To Death Metal Underground: Certain albums have endured – for musical and extra-musical reasons – across decades and among generations of metalheads of diverse backgrounds, and the least they warrant is treatment with the respect they’ve earned. There is no revelation to be made and there is no current of general perception to be reversed by “raping sacred favorites”. Clickbait is distinctly unelitist and pissing in the wind for the fuck of it isn’t terribly smart either.
If, like me, the reader has also purchased the latest reissue of Gorguts’ Obscura, he will find that the booklet’s back side is graced by the following quote by Osho:
The journey is long and the path is pathless and one has to be alone. There is no map and no one to guide. But there is no alternative. One cannot escape it, one cannot evade it. One has to go on the journey. The goal seems impossible but the urge to go on is intrinsic. The need is deep in the soul.
Although definitely not typical of a 1990s death metal record, these lines describe the drive that produced this almost accidental album. But aren’t all such savant releases at least partially accidental?
The spiritual and existentialist atmosphere that this quote evokes actually reflects the nature of the album as a whole and are in perfect alignment with its lyrics.
Some metal albums have beautiful lyrics accompanying the music. But the best albums bring sound and word together to shape a living entity that takes lodge in man’s heart.
Latest being drowned
In fictive degradation
Coming depression revolved
Around an Earth
Nostalgia excludes the whole
As spleen takes over me
Resound, the echoes of my threnodies
And then the fact of being
Has no longer meaning
The hymns of light
They’ll sing once I’ll be gone
Reverie appears cause
Sadness shall obnuilate
Sadness, feels, the desolated
Desperately lost within
Lament, pain and misery
The more lies burden lives,
The more I am dying
The realm of light
I’ll reach once I’ll…
Latest feeling drowned
In lucid contradiction
Coming relation revolved
Around a heart
Nostalgia excludes the whole
A lot of the death metal gems we listened to (and still listen to) during the heyday of the genre would probably never have been possible if it weren’t for this 22-song, 17-minute 12″ crossover piece of awesome.
Dirty Rotten LP is “as punk as it gets” some would say, and, indeed, structurally it’s hardcore punk all over. But D.R.I. (or Dirty Rotten Imbeciles), hailing from Houston, Texas, managed to do something fruitful with heavy metal riffs in this furious punk context and paved the way for the devilish energies emerging in bands like Slayer. The rest, as they say, is death metal history.
30 years after its initial release, it’s surprising to hear how potent these short bursting songs are. While some of the lyrics are dated, the project as a whole nevertheless seems relevant enough to this day. Inventive and playful, this album will still take you places: the music moves like a bulldozer on speed through a tangle of asphalt, and suddenly the bitter-sweet destruction of society becomes a playground where artifacts of modern society just wait for us to smash them to a pulp.
Now go grab your abstract baseball bat and thrash your way through to sanity!
Almost exactly two decades ago, Nespithe, the sole full-length album of Demilich, was released, like a snake swiftly escaping its cage. That simile is not entirely off: trying to explain what this now classic death metal album sounds like, one almost inevitably comes across likenesses to slippery serpents or, considering the “cut-off” melodies played, to dismembered slimy worms twisting and turning. And growing anew.
What about the vocals? Metal fans seem divided and either hate those belching croaks or love them to death. In any case, I think they fit the idea of the album pretty darn well. The world of Nespithe seems like a cavernous microcosm of life and death, an evolutionary breeding ground hidden away from the rays of the sun, where Antti Boman‘s murky vocals comment on developments like a detached god. Penetrating those underground worlds (that are surprisingly free from tremolo riffs) feels like being thrown down a dark hole, and, after hitting the ground, you realise the floor is “moving”. And the listening experience is much like that: the mind is forced to pay attention to every single movement in the dark despite its complexity. Challenging, terrifying, beautiful.
23 years since its conception, the band Demilich is no more (it now seems definite), but Boman, the mastermind behind it all, is involved in other interesting projects (e.g. Winterwolf and Jess and the Ancient Ones) and we will always have the ever so generous Demilich download page.