It has been several months since one of Norway’s iconic Black Metal bands RAGNAROK announced the departure of vocalist Hans Fyrste, and since then there has been much speculation as to who will replace him, with several high profile names being thrown into the mix by fans.  But until now the band has kept quiet about their choice, whilst at the same time rehearsing the new lineup behind closed doors.  And now that the announcement can be made, there is no doubt at all that it will surprise most fans – because the new vocalist will be drummer and RAGNAROK founder Jontho himself, and  his place behind the drum kit on stage will be taken by DAUDEN drummer Malignant.

It might seem strange that Jontho, who is one of the most well known and respected drummers on the Black Metal scene, and who has played in various bands such as TSJUDER , ENDEZZMA  and SHADOW  DANCERS during his long and formidable career, should decide on a change of direction, especially with a band that he founded 20 years ago, but, as he explains, he is not entirely abandoning his drums:

“When Hans Fyrste left  I sat down together with bass player DezeptiCunt and guitarist Bolverk, and we knew that finding the right person who would fit RAGNAROK’s ethos both in terms of performance and live appearances was not going to be easy.  On top of which we had to begin work on our eighth full-length album,  and we didn’t want to have to rush into anything we might later come to regret, so we took the decision that I would continue to handle the drums in the studio, as well as taking on the vocals both in the studio and on stage, and that Malignant would drum for us live on stage.

Although I’m known as a drummer, I’m not a stranger to performing vocals, having done backing vocals on some of RAGNAROK’s albums.  It would be fair to say that am tired of front men who do not give their  all and quit the band, so,  since I am the most stable member and the de facto front man from the beginning,  even though I played the drums, I will now front the band as I should have years ago.

Of course, doing vocals live in front of an audience is definitely a challenge, but one that I was interested in trying after all these years behind the drum kit.  Will I continue as RAGNAROK’s vocalist after the release of the next album?  That remains to be seen, but for the time being it’s something I’m looking forward to”.

Jontho’s first appearance on stage as vocalist with RAGNAROK will take place on the 4th of October at the Stadthalle in Schweinfurt, Germany,  when the band is set to appear at Norwegian Hellcamp, the new festival which, as its name suggests, is devoted entirely to Norwegian Black and Extreme Metal.  Along with RAGNAROK in the lineup are TAAKE, SLAGMAUR, VULTURE INDUSTRIES, ENDEZZMA, SARKOM, DEN SAAKALDTE and AURA NOIR.   More information about Norwegian Hellcamp can be found at

Aside from working on their next album, RAGNAROK are also currently in the middle of planning some South American dates later this year.  More information about RAGNAROK can be found on the band’s  Facebook page at


The official video for the title track from RAGNAROK’s seventh full-length album “Collectors of the King” can be seen below and at


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Sweden’s VANHELGA are set to release their second full-length album on tape later this year.  Originally released in 2012, the tape version of “Höst” will be available on the Noxo label in two limited edition versions.  Ten copies will appear on black cassettes whilst forty copies will be available in normal jewel cases.  Track listing for the tape edition of “Höst” as follows:

Side A
1. A Sinister Longing
2. Lugn
3. Desperation
4. Underbrart Sant
5. Overklighet
6. Udda Tankar

Side B
7. Sorg
8. Pessimist
9. Vilsen
10. Armageddon
11. Hopplös
12. Livets Bitterhet

Formed in 2001, and with a lineup that consists of founder J. Ottosson, aka 145188 (ex-LIFELOVER (live session musician), ex-SKOGSTRON) on Bass, Guitars and Vocals, J. Gabrielson (ESKAPI, ex-LIVELOVER) on Vocals, J. Ejnarsson (TAKETH) and Wadström (ex-SKOGSTRON) on guitars and D. Franzén on drums,  VANHELGA’s third full-length album “Längtan” was released earlier this year in both CD format on Art of Propagnda and in Limited Edition Splatter Vinyl on Carnal Records.

The band  are currently working on their next two releases and preparing for the upcoming tour in Germany with AGRYPNIE and HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY.  Routing for the tour as follows:

22 Oct:  Steinbruch Theater, Darmstadt
24 Oct:  From Hell, Erfurt
25 Oct:  K17, Berlin
26 Oct:  Bambi Galore, Hamburg

Playing Black Metal with a definite DSBM feel in both sound and lyrical content, VANHELGA recently had their Facebook page shut down due to the penchant of their fans for sending and posting photos of the result of their self-harming.  Commenting on the situation, Ottosson had this to say:  “It’s quite ironic that Facebook is more than happy to allow photos of decapitations and torture, and tolerates all kinds of hate speech because they are “politically relevant”,  but does not allow individuals to express their personal despair, in an environment that allows them to share their experiences with others like themselves and not be made to feel isolated or judged.  Obviously the loss of the page, especially since we had spent a great deal of time and effort to build it up,  has serious knock on effects not just for the band, but also for the labels and others who work with us, but it’s one of those things that happen.  We are not the first and we won’t be the last that this has happened to, and we will just have to start all over again”. VANHELGA now has a new Facebook page which can be found at

More information about VANHELGA can be found at

The official video for the track ” Där Evigheten Inväntar Mig “, from VANHELGA’s 2014 full-length album  ” Längtan “,  can be seen below and at


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Details and artwork of the fourth full-length album from UK Progressive Post-Black Metallers FEN have been revealed.  Titled “Carrion Skies”, the album is set to appear on Code 666, a sub-label of the Aural Music Group, on the 22nd November.  Recorded, mixed and mastered by Greg Chandler at the Priory Recording Studio, Sutton Coldfield, England, the six-track album will appear in three formats:   Standard Jewel Box,  Limited Edition Gatefold DLP and Deluxe Limited Edition Wood Box DCD, with the latter two containing various rare and exclusive bonus tracks.  Artwork for “Carrion Skies” is by FEN bassist Grungyn.

Track listing for “Carrion Skies” as follows:

1 Our Names Written in Embers part 1 (Beacons of War)
2 Our Names Written in Embers Part 2 (Beacons of Sorrow)
3 The Dying Stars
4 Sentinels
5 Menhir – Supplicant
6 Gathering the Stones
7 Coffin Soil (exclusive bonus track DLP and Wood Box)
8  Trilithon (exclusive bonus track Wood Box)
9 Twilight Descends (rare bonus track Wood Box)

Formed in 2006, and with a three-man lineup of The Watcher  on guitars and vocals, Grungyn on bass and vocals, and Derwydd on drums, FEN is one of those bands whose atmospheric music  includes a harder edge that makes it difficult to slip into any of the multitude of narrowly defined categories.  The trio have been able to create and develop a sound that  appeals equally to fans of Black Metal, Shoegaze, Prog and Ambient, and “Carrion Skies” promises to expand even further on the intensity of emotion and atmosphere that characterizes FEN’s preceding three critically acclaimed albums.

According to The Watcher who recently gave fans and indication about what they could expect from “Carrion Skies”, the new album :  ‘… will be darker and more intense.  Invoking a spectrum of atmospheres from the unknowable coldness of distant stars to the blood and earth that thrums beneath our feet. This record takes the approach we started on ‘Dustwalker’ and builds on it further, whilst simultaneously acknowledging the more obscure-sounding roots of our debut.  Bleaker, harder, yet at the same time more ambient, this record moves us further away from the accepted tropes of what ‘post’ black metal should sound like in 2014.’

Having made an exclusive Canadian appearance this year, and appeared at various venues and festivals over the summer, FEN will next  be seen live on stage at the Boston Music Room in London on the 23 September and at the Black Arts Ceremony at CCO in Villeurbanne, France on the 4th October.

More information about Fen can be found on the band’s Facebook page at

“Carrion Skies” Cover-Art By Grungyn

Fan-filmed footage of FEN performing in Moscow can be seen below and at


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Sweden’s self-styled Alfapokalyptic Rockers ALFAHANNE, whose debut full-length album was released earlier this year on Dark Essence Records, are back in the studio preparing for their next album.  With guest vocalists like TAAKE’s Hoest, SHINING’s Niklas Kvarforth and HELHEIM’s V’gandr on their debut “Alfapokalyps” – names that make most fans of extreme metal sit up and take notice – many are wondering what the band will pull out of its bag for its follow up, so guitarist Fredrik Sööberg took time out from working on the new material to give a hint about what to expect.

ALFHANNE  has never been a band that does things the way others do them. So when it comes to the process of recording a follow up album to “Alfapokalypse” we do it our way, regardless of expectations.  We  do not record demos or pre-productions. We just jam the shit out of our equipment until we have a song we feel we can perform properly on an album. Then we record it.  As with “Alfapokalyps” we record the material  live and most often it is the first take that ends up on the album. We believe that if we can’t get it right straight away, who are we to call ourselves musicians?

“ALFAHANNE is not about perfection and order.  Quite the opposite. We are about emotions and chaos. The process of writing new material is as always quite easy for us. After releasing our first album we had so much inspiration left in us that we  just kept going. Always inspired by the darkness that lies within the depth of humanity and the rotten illusion of our society. The songs just pop up like a big middle finger in the face of the world.

“As I write this, August has come to a close and we are about halfway through the recording, which, again as with “Alfapokalyps”, we are doing on our own, in our own Dödskult Studio, and we will continue the recording process  during this fall/winter when we are not busy playing live. We can also reveal that our new album will have guest appearances by vocalists who we find suitable for our particular style of music, which we call Alfapokalyptic rock.  As far as the sound is concerned  we just have one thing to say:  ALFAHANNE is always ALFAHANNE and we will always have our own distinctive  sound. One thing we can safely say, however, is that this  album will for sure be the best album released since “Alfapokalyps”.

ALFAHANNE can claim a  lineup of musicians that have been on the Black Metal scene since the early ’90’s in bands such as VINTERLAND and early MAZE OF TORMENT , and Pehr Skioldhammer on Vocals and Guitar, Fredrik Sööberg on Guitars, Niklas Åström on Drums and Jimmy Wiberg on Bass have proved well-able to win over audiences wherever they have played, which includes a series of festival appearances during 2014.  Formed in 2010, ALFAHANNE’s sound is a high energy mix of Black Metal, Classic Rock and Punk, a sound that was interesting enough to convince SHINING to join the band on the 2013 7″ split “Grym” release, after which, ALFAHANNE  joined the formidable roster of Norway’s Dark Essence Records.

Upcoming appearances confirmed for ALFAHANNE as follows:

12 Sept, John Dee, Oslo (supporting VULTURE INDUSTRIES)
27 Sept, Morkaste Smaland Festival, Metropol, Hultsfred, Sweden
07 Nov, On the Rocks, Helsinki, Finland
08 Nov, Dog’s Home, Tampere, Finland
19-21 Feb, Blastfest, Bergen, Norway (exact running order TBA)
09 May, Incineration Festival, London, England

More information about ALFAHANNE can be found on the band’s Facebook page at

Fan-filmed video of ALFAHANNE performing the track “Indiehora”  from their 2014 album “Alfapokalypse”,   live on stage with HELHEIM’s V’gandr  can be seen below and at


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Norway’s KRAKOW have been hard at work in Bergen’s Duper Studio on what will be the band’s third full-length album, and have issued the following update on the progress, as well as dropping just a little hint of what fans can expect from the new release, which will appear once again on Dark Essence Records:

“Ok, so it’s time for a new Krakow album, the third installment in our series of creative ways to hammer music out of the mountains themselves. Like all our previous recordings, this has been a journey, never easy, but always thrilling.

The process of writing this album started just after we released “diin”. Many other events happened in that period too, like finding our drummer, having a meltdown after a Christmas binge party in a Parisian parking garage, almost getting into fist fights during a malt whiskey extravaganza on Stord Island, having our instruments stolen and then brought back to us during the next night’s show, and writing a lot of new riffs and songs, some of which have already disappeared into the great unknown. Which might be a good thing in some cases, though a few gems might have been lost along the way.

Anyway, towards the end of last year we recorded 10 demos which we brought with us to the amazing Duper Studio with Iver Sandøy, once again positioned behind the desk. The approach this time was in some ways different than during the diin sessions. We still record everything live as a band, but we wanted a bit more definition, less distortion, cleaner drums, more focus on the songs and melodies that lived within the compositions. The music is still dark, melodic and mysterious, but this time with a different angle.

During the sessions we almost killed Kjartan’s Mesa Mark III with a steel reverb and Space Echo, used the smallest acoustic guitar on this side of Equator, and recorded accordion, broken chair, surf guitar, cassette player guitar, singing though a piano and open windows during a storm, just to name a few. The whole recording session ended with a lot of red wine and 18 minutes of pure dark drone.

We still don’t know which songs that are going end up on the album, but the mixing is almost done and we are starting to get very excited. Stay tuned for album details, cover art and tour dates!

- Krakow”

Formed in the fall of 2005, KRAKOW is a band that is difficult to pin to any particular genre, fitting equally well into the Metal / Experimental / Ambient categories, and with a lineup that consists of very skilled and experienced musicians.  Today’s lineup consists of  Kjartan Grønhaug (HAVARIKOMMISJONEN) on guitars, René Misje on guitars and vocals, frontman and bassist Frode Kilvik (AETERNUS, VITHR) and drummer Ask Ty Ulvhedin Arctander (KAMPFAR.

KRAKOW will perform a set at the Garage, Bergen, on Friday 29th August during the Beyond the Gates Festival.

Photos of the studio sessions can be seen on the band’s Facebook page at

More information about KRAKOW can be found on the band’s website at

Fan-filmed footage of KRAKOW performing the track  “Termination of Origin” from the “Diin” album can be seen below and on the band’s YouTube channel at


The DARK ESSENCE RECORDS SoundCloud player contains tracks from all the label’s releases and can be heard below and at


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© and All Rights Reserved Beranger BAZIN / Lykh’Arts


SLEGEST, the band formed by former VREID guitarist Ese in 2010, is set to play a series of dates in November in their home country, three of which will be supporting  fellow Norwegians EINHERJER, whilst a fourth will see them joining VULTURE INDUSTRIES and INCULTER in Haugesund.  Routing as follows:

08 Nov, Bestatsuå, Haugesund (with VULTURE INDUSTRIES)

13 Nov, Blå, Oslo

14 Nov, Tribute, Sandnes

15 Nov, Garage, Bergen

SLEGEST’s debut full-length album “Løyndom” was released on DARK ESSENCE records at the end of last year and Ese’s skilful blending of classic heavy rock and old-school Black Metal won the band much praise from fans and press alike.  So much so, in fact, that what initially started out as a solo project, quickly developed into a fully fledged live band, with Ese, on vocals and rhythm guitar, being joined by Sør (BÄÄÄV, VONBRÅTEN) on Lead Guitars, Hövard (BOMBEKLÜCHTER)  on Bass and Fjøsne on Drums.  A tour with label-mates TAAKE and AETERNUS followed, as well as a series of festival appearances throughout the summer.

More information about SLEGEST can be found on the band’s website at or on Facebook at

The official video for “Ho Som Haustar Aleine” , the opening track of “Løyndom”  can be seen below and at


© and All Rights Reserved Beranger BAZIN / Lykh’Arts

© and All Rights Reserved Beranger BAZIN / Lykh’Arts


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DARK ESSENCE RECORDS, one of the fastest growing Norwegian labels, both in reputation and size, will host a listening session at Bergen’s Beyond the Gates Festival where attendees will have the opportunity to be the first people to hear tracks from the upcoming albums from TAAKE, GALAR, KRAKOW, and the label’s new signing MOMENTUM.  The session will take place at the Garage, Bergen, on Saturday 30th August from 14:00 – 16:00.

Additionally, KRAKOW  will hit the stage at the Garage at 18:00 on Friday 29th to perform a set.

Commenting on the event, DARK ESSENCE’s Martin Kvam said: “Beyond the Gates is the ideal  setting for us to showcase what fans can expect from these great bands over the coming months.  Most people are already aware that we have new albums from GALAR, KRAKOW and MOMENTUM in our release schedule,  but we haven’t announced anything at all about the new TAAKE, so knowing that this one is coming up should be a welcome surprise for their fans.  We’re all very much looking forward to hearing everyone’s reaction to what they are going to be listening to on Saturday”.

More information about DARK ESSENCE RECORDS and their bands can be found at

Details about the Beyond the Gates festival which runs for three days from Thursday the 28th to Saturday 30th August, and which this year features performances from bands such as PRIMORDIAL, NIFLHEIM and INQUISITION amongst others, can be found at 


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