Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Following the Voice of Blood

Graveland's career resembles Bathory in that both bands had two very distinct periods. Following the Voice of Blood marks Graveland's transition from raw, clumsy Black Metal into epic viking soundscapes. I personally believe this is the band's finest hour. It is a strange record, poorly performed, masterfully arranged, and littered with numerous bizarre flourishes. Listen to the main rhythm guitar, it's lack of distortion, it's rickety jangle. Listen even closer for the almost Hawaiian style pedal steel accents, listen to the barely coherent drumblings of a hate-filled man named Capricornus. And despite Following The Voice of Blood's obvious shortcomings, the songs are still excellent. It stands as one of the Black Metal records that I reach for the most, and it still reveals new elements with each listen. Now I am aware of mainman Darken's politics, I am aware of his provocative statements. As I have stated many times before, this site is not political, it is musical, and Graveland doesn't reflect my worldview any more than Star Wars, Manowar, comic books, or anything else I may find enjoyable. If this causes you concern, then perhaps Cosmic Hearse is not for you.


47 comments:

Tom said...

Star Wars fully expresses my worldview.

Ambassador MAGMA said...

Bobbie is a total racist LARPtard but he makes some really incredible music. I think I like Thousand Swords slightly more than this... but I also like the first Lord Wind where he sounds like a constipated ghost grandpa so maybe I'm not the best source...

Theilf said...

This is a good album. You didn't mention his voice, which is as 'off' as all the other elements, yet works well into the whole.

Bob said...

Personally I think Immortal Pride is his best. It's hard to tell where the guitars end and the valkyrie choirs begin

Todd said...

I am very disturbed that you hold this album above Thousand Swords.

I'll have to revisit Following the Voice of Blood.

Mike Meacham said...

you said "LARPtard" fucking hilarious....

Anonymous said...

Bathory is so much better than Graveland in both periods. And succeeds in being retarded in an awesome way rather than a stupid one. I never understood the appeal of this band.

I also have trouble believing manowar doesn't represent your worldview.

Chris said...

Great album. The guitar tone is quite unusual for this style, yet it fits this album's aesthetic feel amazingly well.

Anonymous said...

The wonky guitars and drums on this album are out of this world! Fuck that fancy jazz shit and stick to the wonk.

Bastard McHaggins said...

Thanks for this. I dislike when people put too much emphasis on the political ideals of musicians and making it a deciding factor on whether or not the music is good. It makes you wonder if they're actually listening at all.

Itchy bum said...

It shits me when people lame out by calling knuckleheaded racism 'politics'- call a spade a spade for fuck's sake and stop glossing over it.

That said, yes this is a great album, but they're all good value. Darken is a one-off.

Steffen said...

I'm from Poland and almost everyone here ridicules this guy for his ideas. Being so serious about this LARP stuff is retarded for sure.

Actually this one isn't that bad musically, but I'd say his early shit like "In the Glare of Burning Churches" is his best.

Anonymous said...

can someone just go ahead and say what these mysterious offensive politics are? maybe you, Aesop, since you saw fit to post this?

Rob Darken is a white supremacist who welcomes the coming of RaHoWa ("racial holy war")...there, now we can all breathe easy and know what we're apologizing for!

And maybe an NSBM label like you've used for other such bands on the blog? Since they're the leading light of the genre? Really, I get it, everybody's totally over politics and wouldn't DREAM of saying anything derogatory about a good metal album on a political basis (and stop listening to a band? never!), but at least let people fucking know what they're dealing with.

Sorry, racial separatism and genocide are not in the same league as Star Wars or comic books. I love this blog, honestly, but I'm sick of seeing shit like this get posted with commentary that preemptively spews negativity all over anyone who's decent enough to not be completely desensitized to hateful politics.

Ciaran said...

"Thuriasaz" is probably my favorite Graveland song. Love the percussive riffing and all those massive "Conan the Barbarian" synth power chords. And yeah, the production job is delightfully wacky -- it wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Nuggets comp.

Aesop said...

Sorry ANon, I had assumed that most knew what Darken's politics were and those who didn't could use this cool thing called the internet to find out more if they chose to do so. The writing is about sounds and I wouldn't want to take away from that by belaboring the point that Rob is a dick and a racist. Perhaps I gloss over it to alert the people who might get butthurt, so in fact, I DID let people know what they are dealing with and have done so in the past. My comment about Star Wars was to avoid people erroneously mistaking my posting this for having a political agenda. You chose to get offended by my perceived lack of decency. What can I say? Find another blog to leech off of if this one let you down.

Anonymous said...

so now i'm a leech...surely the 1 in 15 items i download here don't qualify me for that...so i suppose it's because i visit the blog you slavishly update (and encourage comments on) and engage with a post on a higher level than an "awesome/sucks" dichotomy...won't happen again, i promise

for the record, i still don't understand why this isn't tagged as NSBM...there are 28 other items tagged that way according to your sidebar...does this get a day pass because it's one of your favorites?

the thing is, i come here to learn about music i'm not aware of - i don't do a lot of downloading...and while other posts are given detailed context, you can't just come out with it and say that this guy is a Nazi. one word or one tag can hardly be interpreted as belaboring anything (you seemed perfectly willing to treat the matter in much greater detail with Blazebirth Hall), but maybe i'm just a wuss...

and i never questioned your decency, i simply stated that it's unfair to post this kind of thing and immediately shove the burden of it off on anyone who is reasonably offended by white supremacist ideology...though newcomers to the band (or god forbid, black metal) wouldn't necessarily know this is something they should be on the lookout for since your vague comments about inflammatory politics could mean a dozen things short of neo-Nazism

Aesop said...

When you comment anonymously then I can only assume that perhaps you have never commented before and your first time is a complaint. We're talking about a FREE download, yet you act as if you were tricked into buying a car that doesn't run.

I chose not to tag this as NSBM not because of a bias (I like all the labelled NSBM releases as well) but rather because I see Graveland as a Black Metal band with members with dodgy politics, not a band with an agenda, sort of like Burzum. Lyrically there is nothing on here that would even suggest racism so I felt it inappropriate. If I was burdened with delving nto the politics or personalities of every musician featured here we would have no time to write about what is importnat, the sounds. With BB Hall, it IS an important and interesting aspect, and with the photos they use it would be egregious to not point out the politics.

WHen you make statements like " I'm sick of seeing shit like this get posted with commentary that preemptively spews negativity all over anyone who's decent enough to not be completely desensitized to hateful politics." then I can assume because I don't give a fuck about the politics I am somehow "indecent."

I was wholly unaware that there are people who use the NSBM tag to avoid certain posts. Should I also have warnings about things that are sexist? I stand by my claim that when I wrote "I am aware of mainman Darken's politics, I am aware of his provocative statements." that anyone who is sensitive or "a wuss" (as you stated) would take the time to find out what that is exactly. Hell, you even went ahead and did just that and shared what you learned. I appreciate that, I really do. What I hoped to avoid with these posts is long debates over race and politics. Now I understand your concerns, Anon, but at the end of the day, it is my site and you are not in any way obligated to support it. I also think it is appropriate to mention to everyone who read this site that I do NOT get paid for my efforts here, in fact, posting certain things here has made my life harder but I will never let the anonymous masses of disgruntled moralists determine the content of MY blog. I get that you aren't necessarily angry about posting this or any other album, you just want to be warned. Well I feel I did so.

Anonymous said...

There are some interesting points brought up, but I get the impression that this album was posted because it is sick as fuck and not to provoke a debate. Aesop, your work is appreciated.

-parker

Anonymous said...

Aesop: if your parents were killed by nazis I would bet that you would care a little bit more about the political leanings of Graveland.

Fact is, you are not personally affected so you don't care.

But not caring is sooo cool and post-modern.

Of course, if your answer is "Nah, I would still listen to them" - well, that's even worse.

I wonder how you explain all this to your kid?

Anonymous said...

you guys like cats?

Aesop said...

More Anonymous wisdom. I apologize that your new hobby of Black Metal has revealed some unsavory truths about the genre. Yeah, my kid, hmmm I guess I would talk to him about choices, censorship, racism, and oh, wait, I already have. I am raising my kid, not Black Metal, not Darken or the internet. Once again, maybe this site isn't for you. Start your own blog, impose your morality there. I will link to it if it doesn't suck.

Anonymous said...

i'm the Anon from the third and fourth comments, not the others...i can agree to disagree, i understand your position and respect that you don't want to debate this any further here, but i do want to clear one thing up that you have missed the mark on...

i did not find out what i know about Graveland from research conducted after seeing your post - i've been listening to underground black metal for the last 10 years and Graveland to me is synonymous with NSBM...i'm not new to any of this - yes some of the bands are great, but i've developed a very strong stance on what it means to spread this stuff around, even if it's for free, and that's all i'll say about that, nothing personal being intended...

one thing to keep in mind is that violent racist ideologues are still quite beyond the pale in most spaces outside the very niche world of extreme metal (black metal, really), and so expecting someone to pick up on your very subtle signal as an indication of Darken's hardcore racialism does not seem to me a very reasonable thing...perhaps i've misunderstood the intent of your blog, but black metal seems only to represent a minority if regular share of the focus

i'm just trying to put myself in the shoes of a person of color coming to this site and being--by virtue of demographic reality--unschooled in the codes and idiosyncrasies of black metal...do you think this person's interpretation of "provocative statements" would align with yours? would it compel them to the research you're imagining?

lastly, call me argumentative, but i remain skeptical that an album by said hardcore racialist with the title "Following the Voice of Blood" contains nothing of his worldview, but i don't know the lyrics and have no intention of reading them, so i'm not going to pursue that any further...

and i do appreciate everything that you put into the blog, if you can still believe that

Anonymous said...

sorry for the confusion about me not already knowing Graveland, reading back now i see how that was unclear

the long-winded Anon

Aesop said...

I want to make it clear that I am not above criticism or debate, I expect it to a degree when I post certain things. I am, however, opposed to knee-jerk good vs. evil, moralist arguments and empty platitudes like "What if your parents were killed by nazis" If anyone can come up with a sound argument against posting something I would be open to it. Comparing the atrocities of the Third Reich to a poorly recorded album by an obscure band is just sloppy thinking and I will not buy into it. My dad died of Cancer and yet I still listen to "Death Shall Rise."

Scott Jones said...

Hey Anon, follow some advice my old boss Midnight Mike gave me: "Life is rough, wear a helmet".

Itchy bum said...

My arse is sooo itchy.

Grk! said...

"Lyrically there is nothing on here that would even suggest racism"

It's got "White Hand's Power" on it, which mentions doing away with "Creatures of mud / Degenerated by mixed blood!"

*downloads the Wayne Shorter album instead of getting annoyed at anyone*

Aesop said...

It's about Saruman and his breeding of Orcs but I guess we could double entendre that into some questionable lyricism. Yes. Still my blog, still my choice.

Βασιλάκης said...

When I read Graveland on your post I knew the Anonymous comments wouldn't fail me. No, they didn't.. why do I get such a kick out of it?
Could the comments be any more severe?
And last but not least.. Why is there only one Poison Idea post?

Aesop said...

Poison Idea's catalog is largely in print, but they are one of my favorite bands of all time, there will be more. ANd there will be more Graveland and there will be more Anonymous posturing, and eventually I will tire of this sort of internet cowardice and I will disable the comments.

Anonymous said...

no posturing or cowardice here, i told you exactly how i felt, including a detailed follow-up that you excluded, making my comment after that one seem different than what was meant...whatever

if anyone really wants to smash my mailbox over what i think of Nazi black metal, pipe up and i'll give you my home address and Social Security number posthaste

the long-winded Anon

Aesop said...

I never excluded anyone's comments. In fact, in the history of this blog I only excluded comments that were either shameless spam, personal attacks on the musicians involved, or the occasional pro-white asshat that ironically is upset about my use of words like "dodgy" when referring to far-right politics. My statement about posturing and cowardice was not levelled specifically at you LWA, it was more of a general jab. I actually respect and appreciate your comments even if I disagree, they were intelligent, articulate, and respectful. That other ANON with his ridiculous "what if Nazis ate your parents" nonsense is just too dumb to debate here. If comments on these posts lean more towards "You are ..." or "You aren'T" rather than "You did..." or "You Didn't" than I will just get rid of the commenting option.

Aesop said...

I never excluded anyone's comments. In fact, in the history of this blog I only excluded comments that were either shameless spam, personal attacks on the musicians involved, or the occasional pro-white asshat that ironically is upset about my use of words like "dodgy" when referring to far-right politics. My statement about posturing and cowardice was not levelled specifically at you LWA, it was more of a general jab. I actually respect and appreciate your comments even if I disagree, they were intelligent, articulate, and respectful. That other ANON with his ridiculous "what if Nazis ate your parents" nonsense is just too dumb to debate here. If comments on these posts lean more towards "You are ..." or "You aren'T" rather than "You did..." or "You Didn't" than I will just get rid of the commenting option.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that people would become outraged all of a sudden about this Graveland record. I would assume that anybody familiar with this blog is aware that black metal (a genre often executed by turds) is regularly featured. I guess everybody has the right to spout off opinions but when you start implying the author of this blog is at fault for doing what he wants you should seriously consider fucking off.

I've read this blog for a couple years and have gotten a lot out of the postings and sometimes even the comments. There are plenty of reasonably non-racist people who like Graveland et al. If people are so into responding to objectionable shit then I'm sure you could find much, much worse elsewhere on the internet.

-parker

Anonymous said...

sorry, i guess Blogger swallowed my comment, and i appreciate you not aiming those things at me...

to sum up, i don't want to turn your comments section into a debate platform against your wishes, but i do want to clear one thing up...and that's that i already knew of Graveland's politics - in fact through 10 years of interest in underground black metal they're completely synonymous with NSBM for me, and the Rob Darken/RaHoWa thing just rolled off the top of my head...

i was putting myself in the shoes of someone who might not know because the lion's share of stuff on this blog i've not actually heard of (it's why i visit)...so what i wanted to get at was that, assuming that this is not strictly a black metal blog for a black metal audience (as you cover a wide range of musical idioms), you might consider calibrating your notion of "fair warning" for a demographic outside that very niche, coded, idiosyncratic--and let's face it, very white--space

i just have a hard time imagining anyone outside the metal underground (your average person of color, maybe?) reading the post and thinking that "provocative statements" might indicate anything like Darken's hardcore racialism - granted, this COULD easily be established through internet research, but when the post below it is a Blue Note release i'm wondering what would compel that research...you kinda know or you don't, IMO, as pagan racialism is still pretty beyond the pale to most of the non-BM initiated

that's all, and i do appreciate the time you take with this blog to share the things that have meaning to you - more people should!

the long-winded Anon

Aesop said...

These last two comments exemplify why the comment box is there. I see your point Anon and it bears consideration. I do make assumptions about what my readers may or may not know. To go into detail in every post is nearly impossible given the frequency of posts. Cosmic Hearse is one of the only blogs that is updated daily and in doing so I tend to gloss over things. I also admit being a bit on the defensive when it comes to the content here. Too often I am faced with explaining why things are included, and like the posts, I can become lazy and disinterested in explaining my reasoning. I am aware that when I post certain things I am inviting hassles but for the integrity and original mission statement of the blog I can't start letting people's politics or feelings determine what I do here. This thread has given me quite a bit to ponder, but don't be terribly shocked or disturbed if it doesn't change the shape of this blog.

Grk! said...

I lost my mother to cancer too, & it hasn't stopped me listening to Derek & Clive's 'Come Again'.

Anonymous said...

look, shut up you fags. hitler rules SIEG HEIL SIEG HEIL SIEG HEIL

my favourite actor is steven SEIGHEIL ahahahaha

Anonymous said...

I can accept seperating the music from the band politics, philosophy etc. but to think you can align yourself with Manowar and somehow casually disregard and remove yourself from their love of battle and furry underwear is ridiculous , for shame sir, for shame!

steven seigheil said...

graveland made me racist

Alt said...

As Aesop clearly states near the beginning of all this, a fact that is then subsequently ignored, is that Graveland do not openly promote any kind of racial ideology on this album other than through, as was also pointed out, the odd lyric which is potentially loaded with double meaning. Their failure to promote racial ideas in their music precludes them from being NSBM in my opinion. If we for one second side with the anonymous posters and presume it does not, we must be advocating for ALL music to be categorised by the politic of its creators so one can avoid listening to something created by someone whose ideology doesnt stack up to your own. Pretty ridiculous. As for 'White Hand's Power' the first line is "The white hand, proud and strong by ruling the realm of Isengard." Now if anyone has seen LOTR that isnt exactly screaming RaHoWa is it? How about this line from 'And the Horn Was Sounding Far Away: "I will regenerate In the shape of wolf with black bristle" Clearly this is Darken putting on record that he wants to be reincarnated as a black man....

Grk! said...

What's wrong with being racy?

Anonymous said...

it's music. i had this same conversation with someone about the band arghoslent, them being shocked that a jewish tranny could listen to such stuff. i like graveland, burzum, and some of the earlier skrewdriver releases cause i dig the music. i don't really agree with anyone's worldview now that i think of it, but if it's good metal, hardcore, punk, rock and roll, jazz, klezmer etc. i'm down.

bob the all night rocker said...

i dont think a guy who dresses like this is too much to worry about-

http://64.19.142.13/www.isleyunruh.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Rob-Darken-and-Honor.jpg

honestly,i cant stand stupid nazi assholes and i rarely listen to any nsbm,but i dont think its a big deal to post this graveland album. anyone whod have any interest in d/l this could easily glean from the description that its some honky lover black metal

JP said...

Graveland are fucking horrible. It's not even worth more than that in terms of a debate. If I want my fix of veiled NSBM, I'll throw on some Fanisk.

the one true dead angel said...

Aesop --

Since we're on the subject of Graveland, what do you think of the drummer's band, Thor's Hammer? I actually like that band more than Graveland, especially MAY THE HAMMER SMASH THE CROSS, but I rarely see anybody talking about that band....

Aesop said...

Thor's Hammer does not interest me.