Florida’s Last Sacrament are one of the rare contemporary bands that successfully captures the essence of old school death metal while developing a voice of their own in the process. While initial full length Enantiodromia has a few juvenile kinks to work out — the members are shockingly young — the record as a whole is a striking, confident foray through classic metal.20 Comments
Gorguts is a band that for a majority of its career has resembled an act that is at war with itself artistically. After a serviceable debut comprised of purely death metal notions and peaking with its most dense and progressive release in The Erosion of Sanity, the band chose to scale back its arrangements while imbuing its approach with a discordance that may have laterally trespassed its prior unsullied metal constructs but at the same time gave Gorguts an identity all their own. With regards to their contemporaries, you cannot currently say a band “sounds like Gorguts” without indirectly focusing on the sound created on Obscura, and the band’s own knowledge of that most likely has controlled their writing ever since — to the detriment of their overall intents in each record from then on…23 Comments
It is the year 2159. All the world’s capitols have been obliterated- save South America and Africa (the only continents free of nuclear weapons)- and humanity is no longer able to reproduce due to the over-manufacturing of sex-bots. There had been three nuclear wars already, first of which involved USA and North Korea and the most recent involving Britain and Iran. EMP’s and cyber-hacks had taken out the grid long ago, leaving only a strand of humanity left whose bodies could physically adapt to life without WI-FI. Most of the main bands in the US which were based out of major cities perished as urban conditioning caused them to starve with no wherewithal to survive in the wild. All that was left were rag tag bunches of malnourished but darkly inspired bands of street trash scavengers who roamed the land with metal detectors seeking alkaline batteries to power their equipment (though these were also needed to power their sex-bots). Guitarists went back to using hand cranked Pignose amps, with vintage EV megaphones held in front to further amplify the vocals and guitars.
Every metal musician needs to have “The Talk” at some point or another and for some of you, this will be that moment. In the world of metal, “The Talk” is the soul crashing, dream obliterating conversation where one learns the valuable lesson that you can’t get rich playing extreme metal. It’s heartbreaking and defeating but better learned sooner than later. And since a young ambitious musician isn’t necessarily considering the logistics, lifestyle goals, etc. of their future before they drill on that pentagram neck tattoo, I want to make sure readers of DMU are abundantly clear on what to expect on the financial front when engaging in life as a touring musician.
Tags: At the Gates, Black Metal, cannibal corpse, children of bodom, cradle of filth, dark tranquility, death metal, economics, gorgoroth, immolation, mayhem, metal, motorhead, music business, music industry, necrophagist, poverty, Thy Art is Murder, truth, watain, wealth, whitechapel
As I predicted a few weeks ago with 100% accuracy all charges of rape, kidnapping, and sexual assault have been dropped against the four members of Decapitated. The collateral damage done to the band is going to remain however as this news (published on a Saturday when little mind is paid to the news cycle) will surely receive significantly less buzz than the breaking story of their arrest, or the subsequent leftist metal media narrative that a guilty plea should be expected based on a ridiculous interview with some dingbat attorney who had absolutely no access to any of the evidence. This will therefore result in many of the fans who have disowned them to continue believing them to be heartless rapists. The band can expect extradition back to Poland soon, having very harshly learned a tough but important lesson. This story is an important lesson to metal concertgoers and even more so to young metal musicians who will be touring or playing shows soon. Let’s briefly examine how this story was treated by the liberal MSMM (mainstream metal media) and its fans, take a deeper look at the takeaways that can be learned from this unfortunate experience, and conclude with an open letter to the members of Decapitated I once shared a bottle of vodka with some years ago…
“Dude, their demos were so much better” is one of the most obnoxious cliches of underground metal. Usually a sign of virtue signaling used to mask one’s insecurities about their knowledge or taste, many lost souls of a nostalgia-obsessed age will use this one as a pale attempt to one up their brethren. However in many cases within metal’s sonic sphere, bands that were truly fantastic on their early demos left much to be desired and ultimately left listeners unfulfilled. Whether it be a record company’s influence, a change in heart or band members, or a touch of genius quickly fumbled away, may bands throughout the history of metal have never quite been able to match the quality of their demo recordings.
With death metal built on an entire sub culture of tape trading, demos were more than a proverbial foot-in-the-door to a potential record deal. For musicians of the genre’s early days, the demo was the equivalent to having your record in the store- it was being shipped all around the world to fans desperate for something they couldn’t find in shops and to musicians hungry for new ideas. Furthermore, a band’s demo was untainted by the direction and input of record labels who, in those days, quite often suppressed what was deemed “too weird” or “too extreme” as death metal was often determined by the suits of those days. Tape trading death metal demos was an underground of its own, and your band’s demo tape wasn’t just a pathway to commercialization or musical success- but a often the start of new friendships in a rapidly globalizing world. Given all of these unique factors, it’s no surprise death metal was full of bands who could never quite capture the magic of their demos.
To offer a complete list would be a dishonor and disservice to the legions of quality works that fall under this umbrella. Therefore in today’s editorial, I will briefly offer a handful of my personal favorite death metal demos from bands that could never quite capture the magic. Though I pay little mind to what happens in our comment sections, this will mark a special occurrence where I’d be delighted to know what DMU’s readers would have on this list.50 Comments
Tags: At the Gates, celtic frost, death, death metal, Death Metal Demos, Demilich, demo, Editorial, entombed, Heavy Metal, hellhammer, my dying bride, necrophagia, Nihilist, Proto-Death Metal, Swedish Death Metal, Therion, vader
The thankfully short lived Canadian metal scene was another low in the attempt to blend death metal with tough-guy hardcore. Through a gross cocktail of taking a technical death metal template, squeezing all of the feeling and memorability from the riffs, breakdowns, and linear “riff salad” song structures with no repetition or thematic continuity, the Canadian metal scene gave us the foundation for the horrendous abomination that was deathcore- the ugliest perversion of death metal the genre had seen since Six Feet Under collaborated with Ice-T. Ultimately, we remember Canadian metal as the musical version of a shit post- something so autistic and obnoxious that it made everyone around the world quickly realize that Canadian metal bands were something to be mocked and avoided.
The blast beat has had a very unlikely journey through its relatively young lifespan in music. Rooted in a jazz technique of an alternating bass drum/hi-hat and snare 16th note pattern (though played at much slower tempo in jazz music), it found a unique identity in the early 1980s when underground hardcore punk bands like Siege and Asocial began using it at aggressive speeds to enhance their violent bursts of rebellion. This made it a close friend of metal when the middle of the decade saw a fledgling death metal movement getting its hands dirty with hardcore punk speed and sound in an effort to push its own extremity. Over the next 15 years, several drummers would rise to prominence with their clever use of the blast beat to either push these combinations to extreme speeds or to utilize them enduringly for an effect similar to trance music. Suddenly, every metal band that wanted to play fast or play simplistically HAD to play blast beats, and we eventually reached a point where blast beats were the most dominant part of every death and black metal song’s drum composition.
For the future of death and black metal to establish themselves distinctively, they must abandon what has become routine and keep only what is necessary to preserve their underlying spirit. And with this understanding comes an unfortunate truth- the beloved blast beat must be laid to rest, so that new life in metal can grow.
Records praised as “innovative” have a first-mover advantage: we all take that assessment at face value, not having heard the album, and then can only see through it after a half-dozen listens, at which point the record stands revealed. These iconoclastic pioneers usually tend to be the opposite, wielding piecemeal structuring as a cudgel to mask songwriting pitfalls or a lack of overall message in general, and Trance of Death manages to dupe the listener on both counts at first.
Dark, brooding, and long cloaked in obscurity, the harmonic minor scale is a compelling collective of notes that has historically been used as an accent to minor key compositions. For centuries only a handful of pieces had been written within its bounds as composers instead opted to weave in for a number of measures before an eventual progression into the natural minor scale. From there it appeared again in a few folk songs, took a strong spiritual presence in Islamic culture, and later became an integral part of horror movies when they progressed into the frightening mediums they became in the 1970s. But it wasn’t until the musicians of the early Swedish death metal scene discovered how to fully harness the scale’s potential that lengthy songs and even the majority of some albums began being composed within its bounds. A truly grotesque wedlock, the scale gave he who wielded it the power to craft the most sinister and foreboding compositions possible within the laws of music. It is for this reason one could attest that the minor harmonic scale has found a home in heavy metal that no other genre of music could provide.