Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thor! Hlödyn's son! Protector of mankind!

(I admit, I'm breaking with certain established traditions by capitalizing an entry here, but c'mon, it was almost all first names!)

Must tip the hat to Dr. Mason; he introduced me to Slaughter of the Bluegrass. Imagine: the icy depths, the frozen Northlands, home of black metal, death metal...save for this small patch of Sweden, where death metal's proud chromed screams are turned into fiddle notes and hammered dulcimer beats.

Sounds odd? Sure. But it works.

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Actually, I shouldn't say they use hammered dulcimers--they don't. But they do play mandolin, banjo, violin, guitar, upright base, and drums and coconut halves for percussion. (I don't know if they're kidding about the coconut halves. After all, they're playing bluegrass music in Sweden--Sweden is not known for its sweeping embrace of the bluegrass music.)

(Listen to Blinded by Fear by Slaughter of the Bluegrass.)

But the rest of the world does seem to be embracing them, and in their defense, they are ardent metal fans--and it shows. They have excellent taste in deciding who to cover. There's even a poll on their website with songs they're considering covering; anyone who visits can vote on what they want to hear next.

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They've been compared to the Gourds and Hayseed Dixie, and while those are both groups skewing the "traditional" bluegrass sound, both of those bands still keep one foot firmly in bluegrass tempo and discipline. (They've also been compared to Hurtigruten, which is just downright odd, because as far as I know, Hurtigruten remains the only Norwegian surf-music band in existence.)

(Listen to Punish My Heaven, by Slaughter of the Bluegrass.)

Slaughter of the Bluegrass do not; in fact, they were nearly all heavy metal musicians before deciding to take this odd and quirky path. And who knows what will move them two years from now? They're not bending the world towards what they do; they've bent what they do towards what they hear. It's unique, at the least.

Here's to them recording more, and challenging themselves often.

Check them out at their site; there's some treats to download and far too few interviews with the band to feast upon.

Are they steampunk? Beats the hell out of me. But could they be included in a steampunk compilation without lifting an eyebrow? Yeah, probably. And as far as my work establishing folk music/music of industry as being a valid secondary feed into steampunk music at large...yeah, I think Slaughter of the Bluegrass fits that classification, at least tentatively.

I'm fascinated to hear what they'll do next.

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