A Case for Weakling’s – Dead as Dreams (2000)

Article Contributed by Salustiano Ferdinand

tl;dr: Despite controversy surrounding the indie pedigree of Weakling’s musicians and their musical descendants, Dead as Dreams remains, as described by none other than Fenriz, an “odd masterpiece” on its musical merits and should be a part of any serious underground metal fan’s collection.  The album, for a number of reasons, is currently something of a locus of blame for whatever particular sins people ascribe to west coast black metal. Some people point to Weakling as the origin point of indie creep into US black metal due to the supposed indie credibility of its members in particular as well as to a lesser extent the trend of questionable publicity stunts engaged in by mediocre bands from Velvet Cocoon to Ghost Bath (although in Weakling’s case this should be blamed on the label, not the band). As a result of these complaints, Dead As Dreams has over time become something of an Emmanuel Goldstein for black metal fans, and the album some people are critiquing when they say “Dead as Dreams” (such as the time DMU’s most alpha editor described it as “shoegaze black metal”) bears little resemblance to the actual album Dead As Dreams.

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/smr/ Sadistic Metal Reviews: Flavor of the Week Metal Pt 1: Black Metal

The ability to spot flavor of the week(/weak) trends in metal is a key element of elitism and will save you a load of embarrassment further down the road.  Both death metal and black metal have seen their share of torrid but temporary trends in the form of herd pleasing bastardizations that quickly spike in popularity and then evaporate from relevancy as their fans move on to something even worse (usually after a period of denial and/or clinging to a safe intermediary genre).  Crowdism is for losers but it’s heavily pushed in the metal scene and thus one must stay sharp to avoid it’s pitfalls.

Therefore in the interest of providing you, the reader,  with the knowledge of how to identify and properly dismantle future flavor of the week trends as they appear, this two part series SMR series will focus on a trend, a selected album from that defines it’s failings, and the worst offenders for each of these forgettable movements.  This week, we will focus on black metal’s most embarrassing waves of herd-fandom and sadistically dissect their unfortunate rise and much needed fall.

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Dimmu Borgir – Eonian 2018

Dimmu Borgir are through and through, the most popular and most successful Norwegian metal band.  They are also #2 in bands that were at one point in their career black metal (falling just behind Cradle of Filth).  Since 1993, Shagrath and Silonez have clawed and breathed fire and went through dozens of musicians- some very well known- and marketed themselves as the “evil fantasy/RPG villian” better than any other band.  The brand, however obscure and seemingly non-conformist, resonated with millions as it’s two core musicians have turned their Hollywood Satanism gimmick into a big moneymaker for Nuclear Blast Records.

Sound-wise, Dimmu have been all over the place.  One of the first bands to follow the precedent set forth by Emperor and incorporate choir/string driven keyboards as a main instrument in a black metal band, they were able to forge some solid albums by scaling back their guitar playing and allowing their keyboards to forge the atmosphere and melodies.  But after a few notable works, they quickly began a journey into whatever flavor of the week pop/dance music has been popular at the time.  By the ridiculously titled Puritical Euphoric Misanthropia, they were mixing metalcore breakdowns with Hollywood-soundtrack style keyboards and dressing it all up with science fiction sound effects.  This became their main sound for almost a decade, with no variety between albums, before playing straight up opera muisc on 2010’s Abrahadabra.  Featuring a full choir, a full symphony, virtually no guitars, and Disney-villain-sounding clean vocals, the band had become a soundtrack to a Broadway musical that never existed.

But almost ten years have passed since then, the longest gap in the band’s history.  And while they are off being evil dads, the entirety of the metal scene collapsed- with no quality works being created in the underground and a metal mainstream that was void of any sort of movement.  I was intrigued to see what they band would come up with given there was no real metal trend to ripoff, so what did I find?  Where is the most commercialized black metal band in 2018, a year of shattered conventions and reborn Western identity?  And who, or what, did they model their style after this time?

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Angerot – The Splendid Iniquity (2018)

The Upper Midwest of the United States absorbed quite a lot of Scandinavian immigrants over the course of history. For quite a while there was a story that a Viking king had laid claim to some land in the Midwest, but the Kensington runes that ‘proved’ this have been shown to be fake. First off, many learned people pointed out that the runes used were incongruous with the supposed dating of the artifact, and second it was shown that the engravings were not nearly as old as they would have to be if they were really of Viking provenance. The death metal band Angerot hails from Sioux City, South Dakota and uses the moniker “Swede Worship” to distinguish themselves from the approximately twenty hundred million other bands that imitate the old Swedish Death metal.

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Infamous “A Su Connottu, Oro Sa Lei De S’Antigoriu”

For centuries Italian engineers were valued throughout the western world for their skill in both destruction and construction. The great Imperial warlord Albrecht Wallenstein, who exhibited a keen eye for excellence, had Italian mercenaries in his army and Italian architects for his for his manors. With their relatively recent split release with German band Gorrenje, the Italian black metal band Infamous carry on this tradition of dual excellence.

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/smr/ Sadistic Metal Reviews: Terrible Traxx Edition

In our search for great metal in the internet age, we are constantly being swarmed by legions of mediocre bands releasing countless albums ranging from terrible to passable. Most bands aim to replicate their idols without understanding what actually makes them great and others rely on gimmicks or illogical hybrids of styles in their attempts to distinguish themselves from the herd. Sometimes we stumble upon fleeting works that point to something greater but those are few and far between and most of us do not have the time to sit through hours of meaningless music In hope to find a flash of brilliance.  Yet sometimes we come across music that is so bad not through neglect nor lack of skill but through the mental decay of the composers and troubling musical choices. In these situations all we can do is laugh and learn to not become like these people. Here is a list of songs showing various metal musicians at their lowest.

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Trenchant – Martial Chaos 2018

British historian John Keegan, following in the footsteps of German historian Hans Delbrueck, wrote his best book, “The Face of Battle,” as an investigation into the oft ignored tactile experience of battle. Most historians will look at battles in terms of the grand movements of armies, strategic and political outcomes, or even the minuscule tactical maneuvers of squads but rarely do they look at the reality on which their words are based. Keegan’s book smashed many closely held myths about battle, such as the galloping cavalry charge smashing through an infantry line, and unveiled the blood, grime, confusion, chaos, triumph, terror, and brutality of battle. Trenchant’s debut EP is the fitting musical equivalent of John Keegan’s book.

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/smr/ Sadistic Metal Reviews: Massacre of Death Metal’s Mainstream

Yesterday, we gave you the 10 most popular death metal bands of all time.  Now one by one they will face public execution as we absolutely massacre their most recent release.  No mercy will be shown- orders are to kill everything that moves.

Did you fucking soy metal nu males really think they would get off easy?  This is Death Metal Underground- the most savage music site on the internet!  Death to soy metal, death to sellouts, burn and die all falses!  Mayhem- war- sadism- brutalization!  No death metal band should have 1 million Facebook likes!  No death metal band should be on Facebook at all!  Pussies!  Behead the corpses, throw them into the streets- the Templar way!

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Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology (2018)

When you have nothing of substance to fuel the creative urge necessary for musical catharsis, the artistically bankrupt are forced into invention. Here, the muse for this act is a fictional slug overlord that has somehow provided a modern metal band with enough tongue-in-cheek material to spew out four records so far, so at the very least you can’t accuse Slugdge of not sticking to their guns. Bad ideas however tend to foster quicker and more permanent results, and I’m failing to see the inspiration of this act yielding anything further than superficial amusement, so perhaps this is the perfect modern metal product seen from start to finish.

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