Introduction to Power Metal, Part II: The First Wave of European Power Metal

[The epic continues!  Read part I of Johan’s journey here and listen for yourself via this playlist]

While working with what was intended to be the second part of a tripartite article series covering the history and general properties of the power metal subgenre, it soon became clear that a sufficiently thorough treatment of the subject would require more space and time than what was originally intended. This insight subsequently led to the conclusion that individual parts needed to be subdivided and portioned out in order to not grow out of proportion. The initial plan to present the material into three consecutive parts has thus been revised.

Another related issue that arose during “research” concerns the historical development of European power metal. As have been noted in previous articles on this site relating to the history of metal music, artistic “movements” or periods of development tend last about five years speaking in generalized terms. This phenomenon can be observed in European power metal as well. After having studied Euro-power metal as a composite phenomenon, a rough sketch outlining the developmental trajectory of said music began to take form:

1984-1989: The first wave of European power metal.

1990-1995: Intermediate period.

1996-2001: The second wave of European power metal.

While not a perfect model, this rough periodic division will be used as a framework for discussion in the articles to follow. The relatively lengthy timespan that has passed since the putatively defined second wave of European power metal will be left out for the moment, primarily (and regrettably) because there hasn’t really occurred much of a development in power metal since the early 2000s. If anyone sits on information that invalidates the above statement, feel free to chip in – this writer would be very pleased to be proven wrong on this front.

Accordingly, the second part of this article series will be mainly devoted to the development and characteristics of the first wave of European power metal and the intermediate period that followed in its wake. Instead of approaching the subject in thoroughly generalized manner, a ???-track compilation will be used as source material to make observations about the historical development and specific traits of first wave Euro-styled power metal. Please not that this collection of tracks is by no means intended as a “best of”-compilation but should rather be viewed of as a springboard for further discussion.

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Metal Arsenal: Choice Software for Metal Warfare

Once upon a time, musicians needed to have a fat budget for a decent studio recording (and therefore, a record label to front the bill on the onset).  But even with one, many extreme metal recordings in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s still sounded like complete ass.  Even insanely popular death metal bands like Cryptopsy, who have sold over half a million records, have had albums with production so shitty that I can’t hear most of the riffs.  Aside from a few innovators, most audio engineers (back when it was possible to make a career out of it), simply did not know how to record and produce metal.

However the industry has changed mightily over the last 15 years or so, and in today’s music world the phrase “everybody’s an engineer” is deeply rooted in truth.  Whereas high end recording software was once closely guarded and outrageously priced, the freedom of file sharing as put many high end tools in the hands of the public at no cost and without the need for professional training to use.  No longer do you have to shell out $10,000 for an album that sounds like it was recorded in the prior decade, nor do you need take out a ludicrous college loan for audio engineering school. Instead, all you need to do is make a few quick downloads to successfully arm yourself for a quality recording (assuming, of course, you have done your homework in practicing your instruments and listening).

This change in landscape greatly benefits the type of music personalities we saw in Darkthrone, Burzum, and Graveland- top-tier musicians more concerned with their art and ideology than pandering to a room of idiots via live performances (yes, I know Graveland and Darkthrone both played live: it was only at microfractions of their careers).  And given that lefties are regulating and policing which bands are allowed to play live shows, there’s all the more reason for defiant metal musicians and bands to forgo live performances and focus their energies on quality studio recordings.  With narcissism, attention seeking, and fan expectations removed, the opportunity for quality recordings to flourish is undoubtedly more abundant.

It is an honor and privilege to present to you, the readers of this infamous site, the favorite battle-tested software and tools from a road-tested veteran who began a career in metal when freeware first became widespread some 15 years ago:

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Megadriver – Metalvania (2017)

Few things in life are more masculine than Castlevania.  In fact, the New York Times bestselling book The Alphabet of Manliness includes on its short list of “definitive winners in history” the likes of Castlevania 1-4 and Symphony of the Night.  Castlevania is also the most metal non-metal piece of Western creativity outside of Lord of the Rings.  I mean shit, you’re out crusading and fucking up demons and monsters on behalf of the church, shoving crucifixes up asses and drowning degeneracy in holy water.   It’s exactly the kind of shit that true metalhead Hessians and Templars should be doing to SJW the soy metal mutants infesting the underground in incredibly large numbers (who can be open-endedly interpreted to be the grotesque villains of Castlevania lore).  DEUS VULT- butcher and savage them all!  Even those who think video games are gay (most of them are) can appreciate how based Castlevania is.

But on that note, the relationship between video games and metal is strikingly more prevalent than people realize.  The artwork for Burzum’s legendary first two albums are based off of a strategy guide for an RPG game called The Temple of Elemental Evil and much of the music also sounds like it could be lifted from a video game soundtrack.  Fucking Dimmu Borgir’s Stormblast (much respected around these parts as indicated in the DLA) actually had a track that was ripped straight from a video game, meaning that that weirdo top hat wearing son of a bitch probably jacked even more of their keyboard melodies from video game soundtracks.  What a fucking scumbag!  But truthfully, as the goofy ass 8-bit black metal YouTube trend indicated- a lot of black metal was heavily influenced by video games.  And honestly, coming from a 32 year old millennial who got into metal at the tail end of the 90s- my first dose of minor key melodies was from the boss battles and last levels of video games.

I hope you neckbeard philosofags are paying attention, because there’s an important fucking point to be made: the next generation of metal musicians will be heavily influenced by video games.  And so whether video games are a staple of life-failure nerd culture or not, they will have a hand at crafting the next wave of metal.  But as we’ll find in Megadriver’s Metalvania album, this may not at all be a bad thing…

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/smr/ Sadistic Metal Reviews: Post Black Eulogy (Part 1)

[Join DMU editor Brock Dorsey on the first of a two part massacre of the soy metal sub genre that has bastaradized black metal beyond the belief!  Also, this image is an actual cover from an actual post black metal album- you can’t make this stuff up!]

Post black metal was an embarrassing sub genre of soy metal.  Built upon a foundation of either screamo, pop punk, metalcore, math rock, shoegaze, or avant-garde and fused with the most minimal touches of black metal, post black metal was a flavor of the week(/weak) trend that lasted from around 2009 to 2014.  The genre name is misleading, however, as most bands only claimed to be metal and incorporated only slight touches of metal characteristics before abandoning them completely in future releases.  As indicated by its core standard bearers being dropped by labels, performing terribly in sales and Facebook likes, and being forgotten by fans, post black metal has finally passed away.  As we lay it to rest with one final cremation in the SMR fashion, let us learn from its failings as the future looks to more traditional forms of heavy metal  to restore a once proud genre.

First, we must understand metal history to understand how such an abomination could happen, as Post-black metal followed a number of flavor of the week black metal trends and bands.  The first of these, symphonic black metal, sent many fans of the original (true) black metal genre into a frenzy with their incorporation of gothic influences.  What was to come would be much worse, however, as the soy metal bands marketed as black metal would prove to be far more embarrassing than the Victorian campiness of Cradle of Filth or the industrial meddling of …And Oceans.  The next flavor of the week black metal trend was cleverly concealed in a cloak of static, but the hipsterisms of “depressive black metal” would soon be known to the world.  Time was not kind to the legacy of Xasthur and Leviathan, both of whom are now widely panned against the metal community, as where the thousands of “bedroom black metal” clones who polluted Myspace.  With many short lived flavor of the week trends (such as “Norsecore” and “Cascadian black metal”) and bands (Kult ov Azazel, Inquisition) in between, the soy metal- black metal hybird that was post black metal was the next successful marketing scheme to deceive young and retarded metal fans alike.

Performed mostly by wealthy but useless trust fund kinds from liberal cities, post black metal was to metal as emo was to rock music: feminine, tame, and a complete and utter bastardazation.  Thus, post metal was eventually abandoned by its former fans, spat on by the metal community, dropped by metal/rock record labels, and remembered poorly by music lovers.  Much like how the rent some of its musicians was eventually cut off from their parent’s bank roll, post metal was eventually told to stop leaching off the metal community so that the genre may maintain a shred of dignity.

Brace yourselves for an infernal evisceration unlike aynthing you’ve ever seen before, because in this edition of SMR, we won’t just be sadistically reviewing albums…

 

 

we’ll be sadistically reviewing careers.

 

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/smr/ Sadistic Metal Reviews: Baby Gasser Edition

 

SADISTIC METAL REVIEWS

http://www.deathmetal.org/tag/sadistic-metal-reviews/

HEAVY FUCKING METAL:

http://www.deathmetal.org/metal/

http://www.deathmetal.org/site-map/

http://www.deathmetal.org/category/faq/

>b-but I heard heavy metal is dead!

http://www.deathmetal.org/news/

http://www.deathmetal.org/review/

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Hipsters Discover That Black Metal Musicians Are Bad

Another scandal!  Yes folks, for the fourth time in the past two or three weeks, hipster journalists and fake metal fans are shocked and appalled that a black metal musician has done something immoral.  Despite black metal being a music genre for 30 years, smelly neckbeard losers and dreadlocked trust fund crusties are figuratively (though literally in some cases) throwing their own feces every time they catch a mid-tier black metal musician doing something not socially acceptable.  This time, the horrific act came from Marduk, whose purchasing of German World War II merchandise from a sketchy online retailer made them too evil for a fest called Stockholm Slaughter (who apparently think slaughter is cool, but just not when it pertains to 1940s Europe).

Because millennials are too dumb to learn any history that doesn’t involve student loans, let’s quickly look back and see if any criminal or immoral things were done by the original black metal bands.  Maybe there’s something that we can learn from  that fateful 1990s Norwegian scene:

Band                   Criminal/Immoral Act

Burzum                Murder, violating parole with a shitload of explosives, arson, Nazism, white supremacy

Dimmu Borgir    Using the N word in an interview/proclaiming the desire to genocide Africans

Emperor              Hate crime murder of a homosexual, arson

Gorgoroth           Rape, battery and torture, violation of Poland’s animal rights laws, homosexuality

Immortal             Arson

Mayhem              Murder, 2nd degree murder, arson, public mutilation, trashing hotels

Satyricon            Rape, arson, rape

Thorns                2nd degree murder

I’m sorry to break this to everyone living in a liberal bubble, but a painfully obvious truth exists:  black metal musicians are bad men.

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Endless War : The Similarities Between Metal and Wrestling

 

Wrestling is the oldest sport in existence. One can find it in any culture on earth, Egyptian hieroglyphs depict various techniques, Islam recognizes it as one of the main sports for preparation in combat and European knights trained extensively as a lot of armored fights quickly become tests of who could pin who to be able to deal a finishing blow with a dagger through the gaps in the plate armor. Throughout the years wrestling has proven to be the best art for all forms of combat as every region in the world has at least one form of indigenous wrestling.

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The Problem With Metal Isn’t Just The Taake Poop Swastika Incident

Back in the day, Taake was the black metal band you settled for because all the old bands were no longer recording great stuff and your only other option was bedroom black metal. They were not bad, but had more in common with the melodic heavy metal hybrids that combined death metal with power metal riffing and pretty melodies. That makes it weird in a time where Taake is one of the better options out there.

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Analysis of Death Metal Vocalists

Guttural vocals are the only true vocal innovation in metal as other singing styles are derived from other genres. The growed vocal technique is a combination of multiple frequencies and is harmonically too rich to be treated in the same way as more tonal styles.  Since they are different to all that came before them they must be analyzed differently.  And as metal continues to be penetrated by the mainstream it is important to understand what should be expected from a vocalist and what each one brings to the table since as humans we are inclined to judge vocals first.

In the spirit of understanding the wide variety that the technique has to offer, take a look at some of the more interesting and/or well known vocalists that death metal has given us throughout the years:
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