Mayhem – Wolf’s Lair Abyss (1997)

Wolf’s Lair Abyss was the first new proposition by the remaining Mayhem line up after De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and all the personal drama and loss that it signified.  Needless to say, the pressure upon the band on the musical level- especially of music as a dark art, as Euronymous would have it- was quite high.  Expectations after an Immortal album of far and wide reach were not at all encouraging.  The remainder of the band had to find a way in which they could work from the solid basis of the past towards a unique development that did not come off as an insult or a betrayal to all that had been accomplished.  The solution found by the band here was almost perfect, but it ultimately was only a transition whose eventual development would show if the full potential for growth would be adeptly exploited.  Still, there is much to be said about the unique identity of this brief but memorable foray into chaos.

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Victory Over Peace

There are those who would make us think that peace is essential for life. They demand we must reconcile all manner of disagreements and simply live happily together. In reality, what happens in a real compromise (if indeed it is a compromise) is that every one involved gets a bit of what he bargained for. It is not unlike Celtic Frost, a.k.a. the failed post-Hellhammer experiment that tried going mainstream a step at a time. By the time the band released Into the Pandemonium it was clear that by trying to bring the monster of underground black/death metal into the light they only degenerated it into a joke that no one, except masochists, want to ever hear again. The reader may want to attribute the downfall of Celtic Frost to a host of other causes, but the decision was in fact simple: give in to niceties and benefits through a compromise, or keep on fighting, towards a transcendental victory.
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Dusk-Bound

The success of endeavors that carry with them the implication of development or transformation, such as the evolution of an artistic genre (without any relation to the ‘progress’ of dialectical materialism), requires the constant testing of strength, the crossing of one’s boundaries. Contrary to the beliefs of the simple minded, this does not mean that the act of crossing those lines is in itself enough for a fully-formed conclusion to be presented, although there is indeed great value in violation itself. But one could argue that the great weapons of the mind, enacted, come as a result of a full digestion and re-application of invaluable experience and information that comes from the crude testing of strength, directed towards the intuited limits of the yet unexplored.
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James Theodore Stillwell III Power Nihilism: A Case for Moral & Political Nihilism

Power Nihilism is a ruthless yet entry-level application of logic to religious, moral and political superstitions of all kinds.  Central to this exposition is the clarity given by the ‘is-ought gap’- something apparent to independent minds given to logical thought which is also commonly known to students of philosophy (themselves apparently often unable to come to this logical conclusion on their own) as Hume’s Guillotine.  The idea is basically that one cannot derive absolute ‘oughts’ from ‘facts’, since the latter are simply ‘descriptions’, while the former are ‘prescriptions’. “The only ‘oughts’ that are cogent,” argues Stillwell, are those conditioned by a formula entailing the wish of an effect based upon causes (if one wants ‘A’ to come about, then ‘B’ ought to be brought about).
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An Overview of Inquisition

 

Introduction

Known around these parts as a blackened heavy rock n’ roll band, Inquisition’s brand of black metal is produced by a high-energy application of black metal riffing with a heavy rock rhythmic sense, but within the riff salad paradigm. The result are relatively varied and outstretched songs that tend to tire the ear even though their duration is not very long. The variety of these riffs is also more apparent than effective, since they are all heavily anchored around a sense of rhythmic hooks and black metal tremolo technique, never really straying away from it.

Despite these serious technical deficiencies, we hear a band marching against wind and tide towards their evil, propaganda. Producing a music that is, to those used to bask in the consumate musical glory of Immortal, somewhat of a quaint laughing matter. Despite all of this, if even these listeners lie back and allow the music to well-up, Inquisition manage to be one of the most strongly evocative black metal acts out there today, even if exclussively by dint of the effects of their croak n’ roll black riff train without heads or tails.

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The Relevance of Obsessed by Cruelty

Article by Hereweald Cola Algar

It is not secret that old Sodom is well-respected around this part, if not at least thoroughly enjoyed, despite the precipitous downfall that the band suffered after the eighties towards an apparently never-stopping race to the lowest possible level. The reason for this attention, this admiration, for an obviously caveman affair like Sodom is that despite its used of underdeveloped riffs and its reliance on harsh rhythmic hooks, the same limitation forced the band to look for ways in which an enveloping darkness could be expressed.  The result, at the band’s highest point (arguably at Obsessed by Cruelty), are proto-labyrinthic songs that return to strong riffs, and so do not loose either drive or become lost in an overly complicated search for more material to cram.
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