Saturday, May 25, 2019

May 25th, 2019 - Reclaiming His Throne In Hell: An Interview With Heljarmadr Of Dark Funeral!!





God kväll and hails evil-doers!  I had the great pleasure of attending the Devastation On The Nation Tour this past Thursday, May 23rd at the Metro Music Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah.  What's more, I was lucky enough to meet with and interview the amazing and incredibly kind  Andreas Heljarmaðr (aka Heljarmadr), vocalist of Dark Funeral!!


Here's that interview... enjoy!



B&T: I'm here meeting with Heljarmadr) of Dark Funeral.  


AH: Yes.


B&T: Thank you so much for meeting with me!  So you are just starting... or rather about 5 shows into the Devastation On The Nation Tour.


AH: Yeah... something like that.  Yeah.


B&T: It is a somewhat short tour.  You're doing 2 months roughly here in the States, right?


AH: In the States we are doing 26 shows.  


B&T: Let's kinda go back in time... how did you get started in music?  What was your inspiration?  


AH: Well, I joined Dark Funeral 5 years ago, but I've been a musician for like 20 years... something like that.  Since I was a kid I was listening to music and like "monkey see monkey do", I started imitating them.  Finding stuff on the guitar and practicing singing styles.  It has been a big interest... the main interest in life for me.


B&T: Who were your biggest influences as far as when you were young?  Who did you emulation?  Who were you really listening to?


AH: I kind of discovered extreme metal when I was really young.  I had an older cousin who introducing me with tape trading back then.  I got to hear a lot of that stuff when I was about 12 in northern Sweden.  I listened to Cannibal Corpse and AC/DC, all the classics... Iron Maiden, Motorhead... all that.


B&T: As far as your singing, was there anybody in particular you were listening to that influenced the way you sing?


AH: No, I don't think there was a specific influence.  I listen to a variety of music.  I'm a huge country music fan for example.  The Doors is one of my favorite bands.  Jim Morrison was an excellent frontman.  So I wouldn't say I have a specific singer, but you see some stuff people are doing that you like and... of course I have my own voice in the end so it's me.


B&T: It is interesting that you mentioned that you listen to some country music and The Doors.  One of the questions I was going to ask you is are there any bands or musicians that your fans would be surprised that you listen to or that they influence you.


AH: Yeah, I guess some metal people are narrow minded... you know, don't go outside the genres, but I like a big variety of music.  So yeah, country music has been a passion for many years... the singer songwriter stuff.. not the Nashville pop shit.  One of the best live albums I have is the Highwaymen.  That's excellent!  You have 4 great guys in there, you know?


B&H: As far as a songwriter, as far as a lyricist, what has your inspiration been?  You joined Dark Funeral about 5 years ago you said.  You were on the last album, which is the first album you've been on and I know you wrote a lot of the lyrics for the album.  What are your inspirations far as being a lyricist?


AH: Well, I always have a notebook with me, or I use a notebook in my phone.  Whenever something comes to me... like an idea or a phrase that I really like, I write it down.  When I'm sitting down and compiling, I need to have an idea of what the song's going to be about of course and then I look through my notes and see what would fit here and then I go from there and try to build something that actually makes sense.


B&T: In terms of your writing with Dark Funeral, is it a collaborative effort with the band?  Do you guys write your own songs and bring them to the studio?


AH: Lord Ahriman [guitarist] writes all the music mainly.  For the last album ["Where Shadows Forever Reign"], he and I would send stuff back and forth.  So he comes with a riff and how he would like to structure the vocal lines, and helps me write the lyrics.  So it has been a team effort.


B&T: The last album came out about 4 years ago... almost 5 years ago.  You have a big box set, "25 Years of Satanic Symphonies" coming out next month. It is every Dark Funeral album, right?  And live and EPs?  That really exciting!


AH: Yeah!  A huge box set!


B&T: I can't wait to see and hear that!  I guess the next question is do you have a new Dark Funeral album in the works?


AH: Yes.  Whenever we have the time.  Being on tour makes it a little difficult because you are on a tight schedule and you need to focus on saving your energy for the night's show.  But when we are home, we are doing like what we did with the last album... sending stuff back and forth.  So yeah... it is in the works.  Yeah.  I can't say anything about when or where or how, but about that box set, I'd like to mention there are amazing liner notes in there.  It is really interesting reading.  I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know before.


B&T: So that comes out at the end of June right?


AH: I'm not exactly sure, but I think the dates are posted.


B&T: I'm sure fans are going to be really excited to hear that box set.


AH: Yeah, it is beautiful!


B&T: So after this tour, the Devastation On The Nation Tour, you guys are heading back to Europe?  Is that correct?


AH: Yes. We have a festival in Estonia and then we have the summer festivals... Wacken for example.  And we have something in Slovakia.  And then we are going to Australia.  


B&H: So you guys are really get out there!


AH: Yeah, yeah, yeah!


B&H: I'm sure the fans will love that.  As a fan myself, I saw you on 70000 Tons of Metal this past trip and it was phenomenal!  I went to both of your sets and took pictures.


AH: Cool.  Yeah, we had 2 different sets.  


B&H: For tonight's performance, are you guys playing a similar set to what you did on the ship or will there be any new material at all?


AH: I don't remember what we played on the ship.  [laughs]  So tonight's set is about 70 minutes and it is a variety from all the albums of course with a little more emphasis on the latest.


B&H: How has it been touring with Belphegor and Hate and the other bands?


AH: It has been really nice!  We are sharing the tour buss with Belphegor.  And we really get along well.  They are professional musicians and know how it is to live on a bus.  It is a good arrangement.  They are great!  You get the whole package with this tour... it has been awesome!


B&H: So my blog that I write... so I pair craft beer with heavy metal albums.  So at the end of a long day, what beer does Heljarmadr crack open and what album do you listen to?


AH: If I get to choose, I put on a Willie Nelson album and I'd enjoy a Weiss beer.


B&H: Very cool!  Thank you so much for the interview!


AH: You are welcome!


Make sure to catch Dark Funeral on tour now with the Devastation On The Nation show currently making its way through North America!




Skål!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

May 21st, 2019 - 3 Tremors, 4 Sons, And 1 Great Brew!




Good evening rockers and hop-heads!  The Meista here tonight pairing the debut, self-title album by The Three Tremors and The Great One Imperial India Pale Ale from 4 Sons Brewing Company!  Hell yeah!!


Album Info:
  • Artist: The Three Tremors
  • Title: "The Three Tremors"
  • Recorded: 2018 at Hellscream Studios in Vista, California
  • Release date: January 18th, 2019 (1st album by The Three Tremors)
  • Record company: Steel Cartel Records
  • Production: The Three Tremors
  • Album cover art: Marc Sasso 
  • Personnel: Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin (lead vocals), Tim "Ripper" Owens (lead vocals), and Sean Peck (lead vocals) with Sean Elg (drums), Dave Garcia (guitars), Alex Pickard (bass), and Casey "The Sentinel" Trask (guitars)
  • Musical style: Heavy metal, power metal
  • Sound: Characterized by soaring vocals, fiery guitars, and stampeding drums and bass, "The Three Tremors" is over-the-top, a bit silly, and a bit predictable, but wonderfully melodic, old-school heavy metal fun!  
  • Major themes: With songs about World War II, monsters, Norse gods, and heavy metal, themes on the album include death, destruction, survival, war, mythology, violence, power, might, valor, etc.
  • Tracks:   
  1. "Invaders From The Sky"
  2. "Bullets For The Damned"
  3. "When The Last Scream Fades"
  4. "Wrath Of Asgard"
  5. "The Cause"
  6. "King Of The Monsters"
  7. "The Pit Shows No Mercy"
  8. "Sonic Suicide"
  9. "Fly Or Die"
  10. "Lust Of The Blade"
  11. "Speed To Burn"
  12. "The Three Tremors"

Brew Info:
  • Brewery: 4 Sons Brewing Company (Huntington Beach, California)
  • Website: https://www.foursonsbrewing.com/
  • Brew: The Great One Imperial India Pale Ale
  • Style: Imperial India Pale Ale (IIPA)
  • Serving: 12 ounce can
  • ABV: 9.9%
  • IBUs: 99
  • Ingredients: Chinook, El Dorado, Cascade, Fuggle, Nugget, and Saaz hops
  • Pour: The Great One pours a slightly hazy golden hue with a huge, creamy white head with great retention and lots of intricate lacing from start to finish.
  • Nose: The nose is citrusy, tropical, bready, slightly sweet, and malty.  There are aromas of grapefruit rind, orange peel, tangerine, mango, peach, pineapple, light pine, black tea, honey, and sweet caramel.
  • Taste: The taste of The Great One follows the nose with lots of citrusy, bready and earthy flavors.  There are notes of pink grapefruit, tangerine, mango, peach, pineapple, crackery biscuit, freshly baked bread, black tea, sweet toffee, and a hint of booze.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied with moderate carbonation, the mouthfeel is crisp, thick, smooth, dry, and slightly peppery with a sweet, dry finish.
Overall pairing: The bold, punchy, complex, yet very drinkable characteristics of The Great One from 4 Sons Brewing Company make it the perfect brew for rocking the hell out to the power metal onslaught that is Three Tremors and their wonderfully fun debut album!
    
Cheers and hails my friends... rock on!!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

May 19th, 2019 - Hops Deep In Records At Easy Street


Hello and happy Sunday!  Today I'm pairing Pearl Jam's incredible 2019 Record Store Day release "Live At Easy Street" with a tasty Hops Deep IPA from Utah's newest brewery, UTOG Brewing Company!  Hells yeah!


Album Info:
  • Artist: Pearl Jam
  • Title: "Live At Easy Street" EP
  • Recorded: April 29th, 2005 live at Easy Street Records in West Seattle, Washington
  • Release date: Originally releases on June 20th, 2006; EP released for Record Store Day April 13th, 2019 (4th live album by Pearl Jam)
  • Record company: Monkey Wrench Records
  • Production: Pearl Jam
  • Album cover art: Bootsy Holler (photography) and Brad Klausen (artwork)
  • Personnel: Jeff Ament (bass), Matt Cameron (drums), Stone Gossard (guitar), Mike McCready (guitar), and Eddie Vedder (vocals and guitar)
  • Guest musician: John Doe (vocals on "The New World")
  • Musical style: Grunge rock, garage rock, hard rock, alternative rock, post punk
  • Sound: This live EP gives further credit to the musical prowess and integrity of this band... especially in an intimate, live setting!    
  • Major themes: Life, pain, isolation, suffering, America, human interaction, relationships, etc.
  • Tracks:   
  1. "1/2 Full"
  2. "Lukin"
  3. "American In Me" (Avengers cover)
  4. "Save You"
  5. "Bleed For Me" (Dead Kennedy's cover)
  6. "The New World" (X cover)
  7. "Porch"

Brew Info:
  • Brewery: UTOG Brewing Company (Ogden, Utah)
  • Website: https://www.utogbrewing.com/
  • Brew: Hops Deep IPA
  • Style: American India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Serving: 16 ounce can
  • ABV: 6.1%
  • Pour: The Hops Deep pours a hazy caramel-gold amber with an off-white, 1+ finger, creamy head with great retention and intricate, sticky lacing.
  • Nose: The nose is citrusy, fruity, earthy, floral, dank, and malty.  There are aromas of orange juice and zest, grapefruit rind, herbal tea, wild flowers, wet pine needles, soft caramel, and bready malts.
  • Taste: The taste of the Hops Deep follows the nose with flavors of orange juice and peel, pink grapefruit juice, tangerine, mango, light pine, herbal tea, soft caramel, and a peppery finish.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation, the Hops Deep is crisp, refreshing, and smooth with a dry, slightly sweet, slightly bitter finish.
Overall pairing: The UTOG Hops Deep IPA is a very hop-forward, crushable, flavorful brew... pefect for the rockin' grooves of the mighty Pearl Jam!  Those punchy citrus flavors go great with  Vedder's unique vocals as well as Gossard's and McCready's amazing guitar riffs while the malty backbone is perfect for the thunderous rhthmic grooves of Ament and Cameron!

Cheers!!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

May 18th, 2019 - The West Swell Deluge


Good evening metal maniacs and artisan brew fans!  Your drinking buddy the Meista here tonight with another pairing for ya: "The Deluge" by legendary metal act Manilla Road and a West Swell Juicy India Pale Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company!

Album Info:
  • Artist: Manilla Road
  • Title: "The Deluge"
  • Recorded: 1986 at Miller Cave Recording Studios in North Newton, Kansas
  • Release date: February 25th, 1986 (5th studio album by Manilla Road)
  • Record company: Black Dragon Records
  • Production: Manilla Road, Max Merhoff, Jay Merhoff, Rick Fisher, and Sherry Avett
  • Album cover art: Eric Larnoy
  • Personnel: Randy Foxe (drums, percussion, and backing vocals), Scott Park (bass guitar), and Mark "The Shark" Shelton (vocals and guitars)
  • Guest musician: Mike Metz ("Engulfed Cathedral")
  • Musical style: Heavy metal, power metal
  • Sound: With influence from the NWOBHM, Black Sabbath, and a sprinkling of thrash metal, the sound on "The Deluge" is by far the heaviest and most metal album by Manilla Road at that point in their history!     
  • Major themes: Death, the sea, power, mythology, fantasy, history, evil, witchcraft, etc.
  • Tracks:   
  1. "Dementia"
  2. "Shadow In The Black"
  3. "Divine Victim"
  4. "Hammer Of The Witches"
  5. "Morbid Tabernacle"
  6. "Isle Of The Dead"
  7. "Taken By Storm"
  8. "The Deluge"
    •  i. "Eyes Of The Sea"
    • ii. "The Drowned Lands"
    • iii. "Engulfed Cathedral"
  9. "Friction In Mass"
  10. "Rest In Pieces"

Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Telegraph Brewing Company (Santa Barbara, California)
  • Website: https://telegraphbrewing.com/
  • Brew: West Swell Juicy India Pale Ale
  • Style: New England Style India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Serving: 12 ounce can
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • Pour: The West Swell pours a rather hazy caramel-amber hue with a rocky, off-white 1+ finger head with great retention and lots of sticky, soapy lacing.
  • Nose: The nose is fruity, tropical, earthy, floral, and malty.  There are aromas of pine resin, grapefruit rind, orange, tangerine, herbs, straw, crackery biscuit, and soft caramel.
  • Taste: The taste of the West Swell follows the nose with lots of citrus, tropical fruit, herbal, and malty flavors.  There are notes of orange juice, tangerine, pink grapefruit, pine, black tea, fresh bread, and toffee.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated, the mouthfeel of the West Swell is crisp, juicy, and fairly smooth with dry, slightly bitter finish.
Overall pairing: Telegraph's West Swell Juicy India Pale Ale is a punchy, complex, juicy, and tasty brew... perfect for the metal might of Manilla Road's brilliant and very underrated "The Deluge"!  Those sweeter tropical fruit notes are perfect for the vocals, guitar, and bass tones and textures while the more aggressive bitter notes are great for Foxe's powerhouse drumming!
    
Cheers and hails!!

May 18th, 2019 - Batsquatch Salad


Hello there evil-doers!  The Meista here today on this overcast Saturday pairing High On Fire's kickass "Bat Salad" 2019 Record Store Day EP and a juicy Batsquatch Hazy India Pale Ale from Rogue Ales!  Hells yes!!


Album Info:
  • Artist: High On Fire
  • Title: "Death Is This Communion"
  • Recorded: 2019 at Hightower Recordings and Interlace Audio
  • Release date: April 13th, 2019 (1st Record Store Day EP by High On Fire)
  • Record company: eOne Music
  • Production: High On Fire 
  • Album cover art: ?
  • Personnel: Des Kensel (drums), Jeff Matz (bass), and Matt Pike (guitar and vocals)
  • Musical style: Stoner metal, doom metal, sludge metal, thrash metal
  • Sound: Combining the heaviness of doom metal and the intensity of thrash, the EP's sound is all about fuzzy doom, aggressive, brutal, melodic, expressive, and harmonic sonics!  It is as if Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and Slayer had a child together!
  • Major themes: Death, evil, aggression, rebellion, heavy metal, etc.
  • Notes: The album cover art is based on H.R. Giger's painting "Satan I", which was used on Celtic Frost's "To Mega Therion".
  • Tracks:   
  1. "Bat Salad"
  2. "Into The Crypts Of Rays" (Celtic Frost cover)
  3. "Don't Bother Me" (Bad Brains cover)

Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Rogue Ales
  • Website: http://www.rogue.com/
  • Brew: Batsquatch Hazy India Pale Ale
  • Style: American India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Serving: 12 ounce can
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • IBUs: 45
  • Ingredients: 2-Row Malt, Flaked Wheat, Malted Wheat and Oats; Mosaic, El Dorado and Belma hops; Imperial Juice Yeast and Free Range Coastal Water
  • Pour: As the name implies, the Batsquatch Hazy India Pale Ale pours a very hazy bright orange hue with a frothy, 2+ finger, bright white head with great sustain and lot of layered and intricate soapy lacing throughout.
  • Nose: The nose is characterized by lots of citrus and tropical fruit aromas along with more subtle grassy and malty notes.  There are aromas of orange juice, orange peel, tangerine, lime, grapefruit rind, mango, pineapple, guava, a hint of cream, a hint of vanilla bean, and soft caramel.
  • Taste: The taste of the Batsquatch Hazy India Pale Ale follows the nose with lots of citrus and tropical fruit flavors along with more subtle malts.  There are notes of orange juice, pith, tangerine, pink grapefruit juice, mango, herbal tea, a hint of vanilla, light cream and caramel/toffee.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation, the Batsquatch is juicy, crisp, smooth, and refreshing with a slightly bitter and dry finish.

Overall pairing: I can think of nothing more fitting right now for the juicy Rogue Batsquatch to be paired with than High On Fire's "Bat Salad" Record Store Day EP!  And not just for the name either, but more specifically for the complexity, crushability, and richness of character.  And as for the hoppiness... just listen to Pike's smokin' guitar!!

Cheers!!  Hails!!

Friday, May 17, 2019

May 17th, 2019 - Unveiling The Perfectly Wicked Disguise



Hello and happy Friday rivet heads and hopheads!  The Meista here today rocking the hell out to a pairing of "Unveiling The Wicked", Exciter's 4th studio album and The Perfect Disguise from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc.!

Album Info:
  • Artist: Exciter
  • Title: "Unveiling The Wicked" 
  • Recorded: 1985 and 1986 at Britannia Row Studios in London, England
  • Release date: June 15th, 1986 (4th studio album by Exciter)
  • Record company: Music For Nations / Combat Records
  • Production: Guy Bidmead
  • Album cover art: Mez Meredith
  • Personnel: Dan Beehler (drums and lead vocals), Allan Johnson (bass and backing vocals), and Brian McPhee (guitars and backing vocals)
  • Musical style: Heavy metal, speed metal, thrash metal
  • Sound: 1980s speed metal at its finest, the sound on Exciter's "Unveiling The Wicked" is fiery fast, furious, and pure, high-octane thrashing metal!  With influence from fellow Canadians Anvil along with Judas Priest, Motorhead, and Raven, this is classic, straight-forward, in-your-face heavy metal fun!
  • Major themes: Death, destruction, evil, violence, war, power, anger, heavy metal, terror, rebellion, etc.
  • Tracks:   
  1. "Break Down The Walls"
  2. "Brainstorm"
  3. "Die In The Night"
  4. "(I Hate) School Rules"
  5. "Shout It Out"
  6. "Invasion / Waiting In the Dark"
  7. "Living Evil"
  8. "Live Fast, Die Young"
  9. "Mission Destroy"

 Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc. (Milton, Delaware)
  • Website: https://www.dogfish.com/
  • Brew: The Perfect Disguise
  • Style: Double India Pale Ale (DIPA) / Imperial IPA (IIPA)
  • Serving: 12 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • IBUs: 70
  • Ingredients: Kölsch yeast, German chit malt, German and American hops
  • Pour: The Perfect Disguise pours a fairly clear deep yellow with a frothy, 1-finger off-white head with great retention and lots of sticky, sudsy lacing throughout.
  • Nose: The nose is citrusy, tropical, earthy, dank, malty, and herbal.  There are aromas of grapefruit rind, orange, tangerine, peach, apricot, lemongrass, freshly cut hay, mango, herbal tea, pine resin, biscuit, and fresh herbs.
  • Taste: The taste of The Perfect Disguise is citrusy, zesty, earthy, and malty.  There are notes of grapefruit juice and rind, orange zest and pith, gooseberry, peach, black tea, grassy hops, crackery biscuit, lemon zest, pine resin, and sweet toffee.  
  • Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied with moderate carbonation, the mouthfeel of The Perfect Disguise is creamy, smooth, thick, and slightly bitter with a dry finish.
Overall pairing: The Perfect Disguise is a hop-forward, punchy, aggressive brew that (although 8% ABV) is totally crushable... perfect for the metal onslaught that is Exciter's kickass "Unveiling The Wicked"!  I can't think of anything better than a crisp and citrusy brew (or 3) to throw back whilst pumping your fist and banging your head to these bad asses!  'Nuff said!
    
Cheers and hails!!