Monday, July 31, 2006

VON - Satanic Blood Angel CD (Nuclear War Now!/US)
This is a good one to put on when you're in one of those no-brains-allowed moods in need of nothing more than a good headrush. You've probably never heard of them - I certainly never had until a year back - though Von are in fact one of the most influential proto-Black Metal outfits of all time, if you're to believe the liner notes.

Von were an early '90s San Fran trio - that's Goat, Bill and Snake - who never actually released any vinyl or "official" release in their lifetime. Just two demo cassettes, then they disappeared into the ether. Luckily, a young deadbeat by the name of Varg Vikernes, AKA Burzum, bought one of their releases and promptly taped it endlessly and spread the word throughout Norway. That is where their legend lies. As the liner notes say, Von were the pioneering band of "minimalist trance-inducing Black Metal".

That's a good point. Both of their cassettes, Satanic Blood and Blood Angel, from 1991, predate the ultra-necro lo-fi basement scunge of Burzum and Darkthrone by a couple of years, so the historical value is there. But is it any good? By golly, yes! Local shop clerk Oren Ambarchi spun me this CD in the store in which he is employed about a year back and we both chuckled at the lyrical content. Here's a choice snippet:

Lamb
Shall die in vain
Lamb
Crucified
Lamb
Drink the blood
Lamb
Sacrifice to the
Lamb
Worship blood
Lamb
Crucified
Lamb
Ink the sign
Lamb
Worship to thee

Despite the pleas as to their great historical significance, I wasn't fully sold on what sounded like a gutteral, Satanic Shaggs and, if memories serves, blew the cash on some jazz nonsense instead. Still, that sound haunted me. Back in stock a month ago, I decided on the purchase. Maybe I was bleary on that day in question a year back, but this sounds a whole lot better in the year 2006, and for a BM demo cassette from 1991, and one which apparently pioneered the necro sound (I'm sorry, I must use the lingo), it's got the chops and power to really deliver a blow. Yes, this rocks. Of course the production would hardly please the average Toto fan, but at least it doesn't succumb to the depths of no-fi, in-the-red crud which hampers certain discs by the likes of Ildjarn and Belketre.

26 tracks in total, 14 in the studio, 12 live (which also sound good); 15 years later Von probably sound like the most generic Black Metal band on the planet, though keep this in mind: it was recorded 15 years ago. One more listen to this in my wife's company and I think she might just file for divorce, though for myself it's a pretty cool secret treasure, even though it pains me to consider the point that it mighta been a bunch of goddamn Yanks who secretly kickstarted the whole movement.

PS - you'll notice that the comments box is available once again - at least until it konks out for its fortnightly breakdown - so if you wish to tell me what a misinformed jerk I am, you'd better jump on it quick.

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