Death Metal Underground

Underground metal needs a reset button

by Brett Stevens
January 23, 2013 –

reset_buttonWe know what the vast majority of the public have moved on to, which is the hipster/indie/emo hybrid of the -core genres, but it’s hard to blame them since underground metal is underproducing.

Underground metal is in stagnation. For the last 18 years, nothing new has come of it, although there have been standouts in the old style. We’ve been relegated to the “old school” category.

It isn’t that the talented musicians are gone. It’s that they got overwhelmed by untalented imitators interested in fame, money and socially popular topics. The good was marginalized by the mediocre.

Death metal is the ultimate evolution of metal. Black metal added melody to it. The next stages will have to do something substantially distinctive, or do it substantially better, in order to get noticed to the degree that musicians want. Three chords and the truth will not do it.

Perhaps all of metal should go back to Metallica’s “Orion” and try to re-innovate from there.

8 comments

  • James

    I think it is happening – albeit slowly, groups like Portal and Mitochondrion are moving back into the murk of a lot of ‘old school’ stuff in a very forward thinking way. I don’t think there should be a reset for underground metal, but more of an evolution. It is never going to be the same as in it’s hey day, but there are plenty of developing aggressive music styles that it can incorporate to become something new – less based in being metal, and more in beinggood extreme music.

  • January 23, 2013

    How many “brutal death metal” bands sound exactly the same? Chug chug chug, groove goove groove – smother the scene.

  • Cargat

    A good number of fantastic works have been released in the past eighteen years (Summoning, Graveland, Averse Sefira, Demoncy, and Absu, to name a handful of “distinctive” bands). I agree that the frequency of production has dropped, but this makes sense: the earliest works were scouting the territory, the more recent one filling in the gaps. Look to Classical music, in which there was often little “innovation” for decades, and yet the music is still being composed (albeit badly, most of the time).

  • hammereater

    To poorly paraphrase something I read recently – “Sure, metal is not exactly interesting right now, but be thankful that a hologram projection of Euronymous is not being shown at festivals”

  • January 24, 2013

    Yeah, modern classical is an acquired taste… Like the first 12 minutes of a piece being complete silence. Audience members are still frowned upon for coughing or sneezing.

    Arvo Part has a couple of interesting pieces.

  • Zuerkl

    Metal does not need a “reset”. Progress happens over time. It has been barley 10 years since Black Metal was the genre we now know it as. From 1984 to 1994 there was significant change, as it was the very foundation of the genre, and there was more room to grow.The late 90s blossomed into several different directions. You had the very dark and chaotic black metal, as well as the more melody-oriented stuff. Even now, bands are pushing both to the extreme. Chaos and evil put to its limits, and in some bands songwriting technicality that rivals prog, some even going in the ambient direction. Death Metal is the same story. Even death isn’t totally dead yet, as elements are still being added. Sure, there are imitators, but there always have been! I can’t even count how many bands back in the day were called Morbid Angel or Entombed clones. A reset would only pull progress back.