I saw Mayhem play De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, the only album of theirs that actually counts of course, last week at the Howard Theater in Washington, DC so I wanted to tell my fellow Death Metal Underground readers what’s happening inside the ANUS of this tour. That was surely an ironic choice of venue the band made there. Playing a black theater in a historically black city was strange for a band whose drummer, Hellhammer, is a badass drummer who hits like a fucking beast like a German in a tank trying to conquer Africa back from his historic racial enemies, the Polish and the Africans and Hellhammer is Greek or something so how can these losers with nothing better to do claim he’s even racist you know? Also practicing under their swastika banners and shit like that they shouldve brought out to steam roll all the drunk hipsters instead of comic book covers to hide behind onstage. I had to check this shit out to see if some shit would go down. I wanted to see if the gig would rule or if any crazy shit from hipsters, communists, or any other idiot life forms that could come out of a UFO or something would be real you know and prevent Mayhem from pounding my face in you know.
Death metal folk wisdom tells that the epithet “technical” generally connotes music that is bad for a unique reason: it tends to get trapped in technique, including cute tricks from music theory, for its own sake, which in turn deprecates the art of composing memorable and relevant songs.
Solitvdo are yet another epic sounding sing-along, rootin’ tootin’, arm swingin’, marble-pilled good time with yer ole partner melancholy. Think Vikinglider Veldi with riffs about a quarter of the length, half the inspiration and none of the thoughtful placement. Riffing on Hierarkhes is mostly inspired by nu-Rotting Christ but with triumphant melodies echoing swords and sandals epics, song structures are mostly sing-along vocal driven black ‘n’ roll about the Romans, culminating in solos by someone just learning to play whose guitar god is not Jupiter Optimus Maximus but Slash from Guns ‘n’ Roses.
Article by David Rosales.
I. Where is the music?
It is very rare to find a general fan of black metal today who has not at least heard of the name of Watain. The kind of fame it has attained, however, is the kind that is mostly based on peripheral affairs rather than the art which Watain is supposed to dedicate itself to. Watain is the kind of ‘entity’ (as most of these bands are now given to call themselves) that is surrounded by a nebulous aura which may at first, if one is inclined to be generous in providing the benefit of the doubt, seem like an hint of something truly profound going on. Now, whether that is the case in regards to the real, transcendent or philosophical knowledge or experience of the people behind Watain is not for the writer to say. On the other hand, the music itself does not seem to display any of the more-than-human qualities it should if one is to believe all the hype. In fact, it reveals itself as a very mundane affair when one is given to delve into a holistic examination of the music in itself, and even more so when seen in relation to the extra-musical portions of the ‘entity’.
An album judged some of The Best Underground Metal of 2016 but hitherto had yet to receive a dedicated review.
Kshatriya‘s Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos is a black metal album celebrating the prehistoric conquest of everything from Ireland to India by pastoral Proto-Indo-European peoples from their urheimat located in the northern reaches of the Pontic-Caspian steppe in what is now Russia and Ukraine. The Indo-Europeans were a martial race among the first peoples to domesticate horses, worshiped the sky father Dyeus Pater, and spoke antecessor of most European languages.
Before lapsing into embryonic death ’n’ roll on their second LP False (1992), Gorefest were among the earliest Dutch proponents of solid bread-and-butter death metal with a sense of melodic contour joining the many rhythm riffs into coherent songs which reach a point of focus in their cycles, forcing re-interpretation of its parts. The early style more or less complete on their demo recordings was brought to a fuller and more refined form on the 1991 debut album Mindloss.
Autechre‘s elseq 1-5 is a four hour anthology consisting of five individual EPs, each compiled together loosely upon conceptual coherence between the constituent tracks. elseq 1-5 is an exercise in release format rather than just content; the artists behind Autechre seek to utilize the immediacy of the digital age, releasing tracks “as they go” without traditional limitations imposed by the “album.” Granted of course this collection appeared as a hulking and impenetrable dump rather than a sequence. This point bears worth remembering as this overview proceeds as the temptation to view elseq 1-5 as a complete work, or works, is ingrained in popular habits.
Necropole are a French group who play flowing melodic black metal in the style of Graveland and the Quebecois with riffing heavily influenced by Gorgoroth. Necropole is an anthology CD collecting both of Necropole’s earlier demos, Atavisme… and Ostara, that were released on cassette only but readily heard through streaming on Youtube. Hopefully Necropole’s debut album will not be titled Necropole too to avoid confusion.
Ananku is a term from the Tamil language describing the otherworldly and awesome power of sublime natural places and objects to overwhelm mankind into submission to their will by merely the perception of them. Jarno Nurmi of Serpent Ascending accomplishes this musically on his album of the same name by composing harmonized heavy and black metal style leads atop a death metal rhythmic basic into occult blackened narratives. Riffs are phrased and repeat to numerologically unfold, revealing profound and novel melodic leads as if the petals of a flower gradually blooming into gnostic truth when bathed in unconquered light.
Veneror create long, flowing, compositions in the style of Sacramentum which carry a melancholic but sinister emotive pallet through melodious arpeggiated twin guitar harmonies. Structurally these songs cycle in between two or three motifs yet eschews a sense of heightened dynamics while coarse vocals ride atop giving a sense of continuity rather than circularity. This is further reinforced by the chromatic development which carries itself into reprieves which close each section with sparsity before jaunting into the next. The resultant unbroken sequence of phrases is not unlike what Revenant would use to great effect on their infamous and only full length album.