In a recent blog post, Celtic Frost vocalist/guitarist Tom G. Warrior has publicly disowned BMG’s upcoming double CD reissues of his band’s best output, Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion, and the more pandering and spotty Into the Pandemonium and Vanity / Nemesis. The embarrassing Cold Lake was omitted at Warrior’s request. While initially on board with the reissues and involved with the creative process, Tom Warrior has abandoned ship because the commercial mega-label BMG refused to print his linear notes as he intended. This blatant censorship was a means of preserving the integrity of the Noise Records liquid assets purchased by the label but had inadvertently overwhelmed the Cold Laker with a plethora of painful flashbacks of the corporate influence that plagued Celtic Frost throughout its existence.
As always, Warrior is self-deprecating and honest to a fault:
At any rate, I, too, think Melana Chasmata might be the most deficient post-Celtic Frost reunion album I have been involved in. I have made uncounted such statements within the band during the extended time we were working on the album, and there exists a long string of very unambiguous mails to this effect, addressed to the band’s management and to our partners at Century Media.
Melana Chasmata was an exceedingly difficult and complex album to make, and that is never a good sign. There were reasons for these difficulties, and they were far from superficial, on more than just one level. In the end, I couldn’t have worked on this album for even one more day, even though I seriously pondered at least a remix, if not far more drastic revisions. But I eventually felt I needed to wrap it up and thus also conclude the entire emotional landscape attached to it.
Frankly, I personally am utterly puzzled by the extremely favourable opinions the album has garnered from most in our audience as well as from reviewers, record company, management, and fellow band members. My own stance is far, far more critical, and I have so far been unable to listen to the album as a whole. The faint light on the horizon, for me, is that I felt the same way about To Mega Therion in late 1985. Only a few years down the road did I begin to digest that album and its production, eventually enabling me to think of it as one of Celtic Frost’s most significant albums.
The difference perhaps is that To Mega Therion encapsulated what many were feeling but did not yet know how to say, where Melana Chasmata encapsulates what many are saying, but not what they are feeling.
The OG (originall G. Warrior) of Hellhammer/Celtic Frost has penned a new tome to complement his last, Are You Morbid?, and this time include 288 pages of reminiscences and several hundred photos from the vault:
“This is a book about the real Hellhammer, the essence of that group, the aura it carried, and the truly unique spirit of revolution of the times in which it existed. It is a book about a group of outcasts—about persistence, dedication, and an utterly personal vision. I have worked very hard to make sure it will do justice to the work of a number of very unique people who shared the same ideas at a very unique point in time.”—Tom Gabriel Fischer
Having thoroughly enjoyed Are You Morbid?, I’m looking forward to this. Fischer skips over the odious hallmarks of the professional writer that turn every adventure into a narrative like a TV show, and instead lets his natural voice ring out, which is good because his desire to seize life by the balls and wreak manic mayhem upon it is evident in every page. This is clearly an intelligent, purposeful person and his art reflects this fact. Looking forward to getting this new book as I’m sure he has only improved since that freshman effort.
Are You Morbid?
by Tom G. Warrior
360 pages. Sanctuary Publishing. $
Although somewhat scattered in focus due to its intense immersion in the personality of the writer and the human emotions of its band, this book establishes the intent of Celtic Frost and its predecessor, Hellhammer, and explains the philosophies of unified concept and music as a presentation of the ideology and desires of an artist (stranded in a mortal body). While conversational in text and often tedious, this retelling answers many fundamental Hessian questions.
Tonight, on When SJWs Attack: a small metal distro finds itself in the crosshairs and crossfires of political controversy.
Diabolic Force Distribution is a small, independent mail order wholesale price distributor or “distro,” participating in one of the institutions that forged the underground back when metal CDs were unavailable in all but dedicated specialty stores that often went bankrupt. Some time ago, this distro came under fire from “social justice warriors,” or SJWs, who are people who hang out on social media looking for people who are not politically correct enough. Driven by the thrill of subjugating others with political power and the need for self-importance, SJWs frequently destroy lives with their witch-hunting accusations of racism, sexism and other political constructs.
Upon hearing of this situation, I wrote to Diabolic Force Distribution and got the story in interview form. Read on for the latest outrages of the SJWs — the new censors — as they try to limit what you can hear and buy so they can in turn limit what you think.
How did this all start?
To the best of my knowledge this all began when the singer of Bestial Evil (Shawn Wright) suddenly became aware of a Facebook status I made approximately seven weeks ago from the time of this writing, about how the band should be dismissed by fans of metal, because in my opinion they aren’t any good. Simple as that! We got enough awful crap around here as it is. That being said I never accused them of anything other then being posers, no trigger warning required hahaha. I am not alone in this low opinion of the group either.
Apparently receiving criticism is not one of their strengths however, so they started a smear campaign complete with all the usual name-calling and threats. I want to point out that it was a private post that I made and only my friends could see it… so how exactly it came to the attention of the people in question is unknown to me, probably a screen shot or word of mouth. I don’t care. I wasn’t hiding it from anyone in the first place and I still stand by what I said too. Bad’s bad and good’s good, tough shit. This is Heavy Metal, not a reality TV show where you get a prize at the end from Carson Daly. There is already a band from Italy named Bestial Evil anyhow so that just goes to show you they didn’t even do their homework in the first place.
How did these guys try to rally an internet army?
Again, social media was involved, like always. Facebook to be specific. A concerned friend showed me a post made on Shawn Wright’s Facebook page inciting a “boot party” if anyone ever saw me out somewhere and proclaiming that I was to be “banned” from the city of Baltimore, that he was gonna come to my house, etc. This was based on accusations brought on by Shawn himself that I am a homophobic/neo-nazi or some other completely unfounded nonsense like that. One person even commented that I “infiltrate shows” to sell white power music, which is an outright lie.
People ask me to vend at shows very often, I never have to sneak in, let alone with the intent to slip some poor unsuspecting SJW a skinhead album or whatever. The whole thing is totally absurd. Anyhow, not long after this stuff was brought to my attention I started to receive threatening calls and texts to my phone from Shawn himself. None of which I ever replied to. The voicemails have been recorded and saved though, as well as any other evidence of threats against my home or person. So if anyone does do something stupid I have evidence of a conspiracy I guess. They have done some tidying up on the band page it seems, I think their attempt to raise an army has faltered for now.
Is there truth to their accusations that you run a white power friendly distro?
Absolutely not. While I personally do not believe in censorship of any kind, especially with regards to music and art… there’s just nothing in there that qualifies. The merchandise and albums that I sell span across multiple genres of extreme music, everything from black and death metal to harsh noise and grind, but there’s no “white power” bands… The thing they have accused me of is totally baseless and merely an attempt to incite a witch hunt against me to fulfill a personal vendetta and stir up trouble.
People of this SJW/hipster type of mindset seem to always invoke these things to try rally an angry mob as a means to carry out intimidation tactics or make it seem like they’re in the right because they got a couple hundred views on their webpage. You see it more and more as of late.
What have they threatened you with? Do you think they can accomplish it?
I was told multiple times that I would be visited at home, that they would kick down my door and “destroy my life,” and then there was the foolish claim that I was going to be sued for “defamation of character and distributing hate material.” Loads of ignorant threats and boasts were made. I welcome any legal action from them, as I am sure the courts would like to hear the voicemails that Shawn left on my phone, threatening me with home invasion. And as for the defamation of character thing, I am pretty sure they just did that to me so good luck getting that charge to stick. Personally, I do not think they can actually accomplish these things, especially the part about being sued, but I am not taking it for granted either. That’s not the sort of thing you joke about. I am prepared for all eventual outcomes of this retarded comedy.
First phone call
Second phone call
What are your distros/bands/projects that people can support?
For over ten years now I have been proactive with music in the Baltimore Maryland area in some way or another, although I do not reside in or claim the city. I was in a weird band a long time ago but I don’t play anymore, there’s too many bands and not enough fans anyhow, I would rather be a fan. I printed shirts for local bands and old school heavyweights like Blood Storm, Nunslaughter and Gravewurm for many many years… and I used to book concerts in Baltimore sometimes but I have taken a hiatus from organizing live events.
My label/distro is called Diabolic Force Distribution, the purpose of which has been and always will be to support underground bands and zines get out there to the maniacs that need it. Heavy Metal isn’t about fashion or climbing the social ladder, it’s a way of life. It’s outsider art and it’s meant to be challenging and dangerous. Diabolic Force likes to do things the old-fashioned way because I believe in the life force of the music itself and the people in the trenches fighting to keep it real. Diabolic Force will always offer support to those individuals and bands who hate posers and love Satan. Our motto is “Support the underground, bury yourself.”
Tom G. Warrior is exhibiting his custom-painted death masks at this gallery in NYC:
Last Rites Gallery opens it’s fourth annual The 13th Hour group exhibit, celebrating the spirit of the Halloween season.
In it’s (sic) annual exhibit, Last Rites sets out to present a broad-spectrum representation of Dark Surrealism. Held during Halloween weekend, the show is the gallery’s largest group exhibit, and features renowned artists from around the globe- working in an array of mediums including painting, photography, and sculpture. From gothic elegance to finely crafted grotesquery, the beauty within the darkness is embraced and brought into the spotlight.
Artists Include: Shawn Barber, Nick Baxter, Matthew Bone, Paul Booth, Colin Christian, Sas Christian, Jason D’aquino, Pedro De Kastro, Tom Gabriel Fischer, HR Giger, Fred Harper, Naoto Hattori, Michael Hussar, Joka, Sarah Joncas, Aunia Kahn, Eli Livingston, Michael Mararian, Chris Mars, Annie Owens, Chris Peters, Anthony Pontius, Dan Quintana, Matt Rota, Paul Rumsey, Beau Stanton, David Stoupakis, Jasmine Worth, and more.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the regular edition of this album, either aesthetically or technically. Deathgasm Records did an excellent job. But along came Die Todesrune/Deathrune/Death To Mankind Records with a limited edition, “300 copies,” art direction inspired version of this new classic, so who are we to say no?
Both cover and booklet are stunning in their integration of old school death metal art conventions, and newer stylings that simply look good and portray this album in the best possible light. The digipack — normally I dislike these fragile things — is as well put-together as you’ll find in this format, and its elegant matte surface conveys a richness of color impossible on slicker releases. The result is a whole package: music, idea, image and persona.
If you haven’t heard this might slab of putrescent occult death metal, it’s like old Incantation executed by Deicide at the pace of Obituary. The result is a brooding, expansive and otherworldly catacomb of doubt, violence and despair that is alluring in its promise of a world more interesting than our current utilitarian/moralist one. For those who love death metal, or just intense music that is not pure uptempo distraction, Infernal Warriors of Death delivers a crushing blow.
01. The Disgrace of God
02. Desecration Eternal
03. Sworn to Death and Evil
04. Lies of the Cross
06. In the Shadow of His Blasphemous Glory
07. Invoking Abomination
08. Exalted in Unspeakable Evil
Deathrune has also released a regular CD edition in Europe, and by the end of the August will release a gatefold vinyl edition as well. You now have no excuses not to own this crushing release if you want it.
Article by Johan P.
The stylistically inclusive nature of progressive rock allows quite a lot of stretching of the genre’s musical boundaries. This part of Death Metal Underground’s 1970s Progressive Rock for Hessians series looks into the early, classic period of the English group Hawkwind – a group of sonic shaman-warriors who transgressed more than one genre border right from their inception. Well, almost. Their unconvincing 1970 self-titled debut album can rightfully be dismissed as a failed attempt at improvisational psychedelic folk rock, with songs that sound too much like flawed byproducts of the flower power era. Luckily, the following years saw the band re-forge their sound on In Search of Space (1971), articulate it on Doremi Fasol Latido (1972) and finally push their newfound style to its limits on Space Ritual (1973).
Back in 1990, Celtic Frost released Vanity/Nemesis. This album was tasked with redeeming the fans’ respect after the affair that was Cold Lake . Straddling the gap that existed between that album and the style of inventive proto-death metal that had made Celtic Frost worth hearing, Vanity/Nemesis was a rather mediocre album. It was reasonably competent and it attempted to blend in with its contemporary milieu, but the album was artificial and uncomfortable to listen to.
In many ways, Melana Chasmata is the linear descendant of that album. First, this is an album with an astute grasp on the market it is attempting to exploit: like Triptykon’s debut, production is crystal-clear, uniform, and decidedly modern. Tom Warrior’s vocals have continued their changing form begun on Monotheist and now share the monotonous, ranting tone more in common with nu-speed metal bands such as Pantera. Riffs, as well, have “progressed” in a similar fashion. Although Eparistera Daimones‘ riffs were minimal, single string sequences, some intriguing melodies arose. For the most part, these are missing on Melana Chasmata, at least on the traditional metal tracks.
Where this album genuinely attempts an artistic statement is during attempts to merge noir-electronic music with the aesthetics of metal instrumentation as was introduced on Warrior’s last two albums. These tracks are worthwhile in that melodies are allowed to develop in a subtle, restrained manner before the climax of the tracks strike, in contrast to the uniform faux-aggression of the rest of the album. Greater tonal variation as evidenced by clean vocals, mildly pentatonic clean guitar sequences, and melodies confirm Warrior’s avowed interest in artists such as Gary Numan. (For a similar, contemporary album in spirit, one might point to the comeback album from Amebix , which also attempted to merge post-90s metal with popular, but slightly “outside” music). These tracks, while superior to the other fare, ultimately lack in the same core way as the others: there is no great resolution, or purpose inherent in them.
For those who hoped that Eparistera Daimones would be but a stepping-stone back to a more traditional Celtic Frost type of composition, they will be disappointed. If death/black metal is one’s primary interest, Melana Chasmata will almost undoubtedly not be worth listening to. However, for those who will admit to being Warrior fanboys (such as the author) or those who are interested in the other aspects of music on this album, it may be worth investigating, if only for curiosity.
What are Sadistic Metal Reviews? Heavy metal is either art, or like the rest it’s a product to make sad people feel better about their empty and pointless lives. Brutal honesty is all that separates us from that abyss. Remember, tears are a sign that you’ve really reached people…
Nuclear Blast, this is NOT “music to mangle your mind.” This is the AIDS of the music world. Cheap, hokey synths ramble under tepid saccharine guitar melodies while effete whiny crooning that makes Morrissey sound like Tom Warrior radiates in the background. You can just about hear the teenage bedrooms of America, reeking of self-pity and masturbation, where the obese and inbred listen to this. It’s OK, kid, everyone gets turned down by a fleshlight at least once. If you can imagine heavy metal with all of its soul removed, candied like one of those disgusting little fruits in a fruitcake, this would be it. There is nothing here that is metal except under the flimsiest of pretenses. “Evereve” is more like “Summer’s Eve.” Seasons could be a forerunner for HIM. If you ever hear a note of this, you’re going to need hormone replacement therapy.
The cheese of “black metal” circa 1998 is on full display here in this one album. Considering the Dimmu Borgir membership and the touting of a drum performance by Hellhammer circa his “help, I need money and even joined Arcturus” days, you know this will be bad. The vaudevillian sideshow vibe of later Ancient and Cradle of Filth is tricked out to sound like a joyous PG rated sci-fi soundtrack is playing over a rock opera, making this all sound more absurd. Imagine the music from a children’s variety TV show but with some drunk guitarist in the background hammering out heavy metal riffs with black metal stylings as he copulates with close family members while wearing a tutu. If you heard a “black metal” parody in recent times, chances are it sounded like this.
This album brings to mind Dogwin’s Law for metal: as a metal band ages, the probability of it reverting to its influences becomes one. Immolation started out as a speed metal band, then detoured into death metal for a few albums, and now is back to heavy metal but in a simplified form using death metal technique. When they did that cover of Mercyful Fate, it shook something loose, and Immolation thought, “Why spend hours fitting twisty riffs into intricate combinations?” Verse, chorus, break, solo — done! Collect check, buy motorcycle parts. This is the metal equivalent of baby food: over-cooked, pre-ground, sweetened and without any difficult parts. Gone are the wildly imaginative riffs and catcomb-like song structures. Instead it’s The Jets covering Bryan Adams put into power chord riffs. Embarrassed by their own non-output, Immolation tries to hide the emptiness by getting emo on the choruses but nothing can save this pile of paint-by-numbers metal. This is metal’s equivalent of Bangerz with some guy howling along in the background about stuff he read on Infowars.com.
Another case of mid-90s “evolution,” Morgoth ditch the Death Leprosy worship for a sound more akin to Voivod at their most commercial playing Killing Joke at their poppiest. Vocals sound like a parody of Amebix, lots of mumbling and tuneless sung-shouts. Verse-chorus structures and an industrial rock production suggest this band was attempting to cash in on the industrial/cyber image trend of Ministry, Godflesh, and Fetish 69. With waves of label hype behind it, Feel Sorry for the Fanatic failed as only the falsest of marketing hype can. Creating a neutered album with fringe-accessibility to an audience that didn’t exist the year this album was released left the band to fall on its face in embarrassment and dishonorably disband.
This band of hippies in denial have improved in the songwriting department, but by so doing reveal the underlying emo to their music. It’s clearer than ever before that Wolves in the Throne Room were never black metal. This two-song release allows the “post-metal” to shine, but musically “post-metal” is identical to emo, a subset of late hardcore/indie rock hybrids of the late 1980s. Musically, nothing has changed since that time, so if you’ve been in a cave since 1984 you might enjoy this band. These two tracks are far less random than previous Wolves in the Throne Room output. While they try to ape black metal with heavy guitar distortion and howled vocals, in harmony and choice of scale this material would fit in on a Jawbreaker or Rites of Spring album more than any black metal album. In fact it’s a complete sham to ever list this band as black metal because it misses out on what they do well, which is a very slow version of emo. Droning emptiness portrayed with slighly dissonant tracks that sound like self-pity incarnate. It evokes a lot of different feelings that boil down to the same state of suspension, in which mixed-emotions and self-pity that brings self-doubt resolve all things to the same. I wouldn’t recommend this for any metal fan or anyone who remembers the late 1980s.
If you approached a black metal band as if it were a doom metal band, you might end up with something like Solar Deity. Very musically literate in a way that is reminiscent of Necrophobic, with understated melodic riffs and good rhythm, this band nonetheless suffers from a type of drone syndrome where just not enough changes to keep interest, although there’s nothing offensive. Clearly mostly inspired by the first two Gorgoroth albums, Solar Deity attempt to set up a number of songs to narrate and develop theme, and do a reasonable job of it, but their riffs are rather lukewarm and repetition-intensive as is their usage. The result would be great if designed for doom metal, but as black metal ends up being an abrasive drone and sense of confused purpose within otherwise well-composed music. It might be good background music for repetitive tasks. You know, really feel that tedium as you clean water heaters, file taxes or chase hipsters off your front lawn with a shotgun (aim for the knees).
Death metal isn’t hard rock. If it wanted to be hard rock, its members being honest people, it would have elected to simply be that instead. However, there’s a huge market in dressing up regular boring corporate product rock music as something “edgy” like death metal, which still hasn’t been conquered by the civilizing forces of socialization. Like previous Tribulation releases, The Formulas of Death is ambiguously in the death metal realm and in fact treats its death metal elements with ironic scorn. The result is a pretty good hard rock band embedded in a bunch of unnecessary stuff. Get a real vocalist, throw out the token chromatic riffs and d-beats, and re-style this album as something along the lines of early Queensryche or Cinderella and it would be great. This will make just about every “Best of 2013” because people can’t tell the difference between turd and steak tartare but also because it’s catchy. Simple music for simple minds.
If focus groups found a way to slam Sentenced Amok and At the Gates Slaughter of the Soul into a metalcore product that panders to Adult Swim viewers, then Skeleton Witch would be the abomination unleashed. Tired and generic riffs more bound to cliche than tradition power an interchangeable series of mellow-deaf parts stitched into galloping rhythms. Although it appears to be like metal from a distance, I suspect if MC Hammer knew how to play a guitar, he’d come up with something like this. Poppy and bouncy background noise for people who value video games and Comedy Central more than music, Serpents Unleashed might be the sonic equivalent of a middle schooler’s diary: covered in stickers and glitter, but the content within is more than predictable in essence even if not in particulars, and in ten years it will humiliate them if unleashed.
The problem with retro works is context. What was once a whole context is broken down into techniques, “moments,” transitions, tempo changes, riff-archetypes and melodic frameworks, and then reconstituted. However, since there’s no motivation except to be retro, there’s no new context except appearance. Thus the bands doing this tend to default to the simplest elements possible, which are either age-independent but average stuff the original genre tried to escape or conventions of the present age. The result is that you get the same stuff, but someone has covered it in retro-feeling-stuff. The end result is like a bison spray-painted with corporate logos, a contextless mishmash that’s oblivious to its own true nature. Beyond make a credible effort but they are trying to fit riffs together, not use riffs like words or colors on a painting, and as a result, nothing is communicated by frenetic energy, doubt and disorganization. Moments of this release are stunning, but the whole does not add up to much because it’s not about anything.