It snowed really heavily here on Sunday night and consequently the place that I work at has been shut ever since – hurrah! It’s been pretty difficult to walk around given the icy conditions, so I’ve had lots of time to stay indoors, spin some records, and bake a cake and some pasties. And finally contribute to this blog after what seems like an age of not doing so.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been paying a lot of attention to US black metal. Not of the older, thrashing style (VON etc) or more recent Xasthur/Leviathan/Crebain-style approaches, but to bands like Fauna, Velvet Cacoon and Wolves in the Throne Room. Straying from the stereotypical depressive/satanic/nihilistic themes that most bands of the genre harness, the bands listed above are all linked by something more akin to an eco-spiritual vision. Which sounds a bit highfalutin, I know. As long as a band look and sound like they live in a cave or have recently been dug up from a graveyard I’m normally happy, but the fact that these bands are seemingly following a different path has made me pay more attention to the ‘black metal’ coming from a continent that I don’t normally pay too much attention to in relation to that style of music.
Maggie the Punk : not really feeling the frostbitten winter kingdom of London
Velvet Cacoon are a pretty mysterious band that seem to have dropped off the map and have/had a completely bizarre history that is funny, confusing and frustrating all the same time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velvet_Cacoon . One thing I am certain of is that their Genevieve album is incredible – hypnotic, droning, menacing. Wolves in the Throne Room remind me slightly of Burzum and are probably the least interesting (musically) of the three bands, although their first album Diadem of 12 Stars has really grown on me over the years – the songs flow really well and the sound is much more earthy and organic (to my ears) than the follow-up, Two Hunters. Fauna are a band that I am just discovering. I recently got hold of The Hunt and I’m keen to hear more. The album consists of one track lasting 79 minutes that is so dynamic and raw – if folk/black/forest/primitive/doom/beard/weird/trees are key words for you, I recommend checking it out.
Wolves in the Throne Room
Two bands removed from the themes of the above groups that I have been really getting into recently are lurker of Chalice and Brown Jenkins. LoC are Wrest from Leviathan’s side project, and while i never got into his main group, I really enjoy LoC; a mixture of early Christian Death, Bauhaus and black metal sounds good on paper and it sounds good in reality. Brown Jenkins are a kind of musical tribute to HP Lovecraft – really heavily distorted riffs, engulfed in feedback and mysterious muttering. Great stuff. I only have their Dagonite release but I am on the lookout for more.
Evil (but delicious!) pasties
Anyways, on to the cake. I found the recipe for this on a doom metal forum and it’s absolutely delicious. Chocolate and bananas always seem to go well and this is no different:
banana and chocolate cake
6 1/2 oz plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
5 oz sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/4 pint veg oil
1/4 pint soy milk
2 mashed bananas
mix it all together. bake at gm3/325f/160c in a greased tin for 30-35 minutes or until it springs back when you press it down. Enjoy!
I also made some pasties, using a recipe from the fantastic ‘Another Dinner is Possible’ vegan cookbook. PeteF.