Monday, June 30, 2008

Prog Mix CD: the green light

“the green light” is a mix disc of dark, modern Scandinavian Prog, heralding from Sweden and Norway specifically. It is totally appropriate to serve as my first Prog mix disc posted at R8CM. Last fall and winter I lived, ate, and breathed this stuff on long nocturnal walks, and while I sat at night on my lawn chair recliner on the back deck, with the snow and magic all around me. The ancient trees of my back yard swayed as if the haunted chords of the mellotrons themselves were blowing through the massive boughs. This is Prog of a different kind. It is very dark, like long winter nights, with melodies and musical accents dancing in air like the Aurora Borealis. The ghost of Crimson can be found here, as well the space time continuum of Floyd, and a secret, darker take on old mellotronic Genesis. But the heart that beats on “the green light” is very Nordic, and is much older than the Prog Gods who influenced these mysterious, young musicians. To me, this music is pure genius, and pure melancholy bliss. Listen to this late at night, in the dark, and with the winter in your heart.

Here is the track listing, with the band name linked to a web page where you can learn more about 'em, and possibly hear some more songs. The download links are after the track list.


1. Paatos – Tea 5:50 – “Timeloss” <2002> (Sweden)
2. White Willow – Snowfall 6:31 – “Ignis Fatuus” <1995> (Norway)
3. Anekdoten – Longing 4:56 – “Vemod” <1993> (Sweden)
4. Opeth – Hours Of Wealth 5:20 – “Ghost Reveries” <2005> (Sweden)
5. Anekdoten – A Sky About To Rain 6:30 – “A Time Of Day” <2007> (Sweden)
6. Anekdoten – Every Step I Take 3:06 – “A Time Of Day” <2007> (Sweden)
7. Kvazar – Dream 9:49 – “Kvazar” <1999> (Norway)
8. Sinkadus - Ulv I Fårakläder 9:56 – “Cirkus” <1999> (Sweden)
9. Wobbler – Clair Obscur 15:34 – “Hinterland” <2005> (Norway)
10. Anglagard – Skogsranden 10:49 – “Epilog” <1994> (Sweden)

Download Part One

Download Part Two

The disc starts off with “Tea” by Paatos, a haunted, subtly propulsive number chilled by lead singer Petronella Nettermalm’s evocative vocals, along with sharp and jazzy drumming, and a blanketing wall of sad mellotrons. “Snowfall” by White Willow takes you to the northern climes of Norway, with antiquated folk melodies, and proggy synth and flute accents. The snow is not in your head. Anekdoten then further ices the landscape with the frightenly sad acoustic warmth of “Longing,” where tears and cello melt the bleakest of hearts. “Hours Of Wealth,” with its bluesy chill and regal keys, show just how perfectly Opeth fits in with these cool Nordic Prog cats. Anekdoten shows up again like a bookend, this time with vocals, and their perfect blend of cosmos, heavier riffs, melancholy, fat bass, and acres of mellotron. “A Sky About To Rain” slides right into its instrumental coda, “Every Step I Take.” The synth at 4:29 of “Sky” is to die for!

The second half of the disc starts to veer to slightly more traditional proggy landscapes, with Kvazar providing the all important bridge. “Dream,” is another night sky canvas, unfolding like a moonflower at dusk. Sinkadus and “Ulv I Fårakläder” takes us deep into the dark forest, where we can smell the moist, mulchy earth, and hear the wind howl through the upper limbs, inciting an incantation of dark Swedish fear. “Clair Obscur” by Wobbler, starts of somber with its stoney keys, bittersweet melody, and ghostly piano. It then evolves into a full Prog workout, a stew and slew of themes and sad bits, all bubbling to the top. “the green light” is then extinguished by the “Fathers” of the dark modern Scandinavian Prog scene, Anglagard, who’s precise and emotive musicianship seals the deal on any return of day, light, and the scent of spring. The nocturnal forest is victorious in its forlorn seclusion, and the listener can only hope that its inner “green light” burns as bright the next time you play the disc!

I post this disc for two reasons: 1) to share the listening experience 2) to expose you to these bands, and their music, which is far, far, far from the mainstream. SUPPORT THE BANDS! BUY THEIR MUSIC! Follow the links to their web sites! They deserve your attention! Here’s a link to the great online "Synphonic" Prog store where you can buy their music!


Give Me 8 Cents,

P.S. The cover photo was taken by me with my 8 cent phone cam!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PROG, PROG, PROG and more PROG!!!

Genesis (back in the day with Peter Gabriel, and when Phil Collins was cool and had hair)

So what’s the f*&king deal with Progressive Rock, or more commonly called “Prog?” Why is this wonderful form of music the “whipping boy” of snooty music critics and fans all over the place? Well, one reason is that the criticism is another form of “anti-intellectualism.” This of course makes the presumption that Prog is intellectual music, or music for intellectuals. This is true to some small degree, but it is also very UNTRUE in many other ways.

Since I have been following Prog for over 34 years (on and off), I can verify that there are Prog fans who are “elitist snotbags,” that think Prog is the only type of music of any worth, and that if people aren’t listening to it, they are idiots. Well…. This form of elitist snotbagism is quite popular in ALL types of music!!! There are zillions of elitist snotbags who only like punk, and put down other types of music, and think that everybody who isn't punk is an idiot. You can say the same for any type of music: jazz, classical, classic rock, hardcore, softcore, Black Metal, White Metal, Armenian bongo music, new wave, old new wave, new old new wave, etc.

I love Prog with all my heart and soul, and think it is one of the most enjoyable forms of music to listen to. However, I don’t take it toooooooo seriously. That would be a big mistake. I think it is a mistake to take any type of music too seriously. Right now in my life, I like challenging music, that does more than just affect my more visceral emotions through simplistic expression. Prog is challenging music that challenges me through aural landscapes, and more subliminal emotion. In good Prog, I find the emotion in the playing, the singing, the epic melodies, and the album covers with space dwarfs on them. While a lot of the lyrics are a bit daff, that is A-OK!!! Right now, I would much rather listen to a 20 minute epic song about squirrels (in five named subsections) than some downtrodden story about a shattered romantic relationship in a trailer park, or some snarky hipster rock 'n' roll about smack and cigarettes (by some sixth generation Velvet Underground/New York Dolls wannabee), or just how bad the Bush Administration really is. If a really cool synth part in an epic Prog track makes the hair on my arms stand up, by then, ALL F*&KING RIGHT!

The bottom line is, I think Prog is very, very 8 CENTS, just like Metal! If you can get that Metal is 8 cents, then I think you should get that Prog is 8 cents, because they aren’t that far apart in the 8 cents department! At the root core, 8 is 8, and if it ain’t 8, it ain’t great!

Anekdoten (a really cool modern Prog band from Sweden)

In the months I have had my blog going, I have been into Metal, Metal, Metal. However, the periodic and predicted change in tide is coming, and I am shifting towards Prog, Prog, Prog. In the last five years or so, it has been Metal and Prog, Prog and Metal, more Metal, more Prog, some cool European folk music (squared), some old time country, a dash of the old classic rock, a brief freak out on Miles Davis, and then back to Prog and Metal, Metal and Prog, etc, etc, etc. BEWARE! THE PROG CONTENT IS COMING to Rudo’s 8 Cent Marvels!!! There has been a lot of great Prog created in recent years, especially from Europe, in particular Scandinavia. I love the old Prog, I love the new Prog. I don’t love Prog that wanks on total excess and musicianship, and is devoid of emotion (yes, there is some of that too). But I love good 8 cent Prog, oh yes I do!

Give me 8 Cents,


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mediterranean Traditional EPIC Metal from Greece & Italy

Hey, I just wanted to spread the word that there is a very cool 8 Cent scene developing in the Mediterranean countries of Greece and Italy, where some newer bands are practicing the ancient art of Traditional EPIC Metal!!! Taking their cue from bands like Manilla Road and Manowar, these bands practice a righteous form of Battle Metal, often dripping in the history of these legendary countries. I am relatively new to the scene myself, but I have immersed myself deep enough to know something about the following bands and the albums below. If there are people out there who were sorely missing Traditional EPIC Metal, and all of its glorious righteousness, behold! There is a new dawn, with new warriors practiced in the art of Gladi-8-tor axe-slinging, and ripe, if not over-ripe vocals!!!

Click on the band's name to take you to either their MySpace page or home page where you can learn more about the bands, and probably listen to some of their classic 8 Cent Metal!

From GREECE we have:

BATTLEROAR - Age Of Chaos (2005)

SACRED BLOOD - The Battle Of Thermopylae: The Chronicle (2008)

MARAUDER - 1821 (2000)

AIRGED L'AHM - Ode To Salvation (2008)

ELWING - War (2005)

And now from ITALY!!!

ICY STEEL - "Icy Steel" (2007)

DOOMSWORD - "Let Battle Commence" (2003)

ASSEDIUM - Rise Of The Warlords (2006)

BERSERKER - Blood Of The Warriors (2007)

Out of all these very 8 and GR-8-TE bands and albums, my favorite is Icy Steel's self-titled debut!!! It mixes the epicness of Manilla Road, with some fine vocal harmonies and righteously chanted choruses to result in an 8 cent masterpiece, which belongs in every EPIC MetalHead's collection!!! Below are the happy chaps in ICY STEEL!!! WHOO-HOO!!! Expect to see more about them in "Rudo's 8 Cent Marvels" in the future!!!

I know there are more bands of this ilk from this part of the world. Write in and share a good word about them!!!

FLASH 'EM HIGH! Give me 8 Frickin' Cents!!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Now for something totally different, a photo essay. These 8 cent photos were taken on July 4,2007 at the 1-75 exit for Monticello, TN. The bigger ones were taken with my 9 cent five year old Kodak digital camera. The smaller ones were taken with my 7 cent one year old Motorola phone cam... 9 cents + 7 cents = 16 cents, divided by 2, = you do the math! Enjoy. I am compelled to take photos of dilapidated buildings, houses, barns, cars, gas stations, humans, and other weird stuff.... You have been forewarned!

I was back this way on May 6, 2008, and it was still there. I took the following pic of it from a neighboring gas station that showed no outward signs of dilapidation, although its soul was very foul....
Give me 8 Cents,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Metal Mix CD: The Iridescent Sky

My latest Metal mix disc to share with you is quite different from the previous one. "Island Of The Silver Skull" was a loving tribute to my 80's Traditional Epic Metal roots, played by newer bands who are keeping that flame alive. However, "The Iridescent Sky" is a collection of new songs from many of the bands and artists that I have been passionate about in the last 6-7 years of my middle-aged Metal Renaissance. It is intense dark music, that pushes Metal's boundaries in broad progressive strokes. This is not Prog Metal, ala Dream Theater, with virtuostic wanking overwhelming what little emotional content is felt in that music. It is METAL first, with Progressive influences, that owes a debt of gratitude to the great 70's Prog era, nothing more. It is METAL, it is atmospheric, it is dark, it is bleak and sombre, it is intense, it is inventive and creative, it is EMOTIONAL, and it kicks ass. Most of these bands are far from obscure in the Metal community, but they certainly are not commonplace in the musical mainstream, especially in the US. They deserve your attention.

Here is the track listing, with the band name linked to a web page where you can learn more about 'em, and possibly hear some more songs. The download links are after the track list.


1. Agalloch - The Pantheist 7:17 - "The White" EP <2008> (USA)
2. Primordial - Empire Falls 8:03 - "To The Nameless Dead" <2007> (Ireland)
3. Dark Tranquillity - Icipher 4:38 - "Fiction" <2007> (Sweden)
4. Novembre - Iridescence 5:11 - "The Blue" <2007> (Italy)
5. Opeth - The Lotus Eater 8:50 - "Watershed" <2008> (Sweden)
6. Ihsahn - Monolith 6:25 - "AngL" <2008> (Norway)
7. Vintersorg - Perfektionisten 4:15 - "Solens Roetter" <2007> (Sweden)
8. Manegarm - I Underjorden 4:11 - "Vargstenen" <2007> (Sweden)
9. Moonsorrow - Tulimyrsky 29:36 - "Tulimyrsky" (EP) <2008> (Finland)

Download Part 1

Download Part 2

The journey begins with "Pantheist" by Agalloch, a majestic and atmospheric acoustic based track from their limited pressing "The White" EP. Agolloch always brings you close to nature, evoking a somber, reflective walk through a forest or snow storm. Musically, this is closer to the expansive, progressive experience of their album "The Mantle," than their most recent release, "Ashes Against The Grain." It is sublime.

This segue ways into "Empire Falls" by Primordial, who take their swirling thunderstorm of dire warnings to the heart of the human tornado, with searing emotional cries and prophecies. Musically it is very dense and frightening, largely in part to the intensity and passion of vocalist Naihmass Nemtheanga, and the apocalyptic thunder of the band. Metal *does* have a conscience, and nobody exemplifies it better than Nemtheanga, and this band of brooding Irish revolutionaries.

Things move on to Dark Tranquillity and "Icipher," a mid-tempo piece that emphasizes the musicality of this legendary band. It is not one of their barnstorming stompers. Rather it is a dense heartfelt piece, emphasizing the emotion in Mikael Stanne's growls. Here is a case of where keyboards effectively add texture and feeling, with the whole band working as an integrated unit, evoking dramatic emotion through their collective performance.

Italy's Novembre are masters of melancholy, with the sad and plaintive clean vocals of Carmelo Orlando, who then shakes the roof tops with his intense dark growl. "Iridescence" is iridescent, with its colorful keyboard fills, and bright evocative drumming. Again, nothing is overplayed, by a band that could wank as virtuosos, but choose feeling over technical brilliance.

In most ways, Opeth need no introduction, the biggest band in Extreme Metal today. They have become polarizing in the Metal community, with those who unabashedly love their Progressive Death Metal, and those who are bored silly by them, loving to take potshots at the reigning kings. "The Lotus Eater" will change no one's opinion because it exemplifies what Opeth does best, playing a sophisticated Death Metal that is consumed by their love of old Progressive Rock. The trick is that they do it with so much emotion, and so many rich musical ideas. If people don't get the quick changes of music from one little trip into another, then they don't get Prog. Too bad. This track is inspired and evocative, and *nobody* growls like Mikael Akerfeldt, and nobody has such a beautiful clean voice. Opeth has always been about contrast. Here it is.

"Monolith" segue ways in beautifully, with its proggy intro that then turns into a rich Black Metal riff with drum blasts, followed by Ihsahn's patented Black Metal rasp. What makes it different from old Emperor (his main band) and the legions of Black Metal hordes, is his totally inventive instrumentation, most evident being the colors and textures of keyboards, acoustic guitars, and clean vocals. This is very Prog too, but like Opeth, it carries the intensities of their Metallic roots. For Opeth it is Death Metal, for Ihashn it is Black Metal. And it kills!

On his "Solens Rotter" CD, Vintersorg coalesced his avant-garde Metal and Prog tendencies with his own brand of Scandinavian Folk Metal in a remarkably effective manner. The results are heard in "Perfektionsten," a tune that mixes his sharp growl with his searing and gorgeous clean vox, with a folkloric melody that is accented by avant-garde accompaniment. The programmed beats and keyboard accents remain supportive, and do not get in way of the amazingly catchy tune that should be played on the radio! HAH to that idea!

"I Underjorden" by Manegarm is Viking Folk Metal at its finest, harsh and intense, beautiful and melodic, precise and wonderful, propelled by blistering drum beats and soaring fiddle work. Scandinavia. Fjords. Nordic history. Runes. Stormy seas. What more can I say? And this leads perfectly into...

... the EPIC intensity of "Tulimyrsky" by Finland's Moonsorrow. Their music, and this track, is nothing short of cinematic. Their whole musical history and evolution is presented in this 29 MINUTE EPIC. Harsh Black Metal from their early days, sumptuous keyboard driven Viking Metal, very traditional acoustic Scandinavian folk complete with prominent accordion, drunken Viking choirs, warm 70's Prog leanings with analogue synths and long, evolutionary song structures, and their recent uncompromising turn towards harsh and grim EPIC songs that are never shorter than 14 minutes, and typically are 20 to 30 minute cinematic masterpieces. "Tulimyrsky" has more pronounced musical changes that the epics on their previous album, and brings back the accordion, keys, and blackened vocals of their past. And while it goes on for 29 minutes, I am never bored. I am immersed in a musical and cultural history that makes me just about jump out of my present skin and life, and back into a past I know I lived in... A secluded fjord, weathering storms on a Viking knarr, revering the old Gods, and clutching the ancient earth with my fingers. Yeah.

I post this disc for two reasons: 1) to share the listening experience 2) to expose you to these bands, and their music, which is far, far, far from the mainstream. SUPPORT THE BANDS! BUY THEIR MUSIC! Follow the links to their web sites! They deserve your attention!


Give Me 8 Cents,

P.S. The cover photo was taken by me with my 8 cent phone cam, and jazzed up with an ancient version of Adobe PhotoDeluxe editor.

Vintersorg Junior???

What young, pensive Extreme Metal God is this???? Could it be Vintersorg Junior? Will the comos change overnight? Will the Old Ones rise and thrash our modern deities? Will it snow icy blasts tonight? How can I put out 4 new Metal projects out all at once, and still hold down my day job, and go to school? And what exactly is a Microscopical Macrocosm???? (Cheers, Andreas!)

Only the Abominog knows, and he ain't sayin'!

Give Me 8 Cents,