This style is emerging as the new front for underground metal: a Paradise Lost-style lead rhythm melody laced doom metal as if played by a war metal band at death-doom paces. This takes last season’s favorite, the Incantation-derived “cavern metal” band, and adds to it melody and more distinctive traditional riffing, but keeps the same morbid subterranean atmosphere.
Orcrypt add to this formula that ability to wield classic, catchy choruses in the style of Pyogenesis or later Sodom, so that like war metal songs rumble through a series of riffs and then break into a clarity that resembles the moment on Pink Floyd album when storyline and music united. This is done within a riff vocabulary that would fit alongside later Emperor, early Mayhem, Revenge, Blasphemy and Order from Chaos. The result avoids the off/on hard/soft approach of bands from Pantera through nu-metal, and instead works up to the catchy choruses with embedded melodic rhythm leads among the surly and rapacious war metal/black metal riffing. This creates a haunting anticipation that flowers in the choruses, which are less frequent than with purely verse-chorus bands.
Pacing follows that of a doom-death band: breaking from slow to fast, to return to a mid-paced option that leads into the slow. This perpetuates the dark ambiance and enriches it with a sense of internal motivation. Orcrypt know how to remove everything but the essential in songs and then later, where it has no negative impact, work back in noisy leads and vocal accents. The result is both dark underground and has the power of traditional heavy metal.
Texas heavy metal band Obscure Oracle has released its latest work, a track which takes us back to both the early 1980s and its grandiose power metal, and an improved version of the melodic death metal of the mid-90s. “Pray for Nothing” features 1980s style choruses with less repetitive verses than bands of that nature would use, sliding into melodic guitar riffing that would have At the Gates envious, but used sparingly like an Iron Maiden/Judas Priest era band would have used. This track foreshadows great things to come from this original Texan band! Because it is a sneak preview, you cannot hear the track at this time, but you can catch the band live just a few months ago:
Autopsy released a single from Skull Grinder today, giving me an opportunity to taste something of what the album might be like. If “Waiting For The Screams” is any indicator of upcoming content, this album is going to be overtly influenced by traditional style doom metal. Much of its runtime is given over to shouted vocals over slow, relatively consonant riffs reminiscent of Black Sabbath, interspersed with some passages of more standard death metal riffing more like what I’d expect from Autopsy. The band claims not to have made any stylistic changes, but this sounds to me like a more accessible and melodramatic Autopsy than the one that produced Severed Survival and Mental Funeral. I guess we’ll see what the full album is actually like.
Two tours of note today. First, and presumably better, is Voivod’s impending US tour. The band is currently traveling through Europe with Napalm Death and Obituary as part of Deathcrusher 2015. This February, they will join Vektor and Eight Bells for what is mostly a tour of the eastern USA, with some later dates in the Midwest. If an interview from February 2015 is to be believed, an album (and one that may be more overtly progressive rock oriented than usual for the band) is coming some time next year; the splits with At the Gates and Napalm Death that it mentions appear to have released without issues. The tour dates follow:
2/06 – Providence, RI – Fete Ballroom 2/07 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre 2/08 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Neck Tie 2/09 – Morgantown, WV – Mainstage 2/10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar 2/11 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony 2/12 – Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club 2/13 – Washington, DC – Black Cat 2/14 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter 2/16 – Raleigh, NC – Kings 2/18 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre 2/19 – Sanford, FL – West End Trading Co. 2/20 – Ybor City, FL – The Orpheum 2/21 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade 2/22 – Knoxville, TN – The Concourse 2/24 – Chicago, IL – The Abbey Pub 2/25 – Cudahy, WI – The Metal Grill 2/26 – St Paul, MN – The Amsterdam 2/27 – Omaha, NE – Waiting Room 2/28 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird 3/03 – Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch
I could theoretically make it to the Rhode Island show, and I am certainly interested in doing so, but we’ll have to see how things shape up in the next few months.
Vox Day: SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police
Science fiction author and video game designer Vox Day has written a handbook for dealing with SJWs including who they are and how to identify them, how they think and act, and how to defend against them and counter-attack. His writing style is easily digestible, and the information he presents is conveniently organized into enumerated laws and steps, such as the three laws of SJWs (the first of which doubles as the book’s title), the stages in an SJW attack, and the points to keep in mind during an attack.
SJWs are bullies who wield social pressure as a weapon.
Since his intent is practical, he gives only a brief overview of the ideology and history of SJWs. In his words, “knowing everything there is to know about shark DNA or what fish grizzly bears prefer to eat doesn’t do you any good when you find yourself nose to nose with a hungry one.” This focus is a strong point, as the result is a succinct instruction manual.
In the universities, in the churches, in the corporations . . . free speech and free thought are under siege by a group of fanatics as self-righteous as Savonarola, as ruthless as Stalin, as ambitious as Napoleon, and as crazy as Caligula.
They are the Social Justice Warriors, the SJWs, the self-appointed thought police who have been running amok throughout the West since the dawn of the politically correct era in the 1990s. Their defining characteristics:
a philosophy of activism for activism’s sake
a dedication to rooting out behavior they deem problematic, offensive, or unacceptable in others
a custom of primarily identifying individuals by their sex, race, and sexual orientation
a hierarchy of intrinsic morality based on the identity politics of sex, race, and sexual orientation
a quasi religious belief in equality, diversity, and the inevitably of progress . . .
The information in this book will be useful to metal band members and concert organizers who are the targets of SJW attacks. Vox demonstrates, using numerous examples of attacks, that the worst thing these targets can do is apologise, as doing so simply hands the attackers “a confession to bolster their indictment.” In fact, if one learns only a single thing from this book, it should be that SJWs can’t be reasoned with at all: do not engage them in good faith, do not expect them to be honest in any way, and just plain do not take them seriously. This should come naturally to members of an artistic movement fascinated with aggression and violence. And yet, #metalgate has shown us that heavy metal is in the SJWs’ crosshairs.
The reason for this is that metal has been infiltrated by SJWs, whose primary allegiance is always the Narrative, which is the nebulous and frequently changing concept of social justice to which they all adhere, regardless of inherent contradictions and absurdities (see the First Law). To them, the goals of a movement or institution will always be secondary to this, though they mask this insincerity by wrapping themselves in its superficial trappings. When they look at a band like Disma, they ignore what would be most important to a metalhead — the musical, artistic and philosophical content — and instead search for anything about its members that violates their Narrative, then point and shriek hysterically until a crowd forms. Fundamentally, SJWs are bullies who wield social pressure as a weapon.
If you have any SJWs working under you, fire them.
For a work that deals with such bitter and unlikeable people, the tone of this book is surprisingly positive, and the message is hopeful. Referring to an organized campaign against SJW control of a Science Fiction award, Day says “the importance of Sad Puppies is that it shows how even in a field that has been dominated by SJWs for more than two decades, they are weaker and less numerous than most people believe.” If their weapon is social pressure then a successful resistance would consist of simply not bowing to it. Since they always lie, even to themselves, they operate with a false understanding of the world, which puts them at a disadvantage to those who are honest.
Target the enemy at every opportunity. Hit them wherever they show themselves vulnerable. Play as dirty as your conscience will permit. Undermine them, sabotage them, and discredit them. Be ruthless and show them absolutely no mercy. This is not the time for Christian forgiveness because these are people who have not repented, these are people who are trying to destroy you and are quite willing to harm your family and your children in the process. Take them down and take them out without hesitation. If you have any SJWs working under you, fire them.
The truth is that SJWs care so much about the institutions they control that they will destroy them rather than relinquish control over them. They will consume metal, video games anything else by using their crazy ideology in order to assert individual self-importance. When confronted by them, don’t apologise, but instead counterattack by ruthlessly pursuing and defending truth. In other words,
Jag Panzer seems to be in a period of heightened activity. After a string of previous and upcoming live concerts (including a scheduled appearance on the next “70,000 Tons of Metal” cruise), the band recently announced that they would be recording their next studio album, The Deviant Chord, in May 2016. This will hopefully build off a long and storied career. Jag Panzer initially achieved fame with 1984’s Ample Destruction, which was one of the formative works of the US power metal scene. Despite long periods of inactivity, the band has been able to successfully revive themselves on multiple occasions, most notably with a string of albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as 2011’s The Scourge of the Light. The main vocalist (Harry Conklin) also went on to form Satan’s Host, which later took on a life of its own through exploration of extreme metal tropes.
Afterlife Productions has recently released the latest issue of Deadhead Fanzine. This Malaysian label (calling themselves “Asia’s last stand for conservative metal literature”) has compiled an substantial quantity of metal literature into a package that’s apparently more like a paperback book than a simple magazine. Besides the usual reviews, articles, and etc, the major selling point is likely the dozens of included interviews with both well known and more underground metal bands. Morbid Angel headlines, with former members Mike Browning and Richard Brunelle talking about the band’s earliest days, and the latter also makes his way to the front cover. Deadhead Fanzine 6.66 also understandably devotes some space to Malaysian underground metal in particular, featuring interviews with bands from all over the country. The sheer quantity of content here could make it a very tempting purchase, and it is available from Afterlife’s website.
Taphonomy is the study of fossilization. Interesting that a death metal band would utilize this in their lyrics.
Hailing from Pennsylvania, Taphos Nomos is a very young band that comes hammering with their lyrically-fitting brand of death metal on their 2015 EP West of Everything Lies Death; the music takes on a very dry and decaying atmosphere, which feels just as if the music itself were slowly and painstakingly fossilizing. Besides the aesthetic it generates, the instrumentation itself shows clear influence from both Incantation (whilst thankfully staying away from the usual ‘cavern-core’ cliches) in addition to bands from the Swedish scene such as Unleashed and Grave. The clean vocals and some accentuation in the melodies are reminiscent of what one would find in ‘traditional’ doom metal bands. An interesting combination, but does it come to a cohesive whole? Thankfully, yes. It’s not the utmost zenith of creativity, but it’s a satisfactory style nonetheless.
Across the entire work, the music develops in ways that are decently dynamic; despite there not being many distinct instances of interplay between the members, there is a sense of momentum generated that keeps the overall musical narrative flowing. Canyon Shifter (real name Nick L) is generally the source of the interplay on this release. To elaborate, his layered guitar work (multiple voices, not pointless aesthetic walls) makes use of recurring themes to advance the narrative of the music in addition to having a clear idea as to how to build tension, especially in the case of some sections where the various melodic voices build some basic yet effective polyphonic phrases. That being said, there are some parts that hold back the music from flourishing. Taphos Nomos’ sense of rhythm doesn’t match the momentousness of the guitarwork. This doesn’t mean that the rhythm section cannot keep up, but when listening to this EP, it’s clear that your focus is going to be directed solely towards the melodic aspect.
The overall result is somewhat memorable, but with the previously stated issues, it becomes evident that only certain aspects stay in mind post-listen. The music’s quality itself may not be truly exceptional, but in both competence and stylistic integrity, Taphos Nomos show clear signs of potential on West of Everything Lies Death.
It might not be as important to the Celtic Frost/Hellhammer legacy as its immediate predecessors, but To Mega Therionis still a fine work of metal 30 years (and four days) after its release. Many early underground metal recordings are noted for stripping their musical content to a bare minimum of function and simultaneously exploring new methods of arrangement and songwriting. To Mega Therion, on the other hand, takes a step towards refining the new standard, with more elaborate instrumentation, production, and songwriting than the EPs that came before it. It’s still more restrained in its aesthetic exploration than anything else Celtic Frost released, but listeners can easily hear how some of the more obvious experiments here (timpani, occasional female vocals, etc.) anticipate elements that would become fixtures in the band’s later works, and furthermore in the plethora of subgenres to follow.
Swarming brings together experienced old school death metal personnel from Finland and Sweden to slash out a putrid, raw, grinding and crusty form of death metal that borrows as much from Autopsy and Carcass as it does Demigod and Dismember. For Halloween, Dead Beat Media has released Cacophony of Ripping Flesh: Recordings 2010-2012 which collects the complete works of the band during the first two years of its existence.
Check out the exclusive stream of “The Hideous Incantation” right here:
Storming death metal riffs gain support from an underpinning of melody balanced by the sickening, dragging and decomposing riffs that like the unsteady hand of a drunken surgeon dragging scalpels through flesh, induce a mood of hopeless darkness and perverse enjoyment of the world’s suicide. Demonstrating competence in both the technicalities of death metal and the intricacies of rock guitar, Swarming show death metal at its most engaging and yet repulsive.
Swarming (formed in February 2010) is a Finnish-Swedish collaboration with Lasse from Hooded Menace, Phlegethon, and Ruinebell, and Rogga from Paganizer, Ribspreader, and Humanity Delete. The guys share the same passion for raw and filthy music and that is what they are here to deliver with Swarming. Downtuned and putrid, grinding, crusty death metal!
Swarming Cacophony of Ripping Flesh – Recordings 2010-2012 compiles tracks recorded during the band’s existence so far including the two tracks from Swarming/Zombie Ritual split (Doomentia 2010). Cover artwork comes from David of Extremely Rotten Records. The album was mixed by the band and mastered by Mikko Saastamoinen (whose other works include Hooded Menace, Ruinebell and Vacant Coffin).
Thanks to Jill at Dead Beat Media, we are able to offer you this exclusive album track stream on Halloween 2015. As you are gorging on candy and cider, take a moment to vomit purulent blood with Swarming!