Garage-level bands are usually condemned to the usage of the same rudimentary forms which causes their music to be dominated by the distorted guitar which constitutes the common ground for metal, hardcore, grind and oi. But at the same time there is often a struggle to somehow project desired message into those almost universal, objective structures with only small variations, just as Hellhammer was struggling with confinements of the form, despite being wholly avant-garde in its visions. And it seems that if there is truly a will, it will successfully color those rudimentary structures with desired character.1 Comment
Diabolos Rising/Raism manifested the work of two black metal musicians, George Zacharopoulos (music) from Necromantia and Mika Luttinen (vocals) from Impaled Nazarene, which allowed them to let out some ideas without having to compromise the integrity of their main bands.2 Comments
The case of Rob Darken is a symptomatic one. He is undeniably the most important (and enduring!) metal musician from Poland and Eastern Europe in history. And yet, when black metal or folk is concerned, even on his own soil he is overlooked in favor of others, like Behemoth or Percival Schuttenbach respectively, solely on basis of some external attributes of their music. It seems that for some time now Darken is trying to gain at least a bit of the recognition he deserves: the exposure in Nergal’s biography, playing live with both Graveland and Lord Wind, and now the changes in the very formula of Lord Wind on The Forest Is My Kingdom.15 Comments
There was this short period of time, when death metal sounded really gloomy. This type of death metal was sometimes considered as black metal, which was judged back then not as much by used techniques, but rather by imagery, themes and atmosphere. When black metal proper was defined, for lack of a better name, the term dark metal, which over the years garnered various applications, was sometimes used to describe this style of death metal.6 Comments
Both late comebacks of metal bands and revivals of metal sub-genres are offering familiar yet much more streamlined, simplified and somewhat more populist version of themselves. In various ways it stands true for albums like Beherit’s Engram or Asphyx’s Death…The Brutal Way and now also Xibalba’s Ah Tza Xibalba Itzaes. While such sensation remains a continuous distraction when listening to those albums, it isn’t impossible to find even in their shallower and derivative structures signs of renewed passion and intent.5 Comments
Once again blackened death metal band Marduk is accused by devotees and moralists of flirting with right wing ideas. This time band members supposedly bought some stuff from the Nordic Resistance Movement. And once again Marduk responded with an obligatory statement which technically isn’t a lie but also evades addressing the underlying question about their views.8 Comments
Black metal is a highly spiritual music. At its peaks it is able to create a sort of mysterium and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, despite its rawness and overwhelming intensity, possesses that potential. DNS picked up the essential traits of black metal, many of which were universally misunderstood and dropped or compromised even by their originators, and with a great sense of application and purpose restored them to their function and dignity.2 Comments
On 7th April, another edition of a long standing Polish festival Metalmania took place. One day, two stages, twenty four bands. It was the second one organized after a recent reactivation. The original Metalmania was an early big metal event in that part of the Europe – quite a feat given Polish Communist and post-Communist realities. Then, due to various reasons, the festival was gradually losing its relevance, dwindling and finally went into hiatus for 8 years. There is no sense, however, to cling to its bygone local importance or whatever glorious past. So how does it look now?
While too much reliance on more mainstream gothic and heavy contributed to a collapse of previous incarnation of the festival, and now it was death and black oriented, the music on the big scene is rather consistently aimed at straight metal through all of its generations and styles, ending with bands like Dead Congregation or Blaze of Perdition and with some of the more modern sounds on a small scene. On a downside, the fest resurfacing mainly as a stage for classic bands may be reflecting the actual state of metal, indicating that the newer bands are unable to fill the void with something equally strong to their predecessors.
The festival was obviously rough around the edges (and surprisingly violent – I almost got caught into two different fights just from where I was standing) and the sound was uneven and average overall. It was organized better than in the past, but still perceptibly within Polish standards, that is crudely and with lack of imagination or simply negligence in some areas (although Martin van Drunen said on stage that the organization was great!). Perhaps a very fortunate by-product of these characteristics, which may contribute to the positive reception of this festival, is how – I dare to say – conservative it is, both in terms of lineup and general spirit. With Napalm Death and (I suppose) liberal speed metallers on one side and sort of crypto-nazis on the other, who always find a way to show up in some form, the fest also covered broadest ideological spectrum that is possible for a mainstream event.
As of 2018 this festival is yet to experience types of modern degeneracy, often coming from outside, which can be seen on festivals elsewhere. There were some obligatory side attractions, like exhibition of works of Christophe Szpajdel (who actually speaks Polish fluently), meet-up with the bands and lots of merch, but nothing delving too much into a fan idiocy or really not related to metal. Very few freaks, zero exotic people, no random participants, just fairly traditional metalheads, mostly in the 90s style, as it should be, world without end. However, those spoiled by abundance of propositions and by big festivals in Germany or Czech Republic will probably miss out on some of these modest qualities.
And then there’s the surreal, sci-fi sight at the arrival – a monumental, Communistic “The Saucer” occupied by nothing but a tribe of long haired, black clad drunks…18 Comments