The Heavy Metal Book Club


The term “educated” has become such a weasel phrase in our time that it is worthy of attack. It implies that some are just better than others, and have gone through a rigorous program, and we should listen to them first because they know stuff. Implied in that is the idea that they are smarter and more successful than the rest of us and we should just bow down before their degrees. It is not politically correct to say outright that someone is smarter or wiser, because not everyone can equally access those things. But education? If you sit through the right classes, and memorize the right stuff, you too — whoever you are — can be “educated.”

This trope has the unfortunate effect (which is fully desired by those who use it) of silencing people by attacking their self-esteem. If they do not have the degree(s) required for public acceptance of their education, they are expected to remain silent while those with degrees and titles dictate to them what they should think, despite the quality of education having plummeted and degrees themselves meaning less now than before. Those without “education” are styled as ignorant hicks and basement-dwellers, when many of them are in fact too impatient and not compliant enough for our regimented, memorization-based educational system.

I have met smart people in every walk of life and every area of the world. They tend to hide themselves, having been aware since an early age of how retibutive this world is against the honestly intelligent. Usually they focus their energies on practical things, but because of the stigma of “education” as a social status, they shy away from some of the greatest things that our cultures have to offer, namely books. Not every book; like metal bands, books come in varying degrees of quality, and most are mediocre gibberish, especially some of the most popular. But even in that flood of inanity there are books worth spending time to understand.

For this reason, I suggest a heavy metal book club. Goals would be modest: select a book every month, read it and discuss it. Then figure out a thumbs up or thumbs down, and have someone write a review. The book does not have to be metal-related, but some of those might be fun too. It would require someone to organize it through a mailing list or this blog, and we’re taking volunteers now :)

Announcing the Opeth erotic short story contest

Promotional picture of Opeth from 2014
A while back, DMU ran an erotic fanfiction contest in response to a small incident involving Pantera and the community around them, much to our fans’ joy and pleasure. As part of our initiative to grow the site (and because of the potential for controversy), we’re going to try our hands at another.

Opeth has long been one of our prominent targets for their inept aping of progressive rock forms in a paper-thin guise of death metal. Their popularity seems to have waned in recent years as they lapsed more overtly into ’70s prog worship, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give them the occasional dose of mockery to lighten up their mood and possibly incite them to heights of passion that might lead to better songwriting if we’re enormously fortunate. Thusly, Death Metal Underground’s second erotic fanfiction contest is going to be about Opeth and its members.

The rules are similar to those of the previous contest.

  1. Your story must be between 500-5,000 words and involve the members of Opeth in intensely sexual and/or erotic situations. It’s up to you to determine which perversions and fetishes you want to involve, but the more depraved, the better.
  2. References to bandmembers’ side projects (like Steel and Bloodbath) are permitted, as well as references to other bands appealing to a similar demographic. However, your work must primarily be about Opeth.
  3. Your story must be your own work. You are allowed to quote Opeth lyrics for effect, but don’t crutch yourself too badly by overusing them, lest your work be rendered underwhelming.

Submit your entries as comments on this post. You have until 11:59 PM EST on November 30th, 2015 (we extended it) to write a story for this content, so let your imagination and libido run wild.

Metal riffs without distortion

As something of a followup to yesterday’s article about rearranging or otherwise reinterpreting metal for compositional purposes – Youtube guitarist VAALVLA recently uploaded a video showcasing the main riffs of some popular metal and rock songs played clean and without any guitar distortion.

This was insightful and/or gimmicky enough to earn the attention of a couple other metal journalism websites, and it helps to reveal, on some level, the difference in technique between, for example, a Slayer and a Pantera song. A drum track was provided, but it doesn’t detract from the lesson at hand. VAALVLA also has several other videos in a similar vein that may be interesting to our readers.

A call to arms – How to get published on DMU

"How to be a feisty rock critic" - Matt Groening (1986)
One of our goals here at DMU is to be free of the incessant marketing and gossip that plagues all too many metal music/culture websites. This deprives us of a lot of potential content, and surprisingly, not posting the occasional throwaway video of a photogenic animal ‘enjoying’ metal (or at least moving to a rhythm almost, but not entirely unlike that of the music) costs us some traffic. With that in mind, every now and then one of our readers gives us a hand by contributing an article, a review, or even just a topic they want to see discussed. We’d like to see more of that.

A brief summary of what we are looking for:

  • Intelligent, in-depth articles about various metal related topics – theoretical analysis of the music, cultural analysis, academia, and so forth.
  • Reviews of albums both old and new. I focus on covering major new releases at this point, but there’s always room for everything else. This is to be distinguished from the publication of press releases, or the promotion of your avant-garde neo-traditionalist blackened bedroom death metal project with nearly 3/4ths of a view on their one Youtube video.
  • Did something worthy of our commentary in the land of metal pass unnoticed? This is your opportunity to fix a glaring omission.

If your submissions meet our quality and relevance standards, we will publish them; possibly suggesting some revisions in the process of getting them ready. Ideally, we will get more content and more reader interaction without sacrificing an iota of quality, but that lofty goal depends on you specifically rising up to the challenge. If this interests you, send your submissions to the same email address as always.

P.S: Our ‘lifestyle’ (read: drugs and alcohol) reviewers are looking for someone who can analyze whiskey. If you’re a connoisseur, or at least a gas chromatograph, this might be a good way to get started.

A New Editor for DMU

Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire (Ilya Repin, 1891)

I have replaced David Rosales as the editor at Death Metal Underground. Platitudes about how I expect to retain continuity with the long past of the website while keeping quality high and perhaps even bringing my own voice to the site aren’t really my style (although that admittedly just was one), so I thought I’d offer you a bit of background information on who I am.

First of all – my name is Gabe Kagan, and I live in Massachusetts. I’m a historian turned web developer; oriented towards building cool browser-based software with trendy languages and frameworks; I also compose music and keep my own personal music review blog. Compared to those, I expect my content for this website to be more serious and critical, but I expect that my own voice and biases will show up in my writings. Odds are that I end up breezier and less formal in my prose than many of the contributors to this site, but I’m not particularly worried about that. So far, the job has proven to be interesting and challenging, and I expect this to continue as I spread DMU’s various messages and ideals to the masses.

I don’t know how particularly interested the community here would be in this, but one interesting thing I’ve done lately is build my own music creation software. It has its various gimmicks (primarily based on the idea that arranging music data in a fully traversible two-dimensional space opens up new ways of organizing and thinking about its structure), so maybe the musicians of the DMU community might get some value out of it, although due to it being based on sound samples and not having a great deal of sound convolution options, it’s probably not too optimal for metal. That shouldn’t deter you from experimenting if you’re interested.

On Goatcraft


Lonegoat of necroclassical band Goatcraft issued the following statement today on, of all topics, Death Metal Underground itself. Read on for some clarification of the oddities of Goatcraft coverage for the past year or so, and the “no Goatcraft rule” implemented some time ago.

Brett Stevens is a controversial man. He’s made more armchair activists angry than anyone else on the internet. Founding the legendary Dark Legions Archive, as well as many other groups/websites/etc, his reviews were unmatched and were of the highest linguistic artistry. He created worlds in his reviews that paralleled the musical subjects better than anyone else who ever wrote about metal.

He’s been around since the nascent stage of the internet to this now populace, SJW Tumblr Tranny modern wankery that resembles dumpster diving more than anything else. It’s only suiting that he swapped to writing movie reviews.

For a while I aided Brett by helping out behind the scenes at I wouldn’t really consider it “helping” as I’ve never been a writer nor cared to be one. Usually my contributions were drunken and juvenile. It was what it was.

In return for my contributions, Brett hosted this domain while I was in between jobs and had no spare money to pay for it. About a month after that we had a falling out over a mutual acquaintance and our stances regarding this person. was then nuked. Most of the Goatcraft material was pulled from at my request. There’s now a No-Goatcraft rule implemented at because of all of this.

About 8 months later Brett gave me the domain back.

I’m indifferent to what is nowadays. There are some good articles like the recent Abominations of Desolation controversy article, although he should’ve been more specific in the article instead of hiding its intent through multiple layers.

This should clear up any confusion regarding the friction between and Goatcraft.

Consider it a generous statement and a fair one, and wonder no more why our Goatcraft reviews went away. It is what it is.

We’re hiring!


DMU has grown over the past year from a retro-site keeping the old writings alive to a vital source for information on the new underground metal that hasn’t sold out or otherwise lowered quality.

At this point, it’s time to push to the next stage.

This would involve taking on the “big” sites that publish label press releases as news and write fawning reviews that praise musical gibberish as “innovation.” But to reach that level, DMU has to become a more general-purpose news source.

To that end, I’m reaching out to you, the audience. We need a new editor. This editor would do the following:

  • Post daily news stories on all relevant events.
  • Write reviews on new death metal and black metal releases.
  • Edit texts submitted by writers including myself.

This takes about four hours a day minimum and so it is a paid position. Qualifications are an ability to write and edit grammatically-sound and interesting text and to produce the volume of stories needed to bring in this new level of audience. Apply within.

I have somewhat served in this role, but with multiple writing obligations, I no longer can do so.

Neoclassical Music Hub for metal DC++ users


For those of you who like to trade movies, music, books and conversation online, the Neoclassical Music Hub offers a Direct Connect (DC++) hub for those who enjoy classical, neoclassical, dark ambient, heavy metal and hardcore punk.

Hosted by a small team of users who have kept it running for a decade, the Neoclassical Music Hub allows users to share files with one another in the curated environment of a Direct Connect hub, which allows chat, direct messaging and file sharing between those who are connected to it. This escapes the somewhat chaotic nature of open-access P2P clients and the access issues of torrents.

To grow and destroy


If you have noticed the site has been running a little more slowly lately, this post may offer an explanation. During the past year, our traffic has grown and lately it has been enough to tax our web server (pictured above) to the point of slowdown. Here’s what the last two weeks of traffic look like:

Average successful requests for pages per day: 66,582
Average data transferred per day: 2.97 gigabytes

Some of this traffic is the usual web gunk — search engine crawlers and spammers — but a good portion of it represents the community growing. We’re glad to have all of you on here and hope it keeps up, and we’re making some changes behind the scenes to speed up the process.