Saturday, May 7, 2022

Stuck in my Head: Gloryhammer, "Fly Away"


A great deal of turmoil has descended upon the Kingdom of Fife since last we heard from Gloryhammer.

In the summer of 2021, the band unceremoniously fired vocalist Thomas Winkler with a brief, matter-of-fact social-media post just as live music was beginning to make a comeback. Shortly after that firing, a leaked chat transcript revealed some juvenile and offensive chatter between remaining members of the band that included racist and misogynistic jokes. An evil cloud descended upon the land, and it seemed that the former heroes might not be able to save it this time.

OK, I make a little light of what was a serious situation on both fronts. Winkler was an integral part of the band’s sound and was the absolute perfect frontman to take on the role of their main character Angus McFife. Obviously, I don’t need to explain the seriousness of the other charges.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Review: Zeal & Ardor, "Zeal & Ardor"

When a band gets classified as black metal, that’s usually going to be a hard pass. The label conjures up a certain stereotype, I suppose, that just doesn’t appeal to me. I imagine an album that sounds like it was captured on a shoebox recorder in someone’s basement, guitars that sound like angry bees and a guy in corpse paint screaming in an incoherent rasp about Satan. I expect songs that are linear with little melody and certainly nothing so mundane as a chorus or hook.

Yes, I know that’s a broad generalization of the genre and not truly representative of everything it contains, but that’s what immediately comes to mind.

There are plenty of exceptions, but none quite as exceptional as Zeal & Ardor. In fact, I wouldn’t call them black metal at all, but that seems to be the general consensus. There are elements of the music present, certainly, with occasional buzzing guitars and screams, and there’s the general disdain for religion that permeates black-metal lyrics. But there’s so much more at play here, including blues, soul and, strangely enough, a heavy gospel influence.