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The House Next Door, Music Video Round-Up: Interview w/ Severed Ways’ Tony Stone

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So, my music video column on “The House Next Door” finally returns and I’m going to keep up a regular pace with it and not like, one every four months at the best. The first returning one is a little weird because it’s not about music videos really, but it is an interview with the film director Tony Stone who directed the absolutely amazing Viking, Black Metal movie Severed Ways. Stone and I talk about digital video, Michael Mann, metal’s appeal, and lots of other stuff. If you’ve not seen Severed Ways, please go rent it or buy it, you won’t be disappointed…

“After confusing critics at festivals and brief theater runs over the past two years, Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America—a set in 1007 AD, shot on digital video, heavy metal-scored, Viking anti-epic—made its way to DVD this past summer. Though most certainly not a music video, it’s a movie not only dominated by the interplay between music and images but one that apes the quiet-loud dynamics of the heavy metal music that makes up most of its score. Music is at the movie’s core and in that sense, seems appropriate for “Music Video Round-Up.”

Like an art metal album abruptly but successfully segueing from low-end riffing to Brian Eno-esque ambience, director (and co-star) Tony Stone’s Severed Ways bounces between Malick-esque patience and pulpy, in-your-face bursts of ugliness. Laconic hunting and gathering makes way for heathen church-burning. Wandering in the woods moves to the side for an awesomely unnecessary defecation scene. Imagine the atmosphere of your quasi-historical, Dungeons & Dragons-inspired metal video sucked of all the bombast and almost entirely focused on tiny activities of survival.

The result is one of the most bizarre and strangely moving films of the past bunch of years. And the film’s artfully jagged merger of opposites extends to its creation too; conceptualized, studied filmmaking sent into the Vermont woods, forcing on-the-fly, improvisation. Tony Stone was kind enough to break-down these unresolved tensions and why it was so necessary to go “off the grid” to make Severed Ways and explain metal’s rarefied appeal.”

Written by Brandon

October 12th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

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