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Episode 17 -  The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown


From Kabuki theater to the war paint of Scottish warriors, from the Mexican Dia de Muertos to the corpse paint of Black Metal, make-up, especially if it is outrageous, has always been a means of incarnating someone else, even of someone else. reach a superego. In rock, two characters will lay the foundations  of this dramatization: Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Arthur Brown.


The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown was formed in England in 1967.  Arthur Brown is an outstanding singer, his voice spanning 4 octaves. Like many psychedelic groups of the time, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown seeks to visually mark the spirits. But it is an accident that will be at the origin of what will become their trademark  : during a concert as part of the Windsor Festival in 1967, Arthur Brown wears a methanol-soaked dish rack as his headgear  ; by accident, the flammable liquid catches fire, before being fortunately and quickly extinguished. The singer shows only a few burns, but the public remains amazed at the performance, thinking it perfectly thought out. Also the singer is working successfully on a helmet that he can ignite on stage, as well as on a white and black make-up which must reinforce the disturbing aspect of the whole  ; the rest of the group adopts the hood (note  : kisses black people  😂). The end result is up to par, and attracts the attention of Pete Townshend (guitarist of The Who) and his manager, Kit Lambert, who sign The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown on the Track label. They then produced the group's first single "  Fire  », which became a huge interplanetary hit as soon as it was released in June 1968 (1st  English charts, 2nd  of the American Billboard, 1st  of the Canadian top). Side B is a cover of the "  I Put A Spell On You  by Screamin' Jay Hawkins  ; it's definitely not a coincidence.


In September 1968, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown released their first self-titled album, which met with great success, which led them to share the bill with Joe Cocker, the Small Faces and the Who. But dissensions arise within the group during the American tour. As for 1969, Track will refuse “  Stangelands  », the second album even more experimental than the first (it will finally be released in 1988), the group is completely falling apart. Drummer Carl Palmer leaves to form Atomic Roster (will follow Emerson, Lake & Palmer then Asia) in the company of keyboardist Vincent Crane, Sean Nicholas Greenwood joins Khan and Arthur Brown launches into Strangelands, then Kingdom Come (nothing to do however with the metal band of the 80s).


If I speak to you about the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown today, it is because its influence on the future of the Metal scene is enormous. If Bruce Dickinson and Ozzy Osbourne have mentioned the colossal influence that Arthur Brown's performances had on them, it is above all a certain Vincent Collier Furnier aka Alice Cooper who will be most marked by Arthur Brown  ; so he draws a lot of inspiration from English and his make-up to create his stage character. And without Alice Cooper, no Kiss, and without Kiss, no Mercyful Fate (King Diamond) and without Mercyful Fate, probably no Dead, who will reintroduce heavy makeup when he leaves Morbid to join Mayhem (even if in the case of the latter, the body paint has a more philosophical and symbolic value than theatrical)… And without all this mess, probably no Ghost.


Many Metal bands have taken up or sampled the "  Fire  from Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. You will find in link an absolutely non-exhaustive list of examples.


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : Nope


The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown “Fire” (Top Of The Pops 1968)  :

Cathedral “Fire”:

Cirith Ungol “Fire”:

Ozzy Osbourne “Fire”:

Die Krupps “Fire”:

Ghost Of War “Fire”:

The Prodigy “Fire” (sample):

Marilyn Manson “Lunchbox” (sample):

Screamin Jay Hawkins “I Put A Spell On You”:


A last one for the road…  The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown “Fire Poem / Fire” (This Is Tom Jones TV Show, March 14, 1969… Simply mind-blowing performance):


Episode 16 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky “  Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35  »


Those who know me a little must have heard of my love for classical music (a term that I hate, but that I always find less worse than that of highbrow music). What a link between classical and metal  ? If there is a binary genre that borrows at the melodic or formal level from classical music, it is Metal. From the solo of "  metalheart  from Accept taken from  The Bagatelle in A minor, WoO 59, “The Letter to Elise” by Beethoven at the “  Vltava  » from Cult Of Fire taking up the theme of Moldau by Bedrich Smetana, the melodic borrowings were numerous  ; only Serge Gainsbourg and John Williams have done the same. In terms of form, we could of course evoke the work of Septicflesh, some of whose albums are composed like symphonies, or a number of Black Metal titles, a genre that more than any other has unknowingly restored its letters of nobility to the art of running away.  


Finally, how not to evoke the triton, described in the Middle Ages as "  Diabolus In Musica  »  (the Devil in the music)  ? This interval of three tones (augmented fourth, not to be confused with the diminished fifth interval, made up of 2 tones and 2 semitones) generates expectation or tension for the listener, unlike a perfect fourth which produces an effect conclusive and soothing also called resolution. The particularity of this interval of three tones is that its only resolution is itself. This unpleasant interval effect was all the more present since, unlike today, the instruments of the Middle Ages were not tempered. Also, its use, considered diabolical because of the physical tension it generates, was strictly prohibited in religious music, under penalty of excommunication. The tritone is today the basic chord used in Metal, which greatly explains the unbearable side of the genre for some, or its perfectly addictive side for others.  ; the fact of loving or hating Metal is therefore perhaps not only a question of culture and taste, but also a response, if not an aptitude, perfectly physiological.


So it would be in good taste for the Metal lover, in his capacity to be broken into a certain aesthetic and physical requirement, to sometimes lean, in addition to music theory,  on the classical repertoire. And why not start with my favorite work of all, the violin concerto in D major, opus 35 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ? I assume this arbitrary choice perfectly, because it is the advantage of being independent  : I do what I want (and that's archi Trve).


We are in 1877. Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky is recovering with difficulty from his failed marriage with Antonia Miliukova, and from the suicide attempt that followed. The composer, who aspires to the highest echelons of very hierarchical Russian music, is hopelessly gay, and this is not acceptable to him or his peers. So he decides to flee to Clarens, Switzerland, in the company of his brother Modeste. The goal is to move on, to finish the orchestration of his fourth symphony, as well as the writing of his opera Eugène Onéguine  ; apart from these technical works, Tchaikovsky is out of inspiration, and absolutely does not succeed in finishing his second piano sonata, which he had started writing a few months earlier. This exasperates him, and melancholy seizes him.

On March 14, 1878, the impromptu visit of his former pupil and  violinist Josef Kotek, then 23 years old, will awaken his creativity. If it is difficult to determine with certainty whether the two men will become lovers, we know that they spent a very long time deciphering the Spanish Symphony for Orchestra and Violin by Edouard Lalo. The discovery of this work prompted Tchaikovsky to abandon his second piano sonata to concentrate on the composition of his first violin concerto. If Tchaikovsky had never written for violin before, it was simply because  that he did not master the instrument  ; but there, being able to rely on his brother Modeste and the valuable technical advice of Kotek, he got down to work. In just 11 days, he finished the score, and in two weeks, he completed the orchestration. A flash.

Euphoric, Tchaikovsky presents his work to Kotek and Modeste  ; if both are enthusiastic about the first movement, the Allegro Moderato in D major, they are very critical or even acerbic with regard to the second, the Andante. Far from blocking Tchaikovsky, these irrevocable remarks will decide him to completely rewrite the Andante (but he will not discard the original page for all that, since he will integrate it later under the title "  Meditation  "to his cycle"  Memory of a dear place  ")  ; in the end, the Conzonetta Andante in G minor that we know today, even if it is less spectacular than the first movement of the same concerto, is undoubtedly one of the most touching and melancholic scores of the composer.

Logic would have dictated that Tchaikovsky would dedicate his work to Josef Kotek and ask him to be its first performer.  ; but the two men are afraid of what will be said, and anyway, Tchaikovsky needs a star for his return to Vienna, the one he had in mind at the time of the composition, the violinist Leopold Auer, to whom he imprudently dedicates the work. On reading the latter, Auer refused to perform it, judging it unplayable, not without telling Tchaikovsky that he would study it before adding it to his repertoire (which he actually did in 1893, after many corrections  ; thus there are two scores of the violin concerto, the Brodsky and the Auer).

Annoyed, deprived of his star, Tchaikovsky withdrew his dedication to Auer to give it to Adolf Brodsky, a violinist whom he knew well, since he was the creator of his Melancholy Serenade in Moscow in 1876. does not have the aura that the composer imagined  ; if we have to make a comparison as absurd as it is unfair, it's like dreaming of Gojira feat Slash at 11 p.m. on Saturday on the Mainstage to finally end up with Gojira feat. Jean Michel Ledoux, honest guitar teacher in Vezoul, still on the Mainstage, but on Sundays at 5:00 p.m.

November 22, 1881 (or December 4  ; there is indeed a doubt about the exact date of the premiere, the archives of the Vienna Opera having disappeared in the fire which ravaged the building on March 12, 1945) the work is presented under the direction of Hans Richter, and the critical reaction is unanimously catastrophic. Edouard Hanslik, the most renowned and listened-to critic of the time, wrote  even: "We no longer play the violin, we tear it to pieces, we beat it up", going so far as to speak of a "music that we hear stink. »

… But the public did not care, and the work began to have a certain success, until the apotheosis, its interpretation by Leopold Aueur in 1893, a few weeks before Tchaikovsky's death. Since then, this concerto, reputed to be the most difficult work ever created for the violin, has become a legendary score, a must for any soloist who aspires to stand out from the crowd.


Best interpretations  :


Maxim Vengerov, Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Claudio Abbado

Nathan Milstein, Wiener Philharmoniker, conducted by Claudio Abbado

David Oistarkh, The Phildelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy

Anne-Sophie Mutter, Wiener Philharmoniker under the direction of her husband, André Previn


Hardest interpretation  :


Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Musicaeterna under the direction of Teodor Currentzis


Crushs  :


Janine Jansen, Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding

Joshua Bell, The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Askhenazy


To read  : “  Tchaikovsky  » by Jérôme Bastianelli published by Actes Sud / Classica


Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto, Janine Jansen, Orchester de Paris conducted by Paavo Jarvi on January 21, 2015 (concert yours truly had the chance to attend  ; I saw the concerto performed by Joshua Bell, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lisa Batiashvili, Hilary Hahn, and quite a few others too, but for some reason that I still can't explain, only this concert saw me finish in tears  ; enjoy)  :


Accept “  metalheart  »  (check the solo at the third minute):

"Cult Of Fire"  Vltava  »


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : serious  ?

Available at the shop  : no, but orderable


Episode 15 -  William S. Burroughs & Kurt Cobain “The “Priest” They Called Him”


In the summer of 93 a UFO came out in relative discretion, the result of a slightly crazy idea born in the mind of the leader of Nirvana, then in the firmament  : a collaboration between the icon of Grunge and the legendary poet and novelist William S. Burroughs (1914-1997, key figure of the Beat Generation alongside his friends Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg).


Like many teenagers, Kurt Cobain became a Burroughs fan in high school. The author of "  naked feast  ", of "  The soft machine  » or even «  Queer  will have an indisputable influence on Cobain's future work  : this very quirky tone, these hallucinated universes which nevertheless are anchored in a certain reality, this very pronounced taste for provocation, often with a background of sometimes grating humor... Many things in Cobain's writing are reminiscent of Burroughs, if it is not the homosexual theme, omnipresent in the poet's work and very little mentioned by Cobain (except with "  All Apologies  »  ; I invite you to re-read the lyrics). Above all, and this is the saddest part, the two men have a common passion for heroin.


In 1992, Kurt Cobain contacted Burroughs, then aged 78, to offer him a collaboration. For only answer, William S. Burroughs sends him an audio recording of his short story "  Junky's Christmas  », originally published in 1973 in the collection «  Exterminator  ". Two months later, Kurt Cobain will add guitars, but the result will remain unpublished. 

The two eventually meet briefly in Lawrence, Kansas, where Burroughs lives.  ; they then decide to produce  Tea "  priest  » They Called Him  », a spoken words version of «  Junky's Christmas  ". The story is that of a heroin addict who seeks his fix on Christmas Eve.  ; the sequel – which involves a leather suitcase, severed legs, a craving Mexican, and death – is pure Burroughs.


William S. Burroughs will record his part in September 1992 in Lawrence  ; in November, Kurt Cobain will record the guitar in one take in Seattle. The end result is an object that is relatively uncomfortable to listen to, but quite fascinating. The packaging is too  ; the first pressing is a hand-numbered 10'' picture disc, and the second pressing is a more traditional 10''  ; the two versions have in common to have a blank B side, just autographed in the mass by the two protagonists  ; it should also be noted that Kurt will choose for the occasion to sign with his full name Kurtis Donald Cohbaine. Go figure why, I find it moving.

The cover photo is by Mark Trunz, the portrait of Burrough on the back is by Gus Van Sant (the director of "  Drug Store Cowboy  “immortalizing Burroughs… There is definitely no coincidence)… Finally, know that the gentleman in the photo on the cover in the role of “  priest  is none other than Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic.


If many authors and poets have written songs for others (starting with Prévert), recorded collaborations seem to me rarer.  Only that of Irvin Welsh with Primal Scream in 1996 (“  The Big Man And The Scream Team Meet The Barmy Army Uptown”) comes to mind.  If you know of any others, please share them with me.  !


William S. Burroughs & Kurt Cobain “The “Priest” They Called Him”:


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : Nope

Available at the shop  : Nope


Episode 14 - Roger Glover & Guests "The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast”


The history of music is dotted with works that caused a scandal before becoming a school (Stravinsky "  The Rite of Spring  "), B-sides intended for oblivion which the public will make hits (Indochine "  I asked the moon  "), surviving titles that have become classics (The White Stripes "  Seven Nation Army  "), non-executive titles at the commercial level that have become enormous successes (Queen "  Bohemian Rhapsody  "Underworld"  Born Slippy  ”)…


And there are also cursed works. Those who faced all the headwinds, those whose failure, even abandonment, was predictable, but which ultimately became classics. We could of course evoke the Concerto for violin and orchestra in D major, op. 35 by Tchaikovsky or even the “  De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas  » from Mayhem, but today, due to the end of the year celebrations, I decided to tell you about a children's story, the «  Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast  by Roger Glover & Alan Altridge.


In 1971, Alan Altridge, a genius illustrator, famous for his "  Beatles Illustrated Lyrics  “or even the cover of”  A Quick One  ” of the Who, imagine a story for children, “  The Butterfly Ball & The Grasshopper's Feast  inspired by an 1807 poem by William Roscoe. He will enlist the services of the poet William Plomer in order to put his ideas into words. Altridge has a lot of ambition for his project  ; he imagines a book, an animated film and of course the related soundtrack.


We are in 1973. Roger Glover (co-author, among others, of “  Smoke On The Water  ), on hiatus from Deep Purple, decided to focus on production. He has just produced Nazareth and an obscure American group, Elf, where a certain Ronnie James Dio officiates. 

Although not the first choice of Alan Altridge (the latter had approached Pink Floyd), Roger Glover is so keen to tackle the soundtrack of the future cartoon that he will end up getting the job, thanks in particular to the intervention of Tony Edwards (manager of Deep Purple) and a certain John Craig (of British Lion Film, producer of the cartoon in the making).  


First difficulty and not least  : William Plomer died on September 21, 1973  ; it then becomes impossible to modify his texts to adapt them to the music.


Second difficulty, specific to commissioned work  : Glover must adapt to Altridge's vision  ; the latter asks him to be inspired by the Beatles and Benjamin Britten, which Glover will do. Thereby, "  love is all  "Doesn't he coincidentally sound like the"  All You Need Is Love  » The Beatles  ; it was perfectly deliberate and even willed.


Third difficulty, gathering a cast, sufficiently uninhibited to tackle a work intended for young people. Fortunately, Glover is a network man, and he knows he can rely on his friends. Will participate in the project  (not to name them all, but excuse me):


  • Ronnie James Dio (Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio)

  • Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Black Country Communion)

  • David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake)

  • Eddie Hardin (The Spencer David Group)

  • Michael Giles (King Crimson)

  • Mickey Lee Soule (Elf)

  • The Binks (Fancy, Judas Priest)

  • John Lawton (Uriah Heep)

  • Eddie Jobson (Jethro Tull, Roxy Music, Yes, Frank Zappa)

  • Tony Ashton (Paice, Ashton & Lord) 

  • Johnny Gustatfon (The Big Three, Quatermass)

  • Barry St John (The Big Six, The Humphreys Singers, but also the female voices of the "  Dark Side Of The Moon  by Pink Floyd)


Last difficulty, and not least  : if there is a 3-minute extract illustrating the song "  love is all  (sung by Dio), the oil crisis hits the British economy so hard that British Lion Film abandons production of the cartoon. Certainly, there remains the book, but at the time, selling the soundtrack of a book is not frankly a very widespread habit. The album was released on November 18, 1974 and will obviously be a semi-commercial failure (semi, because things will happen in Europe, and more particularly in France, as we will see later).


Determined not to stop there, Glover and Altridge have the crazy project of bringing the project to the stage in London, at the Royal Albert Hall, which they will do in September 1975. The actor Vincent Price (the voice in intro and out of the "  Thriller  by Michael Jacskon) will act as narrator... But Froggy, one of the key characters in the story, played on the disc by Dio, poses a problem  ; indeed, the singer has recently joined Rainbow, and Ritchie Blackmore formally forbids him to participate in the concert. Dio will therefore be replaced by a woman, the delicious Twiggy, muse of Swinging London, the first supermodel in modern history. A film will be taken from this concert, which Glover will disown, the production having decided to intersperse the images of the show with apparently very old-fashioned, even downright embarrassing scenes played (I say "  apparently  because I personally have not seen the film).


In France, the project will have an astonishing resonance, and will leave a lasting mark on an entire generation. French television in 1975 was made up of 3 state channels  : TF1, Antenna 2 and FR3. Antenne 2 is then the official broadcaster of programs intended for young people  ; the channel decides to acquire the rights to the “demo” cartoon  ” 3 minutes from “  Butterfly Ball  », «  love is all  », to use it as an interlude during antenna cuts (technical problems were commonplace at the time). The perfectly random broadcast of the program for years will make it a moment awaited by all the kids in France, and today a gigantic Proust madeleine. For the record, Sacha Distel will make a French adaptation of "  love is all  », which will be classified, as well as the original, in the top 10 of the best sales of 45rpm in France for the year 1975.


Ronnie James Dio "Love Is All"  :

Sacha Distel “All the same” 

(cover of "Love Is All")  :


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : Nope


Episode 13  - Jack Off Jill "Wet Teenage Mediocrity -

A Collection Of Early YOG Recordings 1992-1996”


I will be frank  ; I wondered for quite a long time about the relevance of evoking Jack Off Jill, and it was the rereading of the liner notes of this compilation signed by a certain Marylin Manson that finally convinced me to do so. Even if Jack Off Jill (whom I have always considered a relatively mediocre sub Hole) has never fascinated me, it is clear that I am in no way omniscient, and that probably Marilyn Manson or even Robert Smith (The Cure) can't have been that wrong about Jessicka Adams…


In 1992, Jessicka Adams and Tenni 'Ah-Cha-Cha  Arslanyan trained Jack In Jill at Piper High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The same year, they found themselves somewhat by chance opening at the Five Plus Lounge for another local group, Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kids. Manson fell in love and decided to take Jack In Jill under his wing  ; his first recommendation will be to change the name of the group from Jack In Jill to Jack Off Jill. 

Marilyn Manson produced their demos (collected in particular on the pretext disc for this column), took them in the first part, and the notoriety of the group grew enough for Jack Off Jill to be offered the support of Joan Jett, L7 or even Silverfish.  


From 1992 to 1996, Jack Off Jill self-produced a handful of singles and four albums (“  Children 5 And Up  “, produced by Marylin Manson, “The Boygrinder Session”, “Cannibal Songbook”, co-produced with Marilyn Manson and finally “Cockroach Waltz  ”)… But will not end up signing on a label (Risk Records) until 1997  ; in September of that same year will be released “  Sexless Demons & Scars  (produced by Don Fleming, leader of Gumball, producer of Sonic Youth, Hole or even the Screaming Trees), which did not meet with the expected success. will follow “  Covetous Creature  », an EP of remixes produced with the help of Scott Putesky, better known as SMP (founding member of Marilyn Manson). In April 2000, Jack Off Jill will play his last concert on the stage of the Troubadour in Los Angeles.


In 2012, Jessicka Adams will form Scarling.  Robert Smith (The Cure) will say of Scarling "  dark, desperate, chaotic, beautiful pop music, the sound of the end of the world  »  ; he even invited them to join the Curiosa tour in 2004. Scarling is still active today.


In 2015, Jack Off Jill will meet for 5 concerts (including London and Manchester), before disappearing completely.


For the record, Jessicka Adams will form in 1993 with Marilyn Manson, Madonna Wayne Gacy, Daisy Berkowitz and Jordie White (Amboog-A-Lard) the Mrs. Scabtree, who will play two gigs in Florida and will compose 3 titles, including the famous "  Herpes  ”, now unfairly attributed to the Spooky Kids.


Finally, in terms of sordid news items, in May 2017, Jessicka Adams will denounce Twiggy Ramirez (bassist of Marylin Manson) for a rape committed in 1997.  


Jack Off Jill "My Cat"  :

Mrs. Scabtree “Herpes”:

Scarling “Sweet Heart Dealer”:


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : Nope


Episode 11 -  Twilight


Many of you probably know Sonic Youth and its leader Thurston Moore. But did you know that Thurston was a connoisseur of the Black Metal scene, and even an activist of the latter?  ? Not only do we owe him the publication of  Death Archives  by Necrobutcher by Mayhem (now translated into French and available in the shop), the Mayhem exhibition held in London a few years ago, but also a number of articles as scholarly as they are interesting on the subject ( look on the web). It is not for nothing that he was asked to testify in the report "  Blue White Satan  » devoted to the French Black Metal scene  ; the gentleman is an expert on the subject. But did you know that he was also an actor in the scene  ? Nope  ? So I invite you to discover Twilight (don't look in the credits, he doesn't appear there, but he has been a member of the group since 2012, where he officiates as a guitarist).


Twilight is an American Black Metal supergroup, which will count in its ranks members of Xhastur, Draugar, Leviathan, Nachmystium, Lichens, Isis, Krieg, Lurcher Of Salice, The Atlas Moth and therefore Sonic Youth.


Founded in 2005, under the impetus of the Swedish label Total Holocaust Records, Twilight released an eponymous first album in the process, which far from being a patchwork is a kind of concentrate of the best of each group. The album will be recorded by letter, each member sending 4-track cassettes to each other, which the receiver enriches with his work before forwarding them to another (this was a very common practice in the Nordic Black Metal scene in the 90s). Metal Hammer has since considered this album as a fundamental opus of the American Black Metal scene.

In 2009, the group reformed, with a major cast change, and in 2010 released their second album, "  Monument To Time End  “, as good and captivating as the first (from my point of view).

In the summer of 2012, Thurston Moore joined Twilight, and a third album was released in 2014, "  III  : Beneath Trident's Tomb  ". It is once again a success.

The band left us without news for many years, until the digital release of an EP, "  Trident Death Rattle  on April 6, 2018… We can therefore keep hope for a future Twilight album…


Important precision  : even if you're not a fan of Black Metal, lean on Twilight… Less austere and arid than many bands of the genre, what characterizes Twilight is an innate sense of melody and influences of Doom, Trash and Death Metal, making the project accessible, even to novices.


"Twilight"  Swarming Funeral Mass  »  :

Just for fun… Sonic Youth “100%”:


In the Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : yes


Episode 12 - The Soft Pink Truth "Why Do The Heathen Rage?" – Electronic Profanations of Black Metal Classics” (2014)


Yesterday, I revealed to you that Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth was involved in the Black Metal scene. He's not the only non-executive musician to take an interest in the genre, the proof today with Drew Daniel (Matmos) and his project The Soft Pink Truth.


First of all, Drew Daniel is a member alongside MS Schmidt of Matmos, an experimental electro duo, militant of the homosexual cause, to whom we owe albums like "  A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure  » (2001), composed only of sounds sampled in operating theaters (which will be followed by «  California Rhinoplasty EP  “, made up from … I’m sure you guessed it), or lately “  Ultimate Care II  (2015), retracing a washing machine cycle. Matmos will produce “  Vespertine  for Björk in 2001. I'm not going to dwell on Matmos any further, but don't hesitate to come and ask me questions if the subject interests you.


In 2003, Drew Daniel founded The Soft Pink Truth, following a challenge from another great name in electronic music, Matthew Herbert  : “  Drew, you can't produce a house music album  ". In 2003, the fantastic “  Do You Party  ?  » (as for Mayhem, Kiss or even Motörhead, I claim my absolute right to subjectivity and bad faith when it comes to Matmos), followed in 2004 by «  Do You Want New Wave. Or Do You Want The Soft Pink Truth  ?  ".


We will have to wait 10 years and the year of grace 2014 to see The Soft Pink Truth reappear with the album that interests us today, “  Why Do The Heathen Rage  ?  », an album of covers of Black Metal standards with an electronic sauce. I knew Drew Daniel was a big fan of the genre (we had heated discussions on the subject when I worked with Matmos in the early 2000s), but I didn't think he could take the leap. In the middle of covers of Venom, Sarcófago, Sargeist, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Beherit or Hellhammer, three titles are on the sidelines  ; first of all "  Summon For Strength  (here declaimed by Antony of Antony & The Johnsons), which is a poem by Moonrose Shaundel Angeles that appeared in the "  Witchcraft And The Gay Counterculture  » by Arthur Evan, then «  Let There Be Ebola Frost  (from pure Daniels)  and finally "  Grim And Frostbidden Gay Bar  which is a Black Metal parody by Impaled Northern Moonforest (a side project of Seth Putman, founder of Anal Cunt). The booklet is not lacking in interest either, especially the text "  Confession Of A Former Burzum T-Shirt Wearer  ".

A title however will not appear on the album, Thrill Jockey, the label of Soft Pink Truth having refused it for ideological reason  : the resumption of  Rundtgåing Av Den Transcendentale Egenbetens Støtte  by Burzum (which will however be available online for some time before disappearing)  ; we have the right to regret it bitterly.


I can hear the Trve from here screaming desecration… Drew Daniel expected it, hence the subtitle given to the album “  Electronic Profanations of Black Metal Classics  », as well as the choice to dedicate the album to the memory of Magne Andreassen (the homosexual murdered by Faust d'Emperor on August 21, 1992 in Lillehammer). 

You guys haven't understood that Black Metal is transgressive and as such, it has the right, if not the duty, to be itself transgressed  and questioned?


"Why Do The Heathen Rage?" is anything but a schoolboy joke; it's a vibrant homage and an abyssal perspective of Black Metal, signed by a true enthusiast of the genre. It's a shame if some don't understand it...


PS  : once is not custom, it's not a rotten photo taken with my phone, but a scan which illustrates this subject… History that you can better appreciate the details of the cover.


The Soft Pink Truth “Black Metal”:


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : no, but orderable


Episode 10 -  Hanoi Rocks “Back To Mystery City”


From the Metal Glam wave of the 80s, if there is a group that is unfairly forgotten, or that is remembered for the wrong reasons, it is Hanoi Rocks.


For some obscure reason, the majority of French hardos of the 80s were convinced that Hanoi Rocks was an American group. It was nothing. Founded in 1979 in Finland, in Helsinki more precisely, by Michael Monroe (real name  Matti AnteroKristian Fagerholm,  vocals) and Andy McCoy (Antti Hulkko for Vital Statistics,  guitar), Hanoï Rocks immediately developed strong ambitions.


After a first album,  Bangkok Shocks Saigon  Shakes Hanoï Rocks” (1981) rather successful, the group decided to settle in London in 1982, in order to take off their international career. Incidentally, they saw their historic drummer (Gyp Casino) to enlist the services of Englishman Nicholas "  Razzle  Dingley. Great good has taken them. The albums "  Oriental Beats  (1982) and  Self Destruction Blues  (1983) stood out, and without becoming a stadium machine, Hanoi Rocks managed to tour India or even Japan.


In May 1983, the band released "  Back To Mystery City  », a very great disc (for me their best), produced by two ex Mott The Hoople, Dale Griffin and Pete Watts. Even if there is a certain lightness and a lot of fun in this album (see "  Malibu Beach Nightmare  “), it is perfectly mastered, the Alice Cooper/New York Dolls influences are digested, and the songs are chiseled. 

The public is not mistaken (the album will rank 87th  in England, 64th  in Japan and 6th  in Finland)… And the criticism is not left out, already at the time and even more over time  : the German monthly Rock Hard ranked “  Back To Mystery City  » at the 293rd  ranking of the 500 greatest rock and metal albums of all time  ; in 2006, the album will also appear in a good position in the famous "  1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die  by Robert Dimery.


All this fuss will eventually persuade CBS to sign Hanoi Rocks. 

In early 1984, the group flew to the United States, and in August of the same year released "  Two Steps From The Move  », produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice Cooper…). More metal than its predecessor, the album is made to conquer the world. For the little story, know that it's from the title "  Underwater World  » that a very big fan of Hanoi Rocks, a certain Axl Rose, will draw the sentence «  Welcome To The Jungle  »  ; the tribute also goes further, the title of Guns using the same key and the same fifths as that of the Finns.


It is then that nothing seems to be able to stop the Hanoi Rocks race that the drama will occur. 

Hanoi Rocks have just embarked on their first US tour, but Michael Monroe breaks his ankle, forcing the band to go on hiatus in Los Angeles. 

On December 8, Razzle cheats on his boredom with his friend Vince Neil, singer of Mötley Crüe, in the latter's house. Short of alcohol, the two friends must refuel  ; Vince Neil takes the wheel of his car (a De Tomaso Pantera)  ; Drunk, he drives too fast, loses control of his car and hits a vehicle coming in the opposite direction. At the time of the impact, Razzle was ejected from the car and very seriously injured.  ; the vital prognosis of the two occupants of the vehicle struck is also involved. Razzle was taken to South Bay Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival at 7:12 a.m. He was 24 years old.


Traumatized by this drama, Hanoi Rocks separated in 1985 (before returning in another form in 2002, but that's another story).


Malibu Beach Nightmare  :

Underwater World:


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : Nope


Episode 9 -  Death Karma  "The History Of Death & Burial Rituals"


What's fascinating about Black Metal is that there are so many side projects that it's almost impossible to find your way around (I could give you pages on the MGLA or Taake galaxies). The particularity of Death Karma is to be a side project of Cult Of Fire, composed only of members of… Cult Of Fire.


For novices, Cult Of Fire is a Czech trio based in Prague, composed of Tom Coroner (drums), Devilish (vocals) and Infernal Vlad (guitar, bass, vocals and concept). Active since 2010, Cult Of Fire has already produced 4 albums, a live one and 5 EPs (and all of them are worth seeing). The particularity of the group is to be solely focused (whether in form or in substance) on Hinduism, essentially Kali. They also change their logo with each recording... A double singularity in the Black Metal universe.

In terms of form, as well as stage aesthetics, we can say that Batushka was well inspired by Cult Of Fire (they just replaced Hinduism with Orthodox worship)  ; this assertion commits only me.


In 2013, Cult Of Fire created the entity Death Karma and released their first single “A Life Not Worth Living”. In 2015, the album "  The History Of Death & Burial Rituals part I” is born.  The subject of the album is to list funeral rites around the world, country by country  ; the concept alone explains the lack of homogeneity of the whole. If the result is of good quality and generally interesting, we do not reach the level of excellence of Cult Of Fire  ; a semi-disappointment, then.


At the very end of 2018, without warning, Death Karma returns with “  The History Of Death & Burial Rituals part II”. And there, it is the good surprise. Removed, epic at will, the disc is bewitching  . How to resist  Haiti-Voodoo  » or to «  Czech Rep. – Ossuary  »  ? If the whole is not more homogeneous than the first opus, the titles are more controlled, more built, and the difference with Cult Of Fire is a little more felt (Death Karma achieving the feat of being even more epic and more lyrical than Cult Of Fure). Icing on the cake, you have the right at the end of the booklet to a long bibliography for each country and related funeral rite  ; when we tell you that these guys don't do things by halves...


Death Karma  :

Cult Of Fire “Kali Fire Puja” (live in full):


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : yes


Episode 8 -  The Rockin' Vickers


In the series "  1001 lives of Lemmy Kilmister  (which I will explore as I go along), I present to you the Rockin' Vickers.


The Rockin' Vickers career lasted only 4 years, from 1963 to 1966, and they only recorded 4 singles. The group was formed in Blackpool, and consists of 4 members (Harry Feeney on vocals, Ian Holdbrook on guitar, Steven "  Mogsy  “Morris on bass and Vyril”  Ciggy  Shaw on drums). Originally, the name chosen was The Reverend Black & The Rocking Vicars, and their particularity was to wear the Roman collar, a traditional attribute of members of the clergy. Very quickly accused of blasphemy by the local press, the group will change its name (but will keep the Roman collars).


What will very quickly differentiate the Rockin' Vickers from the thousands of other Mersey Beat groups officiating at the time is Feeney's business and communication genius which will make this group (although unremarkable) a flagship value of the scene, and a profitable business. Their popularity will allow them to sign with Decca, and a first single "  I Go Ape  will see the light of day in 1964. This one will not have the expected success, which will push Ian Holdbrook to leave the group at the beginning of 1965.  


Ian Holdbrook will be replaced by a certain Ian Fraser Willis (ex Rainmakers and ex Motown Sect), who will seize his chance, impressed by the rebellious attitude of the Vickers  (notably the fact that they had custom amps built allowing them to play louder than anyone else); a few years later, Ian Willis would rename himself Lemmy Kilmister (I'll explain why in due time), but that's another story.


For some unknown reason,  I Go Ape  became number 1 in Finland running 65, which would see the group travel to Helsinki, where they would play at the Olympic Stadium in front of a crowd of over 10,000. The experience is so strong that the group will adopt for its future appearances traditional Finnish costumes (while keeping the Roman collar). The band's second single, "  Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart”, will also be recorded mainly for the Nordic market.  ; it won't even come out in England.


Subsequently, the group will settle in. London, and will sign with Shel Talmy Productions/Columbia. They frequent The Creation, The Kinks and The Birds (not to be confused with The American Byrds).

In March 1966 the third single, "  It's Alright  “, composed by a certain Pete Townshend (this title will become with a lot of transformations “  The Kids Are Right  "on the album"  My Generation  from the Who), which unfortunately won't work. 

A final attempt will be offered to them at the end of 1966  ; Ray Davies (The Kinks) offers them “  Mr Pleasant  “, but the Vickers reject the title to launch on”  Dandy  » (which is not a brilliant idea, the title having already been recorded by the Kinks for their album «  face to face  » about to go out  ; for the anecdote, Ray Davies and his Kinks will record "  Mr Pleasant  in 1967 and will make it a No. 1 in England). Once again, it's a commercial failure for the Vickers. The one too many.


When the Rockin' Vickers broke up, Steven Morris became a taxi driver, Ciggy Shaw joined Solomon King's backing band, Harry Feeny became a car dealer in Blackpool, and Ian "  Lemmy  Willis becomes a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience.


The Rockin' Vickers "It's Alright":


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : Nope

Available at the shop  : Nope


Episode 7 - Wild Child


The first time I heard about Wild Child was in 1984 (I was 12), when I came across a rave review of the album "  death trip  in the pages of Enfer Magazine (the first Metal magazine in France  ; the real ones know). I remember it was about punk, metal, the Stooges and MC5...  In short, everything  to please me (yes, I was rather precocious as a boy).


From the following Saturday, I had no problem getting my hands on "  Speedlife O'Mind  (first self-produced EP distributed by New Rose, released in 1982). However, it is impossible to find the  death trip  “yet newly released via a”  true  » label, Madrigal. According to the listings (in those old days, record stores published lists of records in magazines), the precious object was available at New Rose, 7 rue Pierre Sarrazin in the sixth arrondissement of Paris. But going to New Rose meant taking the risk of getting your ass kicked and getting your skeuds snatched, even if you were a 12-year-old kid (Paris was way more violent than it is today, especially if you belonged to a  cultural minority  »  ; punks, skinheads, psychos, metalheads, rockers, mods… everyone was happily having fun on the face)  ; a few years later, I will become a very regular customer of New Rose, but in the meantime I had learned to defend myself, and also took care to bind some warlike friendships. For the little story, I end up getting my hands on "  death trip  a few years later in Le Havre, at Closer/L'invitation au Suicide, a record store (but also a label) run by a certain Stéphane Saunier, who is obviously not yet the Mr Rock of Canal Plus.


But back to Wild Child. The group was formed in 1974 in Marseille. Lacking local prospects, the guys head for Paris in 1978, sleep in their van, are in survival mode. At the end of 81, they self-produced their first 45rpm.  Stooge Face  », and at the end of 82 their first album «  Speedlife O'Mind  ". Their sound is raw, Stoogiens, the angry voice of Little Jim responds to the sharp guitars of Leeroy Stanner, the songs are addictive, violent, terribly effective. There's a lot of punk and a bit of metal in Wild Child, but ignored by the nascent hard rock press, it's fanzines and pirate radio that give them their first media exposure. The public begins to answer present, and the group ends up signing a contract with Madrigal (perhaps the error of their life). Ivi B. Dog, bassist, leaves the group and is replaced by Fred Lemarchand shortly before the recording of "  death trip  ". The album was released at the end of 84, and Madrigal obviously did not do its job as a label, whether in terms of distribution or marketing.  ; worst of all, in 1985, the government signed the death of free (or pirate) radio stations, and many fanzines from the first French punk wave disappeared  ; Wild Child can't even fall back on their historic backers  ; all that remains is Rock & Folk, Best and the Metal press, which has just woken up miraculously. The album is dazzling, but Wild Child struggles, again and again.  


In 1985, Phil and Fred left the group, replaced by Laurent Bernat (ex Satan Jokers) and Chris Crouzet (ex Stators). Before the departure of Phil and Fred, Wild Child recorded in 3 nights 9 titles for a third album, "  The Next Decline  which will never see the light of day. In 1986, it was the swan song.


It will be necessary to wait 30 years and the inexplicable impulse of Leeroy so that finally is exhumed "  The Next Decline  ", which will be released on CD with the entirety of "  Speedlife O'Mind  »  and the first 45rpm as a bonus. What a pity that this disc was not born at the time  ! If the spirit and bad manners of the Stooges and MC5 are still there, the sound now leans more radically towards Metal. There are even two ballads (“  Hard Love  " and "  WildChild  "), a first for Wild Child... More acceptable for the metal community of the time, without denying its keupone origins, perhaps this disc would have finally been the success that has always fled them...


Wild Child “She Drives Me Insane”:

Wild Child “Whatever Happened To Us”:


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : Nope


Episode 6  -kat"  Ostatni tabor  »


February 1985, Warsaw, Poland, on the other side of the iron curtain. The general  Wojciech Jaruzelski is in power. Lech Walesa (Nobel Peace Prize 83) heads the Solidarsnoc union, which came to prominence during the strikes at the Lenin shipyard in 1980, leading the government to negotiate, which frankly was not a habit in a country of the Eastern bloc. Jean-Paul II, elected pope in 1978 is Polish, and openly supports Eastern Catholics and Solidarsnoc, which strongly displeases the Kremlin. Martial law, imposed by the power which feared an invasion from the Russian big brother in order to quell the popular uproar, was lifted in July 1983. However, the chaplain  from Solidarsnoc, Jerzy Popieluszko was assassinated a few months ago, and the tension is palpable in the air.


I am 13 years old, I am in the country invited by my diplomat uncle. I know that the Iron Maiden Slavery Tour passed through Poland a few weeks earlier (a first for a group from the West  ; they will make a documentary out of it”  Behind The Iron Curtain  "), and I'm looking for discographic traces of this passage, like a Polish or Russian edition of "  Powerslave  (which didn't exist at the time, but I didn't know it yet)… But it's hard to find records in a country that is already struggling for food (and for everything else too, for that matter). I end up finding a record store, or rather an apartment on the ground floor, not very far from the Russian cultural center, where a young man sells the few records available on the market, a priori all targeted by censorship. I don't speak Polish, he only speaks Polish, but obviously he understood "  Iron Maiden  »  ; he shakes his head but hands me a 45rpm without cover, without label, with the credits engraved in the mass,  Kat'  Ostatni tabor  ". 55 zloty, the price is engraved in the disc  ; a misery, even if the exchange rate is not necessarily easy to fix (the currencies of the Soviet bloc escaped the market economy, they had no exchange value other than that fixed by the governments). As long as I'm buying it, it'll be a souvenir. Back in France, I listen to it. Very old school hard rock, even for the era, its gross, but there's still something catchy about it. I ended up forgetting it, totally unaware that I had a historical piece.  


The Soviet bloc collapsed in the winter of 89, the borders opened up, and perhaps because of its proximity to Germany, Poland became in a few years an important country on the world Metal scene.  Judge the little  : Behemoth, Vader, Decapitated, MGLA, Medico Pest, Riverside, Belzebong, Blaze Of Perdition, Evilfeast, Furia, Batushka, Hate, Vesania, Acid Drinkers, Elysium, Pathfinder, Graveland…  And probably many others that don't come to mind right away. Of course, I closely follow the sulfurous but oh so creative Polish Black Metal scene, and I realize over the interviews given to Dayal Patterson in particular, that a name keeps coming up  : Cat. Could it be the same group as that of the 45 rpm acquired years earlier  ?


I inquire a little, and end up learning that Kat has become an institution, that "  Ostatni tabor  » was their first 45t, which they opened for Hanoi Rocks and Maiden in 86, Metallica in 87, or even in 94 they had to record the album «  Ballady  in a Christian studio in order to calm the press and public opinion who accused them of Satanism, among other escapades. It is above all the release of a tribute album "  Czarne Zastepy - A Tribute To Kat  in 1998 (featuring Behemoth, Vader, Prophecy, North, Insomnia and so many others) which testifies to the importance of this group, which was undoubtedly the most popular in Poland (before being supplanted by Nergal and his band).


Yesterday, I was telling you about Dust, perhaps the first American metal band. Discover today Kat, the first metal band in Poland (and maybe even in the whole ex-Soviet bloc, check it out).


Kat'  Ostatni tabor  (sorry for the quality)  :

Covered by Behemoth  :

Kat “Wirocznia” (2008):



In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : yes

Available at the shop  : Are you serious  ? This single isn't even for sale on Discogs  ! If you want Kat, I can probably find the albums somewhere.


Episode 5 - "Dust “Dust” and “Hard Attack”


Dust has released two albums on the Kama Sutra label.  : the eponym "  Dust  in 1971 and  Hard Attack  in 1972. Two forgotten records, made by a forgotten band, on a forgotten label…


And yet...  


Many eminent specialists consider Dust as the founders of American Metal. It must be said that unlike the English, the Americans have never developed a white rhythm'n'blues scene, influenced by soul which, once mixed with rock'n'roll, will have the related effect of weighing down the guitars and to accelerate the tempos (cf. The Who, Small Faces, The Artwood…), thus preparing the public and future musicians for the arrival of an even more powerful sound (Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin). 

So when historians of popular music find themselves in the presence of one of the rare American groups to have developed a sound similar to that committed at the same time by the youth of Perfide Albion, inevitably it will mark them (even if the public at the time did not respond present, far from it).  


But it is perhaps the post-Dust journey of the members of the group that will end up forging the myth...


Dust formed in the late 60s  ; Richie Wise (guitar, voice) surrounds himself with two kids, Kenny Aaronson and Marc Bell. The group has a guru, who acts as manager, lyricist and producer  : Kenny Kerner. 

Quickly, Dust signed with Kama Sutra, a label now disappeared and forgotten, which nevertheless welcomed Gene Vincent, the Flamin' Groovies, the Shangri-Las, Lovin' Spoonfull and even Fifth Dimension into its ranks. In 1971 comes "  Dust  », followed a year later by «  Hard Attack  “, two albums which will meet with absolutely no success. If titles for a third album are on the way, this one will never see the light of day, Richie Wise deciding to embark on production.


Thereafter, Richie Wise will associate with his ex-manager, Kenny Kerner, and will produce in 1974 and 1975 the first two albums of Kiss, "  Kiss  " and "  Hotter Than Hell  (for the record, Richie Wise and Kenny Kerner will also produce Gladys Knight & The Pips, and Wise solo will tackle, among others, the production of Sylvie Vartan, David Hallyday, Willie Nelson and even a certain Adrian Smith… But nothing to do with that of Iron Maiden).


For his part, Kenny Aaronson will have a nice career. From 1973, with Stories, he made a number 1 in the USA with the cover of "  Brother Louie  by Hot Chocolate.  Subsequently, he  will play with Bob Dylan (for which he will be elected bass player of the year in 1988 by Rolling Stone magazine), will be part of the Blue Öyster Cult for a time, will accompany Joan Jett, Tommy Iommi, David Gilmour, Link Wray, Brian Setzer, Johnny Winter, Lita Ford, Billy Idol not to name them all. In 1994, he even auditioned to join the Rolling Stones. Since 2011, he joined the line up of the New York Dolls, and since 2015 that of the Yardbirds.


Last but not least, let's look at the case of little Marc Bell. In 1973, he joined Estus and played on their self-titled album. In the mid-1970s, he became the drummer for the legendary Richard Hell & The Voivods, which he accompanied until the recording of the first album, "  Blank Generation  ". In 1978, he was poached from the Voivods to replace Thomas Erdelyi in the Ramones  ; the character of Marky Ramone was born. The rest is history with a capital H.


Documentary on Dust  :

Interview with Marky Ramone about Dust  :


In the Hellfest Corner playlist  : not yet, I would have to stick to it.

Available at the shop  : it should be on CD if you ask me nicely  ; on vinyl, don't even count on it, the only reissue of 1000 copies dating from 2013 for the American Record Store Day.


Episode 4 -  Probot

At the end of 1999, Dave Grohl (ex Nirvana) took a break from the Foo Fighters and isolated himself to compose a dozen purely Metal instrumentals, a genre he particularly likes. Unlike many, Dave Grohl will have in his youth a career "  reverse  »  : it was punk that would lead him to hardcore, then to metal, a genre that would then become a real passion.


Once the instrumentals have been recorded, Dave Grohl draws up a list of guests (his childhood idols), whom he will contact as he goes along, leaving them freedom on the texts and even certain arrangements.


Will answer present  : Cronos (Venom), Max Cavalera (Sepultura), Lemmy Kilmister (Motörhead), Mike Dean (Corrosion Of Conformity), Kurt Brecht (DRI), Lee Dorian (Napalm Death), Wino (The Obsessed), Tom G. Warrior ( Celtic Frost), Snake (Voivod), Eric Wagner (Trouble) and King Diamond (Mercyful Fate). We also note the presence of Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) on guitar on the titles  Ice Cold Man  and  Sweet Dreams.


After 4 years of work, on February 10, 2004, the album was finally released on the small Southern Lord label (RCA, the Foo Fighters label, having waived its exclusivity so as not to have to release the project). With barely 3000 copies sold around the world, it is objectively a bitter commercial failure, especially if we consider the notoriety of the main actor and the quality of the cast. For the record, Dave Grohl will even find himself buying back the unsold from the first pressing, just to relieve the finances of Southern Lord.


…And yet, the disc  does not lack interest. Of  Red War  with Max Cavalera passing through the fantastic  Shake Your Blood  with Lemmy, from  Dictatosaurus  with Snake looking very handsome  My Tortured Soul  with Eric Wagner, the album contains some pearls. Above all, it's a record which, failing to offer a truly coherent proposition, exudes passion and love. It is undoubtedly this same passion which will lead Dave Grohl to produce in 2013 and at his request the EP "  If You Have Ghosts  », on which he provides some drum and guitar parts, for a Swedish group then still relatively obscure, Ghost.


Shake Your Blood (Lemmy)  :

In the Hellfest Corner playlist: yes

Available at the shop: yes


Episode 3 - Old Funeral Our Condolences 1988-1992 (compilation)

Let's be clear: today, I'm not going to talk about a forgotten masterpiece, but rather a piece of history.

Old Funeral was formed on the ashes of Satanel on May 17, 1988 in Bergen (Norway), with Olve Eikemo on bass and vocals, Harald Nævdal, Tore Bratseth then Varg Vikernes on guitars and finally Jan Atle Åserød (Padden) on drums .

In 1989 they released their first demo The Fart That Should Not Be, followed by Abduction Of Limbs in 1990 (still considered the first Metal recording to come out of the legendary Grieghallen Studios), then, still in 1990, the band released their final effort, Devoured Carcass EP. There will be at least two other recording sessions (Grieghallen in 1991 and Kardemmommehuset in 1992), but the result will remain unreleased until the release in 1999 of the compilation The Older Ones on the Hammerheart Records label.

Old Funeral disbanded in October 1992, after Immortal was formed by Olve "Abbath" Eikemo and Harald "Demonaz" Nævdal, while Varg Vikernes rose to prominence using the name Count Grishnackh, and founded his solo band Burzum. The rest of the story became legend.

On the whole, the production of Old Funeral, without being zero, will never reach the sublime, without even mentioning the texts which often border on idiocy, like Grandma Is A Zombie. The influences of Slaughter, Agathocles, Slayer, Venom, Voivod, Kreator or even Bathory are too strong, and the band never really developed their own identity, despite some promising flashes like Aphis, Abduction Of Limbs or Annoying Individual.

Apart from the importance that its members will have on the Black Metal scene, the interest of Old Funeral is to remind that, no offense (probably) to Euronymous, the Norwegian extreme Metal scene was not born in Oslo, but was indeed a kind of spontaneous national phenomenon, which affected Bergen, Trondheim as well as Sandness, like the birth of an artistic expression specific to the country.

The Older Ones:

Rehersales 1990:

In the Hellfest Corner playlist: no

Available at the shop: yes


Episode 2 - Music Machine “Turn On”

In 1965, Sean Bonniwell, Ron Edgar and Keith Olsen formed The Raggamuffins in Los Angeles. In 1966, the group welcomes two new members (Doug Rhodes and Mark Landon) renames itself Music Machine and releases a first single "Talk Talk" which will reach the 15th place of the charts, an astonishing performance for a title of pure garage rock from to barely two minutes, released on the micro label Original Sound.

The second single ("People In Me") will not perform as well, and the same will be the case for the album "Turn On". After a promotional tour enamelled with incidents and internal tensions, the group explodes in full flight.

Alone, Sean Bonniwell signs with Warner and releases under the name Bonniwell Music Machine a second album which will pass completely unnoticed. Alas, Bonniwell sells the rights to the group and begins a solo career. In 2000, "Ignition" was released, which included the titles that were to constitute Music Machine's third album, supplemented by demos by the Raggamuffins.

In 2004, Sean Bonniwell reformed Music Machine for a first European tour, which will pass through Saint Ouen/Mains d'oeuvre on November 23 (memorable concert which yours truly had the chance to attend).

On December 20, 2011, Sean Bonniwell will definitely bow out at the age of 71, following throat cancer.

What link with Metal? It is however obvious. Music Machine is a dark group, with a strong look (black suit, a single black glove on the right hand, large pendant with religious or esoteric connotation around the neck; this last gimmick will be taken over a few years later by Ozzy Osbourne at the beginning of Black Sabbath). Music Machine practices a raw garage, which will be the basis on which punk and metal will flourish a few years later. Music Machine deals extensively with psychiatric problems ("Trouble", "The People In Me"), as Alice Cooper and then the Ramones would do a decade later. The rocky history of the band and its hometown are reminiscent of the Glam scene of the 80s, and the squabbles over the name resonate with recent stories of Immortal, Entombed or even Batushka.

Music Machine - TalkTalk:

In the Hellfest Corner playlist: yes

Available at the shop: yes


Episode 1 -  Wendy O. Williams “WOW”

Born in 1949, the American Wendy O. Williams is best known for being the singer of the punk group The Plasmatics, where she officiated from 1977 to 1983, then from 1987 to 1990. Between the two (1984-1986), she released two solo albums, "Kommander Of Kaos" (1986) and especially "W.OW. (1984), produced by Gene Simmons of Kiss. For the record, it is indeed Gene Simmons who will record all the bass lines of W.OW. (credited as Reginald Van Helsing); Ace Freley, Eric Carr, Paul Stanley, Micki Free are also in the game and it is indeed Kiss in full force who will provide the backing vocals on the album (credited under the name The Boys).

WOW isn't Wendy's first foray into metal; already in 1982, there had been this collaborative recording between The Plasmatics and Motörhead, where we find her in duet with Lemmy on a cover of "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette (while on the B side, The Plasmatics massacred " No Class" and that Motörhead was trying to take over their "Masterplan").

The recording is going so well that "Fast" Eddie Clarke slams the door of Motörhead. This would in no way taint the friendship between Lemmy and Wendy (legend has it that there were more than friendships between them), and she would even join Motörhead on stage in 1985 at their 10th anniversary concert at London's Hammersmith Odeon.

Because above all, Wendy goes on stage, breasts in the air, massacring the guitars with a chainsaw, being repeatedly arrested for "sexual provocation". Before her, no woman in rock had gone so far.

Let's put things in the context of the time; until then, a woman who embarked on the binary had the right to be a folk girl (Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Karen Dalton…), a country girl (Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn…), a leader of man (Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Janis Joplin…); in metal, they are as rare as they are blocked in an entirely masculine ideal type (see Lita Ford)… But almost none of them had the courage to tackle the question of the place of women in the Western society, and even less the taboo of female sexuality, and especially not in such a raw way as Wendy O Williams will do with titles like "Put Your Love On Me", "Fuck That Booty", "Sex Junkie" or even "I Love Sex (And Rock'n'Roll)".

Wendy O Williams, through her words, her attitude, her raw, dirty nudity, the antithesis of the female object, is in itself a challenge to the patriarchal system and what the image of women should be; it is undoubtedly thanks to Wendy O Williams that Peaches, L7, Babes In Toyland could see the light of day. Today, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus would like to play somewhere on the same register as Wendy; but next to the original, their gently sexed and “a little bit but not too much” assertive pop simpers are severely lacking in ovaries.

On WOW, Wendy warned us “It's My Life, and I do what I wanna do, what I like”. This philosophy of life was also that of his death; on April 6, 1998, before shooting herself in the head, she wrote: “I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time. I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights that anyone in a free society should have. For me, much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm.”


It’s My Life:

Lemmy Wendy O'Williams Jailbait:

In the Hellfest Corner playlist: yes

Available at the shop: unfortunately not

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