Death Metal Underground

Sadistic Metal Reviews 11-15-13

by Staff
November 15, 2013 –

metal_blueprint

What are Sadistic Metal Reviews? Most people think socially, which means to approve of everyone and everything. We think critically, which means to look at the music itself. This means there will be hurt feelings, since 99% of everything is mediocre (at best) and 99% of people are delusional. Welcome to elitism. Enjoy the sweet taste of tears… and occasional quality metal.

satyricon-nemesis_divinaSatyricon – Nemesis Divina

In a stroke of great luck and management genius, Satyricon bring together the guitar talents of Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone) with a style similar to that of later Enslaved, in which death metal riffing is varied between chords and single notes at a time, producing an acerbic melody crashing into pummeling buffet of aggressive power chording. Riff forests rotate around a handful of themes per song that are swept up into their own maelstrom and through gated flow control dropped into a final lock-on to a summary motif. There is a carnival atmosphere, owing to both the circular
songwriting patterning and use of keyboards to accentuate dominant beats and central tones. While not profound, this release is enjoyable, and in its aesthetic showed what could — with the help of someone as powerful as Nocturno Culto on guitars — be produced from the otherwise confused fecalization in musical form that is Satyricon.

oceano-incisionsOceano – Incisions

This is what Earache Records has reduced itself to: signing deafkore. Oceano plays metalcore with death metal “sounds” that are sandwiched between Meshuggah-esque mechanical rhythms in songs that have the soul of Slipknot. This is one dimensional “angry at school and the gub-ment” music that reveals how norming death metal towards encompassing dancehall conventions (breakdowns and “groove” emphasis) was a bad idea. In the end, this limited and fashion oriented genre at it’s “best” sounds like the musical version of Danny DeVito’s classroom during the beginning of Renaissance Man.

dethklok-metalocalypse_the_doomstar_requiem_a_klok_operaDethklok – Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem A Klok Opera

Irony is a form of social camouflage. That is, it allows you to conceal your social stumbles under a layer of socially-approved insincerity. When you do something stupid, you claim you meant it ironically. If it’s not funny, it’s ironic. It’s basically a giant excuse for failure that makes you still seem like you “meant to do that.” Dethklok has always irritated me with its wimpiness because it can’t own up to what it means to say. The “Klok Opera” is no different; based loosely on Rocky Horror Picture Show and other send-ups of this nature, this rock opera is a parade of cliches taken to stereotypical extremes to be, you know, funny. I imagine it’s more interesting while watching the video, but as music it’s mediocre at best and strikingly empty. There are no themes here that could stand on their own; this wouldn’t make the cut as ordinary music, but seems to survive because there’s comedy attached. If you like Adam Sandler movies, and think that people doing stupid stuff is somehow really funny, you probably have no life and might think this is OK. The oddity is that when the ‘klok decide for a few moments to man up and try to take life as a real experience, as in “Blazing Star” they come up with passable riffs. Nowhere is there evidence that these could be integrated into any kind of song structure, but let’s face it: comedy is a genre of face value statements, not depth, and so this fits and shows how the limits of its creators determined its ultimate form. I’d really like for metal to have a sense of humor, and thus to enjoy this, but I end up feeling like I’ve just encountered another one of the plastic disposable products of modern society that lacks the balls to own up to what it wants to say. So here’s a one-word review: “lame.”

whitechapel-whitechapelWhitechapel – Whitechapel

Variations on monotonic chugging patterns are all that could be found on this metalcore release that only pretends to be death metal on the outside through “ANGRY” vocals and an “EXTREME” drum performance. The incorporation of Tool-esque “soft” meandering moments suggest a sense of trying to be “deep”, but like all deafkore releases, this is just another marketing point to check off the list to make this product appear more valuable than their other vapidity pandering peers through gimmickry. A lot of these riffs feel like more downtuned renditions of what we already heard in the mid 90s through Fear Factory, Machine Head, and other bands that brought “metal” into the mainstream by downgrading it into a hip-hop image pandering lifestyle product. The melodic underpinnings are just that — underpinnings — to dress up the chugging variations for the sake of making people “mosh” on the “dancefloor” without any of them becoming self-aware and noticing that everything on here is basically the same thing on repeat for about 40 minutes. Pathetic lyrics show a heritage owed more to Korn than anything from the death metal field. All in all, another excuse for Metal Blade to cash in on trends before severing ties when the easy money dries up.

disgrace-vol_2Disgrace – Vol. 2

The “lost” second album by Finnish band Disgrace sees them throw away the non-linear song structures and underground metal aesthetics to embrace what was hinted at on their Grey Misery LP: rock music. Continuing that albums proto “death n’ roll” grooves but within the context of bluesy rock numbers sees Disgrace making reasonable 90s styled “angsty” rock in the vein of Helmet or Monster Magnet, but this music is so passive and “safe” when compared to anything from the metal realm because there’s no artistry to be found here. Just another reason to “have fun” and “rock out”. In doing that, I suppose this music could succeed in a mainstream level if this band had better promotion, but it also reveals a simple method those without ideas use for making interchangeable teeny-bopper stoner music that makes it no wonder why albums like this exist in the first place.

boris-praparatBoris – Präparat

When bands have nothing to say but want to receive attention, they make fashion statements in the form of ironic gestures and imagery. Boris is a band with no identity and nothing to say, so they comment on existing musical forms by playing up to their conventions and giving it an outwardly “ironic” appearance for novelty’s sake, jumping from genre to genre offering nothing worthwhile the entire time. Here they mimic the dream pop stylings of bands like Jesu and throw some repetitive one riff “sludge” tracks in there to appease their hipster “drone” audience. With so many hipster albums already fitting this description, it’s obvious the only reason Boris is ahead of the pack is through their poorly enunciated vocals and “strange” artwork which Starbucks aficionados will perceive as “ironically different”. A worthless artistically void lifestyle product that serves the same function as owning a season of Arrested Development on DVD.

cancer-death_shall_riseCancer – Death Shall Rise

Doomed to stumble upon the evolutionary ladder, Cancer released a very poor excuse for a death metal album. Sounding like WASP on a bad day attempting to make itself sound like older Sepultura or Death through a Morrisound production, Cancer create plodding mid-tempo fare that is so lifeless it makes Benediction look like Dismember by comparison. Block headed riffs are given a “death metal makeover” through the insertion of tremolo picked notes between simple rock chord progressions played on downtuned guitars. If Nuclear Blast tasked Terri Schiavo with creating a Benediction B-sides album, this would be the result.

animals_as_leaders-weightlessAnimals as Leaders – Weightless

Sounding more like a glitchy video game soundtrack than anything metal, Animals as Leaders make music that is complex on a production and performance level, but very simple in its intent. Underneath melodic shred guitar, jazz noodling, “complex” chord shapes and samples is nothing but rhythmic chugging sounds with a “soft and heavy” nu dynamic that renders all the complexity on the performance front moot since this is very boring and obvious music that sounds like it would function better as stock video game music than a legitimate listening experience. As such, this is the background noise gullible oafs try to pass on to others as “complex, thinking man’s music” but there really is nothing to this aside from functioning as a musical suite where technique is on display, but no artistic vision. With so many releases fitting this bill, this offers nothing more than the gimmick of being a “modern” version of what could be a Shrapnel Records release. Vapid noise for heavily medicated deficients who will soon abandon their “metal” albums for the “mature and contemporary” sounds of A Perfect Circle and The Mars Volta in about 2 weeks. As always, nothing on offer but marketing schtick got the upper hand.

satyricon-dark_medieval_timesSatyricon – Dark Medieval Times

Temptingly close to the original thrust of passion which made black metal from Scandinavia so popular, Satyricon is everything the original had except the last 5% of “getting it” that entails address of the spirit of the darkness invoked by these bands. Gently harmonizing black metal uses melodic riffing to build a mood and then levels it, going back to its central supposition and basic riff constructions; however, the longer the melodic riffs get, the clearer it is that they have no centering in concept, although they’re clearly central in tone. One has to see Satyr as a tragic figure, being as musically, socially and intellectually competent as his peers, but lacking something that Fenriz and Ihsahn did not, possibly the same void that impelled him to be the one to start the record label that would carry on black metal — including the music of Darkthrone — after its breath of life had died. While there is nothing to disqualify this release, it is the recommendation of this reviewer that the sensible listener avoid it and focus on the great releases instead of this also-ran.

empyreus-the_burning_pathEmpyreus – The Burning Path

Better get some penicillin! Proof that black metal is being paraded around by its cliches can be found in the buffoonery known as The Burning Path. Think of this music as [b]lack metal waterboarding, except that it interrogates you until your inner clown is exposed and is used against you… Grim, much like Frankenberry and Count Chocula are “scary” in the cereal industry, Empyreus charge ahead with an additional copy of chromosome 21 to subject the listener to an assortment of late 1990s black metal stereotypes. As a result, the music is a potboiler of haphazardness in which nothing worthwhile is conveyed outside of dinky mimicry. However, The Burning Path sounds like [b]lack metal when you’re not paying attention. Perhaps people who don’t listen to music will enjoy it.

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33 comments

  • eachdawnidie

    That Dark Medieval Times review is copy-pasted from anus.com, but you guys deleted Satyricon’s page from that site. Do what you want I guess. I still enjoy their first three albums. The rest ranges from “lame” to “an affront to metalness”.

    1. fallot

      The page is still there actually, there is just no link to it. Also, afaik, it only had a Nemesis Divina review and the Dark Medieval Times review was deeper in the website. I think Satyricon deserves a page, but like Ulver, as an example. Dont do this i.e.

      1. fallot

        Satyricon is just a particularly good and historically important example in that sense. I would imagine any damage (I dont believe this happens in the first place) is already done, considering the page was there for years. It would be a waste of space to bash less notable bands, sure. Also, you smell, die etc.

  • fallot

    Love the dancehall comparison. Very apt, metal like this is essentially all about the `riddim` anyway. Also glad to see these pop up so regularly, and covering significantly shit albums that really prove a point.

    1. fallot

      Also, there is one more reason Boris has more cred than other bands off the same press. They are Japanese.

  • EDS

    Disgrace’s Grey Misery was subpar. Listen to their demo entitled Inside the Labyrinth of Depression instead.

      1. EDS

        Certainly. All four songs on the demo are on their album Grey Misery, however on the demo they have more power and low end due to a better production. They are also executed with more of the classic Finn-death conviction as they come across as a bit lifeless on Grey Misery. The vocals on the demo are similar in vein to Antti Boman’s in Demilich.

        Check out the Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_ZkzZxGyGY

  • 1349

    As long as metal, musically, carries some elements of traditional music, i believe it doesn’t necessarily have to center lyrically around horror, zombies, Satan, anti-whatever, pop culture like Crowley/Tolkien, or the band being cool and “metal warriors” and stuff.

    Are there any decent (or simply “any”) metal bands which consist of conservatives, with song lyrics based on a sane rightwing worldview (of course i don’t mean any kind of slogan lyrics like those of NS bands) and with adequate imagery?
    Enslaved, Bathory, Skyforger and maybe Bolt Thrower have more or less sane lyrics on albums that are more or less metal (yet the guys themselves are far from being rightwing), but who else?
    In other words, if we take amerika.org minus it’s re-actionary character, what would be its metal soundtrack? Bands that set goals, not targets, and that wish to create & defend, not to destroy, in their lyrics?

        1. fallot

          Well the only one I know that exists is the project of a forum user, s—heim. Should be a thread on the first page of the Metal subforum.

          …and I mean the thought of a band like that sounds incredibly boring and preachy, you are just peachy my friend. I would never be that rude :o

            1. fallot

              In those albums, what you say is not observed explicitly, but emerges organically from whatever is being said by the band. This is my problem with what you are talking about. Music needs to have some art to it, you cant just state an ideology and have it be compelling. It needs to come by other means so that it can be realized by the listener, rather the the listener being directly indoctrinated.

              1. 1349

                You misunderstand me. Or misread me. Or maybe my English is poor.
                I don’t want any ideological music, any indoctrination. I wrote about “no slogans” in my initial comment. I’m against ideology as such; ideology is a product of the French revolution. I want art based on a certain worldview, this worldview “emerging organically from whatever is being said” in a song.

                What i’m asking for is an Enslaved or Skyforger which wouldn’t consist of people who are alcoholics, drug addicts, liberals, Discovery channel viewers, Dolce & Gabbana wearers etc. in everyday life.

            2. Humorless War Metal Fan

              Those don’t preach. If they get popular and “conservative cult metal” becomes a thang, then there will be lots of boring and preachy bands. See: NSBM, red anarchist black metal, Christian metal, eco-metal.

              1. 1349

                Who said they should?
                (By the way, have you read the lyrics of Vikingligr Veldi?)
                And who said there should be a subcultural trend of some “conservative metal”?
                I’m trying (apparently in vain) to say that metal [sh/c]ould be part of the culture, not a reactive marginal subculture.

    1. Brett Stevens

      As soon as any such thing get spun with a label, it will get flooded and corrupted.

      It’s important to note the bands for their values as expressed in music, not as they may hold and articulate (or, because they’re musicians and not writers, most likely be incoherent about) separately.

      I think you answered your own question, but to it I’d add this: metal has both “liberal” (anarchic) and conservative elements; after all, Black Sabbath was an anti-hippie and thus pro-reality project.

      1. 1349

        As soon as any such thing get spun with a label, it will get flooded and corrupted.

        Please explain what you’re talking about.

        It’s important to note the bands for their values as expressed in music, not as they may hold and articulate (or, because they’re musicians and not writers, most likely be incoherent about) separately.

        I understand that a bad football player can be a good football coach; still i’d like to find people whose thoughts, lifestyle and songs wouldn’t contradict each other, for I will trust such songs (and respect such people) more.
        Without actual conservatives (and/or nationalists, people of tradition etc.) in metal, there’ll be no metal bands in Mayberry, mind you! =)
        Also, a musician is effectively a priest. He creates and publishes “the beautiful”. What kind of priest is he if he can’t express himself coherently in words or writings? Even worse if he actually has nothing to say (90% of metal musicians here where i live start playing to appear “cool” and/or to get laid). The liberal approach to music is “playing just for fun”, the traditionalist one is that music should be backed by an idea. Am i wrong?

        I think you answered your own question, but to it I’d add this: metal has both “liberal” (anarchic) and conservative elements; after all, Black Sabbath was an anti-hippie and thus pro-reality project.

        Musically, metal is idealist in the sense that it first must be composed (a “blueprint” for it must be drawn), then rehearsed, then performed. It is exact, like in “exact sciences”. It can’t be random, it has little room for improvisation, as opposed to amoeban hippie music. (I laughed once, when a rock fan told me metal bands were talentless because they never improvise.)
        This alone makes me have a problem associating the musical aspect of metal with anarchy. It sounds like fascism, monarchism, army etc.

        1. Brett Stevens

          Once we put a label on a particular musical movement, there will be imitators, so often it’s better that traits are noticed to a larger genre with people choosing the bands that exemplify those traits best.

          What you are looking for will be found in the music itself. If the artists start making a big deal of it as a movement, it will then become an ideological label which will substitute for musical/artistic quality in selection.

          1. 1349

            Ah! But i wasn’t asking for any kind of movement. I wanted actual existing bands/people. Ones without an official “ideology” but having something (rightwing) to say if asked.
            Must’ve expressed myself poorly.

  • Emma Brown

    Music is just music. It is there to uplift us when we are sad or entertain us when we are bored. Besides what’s the point of owning cds is if you can not impress your friends? Quit being so judgmental and elitistic and just accept the fact that no one in the world thinks like you do. You may win an argument against rubbish music but in the end you will lose the war.

    Peace and love.

        1. Emma Brown

          How mature, you are mocking me!
          Well, you are outnumbered. Will always be. Your voices will be drowned. You seem to forget that with all your so called intelligence, The Herd could crush you any time, any day. With ease. It’s just too late. Too late to reboot back to when things were better. You will end up bitter and mad… IF we decide to let you live…

          1. Eva Braun

            The herd has no vector. I cannot want to crush and cannot “decide” anything, by its very nature. It wants cheeseburgers.

          2. deadite

            Does the herd even have the collective intelligence to care about anything except itself?

            Probably not. Your ‘threats’ fall on deaf ears.

            1. Brett Stevens

              That’s the fascinating paradox of the herd.

              It is formed of individualists.

              Thus they have no real forward direction, except a defensive one… to ensure that there’s no oversight.

              But defense? They’re great at that. If they perceive an attack (sometimes this correlates with reality) they swarm, panick and jihad.

          3. Humorless War Metal Fan

            Come on aboard, I promise you you won’t hurt the horse
            We treat him well, we feed him well
            There’s lots of room for you on the bandwagon,
            The road may be rough, the weather may forget us
            But won’t we all parade around and sing our songs,
            A magic kingdom, open-armed

            Greet us hello, bravo, name in lights
            Passing on the word to fellow passengers and players, passing in,
            Until you’re tired looking at all the flags
            And all the banners waving
            This is some parade, yesiree Bob
            Could we have known?
            Yesiree Bob, could we have known?
            Look at all the flags and all the banners waving
            Open up our arms, a magic kingdom, open-armed and greet us all

            Come on aboard, I promise you you won’t hurt the horse
            We treat him well, we feed him well
            There’s lots of room for you on the bandwagon
            The road may be rough, the weather may forget us
            But won’t we all parade around and sing our songs and wave our flags
            A magic kingdom, greet us all hello, greet us hello, greet us hello

  • fenrir

    “Welcome to elitism. Enjoy the sweet taste of tears… and occasional quality metal.”

    That’s it.