Nirvana’s Nevermind turned twenty five yesterday but since we at the Death Metal Underground condemn pop-punk Boston worship, we will celebrate a different anniversary today. Morbid Angel‘s Blessed Are the Sick was released twenty-five summers ago. Blessed Are the Sick was the last Morbid Angel record focused on inwardly improving the music rather than compromising it for commercial appeal to a mainstream market. The band had been obsessed with refining and expanding upon their compositions since Trey Azagthoth shelved the release of 1986’s Abominations of Desolation and fired then drummer/vocalist Mike Browning.
Metalheads tend to be wary of punk, recognizing it only for its role as an influence on metal. This attitude obscures the fact that the best of punk is worth exploring on its own terms and merits, starting with perhaps the greatest influence of punk technique and heightened aesthetics in that genre, hardcore punk‘s The Misfits.
Brazilian black metal band Mystifier outed themselves as avowed socialists, black supremacists, and evolution deniers in an unpublished interview from 1999 posted years ago to the Nuclear War Now! forum by the interviewer Werwolf.
Those of you who read our pipe smoking FAQ may have found your curiosity piqued; you may even have experimented with this strong psychoactive chemical and its benefits, especially if you absorb it through your mouth and not your lungs. At that point, you may wish for some top-notch leaf to explore.
Article by Lance Viggiano.
Ananku is random stereotypical sentimentality in terms of both pseudo climactic release and legacy nostalgia underscored by the crooning of its capricious composer. One may skip to any moment of this record and find a passable to competent riff which invites the listener to further explore its contents. Yet to sit through the work in succession, the order – or lack thereof- is much akin to a dreamlike state. Waking life is a comedic but rationally apprehensive continuity; whereas the experience of dreaming is much like thumbing through to one’s favorite moments in no particular order and therefore as a whole Ananku betrays its efforts at thematic unity. The forces behind Serpent Ascending make a noticed use of genre firmament however indecisive haste fashioned for itself a fallen world.
Starting in the mid to late Eighties, many of the originators of death and black metal started to commercialize their music into straight speed metal for mass appeal to a bar show, beer metal audience; social concert goers in the uniforms of leather jackets, band tees, and high tops who treated shows as a time to socialize and shoot the shit with their friends while listening to typical bands that never challenged their musical preconceptions or startled them away from their ritualized moshing. Just a few years prior, many of these types would’ve been the same idiots seen in Heavy Metal Parking Lot. While most of their peers moved on from Judas Priest to Motley Crue and Guns ‘n’ Roses, many listened to what was considered an “acceptable” fusion of heavy metal and radio rock played by groups like post-Ride the Lightning Metallica, Anthrax, and Testament.
Article by Anton Rudrick.
Following a tradition of Finnish death metal, Serpent Ascending first proved its allegiance to the old stream of thought on The Enigma Unsettled. The project stood out as possessing that rare gift that grants vision past forms and into the value therein encased as dormant power, codified, awaiting a worthy hero who can pull the Sword from the Stone. While using techniques and musical structures that are well-known, interesting counterpoint and chant-like melodies can be seen in that first album, inserting them in between more conservative power metal riffs that were eerie enough to belong to occult death metal but also displayed a penchant for memorable phrases. Five years have elapsed since then, and several Desecresy albums have seen the definition and reaffirmation of that band into a distinctly esoteric style. Many were keenly expectant upon the future of Serpent Ascending.
An old interview, rediscovered, that apparently never made it to publication, so needs to find a home here.
Article by Lance Viggiano
Intolitarian is the work of a singular person who polemically positions himself as an artistic paragon standing on the opposite end of a polarity between retro-rehash, imported heaps of plastic and bad Xeroxes. Amidst such a landscape and armed with powerful rhetorical golden guns, he is able to churn out effort after effort which communicates nothing and everyone knows it. Like war metal, which similarly has nothing to say, criticism is parried through a simple maneuver: those who call this spade a spade simply cannot handle how extreme it is for it is certain that this work stands on the precipice of a new aesthetic era that will make death and black metal look like nursery rhymes. This defensive posture is of course a variation of the oft repeated, “You don’t understand” that is used by insular communities and critics to accomplish little more than convince the user of their own superiority where every induced eye-roll reduces to signals of ones own status as a martyr for good taste.
Metal was born of the fusion of heavy rock, horror music, progressive rock and the nascent proto-punk movement. The history of rock is the history of rebellion and rule-breaking: from Friedrich Liszt making his strings break live at key moments on purpose, to Jerry Lee Lewis lighting the piano on fire, to the Beatles with their hairstyles and jackets which were radical for the time, to the Doors being suggestive on the Ed Sullivan show, through Hendrix burning his guitar, to Kiss being super-sexual and painting their faces, to Black Sabbath who sang about Satan and magic, to Metallica who combined neoclassical with thrash and had a hard-partying image, to Slayer’s seemingly outright Satanism. Metal is about taking things one step further, breaking the rules and being unique. Not about following them.
Good music aims for a grade of “A” by experimenting and breaking the rules, but in doing so, takes the chance that it will get an “F.” Think of good music as Icarus: he flies toward the Heavens (or in the case of metal: towards hell) aware he is taking a big chance. He may well crash and burn to the ground in pursuit of his musical ideals. It’s a risk Icarus is willing to take.
Today we have way, way too many bands following all the rules of their genre, and not enough acts pressing ahead. When I look at my local scene it is clear that the bands who have stayed together a long while, while following the rules of their genre, are the bands who have been most successful. Most of these bands have decent music and are listenable. But its not stuff I want to listen to more than once, or see live more than once. This is the curse of local bands: competent, good at following trends, but not so good that they break out and become emblematic of those trends.