Concert Review: Metalmania 2018

On  7th  April, another edition of a long standing Polish festival Metalmania took place. One day, two stages, twenty four bands. It was the second one organized after a recent reactivation. The original Metalmania was an early big metal event in that part of the Europe – quite a feat given Polish Communist and post-Communist realities. Then, due to various reasons, the festival was gradually losing its relevance, dwindling and finally went into hiatus for 8 years. There is no sense, however, to cling to its bygone local importance or whatever glorious past. So how does it look now? 

While too much reliance on more mainstream gothic and heavy contributed to a collapse of previous incarnation of the festival, and now it was death and black oriented, the music on the big scene is rather consistently aimed at straight metal through all of its generations and styles, ending with bands like Dead Congregation or Blaze of Perdition and with some of the more modern sounds on a small scene. On a downside, the fest resurfacing mainly as a stage for classic bands may be reflecting the actual state of metal, indicating that the newer bands are unable to fill the void with something equally strong to their predecessors. 

The festival was obviously rough around the edges (and surprisingly violent – I almost got caught into two different fights just from where I was standing) and the sound was uneven and average overall. It was organized better than in the past, but still perceptibly within Polish standards, that is crudely and with lack of imagination or simply negligence in some areas (although Martin van Drunen said on stage that the organization was great!). Perhaps a very fortunate by-product of these characteristics, which may contribute to the positive reception of this festival, is how – I dare to say – conservative it is, both in terms of lineup and general spirit. With Napalm Death and (I suppose) liberal speed metallers on one side and sort of crypto-nazis on the other, who always find a way to show up in some form, the fest also covered broadest ideological spectrum that is possible for a mainstream event. 

As of 2018 this festival is yet to experience types of modern degeneracy, often coming from outside, which can be seen on festivals elsewhere. There were some obligatory side attractions, like exhibition of works of Christophe Szpajdel (who actually speaks Polish fluently), meet-up with the bands and lots of merch, but nothing delving too much into a fan idiocy or really not related to metal. Very few freaks, zero exotic people, no random participants, just fairly traditional metalheads, mostly in the 90s style, as it should be, world without end. However, those spoiled by abundance of propositions and by big festivals in Germany or Czech Republic will probably miss out on some of these modest qualities. 

And then there’s the surreal, sci-fi sight at the arrival – a monumental, Communistic “The Saucer” occupied by nothing but a tribe of long haired, black clad drunks… 

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Roman Salutes Are Too Evil For Watain

At the end of last year, we predicted that overt satanic lyrics and themes in metal would see their last days. There is no band that will accelerate this quicker than goofball circus act Watain, who market themselves as the evilest band in the world by LARPing as an American biker gang and staying in character through all media interactions. By doing so, they can act like they’re more “trve” than Dimmu Borgir and Dark Funeral despite being even more campy than both in their music and aesthetics.

But in the most cowardly of moves, the band kicked out the only credible member- former Dissection guitarist Set Teitan- because a picture of him doing a Nazi salute surfaced on the internet.  Though the band hides behind the lame excuse that “he left so we wouldn’t have to talk about politics,” it’s clear that the move was desperation on the part of Watain as they struggle to preserve their cash grab machine.  But regardless of whether lefties decide to shutdown Watain’s freak show carnival tour, the band will never survive this incident as the few supporters they had will likely realize that Watain are as timid as they come.

Make no mistake, I’m not at all defending what Set Teitan did, as all Hitler/Nazi LARPing is a corny stunt pulled by fat redneck rejects so they can feel extreme from their mom’s shed.  Instead, I’m celebrating as the Watain scam will finally lose all traction and the band will soon be homeless and broken in the streets.  Though they thought themselves to be instruments of the devil, they ultimately did a better job serving God by destroying the satanic metal scene from within.

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The Imperial Reign of Emperor

The most technically and musically gifted band of the Norwegian black metal scene, the legendary Emperor are also the most well known outside of the documentary-level engagement that plagues most who know of Burzum and Mayhem.  Formed in the small rural town of Telemark Norway as a side project to a soon-forgotten death metal band, the group overcame the imprisonment of 75% of it’s lineup to deliver the most grandiose album of early 90s black metal.  Though Emperor’s career was far from perfect, it made a profound impact on the young genre and ultimately proved it’s limitless developmental possibility.
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Sadistic Metal Reviews: Blood Muzak’s Best

Poseur cash grab Finnish label Blood Music posted his favorites albums of 2017 recently on his Mosh Core Trends Fun book page. Nobody needs a 24 LP boxed set of Emperor (Only need In the Nightside Eclipse and Wrath of the Tyrant / Emperor compilation CD) featuring rehearsals of Ihsahn’s mom telling Emperor to stop dressing up like The Lost Boys and nobody needs anything on this poseur’s shilling list. Nobody wants to pay to join Blood Music’s fan club to buy his hipster merchandise. Blood Music should go shoot himself. A hollow point to the back of the head gets the job done as he has to blow up his shill lizard brain to make sure he dies for good. Do it.

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Ihsahn: “What I do now is musically still black metal.”

Ihsahn is recording his upcoming solo album right now in Norway according to Blabbermouth. Furthermore Ihsahn believes that black metal is not a specific type of heavy metal music but rather a mind set and that the random progressive rock and jazzy instrumental masturbation Ihsahn performs now is still actually “black metal” despite not even being metal music to begin with, yet alone black metal.

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Tau Cross – “Killing the King”

Tau Cross premiered a new properly seizure-inducing music video on Youtube this week to promote their upcoming second album, Pillar of Fire, which comes out July 21st on Relapse Records . “Killing the King” shows the group’s anti-authoritarian bent which Relapse is trying to turn political to appeal to their scenester sludge rock and metalcore audience’s hatred of everything Donald Trump despite the band’s obvious intent and medievalisms in the published lyrics.

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Nokturnal Mortum – Verity (2017)

With Verity, Nokturnal Mortum continue down the more commercial path they started embarking on The Voice of Steel and their half of last year’s The Spirit Never Dies split with Graveland: commercialized rock-constructed music with Ukrainian folk and power metal aesthetics.  On the inferior half of the The Spirit Never Dies, Nokturnal Mortum abandoned the use of the progressive rock techniques with speed, power, and Gothenburg metal riffs to craft compositions similar to the extended, droning flowing black metal compositions of past greats. Verity continues the slide down into Wacken fare.

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Emperor Prepare Anthems… Anniversary Tour

Emperor are currently preparing to tour in celebration of the twentieth anniversary their second album, the third rate Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. While Emperor kept on wearing armor, Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk saw Emperor simplify their trademark complex, almost symphonic Norwegian black metal sound down to two to three note speed metal influenced riffs with neo-classical wank leads in conventional verse-chorus-verse heavy metal songs to appeal to a wider, Wacken-going audience.

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