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The Galactic Rock N Roll Empire could be dismissed by many kvlt kids as too humorous, but to do so would be to miss out on one hell of a punch line.
Vondur’s final output, before Tony Särkkä dropped off the face of the Earth, is an interesting take on the over-the-top attitude of black metal blasted into the realm of ridiculous. But if one has an open mind and a sense of humor, this is a great record to throw on every now and then.
But really, what is this record? Simple, it’s two songs remade off of the Striðsyfirlýsing record, four covers and one original song.
For the remade songs, the two things I notice are that the production is still raw but very listenable, and that they’re in English (so those of us over the pond can get in on the joke, one would assume). Kill Everyone is the stronger of the two, with it being nothing less than a hyperblast of black metal in the Swedish vein – simple, primitive and raw. And the lyrics are fucking classic – I sense a slight nod to Mayhem’s Deathcrush here. Also, the added sample (?) of the gunshot is very effective.
And as for The Raven's Eyes Are as Mirrors of the Bottom of Satan's Black Halls (tell me they’re not making fun of pretentious black metal here with a serious face)? It’s a blast… very literally, one constant blastbeat and a simple riff (the same riff plays through the whole two minutes and fifty-six seconds). It tends to get old very quickly, but just on the merit that it’s a poke at bands like, say, Immortal and Burzum, it’s worth at least one listen.
The original song is Panzer Legions of Marduk, a mid-paced black metal song with, dare I say, a groove? I rather like this song and, as such, it comes out being my second favorite song on the album. It’s still tongue-in-cheek, but it’s actually a catchy little piece of black metal.
Which leaves us with the covers: they’re a mixed bag. The cover of Bathory’s You Don’t Move Me (I Don’t Give a Fuck) and Motley Crue’s Red Hot (?!?) are played fairly straight-forward… if you can imagine a real black metal cover of Red Hot, you’re on the right track of what it sounds like. As for You Don’t Move Me, it’s the only cover that’s played almost identically to the original. These two alone are worth listening to many times over.
The other two covers, Judas Priest’s Rocka Rolla and Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender (!!!) are the two that might lose a few people. Rocka Rolla is fairly straight forward, but as I’m not that big of a fan on the original, this one just goes directly over my head. I do believe the cheesiness is intentional on this one, though I can’t be certain.
Love Me Tender, on the other hand, is definitely intentionally horrid, and depending on your mindset, you’ll either find this to be one of the finer black metal mutations of a completely incorrect song to cover, or you’ll find it to be utter shit and want to get away from it ASAP. Personally, I like it – it starts off with really bad clean vocals for the first five-odd seconds, then kicks into a blastbeat and a blur of a song that will leave you trying to figure out what you just witnessed, and then laughing when you play it again. The lyrics must have been changed, as I don’t believe Elvis’ version contained the lyrics “Fucking whore!!!” (listen carefully towards the end), but I could be wrong.
Overall, this was one is one of my favorites from the era, as this just levels the rest of the scene, then openly pisses on their respective corpses. It’s down, dirty and quick black metal that doesn’t overstay its welcome. That said, it’s not something that one would listen to multiple times in one sitting (though, once again, I’ve been guilty of this on a few occasions), and overall it might be viewed as more of a novelty than a real metal release.
Hell, the artwork alone might be enough to tip the scales for some listeners. Ever wonder what Motley Crue would look like in really fucked up corpsepaint, or a black metal Elvis (complete with the trademark hair-do and sideburns) crooning into a microphone? Do you happen to be a fan of confederate flags? Then this might do it for you.
If you’re busy being too kvlt and necro, avoid this like the plague – you’ll find your concepts of the Swedish scene as a whole tainted. On the other hand, if you’re into the Swedish black metal scene, worshipped the Necropolis Records releases back when they existed, and / or have a twisted sense of humor, I cannot recommend this highly enough.