Beherit – At the Devil’s Studio 1990

I am really glad this recording is not the final form these songs took, but I am equally glad to be able to hear them in this form. Most people will compare this to The Oath of Black Blood, but it reminds me more of the later EPs, although it’s in the style of The Oath of Black Blood.

On those later EPs Beherit experimented with the sonic form of its material, not changing the song structures as much as the pacing and the use of guitar noise, drone and other techniques. What emerged on the Osmose release of The Oath of Black Blood (a compilation of demos assembled by the label into an album) was more monolithic and primitive, in the raw style of Blasphemy which was inherited almost certainly from a cross between early Bathory and early Napalm Death.

But some time later what came forth on Drawing Down the Moon removed the chaos in favor of a clear, simple, direct and ominously infectious statement of power; it matured, for lack of a better word, and cut out the ambiguity to make a purposeful and morbid statement of dark power.

At the Devil’s Studio attempts to take the early monolithic style and tweak it sonically to gain effect, and it does so by making a dark immersive world of hanging sheets of resonant sound, but it loses the sinister abstraction and aloofness of the second album.

However, it gives these songs a new dimension, and makes it like hearing them for the first or second time, which alone will induce me to buy this thing and keep it close at hand.

-Brett Stevens-

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Classic BLASPHEMY interview

Journalist Nathan Birk went in investigation of the Blasphemy phenomenon, and was able to wrest an interview from these guys 20+ years past their original works of hateful, apostatic skinhead black metal/grindcore crossover. Excerpts from the interview are published on the Zero Tolerance blog. Some insights:

Both Blasphemy albums are equally classic in my opinion, but why do you think Fallen Angel Of Doom resounds so powerfully with so many people over a number of generations?

DeathLord: Blasphemy were focused only on Blasphemy during the Fallen Angel Of Doom era. Soon after that, even as early as the Gods Of War era, their energies were spread to other interests.

Black Winds: Let me put it to you this way – I wrote the song ‘Blood Upon The Altar’ from Gods Of War after a bottle and a half of tequila!

Maybe… because Fallen Angel of Doom is the far better album.

While Blasphemy have certainly wielded a global influence on new generations of black/death metal, it seems the biggest pockets of influence are situated in the US, Canada, Australia, and parts of South America and South East Asia – to what do you attribute this to? That Blasphemy wield influence on countries that are…well, less purely ‘white’?

DeathLord: Where do you get this information?! I can find you 25 Burzum clones from Brazil and another 10 from Australia! Also, Burzum record sales are better than Blasphemy record sales in every country you mentioned, so explain why these “less purely white” people are into that style? All metal, all genres, is a worldwide phenomenon. You are obviously speaking about Europe in this question, yet we get the most requests to bring our live ritual out there and I get the most orders for Blasphemy merchandise from there, too. And to add to this, it doesn’t get more ‘white’ than Finland, yet I hear Beherit, Satanic Evil, early Impaled Nazarene, Archgoat, and newer bands like OfDoom and Black Feast, etc, that have a distinct bestial sound with a Blasphemy influence. Blasphemy are indeed “global” and equally listened to, per capita, in all regions of the world. I know this firsthand through my distro and contacts.

Black Winds: The South Americans are probably the biggest black metallers in the world. If we played a show down there with Mystifier or Impurity or someone, there would be thousands there! Traditional Sodomizer’s band Tyrants Blood just played down there, and it was crazy! We don’t notice skin colour, only how black metal people are.

He ducked the question with a false comparison.

So, how would you address charges of Blasphemy ‘resting on your laurels’? Meaning, playing those reunion shows but without any new material in almost two decades…?

Black Winds: Tough. If you don’t like it, don’t come and see it.

DeathLord: Have you ever noticed that people go crazy at a show when the band plays their old songs and are bored to tears when they do a set of newer material? Well, we don’t only hype up the crowd with a few old tunes, we play them ALL! They are eaten up with total frenzy for the entire duration of the live ritual! But, to answer your question, we’re Blasphemy and we do whatever the fuck we want! We don’t answer to any “charges” against us.

Well, it’s sensible. If you’re not going to be able to write newer material that’s better than the old stuff, you should just play the old stuff.

Interesting how bands like BEHERIT continued improving, BURZUM sold out worse than Metallica after peaking late, and ENSLAVED have become something entirely different, namely a hard rock/jam band. BLASPHEMY have stayed true to their roots, even if their answers in this interview aren’t entirely logical. Birk asks the right questions; he could ask all the old stuff, but instead he asked them about their place in the metal canon, and got some intriguing answers.

Read the interview here: Crime (and Powerlifting) Pays — An Interview with Blasphemy

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Ripping Corpse – Dreaming with the Dead

Though the barrier of moral pretense that’s raised in the minds of those who live in fear of this world can be seen as the work of social or religious conditioning, it isn’t necessarily intrinsic to systems of thought that wish to superimpose theories of order upon nature. Rather, the impulse is an artifice of the ego, in assuring it’s own physical safety and metaphysical sanctity, whether the origin of this is ascribed to a divinity or otherwise and then marketed to the masses. This monochromatic rendering of a world half engulfed by the shadow of such a barrier disregards the interdependent balance of elements, the opposite and equal value of death to that of life, and begins to symbolise a holy war against the unknown, just as the actual structure has represented conflicts throughout human history, from Hadrian’s Wall to the West Bank. Maybe Demoltion Hammer one year later recorded the soundtrack to the destruction of these architectural demarcators but Ripping Corpse pinpointed the mental plane with one of the apex recordings of both these tri-state bands’ style of corpse-shredding Speed/Death Metal.

Dreaming with the Dead doesn’t so much harmoniously reconcile life’s opposite extremes, though, as it reveals their arbitrary placement on the spectrum of phenomenon and deconstructs such division with the characteristic absurdism of Death Metal and Lovecraftian inhuman consciousness. The thematic outline of the album is even marked by a transition from the pulp ‘escapism’ of subconscious terrors on one hand to social commentary on the other, as though returning from the Abyss to expose the hypocrisy of so-called civilised men who indulge in normalised forms of depravity while pouring scorn over uncivilised ‘savagery’. The musical elements that Ripping Corpse fuse on the album illustrates this idea further, overlaying the quasi-neoclassical shredding posibilities opened up by European Speed Metal bands such as the socially conscious Destruction with perverse melodies and sequences of increasingly fractured riffing typical of Death Metal at the time.

Although the adverse effect of retaining such past influences would be that some later songs still structure themselves around anthemic choruses – a burden that most of Ripping Corpse’s contemporaries had already evolved far beyond – the band manages to employ enough compexity in their compositions to keep up with the demands of their vision. The sound of the guitars may be construed as being weak or mixed poorly, but this lighter texture lends itself well to the progression of riffs from measured punctuations of rhythm to insane variations by way of fucked up artificial harmonics and blastbeaten tremolo sequences. Tempo blurs the lines of what is considered primitive, though the act may be embellished with the jewels of modern society or justified in the name of some ideology. As layers of humanity are removed from the conscious mind, lead guitars erratically and uncontrollably rip through passages and bring a microcosmic level of culmination within a song, like the fleeting screams of demons being exorcised from a long tortured soul.

There is some continuity to be heard in the first album of Erik Rutan’s much later Hate Eternal, which is a far more sizeable contribution than his involvement in Morbid Angel, however, Ripping Corpse clearly struck an evolutionary dead-end with Dreaming with the Dead. Yet for all it’s antiquated aspects, the focus and engineering of the music manages to highlight the illusions which obstruct mankind from understanding the world around him because he chose to no longer belong in such a world.

-ObscuraHessian-

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Seth Putnam (1968-2011)

We were sad to hear of the passing of Seth Putnam, vocalist/guitarist for Anal Cunt and Vaginal Jesus, recently. Mr. Putnam was a top-notch troll who poked fun at the parts of life we were afraid to bring to light.

In honor of his life, here are some interesting quotations of his from the interview we did with him a few years back in Heidenlarm Zine #4:

there is no “cut and dry” approach to what i like and dislike. a lot of bands i originally hated end up being some of my favorite bands (village people,culture club,morbid angel,etc). i tend to not like too much after 1985 though.

i don’t really pay attention to what goes on in the world very much. i’m not that interested. i’ve had times when i had some interest here and there, but not in a long time. i think the worst thing going on is forced multiculturalism and wiggers. if you compare t.v. and popular things now to even as short as 20 years ago, everything is completely different.

it’s a miracle if i see anyone at an “underground” show that i’d see in the early 80’s. whether you like it or not, underground music is a fad for most people. the ones who stick with it are the ones that i will usually talk to (if i am friends with them). getting upset about people not “being into it” anymore is useless, because i know most of these people will be lawyers in a couple of years.

i hate people and i try to be not involved with society as much as possible. just about everything anyone says makes me angry. the world has gotten so much gayer in the last few years. i try my best to have no idea what’s going on in the world. – Heidenlarm Zine #4

We’ll miss you, and that famed acerbic wit, Seth.

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Vote for The Best Death Metal Album Of All Time

One of the other old school metal sites is Brian N. Russ’ BNRmetal.com. If you’ve read these pages for awhile, you know that Vijay Prozak and our other writers enjoy this site for its pithy characterizations of several generations of metal.

It’s a far better resource than Metal-Archives, who are so upset by old school sites that they censor both BNRmetal and anus.com on their forum, and the odious wikipedia which was clearly written by marketers and truly clueless “fans” of mainstream music that wants to be “bad” like that underground music. In fact, it’s where my research often starts for new bands, followed by going to a blogspot and downloading the damn thing.

BNRmetal.com is now holding a contest, “Vote for The Best Death Metal Album Of All Time,” which pairs some old favorites against each other:

versus


versus


If you have any strong opinions on this issue, go here to vote for BNRmetal.com’s best album of all time.

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Interview with the creators of the International Day of Prayer

What started as an amusing satire of the “National Day of Prayer” (an ostentatious activity, since prayer is by definition personal) has bloomed into a civil rights campaign.

The International Day of Slayer came and went this year on June 6, and was celebrated worldwide by all metalheads wise enough to realize this is their chance at political, social and academic recognition.

With each passing year, and more International Day of Slayer celebration, people outside the metal community have been taking note of it — as an identity, as a culture and as a way of life.

Interview with the creators of the International Day of Slayer

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The new Morbid Angel

No review of the new Morbid Angel is enclosed here; by the time you read to the end, you’ll know why.

First supposition: there’s no point wallowing in what you hate.

Second supposition: if a linear trend toward worse is in existence, it is most likely that the most recent products are bad.

Combine those two.

Morbid Angel was a great and promising band for the first three albums because they were cruising on the strength of material they wrote in their lean and hungry days. By lean and hungry days, I mean their time in Tampa, working in a car wash, living together in the same house, doing an assload of drugs and most importantly, writing and playing the material that would be on the first album. As in, playing it over and over again until they got it right. This is a lot like what Slayer did in the early days.

Abominations of Desolation was a great album, but a bit disorganized. Mike Browning offered creative and prescient material; David Vincent acted like an MBA or business manager, cutting it down to the bare essence. As a result, Altars of Madness and the non-frufru parts of Blessed Are the Sick are pure power and come across without any fat on them. Having reached a degree of musical maturity, they knocked out Covenant …but just barely. The instrumental was convenient, many of the other tracks were ideas capitalized on from rejected earlier songs, they threw in an incongruous cover of “Angel of Disease” and wrote a few new songs that were powerful but not connected as a unit like those on the first two albums.

That was their great creative output.

Do you really need someone to bash the albums after that?

Let’s try this: once you enter the music industry, someone else owns your rectum. They own the right to open it up and put something into it. The reason for this is that musicians are as a whole sloppy people who don’t read contracts, refuse to understand business, and pretend that this stuff doesn’t matter in order to compensate.

As a result, they’re ripe for picking by the music industry. There’s no point blaming the music industry; in fact, they’re the heroes here because they are taking the output of dramatic, over-self-indulgent, narcissistic perpetual adolescents and shaping it into a product so those same quasi-functional people can continue existing. However, as a result, they take over the role of parent… and have to remind the musicians to make output.

In the meantime, the musicians are looking at the market. Death metal sells fifty thousand records; Pantera, Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Megadeth, Tool, Primus, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Mudhoney and Sonic Youth sell millions of records. That’s what the market looked like in 1995. So with some urging from the record label, bands change. Here they make a fatal mistake: their fans like them because they’re not Nirvana/Pantera, and trying to be something you’re not is a good way to become an inferior copy of it. (The correct response at this point is to make your albums more technical, more passionate and more realistic, but that’s difficult and requires you to NOT buy the comfy townhouse, but go back to the shitty day job at the car wash and living in a house together, making music. You have to give your life to it, for the most part. Sure, maybe you could live elsewhere in a townhouse, but each step into comfort puts you further from being able to knock off work and race home, looking forward to jamming all night and getting the music really right. Not the product — the music. But I digress.)

A lot of death metal bands, about 1994, realized they were kissing cousins of the Nirvana/Pantera/Tool crowd, and that if those guys were making an assload of money, maybe the death metal bands could too, if they just changed a bit. They changed, became inferior copies of the others, and promptly stepped out of the history books. Had they just kept making quality music, they would have lived in shitty housing for another seven years, then suddenly had an Introduction to Microeconomics moment: when you have seven albums out, and they’re all really good, you don’t sell as many records as Pantera does with one album, but you have a constant stream of fans who see you as “the real deal” and while they buy fewer albums, they buy consistently. And they buy all of the albums, so your first album charts about the same as your most recent. (This was proven by Metallica, before they went fluff, having all four of their albums and one EP in the top 200.)

With all that in mind, you know what happened to Morbid Angel. It must’ve been ugly: lots of fighting over trivial stuff, lots of negotiating about contracts they never read before they signed them, lots of hatred between band members blaming each other for the failure. And almost no time spent thinking about the music, about making music that they (Morbid Angel) would be really excited to hear, not think was on par with whatever Tool or Pantera were puking out at the time.

Do you really want a review of the new Morbid Angel? Formulas Fatal to the Flesh was good; everything else has been a failure. Domination tried to combine grunge, Pantera and death metal; Heretic was pure Pantera-doing-Tool; the live album was decent but everyone wanted to hear Brunelle solos on the older stuff; Gateways to Annihilation was just confused between styles, and now there’ s a new one, which most likely continues this progression.

We’re not looking at a musical entity called Morbid Angel anymore; we’re looking at a business. This business succeeds by hoodwinking teenage morons into buying trendy crap. This is a workable business model only because our society values morons, protects them, and wants to ensure that we’re all equal so the morons drown out the smart people. The guys in Morbid Angel agree with this. However, right now, they either puke out another commercialish album and capitalism on the raped necrophile whore of their good name, or they go back to working at the car wash.

What would you do?

Yeah, I thought so.

by Steve Brettens, Lontinuak, Pijay Vrozak and L.M. Hencken

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Timeghoul

[b]Timeghoul[/b]

Progressive death metal band that offers a mixed bag of doom, avantgarde, death and grind.

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Black metal as anti-modernism

From one of my favorite blogs, in the intersection between Men’s Feminism (sorry… men’s rights), right-wing futurist politics, and social mockery:

Metal is the modern music genre that is closest to classical music, capturing feelings of vastness, romanticism, and heroism that other genres simply don’t have. More importantly, metal is music with purpose. It’s music with a defined philosophy, an end goal, and a reason for existing – the exact opposite of pretentious avant-garde tunes that appropriate symbols, sounds and names for no other reason than to be “creative,” or because they’re “ironic”:

There are superficial reasons why metal compares so much to medieval music, to do with the lineage of the musical language it uses (metal started when Sabbath starting imitating horror movie music clichés – which themselves relied on a lot of ‘medievally’ sounding devices, because they sound ‘creepy’ to modern ears). More fundamentally, metal shares a dark but reverent worldview and mythic/allegoric way of describing life which is much more at home in the ancient world than it is modernity.

Metal’s sense of purpose makes it incomprehensible to superficial thinkers like hipsters, which is why when they try to make metal music, the results are beyond godawful.

[…]

Black metal first started in Norway in the late 80′s and early 90′s, roughly around the same time that new musical strains of youth in revolt were catching on in the U.S. The same era that gave us the misanthropic howls of Burzum and Mayhem also gave us Nirvana’s existential angst, Guns ‘N Roses’ violent machismo, and N.W.A.’s aggressive black ghetto pride. It was another great youth upheaval, not as big as the 60′s but still prominent in its own right. What’s the thin red thread connecting Kurt Cobain, Ice Cube and Varg Vikernes, and why isn’t black metal mentioned in the same breath as grunge and gangsta rap?

Answer – all these musical genres were pioneered by Generation X, the first generation to grow up in a world dominated by feminism, multiculturalism, consumerism and all the other lovely byproducts of the sixties. Feminism automatically made anyone with a Y chromosome an enemy of the state, tearing apart families and turning black America into a matriarchal hellhole, and anti-racism and multiculturalism made white men doubly marked for execution. Meanwhile, anything that was left of native American or Western culture was being crowded out by the consumerist cancer, its race to the bottom fostering nothing but cheap pop tunes, stupid movies and advertising. Gen X was born with one foot in the old world and the other in the new, giving them an acute sense that something was wrong with the world. Cobain’s singing about the pointlessness of life and Ice Cube’s rapping about getting revenge on the po-lice sprang from the same source – alienation from American society.

The same spirit of alienation fueled the birth of black metal, doubled in intensity because of the conformist nature of the society from which it sprang. We’re talking about Norway here, one of those Scandinavian countries that idiot liberals love to praise. “Oh yah, those Norwegians and Danes and Swedes are so happy. They’ve got paid daycare for working moms and they selflessly bring in hordes of refugees from the third world to give them better lives and they’re SO forward-thinking when it comes to women’s rights. How could anyone not love all that?” But while American GenXers were content to remain aimlessly raging against the Man, black metal musicians formulated an actual philosophy beyond fatalistic whining, and actually took steps to implement this philosophy. And thus, the people who claimed to be on the side of the “yoof” turned against an actual youth movement that rejected everything they held dear. – IMF

Black metal was the only outpouring of artistic or philosophical spirit in Generation X.

Everything else was a repeat of the past (Nirvana) or co-opted by commercial society, “canned rebellion” for teenagers thinking only of themselves and not about the consequences of their actions (all rap, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Ministry).

If the answer were as simple as repeat what the hippies endorsed in 1968, kids, we’d be there by now.

Instead, black metal went to the core of conservatism — a conservation of culture, heritage, and natural environment, for the purpose of giving meaning to the individual through participation in a abstract yet realistic ongoing goal.

Liberalism offers more direct participation, in individualism. You, by being a brave individual, do your own thing — like everyone else. As it turns out, there aren’t many different things to do, so you end up a job-enslaved media sheep like the rest. But at least you were able to raise your fist for — what? feminism, civil rights, the oppressed, gay rights; heck, anything not really related to changing the course of history and humanity’s future.

Generation X grew up in the old America. We saw what 1950s-1970s America was like: somewhat boring, but honest.

Post-1968, America turned toward liberalism of the hippie type. Everything fell apart. The Glorious People’s Revolution turned out to have boring, Soviet-like consequences: cities of uniform blocks, jobs of slavery to incompetents, a failing government, an official dogma (of diversity, equality and democracy) that doesn’t work in reality, and thus a system eating itself out from within.

The same people did it, in France, Russia and the USA. No, I don’t mean a specific ethnic group from the middle east — if only life were so easy and brainless (though they always make enemies for their high participation rate). I mean the Crowd. The underconfident, dumb but not stupid, clever but not smart, stuck in the middle and raging egomaniacs. They’re damaged by broken homes, confused by a world where they are not God, and they want to rage and make an official announcement that we are all equal, so that the rest of us must respect them instead of casting them aside like the nobodies they are.

Hipsters are the same phenomenon. Boring-ass normal people decide to be egodramatic, get some social attention, and use socialization as an alternate path around reality itself. Politics can be used to the same end, as can money. But at the end of the day, you are your character, and being a hipster does nothing for that.

Black metal was a drift back to reality, as was death metal (“Only Death is True”). They cut through the fantasy world of a modern time and forced us all to wake up for a few moments. It’s important not to let that legacy die.

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