Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 11, 2014

Local metal band ready for album release

BLUEFIELD — Helgardh, a Black and Death Metal band with southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia roots, is on the verge of a national release of their studio album, “The Black Flame Descent,” an album that is described by the group’s founding member, Josh Crouse (stage name: Famine), as an historical examination of mythology, witchcraft, the so-called Salem Witch Trials and the public’s view of the two.

“Most of the lyrics are historical in nature,” Crouse, 25, of Falls Mills, Va., said. “The songs are not so much about what happened, but rather about what took place in response to the perception of what happened.”

Crouse said that the songs examine the torture methods employed on the people accused in the Salem Witch Trials that took place in colonial Massachusetts from February 1692 to May 1693. Perhaps not by coincidence, the album release on the Horror Pain Gore Death Productions label is due on Feb. 2.

Along with Crouse (Famine) who sings and plays guitar, Helgardh band members include Brent Bane, from Matoaka, on bass, Steven Crockett, from Bluefield, on drums, and Britt Larue, from Peterstown, on guitar. Bane, Crockett and Larue perform under the stage names Abatu, Nastround Surtr, and Coffinfeeder respectively.

“We don’t play too many engagements around here,” Crouse said. “We enjoy performing here, but we don’t want our fans around here to get tired of us. When we’re on the road, we play at some concert venues with crowds of 800 to 1,000. We have a good fan base that seems to be growing. Our careers seem to be going in the right direction.” Helgardh completed a tour that took the band from coast to coast in October.

Crouse said that the band plays their original material exclusively when they are on the road. “We might do someone else’s song when we’re fooling around at practice and do some ‘hair metal’ songs like Motley Crew, but our shows are 100 percent original material.”

Crouse organized the band in 2009. “It took some time to assemble a band of good musicians that could perform the complex music we perform,” he said. “We all have day jobs in retail or food, but we are willing to work to make it in music.”

Although he was inspired by performers like Immortal and Dark Funeral, Crouse’s musical roots run deep. His grandfather was an orchestra conductor and public school music teacher in northwestern Pennsylvania and Crouse played trombone in high school band. He is currently enrolled in the Berkley School of Music online program where he is working toward a degree in music management.

“In the beginning, we never thought we would go this far, but once everything started falling into place, it seems like it is all progressing rapidly now,” Crouse said.

“Helgardh” is one of the nine worlds of Norse Mythology, Crouse said.

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