The world of dance music has been stealing (or 'borrowing') from the pop and rock scene for ages. Just think about some of those horrible, soulless dance versions of songs like 'Sweet Child O'Mine' (by Milk Inc), 'Billy Jean' (by Crew 7) or Britney's mind numbing adaptation of 'I Love Rock 'n Roll' which was already a cover to begin with. Well, rockers and metalheads sure know a thing or two about remaking old songs as well, often with quite interesting results. Here are fifteen electronic songs, turned into rock and metal anthems.
We kick things off with a band that has dedicated two entire albums covering eighties new wave and electro songs. Out of these 'Werk 80' albums, we picked Visage's 'Fade To Grey', initially a dreamy electronic pop song, now turned into an absolute dark dancefloor filler. Once starting out as a death metal band, Atrocity has been going to a lot of changes throughout the years, this cover project being just one of the many incarnations, but a damn good one if you ask me.
Suicide, the duo of Alan Vega and Martin Rev recorded this song way back in 1977 with primitive electronics and drum machines. This, and other songs, made them responsible for an entire wave of industrial and noise music. Enter industrial metal horde Bloodstar, who recorded a harsh cover version for their album 'Anytime Anywhere' on a compilation by Roadrunner Records. It's actually this song, that started my fascination for metal covers.
Good ol' Rammstein and their shenanigans. The first song I heard them cover was one by the Ramones, and I remember thinking "I hope they never do that again". But, Rammstein never listens to me so they went on covering other stuff, including this awesome version of Kraftwerk's 'Das Modell'. Speaking about dancefloor fillers... By the way, don't mind the video, it's not the official one. In fact, YouTube muted the music on the official video. Weird asses...
Hah, you were expecting fifteen metal songs, weren't you? But I never said that, and besides, I can't go through this list without paying my respects to "the man in black". His greatest cover of all time was probably Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt' but since that's not really an electronic song, I decided to go with 'Personal Jesus' from Depeche Mode. To be honest, I think Cash made an absolute classic of this one, one I like more than the original.
Of course, we have to include this ugly dude in this article. Although Marilyn Manson has never been very high on my favorites list, this song is a smasher. Originally recorded and performed by Eurythmics, 'Sweet Dreams' has been getting a lot of people on their feet, regardless of the genre they usually listen to. Well, perhaps some people still prefer the original version over Manson's creepy, somewhat over-the-top performance.
A friend sent me this one, a metalcore version of The Prodigy's 'Omen'. Although I prefer the original, it isn't hard to see why a metal band would cover this hit. After all, it is already a pretty damn heavy tune, perfectly suited to throw in some distorted guitars . A little research brought me to Polish band Messa, who play "rock 'n core". All fine by me since this is quite a nice cover version.
Nadja's cover album is an amazing piece of work which includes some of the greatest covers I've ever heard. My favorite one on that album is Slayer's (Dead Skin Mask' but for this list I have to go with the megahit by Norwegian synthpop act A-Ha. Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff surely turned this song into an immersive whirlpool of drones, much like we're used to form Nadja.
Another one of my favorite covers comes from American "dead pop" band Orgy who added their industrial metal over New Order's megahit 'Blue Monday'. This cover version too had been a constant at parties, at least the parties I went to and dj'ed at over the years. It's actually still one of my all time favorite covers.
English extremists Cradle Of Filth have been no strangers to covers, but when this appeared on their 'Thornography' album, I looked at my speakers in sheer disbelief. Not only because the original is a simple synthpop song, but mostly because Dani and co turned it into something filthy, nasty and quite sexy. I never liked the original and I'm not going to say that this is my favorite Cradle Of Filth track but still worth mentioning here.
Of course, the punk rock scene has been barking out cover versions ever since pop songs became silly enough to make punk rock covers of them. Hell, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes thrive on that sort of things but this blasting gem by punk heroes Offspring shouldn't go unnoticed in this list. Not that is a prime example of musical ingenuity but hey, I prefer an Offspring moshpit over an Aqua dancefloor anytime.
Belgian metal act Manic Movement recorded this blasting version of Anne Clark's 'Our Darkness' for their 2001 album 'Future Dreaming Self'. I didn't know that before I saw them at Graspop a year later but I did know and love the original. So when it started slamming through the speakers, I was ecstatic and it kept going heavier and heavier. Maybe you can even see me in the audience on this video. I had long hair and wore a black t-shirt, shouldn't be that hard to spot me, right?
This English band seems to promote themselves as a "wedding-band" but they also play parties and festivals. On their YouTube channel, they published all kinds of cover songs, mostly with a tongue-in-cheek folk rock atmosphere or, in this case, tuning the whole thing in a joyful reggae tune. If Mister Kanish proves anything, it's the fact that cover bands can be original and entertaining enough to become something that people want to see. If they're touring and coming over to Belgium, there's a big chance I go see them. It'll be fun.
"Death in Rome is a Neofolk Group covering pop songs", that's pretty much all there is to say about these guys. Mind you, Neofolk usually isn't really overloaded with humor so this one is a bit of a surprise. In my research for this article, I've searched far and wide to find somewhat decent versions of old techno tunes. Apart from a bunch of metal, punk and grindcore songs, there wasn't that much original to find, except for Death In Rome. The bandname is a composition of the bands Death In June and Rome, and why not claim that the 'In' stands for Sol Invictus? Anyway, this is a brilliant cover and they have many more if you're willing to listen.
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Come To Daddy (Aphex Twin)
Several years ago, at a festival in Belgium, I was strolling around the terrain which brought me near the stage where The Dillinger Escape Plan were performing. I didn't really care about the band as I've never really been a fan of math core or whatever it is that these guys play(ed). However, suddenly they kicked of this bloody intense Aphex Twin cover. I was amazed, since I thought it was physically impossible to drum this thing. But look, here it is.
'Der Mussolini' by German electro act DAF is one of the best electronic songs to turn into a pounding metal song, as also proved by Atrocity. Yet, Swiss thrash metallers Coroner beat them to it and released this moshpit inducing piece of music in 1995 on their penultimate album 'Coroner'. It still is one of my favorite cover versions, although I prefer Coroner's own songs. Still, I secretly hope I get to watch them doing this song live.
Got some more? Comment below!
Aah, Halloween, the time of year when everybody suddenly decides that this planet isn't scary enough yet. People are pumped over their costumes, their make-up, the trick-or-treat candy and the music they will play at their Halloween-parties. Of course, such a playlist is easy, according to many websites I visited for my research. Throw in Danny Elfman's 'This Is Halloween', Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and 'Zombie' by The Cranberries and your party will be a spooky halloween blast. But will your guests be scared? Maybe, but this year, let's go for "terrified" instead of "scared". Here are fifteen nice tunes to scare the shit out of your guests and get that party started.
Jim Johnston - The Undertaker Theme Song
Based on Chopin's 'Funeral March', WWE home musician Jim Johnston has created an absolute classic for all wrestling fans. The tune has been going through several changes over the years but the opening bell has always been a constant. Whenever that sound appeared, you knew you were in for something epic, something dark. Shortly after, there he was, an imposing figure, ready to put his opponent through hell. Even if you don't like wrestling, I think this would make a good intro for your party.
Theatres Des Vampires - Morgana Effect
What good is a horror-themed party without vampires? Enter Italian gothic metal band Theatres Des Vampires, who have recently released their new album 'Candyland' and this video for the song 'Morgana Effect'. This will definitely attract a bunch of headbangers to your party, and, as everybody know, metalheads are good for your alcohol-consumption.
Cadaveria & Necrodeath - Monduscuro
A blood pact between two diabolical entities, a dark and wicked cooperation between Cadaveria and Necrodeath, two bands who have been adding horror themes to heavy guitars for years. Be sure to place this somewhere in your playlist and add a bunch of gloomy projections to top off the atmosphere. Success guaranteed.
Death SS - Eaters
There are many horror themed metal bands in the world and I'm not going to add them all on this list, but we simply can't ignore Death SS. They're simply a must-have classic in the metal scene. Hailing from Italy, Death SS was formed in 1977 by Paul Chain and Steve Sylvester. The band combined elements of horror and the occult and heavy metal to become a pioneer in black metal and thrash metal.
Abysmal Grief - Cultus Lugubris
Italy is a great country for occult, dark metal, so it seems. Abysmal Grief has been a constant for twenty years now and an absolute favorite in the world of doom metal. That eerie organ will haunt you for a long time, that's for damn sure. Like many bands, Abysmal Grief is rooted deeply in the seventies horror sound and has been influencing a lot of bands, including Moonspell, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and The Vision Bleak (three other recommended names for your playlist by the way).
Elend - Eden (The Angel in the Garden)
A long time ago, I volunteered as a monitor at a camp where parents could dump their kids during summer. Each year, the oldest children (14-16) engaged in an overnight theme game. Guess who got to choose the theme? That night, we corpse-painted ourselves, rattled with chains in the forest, blinded the kids with flashlights and blasted Elend through the speakers whenever the kids were near them. Oh man, such fun. We ended that night with a cup of hot chocolate and a few kids' underwear on the clothesline.
Diamánda Gálás – The Litanies Of Satan
With lyrical topics such as AIDS, depression, mental illness and social injustice, American-born avant-garde artist Diamánda Gálás is a favorite of people who like it scary and haunting. With her extremely unnerving vocal performances and her appetite for the dark side of life, she has left audiences in terror and goths in awe for decades. 'The Litanies Of Satan' is a creepy piece of music, certainly recommended for summoning demons at your party.
Mz 412 - Act I: Begravning
"Wenn weiß die Farbe des Todes ist, dann ist schwarz die Farbe des Lebens", a sentence that every single Cold Meat Industry fan will immediately recognize. I often played this song on my so called goth-parties and people actually managed to dance to it. For others, it was the ideal soundtrack to start crawling home, back into their caves. Of course, dark ambient is an ideal genre for your horror parties, but I have to admit, Swedish act Mz412 really tops it off with this creeper.
Skinny Puppy - Who's Laughing Now?
The industrial scene has been widely known for its dark, pounding sound, filling dancefloors everywhere. Canadian groundbreaking act Skinny Puppy have been a huge success in this scene for a long, long time now. In this song, they use samples from 'Evil Dead II', which, along with Nivek Ogre’s demonic vocals, makes this song a perfect one to unleash the dancing zombies on your party.
Bollock Brothers - Horror Movies
Speaking about dancing, here is a song that opens with a list of horror movies, which are actually quite good suggestions to beam at your party. Although this song by British punk act The Bollock Brothers isn't that scary, it should be a decent dancefloor filler in the early hours of that Halloween extravaganza, don't you think?
Drokz & Sadisk - Satans Visit To Stellwerk
With this one, we dive deeply into a world most Merchants Of Air readers will not be familiar with. Hardcore techno music sure has its creepy songs, although their listeners usually are a lot scarier. I discovered this gem when I was looking for something dark and heavy yet electronic. Before I realized, I was being dragged into a genre named "darkcore". Most of it is onnesssausage(*), but this track certainly is a spooky sensation.
(from the Dutch word 'Eenheidsworst' which translates as 'it all sounds the same')
Whitehouse - Cut Hands Has The Solution
If you think that previous one was over-the-top noise, well, welcome to a world where you are no longer a listener, you are a victim. In the deepest regions of the musical industry, there is a scene named 'power electronics', fronted by acts like Nicole 12, Genocide Organ and these guys from Whitehouse. Here, music translates as pure aggression, hatred, dark emotions and torture. Blast this one through your speakers and I'm sure a lot of your guests will run like hell.
Necro - Creepy Crawl
In the hip hop scene, there also seems to be a sub-genre, named 'horrorcore', which is something slightly different from the hip hop people usually encounter. Necro is a rapper from Brooklyn, New York who has been heavily influenced by death metal, as well as all things gory and haunting. On this song, he uses a sample from Charles Manson while on another one, he raps over blastbeats by Suffocation drummer Mike Smith.
Coil - Hellraiser Theme
English experimental masterminds Coil created this masterpiece in 1985. It was the proposed soundtrack to the film Hellraiser, however was turned down because it was not considered commercial enough. Other sources claim that the music wasn't used because it was too scary. Anyway, Coil released 'The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser' in 1987 before once again embarking on a huge amount of other projects and experiments.
Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre
And for a cool-down after all this dark and horrifying bombast, we reach back to classical music with this beautiful piece of work by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Written in 1874, the piece was initially a song for a text by the poet Henri Cazalisis, based on an old French superstition. Back then, this might have been one of the scariest pieces of music ever written.
Well, we could go on and on with this list, but we got other stuff to do today. If you have more suggestions for Halloween parties, comment below...
From the dark forests of an unknown dimension of solitude and melancholy, arise the music of A Bleeding Star, artistic vehicle for the dark ambient musician Alex Goth, that in the early morning hours of March 13th 2008 revealed to the world his first creation, that would set up the pattern for the music created by A Bleeding Star: a translucent archaic void, emanated by a tense atmosphere of gloom, completely prepared to captivate its listeners, and take them to otherworldly dark dimensions.
With an undeniable stream of creativity, A Bleeding Star soon started to produce an overflow of the most imperial, magnificent and desolate dark ambient music ever created. Having already made a lot of demos before officially introducing his music to the world, they somewhat provided to the artist the basis for his future works. As Alex Goth, in his own words, has said:
“'Tis important to mention that many demos were found before the first "Dark Offering" ...as
well...these were known to become the [blueprint] of the artist himself...kind of like a broken
well full of stories needing of a home...chapters from incompleted books of deep recollection...
Soon all these tales would be relocated in their appropriate section...coiling through volumes
upon volumes of content...switchshifting from the physical realm to the astral in mere seconds.”
After the success of ‘Dark Offering I - Specteral Demonstrations of My Deathly Dissolution’, A Bleeding Star started to reveal more of his “Dark Offerings” at the website 'last.fm', always in the 13th day of each month, at 3:am, the perfect time and place for ABS to reveal his music to his audience, the darkest hour of the morbid desolation, a time that perfectly converges and aligns itself with the ghostly atmospheric ambitions of ABS music.
Always working tirelessly to deliver to its audience the best dark ambient music ever created, ABS overflowing creativity produced some of the most emblematic underground dark atmospheric albums you will ever have the chance to listen to, being an outstanding and daring creative force of the genre, as it is possible for him to be. A great soul working for the exasperate catharsis of a funeral planetary isolation, the groundbreaking genius of Alex Goth, regarding his creation, is yet to see the limits of his creative capabilities, as no dark offering is out of limits for the marvelous shadows and hostile landscapes of A Bleeding Star.
I live in a region in Belgium, named Flanders. Here, we speak Dutch and a lot of artists also sing in that language. Unfortunately, the majority of Flemish sung music is quite infantile, suited only for carnival and nurseries, yes, even when the artist is trying to be serious. Many alternative music lovers frown upon the mind-numbingly dull qualities of the Flemish music scene, often collected in a program like 'Tien Om Te Zien'. However, there are some artists who manage to make delightful, beautiful and stunning songs in their native language. Here is a little overview...
Gorki - Mia
Everyone in Flanders knows this song, since it is the most iconic piece of music to be found in this region. Luc De Vos, who sadly passed away in 2014, was an absolute genius with a mysterious charisma and a nag for writing strange, emotional lyrics. His oeuvre is impressive, and so were his stage performances. Sometimes it was a heavy rocking gig where even this 'Mia' sounded heavy and intense, sometimes he was alone on stage, armed with his acoustic guitar, singing as much songs as he received Duvels. Today, in the 52nd minute of each home match of football team AA Gent, the entire stadium sings this song in honor of Luc. He is severely missed.
Ann Christy - De Roos
This cover version of a Bette Midler song ('The Rose' - written by Amanda McBroom) is widely regarded as one of the biggest Flemish hits ever. Rivers of tears have been cried since 1980, when the song was released, and still at this very moment, somewhere in Flanders, someone is weeping to this tearjerker. Personally, I'm not always a big fan over cover versions, but this one gets me all the time.
Bazart - Goud
My good friend and Merchants Of Air colleague Wouter told me about this band and showed me this video. I was intrigued pretty quickly because of what I heard. While, musically, these youngsters from Ghent and Antwerp would fit in perfectly with today's electronic pop scene, their use of Dutch is a bold and daring choice. Yet, as we've seen before, it's exactly because of their language that these guys are doing so well. Perhaps, in English this band would drown in the massive amount of acts in their genre, but in Dutch, they definitely excel. To be honest, I'm not a fan of all their songs, but this one certainly is a stand out.
Belgian Asociality - Bompa Punk
Long before Dutch band De Heideroosjes would climb on stages allover the world, these guys from Keerbergen had already become legends. They've had massive hits with songs like 'Morregen', 'Het Is Gedaan' and this epic piece of work about an aging punk fan and his adventures in the retirement home. Blending hardcore punk with (mostly) Dutch lyrics, Belgian Asociality has been a headliner in this country for almost thirty years.
Zjef Vanuytsel - De Zotte Morgen
Another icon we Flemish people miss, is "kleinkunst" singer Zjef Vanuytsel. This song is just as iconic as 'Mia' by Gorki and 'De Roos' by Ann Christy. It still is extremely relevant today, as the world is getting crazier and more hectic each an every day. The title translates as 'the crazy morning' and it's simply a beautiful testament of Belgian music, tout-court.
Amörtisseur - Schuppenaas
The title of this song translates as 'Ace Of Spades', and yes, it does remind me a bit of a fairly recently passed away deity in the world of hard rock and heavy metal. Amörtisseur basically translates Motorhead songs into "Antwaarps", one of the most well-known dialects in our country. This surely is a hilarious tribute to Lemmy.
Katastroof - Triestige plant
Also hailing from Antwerp, and usually also funny as hell, this band has been a constant in the Flemish music industry since 1977. With songs about beer, women, the catholic church and politicians, Katastroof has gained a loyal following in and around Antwerp. However, my personal favorites have always been the emotional songs, beautifully collected on 'Efkes Serieus'. They show a different, bittersweet, side of these drunken bards.
Noordkaap - Een heel klein beetje oorlog
This band hailed from Limburg, just like me. Basically, Noordkaap was initially called 'Limburg's answer to Gorki, De Mens and De Kreuners' and eventually many of their songs have become instant classics. After the split, vocalist Stijn Meuris would go on to form Monza, which was quite similar and now he performs solo as Meuris, singing these massive Noordkaap hits (like 'Wat Is Kunst', 'Satelliet Suzy' and the Will Tura cover 'Arme Joe') again, much to the delight of the audience.
Urbanus - Kodazuur
Now, don't try to translate this song, because you'll end up confused and slightly insane. Urbanus is an absolute cult figure in Belgium, starting out in a cabaret-ensemble called 'Anus' in the seventies and eventually evolving into a highly respected comedian. This particular song, initially from a performance in 1982, saw a massive outcome years later. While announcing this song, Urbanus joked "I wrote this song for the punk rockers De Heideroosjes'. Seven years later, internationally acclaimed Dutch punk rockers De Heideroosjes were born, crediting Urbanus for their band name. In 2004, Urbanus and De Heideroosjes performed this rocker together at the stage of Rock Werchter.
Louis Neefs - Laat Ons Een Bloem
An environmental activist song from 1970, still immensely relative today. Perhaps that's what timelessness is all about. Kleinkunst singer Louis Neefs had a deep, kind voice and a nag for quality music that has delivered several classic songs, including 'Margrietje', 'Ik Heb Zorgen' and this epic tune. Neefs passed away in 1980, leaving a beautiful legacy of Flemish chansons.
Clement Peerens Explosition - Boecht van Dunaldi
Clement Peeters, the heavy rocking alter ego of musician/comedian.radio personality Hugo Matthijsen was initially a character in a radio show he did with Bart Peeters (Het Leugenpaleis). Soon after, the trio of Clement Peerens (Matthijsen), Vettige Swa (Peeters - later replaced by Dave 'Beast From Hell' de Peuter (Aram Van Ballaert)) and Sylvain Aertbeliën (Ronny Mosuse) scored massive hits with 'Dikke Lu', 'Vindegij Mijn Gat' and 'Foorwijf'. My favorite is 'Boecht Van Dunaldi', a song about disgusting wine in a carton box.
Stef Bos - Is Dit Nu Later?
Maybe this is cheating a bit, since Stef Bos is actually born and raised in The Netherlands. Still, he moved to Belgium in 1988, started writing songs for Clouseau and Ingeborg and appearing in 'De Samson & Gert Show'. In 1990, he released an album with the title 'Is Dit Nu Later', featuring the hit 'Papa' and this tearjerker that gets me every single time. The song describes a highly emotional comparison between his life as a kid and as an adult, wondering 'Is This The Future'?
Black Swarm & Loco ft Batteraaf & Halve Neuro - Parasiet
Earlier this year, the Flemish metal scene teamed up with a number of hip-hop artists to record a tribute to both 'Walk This Way' from Run DMC and the 'Judgement Night' tribute. Personally, I've never really been a fan of Dutch rap, but this thing is yummie. A few gigs followed before they put the project to rest, but rest assured, some tremendously blasting tunes came out of this cooperation.
Arbeid Adelt - De Dag Dat Het Zonlicht Niet Meer Scheen
Marcel Van Tilt is no stranger to absurdities and conflicts. According to a story I read somewhere, someone claimed he stole the band name from a brainstorming session to find a band name for the group that would eventually be known as De Kreuners. Furthermore, this song pissed off schlager singer John Terra who just released a song with the exact same title, which translates as 'The Day The Sun Didn't Shine Anymore'. In the end, Arbeid Adelt probably became most popular with the P.I.L. cover 'Death Disco'. Yet, for Belgian new wavers, this song still is a classic.
Aroma Di Amore - Voor De Dood
Another favorite of the Flemish black denim and leather wearing music lovers, is Aroma Di Amore, a band around Elvis Peeters and guitarist Fred Angst. Formed in 1982, Aroma Di Amore has been known for their socio-critical lyrics and gloomy new wave sound. This song was released as a single in 1983, and appeared on the album 'Radikal' ten years later.
In my late teens and early twenties, I was a metalhead, nothing more, nothing less. Everything else was bullshit. Well, almost everything else. Throughout the years, a number of songs popped up which either combined several genres or were simply too good to be ignored.These songs caused me to dig deeper into other genres, which in its turn caused my friends to make fun of me.Today, as I look back on all the songs I've been listening to, I realize that some of these have been quite important for my musical background. For this edition of Songs With Stories, I'll replay five of these songs.
If you like, you can comment yours below.
Jones & Stephenson - The First Rebirth
The long haired, patched jeans wearing me was studying in Antwerp. I didn't live here yet, that happened fifteen years later. In the building where I rented a room, I started meeting a number of different people, from hippies to techno freaks to boybands lovers. Since I forgot most of my CDs at home, I didn't really have something to listen to. One of my peers gave me the FM-wavelength for a local radio station. He said I'd like it. To my surprise it was a techno-station, a genre I despised after the whole new beat thing went to shreds. However, the second song they played was this one and to this day I absolutely love this thing. Back then, techno and house were the natural enemy of metal so I kept quiet about it but secretly, i've been dancing a lot to this one.
The Cure - Lullaby
This wasn't the first Cure song I've heard in my life but it had been the one that pulled me over indefinitely. The first one was probably 'Love Cats' and my all-time favorite is 'Pictures Of You'. Yet, before this one was released, I never gave Robert Smith a lot of attention. I had better things to do, metal, you know. When 'Lullaby' appeared on MTV, I was fascinated by the grim and angsty atmosphere of the whole thing. I anxiously waited for MTV to play the video again, so I could record it on a video tape. Soon after, I would expand my collection of videos, including the claustrophobic masterpiece 'Close To You' and eventually I became a huge Cure fan.
O Yuki Conjugate - Sunchemical
This track appeared on a compilation named 'Mind The Gap'. It came with a Gonzo Circus magazine which I bought because I had absolutely nothing to do but read about music. I didn't really know about ambient music. To me all those songs were intros for metal albums. However, I did collect all those intros on a tape, which included tracks by Amorphis, My Dying Bride and several others. It was a great tape to play late at night, before going to sleep. 'Sunchemical' quickly earned its place on that tape and opened a completely new world from me. After hearing that, I devoured as much ambient as I could, eventually leading to me founding my own project.
Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones - Une Petit Cellier
My infernal wanderings through the worlds of ambient and metal lead me to become a fan of doom metal, and all things slow and atmospheric. I discovered this gem in a record store while I was looking for some more of that awesome funeral doom. I knew nothing about this act before I asked the shopkeeper if I could have a listen. Mere seconds later, I felt the goosebumbs and the cold chills. I felt like I was being dragged into the soundtrack of Twin Peaks and it's horrifying, eerie atmosphere. This was brilliant, and it still is one of my favorite albums ever. Eventually, this one lured me into the world of jazz, something I had been actually trying for decades. Now, more and more jazz acts are appearing in my playlists, not only dark jazz, obviously. It's all jazz!!!
Bedrich Smetana - Die Moldau
They say that the music you like when you're sixteen, is the music you will love forever. Well, I beg to differ. When I was sixteen, I was a headstrong metalhead who despised everything without guitars, drums and a bloke screaming his lungs out. That year, a musical teacher played this classical piece and I, as true, grim and frostbitten as I was, tore it down completely. It was dull, boring, with a pretty nice passage, and another one, interesting, inspiring, beautiful, a masterpiece. One way or another, 'Die Moldau' started growing on me. Even to this day it brings tears to my eyes. Years later, after hearing it again, I - finally - decided to give up on being a genre-freak and just started enjoying music in all its forms and facets, as it should...
Some other notable songs in that aspect:
-Pink Floyd - Mother
-Kong - New
-Levellers - 15 Years
-Absolom - Baby Boomers
-Gorki - Engel, Red Mij
Wolves and Horses is an ambient project by Belgian musician Christian Saint-Viteux. A self-taught musician, and former radio host, Saint-Viteux started to privately compose his own music in 2013, which has as main inspirations his greatest passions: fantasy literature, medieval history and Native American culture. Deeply influenced also by classical writers, such as Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Jules Verne and Charles Baudelaire, as well as more contemporary ones, like J.R.R.Tolkien, John Steinbeck, Dan O’Brien and Cormac McCarthy, Christian Saint-Viteux manages to perfectly unite all of his passions, painting in his mosaic of creative confluences a dark scenery that masterly reverberates the cold desolation, the bold intensity and the overwhelming beauty of his ecstatic, but somberly deep sound, produced under the alias Wolves and Horses.
After contacting Christer Lunder, CEO of UAE Records, himself a skilled musician, main component of the ambient drone project Us As Effigies, Saint-Viteux soon felt at home at UAE. Soon both musicians started to combine their talents for a song, then their idea evolved to work together for an entire album. Their joint musical efforts and creative collaboration soon gave birth to a project, named FirstFallingLeaves. As their partnership only grew over time, soon Christian Saint-Viteux was incorporated as a staff member of the label for organizational purposes, becoming a main component of UAE Records.
When creating a new song, Saint-Viteux goes far beyond the ordinary means. Aiming to create an atmosphere able to evoke a whole new set of otherworldly inspirations, his art is moved by the goal to set free the listener’s imagination, setting a new pattern of rapture that, driven by a fantastic sound, captures emotions never seen before, and creates extraordinary worlds in your mind, in your heart and in your soul, far distant from the reality zone, as his main objective behind Wolves and Horses is to take the listener into another time, another place and another life, with the music working as an outstanding vehicle that gives you the passage to this fantastic alternative dimension of fogs and dust, kings and thrones, myths and legends, that Saint-Viteux amazingly creates with his inspiring art.
Imagining his songs also as a soundtrack for short movies, little pieces of imagery, or even brief moments frozen in time, his equipment and method of compositions also changed over time, to better adjust to the Wolves and Horses main perspective, and fit into Saint-Viteux’s dreamscape objectives. About the evolution, changes and development of his techniques over the years, Saint-Viteux has said:
“All W&H tracks are based on pads and soundscapes I create for every new one. I started with ‘classical’ synths but I wasn’t completely satisfied, so I moved step by step to more ‘organic’ sounds, using granular techniques and sound manipulation.”
Creating also all the visuals for Wolves and Horses, Saint-Viteux manages to progressively delineate a world of his own in several aspects, building for himself a cohesive artistic identity, where music is not only an appreciative parallel accessory, but a force driven to amalgamate his desire and his ability to create a new world, where the old patterns of boredom, tragedies, deception and grievance of ordinary life have all been long forgotten. With Wolves and Horses, imperial transcendence, lost kingdoms made of stone, gray forests foreshadowed by ghostly hallucinations and never-ending seas of haze set in your mind a perpetual state of freedom, where all invisible, but possible realms of life are in the domes of light, not as a mere possibility, but as a true reality, built by the spark of his creative ambitions.
Wolves and Horses music is the perfect vehicle to let your imagination wander around free, throughout a marvelous sound, that built whole new worlds, note by note. The first Wolves and Horses release was an homonymous five track EP, released by UAE Records on May 25, 2015. The first full-length Wolves and Horses album, titled “Every Moment Of Light And Dark", was released by the label in December 14, 2015. Currently, a new Wolves and Horses album is in progress.
Around this time next week, I'll be submerged in fuzz, riffs, drums and probably one or a few of those delicious Johnny Cash burgers. It'll be the third incarnation of the travelling stoner circus, and it will be the third time Merchants Of Air covers the whole thing, not bad since we're only two years old. Over forty bands will battle for a place in our top-10-of-2016 (although they don't know that yet). And in this Songs With Stories spin-off, I'll try to predict the 15 best gigs, five for each day. Of course, we'll compare this list with the eventual result next week.
I deliberately left out some of the bands that everybody wants to go see at Desertfest. I mean, there will already be a ton of people in front of Pentagram, Goat, Elder Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats and Belgian noise rock heroes La Muerte. And I'm sure each and every one of them will deliver a massive performance. But if you only come for these bands, you could be a bit more loyal to a hard working scene and come early. There's so much to discover, and I think these fifteen bands will stun, awe and surprise you.
To some people, Alkerdeel will forever be known as 'the band with the farting demon on the album cover', but for me, this just might become a 'finally'. Somehow, I've never gotten the opportunity to see them live. I heard their album, 'Lede' (read our review) but that's about it. Their concerts have always slipped through my fingers for some reason At Desertfest, I'll finally get the chance to undergo their filthy mix of black metal and doom. Chances are big that I'm going to return home with a farting-demon-t-shirt. I mean, just check out their appearance at Roadburn in the video below and try to tell me that this is not going to be a blast.
Of course, Yob is going to be the absolute highlight on Friday. For starters, they have been here before and second, I can't remember any Yob gig that hasn't completely mesmerized me. Since I saw them at Incubate a few years ago, this trio has been my ultimate standard for today's doom metal scene, much like My Dying Bride was the standard in the nineties. I know, both bands have little in common musically, but they have both been on top of their scene in their respective decade or so. Without Yob, no Desertfest, no Roadburn. Well, that might be a bit exaggerated but still, they're one of the most important band in this scene.
Here comes another band that returns to the Trix-desert ànd one that definitely has a home-advantage. They can come to the festival on foot, or by bicycle, roll over the stage like a freight train and quickly return to their safe havens in the city of Antwerp. Your Highness has a reputation for being a wild live act and they have been proving that quite a few times already. Raunchy bluesy stoner metal at high volume and enough energy to light up the entire venue, what else could you possibly want on this edition of Desertfest. I see a lot of familiar faces and bandshirts in the awesome video below and I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot of familiar faces on front of the stage as well.
Not long ago, after a lot of deliberation, I decided to check out Subrosa's new album (read review). The album had been waiting in my inbox for a while. In fact, there was a chance that is was going to be left behind in the massive puddle of releases I still had to go through and which might simply not make it. However, very soon, the unique sound of Subrosa completely overwhelmed me. The bewitching vocals, the deep, hypnotic riffs and the epic sound of the violins, the whole thing easily became an intense experience instead of just another listening session. Now I noticed that Subrosa is coming to Desertfest, I can't wait to see them.
If my memory is correct, I missed Joy at Incubate a few years ago because I wanted to go see No Joy. So I'll get another chance on this year's edition of the mighty Desertfest. Their psychedelic rock reminds me a bit of some of the things I used to listen to when I was just a kid, way back in the late seventies. With my ears firmly focused on the radio I absorbed the sounds of Hendrix and co. I hope they bring the same kaleidoscopic projection to the festival as well. We might be in for some psychedelic magic...
Ever since I've seen these Swiss psychedelic rockers in an unspecified bar in Antwerp, I've been a big fan of their music. With their new album, they keep on exploring the outer limits of their sound and evolving as a band and I can't wait to experience what that's gonna give on stage. Their latest appearance at Desertfest was one of my personal highlights on that year and I'm quite positive that this Saturday will be pretty much the same. Nothing can go wrong with a Monkey 3 gig, I assure you... Well, actually, a lot can go wrong, but none of it will be their fault.
This mysterious band suddenly popped up on the Desertfest line-up, making me wonder who they were exactly. So I clicked the play button on the video you can find below and all of a sudden found myself making facial gestures like the Magikarp boy. Their blend of atmospheric black metal and krautrock is so damn infectious that I have to see Wolvennest perform. I suggest you do the same and buy me a beer afterwards. This just might become one of this year's revelations.
A late surprise addition from the friendly people at Desertfest and a damn interesting one. Austrian psychedelic rockers Mother's Cake describe their music as a mix of The Mars Volta and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I like to call it infectious groovy rock with brilliant psychedelic keyboard and a heap of raw energy. I don't know the band yet, as I only heard the song in the video below, but I'm damn sure that will chance very, very, very soon.
Well, as I mentioned in my recent review: Well, it's about time I start preparing for the upcoming edition of Desertfest, and what better way to do that than with a decent blast of stoner rock. Greek stoner rockers 1000Mods will be playing this year's edition in support of their third album 'Repeated Exposure To...' and, judging from the songs on this full-length, their gig will be a party you shouldn't miss. In short: this is 1000Mods most mature and attuned album, showing a band that has been growing and evolving in the past eleven years.
You don't wanna miss out on this one.
It's been awhile since I heard from this German doom band. They were recommended to me by a friend a few years ago and I immediately liked their music, but gradually Ahab slipped out of my attention span. That is until they suddenly appeared in the line-up for Desertfest. Now, again, I can't wait to see them live, purchase some merchandise and start writing about how awesome their performance at this festival really was.
"Hey, it's that guy from the Rodeofest poster". Yes, that's true. His name is Sam De Roeck and he fronts Antwerp's own Black Swarm. Their appearance on this year's Desertfest will be a smasher. After all, they have the home-advantage and their music is as energetic as nuclear powered dildo up your ass. How that feels? Well, you come tell me after their gig. Oh man, this Desertfest is going to be so much fun...
A few years ago, German duo Tau impressed me at that year's edition of Incubate. Their exotic psychedelic music is certainly worthy of a decent meditation session and I can't wait to see them again. According to the biography, the collective project by Shaun Mulrooney (Dead Skeletons) and the Venezuelan multi instrumentalist Gerald Pasqualin was inspired by Shaun's shamanic experiences in the magical desert of Real De Catorce. I'm sure this will be a hypnotic and ritual experience as well.
While writing my review for their 'Fears Of The Dead' album, American doomers Duel provided me with an awesome trip back in time. And if you doubt my predictions, check this one: I hope that Duel will come over to Europe and play a few festivals here, namely the Up In Smoke and Desertfest events. They would be a solid addition to the line-up and possibly one of the most convincing acts on stage. So, my fellow ancient rockers, get this album now. You know you want it...
I don't know a lot about these guys from the Belgian city of Leuven, but my expectations for their gig at Desertfest are pretty high. They play a blend of psychedelic rock, doom and noise and recently recorded a split with Bethmoora which I will be reviewing shortly after Desertfest. Yet, it was the video below that aroused my interest. As far as doom metal is concerned, I feel like these guys can make a serious impression in the Trix venue. Perhaps that'll be another t-shirt I take home with me...
Josefin Öhrn and The Liberation
Another act I only know from the one video provided on the Desertfest website is Josefin Öhrn and The Liberation. With their blend of sixties pop and krautrock, I feel they pretty much guarantee an immersive experience and a lot of dancing people. Chances are big that I myself try a little dance but I guess nobody wants to see that. But hey, for me, this music is a journey back into my childhood and the discovery of that little thing we call 'music'. So every opportunity I get to check out some delicious vintage songwriting with psychedelic touches, I'll damn well be there.
Woods of Desolation is a black metal musical project from an unknown musician that creates and records independently his music, with the occasional assistance of other musicians. In his Facebook page, he identifies himself only as “D”, being his current location New South Wales, Australia. In 2014, he released his third full-length, entitled “As the Stars”. Being a major shift from traditional black metal, although he maintains intact the standards and the core of the genre, his musical input diverges radically – in a very positive way – from the common trends of black metal.
With a somewhat subjective and very personal approach, his music can be characterized by a well restrained substratum of guitar layered outlooks, serving as the basis for the rhythm of his songs, with a cold and simple, yet intricate turmoil of resonances harmonious to his solid intakes, with progressive nuances of increasing melodies spiraling into a downturn of dark symphonies. With such a poetical input he could well be considered the greatest highlight of the genre, and a new breath of creativity to this otherwise very predictable kind of music, into the 21st century. Lyrically, contrary to most black metal bands, he does not highlight satanism, but melancholy, solitude and winter.
As the Stars from the beginning feels very personal and you can almost feel this is a work made by only one musician, inspired by his own personal point of view. This is not only black metal, but a personal view of black metal, inserted in a very artistic and intimate manner, being the final result something you had never seen – or heard – before, in the history of black metal music.
With an astounding energy and a high inception of originality, revealing a black metal sometimes surprisingly deep-rooted in rock’n’roll, As the Stars will blow your mind away and, yet, it will deliver to its listeners some kind of nostalgia for the classical Norwegian black metal bands, especially if you used to listen to golden era Burzum, and, to a lesser extent, 90’s Mayhem, revealing – not only a somewhat conspicuous and innocuous influence, – but a fidelity to the roots of classical black metal, yet maintaining the solid distinction of a very personal identity. I not only highly recommend this album to fans, like I could give 5.0 from a 5.0 scores card, saying that it is, by far, one of the greatest – if not the best – black metal album I have ever heard in my entire life.