Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26th, 2013 - A Monotheistic Powder Hound

Hails hop-heads and rivet-heads!  The Meista here with a pairing that bids adieu to winter... I'm pairing Celtic Frost's 2006 album, "Monotheist" and a Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company out of Missoula, Montana.

"Monotheist" is the sixth and final recording from Swiss thrash/death/black metal monsters Celtic Frost.  Made up of founding members Martin Eric Stricker (a.k.a. Ain) on bass/vocals and Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Warrior) on vocals/guitars/keyboards, along with guitarist/producer Erol Unala, Celtic Frost's "Monotheist" was the first new recording the band had released since they had broken up in 1992.  With lyrics influenced by the writings of the occultist Aleister Crowley and musically far heavier, slower, and darker, "Monotheist" is much more of a doom/Gothic metal album than previous works.  An avalanche of sound, Warrior's guitar work and Ain's bass coupled by the drums of guest drummer Franco Sesaare is a thunderous, droning, and brutal sonic experience.  The monolithic wall of sound is all the more emphasized by Warrior's almost painfully emotional vocals that sound like an unholy alliance between Peter Murphy and Max Cavalera!  Lisa Middelhauve of German power metal band, Xandria and session vocalist Simone Vollenweider provide some really well placed and perfectly delivered soft female vocals.  Powerful and grabbing, songs like "Progeny," "Ground," "Os Abysmi Vel Daath," "Domain Of Decay," and "Ain Elohim" are aggressive rockers while songs like "A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh," "Drown In Ashes," and "Obscured" are slower, more progressive, more disturbing and mesmerizingly Gothic gems.  The album ends with the epic "Triptych (I: Totengott II: Synagoga Satanae III: Winter)," a complex, challenging, and richly layered 22+ minute juggernaut.  An incredibly interesting album, I think both metal and Gothic fans will find entertainment and substance in "Monotheist."

Big sound requires big flavor... and that's what you get with a Big Sky Brewing Company Powder Hound Winter Ale!  It pours a a clear, orange amber hue with a 1-finger, foamy head that dissipates quickly, but leaves intricate and sustained lacing.  The nose is a nice balance of crisp and piney hopiness and caramelized malty sweetness.  With a perfect balance of bitterness from the Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo hops and sweeter flavors from the grains, the Powder Hound is wonderfully balanced American Amber.  There are notes of toffee, biscuit, grapefruit, subtle nuances of apple cider, and black tea.  Coming in at 7.2% ABV, the beer has a little bit of a boozy undertone, but it is well masked by the blended flavors.  There's a bit of stickiness to the mouthfeel, which is a nice feature coupled with the dryness from the hops.  You also get some oily hop slickness on the back of the tongue that lingers.  The Powder Hound is a great beer for a cold winter's night and the pround musical art of Celtic Frost!

Learn more about Big Sky Brewing Company at!

Cheers!!  \m/  \m/

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