Monday, 25 October 2010

Lord Dunsany, To The Birds

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany died 53 years ago today, 25th October 1957. I visited Dunsany's grave in the church yard in Shoreham in the summer and spent a day walking among the hills and woods that he knew. A series of essays about my Dunsany Pilgrimage will be posted on this blog in time but for the moment, and to mark the day of the death of a man who loved wildfowling as much as he loved writing, I post his poem To The Birds.
When I am dead and the bird
That through the long reeds go,
Though they hear no man's words,
Those Wandering Birds Will know.
The duck, the snipe, the teal,
All folk of heath and fen,
The news will hear or feel
Before it comes to men.
In ferns where woodcock hide,
By bays where widgeon lie,
And where the bog goes wide
And gleaming to the sky.
By Many a reedy lake
And many a mile of ling
Its speed will overtake
The golden plover's wing;
By glint of moon or star,
Through darkness among trees
The news will wend as far
As the far-travelling geese;
And grouse on windy moors,
Jack-snipe on coloured moss,
And birds the love lone shores
Far north will know the loss.
And nought have I to say
Against their myriad voice
Arising on that day
To sing, "Rejoice! Rejoice!"

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

MusiqueMachine Interview October 2010

MusiqueMachine, who made "Hunts & Wars" their album of the month for October have published an interview I did with them some weeks ago. Read all about my undying love for Venom, Dio-era Sabbath and Arthur Machen.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

From his throne in Country Duhram in North East England, Christopher Walton, the sole arbiter of the entity TenHornedBeast, and also of the perhaps better known Endvra, has overseen numerous exploits of aural intrigue and mystery and his latest work, the third outing on Cold Spring, marks a further step in the evolution of his sound.
As contrived as it may seem on paper Hunts & Wars itself is a sinister, war-themed journey through desolate, windswept landscapes. Such themes typically conjure images of intense battle and bloodshed but THB opts for a different perspective; of the prelude and the aftermath, deriving inspiration from writers Robert E. Howard and Lord Dunsany. Going further beyond Sunn O)))'s well known brand of contorted malevolence, THB delves even deeper into the abyss, concocting surrealistic drones, heavy bass and swirling ambient with the percussion playing a particularly prominent and unusually vital role, never more so than on "I Am The Spearhead" whose thunderous, reverberating beats, emulates, perhaps unintentionally, the sound of blood-fueled jeering amidst the surrounding walls of a coliseum. It's really quite spectacular. Another album highlight, "Ironborn" becomes frightfully distinctive with its alternating war horn and ritualistic drums painting a vivid picture of a monstrous army marching a cold, pilgrimage to battle. There's nothing human about this record. Perhaps wisely, Walton has separated the protracted songs with shorter interludes, allowing for a (slightly) more approachable voyage than the equally superb richness of The Sacred Truth.
What's truly impressive though is Walton's ability to inject a palpable sense of variety into each track whilst maintaining that eerie sense of nothingness and death. It must be difficult to play host to a form of music that generally alienates even the most hardy of extreme music fans. Whilst brutal, mindless metal rakes in the numbers, music based on minimalism and soundscapes rarely finds a decent footing (most continue to toil in obscurity), regardless of the quality or subject matter. In all likeliness Hunts & Wars will remain such a record, despite being at the top of its game.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Special Interests

The internet is great but you can't read it on the bog. If, like me, you pine for the days of quality printed magazines such as Esoterra, Compulsion, Judas Kiss, Sigill, Omega and countless others you could do no better that pick up Special Interests. #4 includes interviews with Bastard Noise, Brandkommando, Koufar, Sickness, Raymond Dijkstra, Trash Ritual and TenHornedBeast.