Sunday 30 January 2011

HAIL OF BULLETS – Messengers of Destruction

Bringing back the old school death metal vibe became a bit of an underground trend in the last couple of years. But who does it better and more sincerely than the old school bastards themselves? If names such as Asphyx, Gorefest, Pestilence or Thanatos mean something to you, the Dutch supergroup Hail of Bullets should have been on your wall since its formation in 2006. Two releases in that period – their debut „...Of Frost and War” and sophomore „On Divine Winds” – filled the gap before the new Bolt Thrower record with massive riff-work, war drums and the voice of ex-Thrower frontman Martin van Drunen. Drum master Ed Warby tells the story of the band.

Hail of Bullets achieved quite a reputation in a short period and became a pretty important band. Did you start HoB with the intention of doing anything else apart just one album?
Ed: When we started the idea was to get a good record deal as fast as we could and take it from there. At the time Gorefest was still my main band, and HoB a fun thing on the side. Gradually this changed until it got to the point where I enjoyed being in HoB more than Gorefest and I think the band exceeded the other guys’ expectations as well, so the mission was extended indefinitely!

Stephane Gebedi started with Thanatos in 1984, Martin van Drunen joined Asphyx in 1990, Paul Baayens was with Cremation from 1993, Theo van Eekelen and Judgement Day started in 1988, you and Gorefest kicked off in 1989. To summarize the above – you are a band of the old death metal bastards who dedicated their lives to brutal extreme music. Does it still feel the same way as in the early days?
Ed: No, not at all. Back then it was just about the music, the underground was extremely active and the whole atmosphere was carefree and inspired. Nowadays it’s more about image and marketing, of course we don’t play along with that cause we’re old fuckers! One of the reasons for starting HoB was to bring back the old school vibe, well-crafted songs and riffs, and real brutality instead of just trying to be the fastest band alive.

Compared to your original bands, was formation of Hail of Bullets a different process? Did you talk about it with the guys a lot in the past or you just met over beer and started writing songs straight away?
Ed: I know Steph had the idea for a long time and he basically hand-picked the other guys. The formation was very different because we didn’t really know each other, and to solve this we decided to go out drinking first. We had a great night and the chemistry was obviously there, so the next morning we got out a camera and took our first bandshots without having played a note together! Fortunately I had a bunch of songs and riffs that were perfect for this new band and the rest as they say is history.

Was there anything to improve on „On Divine Winds” compared to the first record? Could it have been your first album and „...Of Frost and War” your second?
Ed: The improvement is in the details, stylistically we’ve moved toward a slightly more epic, majestic sound but most of the progress can be found in the arrangements, vocal lines, production/mix etc. To me „...Of Frost And War” sounds a bit rawer, while „On Divine Winds” has a more professional sheen to it. I don’t think they’re interchangable as such.
Did the concept of „...Of Frost and War” come first or did you write some songs and only then decide to make it a war-on-the-eastern-front-themed album?
Ed: When Martin heard the first demo I made he said it sounded like war, and since he’d always wanted to do a concept album about the Eastern Front the whole thing evolved naturally. One of those early songs was „General Winter” and the combination of music and lyrics worked so well on it that we continued in the same direction with the rest of the material. Because of this we were able to fine-tune the songs to Martin’s outline for the concept, which made it a very coherent album instead of the pretentious mess it could have been.

Who writes the lyrics for Hail of Bullets and is there much historical research involved in the process?
Ed: Martin writes all lyrics and his research borders on obsession, he literally devours tons of books and documentaries and even went so far as talking to actual veterans for the first album and visiting the US fleet for the second. One of the greatest compliments we received was from a history teacher who used „...Of Frost And War” for one of his lessons. How cool is that?

What are the chances for a HoB album focused on Operation Overlord? If not, what other theatres of World War II are in your sights?
Ed: I think Martin would find that too obvious and therefore not challenging enough, right now he’s focusing on another aspect of the war that should make a good concept but I can’t tell you what it is yet... don’t want to see a Sabaton album next year with the same theme, haha!

You have gathered an impressive collection of sexy female fans to present the HoB merch on the band's myspace page. Did they start sending the photos themselves or did you have to make them do it somehow? How can women get attracted to such filthy sounds anyway?
Ed: It’s amazing isn’t it? That’s mostly Stephan’s project, I think it started with the girl that inspired our first girlie design and more girls contributed. That’s one major difference with the late 80’s/early 90’s, women at death metal shows, and lots too!

I need to ask you about the „Warsaw Rising” EP as I'm Polish. Putting all the heroism and bravery aside, do you think it was a good decision to give the order for the Warsaw Rising in 1944? There is a theory saying that if the Poles didn't fight, a whole generation might have been saved (over 200.000 people died in the rising in fact).
Ed: I wish I could say something sensible about this, and I did read some about the background when we released the EP, but I don’t know a fraction of what Martin knows about this. I do think it’s impossible to look at this without taking heroism and bravery into account, better to die on your feet than to live on your knees... but that’s easy for me to say, I wasn’t there and neither were my (grand)parents. In the grand scheme of things it was a major event, even if it wasn’t successful strategically.

The Metal Archives website names twelve bands that you have been involved in over the years, which is probably some sort of a record if you don't count Dan Swano. What moments of your career would you consider as your high-points?
Ed: Really twelve? That’s probably including my very first band that I started when I was 12, haha! I guess my past is just more well-documented. My years with Gorefest are obviously a high-point, the Dynamo Open Air Performance (captured on the „Eindhoven Insanity” CD) and the US tour with Death in particular. The Star One (Ayreon) tour we did in 2002 was an incredible experience, and lastly I should mention the first The 11th Hour gig in 2009 at the Dutch Doom Days. That was the first time I ever went on stage with a guitar instead of drumsticks and I died a thousand deaths but I loved it. It was a very emotional show because my sister was in the audience and much of the album is about her and our parents (r.i.p.) and as long as I live I will not forget that night.

You're one of not many death metal drummers using headphones during live shows. How do they better your performance?
Ed: Actually, they’re not headphones but ear protection. With Gorefest I used real headphones for in-ear monitoring but I couldn’t get used to it. I have a massive case of tinnitus (damage caused by noise) and since I don’t play well with earplugs I accidentally discovered that wearing headphones works really well for me. The ones I use are specifically made as ear protection for drummers, they don’t have speakers. It may look funny, but at least my hearing won’t get worse than it already is.

Did you see the HBO war mini-series „The Pacific”? Why the fuck didn't you get to sell „On Divine Winds” as a soundtrack to it?
Ed: Haven’t seen it, sorry. When we started working on the „On Divine Winds” album I read about the series, it just started in the US then. At first I was kinda bummed about it because people would think we were inspired by it, but then I figured it couldn’t hurt. I don’t think Steven Spielberg would like to use a death metal soundtrack though.

If I say that Hail of Bullets is the greatest tribute to the Bolt Thrower style, what would your reaction be?
Ed: I think we’re more of a tribute to the classic death metal style, but to me Bolt Thrower is the ultimate death metal war machine and I can’t deny they’re a big influence. But so are Autopsy, Entombed, Celtic Frost, (early) Death, Massacre, etc.

Your other band The 11th Hour is a traditional doom effort. Have you always been a fan of a slower and more atmospheric vibe? What inspired you to start The 11th Hour? Eleven other bands were not enough?
Ed: Yes, ever since I heard Trouble and Candlemass I’ve loved doom. Never thought about making it myself until I started playing guitar though. The 11th Hour was inspired by Rogga Johansson (my Swedish doom partner) who wanted to do a doom project with me on drums, but it mutated into something very different and utterly personal. It’s a great way to deal with some stuff that’s been haunting me as well as indulge in the more melancholy side of my musical personality.

The 11th Hour is almost a one-man project because you take care of the all of the instruments and most of the vocals. What's the difference between composing for The 11th Hour compared to the way you work with HoB or Gorefest? Do you feel more free as you don't have to look to any other band-members?
Ed: The 11th Hour, for better or worse, is 100% what I want it to be since I make all artistic decisions and play almost everything. Writing for HoB is different because I have to take four other people into account and while I write about 70% of the music it’s obviously more of a group effort. Fortunately we have pretty much the same taste, something that was not the case in Gorefest so that was by far the most difficult band to write for. By the way, The 11th Hour exists on two levels, in the studio it’s just me and Rogga but since the release of the debut album “Burden of Grief” it has also grown into a live band featuring members of Officium Triste, Cirrha Niva and my ex-Gorefest buddy guitarist Frank Harthoorn. On drums I have my old friend Dirk Bruinenberg who already replaced me in Elegy in 1993.

Sunday 23 January 2011

BEATEN BACK TO PURE - To Live and Die in Dixie

„I bet you can squeal like a pig. Weeeeeeee!” - that quote from John Boorman's 1972 masterpiece „Deliverance” represents a common view of the Deep South of the US with its eerie environment and rough inhabitants hostile to all strangers. Ben Hogg, vocalist on duty with southern metallers Beaten Back To Pure who fouled this world with nasty records like  "Southern Apocalypse”, as well as frontman of all-star thrash/sludge outfit Birds Of Prey where he bangs his head alongside none other than Erik Larson and Dave Witte, proves that people of the south are not what they are stereotypicaly thought to be. I asked Ben about the future of BBTP and his other bands.

Beaten Back To Pure released its last album so far „The Burning South” in 2004 and it was a hell of a banger. Do you have any desire to make another record together again in the future?
Ben: Man, we've been trying. We had a change at the drum throne this year so that has moved things along on a faster track. Perhaps we've let our side projects get in the way somewhat but we love each other and jamming together. Shit, I've moved seven hours away from our „home base” and I still have every intention of doing my parts when they are ready for me. I think we've got nine songs together for this one. I still got some words to write. All this moving and shit made me pretty slack.
Is it going to be very similar to „The Burning South” with its bluesy, swampy, dirty sound?
Ben: Yeah, we haven't reinvented ourselves, although there are new elements. If the people liked the last couple of records they will probably like this one too. The working title for the album is „Southern By The Disgrace of God”.

Does your band-name mean something specific or is it a word play?
Ben: Mostly just word play. Most people think it has racist overtones, but they are wrong. The name existed prior to us using the confederate flag as imagery. Perhaps that is an unfortunate combination, but fuck anybody that gets caught up in that shit. It's rock and roll, not social commentary. Me and Vince Burke [guitar-player] came up with the name over some beers back in 1998 or so at a bar named Rosy's. It was probably our tenth name we presented to the band mates of the moment and I'm shocked it's the one that stuck.

You managed to complete three albums with Birds Of Prey in only four years. Concerning how busy the guys are, that's pretty impressive. What made you work so fast?
Ben: Well, Birds Of Prey don't take a ton of time in the writing process. Bo Leslie and Erik Larson (guitar-players) write a bunch of what they deem „metal” riffs that don't really have a place in their daily bands [Alabama Thunderpussy and The Last Van Zant], they get together over some beer and arrange them and then we add Dave Witte [drummer of Municipal Waste, Burnt By The Sun] and Summer Welch [bass-player of Baroness] to the mix. All those dudes are completely pro, so they tend to know shit from shine-ola. We then schedule studio time and get the damn thing done.
Who were the first band that started playing sludge metal? Who came up with the genre's name?
Ben: I dunno. Buzzoven and EyeHateGod were definitely at the forefront but they were influenced by somebody. Maybe just Sabbath and punk rock mixed up. As far as the name „sludge metal”, fucked if I know.

Being from Poland that north vs south issue is a bit unclear. All we've heard about is alligators and the civil war. What does it mean to be a southerner?
Ben: It's a general distrust of those we view as „yankees”, who in turn look down their noses at us „hillbillies”. There is still a lot of „fuck you” in the air. I like that. Watch that documentary „Slow Southern Steel” that is being edited as I type this. It's a project of CT from Rwake and Karim from I'm Better Than Everyone Records. There are bound to be thirty different answers to this very same question.

What does Dixieland mean to the people of the south?
Ben: Are you asking me about the song „Dixieland”? Dixie is just another name for the south. Specifically the confederate states. Fuck Kentucky. Sellout motherfuckers. The song is catchy though. „Look away, look away, look away dixieland”.

You have been talking about the reissue of BBTP albums for some time. What's the status on that?
Ben: Originally we were contacted by Relapse because they bought out the old Retribute Records catalog. Unfortunately it looks like it's only gonna be digital versions of the old records with a few exceptions (Rwake's „Hell Is a Door to the Sun”, notably, excellent record). So it appears that that is what's happening with that.
You are also doing the death metal thing with Plague The Suffering. Your 2008 demo „As Bodies Wash Ashore” was quite brutal. Will you go further with the next record?
Ben: Man, when I moved from Virginia that was possibly my biggest regret, I never took them dudes where I thought I'd be able to. I assumed I'd have us a record deal in six months from when I joined and it never materialized. Honestly, drugs really started messing the chemistry of that band up and it became less awesome. When we started, make no mistake, the songs were awesome, but as time tends to do your material can become „dated”. C'est la vie. I do hope they continue on and if I can help them in anyway I will gladly do it. Good dudes in that band too. I've gotten really lucky over the years.

How does a regular day in your hometwon of Norfolk, Virginia look like if you're not doing a gig or a tour?
Ben: In Norfolk I worked as a locksmith for fourteen years. I recently quit, sold my worldly possessions and moved to the mountains of North Carolina. My workday will now consist of scrapping metal and running shine I suppose. We'll see.

Films such as „Deliverance” or „Southern Comfort” try to show the south as dirty, wild and dangerous. Is there a bit of truth in those movies?
Ben: Personally, I have not yet been raped by hill folks or done any raping, so I can't attest to that aspect. Compared to Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles (Compton), Baltimore or Washington DC, it's not any more dangerous. Just a different style of danger.
Where were your last couple of gigs? Where did you play and how did it go?
Ben: My last show was with Plague The Suffering at a venue in Virginia Beach opening for Crowbar. We were awful. Sloppy, fucked up, it was disappointing. Apparently the drummer couldn't hear the guitars but neglected to lemme know so I could tell the sound guy. It was a fucking mess. Some of those songs we had been playing for ages and to fuck it up on that level sucked. We went over pretty well though. Virginia Beach is filled with shitty bands so when anything happens that isn't super-shitty, people are stoked. It was too big a crowd and my going out show, I wish it had gone better. I did fuck with the set-list at the last second and that may have thrown the dudes off too. What's done is done.

When was the last Beaten Back To Pure gig and what songs did you play?
Ben: I'm not 100% sure. It was something local in Virginia. Our setlist has some of the following normally: „One Shovel and a Place to Die”, „Last Refuge of the Sons of Bitches”, „Wheels Coming Off”, „Smothered in Sundress”, „Whores Bath”, „American Vermin”, „Where the Sewer Meets the Sea”, „Tremors Beneath the Skin”... shit like that. „Paleface” sometimes. Some other shit.

What is your favourite Black Sabbath record and why?
Ben: Man, that's tough. I really liked „Born Again”. It was my first Sabbath exposure, I was twelve. But as I went backwards I guess „Master of Reality” might win. Or „Vol. 4”. I loved that savage nasty production. „Sabotage” has some high points as well. I own them all, so I have no need to pick favorites. What is not my favorite is anything after „Born Again”. „Tyr” and „Headless Cross”, etc...

Your three favourite records of 2010?
Ben: Hmmmm... I haven't listened to as much music this year as in years past, but lemme see. I liked the new Burzum and Beherit records a lot. Freakhate had a killer album I think it came out in 2010 [„It Comes from the Grave” came out in late 2009]. New Cough is killer. I have yet to hear new Electric Wizard, probably great. That's a few I think most of ya'll should be familiar with. If ya ain't heard Freakhate, you should. Sick.

Saturday 15 January 2011

GOD DETHRONED - Barbed Wire Death Metal Warfare

Some bands are just as tireless and determined as Sisyphus. Dutch death-dealers God Dethroned are for sure such a band. Spitting out extreme album after album for two decades has to bring some serious respect in the metal underground. They haven't rested much since the 2009 album “Passiondale”, returning to the studio and completing another piece of death metal warfare with their ninth record “Under the Sign of the Iron Cross”, which with “Bloody Blasphemy” is their top effort to date. Bass-player Henk “Henke” Zinger discusses about the band.

In 2011 God Dethroned will be 20-years-old. That's a pretty impressive achievement. You are a very hard-working band too. Nine full-lengths is much more than others are able to produce in even more than two decades. Where do you get that energy and inspiration from, what drives you?
Henke: Love for the music I guess. There’s not really an explanation to be honest. We are not dependent on the income of the band, so it’s still kind of a hobby. When you have to tour and make CD’s just to pay your bills, it’s really like a job. Nothing wrong with that, but I think that’s one of the reasons why we still go for it for every album. It’s not a “must”, it’s because we want to do it.

Are you planning anything for the 20th anniversary of the band's formation?
Henke: On Friday 24th of December 2010 in Groningen we had the presentation of “Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross”. I know it's a month later than the release date, but we made it a special show. Because of the 20th anniversary we played songs from every record including some old band-members. Our live sound engineer was the guitar-player on the first God Dethroned ever, so he played two songs together with us from “The Christhunt”. Also a special guest appeared on stage – our producer for the first four albums. We did a Sabbath cover “Children of the Grave” together. As well we had former guitar-player Jens and bass-player Beef from the “Bloody Blasphemy” period on a couple of songs.

“Under the Sign of the Iron Cross” is probably your fastest and most fierce record so far. Can you imagine a God Dethroned album without a blastbeat? Did you ever write a song without a single blastbeat?
Henke: Well, we did that on “The Toxic Touch” album. There are only two songs on that album with blastbeats. But we found out that it’s not really the way God Dethroned should sound. I still like the album, but God Dethroned should sound aggressive, but with melody. That album was just a bit too much melody.

In spite of the numerous line-up changes across the years God Dethroned never lost its sound, its style. Is it because guitarist/vocalist Henri Sattler who is the only original member is an absolute mastermind of the band and a sole general between regular privates?
Henke: Yes and no. Henri’s the mastermind concerning the lyrics and composing the songs. But we all have our input. Everybody is looking for riffs, but it’s Henri who makes songs of those riffs. The funny detail is that this is the first time that the whole album is composed by Henri. Every riff on this record is his, so you can almost speak of a solo record. But he will never do that, because he’s just not like that. And about the general part... he makes the final decisions. You need a leader in a band and it’s pretty obvious that he is that leader.
After Henri you are the second longest-serving band member at the moment. There were a lot of changes in the past. Do you feel like staying with God Dethroned until the end?
Henke: I think anyone who joins the band feels like staying until the end at first. Otherwise it's useless to join the band. But it's not always an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of time and it will test your relationship or your “normal” job. A lot of people dream of touring and playing everyday, but forget the circumstances you live in sometimes. Not everyone is meant for this life. I have been lucky to have a girlfriend who understands what I'm doing and that's the same for my day-job. So sometimes people just leave the band because of wrong expectations, but also because they can go to a bigger band so they can pay their bills. Pretty understandable in my opinion.

You have been connected with Metal Blade since 1997 and your second album „The Grand Grimoire”. That is a bloody long time. Do they love you so much or did you sign a long-term contract and became their slaves?
Henke: We had to sell our souls for that deal... no just kidding. We just have a very good contact with Metal Blade and somehow they still like us. So since “The Grand Grimoire” we already have signed three new contracts. That means Metal Blade still believes in us. So why change a winning team right?
The “Under the Sign...” album focuses on Nazi Germany during World War II. That subject matter has been talked about a million times before. What is your perspective on the subject and what did you want to emphasise?
Henke: That’s not correct. It’s all about World War I, just like our previous album “Passiondale”. Which is a big difference, not only because many bands sing about World War II and not WWI. Somehow people always talk about WWII, but everything in that war originated in WWI. We just wanted to let people see how crazy that war was and how influential. So many strange and weird things happened in that war.

Would you say that “...Of Frost and War” by your fellow-countrymen Hail of Bullets inspired you in any way to write “Under the Sign...”? The similarities in the subject matter, if not in the sound are damn striking!
Henke: Not at all! I mean, I like what they do, but we are doing something totally different in my opinion. We try to show people the craziness of that war. The aggression in that war we tried to put on record. It’s a real story which we try to tell. I think for Hail of Bullets it’s just more a “cool” subject to sing about that really suits their style of music.

Your album “Passiondale” came out in 2009, a year after the Canadian film “Passchendaele”. They both concentrate on one of the biggest battles of WWI that took place in Belgium in 1917. Was it a coincidence?
Henke: Yes, we were busy with the recordings and somehow we found out there was a movie about the same subject. We couldn’t change the name any more. To be honest, we didn’t want to change it. When we were on tour through South America, I know Henri watched it. I believe it’s more a love story than a war movie. I haven’t seen it yet, but I really will watch it one day.
Did you go to the location where the actual battle was fought to feel the atmosphere of the place? I suppose you don't live too far from it.
Henke: The reason why we started writing about this subject is because of our former guitar player Isaac Delahaye. He lives in Ypres in Belgium and that whole region is just one big World War I museum. There are so many things that remind you of that war. Every weekend the place is full of English tourists. There are many cemeteries you can visit and we did go there for the photo shoot. So yes, we really went there to feel the atmosphere so to speak.

You say Belgium is like a living war museum. What about Holland? It was under the occupation of Nazi Germany too. There was a similar amount of war atrocities there as well. Does Dutch society often talks about war, is it still an important every-day topic?
Henke: I live in a place called Westerbork. If you look that up with Google you will find out a lot of information about a former concentration camp, where monuments like the National Westerbork Memorial are located. My parents were little kids during WWII but they remember everything like it happened yesterday. So you can imagine that I grew up surrounded with images and thoughts about WWII. Every year there's a big national liberation day so we will never forget the war. So yes it's still a big thing here in the Netherlands.

What album do you think is your fans' and critiques' favourite? What do they usually ask you to play live? I would venture to say it might be “Bloody Blasphemy”, no?
Henke: It really depends where you are. It seems like every country has its own favourite album. But of course “Bloody Blasphemy” is absolutely one of the albums everyone wants to hear. But it seems that “Passiondale” is doing pretty good too.

What are your favourite war films? I'm pretty sure you are real experts.
Henke: To be honest, I’m not that kind of war “freak” at all. The other guys are way more into the whole war and history. Same with movies. I can’t give you any names of war movies that I have seen lately. I do like to watch Discovery Channel or National Geographic when there are documentaries about war though.
Knowing how fast you are able to work and write songs can another record be expected in 2011? Do you have an idea for the main theme yet?
Henke: Good question! I think for now we just want to play the new songs live. Hopefully we can do some festivals in 2011 to promote the record. Maybe some tours, we will have to wait and see. We will start writing the new album when we feel like it. Could be 2011, but I think not. That would be a bit too fast I guess.

The Dutch metal scene seems to be quite well-organized. So many great bands in a not so huge country. What is a secret of such popularity of metal in Holland?
Henke: We are not a huge country indeed, but we have a lot of citizens. Around 17 million people live in that little country of ours. That's a lot, trust me. So even though it's a very small percentage of people that listen to metal, it's still pretty much for such a small country.

The media likes to say that Holland is a very liberal country. They always brings up drug legalization, gay rights etc. But on the other hand there is a hardcore right opposition to that liberal current. And that brings conflict. Some examples are often racist ruthless football hooligans well-known across the whole Europe or politically-driven murders such as the one of Pim Fortuyn. Do you think Dutch society is very divided? That aggression must be coming from somewhere.
Henke: You just said it all. For the outside world we are a very liberal country, but in fact it's getting less liberal every year. Drug legalization is already pushed back, gay people are getting beaten up more and more. We had a left-wing government for years, but now it's a right-wing orientated government. So maybe it will get even worse, who knows. It's hard to say I guess.

Friday 14 January 2011


Three more musicians I asked about their favourite records of 2010:

MITCH HARRIS of Napalm Death

This album is a true return to form with an interesting new 3/4 twist. Definitely the best live band I've seen in a long time! Love the riffs, vocals and drums! The Quicksand bass player definitely complimented the writing approach on this disc! Fantastic for me, but not for the closed-minded community that we are continuously surrounded by, a very welcome change of pace which is very welcome with the ever present stagnation of musical inspiration that I am crying out for.

2. Pendulum "Immersion"
3. Macabre "Human Monsters"
4. Immolation "Majesty & Decay"
5. Enslaved "Axioma Ethica Odini"

ERIK BURKE of Brutal Truth

I've always wanted to meet this dude. Not sure what I'd say exactly other than I'm a huge fan (which is kinda gay) but I love his style. His solo records inspire me to work on my own this year. Each one is different. And bringing sax into the mix is the icing on the cake. Adds a totally different element and feel to the killer metal he's pushing. I look forward to his future work. Fucking awesome!

2. Charred Walls of the Damned "s/t"
3. Jamie Foxx "The Best Night of My Life"
4. Mono "Holy Ground: NYC Live With The Wordless Music Orchestra"
5. Knut "Wonder"

ADRIAN BICKLE of Mournful Congregation

When I first heard that Varg was undertaking a new metal Burzum album I was unsure about what to expect. "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" is one of my all time favourite records so my expectations in terms of Burzum are always high. I really felt "Belus" was a great return to form, it contained basically all the factors that had always appealed to me. The hypnotic riffs were there, the right energy and atmosphere was there. This music is timeless.

2. Watain "Lawless Darkness"
3. Stargazer "A Great Work of Age"
4. Enslaved "Axioma Ethica Odini"
5. The Dillinger Escape Plan "Option Paralysis"