söndag 28 april 2019


One of the coolest looking vinyls in my entire collection is this clear/yellow splatter LP of Hate Campaign from 2006 released by Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records.

Believe me there's a huge difference between a splatter vinyl done correctly compared to so many others I own. It looks even better in real life then on my picture.

Strangely this is the only LP ever released of the Hate Campaign record by Dismember.

This one is a limited release that's numbered to 500 copies it has 2 bonus tracks Live To Hate and Unhealing Scars both great songs and a nice addition to the record.

Included the original Nuclear Blast CD mainly because of the cover artwork differences I do prefer the Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records vinyl cover artwork.

Usually don't like whenever bands/labels messes with the original artwork. But I would never pass on this amazing Dismember LP because of that.

Many changes within the Dismember camp for the bands 5th full length album Hate Campaign.

This does not feature the classic line-up: Matti Kärki, Fred Estby, David Blomqvist, Richard Cabeza and Robert Sennebäck.

This was also the first time the band didn't record in the Sunlight Studios where they had been recording since the Reborn In Blasphemy (1990) demo. If you know your Dismember history another Swedish Death Metal band Carnage should sound familiar. Their debut and only record Dark Recollections (1990) was also recorded there.

Even if the man everyone associate Sunlight Studios with Tomas Skogsberg didn't produce their previous masterpiece Death Metal (1997). It was actually the Dismember drummer Fred Estby who produced that one at Sunlight Studios. Fred also produced Hate Campaign but in the Das Boot Studio that's located in Stockholm, Sweden.

Richard Cabeza left Dismember in 1998 and was replaced by the Swedish bassist Sharlee D'Angelo as a session/live member. He already then had a very impressive resume from working with bands like Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Witchery etc.

Also no Robert Sennebäck (guitar) on this album that departed ways with Dismember in 1997 and was replaced with Magnus Sahlgren (Lake Of Tears etc.). He was a permanent member from 1998 to 2003. Hate Campaign were the only Dismember album that he and Sharlee played on.

Speaking about Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records they released another favorite vinyl release in my collection last year. That I use as a display piece in my living room Panzer Division Live by Marduk the tank shaped 7" LP.

There's a couple of more releases by Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records I would like to own but they are usually way up there in price also.

Not trying to sound like some elitist asshole collector but I only own 1st print Dismember vinyls. Yeah I’m that guy with some other bands also.

Now is this version of Hate Campaign technically a 1st print vinyl? It wasn’t released until 6 years after the original CD.

It’s definitely the first and only vinyl of Hate Campaign. So I say yes here and don’t consider that I am breaking my own rules.

If they ever decide to reissue the album on LP I might consider picking up a copy. Because even if I play approx 99.5% of all my vinyls, some that are 4 to 5 more expensive also, but with this one I want to keep it as pristine as possible.

Actually I'm only one vinyl away from having my Dismember 1st print LP collection completed are missing Where Ironcrosses Grow (2004). Also my copy of the Dismember (2008) album is just the picture disc vinyl version that I will upgrade someday.

Anyway I highly recommend the Hate Campaign album by the best Death Metal band of all time in my opinion to anyone that’s out for some excellent Swedish Dödsmetall.

torsdag 18 april 2019

You need STRID in your life! And collection...

...here on a compilation vinyl from Kyrck Production released in 2007 numbered to 500 copies, my is number 353.

As always Kyrck does something special with their releases. This one comes with a great poster and an amazing insert with pictures from the old days. The color is "haze" don't know about that? To me it looks kind of grayish/black.

It also available on a standard black vinyl but also on a clear LP that's hand numbered to 50 with a different sleeve. It just have a black cover with only the Strid logo on it. I prefer the artwork my copy has of this compilation even if they used the black logo cover artwork on their only demo.

Side-A has every song Strid has ever released. There is actually only 3 songs in total in approx 25 minutes.

Two from the Strid (1994) 7" EP and the one only song from their demo End Of Life (1993).

That might sound cheap but with what they deliver in 11 minutes on the End Of Life song makes it worth buying the entire compilation for alone in my opinion. Of course for the equally great Strid EP songs also.

Side-B has all 5 songs from their second demo Pandemonium (1992) when the band were called Malfeitor.

Not as refined or with the atmospheric mature sound to it as Strid has. But I recommend getting this compilation for the Malfeitor demo also. 

This rather unknown Norwegian Black Metal band started playing in 1991. In Askim a small town near the Swedish border, as Malfeitor. They changed name to Battle for a short while 1992-93. Battle that meaning strid in English, before finally setting with Strid as their name in 1993.

As Malfeitor they released 2 demos the song 666 Hear My Call is featured on both of them. For the time of its release in 1992 the Pandemonium demo sounds amazing both now and then.

They released their only demo as Strid in 1993 the already mentioned demo End Of Life.

Then in 1994 Strid signed with one of my favorite record labels of all time. The short lived (1994-97) German based company Malicious Records

Some others that released their debuts albums or EP's on the same label was Dødheimsgard; Zyklon-B; Borknagar; Vond etc. just to name a couple.

So you can see why I hold Malicious Records in such high regard.

The Strid 7" EP was one of the first releases by the record company. Also the first vinyl release, as far as I know on the label.

Strid was only released on the 7" vinyl format. Maybe not the smartest decision either by Malicious and/or the band? This is one of my more wanted 7" releases but the price is hard to justify with me already owning this compilation.

They re-released the demo End Of Life on a single-sided cassette on Malicious Records in 1994. At the era when CD was already established as the standard format for music it might not benefited the band.

When one looks at Strid over at Metal Archives there's a claim that Strid were "creators of the Depressive Black Metal genre". That might be true? It's not a subgenre within the scene that I got most knowledge about really.

Because this isn't something you play when drinking with friends, singing along headbanging to exactly.

Despite my lack of knowledge Strid are a lot better then other bands associated with that DBM genre or whatever it's called in my opinion. Also isn't all Black Metal supposed to be striving for reaching the darkest and invoke certain moods sides of the human mind? 

But speaking of darkness and depression... The original Strid & Malfeitor vocalist/bassist Storm aka. Rot real name Espen Andersen died by suicide in 2001.

Also the original guitarist for both bands Lars Fredrik Bergstrøm died in 2014 at the age of 39.

The members of Strid weren't known in the scene with a bunch of side projects or participated with a lot of other famous bands.

Strid officially quit in 2001 even if the band hadn't been active as far as I know after the 1994 EP.

However in 2009 the Strid returned once again.

With a very prominent guy in the scene Vicotnik on bass & vocals mainly known from his work in the excellent Dødheimsgard but also many more bands like Ved Buens Ende.

Guitarist Ravn Harjar had joined the band in 1994 and played on the Strid EP. He was also shared the vocal duties with Vicotnik.

Joined by members of Strid/Malfeitor the drummer in both bands Lost/Jardar (not the same guy from Old Man's Child) and also the now deceased Lars Fredrik Bergstrøm, both were members until 2014.

They did some shows together, over at www.setlist.fm one can find 2 gigs in 2010 one at John Dee in Oslo and also a one in Finland. It's not the most accurate or reliable source because they played more then those two gigs.

On YouTube you can also see an amazing performance of the song End Of Life with Vicotnik on vocals. It's from 2011 and recorded at Halle 101 in Speyer, Germany.

There's also a video of Nattvandring from the 1994 Strid 7" from the same concert, with guitarist Ravn Harjar on vocals, it's not as good in quality as the other one. But am including both in the post because they are the only Strid live performances I have ever seen or found.

In 2015 the band dissolved after 6 years due to internal conflict but also due to the fact of the death of Lars Fredrik Bergstrøm. But the band reappeared a couple of years later.

The official lineup Strid as of 2017 consists of the new drummer Svein Egil Hatlevik mostly known from his work in the amazing Fleurety. With Vicotnik (bass/vocals), Ravn Harjar (guitar/vocals) and Sigmund Hansen (guitar).

Official t-shirt were sold over at Morbid Wrath Records in 2018. Strid will play live in September this year at the Prophecy Fest 2019 in Balver Höhle, Germany.

That looks like an amazing place for concerts, do a Google search for more pics. Think that would be a very fitting location for their music. It's basically in a cave. Really wish to attend... Who knows... Maybe...

Anyway the story of this Norwegian band Strid is certainly an interesting one.

Had they continued making music after 1994 when vocalist/bassist Storm (Espen Andersen) was still alive they could have been something other then just a cult band for die hard fans like me of the early to mid 90's Norwegian scene.

If you are into albums like Written In Waters (1995) by Ved Buens Ende or Min Tid Skal Komme (1995) by Fleurety you definitely should look into this compilation.

I'm still hopeful that through all the very hard troubles they endured during their career that Strid will be a force to be recon with once again. Hopefully material that's unreleased or unrecorded will be unleashed for all. The legacy of Espen and Lars Fredrik definitely deserves that!

söndag 7 april 2019


Did a post on Vargnatt, Bergtatt and Kveldssanger over at my Instagram account about exactly one year ago. Immediately began writing about the 2 albums released after them but after MANY re-writings later I post this.

Also took the pictures when I had my crappy iPhone 6S and me being to lazy to reshoot them with my new iPhone the quality isn't on par with my latest photos. Anyway finally... 

This very unique Norwegian Black Metal band that I nowadays wouldn't call Black Metal anymore but we'll get to that. First out their demo Vargnatt (1993).

The very first time I ever heard Ulver was on the Norwegian TV-show/documentary Det Svarte Alvor from 1994 that I had bought or traded on VHS in 1996. Something I did for bootleg filmed concerts by Dissection, Marduk, Emperor, Dismember and many more.

In Det Svarte Alvor the song Ulverrytternes Kamp by Ulver was featured and it blew me away. It’s still my favorite song by them.

The version I got is the brown leather book CD reissue of their 1993 demo Vargnatt from 2009 done by the amazing label Kyrck Productions.

Wasn’t actually until around 1999/00 (?) that I finally heard Vargnatt. On MP3 though... A rare occasion for me back then and now to download music to listen too.

But that was the only way that I could hear the demo back then and I'm glad I did it. Wasn't into computers at all during this time and my skills weren't good.

The 6-song and 28 min demo almost feels like a debut album because of the high quality of the songs and production. It starts out great with Her Begynner Mine Arr... and continues with the equally great Tragediens Trone.

Then the beautiful instrumental song Trollskogen brilliant performance on acoustic guitar by Haavard aka. Håvard Jørgensen. Continuing with Ulverrytternes Kamp already wrote it being my favorite Ulver song of all time.

Nattens Madrigal is the next song and it's better then that entire album with the same name but I'm getting ahead of myself. The title track Vargnatt ends the demo and what a great release this was.

Vocalist Kris R. as Garm calls himself on the original demo tape was 17 years old when this was released. He is my favorite vocalist from Norway of all time and on the demo his voice hasn't yet been perfected. But still an amazing debut performance by him I can hear why Arcturus recruited him in 1993.

Also worth mentioning is that Carl-Michael Eide (Aura Noir, Ved Buens Ende etc.) plays drums on Vargnatt the man of many talents and aliases here he's called C. Michael.

It's not mandatory to start with the demo if you're unfamiliar with Ulver but something tells me if you found this blog you are already familiar with the band and Black Metal. However if you like the 2 first Ulver records it's mandatory to have this fine demo release it's one of my personal favorite demos from Norway.

The demo was first reissued in 2003 on a 10" vinyl i released by Infinite Vinyl Series (company associated with The End Records). That 10" goes for around 50-60 € now.

The demo is included in their now really expensive vinyl compilation boxset Trolsk Sortmetall 1993–1997 that was released in limited quantities in 3 different vinyl versions in 2014 really wish to own that box someday.

The box was also released on CD but if you want a standalone release of Vargnatt I recommend any of the 3 CD releases done by Kyrck Productions.

Finding Ulver CD’s in my Swedish hometown was not happening in 1996 so in the summer of 1997 on a trip to Stockholm I finally bought their debut Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr i 5 Capitler at Sound Pollution.

Released by Metalion the legendary founder of Slayer Magazine owned record company Head Not Found. At first it was a bit disappointing because I expected Ulverrytternes Kamp to be on it. I didn’t have any idea what songs was on the album.

It took a few listens before I realized that the whole album was amazing and not just the song Soelen Gaaer Bag Aase Need. The opening I Troldskog Faren Vild is just as good as the one I just mentioned.

Kristoffer Rygg now known as Garm shows already on the first song how much he has developed his vocals skills from the demo.

The music is a combination of the 2nd wave of Norwegian Black Metal scene combined with acoustic guitar parts. Also with some flute, piano passages and different sound effects added gives a very unique atmosphere to the music.

It might only be 5 songs in 34 min but it's perfect it doesn't need to be any longer or shorter for that matter.

The 3rd song Graablick Blev Hun Vaer is also amazing and so is Een Stemme Locker a slower acoustic. Where Ulver  has the female vocalist Lill Kathrine Stensrud which adds much to the song.

She also played the flute and appears on Written In Waters (1995) by Ved Buens Ende.

On Bergtatt Ulver have Steinar "Sverd" Johnsen from one of my favorite bands from Norway ever Arcturus play piano. A band Garm was vocalist in from 1993 to 2003, he recorded 3 albums and one EP with them.

The last song Bergtatt - Ind I Fjeldkamrene continues in the same vein as the rest of the record and that concludes the album. I've never heard anything quite like it ever again. An absolute must have record in any collection!

Not long after I had purchased their debut I ordered the follow-up Kveldssanger (1996) on CD from Sound Pollution. Also released by Head Not Found and I immediately liked it even if it's way different from their debut no electric guitars or traditional Black Metal elements on this one.

Just acoustic guitar sometimes flute, cello occasional drums but what stands out most is the vocal performance by Garm but it's the whole combination what's makes it brilliant.

There's so many good songs of the 13 in 35 min like Østenfor Sol Og Vestenfor Maane; Nattleite; Høyfjeldsbilde; Hiertets Vee; Utreise and Ulvsblakk just to name a few. But my absolute favorite is problably Kledt I Nattens Farger. 

I've always had a hard time to figure out which one of these 3 is my favorite Ulver release. They are almost a perfect trilogy that's related to each other and I wouldn't want to exclude any of them.

Of course I have a special bond to Bergtatt because it was the first Ulver album I ever heard and bought. It's not always necessary to have a favorite and just enjoy the music.

Many might not think of Kveldssanger as a Black Metal record at all but to me it just show how broad the genre is especially the one in the Norwegian scene.

I'm Swedish but in the 90's I had much more records from the Norwegian Black Metal scene then the Swedish. There was I distinct different feeling of the two back then and now also.

I mean many band from Norway said in interviews that they were inspired just not by the Heavy Metal scene but bands like Depeche Mode.

Take for instance Varg Vikernes his favorite album ever was done by The Cure. Something like that would never been said in the Swedish scene in the 90's.

Even if Jon Nödtveidt from Dissection has said that Northern Progressive rock music from bands like Änglagård, Landberk and Anekdoten were among his favorites. Remember when I read that he and Ole Öhman (?) visited the Pink Floyd show in Gothenburg in 1994 and thinking "damn I need to listen to these bands" which I did later and many were amazing. But now I'm getting off topic..

And now for what I consider to be a big disappointment Nattens Madrigal - Atte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden from 1997.

I cannot remember how I got this promo CD. Maybe I bought it at a record fair in my hometown, when I renewed a magazine subscription or found it at the record store that sold 2nd hand CD's & LP's.

Owned this promo CD of the Nattens Madrigal album for 22 years now. I try to understand why it’s praised as some kind of masterpiece nowadays?

Don't remember anyone talking highly about this one or being some innovative album back in 1997.

I will give them credit for not doing Bergtatt del II and understand what they were going for.

But if I want to hear raw primitive Black Metal album I much rather listen to the amazing Under A Funeral Moon (1993) by Darkthrone instead.

Ulver does 8 songs in 44 min but it feels like 88 min. It gets old very fast because of the average songs and boring sound.

If they instead had made a 3 or 4-song EP of the best material and sorted out the worst parts I think it could’ve been an amazing release.

I definitely miss the clean vocals by Garm when listening to this record even if he still does a solid job with the vocals. Not knocking anyone's performance on the album. The problem is the songwriting and the boring production/sound according to me.

Wolf & Fear; Wolf & Hatred and Wolf & The Night all have brilliant qualities and I do enjoy listening to them. However the other songs are just average at best.

Wolf & Passion might have one of the worst opening riffs done by any "bigger band" ever in the Black Metal scene. It sounds like something that the very popular Swedish alternative rock band Kent would've written in 1995.

It was the first and only Ulver album to be released on Century Media. I don't know the full story why they parted ways after only just one album, reissues not included.

It sounds as if Ulver wanted to make a statement with this album. While being signed to a "big label" in the extreme Metal scene.

To me it feels like they rushed out the album to soon without thinking it through.

But then again lots of people seem to enjoy this album. I might find out someday I was wrong all along but it's not like I haven't tried because believe me I truly have. For 22 years... That's a long time and probably much longer then some of my Instagram followers have even lived.

If you enjoy the Nattens Madrigal album good for you and I’m happy for you but it’s not a record for me.

Now for the last full length album by Ulver in the 90's. The one with a ridiculously long title Themes From William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1998).

It was released 18 months after the Nattens Madrigal album on 2 CD’s with 19 songs. Approx 80 minutes of music (+ 20 min silence before the hidden ending) there's a lot of music to process.

They delivers a couple of amazing songs but also terrible ones. While not being a total disaster, it's not an amazing experience either. It doesn’t sound anything like the previous Ulver albums.

I don't necessarily see a problem with the band progressing into something else. In fact if they after Nattens Madrigal had gone back to the Black/Folk Metal feeling on their earlier albums that would've felt strange.

Even if the song Plates 5-6 has parts that sounds like something from the Kveldssanger record but with recitation and lots of effect added.

It's very hard to try and label the Themes From William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell album. They have so MANY different influences...

Way too easy just labeling the album as Avantgarde music. It has Electronic, Progressive and Trip-Hop influences. Sometimes I would call this Ulver goes Nine Inch Nails less commercial though.

They have a female vocalist "Her" (Stine Grytøyr) on many songs and some guy called Falch doing "vinyl scratching".

Many of the songs have a lot of effects or Trip-Hop beats sometimes "draining" the music that otherwise could have be great.

Tore Ylwizaker (programming, later also keyboard) joined Ulver for this record and has been a member ever since. Garm and him continued the band after the departure of longtime guitarist Haavard (Håvard Jørgensen) I think Ulver lost a lot of their "soul" without him.

This album also became both members since 1994 bassist Skoll (Hugh Stephen James Mingay) and drummer Erik Lancelot last album with Ulver.

Do think Garm is a musical genius. But I think the working relationship between him and those guys made Ulver standout in a already overpopulated Norwegian Black Metal scene in the mid 90's.

Garm, sorry Trickster-G, as he is known here produced and engineered The Marriage of Heaven and Hell with new member Tore Ylwizaker also co-producing, mixing and engineering.

Another co-producer of this album and also guest appearance by Arcturus genius guitarist Knut Magne Valle on "cables, wires & various sound contributions". I do believe he play some guitar on this record though.

Musicians that doesn't need any introduction Ihsahn, Samoth and Fenriz also gets credited for recitation on the album.

Not going to analyse the lyrical theme of this record. Simply because I'm not familiar enough with the English poet William Blake (1757 - 1827) writings or the book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

If I was to recommend some of my tracks on the album in chronological order:
The Argument Plate 2
Plates 5-6
Proverbs of Hell Plates 7-10
Intro (song 2 on CD-2 there are 3 different songs called Intro)
Plates 21-22
Intro (song 5 on CD-2)
A Memorable Fancy Plates 22-24

Don't expect to be completely blown away with those songs immediately though. They demands a lot of attention from the one listening to them fully appreciate those.

The musicians Haavard, Skoll and Erik Lancelot does a great job. Garm’s vocals are as always very unique and great whenever they are more "traditional" without all those effects added.

When I’m in the right mood I might give this album 3 listens a  year.

As with Nattens Madrigal they should’ve selected the best parts for 9 or 10 songs on 1 CD then it would be better experience.

Since this record Ulver have been hit or miss in my opinion. Some great releases and songs but whenever they go too much into effect overdose mode it's not good.

In my opinion the following Perdition City (2000) better then The Marriage of Heaven and Hell even if that one is far from perfect. But more about other records in another post.

I do highly respect that Ulver don’t give a fuck what fans or other people think about them and just go their own way on their own terms.