Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Utterly consistent bands

Utterly consistent bands
June 30, 2008, 06:37:47 PM
I find it interesting that, while most people bleat "Change is inevitable!" when a band sells out, some bands never aspire to change -- at all. They consistently make better or roughly comparable versions of the same exact type of music, but it isn't regression.

The only example that comes to mind is Angelcorpse and its predecessor, OFC. Utterly consistent. Not sure I like what it is, but it's an ongoing development of the same idea into a proliferation of representations of that idea.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 12:33:37 AM
Summoning is the first band that comes to mind.

While the group's vision was epitomized on material circa 95-97 (Minas Morgul, Dol Guldur and Nightshade Forests), the central sound and direction has not deviated. Some may argue that the latter albums tend to be less adventurous while possessing a singular mood, more structured (in the binary sense), and streamlined in its polish. All this may be true in comparison but this band's discography on a gauge of quality could still go head to head with the best. I see Oath Bound as a synthesis of the earlier style (Dol Guldur) with the new (Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame). Thus, it'll be interesting to see where the new album ventures...

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 01:55:24 AM
Ah, this is an important issue.

Change obviously has no inherent value. Having discovered the proper means of communicating a certain aspect of reality, why would one ever be compelled to change this means? If one examines the art of all previous "Traditional" societies, be they the of the European middle-ages, the Viking societies or the primoridal Celtic civilizations, what we find is an almost completely fixed means of artistic and religious expression. This is because these peoples understood that only so many things (those which are most real) are worth expressing, and that there is always a contextually appropriate means of doing this, tailored to the needs of their race, in the most full and broad sense of that word.

This is why I become so annoyed by people who think that "metal needs to change and grow" in any sort of formal sense. Metal does not need to establish new techniques. It only needs to master the ones it has with the goal of finding the most pure expression of the reality it symbolizes. In other words, metal needs to understand what it is, not transform into something else.

In terms of extremely consistent bands, Angelcorpse is a good example, though I thought that their most recent album was somewhat of a less-pure expression of the "Angelcorpse Essence". I've recently been exploring Havohej (never liked them in my earlier youth), and it seems to me that they are extremely consistent about what they are fundamentally communicating, even if they occasionally employ some variation in form to achieve this. Thoughts on this band specifically, I would appreciate.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 02:21:43 AM
Claiming that change is inevitable when a band "sells out" is an attempt to justify said band's sapped well of truly meaningful artistic ideas.  This is the point when the band probably should have called it quits.  Unless, of course, they can recapture their former passion.

There's many, many bands who have only put out one or two great albums before splitting up, such as Ceremonium, Conqueror, Throne of Ahaz...and they probably split up for this very reason:  they recognized that instead of making more music that would only be a hollow reflection of their past works, it was time to part ways.

I second Summoning as a very consistent band.  Another that comes to mind is Incantation.  Though production has become better over time, they've maintained the spirit of Onward to Golgotha and death metal in general.
"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality." - E.A. Poe

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 02:29:45 AM
I second Summoning as a very consistent band.  Another that comes to mind is Incantation.  Though production has become better over time, they've maintained the spirit of Onward to Golgotha and death metal in general.

I was actually going to add Incantation, but as I thought about it, I realized that there is a slow but steady qualitative descent present in their works. The first two are excellent and pure in their expressions. Everything afterwards seems increasingly unfocused and frustrated.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 03:29:04 PM
I was actually going to add Incantation, but as I thought about it, I realized that there is a slow but steady qualitative descent present in their works. The first two are excellent and pure in their expressions. Everything afterwards seems increasingly unfocused and frustrated.

Slow but steady? Back in the day, we felt it was like dropping off an ocean shelf, because nothing has topped Onward to Golgotha.

It's their one top-10 death metal album; everything else has been top-10,000.
ASBO

“Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human debris.” - Rush Limbaugh

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 05:29:17 PM
Perhaps I was grasping at straws with Incantation.  Though they may never top Golgotha, I'm still impressed that they've stayed so close to their roots.  It works for them.  Barring them, I'm unable to think of any other bands (with a relatively expansive catalogue) that have remained truly consistent.
"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality." - E.A. Poe

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 07:16:37 PM
Graveland is definitely "consistent," especially the more recent albums.

Quote
Change obviously has no inherent value. Having discovered the proper means of communicating a certain aspect of reality, why would one ever be compelled to change this means? If one examines the art of all previous "Traditional" societies, be they the of the European middle-ages, the Viking societies or the primoridal Celtic civilizations, what we find is an almost completely fixed means of artistic and religious expression. This is because these peoples understood that only so many things (those which are most real) are worth expressing, and that there is always a contextually appropriate means of doing this, tailored to the needs of their race, in the most full and broad sense of that word.

Change is not a requirement, but when you just start repeating yourself, as in there is no growth and no new ideas to express then it is just pointless and redundant.  Its like the black metal scene today, there are TONS of bands doing the exact same thing that the early bands were doing, the only difference is that they are only repeating things that have already been said.  Sometimes repetition is necessary for someone to get an idea, but if it continues long after its understood then it just gets fucking annoying.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 01, 2008, 07:22:37 PM
I was actually going to add Incantation, but as I thought about it, I realized that there is a slow but steady qualitative descent present in their works. The first two are excellent and pure in their expressions. Everything afterwards seems increasingly unfocused and frustrated.

Slow but steady? Back in the day, we felt it was like dropping off an ocean shelf, because nothing has topped Onward to Golgotha.

It's their one top-10 death metal album; everything else has been top-10,000.

I've always found Mortal Throne of Nazarene to be at nearly the same exalted level, and their first four releases are generally very strong to pantheon level.

That said, the band's aims seemed to shift pretty dramatically from album to album in those days (might have something to do with the ever mutating lineup), and it's only been from The Infernal Storm on that Incantation has developed a consistent outlook and aesthetic - too bad both are fundamentally mediocre.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 02, 2008, 02:27:13 AM
I find it interesting that, while most people bleat "Change is inevitable!" when a band sells out, some bands never aspire to change -- at all. They consistently make better or roughly comparable versions of the same exact type of music, but it isn't regression.

The only example that comes to mind is Angelcorpse and its predecessor, OFC. Utterly consistent. Not sure I like what it is, but it's an ongoing development of the same idea into a proliferation of representations of that idea.

Which is why you only need one Angelcorpse album.

I guess at this point I would ask: Is an album that is slightly better than another that was made worth it, when one could have put that effort into making something great?

For me, I'd rather see a band go for something important. Better to risk failure for glory, than to exist irrelevantly.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 02, 2008, 02:40:50 AM
For me, I'd rather see a band go for something important. Better to risk failure for glory, than to exist irrelevantly.

Me too, pending "going for something important" has meaning outside of change for its sake, but the reference here isn't to irrelevance.  "Going for something important" can (and in most cases, seemingly should) just as easily result in albums that sound similar to a band's previous efforts.

Quote
They consistently make better or roughly comparable versions of the same exact type of music, but it isn't regression.

There are plenty who manage to make the "same" album over and over, but few who have managed to be steadfast enough to create quality albums of consistent sentiment through their entire tenures.  The difference seems trivial but I think a distinction can be made, even if you don't happen to agree with the initially cited example.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 04, 2008, 09:06:18 PM
Most bands that are comfortable with a concept, sound, and style get old and complacent and thus stagnate. It's an example of how unwavering faith insidiously shifts from ardent to smug. This corruption of belief in an idea is a consequence of being engaged in, interacting with, and battling with this world. It's impossible to truly believe in something like death metal at this time without isolating yourself. You don't want to become Manowar.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 04, 2008, 11:57:15 PM
I guess at this point I would ask: Is an album that is slightly better than another that was made worth it, when one could have put that effort into making something great?

There is no necessary binding between content and variation-of-aesthetic; the album could be about the same in quality, but express something not said in the previous album. It seems to me a linear fallacy to assume that form/content can only evolve in one direction, instead of seeing form as a vector for content which can be expressed in many voices -- if those voices are of a caliber to understand it (no happy rainbow crowd here).
ASBO

“Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human debris.” - Rush Limbaugh

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 06, 2008, 09:53:05 AM
The Chasm have also steadily been improving their music over the years. I won't expand too much on this here but where Deathcult was good but a bit raw and amateurish, every release since then has led to their crowning achievement so far (and a great achievement for Metal as a whole), The Spell of Retribution.

I feel the same way. With that album The Chasm became current death metal's most promising band. Meanwhile people rave on about Immolation and Suffocation, who are both well past their prime, and Crimson Massacre who to my mind have not yet proved themselves (we will see on the upcoming album). Although, I am very much interested how Absu fares with their latest album.

On Summoning: Sometime after Nightshade Forests they decided (learnt?) to write songs instead of albums. Whether this was a good thing or not i'm not sure, but Oath Bound is absolutely great.

Re: Utterly consistent bands
July 06, 2008, 10:56:15 PM
GORGUTS were always very consistent, and that is why they were so great, and they topped themself every time it seems like.