Heavy Metal Bvvk Klvb Vol. I: The J. R. R. Tolkien Legendarium

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Greetings, flushketeers, and welcome to our new semi-regular feature, Bvvk Klvb ov Hell! In this feature, we, your benevolent toilet overlords, are going to present some of our favorite literature and provide you with an accompanying soundtrack for getting your book-worm on. This week we’ll be discussing the J. R. R. Tolkien legendarium. Of all of literature’s great authors, Tolkien has had one of the biggest influences on metal, perhaps second only to Lovecraft. Masterlord SteelDragon, Stockhausen, and I have all picked out several bands to help you immerse into the world of Middle Earth (Leif Bearikson was going to help, but he’s an illiterate pleb). So come on in, put on your jam-jams, turn on your reading lamp, light up your favorite pipe of Old Toby, and crack open your copy of the Silmarillion.

W.

Ungoliant

For those of you posers among us whose only familiarity with the legendarium is the admittedly good Lord of the Rings movies and the admittedly so-so Hobbit movies, you’re probably familiar with the giant, nasty spider Shelob from Return of the King. But did you know that Shelob’s mother was a bigger, nastier spider named Ungoliant? Ungoliant is one of the most malevolent beings in the entire Tolkien legendarium, on par even with Melkor (who’s basically Satan in Middle Earth). Her origins are never truly illumined, but at some point during Morgoth’s machinations to rule Middle Earth, the dark lord allied himself with the insatiable arachnid. However, Ungoliant’s gluttony knew no bounds, and after she consumed the light from the Two Trees of Valinor, she turned against her ally Melkor and tried to consume the light of the Silmarils. Melkor, the quintessential villain of Middle Earth, was so frightened that he unleashed a primal howl, awakening the Balrogs from the depths of Angband. The demons of flame and shadow rushed to their master’s aid and drove the voracious spider away with their fiery lashes. The true fate of the beast is unknown, although it is commonly held that she birthed the devil-spawn arachnids that would go on to plague the good people of Middle Earth before consuming herself to sate her endless appetite.

If none of that means anything to you, Ungoliant was a huge evil spider that tried to (somewhat successfully) consume some of the most powerful and important relics in Tolkien’s middle earth before spawning other evil giant spiders. As an illustration of the monster’s menace, I’ve chosen the band Ungoliant. These Oakland doomsters peddled a lumbering, consuming blend of epic doom metal that sounds at parts Sleep and other times Pallbearer. I’m not always into doom, but I enjoy the ponderous heaviness of these monstrous riffs because they summon in my mind an image of a giant spider swallowing the sun. I can dig it. Plus, that album art is tasty. Bad news: the group disbanded. Good news, you can download the album No More the World of Man for free here.


Grond

I’ll again anchor this little piece of Middle Earth history to material with which you are probably already familiar. Do you remember the giant battering ram that the orcs used in the Return of the King to smash the gates of Minas Tirith? Well, that battering ram’s name was Grond, and Sauron’s servants named it after the mace wielded by Sauron’s master Morgoth (re: Melkor). Nicknamed the “Hammer of the Underworld,” Grond was used to devastating effect in Melkor’s war against the elves, earning the fearsome weapon a deadly reputation. So feared was this brute instrument that the devious orcs of Mordor christened their wolf-shaped battering ram after it in an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of the men of Gondor. I daresay they succeeded.

Thankfully, Grond’s namesake band is equally pummeling. This burly crust band from Moscow blasts and beats with hellish force before slowing the punishment down to give you time to relent in fear. Howling from the Deep is a harrowing siege of blackened force and terror wielded expertly like the mace of these Russian dark lords. Download the album here.


Bane of Isildur

I’ll conclude my survey of the evil of Middle Earth with an examination of the One Ring. If you’re even the least bit familiar with Tolkien’s legendarium, you should be aware of Sauron’s ring of power. If you’re not, get with the program! Sauron, in an attempt to secure power for himself, deceived the great lords of the men, dwarves, and elves and tricked them into casting for themselves mighty rings. However, he secretly forged an evil ring to which all the other rings were held in thrall. Into this ring he poured all of his hatred and malice, and it gave him the ability to bend the living and the dead to his indomitable will. The battle over this ring, and its eventual destruction, is one of the key threads of the legendarium. What you may not know, though, is that the ring is sometimes called Isildur’s Bane because it corrupted the heart of one of the human leaders when he was on the verge of destroying it. Isildur, the heir to the throne of Gondor and the would-be-hero of the free peoples of Middle Earth was undone by Sauron’s wicked influence and by the greed in his own heart. The ring eventually betrayed Isildur, and a band of orcs led by its insidious call slew him in the woods. The ring, having betrayed Isildur, slipped away into a river and was forgotten until a certain lowly humanoid found it many, many years later.

I’ve selected the band Bane of Isildur to round out my portion of the Bvvk Klvb meeting. These Australian pagans supply us with a blackened tale of Norse victories and folk traditions. This band incorporates some tasteful solos and melodic influences into their soaring songs, lending the entire affair an air of the epic. Bane of Isildur’s only full length, Black Wings, is music for slaying orcs and hanging out with Ents. Check out “Furious Hunt” below.


 Masterlord SteelDragon

Cirith Ungol

Even casual Tolkien fans (known by us nerds as “total fucking posers”) know about Cirith Ungol, though they may not immediately recognize it by name. Here’s a hint, Cirith Ungol is Sindarin for “Spider’s cleft”, from cirith (“cleft, pass”) and ungol (“spider”). Why? Very good! “Something about spiders” is correct. One particular Great Spider named Shelob made this mountain pass her webby death-lair, much to the dismay and probable webby death of Orcs, Elves and Men (and certain known Hobbits) that used it to get in and out of Mordor through the Ephel Dúath. She is the greatest offspring of the enigmatic, primordial Ungoliant, though rather than sucking every last ray of light out of Arda, Shelob is preoccupied with sucking every last blood and guts out of any living creature that wanders near her lair in Cirith Ungol (though Orc apparently isn’t her favorite meal).

“But still she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.”

Cirith Ungol the band was sporting the Tolkien band name way before those corpse-painted Scandinavian forest prancers ever did. The band was a largely unsung traditional metal hero, and garner far more attention now as a lost relic than they ever did when they were pioneering epic heavy metal with the dudes in Manilla Road. Like Manilla Road, they had a singer that mostly everyone agreed was annoying, but still managed to pen some really killer metal. That being said, I have a bone to pick with Cirith Ungol because they always pronounced their name with a soft c (“see’reeth oo’ngol”), when EVERYONE KNOWS it’s actually “kee’reeth oo’ngol.” Read a Sindarin pronunciation guide, you nerds!


 

Summoning

The lads in Summoning were once part of a black metal club for cool kids only called the Austrian Black Metal Syndicate. While the dudes in Abigor were generally busy preaching about Satan, and the rest of the “syndicate” (Pervertum, Trifixion, Pazuzu, and Golden Dawn) were generally busy making comparatively shitty black metal, Prospector and Silenius’ enthusiasm for Middle Earth made sweet, sweet love to their enthusiasm for metal and birthed something reciprocally rad. It’s clear that, unlike those half-assers in Cirith Ungol, Summoning don’t like their Tolkien watered down. I’d be willing to bet that Prospector and Silenius have memorized the entire lineage of the Dúnedain and have full conversations about it in fluent Elvish or Black Speech within the cavernous basementous depths.

A quick perusal of their song names or lyrics will cause the Tolkien-versed to nod in nerdish approval of and appreciation for the lesser-known deep lore of Arda within. The beautifully varied soundscapes that they manage to create with their mastery of keyboard abuse and relatively slow-paced approach to epic/atmospheric black metal is just as indicative of Middle Earth as Howard Shore’s compositions for the film series, albeit in dramatically different ways. Summoning are still forging great music today and last year’s Old Mornings Dawn comes highly recommended to LARPers and non-LARPers alike. Here’s one from what is arguably their best record, Dol Guldur, named after a stronghold in Mirkwood, strategically key in Sauron’s rise to power.


 Stockhausen

Balrog/Diablo Swing Orchestra

For my section of the Bvvk Klvb, I decided to start off with Balrogs. If you have to ask why, get your weak-sauce poser face out of my awesome metal face. This is a metal blog, so I’m gonna write about shadowy, fiery demon beings. While we all remember the massive, winged fire-beast that Gandalf battled on the bridge of Khazad-dûm (and subsequently vanquished atop Durin’s Tower on Zirakzigil), the exact form of a Balrog is never clearly and consistently described in Tolkien’s writings. Some of you fellow dweebs out there are probably aware of the development and alterations that occurred in Tolkien’s writings throughout his life. We’re going to cut him a little slack if some details shift around, since he was, you know, writing a universe out of his head.

There are differences in Tolkien’s writing as to how many Balrogs there were throughout Middle Earth’s history. In early writings that were eventually published in The Silmarillion, Balrogs number in the thousands. They were fierce and fiery demons, roughly twice the size of humans, who could be killed with great difficulty by elves or men. Gothmog, the legendary Lord of the Balrogs who commanded devastating armies in the War of Beleriand, was finally slain by the great elf warrior Ecthelion of the Fountain, but they both perished in the vicious fight. Balrogs were also known to ride into battle on the backs of dragons.

Let me say that again.

Balrogs. Would ride into battle. On the backs. Of dragons. You can’t tell me your hand doesn’t at least start to grasp an imaginary sword to raise above your head while you roar curses at the weak and foolish hearts of men. Anyway, their characteristics changed throughout different writings, and by the time Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, they took on an even darker, more powerful status in Middle Earth. More than mere beasts of the world, Balrogs were now described as Maiar, angelic beings that existed before the creation of the Earth. Melkor (who, as you know, would eventually be known as Morgoth) corrupted these spirits from the get-go, bent them to his will, and they have been loyal to the darkness ever since. While still described as creatures of darkness and fire, they seemed to have the ability to wrap themselves in shadow, obscuring a central physical form. They are, however, generally thought to be physically massive and darkly powerful, requiring the strength of a fellow Maiar (such as Gandalf) in order to be killed.

And alas, we all know that fateful story of Durin, the great dwarf-lord who bore too deep into the Misty Mountains with his great underground city of Moria. He awakened a Balrog in hiding, who killed Durin and his son Náin, and who pushed the dwarves out entirely. For the next several hundred years, orcs occupied the realm and the Balrog either killed or drove out any other intruders. That is, obviously, until Gandalf came and laid the smack down on that smokestackin’ hack. But, since Balrogs are mean, nasty motherflushers, Gandalf perished in the fight as well. It was a well-earned victory, though, because Gandalf was sent back as Gandalf the White for his troubles.

So that about wraps up our discussion on Balrogs. I chose to put my subtleness to use here by selecting the band Balrog to represent Balrogs. These guys are a black metal band from Belarus-Sweden-Italy-Argentina-France who released three albums in the 2000s, including 2006’s Bestial Satanic Terror. That title sums up Balrogs pretty well, and the song “Give War a Chance” has a healthy dose of death metal to beef up the evil vibes. You can hear Balrogs dismounting their dragons and stomping toward you with clear intentions of consuming everything you ever were in their fiery grasp.

Oh, and if a fight scene with a Balrog ever ended up in a weird musical, the ensuing dance number would most certainly be “Balrog Boogie” by the ever-fun Diablo String Orchestra. It couldn’t be a more different vibe, but these guys rule. I can imagine some fantastic choreography across that tiny bridge, with some fancy stepping from both Gandalf and his foe. Their respective weapons would clearly be used as old-timey dance canes, and surely a whimsical top hat would make an appearance.


 

Falls of Rauros

I’m going to do this next one backwards and introduce the band first. You may or may not have seen my write-ups foretelling the glories of the upcoming Falls of Rauros album, but here’s a quick update: the digital preorders can be found here ,and the physical ones should be up soon! These guys take their name from the great waterfall in the River Anduin, which separates Emyn Muil above from Nindalf below. The area at the top of the falls is where the Fellowship of the Ring disbanded, and Frodo and Sam pushed on to Mordor by themselves. And, as you (hopefully) know, Boromir’s body was sent over the falls in a boat after being killed in the preceding Uruk-hai attack.

With that definition out of the way, we have to push aside the specifics of the Tolkien realm for a true glimpse at Falls of Rauros. Their lyrics deal with topics of misanthropy and a hint of disdain for humanity; a cumulative cry of “what have we done” echoes beneath their long, stretched out musical wanderings. While it would be inaccurate to force their catalog into a Tolkien framework, their sound is certainly Tolkien in scope. It stretches, develops, meanders, and has an overarching sense of a journey. Listening through their last album, The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood, would be the musical equivalent of taking the High Pass through the Misty Mountains, or perhaps wandering the Old Forest Path through Mirkwood.

One of my favorite parts about the Lord of the Rings series is a sense of the greater history of Middle Earth. It doesn’t jump right out at you, but through references to great old battles, legends of ancient heroes and enemies, and the singing of songs of ages past, you understand that this story arc is a just a small glimpse at the massive timeline of Tolkien’s world. While it’s fun to bust out The Silmarillion or related texts to check out those things firsthand, I really enjoy the sense of wonder from looking at those ages past through the eyes of the characters at hand. To them, those stories have been passed down for thousands of years; the great battles, mighty warriors, star-crossed lovers, and heroic deeds are raised on a pedestal of romanticism. It’s almost a form of escapism within the escapism of the book itself.

So what am I blabbing about here? I feel that the folk-tinged atmospheres of Falls of Rauros’ brand of black metal have that far-off gaze that looks through the fog of our painful present and into a hazy past. That past is sometimes harsh, sometimes melancholy, or sometimes glowingly sentimental, because their broad and complex sound reaches far into influences outside of by-the-numbers black metal. Drift through this YouTube stream of their entire last album, and remind yourself to preorder their new album.

(Photos VIA, VIA, VIA, VIA, VIA, VIA, VIA, and VIA)

 

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  • Long but amazing read! Great article guys!

    • W.

      Thanks dude. I told the others that this is quite possibly our most pretentious post yet.

      • Most pretentious (non-Christian Molenaar) post.

      • Gurp

        Sometimes pretentious is just what the doctor ordered.

  • Now hold on a second, you really expect me to believe people like Summoning?

  • Fantastic read, gentlemen. I have a copy of the Silmarillion, but still have not picked it up. Since i just finished From Hell, this may be my next choice, although i still have to finish Maus and Dark Knight Returns. But From Hell was amazing, full of symbolism and masonic lore…abosolutely intriguing. Although now it’s kind of lost it’s magic since science claims to have “solved” the Whitechapel murders. Grade A+++ highly recommended to fellow metal nerds for it’s sloppy yet detailed illustration and depiction of total gore.

    • W.

      Thanks!

    • Stockhausen

      Thanks man! I want to check out that book, I love the mystery (even if it’s solved) of the Jack the Ripper case.

      • A warning it’s like 500 pages long and the first couple chapters i really had to fight through, as the plot doesn’t become apparent until about a third or sooner into the book.

  • Metaphysical Anus

    I have never read any of J. R. R Tolkien’s books or watched the movies. It’s not going to change. I’m sorry I have let you guys down yet again.

    • Thank you for this totally necessary comment.

      • Metaphysical Anus

        Your reply was also necessary.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      I haven’t either. No fucks.

    • W.

      Booo. We hope to do more bvvk klvb posts, though, so hopefully something will strike your fancy.

    • Xan

      Just…get out. I can’t be seen with anyone who have hasn’t read the God of writing.

      • Metaphysical Anus

        Sorry bae 🙁

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
    • W.

      There were definitely some we missed. I’ve always been a little surprised by the number of black metal bands named after stuff from the legendarium.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Fantasy knows no genres, Dubya.

        • W.

          Well put.

      • Xan

        Black metal and power metal love Tolkien.

    • Howard Dean

      Remember when Gorgoroth was awesome? *sigh* This gives me a nostalgia boner.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        This album is a fucking beast!! Hat’s vocals destroy me!

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Heh, Hat.

        • Howard Dean

          Hat was a great vocalist. Every time I had to listen to Gaahl’s shitty shrieks or watch him saunter around like Billy Badass the fucking fashion designer made me pine for Hat and early Gorgoroth. My fuck did Gaahl and King ov Douchebag kill that band. Still pisses me off.

          • Gaahl is a total cock.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            And he loves it too.

          • Howard Dean

            Hahahahahaha

          • Stockhausen

            Wardruna is awesome though. He isn’t the main creative force, so that’s good.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Yeah, Gaahl’s vocals are utter shit compared to Hat. The band is dead now and has been for years. Bummer.

      • Gurp

        When was that? I listened to Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt (2009) and it kinda bored me.

        • Howard Dean

          1994-1998. Pentagram, Antichrist, and Under the Sign of Hell.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
    • Howard Dean

      Dude, I’ve been loving these “Varg Unplugged” vids he’s been putting out recently. Never thought he would do this. They are sweet, especially the Jesu Dod and Hvis Lyset… videos.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Yeah, I agree. Nice to see after so many years!!!

      • Paris Hilton

        Are those the videos where Varg plays guitar with his fucking table!? I’m still srs about my crowdfunding idea to fly to France to lay the fucking smackdown on Varg’s candy ass!! That nerd won’t know what hit him when I go off the top ropes!

        • Howard Dean

          Yeah, the “Varg using the oak table as an amp vids.” I think they’re just fun to watch, interesting to see him actually playing the stuff. There’s a strange innocence and fun quality about the videos. It’s like this terrible man is reliving a bit of his youth for a few seconds, and is fully immersed in the music he created, reveling in real satisfaction. He may be an asshole, but he’s made some amazing music. Plus, he uses emoticons in some of those videos. It’s pretty hilarious that Varg uses emoticons.

          • Paris Hilton

            Varg uses emojis on his iPhone confirmed.

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            no comment on this turd
            #nocommentmeaningihatehimwiththefuryof1000demons

          • Paris Hilton

            I will fight him Conan! Mark my words! Then when I leave him bleeding and shitting his 1995 khakis I’ll let him know I’m a mixed race person, just to really salt the wounds.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Jeg har falt, og jeg kan ikke stå opp.

      • Stockhausen

        I miss seeing Norwegian on a daily basis. I’ll help you up, Cybronetic.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Takk, Stockhausbro

    • TrickleDownTacoRiff

      I really like the wood paneling in that room, its cozy.

      • Max

        There’s wood paneling all throughout Scandinavia, it seems. Just look at the background of the interior photos in Lords of Chaos.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Tvlkien = Mvtvl

    • W.

      Tolkien would have totally eaten Bdubs if he was still alive. He and C. S. Lewis would have been rolling coal.

      • C.S. Lewis strikes me more of a Chick Fil-A fan.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Seconded, or whatever the British equivalent of Cracker Barrel is.

        • Paris Hilton

          Actually the character Treebeard is based off of C.S Lewis! He was a slow speaking man and “Don’t be hasty” was something he’d commonly say.

          #Tolkienfacts

          • W.

            I routinely break out into Treebeardisms at home.

          • Paris Hilton

            Same! I often tell clients I’m training to “not be hasty” and I go into HUM-BOOM-HUMs when I’m thinking.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        A BDubs probably would have simply crumbled in Tolkien’s presence, reduced to a dusty pile of barstools and neon beer signs with a little river of wing sauce trickling out beneath the debris.

        • W.

          They speak the black tongue within.

  • So, just looked at the ungoliant page and that’s Skinner’s band. Skinner is the same guy that did the cover art for Once More Round the Sun, and all around demented street artist in the bay area, CA.

    http://www.theartofskinner.com/

    • W.

      That’s a bingo!

      • I’m assuming that’s where that great cover art for Ungoliant comes from too, Skinner.

        • W.

          The one for the album? Yep.

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      Seymour?

      • Paris Hilton

        The Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your kitchen?

  • Gurp

    I’m still procrastinating finishing The Hobbit… Fuck…

    • W.

      The Hobbit is one of the first books I remember reading, but I hadn’t revisited it until like a year or two ago. I almost came to tears after finishing it again as an adult.

      • Paris Hilton

        I hear that! The first time I read The Hobbit I was in Grade 5. It’s a classic that can be enjoyed by children and adults!

        • Xan

          I also read it in fifth grade but the semester ended before we finished. I picked it up again in 8th grade and read the whole thing in one night. My teacher was quite impressed.

      • Xan

        The ending is perfect. Very hobbitish. The Hobbit was the first book of respected literature that I read that I enjoyed. I started my love for the books and my love for literature in general. Now I have too many fantasy books to count.

  • Spear

    The movie adaptations of The Hobbit aren’t so-so; they’re fucking terrible. Here’s The Hobbit in a much better format: http://helcaraxe.bandcamp.com/album/red-dragon

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Have to agree, they’ve both been dildos.

      A WIZARD RIDING A GODDAMNED RABBIT SLED WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

      • Spear

        That fucking river scene in the second movie and Smaug being defeated by wacky hijinks were the most egregious offences.

    • Too much creative license going on in that shit storm. Although i still haven’t read The Silmarillion and i’ve heard that’s where a lot of the extra shit in the hobbit movies comes from.

      • W.

        Sort of. They use some ideas from the Silmarilion and cram them into the Hobbit.

    • W.

      This is still my favorite Hobbit adaptation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fw0lEaxiVs

      • Spear

        I must have watched that a hundred times as a kid. I love the music in this version.

        • W.

          Me too! Gollum creeped me out, though!

          • That’s partly because it’s Brother Theodore doing the voice for Gollum in that. I love what Andy Serkis did with the character, but Theodore’s voice acting is terrifying!

            Side note: once, when I was about four, I was sick with a fever and hallucinated Gollum behind the couch!

          • W.

            That’s terrifying! Also, this cover art is super lulzy now, but it freaked me out as a kid. This was the copy of the book I read when I was just a lad. http://slaymyboredom.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/old-hobbit-cover.jpg

          • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

            Holy shit, that’s the same copy/cover I read!

          • W.

            Fat Bilbo cracks me up now. This is probably why I always thought he was overweight.

          • Paris Hilton

            That is something I will give to The Hobbit movies; how well Martin Freeman plays Bilbo. In the book Bilbo wants the adventure, but hates the discomfort and the homesickness that he feels. I think Freeman really captured Bilbo’s anxiety during his entire ordeal well.

          • W.

            He really is the perfect casting choice for that role.

          • He is a DAMN good actor.

      • Still have not seen this…That ends today!

        • W.

          Track it down if you can. Like Spear said, the music is great. The animation is crazy but kinda cool. It looks like the Thundercats because Rankin bass did both.

    • Bob Nühart

      The Lord of the Rings is a complicated story that requires dense exposition and a chopped-up narrative. The Hobbit is not a complicated story, and the Jackson version carries over too much garbage.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Falls of Rauros is totally new to me, but I’m loving that vid. Great recommendation for fall weather.

    • Stockhausen

      We’ve got a couple other posts up of new songs, and their next should be out soon. Check it yo!

  • Oh, and because there is never enough Swedeath, here is Unleashed singing about Sauron http://youtu.be/ZZ_fdAn2Qf4

    • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

      I love Unleashed!

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      I remember having where no life dwells in 91 on cassette. The days of the walkman. It still seemed so awesome even though it had been around for almost a decade.

  • I’m assuming Metal Bvvk Klvb vol 2 will cover Lovercraft in metal. After that you should cover Conan in metal…Stating the obvious Uk doom metallers Conan (https://www.facebook.com/conandoom)

  • Howard Dean

    I know he’s an asshole, but Varg and Burzum is the first band that comes to mind when I (and probably 99% of extreme metal fans) think about “Tolkien inspired/themed metal.”

    Burzum is also the best Tolkien themed/inspired band, too.

  • Paris Hilton

    I feel that the movies did an awesome job capturing the depth and vivid imagination of the books! With the exception of all the Strider/Arwen shit that is. It tells the same story just in a different way, which is ok with me. And c’mon, could they have picked someone better to play Saruman than fucking Christopher Lee!? The dude is in a black metal band and is a huge nerd to begin with, he was born for that role!

    • W.

      I really enjoyed the LOTR films. They stayed pretty true throughout. The Hobbit movies have disappointed me, but I don’t hate them.

      • Paris Hilton

        Yeah, I’m pretty indifferent about the Hobbit movies. They seem too “Hollywood Blockbustery” to me if that makes sense. Fuck the movies, the 70s animated version is where it’s at!

        • W.
          • Paris Hilton

            Also there was a Hobbit game for GameCube and Xbox I think. Super underrated game. And don’t let it fool you, it was hard as fuck to beat!

          • W.

            I never played it, but I remember it. I did play The Two Towers and Return of the King quite a bit.

          • Paris Hilton

            Those were sick games too! I probably have spent a year in total playing and replaying 2 Towers.

          • I’m hyped for Shadow of Mordor, even though it kinda butchers canon a bit.

          • W.

            The Masterlord has had a raging clue for it for a while.

          • Janitor Jim Dvggan

            I still have the Two Towers game for Gamecube, but my Gamecube has no AV cable, just a LCD screen that plugs into the AV cable slot. I bought a soccer game that is the NFL Blitz of soccer for it. One of the teams is a team of dolphins.

          • Paris Hilton

            NFL Blitz is still the best football game to this day.

          • Xan

            That helms deep levels are evil. I could not protect that door for the life of me.

          • W.

            That final stage was so hard.

          • Loved that game, but couldn’t finish it 🙁

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          Is this sarcasm ? I have heard nothing but derision towards it my whole life which goes back aways. I always liked the rotoscoping they used in it myself. There is also a sci fi movie called wizards that uses similiar techniques.

          • W.

            The middle movie was the one with the rotoscoping, and I think it gave me a headache. The other Rankin Bass ones were awesome, though!

      • Paris Hilton

        The thing I can’t get over too is the CGI Orcs. Like, it’s really not that big of a deal but the Orcs in LOTR are real people, and deliver a real sense of fear! With The Hobbit, it just kind of feels like they’re being chased by video game characters.

        • W.

          That’s one of the things that has really bother me.

        • This. The detail of the makeup and shit was so crazy that it seemed like the orcs and uruk-hai were fucking REAL. The fight scenes are much worse in The Hobbit because they aren’t clashing with real people.

          • Paris Hilton

            I know, right!? Like I used to be scared shirtless of the Uruk-Hai chief! The White Orc just seems like I could take him down with a stealth kill. I want real Orcs! If I wanted shitty animation, I’d play Assassin’s Creed III! *High fives self*

        • Further Down the Metal Hole

          Hold on a second. I am yet to see a single Hobbit film. You’re telling me they took all that experience from LotR and threw it out the window for CGI orcs? For shame!

          • W.

            Basically. It really is a bummer.

          • Further Down the Metal Hole

            I really, really (!) enjoyed all the behind-the-scenes DVD extras on LotR where they detailed the making of the entire film. To think that they just turned to CGI is quite heart breaking.

          • W.

            The first Hobbit movie was honestly almost hard for me to watch at first. The graphics are almost cartoony.

          • Xan

            It was like they decided to make everything look like it was from World of Warcraft. The goblin king almost made me flip the table. It doesn’t hit me with the same feeling of boyish excitement that Fellowship did.

          • W.

            That’s an astute observation.

          • Xan

            The behind-the-scenes stuff was great. When you cry at the end of behind-the-scenes, you know you’ve made a captivating experience.

          • Paris Hilton

            You’d better believe it :/

        • Also, that bullshit with Legolas showing up in Laketown really bothered me. An elf body slamming an orc through walls? Fuck that!

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          when you compare it to the mega fuck ups of the star wars prequels you LOTR & HOBBIT fans got off easy with a few flubs here and there. As a star wars fan i was devasted since all 3 movies were worthless pieces of shit that i no longer consider star wars canon. I only acknowledge the moves from 77, 80 & 83 to be star wars. The same goes for all the spin off universes in games and the clone wars cartoons ( they are also non existent to me)

          • Paris Hilton

            The Jedi Knight series is fucking awesome doe

          • W.

            Actually, the first Clone Wars series animated by Genndy Tartikovsky was awesome.

        • Xan

          That is my biggest gripe with the new movies. I really dislike CGI villains. They did well with the Balrog from Fellowship. That thing looked pretty real to me.

      • Stockhausen

        I agree. However, when the Elves showed up to the battle at Helm’s Deep, my inner pretentious a-hole wanted to stand up in the theater and be like “NUH-UH! GUYS, NOPE.”

        • W.

          Well, there’s that and the fact that Helms Deep was only a very minor aspect of The Two Towers book.

          • Paris Hilton

            True on both accounts! As I said though, I never expected the movie to be exactly like the books, that’d be impossible really. And really though, how bad ass was the battle of Helm’s Deep in the movie!?

          • Max

            I really think they copped out by not filming the Scouring of the Shire. The cinematic happy ending was boring.

          • W.

            It was definitely a weird decision to kill Saruman off at Isengard.

          • Stockhausen

            That’s true. And that brings up the point that Tolkien wasn’t perfect; he obsessed over details and description, but didn’t always tell the awesome story that sucks the readers in. The part in the Fellowship where Strider battles the wraiths on Weathertop was pretty cool (albeit fairly liberal in interpreting their/Aragorn’s capabilities), and in the book that part goes “…then Strider returned and chased them off with a torch.” Then the part with Frodo at the river says that the wraiths fled from seeing an Elf king (Glorfindel) in his full wrath, but leaves at that. Dude, tell me more about Glorfindel’s wrath!

          • This is pretty much why I don’t vibe with Tolkien. He was so focused on details that the writing bored me to death.

      • KJM

        Ditto.

    • Xan

      I love the movies. I can understand why they cut some shit and added in certain things due to time constraints. The only parts of the trilogy I find myself falling asleep to are the deliberations at the entmoot.

      • Paris Hilton

        Yeah that’s true. I still love the LOTR movies to an unhealthy degree. The only thing I love more about my favorite movies is complaining about my favorite movies.

  • Bob Nühart

    For next book club, you should do pulp authors. Lovecraft and Howard, mainly.

  • Link D. LeonhⒶrt V.

    Thanks for remind me that i NEED to read Silmarillion!

  • Paris Hilton

    Also! The only other problem I have with the movies is that they completely whiffed Tom Bombadil!!! The dude lives the fucking life man! He just hangs out in the forest checking up on shit then goes home to his smoking hot Elvish wife. When I read about Tom in The Hobbit and Fellowship I was just like, “This motherfucker smokes weed for sure!”

    • W.

      Tom Bombadil is one of the most ridiculous characters ever, and I love him! However, including him in the movies would have totally changed the tone.

      • Paris Hilton

        True, he’s personally one of my favorite characters. I also love the bromance that Legolas and Gimili create. Like if you fuck with Legolas, Gimili is gonna be havin none of your shit.

        • W.

          One of my favorite parts is how Gimli is terrified to go into the caverns of the oathbreakers until he realizes he’ll be outdone by an elf.

          • Paris Hilton

            I’d like to see Gimili in Fangorn then Legolas in the Dwarvish Caverns just like they promised each other in 2 Towers.

        • Xan

          The reasoning behind the cutting of Bombadil is that he doesn’t really have an impact on the overall story. He saves the hobbits from the barrow wight but in the end he didn’t really do much. I too enjoy Bombadil but I understand the cut.

  • One day i hope to complete my epic graphic novel. So far I’ve outlined the overall plot and setting. It’s somewhat like Legend, but without the hero Jack. Which leads to my Lord of Darkness-like villain to rule for centuries and eventually turning the innocent fantasy realm into an arcane punk wasteland. It’s going to take a few more years to finish. One day i hope to self-publish it. Still too early to give it an official title.

    • Janitor Jim Dvggan

      I wrote a short story once about a metalhead who had to save the world from a evil pop star who kidnapped his metal compatriots. I have to find it as that was extremely well written.

    • Xan

      I too have created a world upon which I am writing a book. I have not been able to come up with a title. I wrote a summary that would go on the back of the book that sort of gives the premises for it: The city of Smargen has only
      recently been freed from the tyranny of a despotic ruler. Tarvin, son of the
      king, receives a message to head to the kingdom of Dane. Upon arrival, Tarvin
      discovers from Rotagivan that there have been reports of a threat growing in
      the south. They both head southward into the corrupted Southern Kingdoms and
      discover that an evil order of mages has been brought back by a new leader. The
      two of them MUST warn the kingdoms and stop the threat before the world is taken
      over by the dark menace.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Great, I was just getting ready to go to the pub but now I’m banging out to Diablo Swing Orchestra in my rad swivel chair.

    • W.

      I love DSO

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        Everything about them makes me grin like a mad chimp.

        • W.

          So good. Can’t wait for their next album. You better believe it will get some coverage here.

    • Stockhausen

      It’s basically impossible not to.

  • The Satan Ov Nvklear Hell

    Off topic here- I learnt to throat sing! http://vocaroo.com/i/s15SDDUTpMdr

    • W.

      Choice, dude!

      • The Satan Ov Nvklear Hell

        Twas fun to do!

    • Paris Hilton

      This is bad ass! Throat singing is truly a lost artform. And it’s actually really fucking hard to do! Kudos!

      • The Satan Ov Nvklear Hell

        Thanks!

    • It’s super fun isn’t it!?

      • The Satan Ov Nvklear Hell

        Yes, yes it is!

        • Are you overtone singing or legit throat singing (are you clean or raspy?)

          • The Satan Ov Nvklear Hell

            Raspy

          • The Satan Ov Nvklear Hell

            or well, starts as a rasp, ends up clean

          • Yeah, the vocaroo doesn’t really let us hear it until the very end, but your overtone is there! Keep practicing!

          • W.

            Stockhausen figured it out recently too.

          • Janitor Jim Dvggan

            I’m thinking about learning throat singing now. I think it would go well with my covers album on some of the tracks.

    • Stockhausen

      I did too! Nice!

    • Janitor Jim Dvggan

      On the subject of throat singing I’ve been listening to way too much Job For A Cowboy lately. Why have they been mostly forgotten?

      • They haven’t. They have a new album coming soon. From what I heard, it sounded a lot like obscura, but it was only a few second preview that got taken down 10 mins later.

        • Janitor Jim Dvggan

          I haven’t heard anything about a new album from them. Their EP from 2005 and Democracy were great albums for what they were.

          • Check their fb. They have been talking about it a bunch lately

          • Janitor Jim Dvggan

            I gave it a like. I see the posts referring to it and it excites me. This news made me think about doing a death metal or deathcore album of just guitar shredding as not many artists do guitar shredding albums anymore outside of the big artists like Vai and Malmsteen.

          • Have you heard exmortus? They shred like no one’s business

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    The nerd is strong within this one.

    • W.

      You better believe it.

  • JWG

    This is my kind of book club.

    On a tangential note, Chapters/Indigo keeps sending me things about their “teen” book club (read: cynical marketing ploy pretending to be a library-like program) for some reason, never mind that I was a teen when a now-late-teen reader would have been born.

    On an even more tangential note, this “Maze Runner” looks to me like every bit the worryingly desensitized/sanitized poor-kids version of “Cube” that The Hunger Games was a worryingly desensitized/sanitized poor-kids version of Battle Royale.

    • Aw man, I loved Cube. And Hyper Cube!

    • W.

      Am I correct in thinking Divergent is basically a sci-fi for teenage girls?

      • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

        Yes. Yes you are.

      • JWG

        The Divergent series as a whole seems to strip away the mortal threat of the Hunger Games, in favour of a more psychological threat, but then traipse through the same kind of poorly-executed young-female-empowerment-through-survival tale that THG did. With more romance and less physical conflict.

        I can’t think of a perfectly comparable example other than the HG series itself. It’s pretty much the same kind of Teen Girl Dystopian Sci-Fi except that, from what I’ve read about it, it isn’t nearly as morally ambiguous once you get right into it. The author tries hard, but she just can’t break free from her indoctrinated Christian mentality of Black and White morality.

        Even the summaries read like THG summaries with the names and place names switched for something else.

        • W.

          Thanks for confirming my suspicion.

    • I’d highly recommend this little audiobook of ‘100 Years Of Solitude’, and it’s one of my top 5 favorite books. Sadly, the author passed away earlier this year (yes, I’m guilty, I teared up when I heard), but it’s one of the most unique and interesting books of the 20th century:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwbUgoJX0Ro

      The other chapters are on the right. Enjoy!

  • JWG

    The interpretations (and some assertions) in this paper are debatable. But I do like when metal worms its way into mainstream academic discourse…

    http://www.academia.edu/1718000/JRR_Tolkiens_Mythical_Evil_in_Black_Metal

    • W.

      That’s interesting!

  • Here’s one I just discovered the other day: Orthanc

    http://youtu.be/LB46mEQiTsw

    • W.

      Intriguing. Solid name for a band!

      Edit: I was expecting something a little more monolithic and menacing, but this works!

  • FeelTheDarkness
  • Janitor Jim Dvggan

    You brought up Manilla Road. I thought I was the only one who knew of them. I hate their vocalist’s voice but Manilla Road rules.

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    I’m disappointed in the lack of Orc killing.
    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=2gCgluVD0Aw

    • W.

      This is my favorite 3IoB song.

    • The way this youtube video is titled made me lol. I read “Destroy the Orcs with Lyrics.”

  • metal

    What, no Amon Amarth? Their name is Sindarin for Mount Doom!

    • Xan

      I think they were going for bands that weren’t as well known. Obvious choices could have been Amon Amarth, Burzum, and Gorgoroth.

    • W.

      We toyed around with including them, but as Xan mentioned, we tried to go for lesser known bands.

  • Xan

    This article was amazing. I absolutely love the world Tolkien created. I have purchased every single one of his books pertaining to Middle-earth. To me, Tolkien is the greatest fantasy writer to have ever lived. Never before have I encountered a fantasy world with so much depth that seems as if it could almost exist. My dad took me to The Fellowship of the Ring when it first came out when I was 6 or 7 and I was enamored by it. I saw that mother fucker 15 times. This article was excellently written and the lore behind each band name was very well explained. I can’t wait to listen to some of these bands. I’m listening to Grond right now and am liking what I hear.

    • W.

      I’m so glad we could capture that magic for you.

  • Janitor Jim Dvggan

    Tolkien knows how to write a good book. I can’t wait for the next Hobbit movie and on the subject of Middle Earth, Mountain made a live album based on a line from The Hobbit called The Road Goes Ever On. The album had a side long version of Nantucket Sleighride which pales to the one on their next live album. That version was 32 minutes live compared to 17 and a half minutes.

  • ophel1a

    Great piece. Needs some editing, though; some of your paragraphs aren’t in the proper timeline order. Or, rather, you started new sections saying things like “I’d like to conclude with this band”, “I’m going to start with Balrog” when those were really in the middle of the article. ;P

    • W.

      I think the reason it looks like that is because three of us wrote it and only annotated our own individual sections.

      • ophel1a

        Oh, actually yes, that would perfectly explain my confusion! Haha. Thanks for that