Somber Lands: The Harmonic Minor Scale

Dark, brooding, and long cloaked in obscurity, the harmonic minor scale is a compelling collective of notes that has historically been used as an accent to minor key compositions.  For centuries only a handful of pieces had been written within its bounds as composers instead opted to weave in for a number of measures before an eventual progression into the natural minor scale.  From there it appeared again in a few folk songs, took a strong spiritual presence in Islamic culture, and later became an integral part of horror movies when they progressed into the frightening mediums they became in the 1970s.  But it wasn’t until the musicians of the early Swedish death metal scene discovered how to fully harness the scale’s potential that lengthy songs and even the majority of some albums began being composed within its bounds.  A truly grotesque wedlock, the scale gave he who wielded it the power to craft the most sinister and foreboding compositions possible within the laws of music.  It is for this reason one could attest that the minor harmonic scale has found a home in heavy metal that no other genre of music could provide.
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Varathron Announce New Album and Canadian Mini-Tour

Varathron are preparing to go into the studio next month to record a new album that will be titled Patriarchs Of Evil. The title is Varathron congratulating themselves on being the forefathers of the Root and heavy metal influenced Hellenic black metal sound. While the album may or may not be good, Varathron are still a potent force live so Canadian fans of actual black metal should check them out.

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Metal Is Not Rock

There remains a massive confusion in mainstream media, society, and culture regarding metal as a truly separate genre of music.  The mainstream media and leftist-controlled academia regard metal merely as a subgenre of rock music, rather than its own distinct genre. This is of course absurd. If metal isn’t its own entirely separate genre of music then jazz, folk, country, and blues are all rock ‘n’ roll too as they can all be played with the same basic set of modern instruments. Since this topic is well-documented in Death Metal Underground’s extensive Heavy Metal FAQ, in this article I will merely layout some basic musical differences between the genres and provide a few appropriate examples to hammer it down into the brains of the ignorant.

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Memoriam Snore Through “Reduced to Zero”

Memoriam posted the first track and track list for their upcoming death ‘n’ roll album For the Fallen. Hear Karl Willets sound tired and rip off himself on “Reduced to Zero” over riffs that make Benediction‘s The Grand Leveller sound like a peak of death metal in comparison. I’m so excited! Let’s find out what this single sounds like!

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This Ain’t No Fantasy: A History Of Punk’s Most Iconic Band, The Misfits

cliff_burton_-_metallica_-_misfits_shirt

Metalheads tend to be wary of punk, recognizing it only for its role as an influence on metal. This attitude obscures the fact that the best of punk is worth exploring on its own terms and merits, starting with perhaps the greatest influence of punk technique and heightened aesthetics in that genre, hardcore punk‘s The Misfits.

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Memoriam Announce New Record Out Early 2017 on Nuclear Blast

Memoriam nuclear blast

Memoriam, the new project of Karl Willets and Andy Whale from Bolt Thrower with former Benediction members Frank Healy and Scott Fairfax, have signed to Nuclear Blast Records and announced an upcoming album for early next year. Since they’re on Nuclear Blast, fans should expect a sterile production even though Andy Whale doesn’t use triggers. From Nuclear Blast’s press release:

Nuclear Blast proudly announces the signing of MEMORIAM, the death metal band founded by Karl Willetts (BOLT THROWER) and Frank Healy (BENEDICTION)!

MEMORIAM was primarily developed to fill the void that was left following the tragic death of Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns, the drummer from BOLT THROWER, back in September 2015. BOLT THROWER subsequently placed all activity on hold for the foreseeable future, which gave vocalist Karl Willetts an opportunity to develop a new project with friends, that had expressed interest in forming a band for some time.

Comments the band:
“The war rages on… It is with great pleasure that MEMORIAM announces that we have signed a recording contract with Nuclear Blast Records.

“Throughout our long careers, 30 years to be precise, within the music industry and specifically within the death metal scene we have witnessed the growth of Nuclear Blast Records to become the number one record company within our genre.

“When we started MEMORIAM back in January 2016 we intended just to form a band to go into the rehearsal rooms to jam out some cover versions of old classic songs that had influenced us in the past along with some cover versions from the bands we had played with over the years, and maybe eventually do a few low key gigs.

“With the introduction of Scott Fairfax into the line up all this changed, Scott has brought with him a wealth of killer riffs and new ideas which has totally changed things around from our original intentions. Very soon we decided to scrap the idea of being a covers band and to formulate our own songs using these riffs and ideas that Scott introduced to us, and from this we developed a whole load of new crushing brutal old school death metal songs which we are very proud of and can’t wait to unleash upon the world!

“When we started developing the songs we talked about the possibility of signing to a label and releasing an album, at that point we all decided that if Nuclear Blast approached us we would sign to them. This is because amongst all the labels out there none have a better relationship with the bands on their roster, none communicate better with both the bands and the fans of the music. None care as much about the music and the scene as Nuclear Blast Records.

“Nuclear Blast currently boasts the best artist roster of all the labels within the death metal genre, we are proud and honored amongst this list! 2016 is the year of MEMORIAM. Let the resistance begin…”

Markus Staiger, CEO of Nuclear Blast, adds:
“Being a lifetime fan of both BENEDICTION and BOLT THROWER, it is with great pride that I announce that the new band of Frank Healy and Karl Willets has now joined the Nuclear Blast family! Following the first news regarding the band, I have been keeping a close eye on them and was very curious to hear their material.

“Besides me, a lot of metal magazines have been in touch with the band even before they had heard a single note of music, while the band has also received many invitations to play several summer festivals. After hearing their first demo songs I was completely sold and knew that I had to get in contact with Frank and Karl to seal the deal. MEMORIAM will please all the fans of old school death metal and especially the worldwide fan base of BOLT THROWER and BENEDICTION! With bands like MEMORIAM, Nuclear Blast remains the no # 1 in extreme metal!!”

MEMORIAM maintains the standards set by their previous bands, focusing on the themes of death, loss and war. Initially, the band members got together to play covers of songs that had influenced them throughout their careers within the death metal scene. However, it soon became apparent that the new songs they had created were of a superior quality and that they needed to be heard. Currently the band is tentatively scheduled to release their debut album in early 2017 via Nuclear Blast Records.

MEMORIAM is:
Karl Willetts (BOLT THROWER) – vocals
Frank Healy (BENEDICTION, SACRILEGE) – bass
Andy Whale (ex-BOLT THROWER) – drums
Scott Fairfax (ex-LIFE DENIED, BENEDICTION) – guitars

The upcoming record probably won’t be as good as the prime period of Bolt Thrower’s career so enjoy For Victory!

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The Misnomer of “Melodic” Metal

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“Melodic death metal” is meaningless. What is popularly called “melodic” death or black metal can be roughly divided into the three different types of music sketched out by Ludvig Boysen in his “The Three Types of Melodic Death Metal” article for Death Metal Underground. While Ludvig’s three categories are essentially correct, refining and broadening them allows formal classification of all “melodic” death and black metal. Note that Death Metal Underground’s extensive Heavy Metal FAQ covers the topic of genre in great depth but a brief rundown for the ignorant and lazy is in order.

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