A footnote in an article we ran last week sparked a lot of controversy among our very passionate friends who lurk the DMU comment sections. No, it wasn’t that we correctly identified SJW journalists as the nail in the coffin of metal as we know it; instead it was an observation of the last death of heavy metal:
In the early 1970s, heavy metal was an exciting new musical and cultural movement. So much so, that it surpassed even rock music (thought to be revolutionary just a few years before). But towards the end of the decade came a near-lethal blow: punk rock. Faster, louder, more abrasive and aggressive, punk had risen the bar and metal couldn’t compete. From 1977-1983, metal was almost completely obliterated. Many had declared the movement dead – a fleeting flavor of the week experiment that did not stand the test of time.
Many took issue with this: “metal wasn’t dead!” they cried. “Albums were released, things happened!” “You’re erasing history Brock, your articles ruined this site and my life!”
The intrigue and utter distraction of this phrase sparked the need to further elaborate: Did metal actually die, during this time period, or did I somehow just miss a few years of quality metal development?
Amorphis are known for their terrible modern output that consists of ridiculous pop cliches and monotonous chugging. While their latest offering has furthered the pretension of this band and their Opeth like attempts of appealing to pseudo intellectuals through whatever the mainstream considers to be “deep,” it is hard to fathom that this band once produced some of the greatest Finnish Death metal to ever grace our ears. Through restrained, simplistic melodies that were all very tightly knit and some basic understanding of chord theory, Amorphis carved a grandiose album that would see them climb to the top of a fledgling movement.
The album opener “Karelia” – an acoustic piece recorded with two 12-string guitars – announced the intentions of conjuring grand battlefields where heroes would emerge amidst the chaos. The first guitar repeats a basic melody in the natural minor scale as the second guitar follows with the appropriate combination of diatonic minor and major thirds. As the melody continues without variation the diatonic chords move up a few semitones up the scale creeping towards battle as the chords quickly return to their original position until distorted guitars announce the battle.
What do Jonathan Davis, Corey Taylor, and Scott Weiland have in common? Answering the question “90 Hard Rock singers” would not be incorrect, but there’s something darker beneath the surface – all three men are rape victims. Davis even documents the experience in graphic detail in a platinum selling album from his band, and many of Taylors lyrics are riddled with sexual abuse.
Why were the executives of the murder industry so keen on pushing rape victims as the new face of rock n’ roll? Furthermore, why were the most popular genres of rock and metal so lyrically obsessed with self destruction? From Grunge “morality is useless and life is hopeless” to Nu Metal “I’m a freak and everyone hates me” to Emo and Screamo “I’m lonely and will never be loved” to indie (soy) metal and rock “We failed to be what we should have been” the message of mainstream rock and metal music has constantly be one of self destruction. This trend is mirrored by a 25% increase in American suicides in American suicides since the 1990s:
Suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016, according to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.
More than half of those who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental health condition, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.
“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem — and something that is all around us,” Schuchat said. The other two top 10 causes of death that are on the rise are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses, she noted.
With statistics like this, it’s absolutely time to panic: our society is being marred by growing influences- intentional or not – to destroy ourselves. Let’s examine music’s relationship to this now obvious horror and see if we can determine why this is happening.
Every June 6 we celebrate a day sacred to all Hessians: the International Day of Slayer on which all metalheads celebrate what it is to be a metalhead, as exemplified by the music of Slayer and the lives of its musicians, including Jeff Hanneman (1964-2013).
Slayer beats back the world of human intentions which tries to make life safe, inoffensive, commerce-friendly, popular, and full of unique precious snowflakes. Its music affirms reality, which operates through power and will, over emotions and social opinions. It denies the importance of humans.
No doubt you know how to celebrate this holiday for metal folk worldwide, but as a quick refresher:
On June 6th, Hessians worldwide come together to do something upon which we can all agree – listening to Slayer! Finally, one of the most dismissed cultural groups in the world has a holiday to call its own. Join us in our cause to stand unified in our celebration of metal music and let us prove to the rest of society that we too have a voice.
Who is Slayer
Slayer is a band from California. Their music has come to epitomize Satanic speed metal music in the latter half of the 20th century. Their 1986 album Reign in Blood ranks as one of the single most influential metal albums of all time, typified by the modern classic “Angel of Death.”
Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.
Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.
DO NOT use headphones! The objective of this day is for everyone within earshot to understand that it is the National Day of Slayer. National holidays in America aren’t just about celebrating; they’re about forcing it upon non-participants.
Taking that participation to a problematic level
Stage a “Slay-out.” Don’t go to work. Listen to Slayer.
Have a huge block party that clogs up a street in your neighborhood. Blast Slayer albums all evening. Get police cruisers and helicopters on the scene. Finish with a full-scale riot.
Spray paint Slayer logos on churches, synagogues, or cemeteries.
Play Slayer covers with your own band (since 99% of your riffs are stolen from Slayer anyway).
In honor of Slayer, of metal music worldwide in all ages, and of the spirit of facing reality with eyes wide open and embracing the opportunity of challenge and fear, we intend to keep this website open and celebrate the International Day of Slayer every year on June 6. Join us… welcome back!
If you are here by mistake and wondering why Slayer (you’re supposed to yell this each time you say it, like this: SLAYER!) is important, check out the Heavy Metal Frequently Asked Questions file to see how this band influenced the rise of death metal and, well, basically everything else. SLAYER!
To aid in your celebration, enjoy some links to classic Slayer releases:
Dissection was one of the last bands to be associated with violence and action in metal. Jon Nodveidt, a true Hessian who rejected the modern world, committed various acts that most will consider morally reprehensible yet they embodied his personal philosophy and the ideology of his music. Barring the third album, Dissection display a penchant for ambitious composition within a framework of heavy/death and black metal. The second outing reached too far and ended up sounding almost confused from the virtuosity of the musicians and the wide number of techniques at their disposal without the vision to streamline all these ideas. The Somberlain is a lot more focused in its inspirations by sticking closer to the source material and more structured arrangements.
A Land Forlorn impressively bridges multiple approaches to metal.
The consensus seems to be that Christ does not belong in metal. Well, neither does Satan. Rigid patterns of thought are not conductive to the creation of transcendental metal music. The failure of NSBM stems from the rigid ideology into which the music was forced like a Procrustean bed. The two Christian metal bands worth a shit have been covered on this site: Paramaecium and Antestor. The only NSBM bands that are not terrible are the bands, like Graveland, that preceeded the creation of the subgenre and were only lumped in with the scene later… Gontyna Kry seems to be the sole exception to NSBM sucking.
Immolation are legends in Death metal and rightfully so, though their heydays were after the initial burst that characterized the NYDM scene and have cemented their place with the likes of Cryptopsy and Immortal for prolonging the lifespan of that classic period of metal. Longevity seems to be the forte of the band’s centerpieces Dolan and Vigna and while they released a few decent albums, none of them quite hold up to Here in After. Black Sabbath and Slayer stretched the palette for what was possible in metal and introduced endless possibilities whereas Immolation took one closed approach and pushed it to its limit on this album. Though Close To A World Below took experimentation further, the whole was not as cohesive or powerful. Let us look as the closing track which truly concludes the album.
When I was a child, I lived near a park that was awesome because two-thirds of it was just natural woods, and the rest was a lake and a small lawn area. You went there to fish or walk in the woods, and you had a good time because you were not in a human space, but a natural one.
While working with what was intended to be the second part of a tripartite article series covering the history and general properties of the power metal subgenre, it soon became clear that a sufficiently thorough treatment of the subject would require more space and time than what was originally intended. This insight subsequently led to the conclusion that individual parts needed to be subdivided and portioned out in order to not grow out of proportion. The initial plan to present the material into three consecutive parts has thus been revised.
Another related issue that arose during “research” concerns the historical development of European power metal. As have been noted in previous articles on this site relating to the history of metal music, artistic “movements” or periods of development tend last about five years speaking in generalized terms. This phenomenon can be observed in European power metal as well. After having studied Euro-power metal as a composite phenomenon, a rough sketch outlining the developmental trajectory of said music began to take form:
1984-1989: The first wave of European power metal.
1990-1995: Intermediate period.
1996-2001: The second wave of European power metal.
While not a perfect model, this rough periodic division will be used as a framework for discussion in the articles to follow. The relatively lengthy timespan that has passed since the putatively defined second wave of European power metal will be left out for the moment, primarily (and regrettably) because there hasn’t really occurred much of a development in power metal since the early 2000s. If anyone sits on information that invalidates the above statement, feel free to chip in – this writer would be very pleased to be proven wrong on this front.
Accordingly, the second part of this article series will be mainly devoted to the development and characteristics of the first wave of European power metal and the intermediate period that followed in its wake. Instead of approaching the subject in thoroughly generalized manner, a ???-track compilation will be used as source material to make observations about the historical development and specific traits of first wave Euro-styled power metal. Please not that this collection of tracks is by no means intended as a “best of”-compilation but should rather be viewed of as a springboard for further discussion.