While it is not a surprise that the Metal Archives forum readers would vote for some terrible albums in their yearly list. It is however shocking that these albums were all well received instead of being left in the bin where they belong.
Hate Eternal’s Conquering the Throne is a fairly mediocre album plagued by the symptoms that were spreading across the Death metal universe at the time. The need for even more brutality was visible on one side of the spectrum while the need to rival the more overground and Rock derived bands on their terms dominated the other side of the spectrum. Erik Rutan had finished his second stay with Morbid Angel who had just failed at accomplishing any of the objectives with the juvenile Gateways to Annihilation and would then form Hate Eternal who simplified everything Ripping Corpse had done into music that attempted to be memorable and punishing but ended up being predictable and flat. Though three songs stand out on this album, showing at times a level of composition far beyond anything that Rutan could ever dream of conceiving. These would become Doug Cerrito’s last contributions to Death metal.
Sometimes for no actual logical reason, terrible metal bands become adored despite not having a gimmick like satanic Abba songs or a mentally deranged topless DJ as a vocalist. These bands offer nothing of interest even on initial listens and should be actively mocked for their pretentious unsubstantiated claims.
Finnish stalwarts Rippikoulu embark on a short North American tour with the likes of Chthe’ilist and Nucleus. While Musta Seremonia was an enjoyable listen and easily a greater live experience than what copy cat bands like Spectral Voice and Hooded Menace have to offer, the price of admission isn’t probably worth seeing them especially with the two supporting acts known for aping Demilich more than anything else. Hopefully the price is low enough to justify hanging around with friends outside while waiting for Rippikoulu.
After the success of the first issue and Niklas Göransson’s unique ability to get interviewees to genuinely express themselves, Bardo Methdology returns with a second issue that gets rid of most of the problems of the first issue while offering a much more methodical approach to the interviews.
While 2019 has shown that home studios are only getting better with the release of better emulators and cheaper “ready to record” prepackaged setups, the increase of quantity has not shown a proportionate increase in quality across the music spectrum. Metal has been in a particular weak state despite the best releases of the year being better than those of previous years, the overall quality was so low that even the present editor had to explore non-metal underground music in hopes of finding something of great quality. While such “expeditions” have been for the most part fruitless, the best of the year can only leave the metal listener with a sense optimism of what the new decade has to offer. Without any further ado, here is the best underground metal of 2019.
Pagan Megalith are a Hunagarian Black metal who like their name suggests are heavily inspired by Gorgoroth’s Pentagram but also take from the other big names in the Norwegian scene in this well thought attempt at creating Black metal that seeks nothingness as its creed.
Following the tale of one of the fourteen holy helpers Achatius, more commonly known under the name of Saint Agathius, the patron saint against headaches and more importantly a central figure in the various wars against the Ottomans. His story is that of a soldier who was tortured and decapitated for not relinquishing his faith and therefore becoming a martyr. Funeral Presence expand on this brief tale by playing a form of Black metal that exists within the confines of the first wave yet but with subtle influences in overall scope and direction from the second wave.
Pensées Nocturnes – Grand Guignol Orchestra:
The Grand Guignol was a form of French theater known for its exaggerated performances that fused horror and comedy in revealing the most violent tendencies that lie hidden within every individual. Outlandish yet poignant and a precursor for what the best horror cinema had to offer. Pensées Nocturnes confuse this with the circus and make carnival music with a wide variety of instruments that eventually has to rely on dissonant Black metal riffs. Ideas aren’t connected to each other and the songs follow a riff salad pattern that sees the traditional instruments fade away for some sub-standard attempts at Black metal. Only the vocals manage to convey both horror and comedy as demented howls meet pseudo operatic singing. The constant need to shock the listener loses its potency as its predictable nature is quickly revealed as its base, this is bad Black metal taking from influences it doesn’t have the slightest grasp on to create the lowest denominator metal at which fails completely.