Most Death metal bands don’t age gracefully and tend to either become parodies of themselves or end up playing pop music. Atrocity after having conquered Death metal decided to experiment with various genres but each of those experiments has been abysmal failure. This band therefore destroyed its reputation in both underground and mainstream circles to the extent of being forgotten by all. But from 1985 to 1992, Atrocity were on the war path until the release of their Magnum Opus Todessehnsucht (Longing for Death). Five musicians with an obvious passion for classical music combined with Floridian Death metal and the Teutonic trio. More precisely their main influences seem to be Death, Destruction, Kreator, Morbid Angel and Richard Wagner.
Upon opening, this beer smells a lot like 1980s Dos Equis, namely a rich dark beer with overtones of molasses. Once decanted and tasted, however, this brew reveals quite a different flavor: like a plum-scented wine mixed with a sweet dark beer, it has a fruity undertone to a rich taste.
A footnote in an article we ran last week sparked a lot of controversy among our very passionate friends who lurk the DMU comment sections. No, it wasn’t that we correctly identified SJW journalists as the nail in the coffin of metal as we know it; instead it was an observation of the last death of heavy metal:
In the early 1970s, heavy metal was an exciting new musical and cultural movement. So much so, that it surpassed even rock music (thought to be revolutionary just a few years before). But towards the end of the decade came a near-lethal blow: punk rock. Faster, louder, more abrasive and aggressive, punk had risen the bar and metal couldn’t compete. From 1977-1983, metal was almost completely obliterated. Many had declared the movement dead – a fleeting flavor of the week experiment that did not stand the test of time.
Many took issue with this: “metal wasn’t dead!” they cried. “Albums were released, things happened!” “You’re erasing history Brock, your articles ruined this site and my life!”
The intrigue and utter distraction of this phrase sparked the need to further elaborate: Did metal actually die, during this time period, or did I somehow just miss a few years of quality metal development?
Music is a language, and utilizes formulas to communicate emotions to an audience. This is the most basic understanding of the idea of music as a tool, but the mastery of the manipulation of human perception through the mathematics of musical language can only be effective if an artist has something substantial to say, and uses the medium of music as the vehicle to communicate that idea, rather than approaching this communication as if the method of expression is the message itself. This is the disconnect we see as musicians “mature” and develop their craft as their passions slowly extinguish, and it is not surprising that the best releases using metal as a communicative tool are often released in a band’s initial releases, when they knew the least of how the musical language works. This ignorance allows an immediacy that overwrought cynicism betrays, and it is here that the heart of metal thrives. The education gained from elaborating on the language of music can enforce the initial artistic message when the understanding of human perception is developed, or it can suffocate the communicative process should the composer fixate on how the listener will react to the information presented. The efforts of post-reunion At the Gates are mired in the latter type of composition, and To Drink from the Night Itself is the band’s most grievous offense.
Every June 6 we celebrate a day sacred to all Hessians: the International Day of Slayer on which all metalheads celebrate what it is to be a metalhead, as exemplified by the music of Slayer and the lives of its musicians, including Jeff Hanneman (1964-2013).
Slayer beats back the world of human intentions which tries to make life safe, inoffensive, commerce-friendly, popular, and full of unique precious snowflakes. Its music affirms reality, which operates through power and will, over emotions and social opinions. It denies the importance of humans.
No doubt you know how to celebrate this holiday for metal folk worldwide, but as a quick refresher:
On June 6th, Hessians worldwide come together to do something upon which we can all agree – listening to Slayer! Finally, one of the most dismissed cultural groups in the world has a holiday to call its own. Join us in our cause to stand unified in our celebration of metal music and let us prove to the rest of society that we too have a voice.
Who is Slayer
Slayer is a band from California. Their music has come to epitomize Satanic speed metal music in the latter half of the 20th century. Their 1986 album Reign in Blood ranks as one of the single most influential metal albums of all time, typified by the modern classic “Angel of Death.”
Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.
DO NOT use headphones! The objective of this day is for everyone within earshot to understand that it is the National Day of Slayer. National holidays in America aren’t just about celebrating; they’re about forcing it upon non-participants.
Taking that participation to a problematic level
Stage a “Slay-out.” Don’t go to work. Listen to Slayer.
Have a huge block party that clogs up a street in your neighborhood. Blast Slayer albums all evening. Get police cruisers and helicopters on the scene. Finish with a full-scale riot.
Spray paint Slayer logos on churches, synagogues, or cemeteries.
Play Slayer covers with your own band (since 99% of your riffs are stolen from Slayer anyway).
In honor of Slayer, of metal music worldwide in all ages, and of the spirit of facing reality with eyes wide open and embracing the opportunity of challenge and fear, we intend to keep this website open and celebrate the International Day of Slayer every year on June 6. Join us… welcome back!
If you are here by mistake and wondering why Slayer (you’re supposed to yell this each time you say it, like this: SLAYER!) is important, check out the Heavy Metal Frequently Asked Questions file to see how this band influenced the rise of death metal and, well, basically everything else. SLAYER!
To aid in your celebration, enjoy some links to classic Slayer releases:
As with anything labeled “USBM,” it is an inevitable that an experienced metal fan will approach this release with caution regarding just how flannelly, how post rock, how try-hard and yet how vulnerable it is. With a cliched moniker that clashes together a couple of clumsy tropes to echo the oil and water mixture that Americans and black metal suspend as, Wolvhammer presents itself and its material as confidently confrontational so the saccharine despair of modern takes on the vulturized genre are initially somewhat absent, but the juvenile approach does not in its stead give credence to the overbearing impudence on display.
Modern metal bands will often add all sorts of odd and extraneous elements to the music. What is most curious and notable, even as one cringes to the sounds of flutes or children’s choirs and such, is not what is in the music but what is lacking in the music: an aggressive, adventurous, feral spirit that is the common element of all metal music. While experimentation, new ideas, and new textures and elements are not in and of themselves bad things, most bands, being the crowdists they are, get the horses of the apocalypse before the meat wagon. As Socrates so sagely reckoned all those years ago, the spirit informs the final shape that the physical body will take – to build the creation without spirit is, in essence, to create something that lacks shape and indeed lacks the very essence of being.
The ability to spot flavor of the week(/weak) trends in metal is a key element of elitism and will save you a load of embarrassment further down the road. Both death metal and black metal have seen their share of torrid but temporary trends in the form of herd pleasing bastardizations that quickly spike in popularity and then evaporate from relevancy as their fans move on to something even worse (usually after a period of denial and/or clinging to a safe intermediary genre). Crowdism is for losers but it’s heavily pushed in the metal scene and thus one must stay sharp to avoid it’s pitfalls.
Therefore in the interest of providing you, the reader, with the knowledge of how to identify and properly dismantle future flavor of the week trends as they appear, this two part series SMR series will focus on a trend, a selected album from that defines it’s failings, and the worst offenders for each of these forgettable movements. This week, we will focus on black metal’s most embarrassing waves of herd-fandom and sadistically dissect their unfortunate rise and much needed fall.
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?