Introduction to Power Metal, Part II: The First Wave of European Power Metal

[The epic continues!  Read part I of Johan’s journey here and listen for yourself via this playlist]

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.
(more…)

13 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Musician’s Guide to SJW Values

Metal, like punk, once a lawless wild west where no attitude or ideology was unwelcome or too extreme.  But after hipsters unifed the masses of 90’s counter cultures into one mainstream culture, a far left ideology was adopted by and heavily policed within nearly every sub/counter cultural music genre (metal included).  Despite this being the exact opposite of what metal has been about for many decades, the desperation to fit in has left many of the aging neckbeard social outcast fake metalheads to adopt this heinous bastardization of music’s most honest genre and collectively enforce these new mainstream social rules.  And just like in the mainstream culture of today, breaking any of these rules (or having broken them in the past before these social norms were instituted) is designated with a swift lifetime band from showing yourself in public in the U.S.

Lately, a lot of metal bands have  been getting in trouble for doing things that progressive liberal culture finds unacceptable.  Many bands have been confused by the rules, as progressive liberal logic is absolutely nonsensical,  and therefore musicians struggle with the details behind this new social paradigm.  Having fought the left in our culture war for several years now and being often confronted with these nutcases, I determined it would be in the best interest of metal’s very badass musicians understand what crimes and behaviors are okay.  Please find below, a very thoroughly researched look into the disturbed mind of Social Justice Warriors:

Chart 1: Individual’s Morality

Crime/Behavior                                                                                  Acceptable?

MURDER                                                                                                      YES

ASSAULT (MALE VICTIM)                                                                      YES

ASSAULT (FEMALE VICTIM)                                                                 NO (Unless you’re signed to Profound Lore)

THEFT                                                                                                           YES

BESTIALITY                                                                                                 YES

PEDOPHILIA                                                                                               NO (Unless you write for MetalSucks)

GRAVE ROBBERY                                                                                      YES

SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT MEN                                                 YES

SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT WOMEN                                         NO (Unless you write for MetalSucks)

SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT WHITES                                          YES

SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT ANY OTHER RACE                     NO (Unless you’re signed to Profound Lore)

SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT CHRISTIANS                                 YES

SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT ANY OTHER RELIGION             NO

SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT LGTBTQ                                          NO

 

(more…)

11 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sacramentum “Far Away From The Sun”

Sacramentum are heroes in the more melodic black metal style that appeared in Sweden after the initial Norwegian scene had worn itself out. Caught between the pop sensibilities of what was starting to develop in Gothenburg and the ambitious yet choppy compositions of Dissection, Sacramentum forged their own sound in that narrow gap, never stealing ideas from either side and searching inwards for inspiration. Far Away From The Sun is a particular track that shows joy and happiness while still denigrating human life. A strong understanding of the black metal melodic narrative has allowed them to reconcile such clashing emotions without showing the slightest contradiction.

(more…)

26 Comments

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thoughts on Composition

Metal music inherited the album concept from pop music. Originally, records could only hold about 3-5 minutes of sound on each side. In the 1940s new techniques allowed each side of a record to hold around 20 minutes of music on each side. Because of these limitations, the ‘single’ became the standard composition in popular music. As LPs became more prominent, the single, played over the radio, was used as the marketing device to sell albums: a couple of catchy singles swimming in a thin grey soup of filler material. Because it is only marginally more difficult and expensive to record and produce a whole album, there are much higher profit margins on LPs than on singles. That a pop album was not a consciously constructed artistic whole is borne by the fact that pop ‘greatest hits’ albums are easy to listen to, straightforward affairs. Consider a greatest hits album from a metal artist… at best it is off-putting and at worst it is a flaccid, confusing affair because all the songs have been removed from their appropriate context.

(more…)

24 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Introduction to Power Metal, Part I: Origins and Influences

(Join DMU Legend Johan Pettersson for what may be the most expansive analysis of power metal ever presented in the first of a 3 part series.  Listen to the accompanying suggested listening here)

Of all the subgenres and styles that fall within the metal spectrum (hence excluding unmitigated relapses into rock such as death’n’roll, stoner, nu- and indie metal), power metal most definitely counts as the one that has received the highest amount of scorn and ridicule from critics, fans and outsiders alike. (more…)

16 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOW FACEBOOK SCREWED THE LORD OF LOGOS

On March 29th, 2014, I was booked on a conceptually enticing extreme metal show in San Antonio, TX.  It was held in honor of Christophe Szpajdel, the infamous “Lord of the Logos” who designed the logos for a good amount of the most relevant black metal bands over the last few decades.  Headlined by Abazagorath, every band on the bill had a Christophe-drawn logo.  Christophe himself was flown across the Atlantic to be present to draw logos for concertgoers on the spot.  But thanks to the abomination that is Facebook, Christophe never made it out of the airport.

(more…)

4 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SUFFOCATION’S BASTARD CHILDREN

Some bands perfectly encapsulate a sound and an era through the appropriation and development of an existing idea. Van Halen fascinated the mainstream with his take on tapping and his twist on virtuosity which had existed for centuries on various string instruments. Iron maiden took the harmonies from Thin Lizzy and adapted them for their long narrative epics. Suffocation took the slow thrash metal staccato riff and completely changed its use by using them as breakdowns. While those three bands are heavily associated with their respective techniques that have been used by all sorts of bands, Suffocation has spawned multiple subgenres that are all terrible and are completely eluded by the original intention.

(more…)

13 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Decimation: Atonality in Death Metal

Never has there been a word in metal as misunderstood as atonal, allowing all kinds of ridiculous claims since most individuals confuse atonality with dissonance and chromatism.

There are two ways to define atonality, one being the complete lack of tonal character and being reduced to noise like some of Kerry King’s solos or the works of Merzbow. The other definition that interests us here is the complete lack of functional harmony. In simpler terms that implies not having the root note that commands a certain melody. Without a root note, the notes in an atonal melody are not connected by scales, modes or chords.

(more…)

22 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OZZY IS RIGHT: “NON-CONFORMITY” IS CONFORMIST, METAL MUST REBEL

Death Metal Underground’s wise founder Brett Stevens posted a thoughtful article last weekend about the duality of exterior and interior being.  It describes how in these modern times we’re seeing an illusion of non-conformity that masks the conformity of thought and nature within.  This is an effective tactic of those in power be they media, silicon valley, deep state, or (in the case of metal) record executives and journalists:  get people to look different, but think the same.  This also masterfully articulates why metal is at its lowest creative point in the entire history of its existence: fans and musicians alike have accepted conformity of thought and sound through satisfaction with mere non-conformist aesthetics and culture.  And the only way to escape this rut is to violently rebel against everything we have been conditioned to believe is “metal” and “metal culture.”

(more…)

35 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Musical Dissection of Pestilence “Out of the Body”

Once upon a time Pestilence were a very capable death/speed metal band that would attain great heights with the their magnum opus Consuming Impulse. Leaving behind the speed metal of Malleus Maleficarum for greater freedom in melody and structure, “Out of the body” is by far the most popular track on this album due to its catchy main riff, guitar acrobatics and absolute intensity.

Those are only the surface traits of what makes this song and the album a bonafide death metal classic.

(more…)

9 Comments

Tags: , , , , ,