Winter songs

The weather outside in the UK right now isn’t too frightful but winter certainly took its icy grip over our shores earlier in the month. Thankfully, we’ve not had the repeat of the storm of late 2010 and early 2011 but no doubt the capability is there. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled five songs we feel befitting of the big freeze, however bleak or even positive they may feel. Enjoy.

1. Probot w/ Lee Dorrian – Ice Cold Man

[from Probot, Southern Lord, 2003]

OK, an obvious one to begin with, and without doubt the finest song from Dave Grohl’s childhood dream/metal superstar album. Arriving in the middle of the record, a cold, heartless, doomy riff echoes, before the pounding of the drums introduces Cathedral/ex-Napalm Death frontman Lee Dorrian to bestow a tale of a planet dying at the grip of an eternal winter. The chorus is storming; Eternal winter takes its reign/devoid of life, filled with pain/ice cold man watches earth die’. And as Dorrian delivers that line, you can truly grasp the hopelessness that fills you when caught in an Arctic-style storm.
2. Batillus – …And The World is as Night to Them
[from Furnace, Seventh Rule, 2011]
I recently had to get up ridiculously early for a Saturday shift. It was dark, frost and ice were covering the roads and pavements near my home. A van had slid off the main road at the bottom and almost into a building during the night. ‘…And The World is as Night to Them’, the opening song from blackened doomers Batillus’ ‘Furnace’, was the track playing on my musical device of choice that very moment. I was stood around waiting for the bus and this incredible song, so bleak, so harsh, captured the mood perfectly. Equal parts atmospheric and soul-crushingly heavy, take a walk outside with this track when the sky is black and the surfaces are glistening, and I defy you not to feel in thrall to winter’s cold, icy grip.
3. Immortal – In My Kingdom Cold
[from Sons of Northern Darkness, Nuclear Blast, 2002]
I know I’m trying to avoid clichés, but you can’t have such a list without including Immortal, who are in thrall to all things icy and cold. I could have picked this pretty much any song, e.g. ‘Antarctica’, ‘Arctic Swarm’, ‘Blashrykh (Mighty Ravendark)’ and more besides. But I plumped for ‘In My Kingdom Cold’ because every riff in this song truly sounds like it was pulled directly from the tundra, and Abbath’s trademark scowl truly shows he and Immortal reign supreme over this icy world.

4. My Dying Bride – A Doomed Lover

[from Songs of Darkness, Words of Light, Peaceville, 2004]
That old saying ‘it’s grim ‘oop north’ is seldom more true of the UK in winter, and if any one song could actually capture the bleakness and hopelessness you feel when caught in the middle of nowhere, trapped in a snowstorm and seemingly enveloped by the elements, this would be it. As the title indicates, it’s a song about a hopeless romance and descending into sorrow, but musically the feeling is jarring. I’ve experienced that song whilst walking in the night through snow, and just as the conclusion to the song builds up, its started snowing heavily again. This actually happened just last winter, when the country was ground to a halt by the abhorrent weather. The image in front me combined with ‘A Doomed Lover’ summed up the situation; staggeringly beautiful; but bleak, hopeless and with an unerring air of inevitability.

5. Big Business – Theme from Big Business II

[from Mind The Drift, Hydra Head, 2009]
I won’t lie – this is one of those songs which makes me feel like I’m standing on top of a mountain and shouting the words out so loud that everyone can hear! In all seriousness, this would be the song I would conquer Everest to, if I had the cojones. Just imagine that, as you hear the opening riff, accompanied by the horns, you’re staring upwards at that mountain. Or at some vast expanse. It epically builds up into ‘Mind The Drift’s fantastic climax, and the chimes that ring out the end of the record provide a potent soundtrack to winter’s harsh but undeniable beauty

Let us hear your suggestions for perfect accompanying rock or metal songs that fits the frosty mood this weather brings. I for one find those five just right.
Peter Clegg
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