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Tjolgtjar – Halloween (CD review)

It’s almost Halloweeen (well, at the time of this writing, it’s tomorrow and it’s great, because I have Friday off the work, yay!) and I’d be damned if I don’t spend thime before sleep with some appropriate music. And it’s finally time I can put that little disc I’ve got from J. R. into the player, because what is better (OK, except putting the original Carpenter’s score on repeat loop) than Tjolgtjar’s surprising album from 2007 titled, well… “Halloween”?

J. R. Preston

The albums open with “Night Of The Living Dead”, which is basically aforementioned movie score done Tjolgtjar’s way. I like this rock version of the movie score, although it lacks the hauting atmosphere and the buildup of the original. Well, but that could be expected, here it’s more like an another, alternative interpretation of the classic tune. I am sure purists might be offended and argue about such a blasphemy of doing rock covers here, but to hell with them.

The second track, titled “Judith Myers” opens with another part of the Carpenter score, but only for a little, then morphs into the original J. R. Preston’s work. What is readily discernible is the somewhat shaky drums in the slow passages (I guess J. R. is better as a guitar player than a drummer), but once we’re in the realm of USBM (you know, the fast primitive drum rhythm and sharp guitar riff)…oh, my heart jumps with joy! J. R. can scream, but he can sing and the dual vocals rock.

The 3rd track is “Mask Of Michael Myers” and it’s definitely an upgrade on the previous Tjolgtjar’s original track. I prefer that arrangements (i. e. guitars little bit in background with vocals and drums in a front, supported by bass), and the surprising ending makes it a necessary re-listen.

“The Myers House” brings us to a little atmospheric/ambient keyboard track, with it’s strength hidden in its minimalism and repeating pattern, but I guess that church organ would be more fitting to stuff like Soavi’s “The Church” or Fulci’s “City of the Living Dead”, at least thematically, but I am sucker for ambient tunes, so take it with a pinch of salt here.

The longest track on the album is the next one – “Laurie Strobe”. The rhythm and the riffs are simply outstanding and although the start of the slower part haven’t really caught my ear, the later development in this section is simply fucking perfect. Definitely a tune to carve your pumpkin to!

“The Night He Came Home”, the track under the number 6 has a strange hi-hat sound. This is the first thing which hit my ears. But the song suffers from the unthankful position after the aforementioned “Laurie Strobe”, which is much much superior tune. This is not to say it’s a bad song, the riff structure here is actually of more interesting category, but it simply is just not enough.

“The Blackest Eyes” is a clip from the Halloween movie (and I just excuse myself for not knowing which exact part), first enhanced with a weird audio effect, then slowly de-morphing into the original movie score sound.

“The Haddonfield Babysitter Murders” brings us back to USBM tune Tjolgtjar style, baby! It’s the most insane thing here (in a good way) and J. R. Preston again brings his amazing riffs to the table. Yes, the songwriting quality’s bar is rising again and that interlude after 3:10…I am little tired to recall the tune it’s borrowed from (at least two-three notes), but I love this ending. Again, one of the best songs of this album.

“The Shape” starts almost like a classic Burzum tune, but suddenly…just 39 seconds the change kicks in and what the fuck do we have here? The psychedelic rock? I am OK with that (I don’t do drugs though), but it is really not expected – and I approve of it. If previous song got into the best songs here, this little tune is without a second thought the most weird and most varied song on the album.

Last one is not listed on the CD, therefore it’s “Untitled”. And it’s really worth of listen! I won’t spoil the fun, but you will know the tune the moment you’ll hear the tune.

Tjolgtjar - Hallowen CD cover

Summed up, it’s a classic Tjolgtjar in not so classic setting (compare this with another Tjolgtjar’s album, I’ve reviewed here)! It’s great to see that black metal, and in this case USBM, can outgrow the limits of the genre (at least thematically speaking) and still make a powerful statement. And, maybe even get some new people into the genre, who knows… For now it suffice to say – follow my example and blast this one on Halloween!!!

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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