An Exercise in Linear Songwriting: Deeds of Flesh “End of All”

Although most likely viewed as a mere footnote in the immense catalog of Deeds if Flesh, “End of All” from Inbreeding the Anthropophagi is deceptive in that its brief run time and violent introduction mask the fact that it may be one of the only instances in truly linear songwriting present in the metal genre. Having heard the song countless times since its release but still not fully grasping the nuances of its composition, I decided to figure out how it’s played only to realize that aside from one brief moment where a segment of a phrase is repeated, there are no repeats of any kind in the song either regarding whole riffs or portions of melody. It had still somehow become a track that had tangible substance despite there being so little to retain in one’s memory, so I made a video of a playthrough of the track to point out what exactly is happening to give the song resonance where typical structuring would normally provide support. (more…)

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Sadistic Metal Reviews: Rehash Buffet Edition

Given that newer metal musicians are quickly realizing that current trends within the genre are artistically bankrupt, many new bands are reaching backwards into previous sounds forged during the splintering of the death metal genre in the mid-90s. Superficially these bands may succeed in gaining metal cred through filtering their outsider millennial approach through the lens of those who had created the sounds they are aping, but we at DMU know better. Onward to the gallows!
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The Craft of Metal #1: Satanic Rites —Part II

Form and Function

Musical innovation does not spawn independently. Most of the progressions in underground metal have taken stylistic influence from more accessible genres and within those aural parameters created a new foundational narrative to divorce the context from the aesthetics it had previously used as a guideline. This approach allows for a less jarring immersion into a musical journey while at the same time utilizing tropes of superficial familiarity to manipulate the audience into being subjugated to an indirect path towards the artistic catharsis of unique expression that is the spiritual negative of the aesthetics used. On Satanic Rites, we can observe how Hellhammer has utilized the foundation of punk rock to shape their sound while introducing a unique tonality and dynamic scope to flesh out the beginnings of a new musical genre.
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Sanctuary – Into the Mirror Black (1990)


Sitting somewhat uncomfortably in between the heavy, speed and prog metal genres, Sanctuary achieved reputable status with their first album Refuge Denied despite having a fragmented and vulnerable identity.  The record itself was a slightly more melancholic take on the style Queensrÿche established on Rage for Order with some carefree thrash moments added in for the more aggressive metal fan. The formula was ultimately more kitschy than timeless, and relegated the band to perennial B-tier status.  (more…)

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Incantation – Intro Riff to ‘Golgotha’

The first riff off “Golgotha” is a fitting introduction to the madness of the early composition of Incantation. It is abrasively confrontational yet more detailed than what its immediacy initially hints at- although the listener is confronted with the familiarity of power chord accents and tremolo picked notes, the arrangement presents an inversion of death metal tropes that echoes the blasphemous lyrical content of the band. (more…)

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At the Gates – To Drink from the Night Itself (2018)

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.

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Wolvhammer – The Monuments of Ash & Bone 2018

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.

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Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology (2018)

When you have nothing of substance to fuel the creative urge necessary for musical catharsis, the artistically bankrupt are forced into invention. Here, the muse for this act is a fictional slug overlord that has somehow provided a modern metal band with enough tongue-in-cheek material to spew out four records so far, so at the very least you can’t accuse Slugdge of not sticking to their guns. Bad ideas however tend to foster quicker and more permanent results, and I’m failing to see the inspiration of this act yielding anything further than superficial amusement, so perhaps this is the perfect modern metal product seen from start to finish.

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