Of all the modern metal tendencies that can be completely annoying, the insistence of vocals leading the piece takes the cake. Like rap, the music takes a backseat to whatever is being shouted at you like political slogans or advertising offers. Here the band writes a grind-death hybrid distilled to high-energy riffs under a slowly-enunciated cadence of vocals that makes for utter tedium. The problem is that the band is equipped to write two-riff songs and when they go beyond this they sense they are out of their depth and offer instead melodic metal fills.
Like all metalcore, which is as good a container as you will find for “modern metal” which follows hardcore songwriting with metal riffs, The King is Blind comes across as disorganized because it is in metal terms. In rock terms it is highly organized, with verses matching choruses in key and rhythm. The problem is that the riffs are unrelated so they serve the same role as a slow double-strummed open C in a Bruce Springsteen tune: they keep background harmony to the vocals, which are the real focus here. Except these vocals are mostly monotone. Throwing in simplified Slayer riffs just creates a circus atmosphere, as does the use of other metal technique to try to give momentum to this otherwise pointless music.
Every now and then as you sort through the massive stacks — about 3-5 per day on average — of albums submitted to this site, you find an honest-to-goodness tragedy. There you sigh and think, this could have been quite good, with a few relatively minor adjustments as seen from a decade away. Those adjustments would look major to someone in the year of the album release because they would involve violating what was en vogue in the moment, but aspire instead to songwriting that withstands the years.
Black Anvil, despite the somewhat ridiculous name, write quality death/doom metal in a melodic style that might be described as Dissection attempting to be Goatwhore. It keeps energy high with catchy riffs that vary within verses but keep choruses in pure infectious pop energy. At its heart, Black Anvil thinks like a doom metal band but writes uptempo melodic riffs instead because it aims for an audience with a shorter temporal span. Most of these riffs fit within well-recognized archetypes but are distinct enough not to evoke a specific band. Songs build around simple melodic progressions, under unfortunate vocals which blurt in the modern style but and while riffs do not create a sense of ongoing transfer of knowledge through changing atmosphere through experience, they fit into sensible songs which create a mood and deepen it before leaving it in a different state. Throughout it we get the sense of a rock band writing an album with the late-grindcore surge energy of Napalm Death Fear, Emptiness, Despair and translated into quasi-death metal riffing.
Had someone reached back from 2019 to this band, they would have encouraged them to drop the contemporary vocals and name, and would have encouraged greater variation in tempo and perhaps more aggressive riffs before leading into the Iron Maiden styled sweetness. As the album goes on, the band runs out of ideas and begins to rely more on crowd-pleasing technique than songwriting. Like Goatwhore, this is mostly catchy pop and less content, but here the frequency shifts more toward 80-20. A great album could have emerged from Triumvirate but what stands now is merely a good album which will be forgotten because it fades into the background of now-dead trends and never allowed itself to fully come to a point.
Black metal has been taken over by cocktail parties. I used to be able to say, “You know, everything but black metal is a copy of a copy at this point,” and the point would drop. Now people start digging out their Prada notepads and Christian Dior iPhone cases and rattle off a list of their favorite new (or is that “nu”?) black metal bands. I dutifully make note and brace myself for disappointment.
I was not disappointed with Algaion Exthros. That is, my disappointment was not disappointed: this albums is bad beyond terrible. Its worthy contribution can be found on the first track where the band covers one of those Greek melodies that tourists and tour guides alike recognize that a crowd will recognize as Greeky Greek, and they make it into a ripping black metal tune. It was not excellent, but it far surpasses the absolute desert of songs that one could possibly enjoy in “nowadays black metal.” What follows is an abomination of taste and content.
Taking a page from the At the Gates book, this band write melodic hooks for the verses and then have vocal hooks lead the otherwise straightforward and grinding choruses, but they keep the whole thing in rock harmony — including extensive (yawn) pentatonic leads — so that the power of all of this is muted. The vocal hooks are of the Pantera variety, which is the kind of simple song you sing to yourself when doing the laundry or trying to give your pet an enema, infectious but brain-numbing and here taken to new extremes of repetition and sing-song cadence paced with war metal tempi and modern metal style regular open-throat vocals, as distinct from the closed-throat guttural of death metal or open-throated but sonically-shaped vocals of black metal. Excruciating, this is. I weep for the landfills which have already filled or shortly will fill with this terrible, predictable, mind-destroying disc.
Normally I refuse to review NSBM because in my view, if your politics must be understood to like the music, the art has failed and we have ventured into propaganda. Nonetheless I attempted to listen to Fanisk because so many people swore by its value, including those I respected.
Let me quickly set your fears to rest: this is a band endorsing Nazi sympathies which can be entirely forgotten for reasons of artistic content, independent of any message it may carry. Unlike Darkthrone, Burzum, Morbid Angel, Incantation, Infester, Graveland, Mayhem and other bands which have flirted with the triskelion, Fanisk is a proficient form of terrible that combines post-metal, excellent neofolk keyboards, and boring droning black metal with chromatic fills elevated to the level of riffing as happened on later Gorgoroth albums. In many ways, this is like neo-Nazism itself: a backdoor by which low-quality material can declare itself faithful to The Cause and achieve inclusion to social circles that were denied to it before.
The best part of this release are the keyboard intros and background Summoning-style keys which accompany the slighter guitar riffs to fill out the atmosphere, although sometimes these mistake the mood are come across as inappropriately cheerful in the style of Master’s Hammer. If Fanisk stitched together the keyboard-heavy parts of this album they would have a killer 15-minute song, but as it is you have to listen to post-metal melodies set to black metal textures, which establish a good energy and atmosphere then fail to figure out where to take it, and substitute chromatic fills and bouncy crowd-pleaser riffs to try to take it home. Obviously the Deathspell Omega style has had a huge influence here but it is similarly directionless.
The only way to fight politics in metal is to call out these bands on their garbage. Christian metal is garbage, SJW post-hardcore “enlightened metal” is boring and directionless, and this festival of NS fidelity and love lacks a purpose as well. With Burzum, the Nazism came out of the art and a hatred for the mediocrity and cowardice of humanity; here, the band heads the opposite direction, and tries to invent the art out of the Nazism and collected impressions of what is hip. The result is uninspiring.
By now, the rage over #metalgate has subsided as #shirtgate, #gamergate and #metalgate converge on a single movement that spans many genres: opposition to the censor police who, using political correctness as an excuse, have invaded multiple genres with mediocre options while declaring them enlightened. They have used this indirect invasion to take over media and public discussion, crowding out the better music and games for more propaganda.
The point made in these pages is that the invasion of terrible hybrid-metal bands — simply boring, pointless, pretentious and of no relevance to a normal life — into metal has come about as a result of the SJW journalist invasion that #metalgate spoke of. SJWs, hipsters and scenesters are basically the same thing. They find a new genre, exclaim how unenlightened it is, and then bring into it the same stuff they do everywhere else, making that genre as boring as their origins. These people are lost, without purpose, and desperate for any attempt to draw attention to themselves. When they take over, they all promote each other and talk about each others’ bands, websites and labels until they cloud the skies of that genre and most information about it involves the hipster agenda.
What I suggest today is <slight> action. That means that we do the simplest and least amount of work for the greatest effect. We know who the SJWs are and where they are writing articles. It’s time we exclude these people from the metal scene. That does not mean attack them, but to simply use other news sources, listen to other bands, and avoid their self-promoting circular masturbatory motion. Here’s a short list of sites that have supported SJWs:
These are the invaders who are trying to destroy metal music and turn it into indie/hardcore so it can be “safe.” If you support these with your band, your own reading, or your advertising, you are helping to turn metal into the latest version of hipster indie rock with the “safe” opinions that metal has always rebelled against.
How we shut them out is the same method used to keep Christians and neo-Nazis out of metal: say “that’s a political site/band/label” and imply that you won’t deal with them because of the resulting shady and manipulative associations. Pretend you found out that the Vatican, North Korea, Scientology, Monsanto, al-Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan or Jesse Jackson were running a website and how you would react to that, and then apply it here.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has againslighted heavy metal by including musicians from all genres except metal while some of metal’s longest-running, widest-selling and most-acclaimed acts go unnoticed. As one metal writer pointed out:
“This is a symptom of the disrespect across the board toward hard rock and heavy metal,” says Trunk. “The Grammys haven’t gotten any better since they gave Jethro Tull a Grammy instead of Metallica (for the first ever Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance trophy in 1989).”
Exhibit A of that lack of respect: late, great Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman was a glaring omission from this year’s “In Memoriam” segment at the Grammy Awards.
Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, rock was the bad boy of popular music.
Then in the late 1960s the hippies took that to a new place where rock was not the bad boy so much as the voice of protest.
Punk stole the bad boy crown again by ducking out of the hippie world and becoming antagonists of everything people wanted to believe.
Metal did the same thing but in a different way. Where punk said our society was rotted and dying, metal pointed out that our souls were rotted and dying because we were in denial of life itself.
Ever since then, other groups have been trying to reclaim the bad boy title, with hip-hop the most plausible candidate. The only problem is that all of them follow the late 1960s model, so their bad-boy-ness is tempered.
Rock ‘n Roll has not forgiven metal and punk for stepping out in a different direction. They are still those who strayed from the pack, and ideally would be assimilated (rock music with a metal or punk surface) or destroyed.
Don’t hold your breath, metalheads, that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will recognize metal. To them, we are the enemy and we are either conquered and made into rock, or must be excluded from their special bad boy club.
You probably don’t yet know this, but it’s ideological warfare out there. “Politics” no longer exists in the realm of voting and reading the Editorial page only. It is now part of every aspect of life, and the movement is only accelerating. This occurs because the people in our society are divided by what type of future society they want to be moving toward creating.
Some say this is accelerated by the collapse of the USA as a superpower and with it, the notion that the “American formula” of capitalism, the welfare state, democracy, consumerism and media power is no longer seen as a universal good. Instead it may be about to join the other failed ideologies — Communism, Nazism, Anarchism, and undoubtedly others — in the dustbin of history. Being on the cusp of such vast change naturally makes most people nervous, and so the masses are forming into mobs and squaring off against one another.
One of the big stories on your talking screen right now is The Interview. Apparently Hollywood — which never colludes with popular opinion in looking for bad guys who will not offend certain traditionally offended groups, like American Indians, the Chinese, and Arab Muslims — made a movie about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Il Jung. A group of hackers claiming to be from the DPRK have hacked into Sony studios, revealing in the process that upper leadership is almost entirely white and male, but are also threatening theaters that show this film. Many theaters have out of fear pulled it from their marquees. This is how you get things done in the age of ideological bullying: shut your opponents down, and call them fascists, all while enforcing some “fascism” of your own on their point of view.
Reaction to #metalgate has been mixed. SJWs first tried to deny it, then blamed the gaming community, and finally have fallen back on their try-hard die-hard standard of calling #metalgate supporters “fascists.” But today, #metalgate scored its first victory. The video game Hatred — developed in Poland by a group of metalheads — instigated controversy early on and, thanks to whining by SJWs who called it a “genocide simulator,” was removed from video game clearinghouse (like a cross between Google’s App Store and Amazon) Steam. But today, Hatred is back on Steam thanks to a grass-roots campaign by #gamergate and #metalgate supporters. You can see how this political warfare operates: the goal is to get the sellers to stop carrying certain games and music, which reminds me of the bad old days of the 1980s when Tipper Gore and her crazy friends tried to get heavy metal albums out of stores and barring that, required they have little stickers put on them saying that they had bad lyrics and Satan.
In the world of Social Justice Warriors, when a white person “twerks” it’s cultural appropriation (because within their infantilizing view of blacks, Africans have a proud tradition of shaking their asses until they clap), while a female African American playing heavy metal is just a good “you go girl!” moment. This is, incredibly, both hilarious and infuriating at the same time, since while nobody has ever said that Derrick Green should leave Sepultura because he’s black, commentators, and even performers, demand whites leave jazz, rap and hip hop alone. Thankfully, those defenseless minorities can count with the Social Justice Warriors carrying the White Man’s Burden.
It would be ironic if “anti-racism” became another form of racism, one that rewards minorities for behaving in the way that their white overlords — er, social justice friends — want them to. But then again, it might not be out of character. After all, Eric Gardner was restrained by NYPD for the crime of selling single cigarettes. New York also made 24-ounce sodas illegal. Once upon a time, they made alcohol illegal, too. The motivation behind the “social justice warriors” of every age is the same: they have found a cause to which you cannot object without appearing to endorse its converse. There is no response to “Are you an anti-Nazi?” or “Are you a witch?” except an enthusiastic Yes! because otherwise you seem to be saying that you think Nazis and witches are just great, fine, peachy-keen. This condition is almost impossible to parody, as the Tyranny of Tradition folks explored with an article that made its points indirectly:
All I want is to not be told what to do by outsiders because they got their feelings hurt a few times growing up. People want me to speak in a way that is politically correct, but what about how I feel? What about who I am? Why do I have to be the one that pretends?
When our world is seen in a literal binary of “good” versus “evil,” we are the ones caught in the middle. We can become pawns for one side or the other, but insanity will win because politics has invaded normal life. The SJWs trying to take over metal have lost their legitimacy because metalheads have called them out on it, and the more they deny, obfuscate and outright lie, the more it becomes clear that we caught the real “fascists” with their hands in the cookie jar. They have lost legitimacy not just for their attempt to control us, but for their frankly boring and pointless imitation of all those old post-hardcore albums in metalized form. Metal deserves better, and seeing these pretentious gits kicked to the curb does us all a world of good.
Metal spills over into other areas of life. Every person has a philosophy, and if they are attracted to metal, it is that personal worldview that drives them toward it and not the other way around, although certainly metal further informs that worldview. As a result, metal finds similarity in other ideals that generally seek truth instead of seeking social approval.
For this reason, society has always feared heavy metal. Society is based on control, which is based on the idea of creating a “truth” which manipulates people. This fake truth is to some degree necessary to keep people doing the things required for us all to survive, but over time it becomes tempting for those in control to skim off the top. To do this, they expand the fake truth to obligate people to do stuff that benefits the people in control.
In the 1960s, metal gave the finger to both the establishment and the hippies who were basically preaching a watered-down version of the fake truth in vogue in that era. In the 1990s, metal gave the finger to the vision of us all happily getting along. And now in the 2010s, metal may be giving the finger to the idea of society itself. This document recently appeared in our unpublished staff-only address:
Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!
Indulgence is a model of pleasure seeking activity.
Empirical pleasure must exist in contrast to self-destruction if it is to be quantified in the context of carnality.
Consumption of repetitive experience is a pathology, not indulgence.
This group will not be for the slaves, but the masters. It will draw lines and cause anger.
Membership is open and expressive. ID cards will be available soon.
[illegible] humans do not entry.
I have written back to the email address provided and await a response, although probably I am not elite enough to qualify for membership or even a ten-question interview. Whether this is fallout from the Cobalt debacle or not remains to be seen.
Exhumed released its debut of Carcass-influenced bouncy death metal, Gore Metal in 1998 with a bounty of crepitant grindcore riffs and death metal surging power. Almost two decades later, Exhumed returned to the studio to re-record its first album as Gore Metal: A Necrospective 1998 – 2015, which will see release this February via Relapse Records.
Thanks to increased musical proficiency through years of recording and better technology, Exhumed promises a bigger-sounding and more intense version of the debut. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey said, “I’m super pumped that we got the chance to re-record Gore Metal. I don’t think any of us were happy with how it turned out the first time around, so getting another shot at it meant a lot to me personally. I was also really excited to have our old friend Ross Sewage reprise his vocals on the new version, ensuring that it still sounds like that era of Exhumed, though things are a lot more audible this time around!”
As a precursor to the release Exhumed will tour North America after their current European tour alongside Aborted, Origin and Miasmal. With co-headliners Napalm Death and Voivod, Exhumed will launch their tour on January 27th in Miami and continue to a final show on February 28th in Houston. Additional support will be provided by Iron Reagan and Black Crown Initiate with Ringworm, Dayglo Abortions, Theories and Phobia to appear on select performances during the tour.
Gore Metal: A Necrospective 1998 – 2015 Track Listing:
2. Open The Abscess
3. Postmortem Procedures
4. Limb From Limb
6. Casket Crusher
7. Death Mask
8. In My Human Slaughter House
9. Sepulchral Slaughter
10. Vagitarian II
11. Blazing Corpse
12. Deadest Of The Dead
Exhumed 2015 North American tour
EXHUMED w/ Aborted, Origin, Miasmal:
12/15/2014 Grillen – Colmar, FR
12/16/2014 Steinbruch Theater – Darmstadt, DE
12/17/2014 Jubez – Karlsruhe, DE
12/18/2014 Rock It – Aalen, DE
12/19/2014 Heavy Xmas – Zürich, CH
12/20/2014 Turock – Essen, DE
1/24/2015 The Rock – Tucson, AZ
1/25/2015 Red 7 – Austin, TX
w/ Napalm Death, Voivod, Iron Reagan, Black Crown Initiate:
1/27/2015 Grand Central – Miami, FL w/ Ringworm
1/28/2015 State Theater – St. Petersburg, FL w/ Ringworm
1/29/2015 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA w/ Ringworm
1/30/2015 Ziggy’s – Winston-Salem, NC w/ Ringworm
1/31/2015 Soundstage – Baltimore, MD w/ Ringworm
2/02/2015 Gramercy Theater – New York, NY w/ Ringworm
2/03/2015 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Ringworm
2/04/2015 Opera House – Toronto, ON
2/05/2015 Maverick’s – Ottawa, ON
2/06/2015 Club Soda – Montreal, QC
2/07/2015 Palladium – Worcester, MA w/ Ringworm
2/08/2015 The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY w/ Ringworm
2/09/2015 Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH w/ Ringworm
2/10/2015 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL w/ Ringworm
2/11/2015 Amsterdam – Minneapolis, MN w/ Ringworm
2/12/2015 The Zoo – Winnipeg, MB
2/13/2015 The Exchange – Regina, SK
2/14/2015 Republik – Calgary, AB
2/15/2015 Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB
2/17/2015 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC w/ Dayglo Abortions
2/18/2015 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA w/ Theories
2/19/2015 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
2/20/2015 Metro – Oakland, CA w/ Phobia
2/21/2015 Strummers – Fresno, CA w/ Phobia
2/22/2015 House of Blues – Los Angeles, CA
2/23/2015 Club Red – Tempe, AZ w/ Phobia
2/24/2015 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM w/ Phobia
2/25/2015 Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO w/ Phobia
2/26/2015 Granada Theater – Lawrence, KS w/ Phobia
2/27/2015 Gas Monkey – Dallas, TX w/ Phobia
2/28/2015 Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX w/ Phobia
Lineup on Gore Metal: A Necrospective 1998 – 2015:
Rob “Bodybag” Babcock – bass, backing vocals
Mike Beams – guitar, backing vocals
Bud Burke – lead guitar, backing vocals
Mike Hamilton – drums
Matt Harvey – guitar, lead vocals
Ross Sewage – lead vocals
Backup vocal “Slay Team”: Alejandro Corredor, Dr. Philthy
“…a gleeful celebration of death metal…” – Decibel
Cross Immolation Here in After with a modern brutal technical death band like Deeds of Flesh and you have arrived at the starting point for Destroying Divinity, who specialize in a barely controlled chaos of exuberant ripping and high-speed charging Krisiun-style riffs channeled into violent and athletic songs. Hollow Dominion clocks in at just over 33 minutes but packs in at least two albums of riffs.
Like most percussive metal bands, a great deal of the focus on Hollow Dominion involves use of choppy muted chords to emphasize a riff pattern and then varying that texture to create a kind of parallax shift sensation, allowing a melody to slowly emerge. Where this band excels is in packing together these riffs so that each change relates to the riff before it, and every riff fits in the song, but the song still makes sense with enough variation to avoid trope. If they have a failing, it is that many of the chord progressions used in these riffs are rather linear, which creates a heavy chromatic effect but also some predictability. Generally however the band manages to introduce its songs with the more obvious riffs and work deeper until it has subverted them with more interesting patterns.
Brutal death metal will not find a fan in every listener. It relies on cadence, trope, repetition and basically pounding the listener into her chair with solid slamming percussive riff after riff. In addition, Destroying Divinity pick up a number of techniques from Immolation such as the guitar squeal, recursive rhythms that simultaneously relax, and a tendency to use higher-string chords to offset the guttural vocals and pounding bass-intense riffs. In combination these two forms show metal as more of a series of patterns than a convention sense of riff-chorus, which makes this album a welcome antidote to the highly repetitive and circular songwriting of modern metal. With great intensity Hollow Dominion creates a world of vast internal diversity and then populates it with conflict, delivering death metal satisfaction with brutal death metal rigor.