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An article, and a reply

An article, and a reply
December 27, 2006, 09:37:34 PM
From another board; the article is in some ways interesting, and in other ways flawed.  The response I wrote took enough time to write, and IMO illuminates certain topics particularly well, that I didn't want it to go to waste only getting posted in one place, thus I'm posting it here as well.

the original article, from http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/general-metal-discussion/272640-primordial-glare-pazuzu-eye-death.html
First up - credits where credit is due. This is published without permission of the author, whom I believe is Adam Kadmon of Davthvs Appendix. If anyone desires this removed, it shall be done. I wish to share it though, since it sums up a lot of things more concisely than I would ever be capable of.

Second, I believe the author's native tongue would not be english, and a few subtleties of language should in no way detract from the message.

Third, anyone who thinks this text is elitist, or is just dropping in to post a headbang smiley should waste their time elsewhere. I've posted this here to stimulate a bit of interesting discussion on an uncommon topic.

There's quite a few other passages of interest I may type out later, but the main point is contained below.


Listening to the doomy end parts of "Sudden Combustion" on the Corpse Molestation demo '92, I get to think this is old material - not ten or a dozen years, but thousands of years - it is the primordial breath of Tiamat's demons. You just don't get vibrations like this from Diabolic or Nile - true Death Metal is alchemy, for from this filth and obscurity, these only partially controlled invocations, one can see Babylon.

Through the years this alchemy has been disturbed by the gradual "refinement" of death metal: the old bands sought to develop in some sense, but by trying to vary their formulas, they soon, one after another, infallably lost it - for this musick is a very precise science, where your calculations and laboratory experiments have to be just right - the chance for you to succeed is very small, the chance to fail are everywhere. And the more consciously you put an effort to reach it, the more certainly you fail, because the glare of Pazuzu is not recognised by the eye of rationality. But the opposite.

The never before heard, unbelievable experiments of subconscious brutality as expressed by the likes of demo-era Morbid Angel, Incubus and Necrovore had already started to fade behind by the time of the early 90's when the last pieces were flushed ashore - this also marking the change of tide, the death metal movement having exploded exponentially, it inspired thousands of clueless. And each following generation was exposed to a larger amount of death/black metal - with an ever diminishing percentage of the vital genes.

So with time, the bestial, only barely controlled chaos had developed/civilized/degenerated into a hairless creature fully aware of its own actions. Or rather: the primal, subconscious streams were now replaced by 'intellect' and 'consciousness' and even when the youthful hunger may have been there, it was melted together with influences from third generation radio-friendly mediocrity.

Mutilated from France, who were rather well known not long ago (but far from the fame they should have deserved already in the late 80's!) will serve as an example of what bestiality I;m speaking about. I never got to hear them back then which proves that my recent obsession with their demos has nothing to do with personal nostalgia (which is nothing wrong in itself) - in short, their demos still to this day possess the frenzy of the time before Death Metal had been dragged out into the light and meticulously explored, losing its aura of mystery. Still, the core was never found. The essence is not trapped.

While fine-tuning their sound and adjusting their triggers, people seemed to forget it was the filth, the obscurity, the stench of the grave that WAS the Death itself. One has to recognise the Death Metal from the death metal. It is very easy. To start with, the latter will already be crying about the unclean sound of the former.

For a more common example, Jocelyn Pook's "Masked Ball" in the film "Eyes Wide Shut" has vibrations of ancient horrors, almost magnetic in its ambience. It is the call. It is a call from the Outside, into this clean, safe, modern world - the unintelligible murmurs of "Masked Ball" don't fit into the rational mind of th emodern man. He shuns it. Or he may choose to cherish these calls... as one does through true Death Metal.

I said Babylon, but the early Sumer with its less manlike gods is more relevant - these old gods have this magnetism, being so old they seem timeless. It's like the Great Old Ones whose tentacles threaten to slither in from th eback doors of the subconscious, inciting fear all the same as reminding about one's primordial origin, before arrival of the white light gods and their unnatural temples of rationality... for in the end it is these strange, awe-filled worlds of darkness that is our home.

Few arts have plunged so deep into the bestial, and the subconscious, as this musick I am speaking about, so appropriately called Death Metal. Here, but only if it is genuine (all else is mistake), you can recognise the unblinking glare of Pazuzu. The face of Satan.

My response:
Too much of that article seems to be an excuse for half-assing it; for uninspired amateurism. I agree that death metal is not a shadow of what it once was, but it's due to the lack of "total fucking rawness, d00ds!!!". Take one that the article mentioned, demo-era Morbid Angel. You'd have to be retarded to put those demos above Altars of Madness or Blessed Are the Sick. The working of those older songs that happened before the first two full-lengths magnified their essence greatly- they sounded much less like some teenagers having fun playing loud music, and more like a truly serious work of occult art, a vision of the void. The Possesseds, early Deaths, Obituarys, and Necrovores of the world will never be able to match the bands that actually put effort into their art; the bands like early Therion, Adramelech, Demigod, early At the Gates, Deicide on Legion, Massacra, Demilich, Gorguts, Immolation, etc.

The real reason why newer death metal sucks isn't because it's not "raw d00ds!!!". The fact is, that mentality is just aesthetic-oriented as most of the fans of the modern crops of either Unique Leader br00tal garbage of watered down shit from gothenburg, and thus is exactly what it claims to not be. The real reason that it sucks is because it's playing for approval of a percieved audience- whether for fun (as is the case with most local bands) or profit (anyone signed to Nuclear Blast/Century Media)- and not the essence of the art.
Discussion topic: Is the anti-aesthetic attitude just a manifestation of the same aesthetic attitude that drives modern metal, as I posited, or is it truly seperate?  Note that when I say "aesthetic", I realize that aesthetic creates message; I am not referring to all aspects of the outward form (i.e., the basic compositional qualities), but such factors as production, playing, vocals, etc.

Re: An article, and a reply
December 28, 2006, 12:20:03 AM
seems to me nothing groundbreaking has happened in death metal since about 1992 and Atheist's 'Unquestionable Presence.'  the eighties were death metal's decade of conception, explosion, and decay.  There was Slayer.  then the florida death metal thing.  add a few nutty europeans and that's death metal in a nutshell.

Re: An article, and a reply
December 28, 2006, 06:45:43 AM
seems to me nothing groundbreaking has happened in death metal since about 1992 and Atheist's 'Unquestionable Presence.'  the eighties were death metal's decade of conception, explosion, and decay.  There was Slayer.  then the florida death metal thing.  add a few nutty europeans and that's death metal in a nutshell.

The Gorguts album, "Obscura" is the last evolution in Death Metal I would say, at least aesthetically. I think, "Blessed are the Sick" is the true Death Metal Blueprint and most representative of the genre though.

So in this sense, the genre probably did reach its peak in 91'.  

Re: An article, and a reply
December 28, 2006, 03:02:46 PM
I agree that death metal is not a shadow of what it once was, but it's due to the lack of "total fucking rawness, d00ds!!!".

He would be better off saying that rawness is a state of mind. Early death metal did not try to please anyone, and it was fanatical, obsessive in its desire to make music that sounded like its thoughts. Those thoughts were existential, and had to do with the preeminence of death over our religion and money-based society. Modern metal fucking blows because it has no spirit and nothing to say, and it's just hipsters trying to find new variations of proven themes.

Re: An article, and a reply
December 29, 2006, 04:22:37 PM
but because of its simplicity and emphasis on rhythm it
evokes a tribal feeling which is very powerful, but also its very catchy which is what gives it its mass appeal