) on bass, and Baard Kolstad (Borknagar) on drums. The band played a set of mostly covers, all of which Abbath had a hand in writing and a new song ‘Fenrir Hunts’, likely to see release on the new Abbath album due out in 2016 from Season of Mist. The band is already planning a busy 2016 to support the release, and has been named a headliner of the the 2016 Blastfest in Oslo, NO
Abbath’s set list from Tuska Festival
01. Warriors (I cover)
02. Battalions (I cover)
03. Fenrir Hunts (new song)
04. One By One (Immortal cover)
05. Tyrants (Immortal cover)
06. Cursed We Are (I cover)
07. In My Kingdom Cold (Immortal cover)
08. Hordes To War (Immortal cover)
09. Withstand The Fall Of Time (Immortal cover)
Curated by Swedish experimentalists Cult Of Luna, the capital welcomes a diverse bill catering for enthusiasts of many different subgenres encompassing, drone, ambient and full on extreme metal.
Spread over the different venues (The Forum, The Dome, The Boston Music Rooms) means in actuality just a short trek between rooms, allowing for most punters to catch their favourites with little effort. Following sets from P.G. Lost and the restrained beauty of Blueneck, it is over to the Forum to witness one of the heaviest, most harrowing acts currently treading the boards; Belgium’s Amenra. Singer Colin H van Eeckhout keeps his back to the audience throughout but make no mistake this is a gut wrenching performance which mines the darkest depths of the human soul. His anguished shrieks add further power to the monstrous guitars that threaten to tear down the venue. Few would match this behemoth for unbridled intensity.
After Abraham abuse the Boston Music Rooms, it’s time for Justin K. Broadrick to bring the desolate tones of Jesu to the Forum. The video backdrop displays shots of massive buildings and otherworldly landscapes, presumably to convey a sense of how insignificant we are in comparison to the things we create, yet today doesn’t show Jesu in a particularly auspicious light. The vocals remain particularly low in the mix for the first couple of numbers and material like ‘Losing Streak’ meanders in a directionless manner leaving you wondering why such a big crowd have elected to watch them. Broadrick appears frustrated with the sound set up but frankly much of this project’s output is considerably poorer in quality than his work with Godflesh. ‘Tired Of Me’ has some memorable hooks but it is the exception that proves the rule. Ultimately this is a forgettable performance for an act capable of much more.
Thankfully today’s exciting discovery is up next with Swedes, The Old Wind packing the Dome to bursting point. Featuring the considerable talents of The Ocean’s Robin Staps moonlighting for them on guitar, their brutal and dynamic post metal is enough to drag you from the funk of mid-afternoon. ‘Raveneye’ and ‘Spears Of A Thousand’ bode well for their forthcoming new album. Former Breach members Tomas Liljedahl and Niklas Quinata have delivered a sound every bit as menacing as the genre shaping act from which they emerged but the addition of Staps is a stroke of genius. His weaving guitar lines adding depth and clarity to the brutal mirk his bandmates supply. Robin will soon find himself occupied with The Ocean again. It’s incredible the tireless Berliner has the time to pack in so many projects yet each remains of the highest quality.
Jimbob Isaac brought his new trio Hark, looking to remind people of the power of his former act Taint. Decent on record, the Welshmen struggle through a set of downtuned riffola where the band fails to keep time on a number of occasions. Jimbob is a highly engaging figure up front and the band has some punchy material but serious work must go into tightening up their live shows if this performance is anything to go by.
God Is An Astronaut put in a wonderful showing in the Forum. A shining light amongst the murky depths of the rest of the bill, numbers from ‘All Is Violent All Is Bright’ woo and seduce excited punters with uplifting major chords and infectious rhythms. Intricate without once falling into the mire of self-indulgence, they inject hope and light standing out amongst the darkness of their peers today.
God Seed’s nocturnal Black Metal would perhaps suit the more BM orientated Incineration Festival across town, yet Gaahl and the boys are in fine form. There may be no naked bodies crucified onstage this time but the brutality of the music is menacing, eschewing the need for such trappings. ‘A Sign Of An Open Eye’ begin their menacing set and guest appearance by Cult of Luna’s Johannes on ‘Alt Liv’ adds a new edge to the brutal track. Concluding their set with the vicious ‘Prosperity And Beauty’ and current track ‘This Is From The Past’ demonstrate this is an act unafraid to acknowledge their origins, but preferring to forge forward rather than rely on the Gorgoroth name. God Seed exemplify the primal bleakness of black metal and how powerful it can be.
All that remains is the colossal might of the headliners to deliver a much ballyhooed set of crushing, desolate post metal. Bathed in eerie blue light, the band remains as enigmatic and compelling as ever. A couple of songs in, the stage is suddenly plunged into darkness. When the lights go up original vocalist Klas Rydberg and Gaahl lend their voices to ‘Ghost Trail’ adding even more unbridled intensity to this haunting epic. It’s a moment which sends shivers down the spine and reminds us how potent the sound of this act is and how insignificant we seem in comparison to the sheer power of it all.
For all their might and bombast, Cult of Luna proves just as compelling on the fragile ‘Passing Through’. Its graceful open chords ring out through the Forum while the audience catch a reprieve from the intense catharsis only to embrace the vulnerable beauty which briefly surrounds them.
“In Awe Of” lures you into a clandestine universe where the dystopian worlds conjured by novelists like Orwell are brought to mind. This performance is more than a mere retrospective with Rydberg contributing to the piece with such a vigour and zeal you could be forgiven for forgetting he departed the Umea outfit before it was composed.
‘Leave Me Here’ from 2004’s ‘Salvation’ opus lacks the clean vocal delivery but still feels every bit as haunting as on record as it brings the curtain down on a set which many will speak of witnessing for years to come. Electing to take a break at what is the peak of their creativity, Cult Of Luna’s absence from the music scene will be felt by many but by the same token it will mean they are rightly revered and respected for their uncompromising approach to their art and methods of achieving their creative vision on their terms only.
WORDS BY ROSS BAKER
Wardruna, despite having released only two albums, enjoy esteem within the world of folk music for their use of traditional, handmade instruments and themes of Norse spirituality. Yggdrasil is the second instalment of their rune triology Runaljod. The album picks up where first record Gap Var Ginunnga left off, exploring the individual runes of the elder futhark.Continue reading