Sadistic Metal Reviews: Write Good Riffs Or Die Edition

Article by Salustiano Ferdinand

I was listening to Persecution Mania yesterday when I opened my email and saw some new releases thrown my way to sift through for potential reviews. Although I’m generally skeptical of newer metal releases, the Shadows in the Crypt album was a pleasant and recent surprise, so I figured why not.
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Traditional Black Metal

The term ‘traditional’ black metal used here denotes not the ‘orthodox’ movement of imitation or gimmick bands lacking any musical ideas of value, but rather points to the living and evolving movement now referred to as the death-black styles coming forth organically from punkish speed metal voices. The definition does not exclude the developments of the nineties which led to the musical distinction between a purified black metal and the older speed metal. However, this distinction represented only, or mainly, the Scandinavian expression of the genre separating itself from the more common tropes. More raw and unclassifiable bands within this distinction were forgotten in the wake of relative popularity of the Scandinavian stylings quickly became tired trope. The network of original underground minds seeking unique expressions of an undefined darkness became an incestuous cesspool. Unfortunately, this is today misleadingly known as ‘orthodox’ black metal.
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Varathron – Patriarchs of Evil (2018)

Article by Belisario

Almost four years after their previous full-length, Varathron is back with a new effort that meets expectations and offers a fantastic black metal listening experience in the distinctive Greek variety. The veterans from Ioannina have been able to maintain a difficult balance between respecting their classic sound and developing new forms, something they had already achieved on Untrodden Corridors of Hades. These new forms are slightly different and more modern, yet clearly related to their older albums.
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A Metalhead’s Journey to the Light

By Cullen Toner

Many have expressed emotions of extreme shock and awe after discovering the explicitly Christian lyrics and aesthetics of my newest album, Deus Vult. How could I, the former singer/songwriter of New Jersey’s most popular Satanic band, find God and religion after 15 years of playing in bands with misanthropic, anti-Christian themes? What would cause a complete 180 degree change in lifestyle, a complete about-face in world view? And why would I recklessly proclaim such a change in heart to a world of black and death metal that would so surely respond in confusion, mockery, and utter malice?

To even consider the answers requires a great deal of courage and intellect, as most in the world of extreme metal have extensively conditioned themselves to the idea that metal, in all of its rebelliousness, is the antithesis to Christianity. But since the spirit of metal is one that has historically challenged authority and convention in a quest for deeper truth, those who truly understand its foundation will not cower from the mere suggestion of radical thought. And to those to I can assure that a long quest for logic and wisdom has unexpectedly led me at the foot of the upright cross. Not only did this provide happiness and fulfillment for the first time, but the foundation for meaning and purpose that many metalheads are currently in a vast search for.

In an attempt to explain as objectively as I can, this is how I came to embrace Christianity as my faith, and what it meant for my relationship with metal music.

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Dimmu Borgir – Eonian 2018

Dimmu Borgir are through and through, the most popular and most successful Norwegian metal band.  They are also #2 in bands that were at one point in their career black metal (falling just behind Cradle of Filth).  Since 1993, Shagrath and Silonez have clawed and breathed fire and went through dozens of musicians- some very well known- and marketed themselves as the “evil fantasy/RPG villian” better than any other band.  The brand, however obscure and seemingly non-conformist, resonated with millions as it’s two core musicians have turned their Hollywood Satanism gimmick into a big moneymaker for Nuclear Blast Records.

Sound-wise, Dimmu have been all over the place.  One of the first bands to follow the precedent set forth by Emperor and incorporate choir/string driven keyboards as a main instrument in a black metal band, they were able to forge some solid albums by scaling back their guitar playing and allowing their keyboards to forge the atmosphere and melodies.  But after a few notable works, they quickly began a journey into whatever flavor of the week pop/dance music has been popular at the time.  By the ridiculously titled Puritical Euphoric Misanthropia, they were mixing metalcore breakdowns with Hollywood-soundtrack style keyboards and dressing it all up with science fiction sound effects.  This became their main sound for almost a decade, with no variety between albums, before playing straight up opera muisc on 2010’s Abrahadabra.  Featuring a full choir, a full symphony, virtually no guitars, and Disney-villain-sounding clean vocals, the band had become a soundtrack to a Broadway musical that never existed.

But almost ten years have passed since then, the longest gap in the band’s history.  And while they are off being evil dads, the entirety of the metal scene collapsed- with no quality works being created in the underground and a metal mainstream that was void of any sort of movement.  I was intrigued to see what they band would come up with given there was no real metal trend to ripoff, so what did I find?  Where is the most commercialized black metal band in 2018, a year of shattered conventions and reborn Western identity?  And who, or what, did they model their style after this time?

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Forces of Satan Stumble

The consensus seems to be that Christ does not belong in metal.  Well, neither does Satan.  Rigid patterns of thought are not conductive to the creation of transcendental metal music.  The failure of NSBM stems from the rigid ideology into which the music was forced like a Procrustean bed.  The two Christian metal bands worth a shit have been covered on this site: Paramaecium and Antestor.  The only NSBM bands that are not terrible are the bands, like Graveland, that preceeded the creation of the subgenre and were only lumped in with the scene later… Gontyna Kry seems to be the sole exception to NSBM sucking.

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Concert Review: Metalmania 2018

On  7th  April, another edition of a long standing Polish festival Metalmania took place. One day, two stages, twenty four bands. It was the second one organized after a recent reactivation. The original Metalmania was an early big metal event in that part of the Europe – quite a feat given Polish Communist and post-Communist realities. Then, due to various reasons, the festival was gradually losing its relevance, dwindling and finally went into hiatus for 8 years. There is no sense, however, to cling to its bygone local importance or whatever glorious past. So how does it look now? 

While too much reliance on more mainstream gothic and heavy contributed to a collapse of previous incarnation of the festival, and now it was death and black oriented, the music on the big scene is rather consistently aimed at straight metal through all of its generations and styles, ending with bands like Dead Congregation or Blaze of Perdition and with some of the more modern sounds on a small scene. On a downside, the fest resurfacing mainly as a stage for classic bands may be reflecting the actual state of metal, indicating that the newer bands are unable to fill the void with something equally strong to their predecessors. 

The festival was obviously rough around the edges (and surprisingly violent – I almost got caught into two different fights just from where I was standing) and the sound was uneven and average overall. It was organized better than in the past, but still perceptibly within Polish standards, that is crudely and with lack of imagination or simply negligence in some areas (although Martin van Drunen said on stage that the organization was great!). Perhaps a very fortunate by-product of these characteristics, which may contribute to the positive reception of this festival, is how – I dare to say – conservative it is, both in terms of lineup and general spirit. With Napalm Death and (I suppose) liberal speed metallers on one side and sort of crypto-nazis on the other, who always find a way to show up in some form, the fest also covered broadest ideological spectrum that is possible for a mainstream event. 

As of 2018 this festival is yet to experience types of modern degeneracy, often coming from outside, which can be seen on festivals elsewhere. There were some obligatory side attractions, like exhibition of works of Christophe Szpajdel (who actually speaks Polish fluently), meet-up with the bands and lots of merch, but nothing delving too much into a fan idiocy or really not related to metal. Very few freaks, zero exotic people, no random participants, just fairly traditional metalheads, mostly in the 90s style, as it should be, world without end. However, those spoiled by abundance of propositions and by big festivals in Germany or Czech Republic will probably miss out on some of these modest qualities. 

And then there’s the surreal, sci-fi sight at the arrival – a monumental, Communistic “The Saucer” occupied by nothing but a tribe of long haired, black clad drunks… 

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Roman Salutes Are Too Evil For Watain

At the end of last year, we predicted that overt satanic lyrics and themes in metal would see their last days. There is no band that will accelerate this quicker than goofball circus act Watain, who market themselves as the evilest band in the world by LARPing as an American biker gang and staying in character through all media interactions. By doing so, they can act like they’re more “trve” than Dimmu Borgir and Dark Funeral despite being even more campy than both in their music and aesthetics.

But in the most cowardly of moves, the band kicked out the only credible member- former Dissection guitarist Set Teitan- because a picture of him doing a Nazi salute surfaced on the internet.  Though the band hides behind the lame excuse that “he left so we wouldn’t have to talk about politics,” it’s clear that the move was desperation on the part of Watain as they struggle to preserve their cash grab machine.  But regardless of whether lefties decide to shutdown Watain’s freak show carnival tour, the band will never survive this incident as the few supporters they had will likely realize that Watain are as timid as they come.

Make no mistake, I’m not at all defending what Set Teitan did, as all Hitler/Nazi LARPing is a corny stunt pulled by fat redneck rejects so they can feel extreme from their mom’s shed.  Instead, I’m celebrating as the Watain scam will finally lose all traction and the band will soon be homeless and broken in the streets.  Though they thought themselves to be instruments of the devil, they ultimately did a better job serving God by destroying the satanic metal scene from within.

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Sick Pedos Inquisition Dropped From Label

Season of Mist have dropped scumbag frog-metal band Inquisition after it became known that Dagon is a sick pedophile fuck who pleaded guilty to child porn charges in 2009 for having sexualized photos of young girls and boys on his hard drive. Hopefully this will be the end of Inquisition as they were a terrible Immortal ripoff that became a flavor of the week favorite of hipsters only due to the undying hipster quest to find the most awkward two piece band in existence.  If we are lucky authorities will deport Inquisition back to Columbia, investigate their behavior at all of the all ages shows the band played, and, if any misconduct ensued, speedy trial and death penalty!

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