22 December 2007

Things I Want for Christmas

Of course failing that, I wouldn't mind an Xbox 360. Or maybe some social skills.

20 December 2007

...And the other Shoe Drops

As of yesterday, Gaahl and King had the following to say regarding Regain Records and Infernus:
Norwegian authorities at Patentstyret (Norwegian patent office) have made the verdict on the dispute over the further use of the trademark and logo "Gorgoroth". It has been legally determined that King and Gaahl retain the rightful ownership and use of the name and logo, now and in the future.

King and Gaahl will not give a detailed public statement on this verdict however they have both remained confident this result would indeed be the final conclusion.

Any third parties who use the name Gorgoroth will from now on be met with legal prosecution.

Gorgoroth, King and Gaahl, will not continue to work with Regain Records given their disloyal acts concerning Gorgoroth and are currently carefully choosing a new label for the release of their next full-length album.
So now the two Gorgoroths have threatened legal action against one another. Actual lawsuits can't be far behind. If I may be forgiven for editorializing, this may be the greatest court case since the Scopes Monkey Trial.

19 December 2007

A Tale of Two Gorgoroths

The plot thickens, and the story of Gorgoroth's dissolution is, apparently, not over yet. Since Infernus parted ways with former bandmates King and Gaahl back in October, Regain Records has chosen to side with Infernus, who will reform Gorgoroth with a new line-up. Regain Records issued a statement outlining their intentions on 13 December. The statement reads as follows:
Regain Records has finally decided how to go further with the Gorgoroth matter. Regain Records will continue the co-operation with the bands original member Infernus with a new line-up. This new line-up will be announced by Infernus through the new official website. Regain Records recognizes Infernus as the rightful owner of the bands name, logo and trademark, and is prepared to take any legal steps necessary to prevent any 3rd part from exploiting it, artistically and commercially. A long time commitment between Infernus and Regain Records has been signed and Gorgoroths next album entitled Quantos Possund Ad Satanitatem Trahunt - as well as the follow-up - will be released on Regain Records.
The other Gorgoroth has yet to say anything on this matter. I have to say that Regain Records is probably taking the right course of action here, since Infernus has been at the heart of Gorgoroth since the beginning. Whatever happends, I hope Gaahl and King will continue their collaboration, even if it is under a different name.

As and aside, this actually reminds a lot of the break-up of Pink Floyd back in the mid-80s. You may recall that a fierce legal battle took place between Roger Waters and the rest of the band over the rights to use the name Pink Floyd. You may also recall that David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright eventually won out. Coincidentally, Roger is also the real name of Infernus. How's that for history repeating itself?

15 December 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 5 (2-for-1 Special!)

Egads, have I really gone an entire month without posting about Joan Crawford? For Shame! As penance for this egregious blasphemy, here are two pictures. First an early picture, but one of my absolute favorites.

And here's a second which, judging by the caption, dates from around 1929-30.

13 December 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 4

An adorable Bessie Love, sporting a modified version of the iconic Louise Brooks cut. As an aside, I suddenly feel like a pedophile.

07 December 2007

Nihil Sub Sole Novum

It appears that Hollywood has no ideas left. Compare this promotional picture from the forthcoming Batman flick...

With this shot of Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs from 1928...

I think my opinion on this matter is well stated in Ecclesiastes 1:9.

05 December 2007

The House of my Dreams

Til Den Groenne Ridder by Theodor Kittelsen. This same drawing, by the way, was used as the cover art for Carpathian Forest's debut EP, entitled Through Chasm, Caves And Titan Woods.

03 December 2007

Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art

This past weekend I (along with a few others from my class on the history of Byzantine Art) had the opportunity to visit the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. We had come, thanks to the generosity of the Dean of Students and the Art department of the University of Puget Sound, to view their special exhibition, entitled Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art. It was well worth the trip.

Though the selection of items on display was not huge, their quality was quite exquisite (thanks in part to the restoration work which had been done to some of the pieces). The variety of mediums represented in the collection was equally impressive as samples of silver, glassware, sarcophagi and carved ivory were all available for viewing. The remarkable craftsmanship that must have gone into producing such artifacts was plain to see, particularly in the ivories and precious stones, which pieces exhibited an incredible degree of detail.

Among the finest items present were the exquisite Maskell Ivories, a selection from the Sinope Gospels, surviving fragments of the nearly-destroyed Cotton Genesis and the manuscript of the fifth century Rabbula Gospels (pictured above), one of the finest--and most important--extant illuminated manuscripts. High-resolution scans of these works are available online, and while these are of good quality, they really don't do justice to the originals, and are really no substitute.

In addition to the special exhibition, the Kimbell Museum's permanent collection is also worth a visit. Being a would-be classicist, I found two items particularly interesting. The first was a red-figure bowl which showed in fairly grisly detail the dismemberment of Pentheus at the hands of the maenads, an episode which is best remembered from Euripides's Bacchae. My favorite item, however, would have to be the exquisite Hellenistic bronze head of a nameless athlete (pictured below). The head, which is supposed to be a copy of an original by the Greek master sculptor Lysippos, survives in absolutely fantastic condition, and is a testament to the skill of its sculptor.

Anyone who is (or will be) in the Fort Worth area should leap at the chance to visit the Kimbell Art Museum.

01 December 2007

The Art of Grimness, Ep. 3

Finnish Black Metal expert Satanic Tyrant Werewolf (alias Nazgul) of Satanic Warmaster fame, among numerous other projects.

26 November 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 3

Dorothy Sebastian, who--perhaps not coincidentally--starred alongside previous girlfriends Joan Crawford and Anita Page in 1928's Our Dancing Daughters and 1930's Our Blushing Brides.

25 November 2007

The Artwork of John Lennon

I had the opportunity yesterday to view an exhibition of drawings by the famous John Lennon, appropriately entitled So This Is Xmas. I think my father's comment sums up my sentiments quite well--"Had these been done by anyone other than John Lennon, they would have been dismissed as scribbles." Much of the work present at the exhibition was of an almost childlike quality, but perhaps this is what makes it so endearing to Lennon's myriad fans. The importance of these drawings is not that they are necessarily great art, but that they represent a glimpse into the private life and mind of one of the most influential cultural icons of the twentieth century. That such a variety of age groups were in attendance at the exhibition speaks volumes about the extent of Lennon's impact on popular culture.

Also viewable at the exhibition were lyrics to several of Lennon's best-known songs, as written by the man himself. Prints of both the drawings and the lyrics were available for sale, along with some originals--the most expensive item available could be purchased for a scant $22,000.

I admit that I'm not much of a fan of The Beatles (or, for that matter, any of the various solo projects that sprouted from that band), but I can still appreciate the monumental impact that the four Englishmen with bad haircuts had on the development of popular music.

23 November 2007

The Late Thanksgiving Post

Varg Vikernes and his beloved kitty Heinrich wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

20 November 2007

Separated at Birth?

This was recently brought to my attention on the Klaus Nomi LJ community.

Gloria Swanson, from the famous final scene of Sunset Boulevard...

...and Klaus Nomi, from the cover of the album Simple Man. The resemblance is uncanny.

19 November 2007

The Art of Grimness, Ep. 2

It (also known as Tony Särkkä, the Black Metal midget), the evil genius behind Sweden's Abruptum, described by Euronymous as the "audial essence of pure black evil". That's some mighty high praise. Image originally found here.

18 November 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 2

Anita Page in period football garb on the cover of the December 1928 issue of Motion Picture magazine. Perhaps the Chicago Bears ought to give her a call. Granted, she's pushing 100 these days, but it's not as thought she could do any worse than Rex Grossman.

The Art of Grimness, Ep. 1

Euronymous, Dead and Necrobutcher of Mayhem engage in some stage blood-soaked shenanigans. Image found on Last.fm.

16 November 2007

Album art that was better than the actual Music, Ep. 2

Manowar - Gods of War (2007)

Manowar has been a mainstay of traditional Heavy Metal since their debut in 1981. This fact is certainly not lost on the band, since they've taken the liberty of crowning themselves the kings of metal, an office which they take very, very seriously. Sure it's campy as all hell, but so long as Manowar kept cranking out solid releases fans were willing to play along. Their latest opus, Gods of War, oozes with Heavy Metal cliches--warriors rippling with muscle, buxom women, swords and dragons. Sadly, the music isn't nearly as exciting. From beginning to end, Gods of War is full of the blustery hoopla we've come to expect from Manowar, only this time around it's just a wee bit too much--and at just under and hour and a quarter, it's much longer than it ought to be. But on the plus side, the album is dedicated entirely to Odin, and "King of Kings" is truly a solid song.

15 November 2007

Relevant to my Interests, Ep. 1

Joan Crawford on the set of Grand Hotel. Image mercilessly pilfered from This is Cinemelo.

13 November 2007

Shadows of The Sun

Few bands are less predictable than Ulver. Their music has ranged from the primal Black Metal of Nattens Madrigal to the idyllic Folk of Kveldssanger to the dissonant electronic experimentation of Blood Inside. Ulver continues their time-honored tradition of breaking with tradition with their latest release, Shadows of the Sun.

This time around, Garm and company have presented us with a quiet, melancholic and down-tempo opus; it sounds like nothing so much as a darkened evolution of Sigur Ros. This, I assure you is a good thing. While it may be nigh on impossible to discern individual notes within these songs, the emotional punch that Ulver's array of ambient sound packs is nonetheless potent--indeed, it is in that sense comparable to Kveldssanger, though Shadows of the Sun is entirely electronic.

Each soung on the album seems to flow into the next ("All the Love", for example, transitions seamlessly into "Like Music"). Each contributes to the album's atmosphere of gloom and sadness while at the same time maintaining its own unique aura. "Eos," "Vigil" and "Solitude" (a cover of Black Sabbath's homonymous song from 1971's Master of Reality) are among the standout tracks, the latter being a particularly poignant variation on the original version.

Though it will surely appeal to fans of Ulver's later material more than those who favor the band's earlier work, Shadows of the Sun is an excellent album, and well worth repeated listenings.

03 November 2007

Album Art that was better than the actual Music, Ep. 1

Oftentimes, there will come along an album that looks great on the outside. Then one gets around to actually listening to the music, and one realizes that the album art was better than the actual music. In this series I'll be sampling of just a few albums that fall into that category.

Dimmu Borgir - In Sorte Diaboli (2007)

One could probably cite any of Dimmu Borgir's work from the past decade, but the dichotomy between the quality of the art and the music is most stark on Demon Burger's latest effort. In Sorte Diaboli showcased some of the best graphic design of any album in the past year, featuring a nifty rendition of the ever-popular Baphomet, but in the end it's just more of the same overblown, strident shtick that they've been pulling since Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. At the very least, Dimmu Borgir have finally moved away from the whole "throw three random words together to make an album title" thing they were doing for years.

25 October 2007

The End of Gorgoroth?

Citing personal and creative differences, Gaahl, King ov Hell and Infernus of Gorgoroth have elected to part ways. Or, perhaps more accurately, King and Gaahl have decided to part ways with Infernus. This is according to news posted on the band's website on 22 October. This development, however, may not mean the end of Gorgoroth, as I and many like me originally feared; King and Gaahl have stated their intention to go forward with Gorgoroth's planned European tour, and to continue working together, according to a statement posted on 24 October.

Earlier today, Gorgoroth's two remaining members announced plans to join forces in 2008 with Hellhammer, who has probably played drums for half the bands in Norway by now. I have to wonder why they didn't try to recruit Frost, who was the batterist on Gorgoroth's most recent album. I'll bet he was too busy dicking around in Satyricon to be bothered. Kvitrafn would also have been a good choice, since he has played with Gorgoroth in the past, and works with King in Jotunspor.

At any rate, it's good to know that Gorgoroth is still kicking, regardless of who's pounding the drums.

16 October 2007

Dark Funeral Live DVD Now Available

Swedish Black Metal outfit Dark Funeral have released their first live DVD, entitle Attera Orbis Terrarum Part I. And quite a DVD it is; it features 39 songs from three different shows, among numerous other goodies. One has to wonder what Part II will entail! In keeping with true Dark Funeral fashion, the cover art is also pretty cool.

A trailer for the DVD is available on YouTube. This coincides nicely with the band's current tour of the United States (though, as is often the case, they've neglected to pay a visit to Seattle).

14 October 2007

Dentists, Like Lawyers, all go to Hell

From the New York Times:

Dentists’ incomes have grown faster than that of the typical American and the incomes of medical doctors. Formerly poor relations to physicians, American dentists in general practice made an average salary of $185,000 in 2004, the most recent data available. That figure is similar to what non-specialist doctors make, but dentists work far fewer hours. Dental surgeons and orthodontists average more than $300,000 annually.
Ah, I knew there was a reason I didn't like dentists. Aside from all the drilling and ceaseless injunctions to floss more, I mean. On the other hand, I have been considering getting my teeth whitened.

12 October 2007

Back In Business

I've been out of commission for a week or so while trying to get my computer up and running after installing some new parts. It took some time (and a fair bit of money, to boot), but now that that's taken care of, I can resume telling you things you probably already knew.

02 October 2007

Metalocalypse Season One DVD Out Today

Season one of the animated series Metalocalypse--the most brutal show in the history of ever--is available on DVD today. Of course, most people already know that by now (or at least they should.) There isn't much else that needs to be said. Go buy it. Now.

01 October 2007

New Ulver Album Out Today

Ulver's latest album, Shadows of the Sun, will be released today. I can't be entirely sure until I've actually heard the album, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be damn good. It is Ulver, after all. Some tracks from the album have been available for preview listening on Ulver's myspace, so go give them a listen if you're interested (as you should be.)

Hopefully I'll be getting a copy of this album soon.

30 September 2007

News From Taake

I know I'm about two weeks late reporting this, but Ulvhedin Hoest, the driving force behind the Black Metal outfit Taake, has posted some news concerning his release from jail and a forthcoming album on the Taake website:
There`s been a lot of rumours and misunderstandings lately, so to make things a bit more clear: This was my 3rd incarceration for violence... All material for the next Taake album has been complete for a while and will be recorded as soon as possible.
No news as to what the new album will be called, though. At any rate, hopefully Hoest and company will be able to make it stateside soon...

29 September 2007

Darkthrone's F.O.A.D. Leaks

hot on the heels of the leak of the N.W.B.H.M. (New Wave of Black Heavy Metal) EP, Darkthrone's forthcoming LP, entitled F.O.A.D., is now floating around the internet. The album's title is an acronym for Fuck off and Die, and according to the reactions of fans of traditional Black Metal, it continues in the punk-infused vein of The Cult is Alive. Maybe not what fans of old-school Darkthrone were hoping for.

At least the album cover is cool, right?

New Horna 7" EP Leaks

Pimeyden Hehku, the latest effort from the extremely prolific Finnish Black Metal outfit Horna, has leaked, as is currently making the rounds on the various music blogs around the world. It shouldn't be too hard to find for all you muisc pirates out there.