All I want for Christmas is TRVE: Combating Christmas music No. 2
I’m real sick, guys. Joe and W. are convinced that it’s because I ate that gourmet cheese ball like an apple in one sitting, but I know the truth: that they are dorks and it makes me physically ill to hear Christmas music before Thanksgiving or ever. It’s my body giving up on life. If only it were a smoother transition I would dive willing and headfirst into the Void, where nothing is, was, will be, or can be (most particularly the fucking travesty of sound that is “Jingle Bell Rock”). If anyone has been worrying about what sort of gift to get me this year, grant me the boon of a swift and painless death and by so doing liberate me from the agonizing pangs of seasonal music. Maybe you can all go in together on it.
Shitty covers of the same five or six shitty traditional songs are being recorded at shittingly alarming rates, and dancing, singing snowman dolls are being mass-produced and purchased faster than I can infiltrate homes and destroy them. The sounds that vomit forth from those blasted toys and pretty much anything else with speakers during this time of year are unacceptable and offensive, their aural insult unmatched. I’d rather sit on Topher Grace’s spandexed lap and let him recite his Spider-Man 3 lines directly into my ear canal. Luckily for us, where there is light, there must be shadow. Not in that ancient Chinese bullshit “yin and yang” way where two forces compliment one another, but in a different, totally metal way where one of them crushes the other one into nothingness. Our crushing utensil? The hellhammer ov wintry Black Metal. May it fall upon the troublesome head of Christmas music with lethal force, as well as any dissenting ghostly (com)posers who may be presently haunting this toilet bowl.
Darkthrone’s “unholy trinity” of early albums are well-known to be effective weapons for the slaying of joy, but when their blades are dulled by the repeated cutting of merry throats, where do you turn? That wasn’t rhetorical; I actually want to know where you turn. Such is the purpose of Combating Christmas music. I share wintry recommendations, you share wintry recommendations, we destroy Christmas.
I: MOONBLOOD — BLUT UND KRIEG
A low, pale fullmoon spotlights the aftermath of a midnight battle, lending its glow to the ice and igniting luminous, red pools of blood. Flames that hours earlier beat high into the northern sky smolder and die with the last survivors, whose wounds give their lifeblood to the thirsty snow. Repose sets in on a battlefield strewn with corpses as stiff and cold as the bloodied steel around them, and snow covers the lifeless bodies.
If you were to take that scene, somehow translate it to music, then record it with a Motorola Razr, you’d get something that sounds similar to Moonblood’s Blut und Krieg. Released in ’96 and buried under a mountain of rare rehearsal tapes that either no longer exist or exist in a smelly basement nerd’s smelly basement closet (though unfortunately not my own), its status as a black metal classic is oft debated. While 1996 may be a little late to be considered a pioneering force, a majority of the songs were written and recorded first on those rehearsal demos in ’94 and ’95, and at its best, the mid-paced, synth-driven ambiance is every bit as darkly moody and dramatic as Det som en gang var.
Fullmoon, cold and merciless
Take my soul
Moonblood — Blut und Krieg | 1996 | Facebvvk
II: ASTROFAES — THE EYES OF THE BEAST
This may be of particular interest to those of you who enjoy the legendary Drudkh or the most recent album from the throat-singing darlings of the Toilet, Blood of Kingu. Astrofaes is a lesser-known project of Roman Blagih (or “Thurios“), though it preceded his other work by many years. Eyes of the Beast is proof that Thurios had a prodigious knack for melody and atmosphere before Drudkh ever got together, and that his reverent admiration for nature long predates Forgotten Legends. To him, Winter is the majesty of the frozen lake, the icy squall, the ashen oak, the black stone, the raven, the wolf. Not fucking plastic garlands.
Hands of the cold ride a fast horse.
The storm, the sun is in black waters.
The lake? Its breast of mine. It is dead.
Above the forest sea the winter rises.
Astrofaes — The Eyes of the Beast | 2000
III: DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE — RAVENDUSK IN MY HEART
Long before becoming better-known for his work in Bloodbath and Katatonia, Anders Nyström (or “Blakkheim“) was solely responsible for writing some of the most interesting and underrated black metal of the mid-90’s in his terribly-named solo vehicle, Diabolical Masquerade. With a little help from everyone’s favorite guest/session musician Dan Swanö, he created a black metal masterwork in Ravendusk in My Heart. Cold, dark, and downright wicked, Ravendusk… bleeds Winter’s cruel grandeur, its befouled nobility. Chilling, Emperor-like synths drive these constantly shifting songs into shadowy, mystical winterrealms where Now That’s What I Call Christmas! cannot fucking exist.
Somewhere beyond the Frozen Moors in the Highest North
Where only the falling snow from the sky managed to enter
A Kingdom forever deserted since its birth
Forgotten in the extremest of storms and cold
A landscape in Ancient Sleep of Deathlike Silence
Yet breathing in the Growing Wastelands of Frost
Diabolical Masquerade — Ravendusk in My Heart | 1996
IV: SORCIER DES GLACES — THE PURESSENCE OF PRIMITIVE FORESTS
V: SORCIER DES GLACES — RITUAL OF THE END
Sorcier des Glaces is French for Wizard of Ices. That should be enough to sell you on this shit right now. The Puressence of Primitive Forests and this year’s Ritual of the End will freeze your blood in its veins. To this group of Canadians, wintertime is Nature’s expression of hatred for all life, and they share her sentiment. And can you blame her? Mankind is life, and mankind created the fucking Carpenters Christmas Portrait (don’t click that).
Into the realm of winter
I became the one who defies infinity
An immortal soul damned by hate for Everything
That is human inside
Sorcier des Glaces — The Puressence of Primitive Forests | 2011 | Facebvvk
The frozen sword of midnight
The strongest, the coldest
We are all lost now
Awaiting the total darkness over the earth
Sorcier des Glaces — Ritual of the End | 2014 | Facebvvk
Do you think it was the cheese ball? What do you recommend for people that want to destroy joy this holiday season? Do you actually like Christmas music? If so, what do you think might be wrong with you?