Black Forest Records is a record distribution company based in Otta, Norway, and the aim of their publication, Black Forest Magazine is to champion the bands and people they’ve worked with. There is no scheduled release date for the magazine – it’s out when it’s done.
Black Forest Magazine has an appealing, clean layout with wonderfully legible text, (always a bonus for those of us who spent our childhoods reading by the light of the moon) regular doses of high-quality photography and links to Black Forest Record’s wares and recommendations. If you want a copy to hold, it’s extremely printer friendly.
There’s no fucking around here. After the brief, yet concise editor’s letter, we’re straight into an interview with Elite, an extreme metal band from Norway’s cold North. Founded in 2001, they have a solid discography behind them, and a sound that isn’t too dissimilar to Kampfar. There is a good dose of originality however, which prompts regular looping. They’re an intelligent band, and provide fascinating interview material. Their responses are ones that opens your eyes, rather than making them sink back into your skull.
Interestingly enough, Elite aren’t keen on being labelled as a Black Metal band, though they do admit to being inspired by it to some degree.
‘Corpsepaint is something I want to see on bands that are 100% dedicated to Black Metal, not bands like us that draw certain amounts of inspiration from it.’
Elite are a band made up of honest, hardworking blokes, who want their art to serve as more than just entertainment. They don’t pretend or hover behind a facade. They are who they are.
‘We provide art that is founded in a true feeling, not ‘art’ that merely exists to entertain.’
I hadn’t heard of V:28 until I read Black Forest Magazine, and I was a bit unsure about them, as I tend not to enjoy music with industrial influences, but their interview was a absorbing read, full of insightful responses, which prompted me to investigate they further. In the interview, they came across as the sort of blokes pub corners and open fires were made for. It’s a shame that their interview in Black Forest Magazine was to be their last ever.
‘The story we tell is very pessimistic and dark, while most people, even metal people want to be happy and think that everything will be ok.’
I’m always pleased when a band have put a lot of thought into their album titles, rather than just slinging something on that, for example, sounds grim and foreboding. The response V:28 gave on describing the meaning for their 2003 album title NonAnthropogenic, served to heighten my curiosity about them. And this is what bands should be doing. Their album titles ought to make the listener want to venture forth and investigate and lean all there is to know.
‘The title has a diversity of meanings and it’s a bit complex to explain. It has something to do with how and why the world and the whole universe will collapse at some point, an event no human can prevent or affect in any way.’
It’s always a plus when bands discuss their reasoning for using machines whose job it is to imitate.
‘…programmed drums fit the concept, which basically is about the “war” between mankind and machines, and the programmed drums strengthen the chemical and industrial feeling.’
‘Sophistication and rebellion hand in hand, that’s the way of the devil.’
The front cover of Black Forest Magazine depicts an image of Myrkraverk, a folk/black metal band from Rogaland, Norway who formed in 2007. It was interesting to hear their views on the metal scene further North…
‘To be honest, I only know of three bands in our ‘area,’ that are active (by our area I think of cities that are close to the Arctic circle).
And on a first listen, their influences became clear immediately.
‘Myrkraverk was born on a orange cloud when walking home from the second Hole in the Sky festival, strongly inspired by Isengard, old Black Metal, beer and Evil.’
It’s always interesting to hear what Norwegian musicians have to say about what comes from out their homeland, and more often than not, their views are along a similar veins – that if you are an extreme metal musician from Norway, you obtain this almost god like status.
‘If you are from Norway, you can release anything your mother pukes on while you rub your sweat on unturned violin strings. People out there still wants to earn money on you.’
Black Forest Magazine features much more than I’ve talked about here. I don’t think it’s good to reveal too much…it’s nice to be led to something then surprised by what else you discover. For a free publication, it’s an excellent, insightful read. So set aside an hour or so and enjoy.
Black Forest Records: http://www.blackforest.no/
Black Forest Magazine: http://www.blackforest.no/?module=magazine&issue=1
Black Forest Records Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackforestrecords