Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Lost inheritances

Lost inheritances
December 27, 2011, 06:17:12 AM
I'm interested in certain widely listened to albums in the metal community, the influence of which has yet to be inherited, or may never be fully inherited. I can make this idea clearer by explaining what it isn't. For instance, Suffocation are probably the most imitated band in death metal, and for good or ill, their style has been fully assimilated into the hearts and minds of metallers the world over.

Atheist, despite being unique, have had their influence fully assimilated into the style of death metal despite there not being any band that I can think of who play it with the same competency that early Atheist showed.

The same can be said for both black metal and viking metal Bathory. Both styles were taken to another level by the Norwegians and others and Bathory's influence seems to have run its course so to speak.

Here are some examples of what I am talking about. Feel free to suggest others:

Obscura, Dimension Hatross, Hvis Lyset tar Oss, Minus Morgul and Dol Guldor (maybe).

Take Dimension Hatross. Gorguts, Immolation and Atheist are all obvious successes to Voivod amongst others, but I still feel that metal has failed to fully take notice of the unique approach to the genre that Voivod had. And I think one of the reasons was the period in which it was released, when the focus was shifting from a predominantly 1980s style speed metal to the death metal of the early 1990s.  

Hvis Lyset Tar Oss effectively killed black metal outright by raising the bar to a level that no one else could reach including Varg himself.

Summoning are debatable. I do not think the world needs more bands playing like them, but I do not feel that their ideas have been taken by others and transformed into something new in the same way that the Norwegian heavy weights have been.

So why has their message not been heard? Is it even a bad thing? Maybe these albums stand as proud anomalies, with only a few antecedents explaining their origin and no worthy successors.  

Re: Lost inheritances
January 04, 2012, 08:25:09 AM
In essence, you're talking about directions that metal took which no one has managed to follow up on.

The reason is a shortage of bands with vision; a contributing reason is a shortage of fans that appreciate this.

Why would a competent musician go into a genre where he or she could compose the most elegant piece, and then the kids would flock next door to the trend of the month, whether it be Pantera, Wolves in the Throne Room, Krallice, Cradle of Filth or Arch Enemy?

Talent does not throw pearls before swine!

Re: Lost inheritances
January 04, 2012, 11:20:52 AM
Soulside Journey, O Agios Pethane, Creation of a Monolith, Tara, Orkblut - The Retaliation, Ildjarn, and Summoning are what immediately come to mind. In the case of Ildjarn, though, I would say that there has been no further exploration because there can't be; albums like Forest Poetry and Strength and Anger are special in that they are already full explorations of their own style. Tara might be subject to the same phenomenon, but it's difficult to be certain. Summoning is a special case as well; although it would be nice to see more development from their ideas, it is difficult to imagine anybody doing it well; they strike a surreal balance in expressing fantastical ideas without coming across as cheesy, although all the ingredients that make up their music would, on paper, make it cheesy as fuck. A good example of gestalt. And Creation of a Monolith is still quite recent, so who knows, maybe it will lead to further development yet.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 04, 2012, 02:24:12 PM
Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is the head scratcher.  So many people agree that the album is either the greatest or in the top 10, but all the bands who were around at the time just carried on with what they were doing as if nothing happened, and kept doing the same thing until it was time for Black Metal to become metalcore with the Batman soundtrack playing in the background.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 04, 2012, 04:21:08 PM
Well, nothing really did happen. After the first wave, few were interested in anything except making black metal for its own sake. It could have matured into multiple strong orthodoxies, but what would be the impetus that drove it? When even the ones who desire purity don't realize the true value (both message and musicianship) what else are you going to get? It's a powerful art by definition, it needs a powerful emotional truth behind it. Satanism is misunderstood and can easily just be liberalism, neo-Nazis have a weak motivation and every other gimmick was just that. This website and a handful of other places were the only avenues where adequate critique was expressed for general understanding. Other than that it was already turning into pop-art with a primarily "rock" (in the sense of musicians becoming career rockstars and the music losing ideological focus) perspective. Being exclusionary beyond the nature of its message also made little sense, it appeared reactionary and immature. The dregs would have been naturally excluded had the music maintained itself and its most visionary artists got wiser instead of more savvy.

It might work out in its favor if there is a resurgence, we should all try to promote this music to people in our acquaintance who we think would be interested. It's almost impossible to like extreme metal if it doesn't intrigue you at all. I've found that when it is explained as a contrast to popular music, its philosophy and history are expanded on, people are told what to expect and why; they tend to be curious enough to give a good listen. Some of it will stick with some people. Introduce it with discretion.

There is so much poor metal journalism (basically advertising), bad bands and albums that a resource like the DLA becomes incredibly precious. The poor name its generated for itself due to certain regrettable antics literally tore me to the core when I learned about them. Melodramatic I know, but this place has been incredibly important to a lot of us. Life-changing for some. As far as metal music is concerned, certainly life-changing for me. It should be revered as the Tradition that it is and presented with the good grace that it deserves.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 05, 2012, 02:26:23 PM
all the ingredients that make up their music would, on paper, make it cheesy as fuck. A good example of gestalt.

This is what makes metal endlessly paradoxical and fascinating for me.  Gestalt!  Who'd a thunk it?

Re: Lost inheritances
January 06, 2012, 01:27:30 PM
Soulside Journey gets my vote in terms of the most enduring (twisted yet logical) song structures.

Hvis lyset tar oss is also unrivalled. Filosofem has been done with little success.

Godflesh - Streetcleaner, much to be learned here in terms of ambient metal.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 10, 2012, 11:29:38 AM
Another thought. Pretty much all the bands mentioned started out in a farely familiar style. Gorguts, Voivod, even Summoning's first was only a hint at the direction they would later take offering farely standard black metal. I remember Luc Lemay of Gorguts saying that this is often a necessary first step for any truly original artist. Beethoven started out sounding like Hadyn before he honed his own sound.

The problem seems to be that a band will find a unique sound and others will think 'we're going to play innovatitive music in the style of x blended with y'. This is just a contradiction. Either you end up playing innovative music or you immitate; the choice is yours but don't lie about what you're doing. Reading interviews from seminal bands one can see that they simply played the music that they loved and let it grow naturally into something unique. There's too much forcing it going.

And once these bands reach that creative peak they fizzle out because they too try to do the exact same thing again, rather than going back to the drawing board and letting things come naturally.

I would also agree that the music press is somewhat to blame. The excessive labelling leads to artists picking and choosing their own style (brand) and pushing that and nothing else.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 10, 2012, 12:01:02 PM
Nietzsche's metaphor of the individual first having to be a camel, then a lion, then a child, fits that Beethoven mold well and I think it is the ideal model for artists.  

FIrst you learn all the rules.  All of them.  You can't break them until you know what they are.

Then once you have mastered the art, you bend it in every direction and forge a new voice.

Finally you use this mastery and bending to create something of pure merit and present your message, whch you have now refined and seen worked out.  You creation makes you innocent in that you are in completely new territory.

Camel -> Lion -> Child

Re: Lost inheritances
January 12, 2012, 03:43:32 AM
The problem seems to be that a band will find a unique sound and others will think 'we're going to play innovatitive music in the style of x blended with y'. This is just a contradiction. Either you end up playing innovative music or you immitate; the choice is yours but don't lie about what you're doing. Reading interviews from seminal bands one can see that they simply played the music that they loved and let it grow naturally into something unique. There's too much forcing it going.

The thing is though, some music developed a very unique, unmistakable voice i.e. Satyricon (or maybe even a composer like Mahler) but it still doesn't amount to anything. Whereas a band like Darkthrone only ever admits to paying homage to Bathory/Celtic Frost.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 12, 2012, 07:26:53 AM
I would be inclined to argue that in the case of Darkthrone, the albums widely agreed to be the best of the bunch were fluke. It's become more apparent with their recent output that all they ever wanted to be was an homage and just happened upon an original sound for a time.

In the case of Satyricon I'd argue that it's simply down to inferior creative capabilties. You may think that's a cope out answer but I never really thought they sounded that unique anyway.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 12, 2012, 09:09:24 AM
I disagree about Darkthrone.  Their third album was a triumph in spirit over professionalism and musically more than a competant competitor to Death Metal, despite lacking the technical composition.  The album before was a strong pioneering effort that I think cannot be denied as a classic and Transylvanian Hungar, whiile meant more as a statement, was still melodically strong and achieved more than antogonism with it's minimalist structures. 

Panzerfaust is a decent collection of metal songs without any real message, almost as if they just couldn't decide if they wanted to expand Transylvanian Hungar or go for the crude Celtic Frost sound, finding neither a stroong enough follow-up.  Other than these albums, I would agree that their albums can be completely avoided, save for their earlier Death Metal work for those looking out of curiosity.  I wouldn't ever say their albums were a fluke, but rather a period of inspiration and great craft, followed by a period where neither musician seemed all that motivated to work on the particular project. 

That is the problem with commerce.  You cannot just make a decent album, but you are expected to make more and more.  With the current system, it would be better if metal bands were given training on how to invest small amounts of money so that they can live off royalties from a few albums for their entire lives. 

Re: Lost inheritances
January 12, 2012, 03:52:11 PM
A few:

(1) Ambient metal in the Darkthrone Transilvanian Hunger/Immortal Pure Holocaust style: break up the drum phrases, emphasize bass drum over snare, make it more like a pulse than a "beat" and thus de-emphasize the verse/chorus distinction.

(2) More like Summoning Dol Guldur except more variety in melody and perhaps even less of the traditional black metal and more of a new genre that doesn't fall into pop/folk imitation like Let Mortal Heroes...

(3) Not metal, but why didn't Vaesen make more albums like their first? It's godly. The rest try too hard to be rock music, which they aren't.

(4) Deeds of Flesh Path of the Weakening -- what made this great was its inclusion of melody and seemingly random song structures that still came together. They never quite hit that point again. Why no one else?

(5) Who inherits from Suffocation? Pierced From Within was brilliant but reined it in from the second album, which really had a lot of undeveloped potential.

(6) Phrasal death metal. Early Massacra, early Incantation, and Morbid Angel Covenant showed us the power of this kind of riffing. How did it just about entirely die out?

(7) Ancient Trolltaar showed metal how to build longer pieces that were not entirely dark, but had varied moods like an opera or theatre production.

(8) Why haven't metal bands gone ancient Greek (no, not that way) by incorporating drama, poetry and music together into one artform?

I won't ask varieties of "the sell-out question," such as why Trey and Dave are dicking around with an artform that will never reveal their talent, instead of making complex death metal, or why Gorguts has a hardon for deathcore.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 12, 2012, 04:16:28 PM
The drama question is interesting.  It is a thought, and it is not only Greek, but Wagnerian (although via Greece and Nietzsche). 

The problem is that a lot of crappy new black metal superstars have tried it in really stupid and unoriginal ways, and other than that you get Alice Cooper styled concept albums by Iron Maiden and King Diamond.  The stink needs to wear out before it is tried in a very serious and artistic way.

Re: Lost inheritances
January 12, 2012, 07:56:45 PM
(8) Why haven't metal bands gone ancient Greek (no, not that way) by incorporating drama, poetry and music together into one artform?
I suppose we see things differently, as to me, this is one of the primary aspects that define black metal. The corpse paint, the emphasis on atmosphere over virtuosity, the elimination of the individual performers' personas(which is more of a culmination on past metal genres than a new development itself), even the droning and highly linear nature of the music itself; all of these lend themselves to an experience that is far less throbbingly emphatic than it is theatrical, in the sense that it presents an alternate reality from which it can more freely frame its particular views and mores. I could, however, agree that this pursuit has yet to be *perfected*. A lot of bands get misguided by the statement "only the music matters," and on the opposite side of the spectrum, the most intensive examples devolve into intentional gimmick a la GWAR.