Thursday, 27 December 2012


2012 has been a very tough, unsettling, confused year. The weather systems and natural equilibriums are changing fast, making us all vulnerable. We are also under ruthless attack from the (financial) forces of Greed and Misfortune, and things are not going to get better any time soon. So let me wish you all a more positive and proactive 2013 where each of us can find the strength to reclaim our own wyrd, ørlǫg or karma! "Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel!" (Fate goes ever as she shall), we read in Beowulf: that is true, and yet there are many different paths we can choose from, each leading to a different outcome. We always determine our own destiny, even by being cowardly passive, an ill-omened temptation many of us fall victim of.

Thanks to the inspiration provided by devoted musician friends and the Avantgarde Metal crew, a small but very special congregation of people dedicated, as myself, to the underground forces that relentlessly plough through the substrata beneath (but only in metaphor!) the business-focused, too often shallower mainstream, a couple of years ago I decided to come back to writing about extreme metal. After a forced gap lasting 5 long years, when a chain of serious events in my personal life eat up all my time and energy, it was as if I had never gone away because, essentially, this had been and always will be my life. A very long life dedicated to understanding Music, Art and Science for a deeper purpose…

Only a few hours ago I wrote this in the preface to my latest interview (and one of my most rewarding moments): “Exploring the manifold facets of the complex psychological mystery that is the human conscience can have huge consequences on a personal and universal level. Artists are the astronauts of the black vastness of the cosmos and it is not only our duty to report back to earth, but to keep our feet firmly rooted in it, because that’s where we can cultivate a profound relationship with Nature, truly merging ourselves in the interconnected fabric of Life & Death. Let us reclaim our honor, integrity and innate powers - our lost magic if you will - to change ourselves and the way we live…”

Should any of you find all the above annoyingly pretentious, or perhaps just naïve hippy-punk drivel (there is a natural link between hippy/punk ideals and black metal: Hexvessel is the latest glaring example!), it does not matter since I am not here to preach but simply to share and learn.

Thanks to the encouragement from a much esteemed colleague who shares similar purposes and intents, I shall use these newborn pages to gather together some interviews (all published on AGM, except for the Amebix one) I very much wanted to pursue in the last 2 or 3 years. Another few interviews so far published on the Italian printed magazine Rockerilla will hopefully soon be translated and uploaded on this blog (A Forest of Stars, Bolt Thrower, Helrunar, Ramesses, Ulver, Virus, Voivod and Die Kreuzen amongst others). A few amazing artists will be invited to join me in conversation very soon, something I look forward to immensely!

As you can see, the field is rather heterogeneous, or so it would appear… Hope you enjoy too!

Strictly in alphabetical order:

ABORYM (2010): Salt of the earth... Turning your life around… Anarchy...

ALCEST (2010): Transcending human life...

AMEBIX (2011): The beginning of everything…

CYNIC (2010): The rollercoaster of life… Meditation...
DORDEDUH (2012): How to change the world…

DORNENREICH (2011): Heart-to-heart…

ENSLAVED (2012): Vikingness and universality…
(The above is the succinct version of the two in-depth interviews which appear in this very blog).

FEN (2011): The cycles of nature and the cosmos…

LES DISCRETS (2012): Eros & Thanatos…

NEGURA BUNGET (2010): Holding on to an ideal…

ORANSSI PAZUZU (2012): The stunning beauty of lucid atheism...

WEH (2012): The subtle pain of living... Norse lore…

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM (2011): Reclaiming the significance of being human…

Sunday, 23 December 2012


Mystery Flame’s 2012 PLAYLIST

When listing my yearly playlist, first and foremost I follow the heart. So the album that tops my 2012 list is the one that touched me the most and in the most uncanny, irrational and instinctive manner.
What follows on from that is an inventory of amazing releases which, for different reasons, have been part (some a huge part) of my daily life. All of them have inspired me deeply and, in some cases, the artist contributed in making the powerful vibrations of music even more special by sharing words, smiles and ideas. Incidentally, I shall soon enlist on Wyrd’s Flight especially chosen interviews I conducted in the last couple of years which I believe are worth reading  as a piece of collective work: from Alcest to Dornenreich and Fen, from Negura Bunget to Cynic and Dordeduh, or Voivod, Rotting Christ and Bolt Thrower, you will hopefully find a common thread throughout all of them. This profound, honest human touch, this willingness to share, embrace and ritualize/spiritualize is what still moves me to write about extreme, underground Music after so many years. Let us keep the Underground alive, genuine and fertile: the ancestral forces of the universe are with us!!!

Yours truly, Alex Mysteerie a.k.a. Mystery Flame.

1. LUNAR AURORA - Hoagascht
This album goes under my skin, as if it knew its ways into my basic being. I know these sounds, I perceive them as mine. Curiously, the same family, the Königs, tops my playlist for the second consecutive year (KAMERA OBSKUR Bildfänger won my heart in 2011). Please don’t stop doing this to me… Come back soon!

2. BLUT AUS NORD - 777 Cosmosophy
Dazzling, truly from another dimension: masters.

3. DORDEDUH - Dar De Duh
And the shaman-king spoke: Music will heal the world!

4. FORMLOFF - Spyhorelandet
This Eisenwald release of crazed Norrøn avant-garde somehow eluded the trendier elitist congregations, perhaps because its Ved Buen Ende madness crosses the unhip psycho-path of the Kvarforth kind, but I find it a brilliantly engaging and intense piece of art.

5. DESOLATE SHRINE – The Sanctum of Human Darkness
This slab of Finnish lucid madness has been called the best death metal album of the year, and yet how can you call this DM when the claustrophobic dose of blackened doominess seems to slowly snuff the life out of it, creating instead a maelstrom of nihilistic avantness dabbling into Deathspell Omega’s spirit?

6. ALUK TODOLO – Occult Rock
Possibly the most dazzling album of the year, providing that kind of unique psychedelic madness Oranssi Pazuzu instilled in my brain last year. Relentlessly awesome.

Mindblowing live, mindblowing through a pair of shitty speakers: such is the force of this epic maelstrom of human outrage and passion.

8. FUNERAL - Oratorium
The solemn funeral march has become something monumental: Sindre Nedland’s added vocal layerings, the sinister orchestration and the dynamic drumming send this album to the next level.

9. A FOREST OF STARS A Shadowplay for Yesterdays
Music is often an abstract entity, but when it sounds like this, you feel every tormented thought, every fragile moment of bewilderment, every passionate heartbeat…

Captivating, intelligent, unique, full of passion and irony.

11.HEXVESSEL – No Holier Temple
As an artist, there is nothing worthier than sharing your spiritual journey with the world in a fearless, genuine and inclusive way. Sincere love and understanding of Nature distilled.

12.ATRIARCH – Ritual of Passing
A stunner of an album: the resurrected spirit of early Christian Death and Bauhaus is powerful and utterly mesmerizing. But make no mistake, these are very tough XXI century guys…

Best album ever by the Brummies for me. Nothing tops this bleak outpour of extreme metal/extreme emotions. It is too important that music like this keeps being created!

14. THE SECRET - Agnus Dei
Talking about Extreme, this album could easily be in my top 5 (this is not a fixed list): absolutely D-E-V-A-S-T-A-T-I-N-G!!!

15.KONTINUUM – Earth Blood Magic
Viking psychedelic post black? Dark indie-rock? Atmospheric prog-metal? Whatever: it’s earthy, it’s bloody and it’s magic. And it’s from Iceland.

16.KRAKOW – diin
Hordaland’s best and most eclectic produce of the year outside the BM factory. Hints of vintage Voivod and much more: I love…

17.UFOMAMMUT – Oro: Opus Primum / Opus Alter
Like river of thick, molten gold.

18. KATATONIA – Dead end Kings
Human emotions simply elevated to aural perfection. Played it to death...

19.NETTLE CARRIER – Nettle Carrier
Trim, mean, straight to the point, groovy Norwegian BM. 

20. SECRETS OF THE MOON - Seven Bells
Tense and visceral sound that manages to be memorable.

21. SITUS MAGUS - Le Grand Oeuvre
Deathspell Omega and Aosoth overlapping in a grand manner: truly Evil

22. YEAR OF THE GOAT - Angel's Necropolis
Fully retro in spirit but very much of today: one of the most seductive albums in recent times!

23. VETTER – Vetterkult
Shamanic – psychedelic – folk – ambient -noise BM in the right proportions.

24. AHAB – The Giant
Crushing depth; freezing-cold fluidity; ghostly sorrowful atmospheres that feel more progressive: Ahab have matured and sound more splendid than ever.

25. ASH BORER - Cold of Ages
Bleacker, colder, rawer.

26. BLACK BREATH - Sentenced to Life

27. WINTERFYLLETH - The Threnody of Tryumph
Always an intense, emotional folk BM experience...

28. KOHRS - Wisdom of Centuries
Drudkh-like heart-wrenching beauty translated in a crystal-clear sound with to-die-for guitars…

 29.FORGOTTEN TOMB - …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil
Sick, Twisted and Pissed Off. That’s when these motherfuckers are at their best!

30. GERM - Wish
Tim Yatras does not give a shit. If this is Tears for Fears doing depressive black metal, it’s fine by me!

31. ENSLAVED - Riitiir
Great moments done with heart & skill.

32. THE 11TH HOUR – Lacrima Mortis
Beautifully clad musings on Death from someone who stared at her in the face.

33.ALCEST – Les Voyages de l’Âme
A point of departure that I hope will have important bearings.

34. WEH - En Natt Kom Doed
Dark neo-folk from the cold lands of the lone wolves

35.EREB ALTOR - Gastrike
Genuine Viking, old-school black metal: the (non-southern) Swedish way. Gimme!

36. DYSRHYTMYA - Test Of Submission
 Jaw-dropping extreeeeeme fusion from another planet.
37.ESSENZ - Mundus Numen
Lethal paranormal rituals: super stuff!

38.BLACK MAGICIAN – Nature Is the Devil’s Church
Pure Anglo-Saxon psychedelic prog/folk which would be heavenly if the vox were less Lee Dorrian.

39.MALNATT – Principia Discordia
Crazy, intelligent, tongue-in-cheek black metal from a country that personifies madness: Italy.

Atmospheric, melodic French BM: a pleasure to listen to!

Full-blown artistic freewill... 

42. NEKROMANTHEON - Rise, Vulcan Spectre
Blistering, raw blackened thrash that makes you grin lik ena idiod...

43. COBOLT 60 - The Grim Defiance
More old-school, flithy blackened thrash: Aura Noir beware! ;-) 

44. CRYPTOPSY - Cryptopsy
Crossing a panzer with a Lamborghini is possible.

45. CHELSEA WOLFE - Unknown Rooms: A Collection Of Acoustic Songs
Charming, a pleasure to listen to (and compare notes with).

MY 2012 TOP 6(66) EPs:

Amazing… Like, yet again, Manuel Tinnemans’ cover. The perfect package.

Davide Tiso and his companions are warning us: the best of the avantgarde is back!

3. LASTER - Wijsgeer & Narreman
Austere, Burzum and Drudkh? Certainly a thing of beauty…

4. AGRYPNIE – Asche
A gorgeous EP showcasing the more atmospheric side of a killer live band.

5. HERDER – Horror Vacui
The best stoner-doom metal tasted recently: the Dutch sextet is incredible on stage!

6.MONDVOLLAND – Pestvogel
Great Oranjie folk-tinged black metal promising even finer times ahead.