Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Missing!!! Guitar Solos!!!

As a Metal fanatic, and one who came up through the old school in the 70's & 80's, I love guitar solos! It is something that I desire and cherish in Metal, a totally ripping, bodacious and meaningful guitar solo. On one hand, spraying a trillion notes a second in an attempt to impress just how shredilistic a guitar player is does not cut it with me. On the other hand, a Metal song without a guitar solo is missing something. In the old school, Metal *HAD* to have guitar solos. It was just a requirement. In some genres of modern Metal, guitar solos are not necessary, or desired, or a requirement. In all honesty, I respect that. Many times that means putting the song first over guitar heroics, which is admirable. But can't we find a common ground with a few more solos???

I could write a whole long analytical essay about all this, examining different Metal genres, expressing the pros and cons of guitar solos. However, I don't want to do that, at least not now. But I do want to speak about Folk Metal, which is my current big kick. In Folk Metal, the lead guitar is often non-existent, with the emphasis going into the vocals, and the expression of the song's melody with traditional folk instruments. Fiddle/violin and flute/recorders often get top billing, which is really cool. Electric guitar provides the crunchy rhythm and OOOMMPPHHH, which of course, is really cool. But man, there is such a missed opportunity when the guitars could go berserk for a few bars without sacrificing the song's folkish integrity!

When I think of Metal guitar solos, the first thing that pops into my head is Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden. In retrospect, one major revelation I had about Metal was when I realized that a lot of the the melodies those guys use in their solos, and in their exceedingly amazingly intertwined twin dual leads, are of a folkish nature! Of course, they are ripped through their magic fingers and exploding amps. But their solos have such an ancient timeless quality to them, you could swear they are over 1000 years old. So why not incorporate more of that ancient Guitar Godliness in Folk Metal???

Well, there are some bands that do that. One that I would like to make note of is Menhir from Germany. They play a very righteous Folk Viking Metal that does NOT EXCLUDE beautiful Maidenesque solos. Click on the song link below for "Das Alte Lied Des Windes," and it will take you to Menhir's MySpace page. There you can hear this great song from their great album "Hildebrandslied," which came out last year. It is an amazing Folk Viking track, emphasizing the folk melodies and emotive vocals until about 4:21 into the song, when BLAM, gorgeous after gorgeous soaring guitar solo takes off, building on the one before it, settling into a twin lead that causes instant orgasm. The solos go on for about a full two minutes, which is great! I love it! I want more of it! Yeah, it's Maidenesque as hell. So what? I love it! I WANT IT, I NEED IT, I HAVE TO HAVE IT!!!

Das Alte Lied Des Windes by Menhir

The Eight Cent Guys in Menhir!

Give Me 8 Cents,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

08/08/08 Travelogue & Photo Essay!

People who are not familiar with Suck City, the old Metal zine from the 80's that I was co-editor of, probably are not familiar with the Importance of 8 Cents, and the Power of the Number 8! Well, let me tell you, 8 is the question, 8 is the answer, and if it ain't 8, it ain't great! So when the once in a lifetime day of 08/08/08 came upon us, we had to show the world how to truly live 8 Cents in word and deed. Yes, on 08/08/08 my son Anvilhead Rudosson and I went on a holy pilgrimage to pay homage to 8 Cents, out there in the big world. We didn't have to look too hard, and were blown away with what we found. We're now ready to share that with you!

First off, we went to down to Indiana University's Bloomington campus to show Anvilhead the campus, and for me to relive some of the most 8 cent moments in my life. Here is a pic of the dorm room that Astronomo and I used to share back in 1976-77. Isn't this exciting?!?!?!?!

Here is the bowling alley in the Student Union building. I wonder if The Dude, Walter, and Donny ever bowled here?????

Also in the Union Building was the offices of WQAX, the old free-form alternative "CABLE" FM radio station that Defect Removal, Umlatta, Cosmo, Carmelita, Silas B. Clark, Swa Sticka and I used to do crazy radio shows at. Like all good things, it eventually went under, and now the space is being used by the "Multi-Cultural Greek Council & National Pan-Hellenic Council." I wonder if Paul Fisher still comes by and annoys people working in there, asking for money, or if he could crash out on their couch? OUCH, scary memories there.... :-)

We then strolled to the Chemistry Building, a place that inflicted great pain on Astronomo and I. We hated this place with a passion! I spat on it, and it made me feel better!

In the Chemistry Building, we went into a classroom, and they had this painting of some great 8 Cent God, who looks a lot like Henry Kissinger! Give Me 8 Cents!

In downtown Bloomington there is this ridiculously artsy-fartsy cafe health food restaurant named the "Runcible Spoon" that all the Beards used to hang out at. Remember, this was the 70's and early 80's, before cafes and and health food became "fashionable." Well, it is still there. I used to eat the table scraps left in the garbage bin! I would climb into their dumpster and eat maggot infested tofu! Say Yeah! And yes, it is nice to see that the Beards still hang out here.....

My last Bloomington pic is of the house at 2222 E. 5th St. that Defect Removal, Swa Sticka, and I used to live at. Man, did we have some PARTIES at this house! It had a great big living room with a hard wood floor that made a great dance floor. Some of the theme dance parties we held were the "Soul Train Dance Party" and the "Groove-A-Thon." This was before my big Metal era (obviously)... I think Anvilhead was getting a bit bored of my stroll down memory lane, so it was time to move on..............

Next we hit the road for Cincinnati to take in a Reds-Astros baseball game. Anvilhead and I love going to baseball games, especially our hometown minor league team, the Indianapolis Indians. But this time we saw a big league game, ate some 8 cent ballpark food (that cost wayyy more than 8 cents), and had an 8 cent gr8 time! Ironically, Ken Griffey Jr. just got traded to my Chicago White Sox the week before this game, so their humongous mural to him was a TAD bit outdated...

The earthy looking fellow to your left is a statue of Ted Kluszewski, a great first baseman who played for the Reds between 1947 and 1957. This was also the 88th picture we took so far on our 08/08/08 journey, and certainly worthy of inclusion for that distinction alone!

Right inside the gate was a classic, classic old dude who was selling game programs. This guy epitomizes everything great about baseball, and I really hope I can be just like him when I retire and start working at Victory Field in Indianapolis!

I am very proud of Anvilhead who took this great action shot from our seats up in the upper deck. You can see the ball flying out just to the right of the pitcher. Way to go, Anvilhead!!! When the game was over, we were treated to a fabulous fireworks show that was probably the best I've ever seen. It was quite amazing!

Now things really took an 8 Cent turn, as we spent the night in a SUPER 8 MOTEL in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky! It was every bit as great a 2.5 star hotel can be! The 8 Cent vibe was beyond belief. We also watched the Puppy Olympics on the Animal Planet cable station when we got back from the game. If you are are ever in Fort Mitchell, you gotta stay there!

We then had an incredibly 8 cent experience at "Phil's Music Books & More" in Covington, KY. I had been here before with my other son, Meister1200 Rudosson, when we went to Cincy to see Opeth in 2006. They have a GR8 METAL selection, so I was ready to stock up on some very 8 Cent sh*t. So on a 08/08/08 Pilgrimage, what more appropriate to buy than Manowar?!?!??! I picked up their new CD "Gods Of War," a SUPER 8 MO-FO from last year, with a ridiculous amount of SUPER 8 story narration (ala Rhapsody) all about Odin and the old Nordic Gods, and in a really 8 Cent booming narrative voice with ghastly effects. What really made me laugh was the fact the CD has two covers. For retail purposes, the below cover was facing out of the jewel case...

And there is the real cover below, that is actually part of the CD booklet! GIVE ME 8 CENTS!!! BODACIOUS, NO DOUBT!

I also picked up Iced Earth's "Days Of Purgatory" for $8, a cool vinyl copy of Hawkwind's rare "The Chronicle Of The Black Sword" album from 1985, and the mighty Stonewall Jackson LP featured on the left for 50 cents! You gotta love Stonewall Jackson. His old traditional country is so EPIC, so masculine, so lonely, and so 8!

Anvilhead was really stoked about this comic book find. He loves Spiderman, and he loves Frogs even more. The combination was ridiculous! This really was one of the highlights of our whole trip. When we were ready to leave Covington, we chose White Castle as the place to make a bathroom stop. Man, it stunk in there!

Our last stop on the voyage was Big Bone Lick state park in Union, KY. But en route to the park , we saw a bunch of 8 cent yard sales and flea bag market type stuff outside along the highway. So we had to stop. We got two brand new Cincinnati Reds baseball hats for $5. But what was even BETTER, was I bought a WORKING 8-TRACK PLAYER!!! And what is even more amazing, it is an 8-TRACK recorder! It only cost 5 bucks!!! Hell, I would have paid $8 for it! Here's a pic of it at home, after I got it hooked up, playing my KISS "Destroyer" 8-Track that my lovely wife Angusette bought me. Yeah, it really works, and it sounds like SH*T! I love it! I almost got the pic taken at 8:08 pm, but I was a little too slow. However, since the date was actually 08/09/08 at this time, it was OK.

Now for Big Bone Lick. Here is a lovely pic of the lake at the park. Appropriately, Big Bone Lick is located very closely to the city of Beaver Lick, Kentucky. Geeeee.... I wonder what was up with that naming convention????

Well, maybe the names are for real because if you walk around in Big Bone Lick park, you see a zillion trees like the ones to the left that have been gnawed by beavers. Yep, there is a lot of beaver at Big Bone Lick! Anvilhead and I realized that we better not stumble and fall on our hike, because if we did, we would likely be impaled by all the sharp tree stumps protruding out of the ground! This would make a great Middle Ages battlefield!

And what is a "Celebration of 8" without playing Miniature Golf??? On 08/08/88, Umlatta and I celebrated the day by playing Putt-Putt. Anvilhead and I had the glorious opportunity to play miniature golf at Big Bone Lick State Park, one of the most boring but picturesque Putt-Putt courses I have ever played. What shocked us was they had a genuine real life Mespacte Indian standing on the course at the 18th hole! He was very still. It was a very inspiring way to end our day. Anvilhead had 5 holes in one, and I had 3, to total 8, so we knew it was time to go home.

We bid adieu to Big Bone Lick, drove through Beaver Lick, and went back home, blasting Manowar and Iced Earth the whole way. HAPPY 08/08/08 EVERYBODY!!!

Give Me 8 Cents,

Thursday, August 7, 2008


(POST DATE: A thousand sincere pardons to "Nugey Z Q" for forgetfully forgetting that August 8th was her 88th birthday! Please, no wet noodle, please!)

What a day! What a celebration! Everywhere around the world, people are rejoicing and partying on the most universal and 8 cents of Holidays, 08/08/08!!! Man, I am stoked! To celebrate in style, my son Anvilhead Rudosson and I are heading to Bloomington, IN, then to Cincinnati to see the 8 cent Cincinnati Reds and the 8 cents Houston Astros, and then SPENDING THE NIGHT IN A SUPER 8 MOTEL! On Saturday, we''ll be recovering by going to Big Bone Lick park in Kentucky!

I hope everybody has a safe and happy holiday! Kiss your loved ones. Hug your hated ones! Piss on a tractor! Chew gum off of the sidewalk! Eat a Pot Pie and say a prayer to St. Nasty Ronnie! And remember, IF IT AIN'T 8, IT AIN'T GREAT!!!

Give Me 8 Cents,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Metal Mix CD: Odin's Frozen Basketball Court!

(mix CD links below all of the 8 cent babble ramble by Rudo)

Ah yes, Viking/Folk Metal, one of my all-time favorites! For those uninitiated, one may ask, what in the F*&K is "Viking Metal?" Good question, my little 8 cent grasshopper... Simply, it is Metal music about Vikings! (doh!) Viking Metal transcends Metal genres, as long as it has something to do with Odin, long ships, the old Gods, burning & pillaging, drinking mead, freezing climates, mountains and fjords, the Gods who are old, pillaging & burning, mead, Odin, even longer ships, even older Gods, the freezing ass cold, Odin, and a lot more mead! For example, Swedish Viking band Amon Amarth play Melodic Death Metal, while the great Enslaved from Norway, who were one of the progenitors of the Viking genre, play extreme Avant-Garde Black Metal. Tyr from the Faroe Islands actually play a more Power Metal based Folk Metal, but are considered Viking Metal because of their Viking themes. Got it?

One thing that just about all Viking Metal bands have is a folkish element to their music (however, this is not an absolute requirement). So what the F*&K is Folk Metal? It is Metal music that incorporates traditional European folk elements and instruments, such as fiddles, flutes, lutes, whistles, accordions, harps, that weird sounding instrument that goes "boing, boing, boing" (can't remember, arg!), beautiful folkish melodies, and occasionally, beautiful female vocals sung by beautiful females, heavy, heavy guitars, brutish GRIM blackish growls, and soaring clean vocals, with some songs very fast and aggressive (great skanking music, BTW), and gorgeous ballads evoking a time long past when Gods were really Gods, and not some Televangelized Abomination.

Viking Folk Metal was one of the great evolutions of traditional EPIC Heavy Metal, born in the 1980's. Yes, there were songs about Vikings back in the Days of Yore (the 80's) by such bands as Iron Maiden, Manowar, Manilla Road, Faithful Breath, Blitzkrieg, etc. However, it took the GREAT Quorthon from Bathory to really get the movement started with their landmark release "Hammerheart" in 1990, which was all about Vikings, Vikings, Vikings (and not the Minnesota kind). Viking themes were quickly picked up Enslaved, who were one of the revolutionary Norwegian Black Metal bands in the early to mid-1990's. All of this started a musical movement, a most righteous one, as Viking themes fit this very intense and gnarly Metal most excellently. The incubation and birth of Folk Metal also came to pass in roughly the same time frame, and all of it cross pollinated together by a a handful of bands that became the quintessential "mast" of the Viking Folk long ship, say yeah!

So here is my latest mix CD to share with you, the very aptly titled "Odin's Frozen Basketball Court." Here in Indiana, it ain't exactly Scandinavia, so I had to find some reference point to bring my environment into the fjord. Basketball is the main sport around here, although it is far from my favorite. I set this basketball goal up in my driveway so Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya, and all could shoot some hoops when they come to visit! This disc is a weird bastard son, if ever there was one. I rarely, rarely go back and re-do my disc months after they were made. However, I made the original OFBC back in November 2007, while I also made another Viking Folk Metal disc called "Beard Of Storm" in March of the same year. To be honest, neither disc really played that well, and I was unhappy with both. So... I decided to crush them together into a better version of OFBC, which I am proud to share with you now.

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. Manegarm - Dodens Strand 5:04 - "Vredens Tid" <2005> (Sweden)
2. Solefald - Necrodyssey 3:47 - "Black For Death" <2006> (Norway)
3. Myrkgrav - De To Spellemenn 2:49 - "Trollskau, Skromt Og Kolabrenning" <2006> (Norway)
4. Heidevolk - Het Gelders Volkslied 3:42 - "De Strijdlust Is Geboren" <2005> Netherlands
5. Fjoergyn - Der Tag Der Wolfe 7:40 - "Ernte Im Herbst" <2005> (Germany)
6. Vintersorg - Dopt I En Jokelsjo 5:42 - "Solens Roetter" <2007> (Sweden)
7. Manegarm - Vaggvisa 3:34 - "Urmines Havd: The Forest Sessions" <2006> (Sweden)
8. Menhir - Das Hildebrandslied 8:58 - "Hildebrandslied" <2007> (Germany)
9. Wintersun - Beautiful Death 8:17 - "Wintersun" <2004> (Finland)
10. Moonsorrow - Jaasta Syntynyt / Varjojen Virta 30:10 - "V: Havitetty" <2007> (Finland)

Download Part One

Download Part Two

Things get off to a rippin' start with Manegarm, arguably the best Viking Folk band in the biz. This uptempo scorcher tipples the mead cart with searing fiddle, crunchy ass guitars, growly growls, soaring clean vox, and the inimitable drunken Viking choirs! Solefald, the resident futuristic Avant-Garde wunderkind spins backwards in time to an Icelandic saga, complete with a "Necroddyssey." When Lars "I play a Hammond B-3" Nedland sings, and Cornelius croaks, you know you got the good stuff goin' down. Myrkgrav is a one-man-band miracle, soaking up as much Viking Folk as humanly allowed in their succinct 2:49 Folk Metal Fest. Heidevolk are marvelously righteous, flute intro a sparkin', simple guitar melody quite straightforward, baritone harmonies swinging the alehorns side-to-side, and even some twin harmonic guitars (a rarity in Viking Folk)!

Fjoergyn's track begins with a famous symphonic melody borrowed from somewhere, but I can't place this piece of classical jazz, before a crunchy guitar interrupts and vocal harmonies are backed by some growled and whispered secrets. Very good symphonic Viking Folk sh*t this is! It is followed by the legend himself, Mr. V and Vintersorg, one of the founding fathers of the Folk Metal genre, even though they have Progressed far along the Avant-Garde path. On their recent "Solens Roetter" album, they step backwards and forwards at the same time to revisit some of their folkish roots. This song is so catchy it should be on the Top Viking 40, hosted by Casey "Thorstein" Kasem! I love the acoustic guitar intro!

All of a sudden things get very quiet, pretty, and somber with Manegarm's return, and the incredible "Vaggvisa," an all acoustic piece featuring the evocative vocals of guest Umer Mossige-Norheim (of Tva Fisk Och En Flask fame, and pictured above). She possesses one of the most incredible female folk voices in the history of this world (and most likely the next). She has worked with Manegarm on a number of their albums. On the all acoustic mini-CD "Urmines Havd: The Forest Sessions," she takes quite a few lead vox spots. Due props must be also be given to their main man vocalist Erik Grawsio, who's clean vocals keep getting better and better, making him one of the great male singers around. Then Menhir appear from Germany, and again we are treated with fantastic clean vocals, this time courtesy of Heiko Gerull, who's soaring baritone sends shivers up and down this spine. "Das Hildebrandslied" conjures up my Germanic Heathen heritage, and I smile! Wintersun are one of the darlings of the Viking Folk genre, and you can hear why in their "Beautiful Death."

All of this leads up to Moonsorrow's incredibly EPIC 30 minute "Jaasta Syntynyt / Varjojen Virta." Nobody does EPIC Viking Folk Metal like Moonsorrow. Their approach is so broad, so vast, so incredibly rich, and so incredibly cinematic, you would almost swear Cecil B. DeMille was in the band! The 30 minutes roll by like waves pounding the shore, shifting and changing, subtle in many places, very forcible in others. How Ville Seponpoika Sorvali can capture over 1000 years of Nordic wrath and pain in his intensely emotional bloodcurdling shrieks is beyond me. He must be possessed, and that is a good thing!

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 are a couple of links to great online Metal stores where you can buy their music!

The End Records

Abyss Records


Give Me 8 Cents,

P.S. I apologize and feel incredibly sad and stupid that I did not include all of the umlauts in the song titles, band and musician names. That is bad, I will probably have a lousy seat at Odin's table in his Great Hall in the Sky!

Illustration by my son, Anvilhead Rudosson!