The Hammer Of Retribution Ogg-Cast



In the beginning, there was Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show on Radio 1. In 2008, a Yorkshireman by the name of Carl Pickles decided to make a podcast in tribute, and The Wyrd Ways Rock Show was born. It continues to this day, on a weekly basis. After making several contributions to the show, in May 2009 I decided to further celebrate Carl's efforts by cajoling the people of Livejournal's (now near-defunct) Metal Community into making a show of their own; I had a go myself, and so appeared the first two episodes of The Hammer Of Retribution Ogg-Cast. The show appeared on a highly irregular basis at random intervals in 2009 and 2010, but in January 2011, finally became a monthly show, an "even Wyrder cousin" to the Wyrd Ways Rock Show.

The rather bizarre name of the show is a combination of the third weapon for the fighter in Raven Software's brilliant first-person hack-and-slash-fest, Hexen (based, of course, on id Software's Doom engine), combined with a nod to the format the show was originally intended to be distributed in (Ogg Vorbis having vastly superior sound quality to MP3). However, as it would work out, Podomatic's servers were only going to take the show in MP3 format - 96 kb/s and 22 kHz originally, now updated to 128 kb/s and 44 kHz. All the shows in the archive are now provided in this format.

The regular shows for 2011 and beyond all contain at least two hours of musical content, not necessarily featuring bands you've all heard of, but almost always metal of some sort. Almost. And you'll hear a fair bit of me explaining my choices, because I like to educate as well as entertain. Expect the odd rant as well when I need to let off steam, but I intend to keep this to a minimum... and who knows, maybe there'll be a guest slot or two from some of the musicians involved as well?

Incidentally, I wonder if anyone at Raven Software realised that the initials of The Hammer Of Retribution spell out THOR in a highly appropriate manner, thus giving this website its conveniently memorable URL?

There may be some of you who wonder why I make this show, and here I will explain. In a way, it's a viable substitute for the days where I was a DJ at Cambridge's long-running Wake Up Screaming club night. I haven't done that since the end of November 2008, and there's a good reason. Those last three sets of mine, all from 2008, are a perfect example of what I saw my remit as being as a DJ there; yes, I do favour the folk-viking-pagan-heathen-call-it-what-you-will side of metal, bands whose music is inspired by the ways of the past, who eat red meat roasted over an open fire, and drink mead.

However, the crowd that I used to play to has disappeared - many people have tried to tell me that "folk metal is really popular at the moment!" but it isn't - the kids who make up the majority of this alleged crowd are only interested in hearing the same tired old hit singles (Battle Metal, Trollhammaren, Beer Beer, Wenches And Mead) again and again and again ad nauseam, and I have no interest in playing to that crowd, whether in Cambridge (where I'd actually get a chance to do so) or anywhere else (where I almost certainly wouldn't); I'd rather be on right at the beginning when only the hardcore few turn up to be serenaded by ten-minute-plus behemoths from, for instance, Moonsorrow, Bathory, Winterfylleth, Primordial and Wintersun. If I was to whore myself to the unimaginitive bleats of the plastic sword crowd, I would see myself as being part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

Furthermore, if you're not there when I'm behind the decks, all I can do is post the setlist and tell you what you missed. If I make a Hammer Of Retribution Ogg-Cast instead, it's there for as long as I've got the hosting space. You can all go to the archive and listen to the first ever show if you want, from back in May 2009, or my getting-ever-more-drunk experiment recorded live and spontaneously at the Cambridge Beer Festival, or the beginning-of-2010 "When The Year Ends In Zero" special in which I geared up for a year of greatness which ultimately fell flat... but, hey, at least we had 1980 to fall back on.

And finally, I'm not stuck with playing one specific genre for the whole two hours; if I want to throw in thrash, NWOBHM, stoner rock, black metal, death metal, or even something completely out of the ball park - rest assured that I can, and I will.


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