The music of Emperor is commonly misconceived by the mainstream metal media and certain YouTube clowns to be merely an atmospheric wall of sound or symphonic black metal orchestration engineered for superficial, surface level aesthetic appeal to an audience atypical for black metal. This is in fact not the case. In the Nightside Eclipse is just as perplexing to typical headbangers on first encounter as it was upon release in 1994. Mainstream audiences are even more flabbergasted and regard the record as a mere curiosity produced by those murderous church burners, preferring Emperor’s more rock-structured later work such as Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, which abandoned the band’s signature riffing style and method in exchange for ones influenced by more stereotypical Norwegian B-listers such as Enslaved and Kvist. Emperor did eventually sell out, becoming technical guitar wank, rock-structured heavy metal after their rhythm guitarist Samoth and drummer Faust were imprisoned in 1994 and their songwriting influence subsequently waned. Yet In the Nightside Eclipse‘s hymns to Satan and Sauron remain as natural mutations of their metallic predecessors’ attempts to imitate horror scores and classical music’s overwhelming power of sublimity.
Compact cassette music sales rose 140% over last year. Wow, noise, and flutter! How quaint. Hipsters have declared their love for a format that, unlike the vinyl LP, does not even sound particularly good. The most commonplace Dolby noise reduction systems in most cassette decks cause immense loss of high end detail. Most hipsters collecting cassettes can’t even find a player with a properly aligned tape head. Most will probably be using ghetto blasters or Talkboys as they were six in 1992 when Home Alone 2 came out.
It’s official: according to a new year-end report released by Nielsen, over the course of 2016, streaming became the primary mode of music consumption in the U.S. Overall on-demand audio streams surpassed 251 billion in 2016 — a 76 percent increase that accounts for 38 percent of the entire music consumption market. Plus, “the on-demand audio streaming share [of total music consumption] has now surpassed total digital sales (digital albums + digital track equivalents) for the first time in history.”
Streaming is the public consciousness recognizing that most of what the mainstream music industry has to offer is disposable. The labels can’t even find or develop potentially good new talent anymore as due to gutting their artists and repertoire departments and what revenue they make flowing upwards towards executives and shareholders. Average consumers never possessed high-fidelity playback chains of dedicated gear to take full advantage of the compact disc and vinyl records anyway; they only had mediocre integrated receivers hooked up to poorly performing speakers and headphones. Furthermore everyone truly into underground or once underground music genres now digs deeper, purchasing releases with zero quality control which commonly have print runs of only a few hundred to a few thousand copies. Classical continues to do okay too as classical listeners still buy the physical album and tend to have marginally better equipment.
2016 is over. The funderground mentality continued spreading forth, infesting metal over the last year just the same as it had in the decades past the genre’s artistic high-point in the early nineties. Rehashes of past greats pandering to a lowest common denominator audience continue to dominate the release schedules of metal labels all too willing to please the lemmings with music fit to safely ignore during drunken socializing. Ever-flowing streams of posers are desperate to be rock stars, pumping out plagiarism, and paying their way to record deals. File sharing and streaming reducing the cost of hearing new music to essentially nothing has led fans to constantly consume whatever is new regardless of quality. However the purging is at last at hand. The day of doom is here. The filth who have lied and corrupted the underground must be cleansed while the commendable elite few will remain.
Gorgut‘s debut Considered Dead turned twenty five this year. Gorguts shockingly were once an excellent death metal band. Considered Dead combined a rhythm riffing style reminiscent of Death but arranged those riffs into almost neoclassical compositions which unfolded over the course of each track, surprising with sudden shifts of utmost aggression into cathartic sonic violence.
Arghoslent, a speed metal/black metal hybrid famous for their politically provocative lyrics, have taken notice of criticism of their songs as disconnected bundles of riffs and heavy metal conventions which go nowhere despite having promising beginnings. Those who read the subtext of their statement, “CORRECTION: The band has decided not to write new music since it is ‘merely a collection of riffs and heavy metal wank’,” can infer that the band is re-focusing on their songwriting as a result of those quoted incendiary statements made here at Death Metal Underground.
There are no friends like old friends, although we always keep an eye out for new ones. That brings to mind the third symphony by Beethoven, which seems simple at first, but over the years reveals its nuance and detail.
New York University professor Michael Rectenwald was put on paid administrative leave for his controversial Deplorable NYU Prof Twitter account that exposes how the Ivory Tower uses social justice warring and identity politics as methods of social control. His reprimanding proved him right.
Although this album has already been appropriately reviewed, a few notes come to mind when contemplating it after having it in rotation for a few months: this is the best Goatcraft release so far, and fans who defend it as intuitive and critics who say it lacks epic and distinctive melodies both make good points.
History is full of paradoxes. Twentieth century Germany provides one of the major mysteries of the modern era: Why haven’t the Germans produced more high-quality black metal?
The country has been a heavy metal-stronghold since Neolithic times with a significantly high metalhead-per-capita rate. Furthermore, Germany has spawned more metal bands than any other country in Europe with abundant native labels, zines and distros supporting them. Yet, when it comes to black metal, there’s not much to write home about. Continue reading Ungod: The German War Machine That Flies Under Metalhead Radar