Viranesir, banned from BandCamp, strikes back with new video

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You may have caught our previous story about experimental/improvisational black metal band Viranesir, who was banned from BandCamp for its deliberately provocative use of homosexual, anti-Muslim and racially incendiary imagery. An interview with Viranesir describes much of the theory and motivation behind the band, but now, the band has also released a video describing the banning and its context in the struggle for freedom from censorship:

Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls (2015)

Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls (2015)
Iron Maiden’s main strength in their 1980s heyday was their ability to incorporate progressive rock tropes (and therefore useful techniques for song variation and extension) into what was otherwise a fairly standard, if well executed poppy heavy metal sound. Not the rarest trick in the book, but more than enough to turn the band into a commercial juggernaut whose influence can sometimes be heard even in the deepest dregs of the underground.

On first impression, The Book of Souls ages gracefully, offering an aesthetic mostly similar to the band’s earliest recordings with Bruce Dickinson if understandably and obviously brought up to modern production standards. Like the rest of the band’s latter day material however, it leans ever closer towards its prog-isms, resulting in several enormous tracks and inflating the content into a full-fledged double album. The unfortunate weakness of these epics is that they are replete with filler of questionable value to a track, and as the length of these albums and tracks grow ever longer, so does the tedium, as Iron Maiden’s ability to extend a track beyond 7-8 minutes or so has not advanced along with them. Tracks end up overwhelmed by moments stunningly reminiscent of old hooks and hit singles (for instance, the intro of “Shadows of the Valley” seems to channel “Wasted Years” from Somewhere In Time), and the true nature of the band’s recent weakness reveals itself.

Iron Maiden has become a band split between two souls that they are unable to effectively reconcile. Their urge to extend their songwriting and write metal epics is held back by their need to continuously sound like Iron Maiden and the corresponding need to push hit singles. Paring down some of the worst excesses would probably be the most profitable option, since the band has demonstrated many times through their career that they can handle some degree of extension. Even then, Iron Maiden is competing with their own past; a past that is more virile (if not as slickly produced or musically experienced) and still easily experienced at their live concerts. I expect this album to jump off the shelves of record shores for still being recognizably Iron Maiden, for having some memorable and well-written moments and for being a valid way to financially support the band, but as a work of music, I don’t expect it to retain much listener interest after its marketing blitz subsides.

4noggins – Jesse’s Own (2015)

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Pipe smokers can be divided into several camps. Some favor the over-the-counter (OTC) blends like Prince Albert, others like full aromatics with interesting flavors, and some others prefer the naturals which use minimal or no flavoring. All tobacco is cultivated from a relatively bland-tasting plant into something with discernible flavor, and in the process blenders use “casing” to give the tobacco background and moisture, and may add a “top flavouring” that is either like a second casing, or what we know of as the defining trait of aromatics, a syrup of sugar, flavorings and humectants that renders the taste of the original tobacco moot.

Jesse’s Own seems designed to lead smokers away from aromatics toward the more interesting but less “safe” world of natural blends. With aromatics, if you want your tobacco to taste like watermelon, it is possible as it is with soft drinks or the scent of air fresheners. With naturals, you will taste the tobacco with possible complementary flavors that do not obscure the original tobacco. It takes time and experience to want to taste tobacco in closer to its natural state, as the range of flavors decreases as does their vividity. Like a fine steak or wine, this requires a sensitive exploration of different flavors within a single taste, rather than obscuring them with a uniform sweetened sensation. Like aromatics, Jesse’s Own is sweet and spicy in flavor, and mild in nicotine and smoke. It brings out the variety of flavors in naturals, built on a base of Maryland and Virginia tobaccos with Oriental, Latakia and Perique added as condiments.

The result is a gentle smoke which first presents its Latakia component, giving way to the reedy vinegar taste of the Orientals, then blooming into the spicy fruit texture and taste of the Perique backed by a broad warm harmony of Virginia and Maryland tobaccos, which are very similar and both fairly sweet. No matter the pipe experience of the user, this tobacco blend will be easy to light and enjoy for an all-day smoke. Its light nicotine content guarantees that no one will get a rumbly tummy from too much of the Dark Lady, and its sweet flavor provides a perfect framing to the spicy — like General Joe’s Chicken at a Chinese restaurant — which puzzles and delights the tongue. Hardcore naturals smokers can enjoy this as well for its lack of sugary flavor replacements. Its unusual mixture providing what one commentator called an “American English” style tobacco, Jesse’s Own seems aimed at the middle ground currently occupied by Dunhill (BB1938, Early Morning Pipe, Standard Mixture Mild) and other all-day English blends. While Jesse’s Own may not be intensive enough for the grizzled naturals smoker, it provides an excellent transition for the new pipe smoker and a flavorful, gentle smoke for the rest of us.

***/*****

Abominor to release Opus: Decay in physical form

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It is a common trend these days for newer bands to initially release their works in digital form and later create a physical version when funding permits. Abominor, a black metal band from Iceland, initially released Opus: Decay, their debut EP, on March 26th; a CD version will follow on September 4th, and the band promises a tape release in the future.

The band’s label released the following statement:

Forever committed to unearthing the best sounds in the metal underground, INVICTUS PRODUCTIONS presents Opus: Decay, the debut mini-album of Iceland’s ABOMINOR. ABOMINOR arose from the pits in early 2008, with their sole/soul purpose to evoke chaos and drown the earth in audial poison. Across the two epic-length compositions comprising Opus: Decay, the quartet create a slow-simmer cauldron of cold-yet-fiery black metal – cold to the touch, fiery in its passion – fully mesmerizing the listener with an intensity that embodies total death. Dissonant melodies welcome you into the nameless void, and with deft shifts of tempo and texture, ABOMINOR ensnare one’s soul and send currents of said poison through the veins. Rounded off by big ‘n’ booming production, Opus: Decay marks the first triumphant chapter of ABOMINOR’s omnipotent death worship.

What thrived and what died from the 1990s (Part I)

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While the new last.fm redesign seems to me another exercise in pointless self-justification by middle management, the ability to see statistics on my listening has entirely changed how I view the music held closest to my heart. Seeing the numbers has shown me how it is one thing to list a band as a favorite or recommendation, and one far different animal to listen to it on a monthly basis. One is assessment alone, as if listening were your sole task, and the other utility, showing that this piece of music has a place in your life of many tasks and goals.

This assessment filters among the upper level of the highest echelon of metal. The assessment itself filters out the nonsense, all of which suffers from a single sin — disorganization — which takes many different forms but reveals a lack of will, purpose and principle in constructing art and always red-flags a directionless listen. But among those bands who have escaped the madness, there is no equality in listening. Some have risen and some have fallen over 20 years of pounding out metal from my speakers as I work or relax at home. In most cases, the reaction was first shock and then realization that the seeds of this knowledge were there all along. Let us look at a few pairs where listening habits elevated one album over a similar one…

Blasphemy Fallen Angel of Doom vs. Blood Impulse to Destroy

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Over the years metal has frequently benefited from punk influences because metal, as befits its partially progressive rock heritage, has a tendency to create layers of abstraction and complex musical discourse where punk cuts to the chase. This is both a strength and weakness for each genre; metal is abstract, which makes imitators very obvious but can get lost in muddle-headed musical wanderings, and punk is concrete, which makes it effective but imitation easy. Blasphemy introduced a punk-based genre, grindcore, into black metal. It adopted the aesthetic approach of Sarcofago but underneath applied the percussive lower-five-frets texture musik of grindcore. The result is very effective, and easy to listen to, but also — if you have many other options — kind of boring. In fact, many of these riff patterns are the same ones, albeit simplified, that speed metal bands tried and failed to use to revitalize that genre. As raw motivational material, the music is fantastic, but over time, it fades a bit as one realizes that its strength as low-complexity high impact music also means that its content is one-dimensional. Over the past 20 years, I have thrown this record on five times and apparently terminated it early each time.

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I chose Impulse to Destroy because Germany’s Blood also occupies the narrow space of grindcore bands who think like black metal or death metal bands. Grindcore generally self-reduces to extreme minimums and must, like junk food, reintroduce sugar and salt at the surface to spice up the otherwise one-dimensional utilitarian approach. Death metal on the other hand is not utilitarian, while it is consequentialist (“only death is real” being the ultimate statement of that belief) and yet also has a highly aesthetically-motivated but not aesthetically-expressed transcendental outlook. At its best, grindcore overcomes its utilitarian tendencies for a ludic or playful view of the collapsing world, and from that some of the best material emerges. Blood for example creates a dark and morbid absurdism which brings to light all that our society suppresses with itself, and like Blasphemy, creates it through patterning cut from the chromatic strips of the lower registers of guitar. In this case, however, the textures take on a life of their own, like a three-dimensional house made from flat punch-out cards. Different riffs interact with one another and dramatic pauses and collisions give rise to interesting song structures. Like Disharmonic Orchestra Expositions Prophylaxe, Impulse to Destroy provides a wealth of riff archetypes applied with enough personality and purpose to create unique compositions which may be enjoyed for decades or longer despite their simplicity.

Napalm Death Scum vs. Carbonized For the Security

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This is one of those albums that most people get for the sake of novelty. “But check these guys out, they’ve got one second songs and stuff, it’s just about noise…” — rock music does not get more ironic than that. And ultimately, that was the power of grindcore. Like punk a decade before, it removed all the pretense of rock and boiled it down to simple songs. It then sometimes added in new flourishes of song structure which made those songs more interesting than radio pop, which had been studied by MBAs and PhDs and reduced to a simple formula distinguished only (barely) by rhythm, production, instrumentation and vocals. But once the money men and white lab coats were able to look at rock as a product like any other, they saw that to please enough people in the audience to make it a hit, they did not have to innovate at all. They only needed a new skin for the same basic patterns and they could produce it over and over again with high margins (well, until digital piracy hit). Like the punk rock and then hardcore punk, grindcore stripped away illusion and replaced it with innovation. The problem here is that these songs are very similar themselves because they rely on dramatic confrontation within each song, which like all things “turned up to 11” becomes expected and thus a sort of background noise. Every time I have listened to this album it has made itself into sonic wallpaper before the halfway point.

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Some of the albums which were considered “also-rans” back in the 1990s had more to them than people initially considered. This one has been a favorite for me, along with the second album from Carbonized but not the third, for two decades. I listen to it regularly, finish the whole thing, and sometimes start it over. Record labels tried to shoehorn Carbonized into the “death metal” model despite some clear warning signs, and consequently bungled — the root of all evils is incompetence at some level, starting with the ability to be honest — the career of this promising band, but for those of us who lumped this in with aggressive grindcore like Terrorizer and Repulsion, the similarities outweighed the differences. For the Security expresses paranoia, existential insecurity, melancholic doubt of the future and a desire to explore all that life offers in depth, all within and as part of the same outlook. This is the music of a brighter-than-average teenager who perceives the world honestly and rejects the foolishness but wants to look deeper into the interesting stuff that, because it does not affirm the dominant lie, is rejected by the herd. Chunky riffs alternate with broader rhythms derived from punk and yet are dominated by a desire to make song structure vary with content inherited through metal from progressive rock. Each song forms a sonic sigil to the topic at hand and the response of the artist, making each bursting with personality and reality portrayed in finely-observed ways at the same time. This is a masterful album which will never bore.

Roundup

As you can see, Dear Reader, these albums are both quite similar on the surface — and quite different underneath. That bands can do so much with a handful of power chords, and have such different outcomes, is endlessly fascinating. Yet not every metal-influenced album is, even among A-listers like these. It may be time for all of us to go back through our listening, search ourselves honestly, and see what has actually stood the test of time.

SJWs miss the point on #metalgate

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SJWs are masters of disguise. Disguising their perceived enemies, that is. They excel at portraying the rest of us as rednecks, klansmen, insecure bullies, backward-ballcap jocks, and other disreputable stereotypes. The problem is that to an SJW, anyone who is not an SJW is the enemy.

This is why resistance movements like GamerGate, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, and MetalGate, have arisen. We do not necessarily disagree with you. We disagree with how you behave, and we realize that while you behave like Bolsheviks, what motivates you is something far simpler. You’re afraid of being spotted as less important than the greats.

Metal has a good relationship with its heroes. It raises them up and continues to respect them even after their artistic energies fizzle. It does this because metal values hard logic and firm answers, much like it values unflinching realism, both of which are anathema to SJWs. Metal wants right answers and it does not play the political shell game.

This is why SJWs attacked it: they resent it for being wild and free, lawless and uncucked, as well as not under their control. Their goal is to subjugate metal and make it into their bitch. They want it to become a slave that expresses only their political viewpoints, and by doing so, reinforces their importance instead of the greats.

SJWs are also clueless because they continue doubling down even after the trajectory of history has changed. They are now as out of date as Communists in 1991. They hate this and so they are lashing out with increasing amounts of guilt like a drunken grandmother, trying to control and manipulate all of us to follow their own self-destructive, pointless quest.

As Milo Yiannopoulis writes over at Breitbart:

One of the features of GamerGate is that it includes people from every background imaginable. A survey on GamePolitics found a broad mix of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. Gamers don’t care if you’re black, white, gay, straight, or disabled. All that matters is that you know how to game. They’ll even welcome right-wing bastards like me.

That kind of diversity and tolerance — the genuine kind — frightens cultural authoritarians, not just because they are so mercilessly intolerant to their opponents, but also because it undermines their view of the world. Gaming is that most hated of words in identity politics: a meritocracy. Who you are is unimportant. All that matters is what you know, what you can do, and if you’re being honest with yourself and others about those two things.

Metalgate opposes a leftist movement, but plenty of leftists also opposed Communism. We oppose it because its behavior is wrong and tyrannical, not because we agree or disagree with it, or even want to comment on that subject. SJWs have used that silence to portray us as the Klan or Mussolini when in fact the reality is far simpler: we are defending our music against society trying to take control of it.

Again.

Unibroue – La Fin Du Monde (2015)

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This Belgian ale from Quebec has found itself a permanent place in American stores for two obvious reasons: first, most American beer is horrible because it is both utilitarian and junk food, sugar water soda with beer flavoring. Second, most imported beers have also made themselves terrible, and none quite as bad as the Belgian witbier which increasingly resembles a bilious corriander-beer soda.

Witness, for example, Shiner White Wing. Only a marketing genius could take cheap beer from central Texas and sell it at import prices, and that same twisted intelligence has been applied here to make a “Belgian ale” that tastes like the overflavored teas that women buy in malls. The main reason people like this beer is because it is sweet, bridging the gap between beer and soda yet another innovative way. But in the wake of the success of Belgian ales in America, numerous contenders have popped up. And yet here is La Fin Du Monde which has been pumping out this particular ale since the 1990s at least, and has kept both quality and price consistent. In other words, these people are not marketing geniuses, but they may be a greater form of intelligence: people who realize that if they make a good product consistently they will have an industry from now until the end of time, unless they screw it up. So they watch against screwing up, including the form of greedy screw-up that is marketing genius. Smart, those Québécois.

La Fin Du Monde smells and drinks like a German medium lager but has the light corriander flavor and muted sweetness of a Belgian ale. It retains its yeast, so is cloudy if the bottle has been moved much within the last few hours, but pours in a light golden color with a good foamy head and delicious yeasty smell. It is also worth noting that at 9% alcohol by volume and a heavy amount of carbonation, this fizzy beer will take no prisoners among your brain cells. Drinking one of these babies is like pounding down four of your favorite “import” beer (usually concentrated syrup/ferment imported from Europe, and made into beer American-style here for double the profits) bottles and then doing a couple jumping jacks. Luckily its flavor serves an excellent balance, with the hay-like notes of a good ale surging in behind the slightly bitter forward taste of the Belgian-style corriander-induced sensation, followed by overtones of light fruit — it has been compared to citrus or peach — with a strong yeasty goodness in the background. Thus this beer walks a fine line. It will not please the newly minted Belgian ale fanatics who only buy beers with fancy packaging and pretentious names, but it will rumble the tummy of anyone who appreciates a good beer with a flavor of its own.

****/*****

Black metal band Viranesir censored by Bandcamp

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Black metal band Viranesir from Turkey is no stranger to controversy. As revealed in a recent interview, this band exists to provoke. While artistic license generally covers this, apparently Bandcamp did not feel the tolerance and banned the band from its site, deleting the band profile.

Although that in itself is irritating if not shocking (in 2015 AD, near the end of Western Civilization itself) the broader question is that, as bands become more dependent on the internet to connect with their audience, whether companies like Bandcamp, Reverbnation, SoundCloud and Google/YouTube have too much influence through their policy of censoring “offensive” information. The band released the following statement:

You may or may not noticed that Merdumgiriz Records artist Viranesir have been banned from the online music store Bandcamp last week without any notice or explanation. I inquired about it many times without any answer. Not that I did not guess why, but I needed an explanation at least for them to live up to their word of “Discover amazing music and directly support the artists who make it.” and at least respect all the money they made off from their cut from my Viranesir sales before they suddenly swiped all the music I had up there for which I was counting on them to represent on not only my own but my labels website and all social media accounts, which still I haven’t gotten around to replacing with another alternative online streaming service.

My name is Emir Togrul and I am from southern Turkey. Very conservative place, from which I broke out somehow. Now I live in London England and run a Guerilla Record Company called Merdumgiriz for which I hand-make all the releases and merchandise. I have artists from USA, Canada, Italy, Austria, Iceland to name a few. I refuse to expand the label because I am on a quest to prove that total independence in art is possible and that fine art is a craft… Hence I hand-make every single thing and encourage my artists to do so as well. I make a very modest living but I get through, and the satisfaction I get from this work is just orgasmic. I am a Satanist and a libertine, I live life asking questions and constantly walking the dark. There is a lot of darkness in the world and I walk those paths rather than pretending they are not there. In my 24 years of existence, I have come to many realizations mainly through art, which to me is the highest occult! The biggest realization was the fact that the more you explore the dark, the more you understand it and it ceases to become a problem. I think life can become a very beautiful experience for every living thing when they go on a quest to understand darkness rather than neglecting it into a cancer.

Viranesir was formed as one of my side projects to fuel my main bands YAYLA and BLLIIGGHHTTED. Over time it became a crazy project with crazy music and crazier subject matter! I have songs called ” Heil Hitler!”, “Armenian Genocide Is Amazing”, “Child Molesting Rapist Murderer”, “I Only Like Jews When They Kill Muslims”, “I Only Like Gays When They Scream Like The Opposite Sex As I Rape Them”. I am not a nazi, nor a homphobe. I am half Turkish half Armenian (not exactly Aryan now is it:), and bisexual (aka I proudly suck cock). Not to say I have never been offensive, I have been very offensive… The most offensive thing I have ever done was to put Hitler’s name on an album on the cover of which I appear in drag (neo-nazis must have got very offended by this, I apologize guys), and saying I Love Torturing Defenseless Creatures And Eating Them referring to what I enjoy everyday as a meat eater, or perhaps say Rats Flock Into The Temple referring to Muslims (need I say more). All I ever did was to pull these taboo subjects out of their untouchable contexts and open them up for discussion, because they are very stupid and personally through a sense of humor, better be opened up for discussion in my opinion. The idiots in bandcamp didn’t get it and banned me, big deal.

What if a band is really a fucking nazi or homophobic band?

I really feel sorry for them because they will be shut up. Oh yes, I feel sorry for Homophobic, Rapist, Supremacist, Seperatist musicians and all those people. How evil I must seem to some for feeling sorry for confused people trying to express themselves through art. And the ones shutting them up will not even give them an explanation as if it was the word of Allah that they be shut up. I was suicide bombed by Jihadists of bandcamp last week, I was there and no longer am without any explanation. All my presence wiped out. Suddenly and effectively I am completely gone. Who am I to break the word of their Allah with my art? who am I to question their divine law of “Political Correctness”.

You have not stopped abuse bandcamp, you just stopped someone expressing abuse. There will be no less racist, sexist, pedophile, abusive people in the world because of what you did, there will just be less people thinking about those subjects. I congratulate you! I will continue making Entartete Kunst, wether pieces of shit like you allow me to be on your website or not! Fascist SCUM!!!

Emir Togrul
2.5.2015

In the meantime, you can route around this censorship by going to the label web site and exploring the material yourself. While Viranesir may not be at the top of your playlist, think to the future when some band you care about might be.

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Infamous Abisso and Of Solitude and Silence on sale at Red Stream

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For those who have enjoyed our reviews of black metal band Infamous, it may be good news that the first two releases — the Of Solitude and Silence full-length and Abisso mCD — are available at great discount here in the USA.

Red Stream has done reliable business with the underground for many years and are clearing out some undiscovered gems including this one. It’s worth prowling around to see what you can find.

In League With Satan / Blaspherian split released

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In the run-up to its forthcoming full length, Texas cavernous death metal band Blaspherian has joined forces with In League With Satan to unleash a 7″ split on Blasphemous Art Productions.

The band issued the following statement:

BLASPHEMOUS ART PRODUCTIONS PROUDLY PRESENTS:

OUT NOW!!!

IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN / BLASPHERIAN
(Ita/US)

“Same” Split 7” EP

– 280g Jacket With Matt Lamination
– Black Vinyl
– Insert On 150g Art Paper
– Exclusive Songs By Each Band
– Limited To 500 Copies
– Released In Cooperation With Iron Bonehead Productions

————

Get Your Copy Now For 6,00 Euro + Postage.

For Orders and Infos, contact ONLY through E-MAIL: blasphemousart@libero.it

Payment via PAY PAL / POSTE PAY.

Labels and Distributions get in touch for Trade.

NECROGOAT