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Metal: returning from the dead?

Listening to Schubert on a Saturday morning:

Underground metal died somewhere between 1992 and 1996, depending on who you talk to. Bottom line: by 1996 neither the quality nor the abundance of distinctive releases was what it had been.

From 1996 to about 2002, the metal community waffled and tried to re-live the past. Then with the rise of Opeth and later indie-metal like Boris, in about 2004 the metal community threw in the towel and decided to let itself by assimilated by indie-rock.

From 2004-2009 the rise of metalcore, indiecore, nu-metal and black hardcore continued unabated, until people realized that (a) this music had more in common with self-pitying egodrama radio rock than soul-renewing heavy metal and (b) that the new audience of “metalheads” were hipster idiots as a result.

Starting in 2009, we had a revival of the underground. Are we supposed to be cheering? Yes — guardedly. Every time anything retro emerges, all the frauds come out of the woodwork along with the honest artists, and the frauds tend to win out by sheer volume.

A few asides:

(1) Long live the notion of meaning to life. We don’t need it to be inherent, we just need it to be there to discover.

(2) Long live art. Art sings the sad and the good together into a balance, but makes that balance exciting, like a space through which we can dart and dive and discover ourselves again.

(3) The ego has its place, but the ego can fool us like a Satan-God hybrid that lures us away from life itself.

(4) Nothing is as it seems.

(5) Metal is a renovation of our spirit; it is the war-spirit mixed with the sentiment for all the beautiful things that makes us give a damn about doing right. We do not fear God, and we do not fear society. We fear meaningless and pointless exercises in personal satiation without ever really finding something worth expending our lives upon.

Whatever lies after death, and whatever rules this universe, or does not, we must consider that our lives need both meaning and significance, meaning that we need a reason to suppose our actions have consequences that we care about. Without that balance, we have no reason to exist.

As metal returns from the land of meaninglessness (twee indiecore hipster schmaltz), we see the retro-fakers being shoved aside and a rise of people who are continuing the spirit of the past:

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Supuration – Back From the Crematory

Brand new (09/2011) compilation CD from the very early days of Supuration including the full “Sultry obsession” MCD tracks (1990), the first ever Supuration demo tape tracks (“Official rehearsal” – 1990), the very first studio demo of Etsicroxe (Supuration’s former name), “Haunted”, dating back from 1989, as well as a nine song live set dating back from that same era.

Not a digipak… awesome.

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Rigor Mortis live in Houston

You know these guys: they basically invented the fast melodic style of metal that bands from Mayhem to At the Gates borrowed and developed to great effect. Do you love ripping metal? Want to die weltering in blood? Hope that immense battle, horrible suffering, apocalypse and desecration appeared right before that? Then you’re all for it. Rigor Mortis live tomorrow night.

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Dallas Toler-Wade makes a go with Narcotic Wasteland

From Duane Timlin:

So the Fairly big news, after our conference call between those of us in Narcotic Wasteland, the decision was finally made to let the cat out of the bag. Im sure some of you have noticed that name pop up, Now it’s time to come clean about it.

Narcotic Wasteland is the brainchild of Dallas Toler Wade. For those of you living under a rock Dallas is from the mighty Nile! He recruited longtime friend and old bandmate Ed Rhone (Teratosis, Dukallian Rebirth) Who then recruited me (almost every band).

We’ve been hard at work the past few months coming up with material, which were at eight songs now and more on the way, as well as a gameplan for this band. The idea behind Narcotic is to play what we want to play be it punk, thrash, death, black, whatever we feel at the moment is what were gonna do. Were ready for this news to spread, I’ll be posting videos with Sickdrummer after the camp, and will be throwing more bones at ya’s between my auditions, and while Dallas is filling his duties to Nile,( New album early spring!) and the Narcotic will be around there spring, early summer.

We look forward to getting out there and killing you, or at least watch you kill yourselves! It’s Time to Die…….

And remember to sodomize the fallen, Duane. We love the band name. Hail Satan!

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Winterwolf – Cycle of the Werewolf

I like this album, after having had it for two years and kicked it around during that time. I am constantly suspicious of those who resurrect the sound of the past; however, in this case, the band develops its own voice, although to make a quality 2nd album it will have to do so even more thoroughly. In addition, this gives you the rush of old school Swedish/Finnish death buzzsaw guitars and promise of doom.

Post everywhere! This band deserves your support.

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VOIVOD demo to be released on CD/LP

From MNN:

Canadian metal innovators VOIVOD will release their original demo tape from 1984. Entitled “To the Death 84”, the set will include material that was recorded in the band’s Quebec jam space in January 1984. The lineup for this record includes Snake (Denis Bélanger) on vocals, Piggy (Denis D’Amour) on guitar, Blacky (Jean-Yves Thériault) on bass and Away (Michel Langevin) on drums.

In addition to material that would later appear on the band’s “War And Pain” debut, this collection includes several other early VOIVOD offerings, as well as covers of MERCYFUL FATE and VENOM.

“To The Death 1984” will be released on November 22 as a CD or double LP via Alternative Tentacles.

The track listing is as follows:

01. Voivod
02. Condemned To The Gallows
03. Hell Driver
04. Live For Violence
05. War And Pain
06. Incantation
07. Buried Alive / Suck Your Bone
08. Blower
09. Slaughter In A Grave
10. Nuclear War
11. Black City
12. Iron Gang
13. Evil
14. Bursting Out
15. Warriors Of Ice

My inner metal nerd gets excited for this.

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The proof and the expiation

Grunge is indie rock — look at the years:

In fact, grunge’s roots can be traced back to the 1980s, if not further.

“Deep Six,” the 1986 compilation on Seattle label C/Z Records, is recognized as the first record to document this burgeoning regional sound. It featured a half-dozen local bands: Soundgarden, Green River, the Melvins, Malfunkshun, the U-Men and Skin Yard.

The Melvins, who have essentially never stopped touring or recording with 20 studio albums to their name, were friends and mentors to Nirvana’s Cobain and Krist Novoselic, who hailed from the same rural part of Washington state. As Novoselic once said of the sway Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne held over him: “Buzz was the preacher, and his gospel was punk rock.” The Melvins sonic influence on Nirvana’s first album is unmistakable. – CNN

Punk gave rise to post-punk and then emo (Fugazi).

At the same time, indie rock arose: part punk, part folk, part 60s revivalism (Pink Floyd, 13th Floor Elevators, etc.)

Their goal: to reduce angry punk and metal to humanist, sociable, feelings-oriented music.

With Nirvana, then Opeth, then modern metal, they succeeded.


(Also see Faux culture.)

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