Top Five Tuesday: Chinese black metal, Cathedral’s last doom metal opus, and The Devil foresees an Extinction Level Event

It’s time for Top Five Tuesday. Five songs, releases, videos, stories, or whatever else comes to mind that are well worth following up. I think all this music is pretty cool and hopefully you will too. This time it’s mostly metal and guitar-driven stuff…

5) Tengger Cavalry — if there’s such a thing as cavalry metal, this is it
So there’s a guy in China who loves black metal. He also likes folk metal, either knows how to play a variety of traditional folk instruments or knows people who can, is capable of throat singing, and has a thing for ancient Chinese history.
Let me repeat that. Black metal + Chinese folk metal + traditional Chinese instruments + throat singing + songs about riding horses on the steppes.
He started a band called Tengger Cavalry and the two people that I know of who’ve heard the track Cavalry Folk have loved it. Maybe you will too?
The double-album arrived in the post the other (“Hello dearest, a package arrived in the mail. It’s got Chinese writing all over it”) so I won’t say much else until I pick it up.

4) Cathedral – Tower Of Silence
For whatever reason I never got into UK doom metal masters Cathedral. I think it was a combination of just somehow missing out on this much loved band and not being too crazy about Lee Dorian’s vocals.
So Cathedral finally and gracefully called it quits not too long ago, but not before putting together one final album, The Last Spire. It’s officially due out on April 29, 2013 and word on the street whispers from the depths of the crypts of solitude are that it’ll be a good one.
This track, Tower Of Silence, is said to be their last ever official promo video. I love it just for the stripped back, Black Sabbath-esque lead riff which, seriously, doesn’t get any doomier than this. It’s as if they thought, screw this, less is better, and while we’re at it lets have a jolly good old time being all dark and depressive while shooting a video that pays homage to our favourite Hammer Horror flicks. This is heavy man.

 Cathedral: Tower Of Silence from the top. Or if you’re lazy, just skip a minute into the riff.

3) Ethernal — melodic black metal from the UK
Sturgeon’sLaw is a belief often applied in art and culture that essentially says “ninety percent of everything is crap”. Indeed, if I had to nominate a music style where this was especially rife I would have to say… well, actually, I was going to say black metal but come to think of it, it’s all of them actually (except for Aussie hip-hop — which really is consistently awful).
Black metal is a genre that comes to mind when thinking of Sturgeon’s Law because it’s a genre so notorious for its kvlt silliness and deliberate low-quality (i.e. rubbish) recording production. It’s a genre that’s easy to do badly — but is also one that can work brilliantly when done right.
UK black metallers Ethernal are one such group that fall more in the latter camp. They’re a genuine black metal outfit who, while not doing anything earthshakingly different, still go far enough to keep it interesting. Specifically, through a combination of half-decent song-writing (note: “half-decent” is Australian for “rather good”) coupled with a focus on melody over filthy guitar fuzz — all the while still conveying that fatalistic spirit found in good black metal.
I came across Ethernal on a recent Terrorizer magazine compilation CD, featuring the track Seat Of Kings. I love the melodic intro on this one, so much that my personal Last FM listening stats tell me I’ve played it no less than 21 times so far.
It’s worth noting that the Ethernal Bandcamp page offers the The Black Sun EP as a free two-track download, which is very nice of them. Plus, in case you’ve never used Bandcamp before, you can listen to everything else they’ve got, in full.
I’m looking forward to hearing more of their stuff.

2) The Hellfreaks — psychobilly from Hungary

 The Hellfreaks — Boogie Man

This group I came across on one of the many excellent (and great value for money) Gothic compilations. Published in Germany, the Gothic compilations are a wonderful snapshot of happening bands in Europe — and also a reminder of how much bigger “the scene” is in Europe.
So this band featured on Gothic Compilation Part LVI (part 55) and it’s the second psychobilly track I’ve ever listened to properly (as in, ever, in all time). The first one was the track before it on the same compilation, Strange Times Are Coming, by none other than the “originators” of psychobilly, The Meteors.
The Hellfreaks as far as I can tell are from Hungary. They go out of their way play up the imagery, with very heavy emphasis on the over-engineered sexiness of the lead singer. And after you hear her unique voice you’ll either a) want to hear plenty more, or b) you’ll be reaching for a hacksaw to remove your ears.
Interestingly, many of the comments left on their videos seem to be from crusty old psychobilly lovers who seem to love the slap-bass and can’t stand here her vocals. Personally, I love ’em. Either way, The Hellfreaks are a band that are sure to divide people. They also seems to have a sense of humour, if their short rendition of europop stalwarts La Bouche’s Be My Lover is anything to go by.
Check ’em out and give these tracks a listen: The Hellfreaks.

1) The Devil — fantastic “soundtrack” metal built around audio samples and no vocals
This artist is another Terrorizer magazine discovery, and a group about which public knowledge seems to be strangely lacking. What I know comes from a small and somewhat silly magazine interview in which they kind of explained why they remain anonymous and wear masks. Nonetheless, they’re one of those bands that are so mysterious and elusive that their music hasn’t even leaked (yet) into the usual channels.
What is legitimately available for public viewing, however, is a collection of two videos that showcase not only their style but also their awesome multi-media skills.
The first of these videos, Universe, deals with alien conspiracies. The other, Extinction Level Event, is cut up speeches about nuclear war post-WWII. Both make superb use of actual footage and tell a story (because I refuse to use the term “narrative”) put together from various samples. A written description couldn’t do justice to these tracks.
I love them both, so please, watch these vidoes.

 The Devil — Extinction Level Event. And don’t forget to watch the mind-blowing
footage of a bus getting vapourised during a nuclear blast.

 The Devil — Universe. Massive UFO conspiracy business going on here.


  1. Surely not all Aussie hip hop is terrible.....


  2. This makes me want to saw off my ears. Chopper did it and he's Australian.