Most metal journalism is paid advertising

It’s easy to type words:

In tens of millions of reviews on Web sites like, Citysearch, TripAdvisor and Yelp, new books are better than Tolstoy, restaurants are undiscovered gems and hotels surpass the Ritz.

Or so the reviewers say. As online retailers increasingly depend on reviews as a sales tool, an industry of fibbers and promoters has sprung up to buy and sell raves for a pittance.

“For $5, I will submit two great reviews for your business,” offered one entrepreneur on the help-for-hire site Fiverr, one of a multitude of similar pitches. On another forum, Digital Point, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.” A Craigslist post proposed this: “If you have an active Yelp account and would like to make very easy money please respond.” – NYT

Label sends stuff to blogs, blogs fawn, label reprints, and on it goes.

What gets lost? Any notion of music quality.

You can be a wank metal blog, and be popular for some time, but you’ll never touch the popularity of the metal that really made life more intense for people.

A repo man’s always intense. Come on, let’s go get a drink.

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Invert the cross, or you’re a conformist pig. Die.

Ever notice the parallels?

Metal, like extreme politics, can too often focus on what it hates and not enough on what it loves/desires/creates.

Metal is war… this compounds the problem… war needs warm bodies and enemies.

But metal is not whining. It is not victimhood. It is the bold pulse of the blood of a fighter.

Not the plaintive lament of someone using rights, social approval, etc. for justification.

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Rites of oblivion bathe in execrable light

Gontyna Kry – Welowie

One of the best works of Polish black metal, Welowie has the craftmanship and melodic sophistication of Sacramentum’s best work but marginalizes the death metal influences, instead filling that loophole with the post-Discharge melodic hardcore that Graveland had a niche for carving out in their earlier work. Distant screams amidst a melancholic plethora of notational sequences reveal a sense of emotionally fraught catharsis not unlike a more musically ‘learned’ take on Mutiilation’s best works. The eight tracks on here run at just over 26 minutes in total but still in such a limited constraint manages to make the most of epic scope and artful expression within a time constraint that would more traditionally fit a death metal band. In some ways calling this work merely a ‘demo’ does it little justice. –Pearson

War Master – Chapel of the Apocalypse

A young Texan war squad shows you don’t need advanced technique or labyrinthine compositions in order to succeed at pulverizing death metal hostility, as the palm muted chainsaw grind slugs onwards with the determination of a German panzer advancing towards certain death upon the Stalingrad plains. As with most young death metal bands, their earnestness sets them apart from most of the older colleagues and the primitive, architectural weight of “Awaken in Darkness” convinces one of morbid intentions unlike a thousand Necrophagists. Dark atmospherics abound in these documents of fear and rage in chthonic shade, bringing reminders of Amorphis’ and Incantation’s early Relapse days , the five musicians being able to build a solid tribute to their influences on this demo and generate a fiendish excitement for a capable followup. The success of the band in creating an esoteric sensation out of their simple source material is worthy of praise. –Devamitra

Witchblood – Witchblood

As if possessed by the ritual thrall of Walpurgis night, this mostly solitary creation of an individual called Iron Meggido is a clash of smoothly feline aggression of Nordic Black Metal with the Romantic architectural use of Heavy Metal riffs that characterized the occult metal of Celtic Frost, Samael and Therion. Alongside the suggestive and provocative riff stand the invoking voice of an Erinys caustically timed with the bludgeoning tempi of guest drummer L’Hiver. Underlying the beauty of this demo is the illuminated fire of an artistic vision in its birth-throes, painfully struggling against the bounds of convention in order to express the ultimately inexpressible: the twilight zone of fever and mythos where the ‘supernatural’ influences the evolution of man and mind. Hopefully their talisman is effective in order for the legion of Witchblood to fly even higher on these wings of rapture.


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Confusing social judgment with reality

I like this short essay in defense of Gonzo-style subjectivity:

So the concept of opinion here is strictly experiential – it is your vision of this record that is being sought and an interpretation unshackled by the influence of individuals exerting which records that are supposedly valid or true. To tap deep into the essence of why your chosen opus matters to you should render all other considerations redundant. My fundamental concern is for readers to be able to channel your vision and either discover an offering they hadn’t had the opportunity to prior, or at least determine an unconsidered perspective.

Pre-empting reader response is futile, they will extrapolate the messages as they see fit. Considering the likely audience for a publication such as Black Metal Revolution, it is naïve to consider it some sort of “rule book” or “guide to BM for the uninitiated” as there is no prescribed list of the records that should and should not be included. There are offerings I would like to see adorn the books pages, but this is not something I intend to contrive as it is at odds with the production’s essence.

A submission to BMR is a clear account of a record that matters to the author and why. Sure it can be more should you wish it to be. Some are better equipped than others to provide such an insight, though creative prowess is not necessarily a gateway to divination. VON is always going to appeal to me over some sort of pompous, overblown and overproduced act like Dream Theater; though try to explain to a Dream Theatre fan WHY that is the case is futile. The language of reverie is different for all individuals who are truly channeling their innermost. – Black Metal Revolution

None of the DLA’s critics have ever noticed this, but we have never been cruel to subjective opinion. We have only said that beyond the individual, it is unimportant.

We are nihilists. What matters to us are consequences in reality, not peoples’ feelings, perceptions, desires, emotions, aesthetics and so on. We are ultra-realists.

The fact is that some art stands above others; the counterfact is that this does not necessarily determine why you like it. Our goal is to find the art that stands above the rest. Otherwise, why both read a review? Who cares what the other guy likes, unless you’re looking for something to listen to, or a canonical depiction of a genre?

We all have some bands we like because we like them, not because we think they are good. For me, it is older punk bands, who now stand revealed in the light of experience. They are amateurish, sloppy and often redundant. Not all punk bands are this way.

In defense of VON, who we have listed on the site, they like punk were an important step in removing the pre-conceptions of rock music from metal, especially black metal. They are also good, in a limited sense; they are probably not good for repeated listening, as musically, they are boring. No three magic notes exist which are so fascinating they trump complex melody; it’s basically rhythm and arrangement at that point which determine the band.

As far as this listener goes, I like both Beethoven and Von — I recognize Von’s limited historical importance, and that Beethoven is objectively better than Von, and that to think otherwise is mental retardation. I still like Von.

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West Memphis 3 to be released

From the wires:

Three men convicted of killing three 8-year-old Cub Scouts and dumping their bodies in an Arkansas ditch changed their pleas Friday, resolving a yearslong effort to win their freedom.

Under a plea bargain, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were being freed immediately. The boys’ families were notified about the pact ahead of time but were not asked to approve it.

The defendants, known by their supporters as the West Memphis 3, agreed to a legal maneuver that lets them maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors have enough evidence against them.


They were placed on 10 years’ probation and if they re-offend they could be sent back to prison for 21 years, Prosecutor Scott Ellington said.


In upholding Echols’ conviction in 1996, the state Supreme Court noted that two people testified Echols bragged about the killings, an eyewitness put Echols at the scene, fibers similar to the boys’ clothing were found in Echols’ home, a knife was found in a pond behind Baldwin’s home, Echols’ interest in the occult and his telling police that he understood the boys had been mutilated before officers had released such details. – USAToday

The lesson from this case: authorities listen to parents more than don’t-have-their-shit-together teenagers.

The evidence is of course highly circumstantial, but there being a lot of it suggests either a deliberate frame-up or some unanswered questions, which explains why the Arkansas Supreme Court wasn’t impressed back in 1996.

A possible scenario is that one of the three is involved, possibly with outside parties.

Another possible scenario is a frame-up.

It will be interesting to see what evidence emerges now that the case is under scrutiny by the neurotic classes.

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Metal “journalism”: incoherent garbage

This reviewer noted something many of us have seen — that of the multitude of blogs, sites, magazines, etc. no one actually knows much about the music. They take two lines and a concept from the press release, and then blow that into a chatty review, in the meantime missing the point.

Here’s Ray Miller from Metal Curse on the incompetence of metal journalists:

I am fucking sick of reading bullshit reviews of this album written by clueless dickholes who all seem to think that this is the first time Cianide has ever played at a pace any faster than Godzilla’s slow march to Toyko to rape the Diet building. Satan’s speed is Cianide’s speed, you hydrocephalic living abortions! Go listen to “Human Cesspool” or anything from 1996’s Rage War (I don’t think anything here is faster than “Deadly Spawn”) onward for examples of Chicago’s Most Brutal kicking 666 spectrums of ass at whatever tempos they see fit. Almost all of the band’s previous album, 2005’s Hell’s Rebirth, is this fast or beyond. – Cianide – Gods of Death

This is him writing about the new Cianide (which is great) that has gone over the heads of most reviewers who have no idea why it’s (a) good and (b) deserves attention, but most of all are easily distracted and so have wandered over to the metalcore band that uses a harp and a female vocalist and are gushing over its mediocre music (but excellent production! ironic instrumentation! groovy name! good back-story!) instead.

Metal journalism is incompetent because record labels simply imported a new audience — hipsters — to replace metalheads. The new people have no clue and so they gush, drool, and gibber excitedly over trivial stuff. The labels don’t care — they just want a nice easy extension of their press releases. They might have had opposition back when metalheads chose magazines carefully, and read informative websites only; now, the endless sea of blogs is excited chatter with no substance, and that’s perfect for marketing.

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Blaspherian – Infernal Warriors of Death (Limited Edition)

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the regular edition of this album, either aesthetically or technically. Deathgasm Records did an excellent job. But along came Die Todesrune/Deathrune/Death To Mankind Records with a limited edition, “300 copies,” art direction inspired version of this new classic, so who are we to say no?

Both cover and booklet are stunning in their integration of old school death metal art conventions, and newer stylings that simply look good and portray this album in the best possible light. The digipack — normally I dislike these fragile things — is as well put-together as you’ll find in this format, and its elegant matte surface conveys a richness of color impossible on slicker releases. The result is a whole package: music, idea, image and persona.

If you haven’t heard this might slab of putrescent occult death metal, it’s like old Incantation executed by Deicide at the pace of Obituary. The result is a brooding, expansive and otherworldly catacomb of doubt, violence and despair that is alluring in its promise of a world more interesting than our current utilitarian/moralist one. For those who love death metal, or just intense music that is not pure uptempo distraction, Infernal Warriors of Death delivers a crushing blow.

01. The Disgrace of God

02. Desecration Eternal

03. Sworn to Death and Evil

04. Lies of the Cross

06. In the Shadow of His Blasphemous Glory

07. Invoking Abomination

08. Exalted in Unspeakable Evil

Deathrune has also released a regular CD edition in Europe, and by the end of the August will release a gatefold vinyl edition as well. You now have no excuses not to own this crushing release if you want it.

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Metal is heroism, punk is victimhood

From a reputable source, contrasting that which inspires us with that which makes us pity ourselves:

In the movie [The Matrix], the protagonist discovers not only the awful truth about the world, that it is a living nightmare where computers use humans as batteries to power their mechanized metropolis, but that he has powers beyond that of which he has ever dreamed, eventually destroying the matrix and becoming the savior of all humankind.

Thus the truth, while awful, gives the protagonist something wonderful in return: a cause that turns his dreary existence into a glorious fight for freedom against a merciless robotic enemy. This is the notion into which philosophical references to the red pill/blue pill analogy try to tap, the idea that while the truth makes the world seem to be a frightening and draconian place, that the cause of revealing the truth will take on noble characteristics and transform the reader into a persecuted hero. I’ve referred to this idea as a “persecution paradigm” and went into describing it at length in The Burning Blade 13.5.

The basic idea expressed there is that these persecution paradigms play to feelings of alienation and exclusion in the potential convert, making them believe that their suffering has a mysterious and nefarious external cause, and that by defeating those responsible that all can be made well again. The paradigms give the downtrodden convert a sense of purpose, transforming their suffering and other negative feelings into hope and positive feelings. Furthermore, the paradigms make belief systems self reinforcing by bringing the believer into conflict with the world, encouraging them to fight with righteous anger, and confirming their belief that the world is aligned against them when they encounter resistance.

Such persecution paradigms have been wildly successful on the internet in convincing people of all sorts of conspiracy theories and other wild ideas. People seem to love a good secret and long to share it with others, oftentimes arguing vehemently in support of those ideas in chat rooms, forums, and anywhere else they can.

I would like to compare this aspect of the movie “The Matrix” with another movie about a protagonist who is also being crushed by the machinery of an uncaring world: “Brazil,” which I highly recommend. In “Brazil”, the hapless protagonist daydreams that he is a valiant warrior: complete with wings and a sword and shining armor; and in those dreams he fights numerous villains in his quest to rescue his angelic dream girl, who, by contrast in real life, is a lowly and somewhat butch delivery woman. His daydreams make his life more interesting and serve as an escape from his difficult and mind-numbing job, but the protagonist isn’t content to merely just dream about such things, and he tries to make his dreams come true, chasing after his reluctant dream girl and battling real life “villains” in the process.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the contrast between the two movies is quite stark. In “The Matrix”, reality is the dream and the dream is reality and the protagonist is able to escape the bonds of what he thought was real to become something much more than what he was. In “Brazil” the dream is just a dream which the protagonist tries so very hard to make real so that he can escape from the drudgery of his existence, which seems to me to be a more apt analogy for what “Matrix” style allegories and ideologies in general do for people. The way I see it, “The Matrix” is entertainment in the form of a persecution paradigm while “Brazil” is social commentary on what effects such paradigms can have on people. – The Burning Blade

Do you want to create, or try to dominate what already exists?

Do you seek something better, or merely to exclude current problems?

Do you pity yourself, or use yourself as a means to greater ends?

Mr Cameron will attempt to rise above the row, offering a damning analysis of Britain’s moral decline and promising a raft of reforms in response.

Ministers began to set out some of those changes yesterday, signalling moves to end legal anonymity for under-18s accused of rioting. Tougher enforcement would “make life hell” for gang leaders, the Government promised. – The Telegraph

All politics aside, that seems to me the wrong path. You are following the path of victimhood that way, like punk bands complaining about low salaries at their grocery-store jobs.

Your society lacks a direction. You can’t control/discipline/propagandize people who are essentially rotting in disuse.

Metal is the solution to all problems, including shitty movies like The Matrix and boring riots like these Brokeback Islanders torching their local malls. It’s an antidote to a boring, purposeless world.

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The Lodge Fifth Edition

The new – and fifth – version of The Lodge webzine is finally online!

Version 5.0

After 4 years, it was high time to do an overhaul update: not only to keep it interesting for the reader,
both also to myself, as a motivational tool.

As you will see, I decided to set the new structure in a similar pattern to my homepage’s,
as the webzine is but a division of it to begin with: pursuing minimalism and simplicity ad aeternum!

Apart from this new version, there are also some goodies left:
an interview with singer-songwriter David Ferreira,
and 4 new reviews from the likes of 1349,
Nachtmystium, Pantheon I and Veil.

Also, bands, labels and promotional entities: should you like to get in touch or send some news, please update your address books with my new e-mail address:

To wrap things up, I hope you all enjoy this new update as much as me.

Keep it real,
Rui Webb

Webb Works
P.O. Box 87, 2796-901 Linda-a-Velha, Portugal | |

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All that’s old is new again

I’ve been listening quite a bit to the new BEHERIT. I’m on an oil rig, have almost none of my belongings (this is a rush job), and need desperately to entertain myself. For music, all I’ve got are the speakers on my netbook and two albums:

  • Beherit – At the Devil’s Studio 1990
  • A random death metal comp I made a few years ago

I made the death metal comp to try to explain to other people why I — normally a classical listener, around 75% of my listening, with another 15% being Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Lord Wind — love this music. It captures the (cough) true diversity of this music and its imagination. It also captures what the music tries to embody: many different views of the same spirit, a feral but principled aggression that seeks to like a warbound king set all that’s wrong to right and to smite the weak, sniveling, boring, pointless, craven and ugly from this earth.

This brings me to the new old Beherit: I’ve come to love this thing. It has what The Oath of Black Blood has, which is reckless noise and pure energy. It also has what the following album brought, which is a sense of evil not as some stumbling error, but as a deliberate force — a conniving, undermining, dark and pervasive force that seeks to overthrow the light which converts the rich diversity of life into simple symbols and moral concepts.

As the gunfire in Norway fades, and the crumbling of the USA’s rotting edifice of spoiled entitlement brats begins, this is the appropriate soundtrack: all that in the cosmos which we have banished because it is disturbing returning with sublime intent, overthrowing our oblivious pleasant notions and anthrocentric delusions, and replacing them with the savage but ultimately logical order of the primordial forest at dawn.


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Classic reviews: