White Medal – Guthmers Hahl

385767“Alone an thee hear’t wolf cry Agbrigg!”

Following over 4 years of demos, splits, and EPs, Guthmers Hahl represents White Medals first full-length album. A one-man project helmed by George Proctor, White Medal’s early attacks were already a feast of raw black metal for any obscure, pagan tyrant. Is Guthmers Hahl worthy of its full-length title? Read on…

The past creations of White Medal have always had a distinctive sound; filthy production, an obscure and alienated yet glorious and arrogant air, and twisted, inhuman vocals that you can practically smell the turf rising from. Guthmers Hahl not only continues the this decadent and atavistic tradition, it’s the most depraved and sooty sounding White Medal release yet. The guitar tone alone is massive and devouring enough to be the aural equivalent of Fenrir’s jaws closing on the hand of Týr, but the immense, almost blown-out pagan war drums pounding at the roots of Yggdrasil leave no doubt that this is music to invoke an axe age, a sword age, ere the world crumbles. The lyrics aren’t provided, but the old Yorkshire dialect used in the song titles further entrenches the archaic miasma Guthmers Hahl revels in, delivered by Proctor’s vocals; as inhumane and sickening as ever, sounding less like a human and more like a bog body vomiting five-thousand year old peat from it’s dessicated lungs. In truth, that’s the best analogy for this whole album and the rest of White Medal’s discography so far. It feels unearthed; covered in mud and shrouded in mists, a horrifying and vengeful walker on the moor.

The songwriting holds up to the monstrous sound in unexpected ways that prove yet again White Medal is far superior to much of what gets peddled as ‘raw’ black metal these days. “Return of Pagan Yorkshire” makes for a perfect opening battlecry, as ominous and menacing as it is triumphant and superior. A hammer strike of annihilating vocals, crashing drums,  and even a vicious solo near the end. Far from an uninspired Ildjarn hanger-on, White Medal’s riffing draws from punk and traditional heavy metal with power chord charges, as well as black metal from it’s tremolo melodies and overall atmosphere. There’s a thirst for conquest on Guthmers Hahl that brings the album to a great many shores. “Skratje’s Gate” has an unexpected, industrial vibe to it’s grinding, anvil-striking tune, interspersed with a melody that wouldn’t have been out of place on Filosofem, and finally ending with a triumphant, NWOBHM sounding riff that I challenge you not to be fist-pumping and head-banging along with. If that sounds like an eclectic mess, be assured that Guthmers Hahl stirs all of these ingredients into its foul brew in such a way that its hard to imagine it tasting any other way.

There’s so much more that I could write about this album, like the way certain riffs hearken back to Graveland’s The Celtic Winter, one of my favorite albums, or the delirious and maniacal vocals that grip you by the throat before they’re twisted into the warped, electronic outro of “Afeeard Ut Setting Sun”, but it suffices to say that Guthmers Hahl is a rare sort of album. For a first, official full-length, it’s immensely satisfying; taking everything that White Medal has accomplished so far and not only doing it better than he ever has, but actually expanding and evolving his sound in brilliant, unexpected, and wholly unique ways. Five years is a long time to spend in the demo stage, but it absolutely benefited Mr. Proctor here, and you have to wonder why more bands don’t spend time discovering their sound and developing their craft before making a first foray into the world of albums. Here’s hoping for a long, glorious, and depraved future for pagan Yorkshire. -Jake

Legion Blotan / Aphelion Productions

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~ by jakemoran on September 25, 2013.

7 Responses to “White Medal – Guthmers Hahl”

  1. Sounds great. I went to Legion Blotan site to order it, but they sell some well dodgy stuff (NSBM) and I’m reluctant to give them my money. The name of this project set my antennae waving a bit, too – White Medal. Hopefully I’m barking up the wrong tree here and there’s nothing dodgy about this artist.

  2. Pete> http://white-medal.blogspot.nl/p/writings.html

    Read this. Especially point 3.

    Frankly I’m puzzled why fans of music that is extreme and hateful and higly misanthropic (i.e. almost all black metal) suddenly get all politically correct when something reeking of nationalism or antisemitism comes along.

  3. Thanks. It’s tempting to post a long reply setting out my views and position but I don’t want to get into a debate here. Suffice to say that I will not support dangerous morons with ludicrous views with my money or time, and I see no correlation between expressing bitterness, misanthropy and alienation on one hand, and racism/ultranationalism on the other. One does not necessarily entail the other.

  4. Anyway this project is obviously not NSBM and when I find a distro that doesn’t support NSBM acts I’ll happily buy it and enjoy it.

  5. Thanks for replying. Hey, a bit of debate is fun, why not!

    The Legion Blotan distro is owned by the very same George Proctor that records under the name White Medal. So if you want to support his band, might as well support his distro.

    In theory, I really do agree with you. But as far as I’m concerned it’s a grey area, not divided easily in right and wrong camps. What is the definition of NSBM? Every band that cries “Aryan”? Harmless idiots, and their music sucks (and feels like it’s secondary to their extreme views) more often than not. On the other hand chances are we all own some albums by Gorgoroth, Marduk, Emperor, Dissection, Mayhem or Burzum and consider them great while you’ll find some seriously foul (convicted) rapers, killers, abusers and arsonists (not to mention homophobes and racists) in their ranks.

    My point is; it’s a complicated world and lines in the sand are not easily drawn.

  6. I think we’re basically agreeing with each other here. Indeed, where do we draw any kind of line? Personally, I don’t have any albums by the artists you mention, and have avoided them because, no matter how great the music, I don’t want to support these kinds of people. But if you look in my collection, I’m sure you’d find other bands whose members are barely choirboys. But if I am aware (and I try to check out acts that are new to me) then I do without the music. All said and done, it’s only music and I work hard for what little spare money I have and don’t want it supporting causes I find repugnant and dangerous, ‘harmless idiots’ or not. I didn’t know George Proctor owns Legion Blotan. He’s very definite that his project and the Legion Blotan label are not NSBM (however we define that, and it’s usually proudly self-defined by the acts themselves) but on his distro list he has the likes of ‘Ultimate Aryan Warfront’ by 88, ‘Dictator’ by Ad Hominem (described as ‘totalitarian black metal’), ‘Through Struggle to Victory’ by Aryan Warfront … you get the picture. If he is happy to sell this shit which he has a right to do (and I presume profit from it in some small degree) then I am happy to exercise my right to walk in the other direction and live without White Medal’s music, fine as it sounds. From the blog link you sent me above, he comes across as pissed off that people (like me!) are questioning the nature of his project. Perhaps he could realise that selling poisonous nonsense on his distro just perpetuates that kind of misunderstanding. Most likely he doesn’t care. Fair enough, but I’ll pass.

  7. Fair enough, well said, thanks for taking the effort. We all draw our own lines. George Proctor as well. ‘Ultimate Aryan Warfront’? Fucking pathetic for a couple of kids that don’t know the etymology of the word Aryan (and hey Adolf, thanks for forever ruining the swastika as well!) and have probably never seen a war up close in their life (and would shit their pants like most sane people would if they did). But I simply don’t care that these bands exist and that they are sold on the same distro where I like to buy music. I’ve got other fights to pick in this world. To a certain extent I can view the music and the people behind the music (and their views and deeds) separately. When the music is good enough…

    Makes me think: I work with criminals (addicts on parole) every day. I play in a band that mostly gets booked in biker clubs, where I spend drunk times at the bar with dudes associated with the Hell’s Angels (and choirboys they ain’t). I don’t condone this shit but I guess I just try to find a way to relate so I have some fun without getting annoyed and pissed of at people all the time. So I adopt a little ignorance I guess.

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