Jul 272017
 

Skalna

Ever since Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath first read Lord of the Rings, the road to Mordor has been paved with metal. The latest Tolkien-loving metal band comes from a Puerto Rican musician now based in Vermont, Etienne Tel’uial. His new droning symphonic metal project Skalnâ takes its name from a primitive form of Elvish that appears in Tolkien’s twelve-volume The History of Middle-earth. Safe to say, Tel’uial is not some Peter Jackson-come-lately Tolkien fan.

“The name ‘Skalnâ’ comes from primitive Elvish (Quendian), which means ‘veiled, hidden, shadowed, etc,'” Tel’uial tells us. “I chose a Tolkien name simply because they sound beautiful. I grew up with the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so bringing up Tolkien is always like returning back in time. I wanted an ‘elvish’ tone to the name, because I am obsessed with the notion of Elves. They were the first conscious creations of the Valar (the forces of nature) under Eru (the one). While the whole idea of Elves may be seen as just a mythological notion, I still think they are symbols for something real in this earth. They are the good within us. They are remnants of a time when we lived free and within nature, and not separate from it.”

Like we said, Tel’uial knows his Tolkien. But you can enjoy Skalnâ’s debut album Returning to the Flame even if you’ve never cracked The Hobbit. A heavy and beautiful combination of black metal, post-rock, and symphonic chant, it recalls avant-garde artists like Scott Walker or Xiu Xiu. Tel’uial himself calls it “romantic raw post-metal” – as good a label as any for these shifting sounds. Continue reading »

May 032017
 

waking windows vermont

We normally don’t do concert previews here. My goal with this young blog is to spread the gospel of Vermont music to an audience beyond the state’s sometimes-confining borders. And writing about regionally-specific events generally goes against that mandate.

This weekend’s Waking Windows festival is an exception.

Waking Windows is the Vermont music scene in microcosm. In some respects the Burlington equivalent of SXSW, Waking Windows surrounds a few bigger names (Real Estate and Dan Deacon this year) with dozens of the state’s best local bands. Naming the best Vermont artists playing the festival almost doubles as naming the best Vermont artists period. And that is exactly our mandate. Continue reading »

Mar 012017
 

Our favorite album of 2016 was a one-track doom metal record, from a Vermont band that sadly broke up right after releasing it. Maybe bleak winter weather inspires heavy and somber music though, because a glut of fellow doom merchants up north have already stepped in to fill the void. We’ve picked the four best, strong stoner and Sabbath vibes to help blast away the gloom. Continue reading »

Jan 132017
 

Classic Vermont Albums digs up great and sometimes forgotten albums from Vermont’s musical past.

8084

In addition to looking at the best new music coming out of the state of Vermont, we will periodically dive into the archives to look at the best from the Green Mountain State’s musical history. To kick off a series simply titled Classic Vermont Albums, we’re going to look at an album that isn’t just dated chronologically, it’s dated period. But we don’t mean that as a bad thing.

In the mid-1980s, bands like Van Halen and Bon Jovi were massive, so it figures that many towns with their own music scene would produce imitators. And that’s just what 8084 started out as, a band covering all the hair-metal hits of the day. They performed hair-metal and arena-rock covers for parties and bars around Vermont. They dressed the part too, all leopard-skin shirts and huge teased manes, looking like Twisted Sister with a smaller makeup budget. Continue reading »

Jan 032017
 

In our inaugural post last week, we named Vultures of Cult’s album Pastoral the best Vermont-made album of 2016. The doom-metal quartet have been area mainstays for a decade, but sadly, in addition to being their best album, Pastoral will be their last. A member is moving away and they won’t continue without him.

However, the band has released one final song, the storming seven-minute “In Atlas’ Gait.” The track serves as a perfect introduction to Vultures of Cult, blending stoner riffs with hollow hollering straight from the edges of the abyss. Fans of Harvey Milk or, more obviously, Black Sabbath will find a lot to like here. Continue reading »

Dec 282016
 

Welcome to County Tracks, a new blog that aims to explore music new and old from the great state of Vermont. We’ll be kicking off in full in January, but we couldn’t let 2016 pass us by without a look back at all the great music the Green Mountain State produced. From heavy metal to light-as-air folk, Burlington to Brattleboro, Vermont musicians delivered incredible albums across the musical spectrum. Check out our countdown below, and see you back here next year. Continue reading »