Our commentary on the work of Parabellum must start by going beyond genre sectarianism that plagues genres, including that of so-called Colombian “ultra metal” back in the eighties. To begin with, Parabellum is arguably the originator of any and all musical contributions by said movement and style. That is to say, “ultra metal” is Parabellum. All other bands subscribing to this approach are seen to grasp only a fraction of the possibilities, with unique propositions that fell short by an apparent lack of insight of what the breaking of chains occuring here could lead to. Where the movement was clearly imitating the visible distinctive traits that Parabellum exibited, it was this band alone that cultivated twisted vociferations, stop-go hardcorisms and unconventional ways of utilizing caveman black metal riffs into compositions that were not only well-beyond their time, but which signal a timeless approach that could inform possibilities for the future of metal well into the 21st century. (more…)
Playing a style of black metal that became more prominent and perhaps common after the turn of the century, S.V.E.S.T.’s “atmospheric” approach is of the sort that creates a fog out of different layers of intsruments playing different notes to form dissonant chords and having the drums by a vehicle for intensity. Although black metal per se has inclinations towards minimalism and ambience, this explicit brand of atmospheric black metal stretches song durations as long as it is necessary to induce the sense of evaporating time and alienating experience they are looking for. While many different bands can claim to be part of this, very few retained an anchor in reality and still building something meaningful. S.V.E.S.T. Urfaust is such an album. (more…)
Sometimes we find ourselves looking for the music that suits the moment, the mood. Sometimes we want more than suitable, we want excellent, we want an experience, a window into another world. We waddle around swinging our fists frustratingly at the empty air and cursing our creator for giving us this craving for melody and rhythm that is not so easily satisfied. Then we realize the answer lies in Satan’s music. The rebel. The adversary.
So, while your neighbours and family members are falling asleep in Church this Sunday morning, you can draw a pentagram on the floor of room, scratch some runes, close the windows, light candles and turn the music on.
There are some records that achieve greatness through their studied and natural use of the musical language that our civilization has been building up for many centuries. Such a record was Close to the Edge, reaching immortality with its self-titled piece. There are other records that do away with everything that came before them and in an unprecedented bout of madness envision doors to previously undreamed of realities. The key to such a door was given to Parabellum and what they found beyond that wallcrystallized into Sacrilegio.
Unique and meaningful in its expression, Parabellum’s music is hard to trace back to any defined subgenre at the time, perhaps even today. We know it is metal. We know it arises from the 1980s underground tradition and if we look very hard we may find traces of proto-black-death, hardcore and what can only be described as organized noise. At the same time, the band’s music cannot conceivably be cased into any of them, nor can it be wholly accounted for as a concoction of the same. Parabellum’s Colombian underground metal stands entirely alone and makes use of sounds, patterns and rhythms from its influences but is never defined by them.
While the compositions in it date back to 1983 or 1984, Sacrilegio was released in 1987 and is comprised of two tracks. Both of them, Madre Muerte (Mother Death) and Engendro 666 (Foetus-Abomination 666), are of relatively long duration by metal standards. None of them, however, feel overextended. While difficult to gauge here, this writer perceives no obvious loose ends, and no purposeless spaces in the pieces. Not interspersed, not interlocked, but breathing in living symbiosis with the extreme underground expressions we find silences, Azagthothean guitar solos together with painful, woeful laments.
Uncouth, savage and violent, Parabellum’s music also takes us through moments of passive dementia and ecstatic delirium. Together these propound stark, bleak and at points suffocating experiences of desperation resembling but going far beyond the misanthropic nature worship of Vidar Vaaer. If I could put my impression of Parabellum’s music in concise terms, I would describe it as what I picture is life as seen through the eyes of a mad epileptic.