Somber Lands: The Harmonic Minor Scale

Dark, brooding, and long cloaked in obscurity, the harmonic minor scale is a compelling collective of notes that has historically been used as an accent to minor key compositions.  For centuries only a handful of pieces had been written within its bounds as composers instead opted to weave in for a number of measures before an eventual progression into the natural minor scale.  From there it appeared again in a few folk songs, took a strong spiritual presence in Islamic culture, and later became an integral part of horror movies when they progressed into the frightening mediums they became in the 1970s.  But it wasn’t until the musicians of the early Swedish death metal scene discovered how to fully harness the scale’s potential that lengthy songs and even the majority of some albums began being composed within its bounds.  A truly grotesque wedlock, the scale gave he who wielded it the power to craft the most sinister and foreboding compositions possible within the laws of music.  It is for this reason one could attest that the minor harmonic scale has found a home in heavy metal that no other genre of music could provide.
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Elegiac Black Clouds of War 2018

Elegiac is a one man band from California formed in 2014 by sole composer Zane Young, whom has released a large number of records under the name of Elegiac- far too much for any band yet alone a one man band.  Like many bands of this generation, Elegiac play a basic form of black metal that can be described as the bastard child of Bathory, Satanic Warmaster and generic modern rock.  This is not what one expects from USBM at all despite their promo toting this release as the return of the micro genre’s glory days.
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James Theodore Stillwell III Power Nihilism: A Case for Moral & Political Nihilism

Power Nihilism is a ruthless yet entry-level application of logic to religious, moral and political superstitions of all kinds.  Central to this exposition is the clarity given by the ‘is-ought gap’- something apparent to independent minds given to logical thought which is also commonly known to students of philosophy (themselves apparently often unable to come to this logical conclusion on their own) as Hume’s Guillotine.  The idea is basically that one cannot derive absolute ‘oughts’ from ‘facts’, since the latter are simply ‘descriptions’, while the former are ‘prescriptions’. “The only ‘oughts’ that are cogent,” argues Stillwell, are those conditioned by a formula entailing the wish of an effect based upon causes (if one wants ‘A’ to come about, then ‘B’ ought to be brought about).
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2018 Predictions

2017 was a year of total war and, culturally, a year of victory.  What it lacked in quality metal it made up for in illuminating many of the harsh truths about metal’s business side, the narcissism of metal musicians, disloyalty of metal fans, and the desperation of metal journalists to fit in with flavor-of-the-weak liberal hysteria.  Outside of metal, conservatism has won almost every battle and leftism continues to be on the defensive.  With the death of Antifa in America, the complete meltdown of liberal journalists in and outside of metal, and endless infighting and cannibalization within the left, 2017 has been perhaps the most amusing and fulfilling year in recent memory.

Yet as great as this last year was, we must keep our eyes on the future with maximum alertness as the war continues.  Therefore let’s leave the crystal ball reading to the crazy cat lady witches running Cvlt Nation and instead make some logical predictions on where the world of metal may be headed in the next year:

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A Discussion on The Metal FAQ: Section 1.1

The Death Metal Underground FAQ is an ancient yet valuable and reliable document full of information to help the less initiated grasp some of the simpler aspects of metal.  It is also a wonderful attempt to actually explain the Hessian ideals, culture and music.  The music section is particularly small and contains a fairly large amount of information and therefore it is time to open it up and go into the details of the points mentioned and what needs to be changed, for it is only through constant analysis of past work can we build upon them and progress.

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An Overview of Inquisition

 

Introduction

Known around these parts as a blackened heavy rock n’ roll band, Inquisition’s brand of black metal is produced by a high-energy application of black metal riffing with a heavy rock rhythmic sense, but within the riff salad paradigm. The result are relatively varied and outstretched songs that tend to tire the ear even though their duration is not very long. The variety of these riffs is also more apparent than effective, since they are all heavily anchored around a sense of rhythmic hooks and black metal tremolo technique, never really straying away from it.

Despite these serious technical deficiencies, we hear a band marching against wind and tide towards their evil, propaganda. Producing a music that is, to those used to bask in the consumate musical glory of Immortal, somewhat of a quaint laughing matter. Despite all of this, if even these listeners lie back and allow the music to well-up, Inquisition manage to be one of the most strongly evocative black metal acts out there today, even if exclussively by dint of the effects of their croak n’ roll black riff train without heads or tails.

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Ritual Chamber – Obscurations

Hidden in plain sight, there is some fine metal being released- even in recent years.  Nestled in the convoluted release schedule of one of the most popular indie rock labels (although in fairness, Profound Lore has gotten death metal right before) is a rare foray into dissonant death metal grandeur that is certainly worthy of praise.  The newest solo project by Numinas/Crom/Dario Denerio, whose well-ventured resume also includes Infestor, Khrom, and Evoken,  Ritual Chamber’s 2016 full length debut Obscurations (to Feast on the Seraphim) masterfully imports the lost wisdom of classic death metal spirit into a contemporary flesh of sound and production.  Suffering from poor marketing through mainstream channels and tired aesthetic trends that mask its originality, this cultured release flew well off the radar of the audience it was most suited for and was not digestible enough for the retro/rehash death metal crowd of hipster swine it mostly reached.  But although it initially evaded the underground’s most trustworthy mediums, Death Metal Underground’s undying commitment to unearthing the best in the genre now gives us a late opportunity to acknowledge a great work of elegance.
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Star Wars: Tie Fighter 1994 LucasArts

Throughout literature, film, and any other telling of the Arthurian legend there is usually a hard line stance taken on characters or ideas being indisputably good or evil.  The heroes and villains are on conflicting sides of a fundamental and absolute morality despite reality often being much more complicated.  The Star Wars franchise followed this school of thought- casting the Empire as the evil and soulless reflection of Western history’s teaching of the axis powers of World War II.  It parallels the post-French Revolution narrative that all democracy is good and all imperial reigns are heinous and wrong.

It is because of this that we can remember LucasArts’s 1994 PC flight simulator Tie Fighter as such a refreshingly bold and surprising experiment in a world of video games where the narrative is always fixated on “the good guys.”  In Tie fighter, you are- from start to finish- fighting on behalf of a faction that the movies portrayed as dark and merciless dictatorship that is completely void of humanity.  No change of heart in your character halfway through (as in this year’s disastrous Battlefront 2), no surprising twist- you’re essentially waging war with all that is good and just in the galaxy.  It’s one of the first and possibly few games that take this perspective, and – for one of the first times for a mainstream game of this caliber-  Tie Fighter gives the player a unique chance to embrace the understanding that morality is often a form of perspective.

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