Metal Festers Eternal

Right now, above the metal underground there is what was coined, I believe originally by Pogrom from Arghoslent, the “Funderground”. The funderground consists of independent labels, sometimes mainstream distributed, releasing thousands of albums each year full of rehashed material or rebranded three-chord hardcore with different superficial aesthetics to fuel a bar show audience’s drunken moshing or make hipsters feel smart for liking an indie rock release with a dirty production. One can see this divide in most of the popular “underground” web forums such as those of Nuclear War Now! and Full Moon Productions. The most popular “underground” “metal” releases of each year are all older metal rehashed into pop-rock structures or rebranded hardcore. This divide is similar to what is felt in mainstream Western culture with the leftist “elites”‘ constant Marxist virtue signaling and branding freethinkers with various epithets for refusing to chant the praises of socialism mandated by the vanguard party.

The Funderground expects new metal that is actually metal to be safe and familiar. They crave derivative, superficial rehashes of their favorites from twenty to forty years ago. They want everything simplified down into hook-based pop music that their mothers can feed them with an airplane spoon; they want speed, death, and black metal to become glam “metal” to sing along to like the worst of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They have welcomed the wading into radio rock territory that occurred on …And Justice for All, Arise, Heartwork, Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, and At the Heart of Winter for almost thirty years. Bands and would be visionaries attempting to improve on the black metal that brought forth to fruition the metallic ideas that Black Sabbath generated have consistently gone unrecognized since the Norwegian black metal second wave collapsed in 1994. Only Immortal survived to produce great works that expanding on the best of death and black metal for three more years.

Death Metal Underground has received ever-flowing streams of flak for our annual lists of The Best Underground Metal of the Year. “Why does nobody else name the bands you recommend?” Every album our staff has named as the best metal release of the year could easily compete with the best of the past yet his remained in the actual underground, never even crossing over the to the “popular” independent “metal” infamy that is the funderground. This is due to each being excellent, defining works, expanding the frontiers of metal into yet unconquered and uncivilized virgin lands ripe for pillaging. None of them have ever compromised mediocre rehashed metal with another genre or style of music like so many of the cash-in releases that supposedly independent music publications have shilled to their readers or viewers as novel or groundbreaking. That trash is all emulsified, genericized “metal” flavored mashed vegetables mixed with high fructose corn syrup to be fed into the mouths of the developmentally disabled or unthinking mainstream bar rock audience by their court-appointed caretakers.

Sammath‘s Godless Arrogance, The Best Underground Metal of 2014, was by far the greatest metal release of the third millennium. Sammath continued right where Immortal had picked up and put on Morbid Angel’s cast aside laurels on Blizzard Beasts. Godless Arrogance accelerated the distinctive riffing style displayed on Sammath’s prior great releases to light-speed. The riff mazes were cut back to maintain focus a handful of highly effective, well-varied riffs. These were progressed forward with great violence into profound melodic leads in compositions which rivaled the most aggressive displayed in death and black metal’s illustrious past on albums like Dismember‘s Like an Everflowing Stream, Deicide‘s Legion, and Immortal’s Pure Holocaust.

Kaeck‘s Stormkult, The Best Underground Metal of 2015, deconstructed death and black metal to their musical foundations and built novel music from the filth and remains of those genres’ demises. Kaeck imbued melody to sawing Gorgoroth-esque rhythm riffs but arranged them organically, letting them eat, shit, fuck, kill and die as the music demanded similar to Samoth‘s work on EmperorIn the Nightside Eclipse, and Blood Must Be Shed. The organic riffs on Stormkult are all-consuming, enveloping listeners in distortion and hidden melody as they march to the devil’s heartbeat. Springing forth from the dirt, conjured by the most unhinged metallic vocals since None So Vile, were otherworldly leads reminiscent of Summoning but from the bowels of Hell rather than the Grey Havens of Middle-Earth. Kaeck’s occultic maelstrom to the god of this world was of course completely ignored by mainstream and so-called “underground” (the funderground) metal audiences and media. Stormkult did not have the bluesy, guitar masturbation and bouncy rhythms that bar show fans suckle from the tips of shills’ diseased ovipositors.

Serpent Ascending‘s Ananku, The Best Underground Metal of 2016, layed a bedrock of caveman death metal riffs (think Obituary and Malevolent Creation) and black metal television static rhythm riffs for Norse arpegiatted tremolo picking of minor key chords, streams of single note melodies like Sepultura, and resolving the inherent tension in such extreme harmony with even more harmonious heavy metal leads. All of this was arranged in the almost continuous linear melodic progression of black metal with recursive choral vocal structures merely to layer evermore harmonies. Ananku was too metal for a mainstream audience and the extreme harmonies proved far more than the Nuclear War Now! crowd, who crave rebranded three-chord punk ejaculated down their throats, could contain in their stomachs. Serpent Ascending was incredibly forward in his Hellhammerisms, occasionally initiating compositions with the most primitive of riffs to provoke hatred in all doubters of his abilities to provoke metal forward. Hopefully this path will lead to harmonious directions in metal not seen since Mercyful Fate‘s Don’t Break the Oath.

These three excellent albums are living proof of metal festering and mutating into new life beneath the bowels of dive-bars packed with scenesters, and conceited hipsters trying to appear smart by embracing sell-out attempts to reach a lowest common denominator audience. May these three bands, those connected to them, and future minds inspired by them continue to tunnel deeper, until the assaulting waves of rehashed pop rock metal, metalcore, ‘n roll, and pretentious crypto-indie rock collapse upon their fans and avid consumers, rendering them just as trampled and mangled as the corpses of all their dead heroes being raped and name-checked by the barbarian weekender hordes.

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32 thoughts on “Metal Festers Eternal”

  1. Saul says:

    What’s wrong with drinking beer and listening to metal? :(

    Serpent Ascending’s harmonic sense reminds me of obscure band Khert-Neter (from Finland again) and the last album by Cerekloth. Certainly isn’t bad but neither is it new for anyone familiar with the sounds of Adramalech and mid 90s goth-tinged doom by Paradise Lost and the like. Personally I feel you do them and related Desecresy too much credit, but what do I know.

    1. his balls, your chin says:

      “What’s wrong with drinking beer and listening to metal?”

      You have to be testing out whether you can float in armor while listening to metal, don’t you know?

  2. Cannibal Corpse: the first deathcore band says:

    Serpent Ascending can’t compete with the best of the past.

  3. Parasite says:

    One thing i have noticed about “DMU’s top albums” in the last few years is the production value,(and/or atmosphere depending on which way you look at it)which has added variation and freshness to the genres(no matter how rotten it is). All of the mentioned albums in the article above have brought something new to the table; variation in productions(aesthetic,atmosphere)and creating a new golem out of the ashes of their influences. It is these albums that will strengthen the spirit of metal and keep it “alive”. We have to remember we are not just listening to a collection of riffs on top of a drum track, with some vocals barked into it.

  4. you can only die once says:

    I’m still looking to pick these releases up, I did enjoy the first Serpent Ascending album immensely. I’m also looking to gets some Condor and SDG, I think for at least 7 years I have heard some of the best metal from taking this (and the old anus) site’s recommendations. I’m rarely let down on that front.

    But also I think this site overlooks many other releases. The choices for a lot of SMR are perplexing even if they’re terrible, there seems to be more noteworthy stuff or bands people are taking notice of through shows and releases that are never mentioned here which leads me to believe this is either deliberate or there really aren’t that many “boots and ears on the ground” writers for this site. And when I say this I don’t mean “ohhh you didn’t like this or that”, I mean more like “why aren’t you slamming this or that” or even giving it a medium to good review. If you assume it’s all shit and ignore it, that’s fine, but you’re presenting an incomplete picture in my view. Not that I’m not able to see the pros and cons in the bands myself, this site really has mutated my mind over the years even though I have more of a tolerance for weekender beer metal like Torture Rack and other such fun things, but that your problem not mine.

  5. Xmetalhed says:

    Metal festers,Uncle Fester,it’s all the same.

    1. says:

      I live to pester

      1. Shia LeBuff says:

        Don’t call me Lester.

        1. frank rizzo says:

          Or I will punch you all the way to Rochester

  6. Svmmoned says:

    Kek? Stormerkult?!

  7. GGALLIN1776 says:

    Fuck you, heartwork is carcass at it’s best. I’m gonna go put on some sodom & rub my nipples with a fork to the saw is the law now. No drinking though, antibiotics. You should use a pic of the infection for the next smr.

  8. meat says:

    the only good thing this site has ever done anything for me is recommending serpents ascending’s anaku. this is an incredible release and well worth shifting through the nonsense this site has to offer

    1. Ultimo Mondo Horycow says:

      I was able to get into this band on my own with no recommendation from anyone when their first CD The Enigma Unsettled was released. Really this site sucks and following current death metal, but they do recommend great current black metal and the old ANUS site pretty much has everything you need to build a solid classic metal library, and I’m eternally grateful for that because I was listening to fucking Razorback Records shit back then.

      1. Modern death metal is mostly dead. Most of what we touch ends up in the Sadistic Metal Reviews.

        The best modern death metal band is probably Desecresy. Dead Congregation are good but not great.

        1. Can you surive the blitzkreig says:

          I am thinking of reviewing my entire CD collection at some point and being as honest as possible with myself and whether was a good investment of time and money.

          I will say the earlier classics had a feeling that the artists themselves were intimidated by this raw form new form of expression and were able to make coherent statements whereas modern death metal is a sustaining of form for the sake of preservation and participation. Woo! But I still like a lot of what I hear, I can agree and disagree almost at the same time with a lot of sentiments here. I don’t agree that modern death metal is dead. I do agree a lot of it is pointless.

  9. S.C. says:

    I t think this article is great, whether the music is to my personal tastes, or not. It is in direct opposition to all the metal fatalists. Metal burns deep; embers impossible to quench.

  10. his balls, your chin says:

    SERPENT ASCENDING competes with the best from the past?


    1. Baaaarp says:

      I almost feel like optimism is being shoved down my throat. What’s next? An article dedicated to kumbaya?

      1. canadaspaceman says:

        kumbaya Smackdown 07-12-2001 Steve Austin and Kurt Angle sing to Mr. McMahon

    2. gorewhore says:

      yeah that shit’s pretty annoying

  11. 1349 says:

    I discovered for myself some very good bands and albums with the help of DMU’s Best-ofs. Things i keep listening to.
    A couple of years ago, i was thinking there was nothing interesting in metal any more.
    Now i know there’s Sorcier Des Glaces, Graveland, Sammath, Varathron (new & old).

    1. his balls, your chin says:

      Sure, if all you listen to is True Ungerground Black Kvult Metal.

      If, on the other hand, you have some horizontal breadth in your music consumption habits, SDG, Graveland post 90s, and Varathron are dust in the cracks of the floorboards of history.

      1. his balls, your chin says:

        If you’re as cool as me, the only thing you listen to from DMU ‘best ofs’ in the last 5 years is PERDITION fucking TEMPLE.

  12. nig says:

    kek suks dik and u guys r bunch of juice

  13. GG says:

    Want to know how guys evaluate the new Gorguts.

    1. wee-nis says:

      It’s bad.

    2. canadaspaceman says:

      I have always been disappointed by Gorguts after the demo and first album.
      Somebody must like that new gay shit I guess, how else can Luc keep releasing albums?

  14. his balls, your chin says:


    Why the fuck do people feel the need to always consume new products of a certain Kind? Go discover pre-classical, classical, and post-classical music. Go discover electronica. Go discover progressive rock.

    1. wee-nis says:

      Indeed, but not electronica or progressive rock. New metal like Serpent Ascending is the future? Sad!

    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

      Go discover progressive rock

      If were the president of this land
      I’d declare total war on the pork rock men

    3. canadaspaceman says:

      ugh, prog rock / prog metal is a gamble …ALWAYS.
      It doesn’t matter if the download is free or found for free, cuz many times it has a faggy sounding singer.
      Somebody go back in time and assassinate Bruce Dickinson, so nobody was influenced by that big ham, and it all stayed real and normal with Byford or Di’anno-types instead.

  15. Attention Defecate Disorder says:

    I’m late to this one and maybe no one will ever see this but great article. Played antichrist and kaeck back to back after reading.

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