Sadistic Metal Reviews (07/04/16)

it_will_tear_your_head_off

Why write bad reviews at all? Good music is rare, and bad is everywhere, but if you do not explicitly identify the failings of bad, most people will find it appealing because it does not interrupt their steady stream of self-centered thoughts and is easier than seeking good. If you like good music and want more of it, you must bash as well as praise, as Machiavelli would tell you. And with that, the latest installment of the Sadistic Metal Reviews

iron_maiden_-_the_number_of_the_beast

Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast (1983)

In the early years of the 1980s, many threads of recent history came together: consumerism, ideological government, mass paranoia, urban decay and the fragmentation of social unity. It was a time of fads and panics, of real threats alongside phantoms of symbolic fear, and almost everything became a product that was pre-sliced, sterilized and homogenized, emulsified and colorized, and served up in uniform packages for both total equality and total corporate profit. The Number of the Beast did that to Iron Maiden. Gone were the sprawling prog-rock-meets-punk style of inventive songs that tied together several generations of British music; in their place came surprisingly compact, professional and catchy songs that overtly waved their melodic technique as a type of identity, and at their core pursued a pop formula and pop appeal. Where early Iron Maiden wanted to be outlaw rock heroes, Bruce Dickinson-era Maiden started out wanting to be The Beatles. Notice the provocative title without actually advocating Satanism? That is typical of this album’s appeal: it dangles danger and fear in front of you, but then translates that into a non-threatening version for comfortable home consumption. It is no surprise it was massively successful and propelled the band to greater heights, at which point they experimented more and produced many of their greatest works. The Number of the Beast was great for offending the dying remnants of social order like churches, parents and teachers, but was actually as milquetoast and nanny-safety-state oriented as an episode of Sesame Street. If the cloying melodies and repetitive choruses did not kill you, the emptiness might, or realizing that you were buying the musical equivalent of Ikea furniture. Like a Big Mac, this was the raw meat sweetened and mixed with safety expert approved soy, seemingly rebellious but actually “teaching” the values that mainstream society had adopted only a decade before. With such covertly non-controversial content, but bold title, this album had nowhere to go but up, and that alone should make you suspect it.

pantera_-_vulgar_display_of_power

Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power (1992)

Phil and the boys were drinking grappa again in their Dallas apartment which they had decorated with pictures of the Louisiana swamps that Phil had spent most of his life avoiding to hang out in malls and work on his muscles and hair. “Check out this death metal stuff,” said Phil. “We can do that too!” said Diamond Darrell. They adapted the style they lifted from Metallica, added in some of Louisiana homegrown quasi-death band Exhorder, mixed in a spot of Prong since Beg To Differ had captivated just about everyone with its art-rock/light speed metal mix, and came up with this album. To make it all work, as is inevitably the case, they reduced everything to a basic level of simplicity and turned up the hard rock bounce factor. This album serves the same role as those mesmerizer devices they use to keep lab animals mentally confused during vivisection. Watch the flashing lights… listen to the bouncing palm-muted riffs… hear the cries of a dying animal vocals… and then, pick up on the core of this album, which is rock dressed up in hard rock and then coated in speed/death metal technique to make it seem tough and I dunno, bros, bro-powered. Bro-style. Bro-core. It bounces, it prances and it struts like Caitlyn Jenner on meth at a beauty contest. It provokes, poses and gestures like frat boys drunk on Meister Brau for twelve hours every Saturday night. And then, like a weekend of watching television, it flattens out. The same patterns appear again and again. You hear the tropes borrowed from two generations of rock bands and realize, this is a product. It is like the NO FEAR window stickers, the Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax stickers everyone had back in the 80s, or even the speeches of Bernie Sanders. Sugar-coated aggression conceals an utter void within. Every time I listen to this album, I think of a classic Pantera wrestling match where the loser gets raped, but everyone is equal so they all take turns on bottom anyway.

manilla_road_-_crystal_logic

Manilla Road – Crystal Logic

The movie Spinal Tap was not a “how-to” guide, fellows… Manilla Road takes the NWOBHM formula of 60s guitar rock plus the early 1970s triad of proto-metal and hard rock (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin) and comes up with something that resembles sperg rock more than heavy metal. The incessantly repetitive verses and choruses utilize the worst technique possible, which is the vocals shadowing the guitar riff, and the riffs themselves come to us straight from the catalog of hippie burnout anthems and butt rock. Every painful cliche appears in lyrics and cover art, and the vocalist sings in a nasal whine. Various journalists and interest sperglords have praised this album for its technicality, but this technicality is borne of its use of rock theory and recognized tropes from past generations, not its ability to create metal. Even the metal spirit is missing; this sounds like a tour of a new Disney ride or a second-string Tolkien clone more than an album designed to introduce you to the depths of your soul through nihilism. It is bouncy, peppy, and reminds me of girls wearing leg warmers and fluffy arm-bands doing aerobic exercises in the 1980s. I can find things to like about it, and clearly these guys and I read the same books in the 1970s, but, dear ancient gods of vengeance, I am forced to shut it off. The shrill, poppy sound is not nearly as bad as the kind of mental dropout activity that I associate with fundamentalist religions and Hallmark cards.

venom_-_black_metal

Venom – Black Metal

Venom gets away with its mediocrity in the same way that liberal, hipster, artisanal, proto-libertarian, status conscious and haughtily pretentious indie-rock bands do: by appealing to pity. No one wants to kick the scrappy little guy who makes it big despite having no musical chops and no social graces, and yet, this album is a type of entryism by pop music as a mentality. The damage it has done to metal is incalculable, considering that it is basically a Motorhead ripoff with an emphasis on minor key and progressions that end with diminishing intervals instead of expanding ones. Your typical Motorhead riff is early rock ‘n’ roll taken to an extreme: a chromatic rhythmic component, then expansion into pentatonic and minor melodic note progressions that are chopped up across the course of the song to make a melody. Venom both improves this with a more aggressive use of half-steps, but also avoids the melodic continuity in favor of a dependence on sheer rhythm, which produces a type of blockhead mentality that inspired legions of idiots to pollute metal with stupidity. The trudging rhythms and over-dependence on vocals also make this painful. Its aesthetic contribution might be noticed, but with Quorthon not depending on it, and Motorhead having done most of this, Venom seems unnecessary. Any punk or Motorhead and Black Sabbath combination would have produced the end result of death metal without the wastage created here, which is the introduction of a small retarded incontinent bisexual midget to a conversation among people of intelligence. No one wants to be cruel to the retarded midget, so every round in discussion stops for him to do an interpretive dance, write runes with his feces, and rant in the same quasi-language Jodie “Hinckley Had a Vision” Foster used in Nell. And so metal backdoors pop music into itself, then wonders why it never took off like jazz did…

kreator_-_terrible_certainty

Kreator – Terrible Certainty

Clearly the damage done to Germany during World War II was wider and deeper than anticipated. While I am no fan of fratricidal wars like the two World Wars, having your nation follow a man who sells hope and delivers quasi-Leftist timarchy that promptly takes on the world and, outnumbered 20-to-1, loses, can crush anyone. Germany struck back with Kreator which reminds me of the second of the original Star Wars movies: you want to get lost in the world, but the premise is so broken that suspension of disbelief is impossible, and so you doze and wake up for the few cool moments. The second riff in “Storming With Menace” is legendary and contributed quite a bit to death metal, but it is surrounded by the usual Kreator mundungus of trite hard rock riffs transposed by one note into a mishmash of chromatic and open intervals, thrashy interludes that seem to suspend time because they go nowhere, ranting “foot-stomping” choruses that are as infectious and repetitively exhausting as a Miley Cyrus chorus. Like that horrible space opera sequel, the dream both peeks out from behind the chaos and then is destroyed by it, rendering the idea of the dream itself unstable. Kreator probably drove more intelligent people away from metal than any other band that is not outright devoted to doofus-core (Venom, Pantera). It is not, like the 90s and beyond material, self-referential when it is bad, but like Germany today, is too much other-referential. Kreator tries to be a speed metal band, a death metal band, a punk band and a hard rock band at once and the result is a potato salad of confusion and internal angst projected as one-dimensional drama. When this album first comes on, I always have that false hope made infectious by nostalgia, but when it finally turns off, I am doubly pleased to return to the current time even if it is in all ways a worse era.

sunn_o_-_kanon

Sunn o))) – Kanon

This piece, like every other Sunn o))) piece, reminds me of being a kid on road trips. I would lean my head against the side of the car and listen to the drone of the road noise. That drone however was mostly random, and periodistic patterns popped out of it at random, making it somewhat interesting. Sunn o))) instead shows the triumph of human neurosis: by deliberately styling itself as noise, and trying to build toward a dramatic conclusion with essentially linear increase in intensity in circular patterns, it reveals none of the underlying power of chaos and is in fact its opposite. This music is like a suburban housewife arranging dried lotus flowers and “found” bird feathers in order to make a rustic-looking display for her dining room table, which she will throw out a few months later when she finds a round of mites or beetles have hatched from it. In Sunn o))) we see the human trying to conquer nature by emulating it but in a form that the human mind finds convenient. Imagine this recording as a ramp, perhaps even with a “handicapped” sign next to it. It starts out at low volume, and goes to high volume. It does this with a basic repeated figure, and underneath that little epicycles of circularity etched into the details, giving you enough to listen to that you think there is some variation. But on the informational level, the variation is low: you could write this piece in five lines of computer code. However, as Opeth discovered and Sunn o))) exploited, among the basement-dwelling NEETbeards of the world there are enough grubby handfuls of dollar bills to make a career. Music like this makes them feel important and even more, to possess a secret hidden knowledge that the rest of us do not, which explains why fedora’d neckbeard hipsters should rule the world and the rest of us should just quit being whatever we are. Like all good lies, it has partial truth; the people in charge of this world are clearly hamsters. But the neckbeards should not rule us either, and nor should Sunn (((o))) grace our shelves.

voivod_-_war_and_pain

Voivod – War And Pain

Voivod contributed quite a bit, but not with this heavy rock plus punk album. At first glance, it seems exciting for its energy and seemingly clear themes. Then these emerge as a study of rock music, plus bluesy but directionless lead guitar (what we might call “lead guitar fills” or my favorite slang, “skid fills”). On the other side of this contemplation, the album reveals itself as something that we might claim to admire but will never listen to because it is basically a fast, messy, slightly more complex version of the punk/indie of the time. The metal quotient is not only low but the quality level has fallen to an unsettling depth. You can hear the band working on having strong themes but like much of the mid-1980s material, they were unable to express these as part of a continuous musical gesture, creating a sense of momentary clarity arising out of chaos. The rest is borrowed straight from Motorhead but with less grace and even less focus. The result resembles the neurosis of the French-Canadian mind: full of good ideas, but cannot connect them up because to do so would be to violently oppose being part of Canada, which in turn leads them to question many of the underlying assumptions on which they base their everyday decisions. If you listen to this album while very drunk, the noise will fade into the background and the good parts will stand out, but you will also find yourself recalling only a disjointed jumble, which is an accurate assessment of this album of promising parts and a disappointing whole. It is the perfect background to modern activities like watching television, doing needless work and watching your civilization vanish into a black hole because it is both purposeful and utterly confused, producing the perfect neurotic backdrop to increasing historical irrelevance and existential confusion.

led_zeppelin_-_led_zeppelin

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

How can one come out of the closet as a hater of one of the most famous rock bands of all time? Answer: I loathe rock music for dumbing down music, and tend to like the exceptions, not the rule. Led Zeppelin was the music industry’s response to Black Sabbath and Iggy Pop. If you like hard driving riffs and complex dark songs, we have come up with a solution for you — heavy blues, in a dose of surf rock, with some progressive touches — that will not offend anyone because its only vices (sex, drugs, Satanism, pedophilia) are captive vices of the dominant paradigm and its corrupting force on civilization. Led Zeppelin will not make you overthrow your leaders, nor think outside of the Red Team Versus Blue Team, nor reconsider spirituality, nor even have any profound thoughts on sex or drugs. It is merely good times party music, verse/chorus with some solo-led deviations, designed to like the blues make you feel some self-pity and a lot of entitlement as you go about ignoring reality and pursuing callow pleasures. Sure, these riffs are occasionally great, but for the most part, they are variations on known themes, but without any particular joy or even direction to the end product. That is what it is, after all: a product, a radio song designed to be consumed by the distracted on their way to obedient rebellion that guarantees they will be swallowed up by the toxic, infectious and malignant modern System™ on their way to self-gratification. Do you like ancient blues leads, that were old even before the Americans ripped off Celtic and German drinking songs to invent “country” and “the blues”? How about “groove” that rewards your inner monkey and denies your brain? Every dumbass in the world loves Led Zeppelin, and for good reason. It is a king chosen from among them.

dead_war_-_the_triumph_of_death

Dead War – The Triumph of Death

It is very easy to become cynical today as a music reviewer. If you value truth, you are on the wrong side of history, because the people who are going to win are those who use an “everything is great” approach to reviewing where they approve of idiocy because it advances their own individual careers. Get that? — there is no Conspiracy, only people acting in self-interest, and when they do it as an uncoordinated group they destroy whatever they are claiming to protect and nurture. So it is with metal reviewers, and the result is that you will receive an onslaught of promos in your inbox, almost all of which are mind-numbingly stupid but all of which will be praised. Do you become the lone man with a sword, the boy with his finger in the dike, the solitary cowboy stopping a stampede with his hand? Or do you choose success, social popularity, money and power? Dead War try their best to make their music work, but it is time for them to stop and make some hard choices. Triumph of Death is closest to the first Hate Eternal album, being both (1) a speed, death, black and hard rock hybrid and (2) using lengthier chromatic riffs in percussive off-time rhythms as its basis, which causes the riff to become dominant and the song to become chorus-heavy. This in turn makes these songs exhausting. There is nothing wrong with any given part; these gents play their instruments well, appear to love and understand metal, and like making heavy songs. But too much emphasis on the loop avoids what makes metal heavy, which is how it all gets summed up by a riff at the end. How it all comes together. The synergy, gestalt and synthesis not the repetition. If Dead War sits down and decides on something more than a Greek salad musical style, and starts editing/improving their songs to leave the listener in a place of emotional power and contemplation (at the same time — which is unique to metal) upon the end of each piece, they have the potential to be a top-notch band.

acanthrophis_-_twilight_of_the_vanquishers_reign

Acanthrophis – Twilight of the Vanquisher’s Reign

I submit to you all that music reviewing involves two tasks: the first is pointing out the obvious greatness which most people will deny at first, and the second is finding bands that are on their way to that greatness, if they can do it. It is just like the Olympics: some are born talents (Varg, Iommi, Hanneman) and others take some time, work and introspection to get there. You know, like the rest of us in life and just about everything. Acanthrophis releases its first EP in a style that is new for its composer, which is the “blackened death” of the late 1990s plus some of the technical death metal influences that followed. Blackened death metal was a variety of death metal that incorporated the melody of black metal and some of the elegance and scene-setting of classic heavy metal like Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest. What Acanthrophis does well is continuity; each riff relates to the rest, and those to a central theme, which then leads through a negotiation to a conclusion, at which point we find ourselves in a different place. If anything, the band could accelerate this aspect to show more of the melodic relationship developing toward an emotional conclusion; melody is “emotional” on its surface, but until those emotions become mixed — as is the case always in life — and then achieve a third state where the conflicting elements find harmony, even if just with the major theme, the true power of the music is not unleashed. Acanthrophis understand this, which puts them in the rare one percent of metal bands at this point, and they do a credible but tentative job of it. With some confidence, time, energy and a chance to play these songs out, this band will learn how to streamline their material before adding complexity, and bring out the true power in this music. In the meantime, here are some riffs — actual riffs! — which do not stagnate or merely repeat like a football stadium chorus. Guitars take elaborate but not irrelevant roles in hashing out songs that are clearly based around a central theme, and which gracefully descend to a promenade-like conclusion in which all is revealed. There may be a few stumbles here and there, but not falls, which occur when a band includes something totally irrelevant. On the whole, this is one of the better things to float across my desk in some time.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

82 thoughts on “Sadistic Metal Reviews (07/04/16)”

  1. Ggallin1776 says:

    Phil will rape you with a vulgar display of boner.

  2. Jon Brioni says:

    CHRIST, you guys! Haha, Sadistic Metal Reviews — Eviscerate the Classix edition! You really threw me by demolishing ‘The Number of the Beast’. I’ve loved it for a decade; have I just been an idiot? You made some good points that are making me question my devotion to ‘Maiden.

    I know DMU reps ‘Killers’. Is everything after that complete shite?

    Smashing Pantera… beating a dead horse, at this point. You’ve made your point well enough in the past.

    1. Number of the Beast is just the worst of the six Maiden albums.

      1. Shawn Wright says:

        Daniel, shut the fuck up and get busy with that Ungod and Dark Funeral reviews! Make yourself useful and be done with it. Then lend me those buttcheeks for my sensual pleasure u sexi boi toi.

        1. Nice fanny pack Shawn!

          1. Kuntinual says:

            @ Daniel the faggot Maarat

            You suck on your mother´s flabby cunt Daniel. Back in the late 90s, on the original -metal faq at the Anus, Prozak listed Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast as an essential pick. So open your mouth and swallow my cum faggit.

            Respectfully

            Kuntinual

            1. Who cares what Prozak liked in 1998? How about you drop your pants, bend over, spread your cheeks, and let Prozak pound away?

              1. Kuntinual says:

                @ Daniel the faggot Maarat

                That sounds enticing! You should joing us. let us have our own little party of three. you know what? Bring your mother in case we get the munchies for twat.

                love

                – Kuntinual

            2. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

              “Prozak likes it so it must be good”
              “God commands it so it must be right”

              Slave values
              Slave morality

              Disgusting

              1. Kuntinual says:

                @ Ludvig B.B. (vOddy)

                Get off your high horse fag.

                Like somebody else already told you, you’re a dumb shit twink.

                Being morally disgusted is not metal you liberal cum-slurper.

                1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

                  I am not disgusted at a set of ethics, but at his meta ethics.

                  1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

                    Oh, it’s you.

                    Correction: I am not disgusted by your ethics, but by your meta ethics.
                    I prefer an enemy who’s morality includes that I should die, if it is truly his own innate morality, to an ally who’s morality includes that I should thrive, if it is merely slave morality.

                    1. C.M. says:

                      Results first, man. Everything else after. Morality be fucked.

                    2. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

                      To C.M:

                      The morality that arises from a slave mindset tends to be uglier than the alternative.
                      Those are results.

    2. ttt says:

      https://olddisgruntledbastard.com/2014/09/26/why-iron-maiden-are-the-greatest-heavy-metal-band-part-2/

      this got me interested in hearing those later albums. may be worth a try.

  3. adjsjaos says:

    Please. If Venom had played the satan stuff straight, then Venom’s “mediocre combination of Black Sabbath and punk” would get the usual autist beat poetry Prozak treatment: “Labyrinthine sub-cells or narrative anti-melody run parallel in cyclical oblivion above phrasal non-recursive rhythm…” Welcome to Hell and Black Metal are classics and this faggoty revisionism will not stand

    1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

      I am impartial, because I wasn’t born when the greatest metal was coming out.

      And I tell you, Venom isn’t even worthy of serving Darkthrone, Burzum, Enslaved, Immortal, or Mayhem.
      Bathory, on the other hand, has value. That’s a good first wave band.

      There’s nothing epic about Venom. There are no moments of power, that everything which had happened before in the music led up to.

      1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

        I am also alienated by the Satanic themes. I don’t understand them, as I was never exposed to Christianity, Satanism, or any religion when growing up.
        My judgement is based purely on the music and its quality.

        1. Triggers says:

          Genuine question; how old are you? Your posts reek of some try hard squeeker, who just ditched his slipknot records. You’ll find a good home here.

  4. Johan P says:

    I have wonderered for a long, long time why I never chose to listen to War and Pain when feeling the Voivod-urge, other than when having a couple of beers. Guess its time to realize that it is not just because the later albums are better, but also that W&P is just too disjointed and blusey to stimulate either the brain or the spirit (except when drunk).

  5. adjsjaos says:

    “Led Zeppelin was the music industry’s response to Black Sabbath and Iggy Pop. If you like hard driving riffs and complex dark songs, we have come up with a solution for you — heavy blues, in a dose of surf rock, with some progressive touches”

    WTF are you talking about?? Led Zeppelin influenced Sabbath. Surf rock? WHAT? Stick to metal.

    1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

      Led Zeppelin is shit. And The Beatles. I’m glad that this website is acknowledging that. Pop today is garbage, and pop in the past was garbage.

      1. DMS says:

        Yeah, tracks like Dazed and confused were ‘pop’. You haven’t even listened to this album have you, son? Hush now and plop that br00dal death metal album on.

  6. Marc Defranco says:

    Bleh

  7. Bruce Dick In Son says:

    Wasn’t the self titled Led Zep released before the Black Sabbath self titled? I fail to see how this album could be a response to Black Sabbath? I agree though that it’s ‘good times’ music, with focus on interpersonal relationships (yawn), but to me, it’s not without it’s merits in terms of riff oriented songwriting (e.g. How Many More Times or Dazed & Confused). Good call on Venom btw, I’ve been saying this for years.

    1. The bands arose simultaneously, in the midst of other bands trying the same style. Led Zeppelin got to market first. They were acquainted with Sabbath, I believe. Most of the damage happened with later Led Zeppelin. They did produce one good album, which was Physical Graffiti, but other than that — as you might say — they were just a technically proficient version of the Venom approach, minus one generation.

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        Black Sabbath didn’t even exist until after the Led Zeppelin album you were referencing was released and the chances that a bunch of London-based ‘professionals’ trying to ride the coattails of the fading chart career of the Yardbirds would be acquainted with some Birmingham-based would be ‘heavy blues musicians’ nobody ever heard of are not great.

        1. Anonymous says:

          I’ll be generous and assume he’s saying Led Zeppelin was inspired by Earth/proto-Black Sabbath. Dunno if that’s true, but the two bands did meet on occasion as early as 1968.

          1. Rainer Weikusat says:

            That’s unfortunately still completely impossible and wouldn’t have led to much had it been possible as the ‘scary music’ idea didn’t occur to anyone until 1969. Leaving the issue with the different status (‘supergroup which grew out of the Yardbirds and was signed by Atlanic without even listening to them’ vs ‘local blues band with unstable line-up’). Most importantly, the music is completely different: At least up to Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin was clearly a latter British blues band (the first track on this album is actually a newer blues standard) while Black Sabbath isn’t. Something which predated both and which is much closer to early Black Sabbath than early Led Zeppelin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g1OIzVoIzY (this is purposely not Race With The Devil). And there were lots of these bands.

            1. Cyrdarxes says:

              As much as I agree with the spirit of this site, many of its opinions are garbage, with shreds of truth peppered throughout.

              Years ago, Prozak and ANUSites would bash the band Death (especially its founder Chuck Schuldiner) on grounds of them not deserving to be recognized as one of the primary progenitors of death metal. They would argue bands like Massacra, Sepultura, and Destruction already beat them to the punch, which is silly, considering Massacra was only a year-old and didn’t even release anything by the time “Scream Bloody Gore” was out. Early Destruction was speed/thrash metal with some extreme metal inclinations and definitely influential on bands that actually were death metal, but hardly enough for themselves to be considered death metal. Sepultura was the only example among them that was plausible.

              Another good example is how this site seems to worship any black/death metal band from Texas, just because Prozak himself is a Texan. With a handful of exceptions, most of those bands are average at best/shit at worst and not the genre-defining gems Prozak and company make them out to be.

              You will find that when it comes to this site’s take on metal, it often reflects the personal tastes and biases of the staff, rather than an objective and comprehensive study of metal they often claim is sorely missing from metal journalism.

              1. Death is terrible and Chuck only adopted the extreme speed metal style after hanging out with Repulsion.

                The real originators of death and black metal were bands like Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Slayer, Bathory, Repulsion, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Carcass, and the Teutonic and Brazilian speed metal bands. Death had little to no future influence; you can hear more Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore, and even Eric Clapton in death metal than Chuck Schuldiner.

                1. Sunshine the Jolly Negro says:

                  nigga i gotta homewerk assignment fo yo ass: http://www.deathmetal.org/bands/death/death-spiritual_healing/

                  This album innovates many of the styles of death metal: cyclonic strumming that synchs to micro-reductive rhythms, churning like an underground music; the placement of muffled strumming between verses for Baphomet-style riding brutality; ambient rolling tonal shifts subtly altering harmonic space behind lead guitars or lead rhythms of fast, liquid notes; backgrounding of major notes into the riff to achieve subtle but effective double-strumming; and synchronizing of strumming rhythm with percussion high register (high hat or similar distinctive low-footprint sounds). In these, and in the basic and undefinable art of phrase/virus composition, Death are supreme.

                2. Cyrdarxes says:

                  You’re delusional if you believe Death was not a massive influence on later bands. Also, Death, when they were still Mantas, predate Genocide (pre-Repulsion) and released several demos before the latter even released their first.

                  And, for the record, I’m talking about proper death metal here, not proto-death like most of the bands you mentioned. Possessed and Sepultura are plausible comparisons, because of the large similarities between their debuts, though they were not quite entirely where Death were when “SBG” came out. Perhaps if Master had managed to release their recorded material in 1985, then they could’ve been regarded as the true pioneers of death metal back in the day, instead of receiving the marginal praise they do nowadays, primarily from sites like DMU, and going largely unnoticed. History is made by those who made an impact, not by those who might’ve.

                  Lastly, you also operate under the false assumption that a band has to be good (which Death were) in order to have been an influence. They had the sound before most others did and that’s all that matters. If you don’t like a band, just say so and move on. But, don’t attempt to deconstruct a band like Death’s obvious place in metal history with pseudo-insight just to prove to yourself and others that you’re right.

                  Your/this site’s metal revisionism is without merit.

                  1. Mainstream popularity is not influence.

                    1. Cyrdarxes says:

                      Okay, spin doctor. Where did I imply that?

                  2. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

                    Death Strike released their demo in 1985 and Speckmann is rightfully considered one of the founders of death metal.

      2. Brutal death metal owns so hard says:

        Do you actually believe that guff or is this some neo-hipster revisionism thing? You seem pretty obsessed by neckbeards; let me gues, you’re rejecting something you were only fairly recently?

    2. Johan P says:

      Compare the differences in riffs and structure between early Sabbath and Zep. One is hard rock, the other metal.

  8. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Led Zeppelin grew out of the splinters of the Yardbirds in 1968, starting with the New Yardbirds led by Page going on a Scandinavian tour the Yardbirds committed to before disintegrating. Which means the predated Black Sabbath. And they’re decidedly not »good times party music«, annoyingly pretentious crap would a much better description. I was thinking about something different but there’s too much garbage on youtube and too little interesting things (specifically, Nick Graham/ Carl Palmer era Atomic Rooster), so here’s some blues instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNftrsCMiQs.

  9. C.M. says:

    Dayum! Despite the really stinky pop-punk love song stuck into the middle of Crystal Logic, the rest of the album rules, especially Flaming Metal System! Brett, you should talk to your doctor about the effects of low testosterone production, you fun-hating pansy.

    As for the Satanic references of Iron Maiden; I figured the band were letting you know how tongue-in-cheek they were being with the cover art featuring Eddie dangling a Devil marionette at the viewer. This made me think they were being self-consciously campy or mocking the overt and unironic Satanic themes of more extreme metal acts.

    1. Occam’s Razor: if it looks like canny marketing, and it is on a product, it is canny marketing. Irony sells especially when paired with provocation. How do we know? Marilyn Manson did the same thing fifteen years later; the Rolling Stones did the same thing fifteen years before.

      Instead of Manilla Road, consider firing up some DBC.

      1. C.M. says:

        Nothing wrong with DBC. But Manilla Road are close to my heart because, among other things, the guys sound like they are having a really good time, and that’s good to hear every now and then. A raw zest for action and life, not filtered through some inverted nihilistic posturing (however sincere), is healthy and invigorating.

        1. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

          Sincere posturing?

          I really enjoy this album too and don’t think it deserved a SMR. Brett’s getting cranky in his old age!

          1. C.M. says:

            Sincer posturing is a dumb term, but what I meant to reference was the way death and black metal bands establish a stance that is realistically/practically untenable… for example, the concept of eliminating Christianity by executing Christians en masse. Or even a hatred of human life in general. The band members who express these sentiments don’t actually “walk the walk” or act on these sentiments. And that does not really diminish the sentiments themselves because they are supported by the musical structure and therefore relatable and may transfer into day to day life and have some effect, however less drastic than an actual Christian holocaust might be. And more likely than not, these sentiments may reflect, in inverse, a desire to live a more fulfilling life without the ethical constraints imposed by a society that revels in nonsense morality.

            That is all well and good, but the outright gleeful enjoyment (and at time, indulgence) of life as it is expressed by heavy metal acts makes for a refreshing contrast to the oppressive negative-duality of death and black metal.

            Sorry for the confusion.

            1. Vagisil Creme Davis says:

              You’re reminding me of an interview with that nigga Erik from Watain:

              “If Watain had unlimited resources, what would you do that you have not done so far?

              We would get a stage that was big enough to hold six billion corpses. Then we would arrange six billion human corpses and put them on the stage, and then we would play the last Watain show ever on that stage. And then we would probably go and have a drink at headquarters, and drink to the world’s end.”

              …and then we would have sex with…?

              1. Cadaveric spasms says:

                Only necrophilia is acceptable.

            2. Art is metaphor for emotional state in response to the world, and the moral choice of whether to face reality or drift into fantasy land. When a band says, “Blow up the world!” they are expressing a sentiment, not a sincere advocacy, in most cases.

              1. Cadaveric spasms says:

                Those sort of homos are called faggots.

                Advocacy of hard drugs, unprotected AIDS sodomy, murder and anything else of that nature should be endorsed.

            3. Billy Foss says:

              I agree to an extent. This is the very reason why I’m able to enjoy Slayer’s Live Undead despite the fact that it’s not a “true” live album. Though I would argue that it is unique in that it effectively evades the disparity of these two perspectives by imparting wisdom through it’s revelry.

      2. Robert says:

        This is what I love about your Sadistic Metal Reviews, Brett. You always recommend an album of quality after tearing apart other shit albums that are unworthy. There’s a silver lining when you write.

      3. Can you survive the blitzkrieg says:

        This might blow your mind, but you can actually enjoy both! Isn’t that fucking crazy?!

      4. spillage says:

        Occam’s razor is also a nice crutch for the mentally lazy. I’m sure it’s something you trot out a lot, judging by these ‘reviews’.

    2. Johan P says:

      Seconded on the Manilla Road, although I admit to them being something of a guilty pleasure. Why the hell didn’t they include ‘Flaming Metal System’ on the original release?!

      How about some Brocas Helm as well?

      1. C.M. says:

        I don’t know why it was not included! The song kicks ass, along with Crystal Logic, The Riddle Master, The Ram… and I especially love how the chorus of Necropolis sneaks up on you because the first chord drops back to what sounds like the start of the verse riff.

        And I’ve never heard Brocas Helm before but I’ll check into it.

        1. Johan P says:

          The majority here would probably hate them, but I like all BH stuff. Some tunes sound kind of strange though. Try their first album, Into Battle for early, raw US heavy metal! Songs like ‘Ravenwreck’, ‘Into Battle’, ‘Dark Rider’ etc. incites similar fist-pumping reactions as Manilla Road, I think.

  10. AK-47 says:

    I just gave Venom and Black Metal a full listen for the first time and honestly, there’s zero artistic similarity to even the first Bathory album. Is it so strange to believe Quorthon by way of Black Sabbath (lyrics), Motorhead and a bunch of hardcore punk music created the 1984 sound in complete parallel to this turd? It sounds like something Blackie Lawless could’ve released and has none of the medieval obscurity the Bathory S/T has. Note that “artistic” and “musical” similarity aren’t necessarily the same thing.

    Venom must owe most of their ‘cred’ to Euronymous who was a notorious bullshitter and history revisionist in interviews. He probably went a bit overboard in trying to distance the Norwegian approach from the popular death metal at the time; he took the “black metal” term from an old insignificant band just because they were aesthetically different from the current death metal scene he disliked, and so Venom got a free ride on the shoulders of the great Norwegian scene.

    1. Can you survive the blitzkrieg says:

      If you can’t hear traces of Venom in old Bathory, Hellhammer, old Sodom, you’ve selective hearing, everyone listened to that dumbass band like it or not.

  11. Acanthrophis says:

    Thank you for the fair review of the Acanthrophis record. Whether is it liked or disliked by listeners, based on composition alone it doesn’t deserve to be dismissed as wholly devoid of merit in today’s compositionally-stunted modern climate. For those who wish to make up their own minds on the record, you can stream the whole thing here:
    https://acanthrophis.bandcamp.com/album/twilight-of-the-vanquishers-reign
    Thanks for listening!

    1. Johan P says:

      I’ll give it a try. Don’t want to miss out on that Golden Axe reference!

  12. Who is to decide? says:

    Am I the only one who finds that the influence of Motorhead is way overstated? The whole discography of the band is basically just slight variations of that one song that Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind once upon a time.

    1. matia says:

      So is Black Sabbath riffage to metal. We should stop at late 70s and never hear anything beyond cause its one of the same. Better yet we should stick back to classical music era and stop listening to anything with guitar…pretentious asses with elitist smell

      1. C.M. says:

        Who says that Black Sabbath riffs are so important to metal? They are basically just blues riffs. Sabbath’s influence on metal comes from their song structuring and “heavy” themes more than anything.

        Hardcore and thrash were more influential on metal’s style of minor and chromatic riffs.

    2. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

      Yes.

      1. Steve says:

        Yes!?

        Motorhead is just something you will hear in some seedy biker bar, its just rock music to get shitfaced to.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          That you’ve only ever heard Motorhead in seedy bars after everyone got “shitfaced” to the degree his cocaine baseplate would still carry him doesn’t really communicate anything about the music. I know little enough about the band as I was never particularly interested in it, however, I’d recommend having a look at the desparate amphetamine paranoia underlying Capricorn or at Stay Clean.

          1. C.M. says:

            That actually does say something about the music. That one particular audience identifies strongly with the sentiments expressed by the artist may be a sort of causal inversion, but you can still deduce something about the artist and his audience by observing their interaction.

            Motorhead is for fat alcoholics. Nobody I know actually thinks Lemmy was cool, they just talk him up because it’s considered heretical not to. Fuck his loser alcoholic ass and his shitty bar band.

            1. Rainer Weikusat says:

              The people I happen to know how end up playing Motorhead in bars are usually drink- and cocaine-crazed (suspicion) salesreps, often even wearing (tie-less suits), towards the end of the second leg of one of their midweek weekend days (Wednesday or Thursday) and that’s invariably Ace of Spades because it fits nicely (or so they probably believe) into the other »real badass with vulgar display of boner [who unforunately lost out on getting laid today]« music they usually delight themselves with (Pantera, Slipknot, ‘Reign in Blood’ Slayer, late Metallica etc).

              Contrasting with this, one of the more unlikely events in my life was that I went to a Motorhead gig in Wiesbaden/ Schlachthof in 2004: Tickets had been sold out months before the event but on the day before it, I got one as present from the then-girl-friend of an ex-girl-friend of mine I was flat-sharing with at that time as she didn’t really dare to go to the event after all. Sepultura opened and a attracted a moderatley large crowd of Wacken Wankers, that is, tall, short-haired guys who jump up and down and punch or kick everyone who has the mispleasure to come close enough to them. I stayed entirely out of their way because this didn’t seem like »having fun« to me. All but one of these (apparently) left as soon as the headliner entered the stage. Somewhat into the second song, he tried to get into his usual mode of operation but was immediately grabbed by a dozen hands coming from all sides and dragged back to the ground: Well, mate, you’re taller and more muscular than anyone of us but we are much more than you, so, kindly, don’t try to ruin anyone’s evening with your vulgar display of brainlessness if you plan to get out of here in one piece.

              While I admit that I was royally drunk by the time the concert ended as I had a beer whenever I felt too thirsty to go on, it was a very nice evening overall.

              1. C.M. says:

                I guess, then, I rest my case!

                1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                  The original claims was a bit more specific than (some) people who enjoyed Motorhead (at some time or another) drank … beer (!!5). Can you imagine that?

            2. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

              You’re a fucking idiot.

              1. C.M. says:

                Typically succinct rebuttal from an – as usual – insightful Motorhead fanboi. Cheers! Glug glug glug.

                1. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

                  It’s crazy that we have such a clear view of reality given that we’re so drunk all the time.

  13. 2112 says:

    If I ever needed proof that this site and Brett Stevens are a sad joke, this is it.

    1. BlackPhillip says:

      You’re going to have to explain why it’s not YOU who are the sad joke.

  14. I blew my head off like Per Ohlin says:

    None of them exhibit 19th century Romanticism, which is why they appear on SMR.

  15. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Unrelated remark: Chosing Terrible Certainty as coat-hanger for a wholesale Kreator condemnation is really unfortunate as that used to be regarded as an early attempt at the band stopping to be Kreator in favour of becoming ‘fancy’ instead which pleased no one as it wasn’t fancy enough for people fancying fancyness fundamental and loathed by anyone else. Example of Kreator how it was supposed to be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMDHnufGfEI (today, I have somewhat mixed feelings about this). Other example of something I do still like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Br4KvqrE0.

  16. voivod says:

    What about Rrröööaaarrr?

  17. Belano says:

    Nice reviews. It’s always interesting to read new visions regarding old albums when they are explained and justified like in this case, even if one can’t agree on all the things said.

    What I don’t understand is why sometimes some of the writers here try to manipulate facts to follow their own agendas. I follow deathmetal.org and before that I followed DLA. I like their elitist approach to music in this era where to a lot people everything is good. Also this place is one of the few places where one can find really insightful analysis of the music, and an intent to understand that music has meaning. I smile with SMR even if some of them aren’t that well-founded or are over the top. I’m not interested in the beer or food articles, but I think they are also part of the charm of this place. But, really, affirming things like “Led Zeppelin was the music industry’s response to Black Sabbath and Iggy Pop” or “but with Quorthon not depending on it” is going against one of the principles this site embraces —that of realism.

    As various people that comment here, I also think that Bathory is better than Venom, and also that Black Sabbath is better than Led Zeppelin, and that Zeppelin is more a hard rock/blues band than a metal one. But if we want to really know reality we can’t deny the facts. Venom was influential to metal bands; that’s true specially for aesthetics, but not only for that. And Bathory was influenced by Venom, even if Quorthon had tried to negate that influence. Like it or not. Also, like some others have said in these comments, Zeppelin predates Sabbath. So, acting in good faith, the phrase “Led Zeppelin was the music industry’s response to Black Sabbath” can only be understood as meaning that the industry preferred Zeppelin’s music over Sabbath’s but not that Zeppelin was influenced by Sabbath.

    So, in sum, if the objective of the site is to understand metal, facts can’t be denied; they have to be studied and explained.

  18. Steve says:

    In the 90s – when metal was actually good – the underground was not filled with negative snobs. Now that metal sucks dick – all you nerds are on here shitting on the underground bands who work hard and make sacrifices to bring you mostly free listening .
    You are like black people who complain about not getting enough welfare.
    You are thankless miserable pieces of shit.

    1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

      “In the 90s – when metal was actually good – the underground was not filled with negative snobs. Now that metal sucks dick – all you nerds are on here shitting on the underground bands who work hard”

      Do you see the correlation?

  19. tomcat ha says:

    Like every truly great band there are things to dislike about Manilla Road including Crystal Logic but this review reads like a kid who says Consuming Impulse is not true death metal because it doesnt have gravity blasts and pig squeals.

  20. Trev says:

    “How about “groove” that rewards your inner monkey”

    Just one of the many turd nuggets from the Led Zep piece. That was one of the most embarassingly pretentious, contrarian, unfactual ‘articles’ I’ve read, to the point where you must surely have autism? You actually thought Sabbath pre-dated Zep, too. Haha, you will look back at this with shame when you grow up and swiftly delete it.

Comments are closed.