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Topics - Tree

Metal / A shift of focus from albums to songs
« on: December 12, 2016, 09:37:47 AM »
Earlier this year, my review of Question - Doomed Passages was published on the front page of this site. I know that the review was imperfect, but I would like to expand on my opening statement: "The best albums are greater than the sum of their parts and provide the capability for listener immersion due to their length, but the song is still generally the most important and most fundamental compositional unit in death metal. Paying too much attention to atmosphere, musicianship, individual riffs, or other aesthetic and shallow (though important) qualities of an album can lead to overlooking compositional shortcomings, especially after the mind starts to fatigue or when listening to dense material."

My thinking was influenced by this post: http://rateyourmusic.com/list/Schopenhauer/selective_list_of_non_classical_music/
I feel comfortable claiming that on most metal albums, not all of the songs are essential. Some of the compositions are just inferior versions of the better ones: less memorable, less adventurous, less complete, more repetitive, etc. For example, I listened to Immortal - Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism a few times recently, and I have decided that if that album suddenly disappeared from existence, I would really only miss "The Call of the Wintermoon" and maybe "A Perfect Vision of the Rising Northland." The other songs have enjoyable - even memorable - riffs, and I can tolerate them in the background, but structurally, they don't measure up to the aforementioned opening and closing tracks. Perhaps you will disagree with me about Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, but I use that example solely to illustrate a more general point.

Another example: I've also listened to Obliveon - Nemesis a few times recently. I really want to like that album, but my current opinion is that the first song stands well above the rest. How about a classic like Massacra - Final Holocaust? Yes, it's a fantastic album, but I would be lying if I said that "Researchers of Tortures" (despite its merits) gets my blood pumping as much as "The Day of Massacra" does.

Relating to the idea that not all songs are created equal, I will make two points:

1. I want metal musicians to cut the fluff. I would rather have an EP, compilation, or mixtape of worthy material than an inconsistent album, because the latter frustrates me and wastes my time. Artists with less than an album's worth of things to say should not pressure themselves to generate enough material to fill an entire LP. Artists should restrain themselves when choosing compositions to include on their releases. Quality over quantity.

2. I would like to see music reviewers devote more attention to the strengths and weaknesses of individual compositions (in addition to, not instead of, other aspects of their reviews). I can think of no justification for ignoring the songs, regardless of whether an album is 1. a collection of songs that contribute to an overall mood, atmosphere, or impression, 2. a meta-composition in which the different tracks relate to one another to form a whole that overshadows the parts in importance, 3. something in between, or 4. something else entirely. Discussing or trying to figure out what makes some songs exemplary and other songs unsatisfactory benefits both music listeners and any musicians reading a review. And personally, when I read a music review, one of the things that I want to know is the ratio of high quality music to superfluous music on a release.

It's possible that I am missing the forest for the trees. Any thoughts on this topic?

Audiofile / Withered Earth
« on: June 03, 2016, 09:15:46 AM »
Withered Earth
Withered Earth MP3s

Withered Earth - Forgotten Sunrise (1997)

Withered Earth - Forgotten Sunrise (Mega)

Audiofile / Obtained Enslavement
« on: November 25, 2015, 12:00:39 PM »
Obtained Enslavement
Obtained Enslavement MP3s

Obtained Enslavement - Centuries of Sorrow (1994) [ CD $20 / Discogs ]

Obtained Enslavement - Centuries of Sorrow (Senditz, dead link)

Obtained Enslavement - Witchcraft (1997) [ MP3 $9 / Discogs ]

Obtained Enslavement - Witchcraft (Senditz, dead link)

Obtained Enslavement - Soulblight (1998) [ Discogs ]

Obtained Enslavement - Soulblight (Senditz, dead link)

Metal / Geinoh Yamashirogumi
« on: February 14, 2014, 09:38:42 AM »
Geinoh Yamashirogumi is a Japanese music collective consisting of more than one hundred members. The group is named after Yamashiro Shoji, the pseudonym of its founder and composer. Most of their early albums are an intensive study of traditional musics of Asia, Europe, and Africa, whereas their later projects combine a mastery of specific styles with electronic technology to create conceptual works of art. This group is best known for the soundtrack to the film Akira. The music is ambitious, and creates its own identity while using its diversity of influence as a means of expressing its vision. Interesting and captivating, worth a listen.

Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Ecophony Rinne (1986)
A journey through birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Symphonic Suite AKIRA (1988)
Soundtrack to the film; stands well on its own.

Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Ecophony Gaia (1990)
A tribute to the Earth.

Song selections (this is not immediate music, but these tracks are relatively active):



Disclaimer: I am aware that recontextualization of art is dangerous. Music that employs traditional techniques in a new manner like this must come under proper scrutiny, because something is always lost when studying cultures from the outside. As far as I can tell, Geinoh Yamashirogumi's intentions seem genuine. The primary styles (Jegog, Shōmyō, Noh) that they utilize on their later albums are from their region, which is reassuring. I will leave this matter up to your discretion.

Interzone / Berserk
« on: January 16, 2014, 10:36:38 PM »
"Why do most men commit themselves to the affair of bloodshed? Indeed, men may have a barbarous side. However, it is a tool used for both claiming and protecting precious things. It is a double-edged sword. For some men, things such as family and lovers are duly cherished. But there is one other thing more precious to a man beyond all else...something one pursues for one's own sake and not for that of any other. A dream.

Some dream of ruling the world, some of dedicating their entire life to forging the perfect sword. While some can be pursued alone, some are like storms, blowing apart hundreds or thousands of other dreams as they go. A dream can fortify a man's life, or it can bring suffering upon it. A dream can make a man feel alive, or it can kill him instead. Even if a man is abandoned by that dream, part of it will remain smoldering in his heart. Every man has envisioned his life in this way, at least once. A life as a martyr to his dream, his God. To simply exist just because one's been born is the sort of notion that I hate. I can't stand it.

Those whom you call my friends are my able soldiers. They are important comrades who devote themselves to my dream. However, they are not necessarily my friends. In my eyes, a true friend is someone who never clings to another's dream. Someone independent who can find his own reason to live and follow that path without guidance. And if anyone tries to crush his dream, protect it heart and soul. Even if that person happened to be me. For me, a true friend is someone whom I consider my equal." -Griffith, Chapter 28


A harrowing story set in a medieval fantasy world, Berserk deals heavily with the meaning of life, camaraderie, free will, fate, nihilism and more. It is enthralling, epic, and emotionally potent and it is easily the most beautifully drawn comic that my eyes have witnessed. Whether lingering in pensive wells of thought or writhing up in passionate flames of vigor, it grabs the reader and does not release its grip.

Oh, and it is extremely metal.

WARNING: graphic.

Buy it here or read it here.

Metal / Case Studies of Metal Art
« on: December 17, 2013, 12:27:05 PM »
Deströyer 666 - "Tyranny of the Inevitable"


This song captivated me. I increasingly realized the intelligence of its craftsmanship as I listened to it more, so I decided to study it a bit. The storytelling ability on display here is excellent. This is just a very rough skeleton of observations, first draft kind of material. Maybe a worthless exercise, but maybe not. Inspired by this thread.

Basic structure: A   B   A   B   C   D   C   B   A

0:00 - 0:45

A precursor to the first theme fades into the speakers, played on acoustic guitar and then on electric guitar. This exposition sets the mood for the piece and gently glides the listener into the story. The descending bass melody occurring at 0:27 indicates that the narrator reflects on the event that he describes in the first verse.

0:45 - 1:04

After developing in the exposition, Theme A takes its fully fleshed form. In a raspy voice, the narrator speaks:

"I remember just last night
We drunk and we fucked whores
And I remember some prayed to their gods
For they knew that tomorrow we marched into Hell"

1:04 - 1:22

The second theme (Theme B) abruptly enters with the word "Hell," contrasting the first with its intimidating marching rhythms. The guitars first play constantly and then sustained notes intersperse the riff, allowing for absorption and introspection after the initial exposure to this dread.

1:22 - 2:27

Theme A reappears and the narration continues, this time clearly affected by Theme B. This is reflected in the lyrics, and also in the guitar leads that light up as energy in response to the looming terror.

“Death you have followed me, followed me all these years
Kept the noose about my neck and prayed upon my fears”
Then came the flames"

First the energy is ordered, a fear of "the noose about my neck," but then it becomes chaotic as "then came the flames" initiates a guitar solo at 1:57. Energy surges and conviction is reached as Theme B returns.

2:27 - 2:45

Theme B's second appearance, identical to the first. The listener, no longer surprised, accepts the trepidation that it creates and anticipates what comes next.

2:45 - 3:20

Theme C. The battle, to which the narrator has alluded, begins. Haunting guitar leads echo the unsettling sustained notes of the guitars, which lead into tremolo picked variations of the same two-chord progression. The first chord decays into the second, indicating that a climax has occurred and now there is a descent, a dramatic follow-through to the clash initiated. Drum intensity also increases as this riff develops.

3:20 - 3:46

Theme D. Amidst the chaos, thoughts rush through the head of the narrator. Tom drums beat loudly as his convictions rage strongly and wildly within him and his body wreaks havoc without.

"A man of the cloth came to pray for me
Telling me tales of salvation
To curse my death with morality
And tell his lies of redemption
But our spirit dies in mothers tears
And in our brothers heart
And maybe women will tell tales of our lust
As we fall into blood and dust
Who’ll stand at the edge of my grave
When thy cold winter calls
Who’ll stand at the edge of my grave
Who’ll weather this storm"

3:46 - 4:14

Theme C reappears with previously unseen intensity identified by the double bass drum as the narrator's energy overflows and he rages in absolute defiance of all that stands against him.

"I stand alone
I stand alone"

4:14 - 4:32

The final manifestation of Theme B begins with a bang as the narrator is struck down. The "Hell" of battle (as stated earlier) reappears, claiming him as a victim. The marching rhythm merges with the battle spirit of the narrator; for the first time his voice is audible over this motif. This theme is familiar now and what previously terrorized the narrator internally has ultimately destroyed him as was foreshadowed.

"Death is a curse that has followed me
Death is a curse that has followed me…"

4:32 - 5:18

Theme A's glorious final manifestation in the wake of war majestically soars and develops for the remainder of the song; the narrator, struck down, begins to reflect.

"The tyranny of the inevitable
Stands upon us like the cross on our graves
A curse of the living on death
Not something to fear but transgress
For whom the bell tolls indeed
The bells toll for me"

5:18 - 5:36

Theme A continues as a guitar solo flies furiously.

"Then came the flames"

5:36 - 7:00

A new bass riff underscores Theme A's continuation, mirroring the narrator's epiphanic deathbed thoughts that support his convictions from earlier in the song. New guitar leads and synthesizers serenade the fallen warrior's final bursts of energy and heroic fire. With his final utterance, the narrator dies and the song ends abruptly.

"Now I’ve come to see it’s not real
In a world where beliefs are diseased
Now I see clearly the sky above
And I can’t see your God and your alone
For whom the bells toll indeed
The bells toll for me"

"For whom the bells toll indeed
The bells toll for me"

Metal / Moonsorrow
« on: November 11, 2013, 12:39:06 PM »
"The crusaders of epic heathen metal, Moonsorrow was founded in 1995 with the goal of creating metal art with a good touch of national romanticism and a distinctively pagan approach."

Moonsorrow originally started as a black metal band on their demos; influence from the greats such as Enslaved and Emperor are readily apparent. The band dropped this style starting with Suden Uni, their first full-length album, but black metal elements have reappeared in their last few albums. They have six full-length releases, each of which is a unique creation. All of them, however, retain the band's strong identity. I should highlight this. Each album has its own character entirely, yet somehow fits into the larger context of the band itself. There is a clear progression in sound from the first album to the last.

The compositions are immersive and rewarding and the narrative song structures explore and combine different motifs in ways that continue to fascinate me. The songs are living, breathing entities, developing and flowing organically from exposition to conclusion. All lyrics are in Finnish; they are stunningly poetic, and I have been told that the effect is enhanced in the original, un-translated versions.

Avoid associations between Moonsorrow and bands like Ensiferum, or any other "folk metal" garbage. The former is a seamless integration of a primarily heavy metal framework with Finnish culture and tradition (manifested in the lyrics, the use of rhythms, time signatures, and melodies common in Finnish folk music, and the instrumentation). The latter is formulaic rock music with metal aesthetics and occasional displays of archaic instrumentation that provide little more than novelty. Ensiferum and most of that ilk is unadventurous, insubstantial, and dumb.

I do not recommend this band to those of you who dwell on the dark side, so to speak. Moonsorrow's music is very consonant in comparison to death metal and black metal, so you may find them repulsive haha. There are occasional moments that you may consider cheesy, perhaps due to the presence of keyboards. Their music is sincere and serious though, so don't let this distract you.

Considering the general musical taste of users here, I suggest that you avoid the first two albums, Suden Uni and Voimasta ja Kunniasta, until you are familiar with the other works. While they are remarkable, they sound somewhat stereotypically "folk metal," whereas the subsequent releases pursue a more distinct style. I fear that these first albums will alienate you from the band. My recommendation for first exposure is V: Hävitetty, an ambitious work. Sit down with it, it deserves your attention. Then move to Kivenkantaja and Verisäkeet, and then Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa.

My purpose in creating this thread is to expose a band that I consider fantastic to a group of intelligent individuals who will hopefully appreciate the music and provide discussion about it. Also, if this music is trash and I failed to see this, then you can help me realize that I am wasting my time listening to such a vapid musical excursion.

Moonsorrow is best listened to in album format, but here are some song selections:
Jäästä syntynyt / Varjojen virta (Born of Ice / Stream of Shadows) (from V: Hävitetty)
Raunioilla (At the Ruins) (from Kivenkantaja)
Karhunkynsi (Bearclaw) (from Verisäkeet)
Muinaiset (The Ancient Ones) (From Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa)


Interzone / Hello
« on: November 11, 2013, 10:18:36 AM »
I have known you for a long time. I am pleased to meet you!

I have been a lurker of this forum for about three years now; I know most of you by username. ANUS has had a big impact on my life; the ideas expressed on that website resonated deeply with thoughts that I was having when I discovered it, and they really opened my eyes to new perspectives and worldviews outside of the decaying society that I witnessed every day (yet no one else seemed to notice). Forum posts here are generally of very high quality and I almost always consider reading them a rewarding experience.

Due to various personal insecurities, I was conflicted about joining the ANUS/DMU forum for a long time. In the end, however, I have decided to man up and participate. Perhaps I will regret my decision and disappear, but for now I am committed to giving this a shot. I plan to contribute constructively to the wonderful discussions that so often proliferate on this forum. I tend to get carried away with these sorts of things, but we will see how often I end up posting. I will see you around!