One-man bands – who’s the cream of the crop?

By on 18 July 2010


Yet again on my quest to review for the Wretched Spawn section, I stumble across this delightful page about a particular band in the Faroes. No, not that one. A completely different one – it is called Vhernen, it’s a black/doom band and instead of a guitar there is an electric cello which makes for a decent, atmospheric sound. But as much as I’d like to say “Apocalyptica, eat your heart out” there is something which sets it apart from the much-fawned over trio (and drummer) – Vhernen is a one-man band. The Finns ain’t got nothing on this guy, by the looks of it.

Someone smack me if I’m wrong but it seems you just can’t browse through the doom, doom/death or black metal (however loosely you choose to define it) lists on without coming across more than one “one-man band” project. Not entirely surprising, if you consider the acclaim given to Burzum and Bathory in their own musical right regardless of where you stand in regards to the former.
And there seem to be a few others that are gaining more audiences, too. Raise your hand right now, or not; if you’ve heard of at least one of the following even in passing:

Black Sun Aeon
Old Man’s Child

Mind you, these are just a few examples from people already involved in well-known bands. If we only focused on those, so many other projects would get overlooked in the process. Falkenbach, Vhernen and Forest of Shadows certainly come to mind, since the men behind those aren’t part of more familiar bands. Hell, neither is Lars Jensen of Myrkgrav, which I never seem to shut up about. In part because his “band”s a faily recent discovery for me this year!
Most importantly though, I name-drop it as much as I can because because for me Myrkgrav seem to be one of these rarities in every sense of the word for being not only unique in its lyrical and musical approach, but for being – interestingly enough – a one-man band that works.

Whenever you heard “one-man band”, it’s likely that you’re going to have either of the following two reactions:

A) raised eyebrows of intrigue, before muttering to yourself “Really? This I gotta hear… damn!”

B) an exasperated sigh, accompanied with a rolling of the eyes and a slightly annoyed shake of the head. Proceed.

My estimations may be off, but like with the numerous amount of new bands (in the traditional sense) sprouting up on MySpace or Last.FM it’s pretty much a given task in trying to find out what’s hot and what’s not. The Digital Age, along with the increasing availability of music and equipment; certainly isn’t without its downsides as well as its perks. And just as it’s not always easy in finding out which unsigned group of plucky youngsters or aged warriors most deserve our attention, it looks like this becomes a tad more tricky in deciding which one-man project earns the same coupled with respect and admiration over their talents.

Yes; it’s impressive you’re doing everything by yourself. But is it just as impressive if I didn’t already know that fact, beforehand?

Out of the seemingly hundreds of “one-man bands” out there, in the world of Metal; who is it that seems to really count as Cream of the Crop?

And so that I don’t end this piece entirely on a question, I shall be biasedly cheeky and name two projects which I think you all should be checking out. Even if you hate it in the end.

DOOM:Vs and Myrkgrav. Go on. Do it.

Check out Vhernen for yourself over here

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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