SMR Desecration of the Herd


by Veadtruck

Some people here don’t like negative metal reviews. I disagree, as I believe that pointing out bad music, and more importantly explaining why bad albums are bad, is necessary.

I’ll use an example: a heavy metal newbie might come across some derivative Watain/In Flames. He may be initially turned off by the music, unconsciously preferring more genuine releases, but besides saying “I don’t like this” he doesn’t have the experience to put words on his distaste.

These reviews, while they may seem redundant, explain why bad music is bad, and thereby give the linguistic tools for heavy metal fans to 1) bring the unconscious appraisal into the realm of consciousness 2) verbalize why there is good and bad metal.

Also, they are funny.

Sewer – Rektal

Calls itself “extreme blackened gore metal” but it’s mostly Swedecore melodeath. At least two decades after the sub-genre was pronounced clinically dead.

The songs are built around the solos, so you’re basically listening to In Flames/Arch Enemy/Kalmah filler while waiting for the solo because there is nothing else interesting going on.

The song names are incredibly stupid as well, in addition to not making sense (probably by design). Random words thrown together to make a track title, random notes thrown together to make “melodic” music. Same concept.

Example: “Aquatile Sodomy to Heptahedral Obsequial Sphincter Sewage in the Mouth of Satan Crucifix”. That’s the title, not the lyrics.

Also, Sewer needs to stop with the [k]rap… they didn’t even invent it, Mortal Kombat has been doing that since 1992.

Flush it down the sewer.

Made of Hate – Out of Hate

Exactly the same issue as above, the songs are built around the solos. They don’t even try to make coherent songs, they just play two or more variations (just kidding, only two – one for the verse, one for the chorus) of the riffs played by the rhythm guitar as backing during the solo.

These two aren’t the only bands that indulge in this type of lazy songwriting, I could name a few others from the top of my head. Anterior, Bloodshot Dawn, Revocation, the first two Arch Enemy (one being featured below). You probably know a few that fit the pattern as well.

I don’t go out of my way to find these bands though, which leads to believe that there really is a need for a “solo metal” type genre.

These bands should drop the pretense of making music and just masturbate to Van Halen on their own. No need to drag metal into their air guitar fantasies.

Belphegor – Totenritual

Imagine Marduk, Anaal Nathrakh, Dark Funeral, Six Feet Under, Watain and every war metal band ever had sex. Disregard the suspension of disbelief induced by the thought of Chris Barnes, Ahriman, or the Watain midget having sexual intercourse.

This is what you would get.

Prior to this album, Belphegor sounded like every other Marduk clone ever. A bit more technically proficient, and with a bit of Dark Funeral here and there.

Totenritual changes things a bit as the band attempts to fit in a few more death metal influences (they advertise themselves as blackened death metal). The problem is that rather than death metal, they end up sounding like Six Feet Under.

There’s really a bit of everything in this. Some Anaal Nathrakh. Some Archgoat. Still quite a bit of Marduk. Watain’s patented plagiarized-Beherit-riffs-played-faster.

What you end up with is a compound of all the worst trends in metal.

I don’t say that lightly. The first track (Baphomet) sounds like they are trying to mix modern Cannibal Corpse with Dark Funeral’s tired DMDS-clone riffs.

Belphegor was never good, but I don’t remember them ever being this uninspired.

Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods

Worse than All Shall Fall?

Demonaz is pretty clever for someone who cosplays as his own brother-in-law.

He knows that blasting + cyclical pop structure + nonsensical songwriting + nu-Mayhem discordant riffs + pseudo atmospheric ambient breaks + early BM vintage thrashy riffs = the formula for a derivative modern black metal sound.

Go ask Belphegor above.

I say Demonaz is clever because he realized that Immortal was known for those things, minus the pop structure, well before they became a trend.

No one would seriously accuse Immortal of being derivative by playing a style they pioneered, right?

The real problem with Northern Chaos Gods is that there was too much effort put into sounding like “old Immortal”, and too little effort put into creating good music. And while the style is that of Pure Holocaust, the substance is closer to a mass produced war metal excuse for touring.

A few years back there was a stupid black metal parody band that was in everyone’s Youtube recommendations, the “Black Satans from Hell” or something related. While officially they mocked the entire black metal genre, it was mainly Immortal who was satirized (they did provide an easy target for the scorn-minded). I never heard their music or watched their videos, but I’m willing to bet that whatever mock metal they played is closer to actual black metal than this album could ever be.

Signed to Nuclear Blast, of all labels.

Behemoth – I Loved You at Your Darkest

Before listening to this I had some empathy for retards and Nergal. Neither survived.

Worse than the worst of Arch Enemy. Shit tier pop music in competition with Nicki Minaj to see who can insult your intelligence the most. Soilwork, Kalmah and Whispered make good pop metal, the type that can compete with Justin Bieber. This can’t.

Leave Justin alone, Nergal, you don’t have the skills to challenge “One less lonely gvrl”.

If you thought Sewer’s [k]rap was bad, wait until your taste Behemoth’s t[v]rd literacy. “Coagvla”. I shit yov not. I’m not one to advocate svicide, but sometimes yov’ve gotta pvll the fvcking plvg, dvde.

It’s extremely generic “death” “metal”, the type that usually has 53 views on Youtube and 3 plays on Soundcloud.

Nergal seems to know that, which is why he attempts to insert a multitude of different influences, probably in the hope that someone will acknowledge his music for being “different”. Like a retard, he knows he can’t be good, so he’ll opt for different.

But even at that he fails, as the difference is only superficial.

No amount of sonic novelty or experimentation can hide the feeling of having heard this album a thousand times before.

The experimental nature is a mile wide but an inch deep. A track like Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica contains some elements you don’t usually come across in metal, notably in the vocal department, but as I said it’s not nearly enough to camouflage the generic nature of this release.

Arch Enemy – Stigmata

The myth of Arch Enemy having once made good music needs to die. This and Burning Bridges follow the same pattern as Made of Hate/Sewer, songs built around solos and/or a “catchy” hook or chorus.

The rest of the time you’re listening to speed metal riffs played downtuned and with distortion.

Take the first riff from Venom’s “Black Metal” and the middle one from Darkthrone’s “Unholy Black Metal.”

Alternate every song and you have intro, verse, chorus, bridge, […], outro all in one riff. Just make sure to change the tempo a bit, and maybe alternate between tremolo and single notes so low IQ Arch Enemy fans don’t figure it out.

The riff only changes when it’s time for the solo, that’s when the backing guitars enter a tired minor key chord progression (it’s the same one getting repeatedly gangbanged by the entire Gothenburg scene).

Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse

I know, Watain already gets insulted left and right. I’ll try to be nice with the “Outlaw”.

Watain, as a band and independent of Erik/E./Effete Danielsson, is not completely shit. Their problem resides in the genre they choose to define themselves as.

They can’t play black metal. They demonstrated that over the course of six albums now, and their “least bad” songs are also the most honest ones: those in which they drop all pretense of black metal. Usually on Lawless Darkness and Wild Hunt.

The problem is that since they label themselves black metal, their fans demand “black metal” music (or whatever they believe that to be) and they routinely get trashed everytime they “come out” and openly play what they are meant to play: rock music.

After getting trashed for being “not black metal” enough, Watain doubles down on the trve satanist gimmick and tries to “return to the roots”.

Yet they have no roots to speak of, as they don’t know what black metal is other than as a promotional tool and an aesthetic.

So begins their favorite game: stealing riffs from everyone and anyone.

Usually DMDS, Bathory, Darkthrone, Beherit, Marduk, Sarcófago or Celtic Frost for the verses and Dissection, Dimmu or Sacramentum for the chorus. Recently they started picking some nu-Mayhem, see the tracks “Towards the Sanctuary” and “Furor Diabolicus”. “Teufelsreich” also sounds like A Grand Declaration of War mixed with Life Eternal. Two songs, two albums, two eras, one band, zero creativity.

And Beherit. A lot of Beherit. The same Beherit riff on more than one song per album even. They just take the riff on The Gate of Nanna or Unholy Pagan Fire and add nu metal breaks or random E string tremolos inside to mask the blatant theft.

You can basically play the “guess who made that riff” game, and unlike with some more low-key theft, you don’t even need such a good knowledge of the extreme metal underground as Watain makes it way too obvious.

Watain should go back to playing whatever Wild Hunt was, much less offensive than this fake metal hybrid.

“They Rode On” > Nu-Mayhem played by trisomics.

Vital Remains – Icons of Evil

It’s pretty hard to describe the music of Vital Remains, but once you hear it you will agree that it’s annoying.

Vital Remains plays pretty basic speed metal, but they play it FAST AND LOUD, so that makes it death metal I think?

The song Dechristianize, from the previous album, epitomizes their music better than I could describe.

Two pairs of two basic power chords alternate twice, then a climax of sorts, the two pairs of riffs again, the climax again, an outro.

Seems a little short, maybe. What is it, a 50 second grindcore song?

Wrong, it lasts 9 minutes.

Vital Remains play a faster version of Bolt Thrower riffs, with a bit of Sodom and Bathory, but they play it like Nargaroth. That’s how you get 9 minutes of the same four riffs, with zero variation.

And just like Nargaroth, perhaps even worse than him, the songs just drag on and go absolutely nowhere.

Icons of Evil is even worse than its predecessor. Everything Dechristianize did this album does it longer, dumber and manages to be even more irritating.

One positive point is Dave Suzuki’s drumming. But if you listen to bad music only for the (good) drumming, you’re probably blasting nu-Mayhem and Dimmu already.

Blut Aus Nord – Deus Salutis Meæ

Mallcore with keyboards = atmospheric black metal.

This album is ridiculous and very instructive if you’re into putting lipstick on a core band, as Blut Aus Nord use absolutely every trick in the book the take the attention away from the repetitive and boring music they produce.

Every ounce of novelty and genre fusion must be consumed lest the audience realize they are listening to Korn with keyboards.

Is it good?

As entertainment, I guess, but it grows old very quick once the novelty rapidly fades and you’re left with Life is Peachy with weird vocals.

Kalmah – Palo

If you play modern melodeath, you’re lazy.

So what happens when you become even lazier?

Not only is Palo very average melodeath, it sounds like Kalmah are recycling their own riffs.

They literally take the verse riff from a They Will Return song and mix it with a Seventh Swamphony chorus, and maybe add a The Black Waltz solo.

Like all Kalmah music, it’s technically solid but gets irritating very fast. There are only two people in the world who can listen to a Kalmah record in its entirety, Ihsahn cause he’s a poser and the Watain guy because he steals riffs from everywhere.

It’s sad that the Finnish melodeath scene is turning to shit as well, courtesy amongst others of their leading and most mainstream band Kalmah (CoB aren’t metal).

Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign

At least they dropped the stupid Latin names.

Worse than their debut. As generic as it was, songs on The Secrets of the Black Arts at least had some semblance of metal spirit in the way they were composed. “Dark Are The Paths To Eternity” is very average for black metal, the riffs are beyond uninspired and the song is all around not something I would recommend anyone listen to, but at least there was some effort put into building the song out of (admittedly poor) riffs. On Where Shadows Forever Reign there is nothing redeeming: the same riffs as The Secrets of the Black Arts but in a pop verse/chorus format, with no deviation whatsoever.

If you don’t know what a Dark Funeral album is, take the opening riff from “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” and play it forever over a few power chords.

Every one of their songs sounds the same except for that one they ripped off of Darkthrone (“Bloodfrozen” <-> “En As I Dype Skogen”).

Kvlt.

Vader – The Empire

I know the Slipknot insult gets thrown around a lot, but I promise that if you take any metal fan who doesn’t know either two bands and put him through a blind test he won’t be able to guess which songs belong to which band.

Vader was always overrated, both as a death metal band and now as a nu metal act. Since I don’t like and thus listen to any of their music, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when they transitioned to being Slipknot-from-Poland but I can guarantee that this sounds nothing like De Profundis and everything like your basic drain-valve-binge-drinking rapcore.

I can’t believe this and All Hope is Gone were made by two different individuals, so either the Vader dudes work part time as ghostwriters for lame nu metal acts or some of the Slipknot crew wanted to produce something more brutal

This isn’t even Pantera, this is pure Slipknot. The vocalist even matches the delivery style of Corey Taylor.

Just listen to Vader’s “Prayer to the God of War” and Slipknot’s “Feel My Pain” one after the other and tell me which one sounds the most like it was composed while cosplaying as Mushroomhead.

Wait, I made a mistake… both songs I gave you are from Vader/Slypcznok. If you want the Slipknot from America, listen to “Psychosocial”. You still won’t be able to tell the difference.

Six Feet Under – Torment

Honestly, it’s not necessarily worse than the rest of what this band has produced over the years.

That feat, however, is only possible because Six Feet Under is the absolute bottom of the barrel in terms of music.

I don’t remember much Six Feet Under, but out of memory this album differs in four ways:

  1. slightly less rock/pop oriented in songwriting
  2. a bit more “technical,” meaning nonsensical (Origin with no talent)
  3. some parts literal sound like Deathspell Omega, meaning both random and bad
  4. Chris Barnes has no voice anymore, he sounds like your bedroom groovegrind vocalist. I half expected to hear pig squeals during some of the songs.

It’s still very mediocre music.

Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With

A mix-mash of old Suffocation and new Cannibal Corpse can’t hide the core, particularly if you breakdown for 30 seconds straight (“Panic Amongst the Herd”) or if you try and fail to be Pig Destroyer (same song, at the 1:20 mark).

Dying Fetus is nonsense, the riffs are terrible and make no sense in relation to one another.

Some bands have average riffs but make them flow well, like Necrophobic, Death and Cannibal Corpse.
Some bands have good riffs but can’t seem to do anything with them, like Archgoat, Gehenna and Carpathian Forest.

When you combine both flaws, there is a question that needs to be asked: why make music?

Dying Fetus has been dodging that question since 1991.

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16 thoughts on “SMR Desecration of the Herd”

  1. Marc Defranco says:

    I mainly enjoy these sadistic metal reviews because they provide a counter perspective to many albums that are praised by various other sites. I haven’t listened to Vital Remains in some years. I thought I remember them being fairly good, I’ll have to revisit them and see

    1. One of our mission statements here is to counter commercialist propaganda.

      Too much crap gets praised, then people rush out and buy it, and end up de-braining themselves by becoming inculcated to listening to mediocre music.

      It would be better to sit in a room with a stereo on repeat loaded with the actual classics.

    2. The whole metal press has gone insane and they praise whatever was the trend five years ago because that’s when all of them got out of college before chronic alcoholism and living with ten other hipsters as roommates turned them into neutered androgynous hedonists with the long-term vision of a tardigrade.

  2. maelstrrom says:

    For some reason Vader is seen as one of the few “consistent” bands that always makes a good album. Vader’s early works are good, and De Profundis is essential death metal. But everything after Litany is a rehash of albums that came before with increasing degeneration into speed metal song structures. Parts of the newest one have some value as amusement, like the hilariously obvious star wars riffs. Even the mainstream crowd thinks this one is bad.

    1. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of death metal bands, mainly because most have a few albums in them and then need some time to recharge, but that’s right about the point when their careers take off, so they have to head out on tour and hammer out something with the right rhythms and image to sell albums. Bands also try to stay current in style, which means looking at what other bands have done that has succeeded, which ends up creating a mash of past successes and influences that cannot remain coherent for long. First albums are often good simply because the band were inspired, in the days before being a band became a job, and they have sat with the material for a number of years and refined it.

    2. Dirty Blonde Hair Blue Eyes Negro Son Probably Not Mine In All Honesty But I Cannot Afford Paternity Testing says:

      All traditonalists “go back” to the forms of the previous generation ie their influences. Vader began as a speed metal garage band. Darkthrone regressed into their influences. Guenon became a Muslim. Etc. Note here the difference between these guys and say incantation who stubbornly refuse to play anything but death metal. The output whose quality tapered off long ago, never “went back”.

      1. BUTT SEX SUPLEX (ANUS SODOMY WORLD CHAMPION) says:

        Which is worse? The quality of new Incantation rehashing the past in worse form is on par with whatever Vader and Darkthrone are releasing now.

        1. Dirty Blonde Hair Blue Eyes Negro Son Probably Not Mine In All Honesty But I Cannot Afford Paternity Testing says:

          Does one have to be worse than the other

      2. Every bad tapers off after awhile. The smart ones just quit while they are ahead, or wait until they are really inspired. Incantation has been writing two songs and then repeating them for a full album since 1998 or so. Vader has done the same. Everyone else has regressed to their influences because when out of ideas musicians raid their LP collections for lost riffs, hooks, and song topics. Even Mercyful Fate got boring after Don’t Break the Oath.

  3. chillfully thus far says:

    I don’t like this guest contributer’s writing style.

    There’s something annoying about it.

    But…

    It’s hard to put my finger on why.

    Hmmm.

  4. Of all these I have only listened to Arch Enemy’s _Stigmata_ which is a pretty ok McMetal album.

    1. “Pretty OK” is the enemy of good, and good is the enemy of perfect, which does not exist on this earth except through imperfection. Hail Satan… kill the weak…

  5. Coolest Monkey In The Jungle says:

    Vader just puts me to sleep. The demo..Morbid Reich, is …ok. Nothing amazing. I guess at the time it was exotic to own a death metal record from Poland, makes you sound cultured to your mates I guess.

    In which case…I suggest listening to their compatriots BETRAYER – Calamity (1994). It some elements of Vader for sure (in the “clean” production), except with actually memorable songs and riffs. Deserves the attention more than De Profundis, for sure.

    I recently saw that they (Betrayer) made a come back of sorts and have put out two records in the last few years. Of course, i won’t be bothered to listen to them because, dead death metal bands should stay dead..rather than come back with a Fear Factory/Korn/whatever (sensitive soy boy aka “matured” according to Metal Hammer – you know what i mean) type sound . Perhaps DMU would be kind enough to review these records for us, to save me a precious 40- minutes of my life.

    1. bloodypulp says:

      calamity is a good album

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