For us Westerners, many forms Japanese non-traditional music carry an awkward, or even amusing air of exotism. When it comes to metal and punk, this sense of other-ness often stems from the way European-descended musical genres get filtered through a cultural lens largely alien to its original source. Even when it comes to obvious carbon-copy tribute acts, there’s always something strikingly goofy about Japanese metal/punk. Not surprisingly, this makes for a good marketing device because even if the bands suck (and to be frank, many of them do), they still sound “unique”. Relevant cases in point are just too ubiquitous to deserve mentioning. Let’s instead talk about something that does not suck. Like Japan’s premier hardcore punk act and much-overlooked crossover pioneers G.I.S.M. While definitely goofy, G.I.S.M. succeed where most Japanese metal- and punk-acts fail by forging a highly idiosyncratic expression that not only offers something new to the table, but also manage to resonate with the deeper spirit of both punk and metal.
Tags: Crossover, destestation, Gism, Hardcore
Metallica’s mark on metal in both the mainstream and underground still continues to grow as every riff, drum fill,solo etc has been plagiarized. As Metallica progressed towards much tamer territories, the band did the opposite of what common sense dictated at the time. Instead of reneging their previous records, they embraced them and relished their mainstream status as kings of “The Big 4”. This allowed them to exist in a bizarre duality alternating between mainstream Radio Rock and furious Heavy metal depending on the fan. Through this duality many bands have taken from both periods to create a curious mix that resonates with with a wider audience. Demonpalm fall into this category but their music carries potential for something better in some of the brief glimpses shown here.
Tags: demonpalm, hard rock, iron maiden, metallica, NWOBHM
Formed in the heyday of the Norwegian Black metal movement and even rehearsing with one of main participants, Hellhammer. Mysticum never fell into the trap of copying the more popular bands and though the death of Euronymous and various issues had delayed the release of their first album, Mysticum are the first band to create what is referred to as “Industrial Black metal”. Being left out the narrative due to their late entry was probably a blessing in disguise as this removed any pressure for the band to copy their first album or to completely change style. Planet Satan takes off from where In the Streams of Inferno left off and develops further the cosmic psychedelic horror that the band started to experiment with other two decades ago.
Tags: 2014, Industrial Black Metal, mysticum, Planet Satan
Musical surprises come in various forms and sometimes even within the most cliched tropes, bands manage to escape mimicking their peers with creativity and the will to truly express themselves through pre-defined methods. Here we look at three songs outside the metal universe that attempt such concepts with varying degrees of success.
Tags: 2019, Bizarre Curiosities, math rock, Post-Punk, rock
DMU song contest #3 winners Mefitis return with their glorious debut album Emberdawn. “Kolossos Pt II” which was featured in the song contest gave us a glimpse into some of the incredible ideas that this band has shown. Mefitis has existed for over twelve years and had been plagued by various problems before being put on hiatus for a few years until remaining members Vatha and Pendath who had always been the core duo behind the band managed to reform and eventually release the excellent Widdrim Hymn. A powerful bond marked by shared philosophy has allowed this duo to craft what can easily be referred to as this decade’s greatest metal album. Combining the twin guitar approach of early At the Gates with the melodic sense of Demigod and then layered in the Norwegian Black metal style. Where these approaches have produced a dead end and hordes of imitators, for Mefitis they have opened up new methods for their brand of Dark metal.
Tags: 2019, album of the decade, Album of the Year, Black Metal, dark metal, death metal, emberdawn, mefitis, widdrim hymn
In the past, metal journalism used to function mainly as a filtering device; weeding out the bad so that the good stuff would rise to the top. Nowadays, it’s more likely the other way around. We’re now searching for potential in a seemingly endless flow of “interesting” or pleasant-sounding junk. This task often requires time and patience, because those rare and far between releases will often sound similar to their lesser peers on a surface level. One illuminating example would be the Pennsylvanian epic death/black metal act Polemicist and their debut album Zarathustrian Impressions. Their music may not appear spectacular on casual listen, but repeated and concentrated exposure reveal unexpected qualities.
Tags: Black Metal, death metal, friedrich nietzsche, polemicist, zarathrustrian impressions
Article by Belisario
Among the latest newcomers of note to the realms of underground metal we find Vargrav, a Finnish one-man-band with a debut album released in 2018 and a sophomore effort published just a few months ago. Under the title Reign in Supreme Darkness, this latest album has stirred some attention not only on account of the material itself but also owing to its recent live debut as part of the notorious SteelFest festival which takes place in Hyvinkää, the very city Vargrav hails from.
Tags: 2019, emperor, symphonic black metal
After being consigned to almost half a century of burial by time and dust, a long lost critical Tangerine Dream album has finally seen the light of day!
Tags: 1970s, 2019, Ambient, christopher franke, edgar froese, electronic, germany, lost album, peter baumann, steven wilson, tangerine dream
Street Cannibal Gluttony/rehearsal 05/2019 consists of the Cannibal Gluttony demo and two new songs played in rehearsal,”Sadistic Drive” and a cover of Discharge’s “Maimed and Slaughtered”. A short release clocking in at just over seventeen minutes but shows the progression from a band alternating between Demilich like riffs and rapid fire Grindcore, to a band combining both in a smooth melange.
Tags: Carbonized, Finnish Death Metal, Grindcore, sadistic drive, street cannibal gluttony: rehearsal 05/2019
Bands that possess both unique style and substance, since these are usually related, face difficulty in maintaining consistency because over time the content builds on previous ideas, and therefore the style slowly mutates. The best bands do so while maintaining continuity to the past and toward the idea they seek to explore.
Tags: ambient metal, death metal, desecresy