PHLEGETHON RISING demo 1998

You may have wondered what Kam Lee was up to between Massacre and Kauldron, Bone Gnawer, The Skeletal and his other current musical projects (and one horror film appearance, in Deep Seeded).

The answer is that back in 1998, he released a demo by his one-man black metal project, PHLEGETHON RISING:

Master of Plagues

Legends Advent

He claims a BATHORY influence in addition to the HELLHAMMER-ish parts, but in many ways, it’s reminiscent of early DEMONCY and PROFANATICA. Good to see this reach the light of day.

Other Kam Lee projects:

Bone Gnawer – Anthropophagus Beast

The Grotesquery – Nightmares Made Flesh

The Skeletal – Vengeance Sewn

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Amazon needs more ripping of the sacred flesh

I’ll never understand why places like Amazon, where kids can hitch a few items onto their parents’ orders and get away with it, don’t put greater emphasis on works like the following:

In fact, they seem to almost want to hide it, as if they’re afraid of the controversy that might come from encouraging citizens to blasphemy. That’s ridiculous, given that our current regime would love nothing more.

Maybe it would be fun to coerce these opposing forces into revealing themselves. Are you pro-blasphemy, or anti-blasphemy?

Here’s the review posted today:

Paul Ledney, the primary composer on this CD, spent some years in INCANTATION and REVENANT trying to make the ideal of music to him: stripping of all meaning, pure nihilism and primal id expressed through sonic violence.

On this CD, he came close. In the vein of early BLASPHEMY or BEHERIT, this is primitive chromatic riffing with unusual, almost hasty song structures, using his odd method of picking three-note “modal stripes” and repeating them at different positions in the chromatic scale.

Surrounding this are the cavernous vocals of Ledney himself, which like a whisper made into a roar surge around the music, carrying it like a rhythm instrument of deviant intent.

Sounding very much like the results of a weekend of apostate demons camping in the countryside and, in the midst of their blasphemy, picking up guitars to make unholy music, “Dethrone the Son of God” exemplifies the feral and nihilistic spirit of black metal.

I’m not telling anyone what to do, but if a horde of people showed up and started discussing this in the amazon forums, commenting on it and otherwise encouraging it to become more popular, the results might be telling. -|-

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Moar metal radio

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Rivethead Magazine

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, this was a regular metal magazine that you could get for free at record stores in Houston.

Every concert and new record release was in it. Not only that, but it covered ANUSian topics — much like the Metal AE — such as the history of metal, music theory, what defined metal, genrology, the spirit of metal and the clash between metal and the counter-culture as well as the pop-culture above it.

[[image:rivethead-houston_metal_magazine.jpg]]

The website has a comprehensive archive of their late 1980s and early 1990s issues, which focus on a mixture of heavy metal, speed metal and the birthing of death metal. The approach is professional even if the methods are homebrew:

Also see our article on Examiner.com.

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Overview of obscure Finnish death metal

The arch-wizards over at DEATHMETAL.ORG summon forth an article covering the breadth of Finnish underground metal, and cap it off with a hour of music in a compilation of Finnish bands both well-known, and totally unknown.

We are proud to present a sequence of tracks collected by Fenno-American Death Metal connoisseur Benjamin Tianen in tribute to Finland and its strain of artists and conjurers. This compilation of obscure quality Finnish Death Metal is recommended for listening in the twilit hours of day, preferably in rather uninhabited locations as most of Finland is. If there is one teaching one must bring home from Finnish artists and Finnish school of mental exploration, it is that one must not love happiness as much as one loves truth.

Forgotten Death Cults from Finland: an Overview

Includes all the classics: Demigod, Abhorrence, Beherit, Adramelech, Sentenced, Cartilage, Belial, Necropsy, Unholy, Phlegethon, and more.

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Khand – Clandestine Forge

Fantasy dark ambient/industrial:

I notice the comments for this video lack any references to sodomy or violence against Baby Boomers. WTF?

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Kam Lee explains selling out

From a notoriously fractious and insightful source, a rant that nails it — on Facebook, of all places:

It’s from “formula” in metal music that has either been the downfall or the up rise in the genre and among many of the bands. When bands set a distinct genre – and a set “formula” is established, once those bands begin the mix or change that formula, is when they take a risk of failing.

Sure some newer fans may take to the new formula – but those already established fans in the formula have a certain “taste” for what they prefer. Change the ‘taste’ – take the risk of having the already established fan base spitting it out after the first bite. Sure, some will attempt to stick around and nibble at the edges… attempting to find a similair taste and familiar feeling…

They will even attempt to make excuses, attempt to rationalize it, and even go as far as to use controversial behaviors or feelings in an attempt to explain in a rational or logical manner their intrepid points. They wish to avoid any true explanation of the utter disgust and disappointment they are truly feeling, and thus hide behind pitiful excuses and whitewashed ideals and values.

However, in my opinion – when a band decides to forsake the formula that works, and forsakes integrity in exchange to gain “a piece of bread” (make $money) – I personally do not feel my loyalty is any longer of importance to the band. They have already decided that my personal opinion is no longer valid, and that other fans too that may share the same or similair opinions are also no longer important as well.

Integrity and pride more so than often get’s washed away in favor of the notoriety and tempting promise of “fame and glory”.

[…]

As well… with “formula” when a new genre is attempted to be made – by changing an already established genre, and trying to “mix” in something new to that genre. It is NOT likely to be accepted by those fans who already – as I said above – have an established taste for what the genre already has been dishing out.

Perfect example: DEATH-CORE is NOT DEATH METAL!

And as I said above –
some newer fans may take to the new formula – they will even attempt to make excuses, attempt to rationalize it…

even go as far as to pretend to accept is as inevitable change.

Translating into cause->effect logic:

Formula means repeating what others did.

However, that “what others did” is an effect, not a cause.

The cause of what they did was the need to translate an idea/mood into music.

The effect was how they did it.

You can’t get the same effect by imitating their effect; instead, you must rediscover their cause.

But if your motive is fame/notoriety/kvltstatus/$$$ instead of “making art” (to translate that idea/mood into music), you will not understand that cause.

Metal is the spawn of early punk, progressive rock and horror film soundtracks — it’s more Anton Bruckner than Chuck Berry, more King Crimson than Blue Cheer, more Jethro Tull and Procul Harum than Led Zeppelin, and more Iggy Pop than The Beatles.

As a result, it takes integrity/authenticity seriously — it is music of the Idea, and by that I do not mean dogma or the reality-detached idea, but an enmeshment with reality.

Like Romantic literature, it is born of a time in crisis… it is mixed-blood, with some blood being the feel-good prole average (rock) and some being the rising above (ambitious music->art).

Romantic literature had both Shelley and Blake, after all. Wordsworth and Keats; Coleridge and Bram Stoker (later Romantic literature sort of diverged into Gothic lit).

What does it mean?

When metal loses its honest intent to create art, and to translate an idea/mood into music, it becomes window-dressing: pandering to the crowd for popularity points.

And then, it becomes the same callow manipulation we’re running away from, and that running away got us into metal.

Beware the rock-n-roll formula.

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Antisocial behavior is necessary

Despite 20+ years of experience in the music industry, I remain a deliberate outsider. I cannot be bought; if I like your band, it’s because it’s good, and not that I want to get paid, care about you personally or expect you to like me. This is why I’m an outsider. I’m not part of the paycheck chain that seems to influence peoples’ judgment and make them whores. – “Home taping is killing music — mp3s are saving it” @ Anal-Examiner.com

It’s true though: being social gets you screwed.

People expect you to be a whore, so that if they treat you like a friend, you’re obligated to support their band.

The problem is that this cuts out quality control.

Instead, it’s a bunch of false friends sitting around supporting each others’ go-nowhere do-nothing make-work local bands.

Hobbyists versus people who have talent, in other words. The hobbyists have nothing better to do; their day jobs in service industries aren’t going to get any more exciting. Might as well be a big cheese on stage for a few minutes.

They have one dogma, and it’s that people should be rewarded for participation, not excellence.

This is why local scenes are cancerous morasses of ethical quicksand that suffocate any band or musician of quality. (A quality band will rise above the herd, and when people look at the herd so far below the other band, it makes the herd look bad. For that reason, the herd tries to squash any band of quality that rises.)

At first I just wanted to know how it drew the shapes so fast without flickering. Then I wondered how it made sounds. Before long I had disassembled and printed the entire game. I penned colored lines to signify the loops. Named the anonymous routines. Reconstructed many of the shapes on graph paper.

Astonishingly, I could read thought processes as easily as their results. I was seeing into the mind of the developer! The process was invigorating.

Euphoria is half wasted if not shared it with others, so gathering up my early printouts, I headed for campus. I gleefully flagged the first CS guys I knew from the hallway and bent their ears for twenty minutes. I explained the color coded arrows, memory location notations. Showed off my bitmap grids and shared my new insights into high speed blitting. Both nodded in appreciation as I spoke.

When I finished speaking I didn’t get the response I had expected. The first said something to the effect of, “Wow! But are you allowed to do that?” The second followed with, “I thought it was protected? I mean like company secrets.” The odd non sequitur was a bit deflating. They hadn’t empathized at all. They recognized my triumph as something akin to a salacious conquest. Gossip to be discussed in hushed tones. I could see curiosity in their eyes yet wariness on their face. As if they risked ostracism just for knowing. I’d peeked through a forbidden window to lear at someone’s naked code.

These were upper level CS honor students. Geeks in most regards. But unlike me they hadn’t grown up fighting to learn computers. They had gone to college because that’s what high school honor students do. Once finished with their core classes they had to choose some major and computers seemed like the future.

Only Loyd actually shared my feelings. I brought my printouts into his office almost as a last resort. He looked at my diagramming with a Cheshire grin commenting on each page before I could complete a sentence. He shared a couple of disassembly stories of his own. It wasn’t a long talk, five or ten minutes, but it was re-inflating. Loyd and I were totally different on the outside but inside we were somehow alike. – “Detente”

The problem with the music industry isn’t the industry. Money-grubbing suit-wearing bastards? Yep, they built the modern world, especially the good parts. They operate very consistently by making sure they provide what people want to buy.

The problem with the music industry is the flakiness of the people in it, specifically musicians, and specifically, all those local bands and supporting acts who drama- and karma-whore for attention so that you have to consider their trivial band alongside any that might be good.

This process drives away quality musicians.

The only solution is to be an outsider. Seek no friends, take no cash, expect everyone to hate you.

It seems harsh, but that way, you not only keep your soul, but get to keep your ability to tell garbage from gold intact.

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Thread of the stupid

Metal has always had a dual nature. Part of it wants to be epic soundtracks that transport us away; part of it wants to be rockin’ party tunes.

Metal is both Ennio Morricone and Spinal Tap. At the same time.

While much of the rock-n-roll influence can be blamed on moron magnets like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, or even the doofus metal writers who insist that metal began with The Who and Cream, a lot of the blame needs to fall on Black Sabbath as well, although they almost escaped. When their songs fail, it’s usually because they gave up on creating some kind of mood and went for more warmed-over rock music vapidity.

You can see this thread of rock-n-roll — jaunty, bouncy, offbeat, ironic, pentatonic, simplistic — running all the way through metal. It’s like a congenital trait marring a family line. Among other things, it’s easy to tell because rock-n-roll is exclusively on the surface. It tells you what it’s thinking and what you should think; it may be cryptic, but there’s never another level of interpretation. It’s made for mass consumption.

Metal at its best is more something you absorb, then intuit meaning from. It tends to be chaotic, using chromatic scales as its base for ultimately melodic and rhythmic freedom, but then trades away that freedom when it makes the ongoing narrative of song structure trump all else. It is both anarchistic and the anti-anarchistic in that it insists on reality. It’s not about personal drama, love affairs and how you feel after some trivial event. It’s about the breadth of existence, the big picture, and how interesting life is if we just quit that personal drama.

But the thread of dumb bouncy music remains. What do these have in common?

  • Pantera – Far Beyond Driven
  • At the Gates – Slaughter of the Soul
  • Lamb of God – Ashes of the Wake
  • Meshuggah – Chaosphere
  • Arch Enemy – Wages of Sin
  • Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse
  • Alestorm – Back Through Time
  • Gojira – From Marths to Therius
  • Mastodon – Leviathan
  • The Haunted – Revolver
  • Baroness – The Blue Album

All of the above are basially rock albums using metal technique. These don’t expand your mind; they put it into the rock mode of personal drama, bouncy drums, familiar and yet not really exciting pentatonic noodling. Since the music is unexceptional, the aesthetic must be powerful: they trick out their music by playing it at different speeds, adding weird instrumentation, adding weird imagery, and the like. But it’s not really musically different. Baroness is closer to Hootie and the Blowfish and the Dave Matthews band than metal; Gojira is closer to Fugazi and Mudhoney than metal; The Haunted and Pantera are closer to Biohazard and Sick of It All than metal.

Do we ever get bored of this? The audience for it obviously does not, but they pass by so quickly.

The lifetimer metal fan is a better bet if you’re a band. Make seven quality albums and metalheads will buy them for the rest of your life.

It’s better than taking a one-time lump sum by recording your five sold-out metal-flavored rock albums, and being forgotten by your witless fans within two years.

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