Imagine a genre: it succeeds, so then all these lost people come in and make their own versions of it, trying every possible variation. Soon the field is so full of weird instruments and odd timings that all of it sounds just about the same, and no one can pick a good band from a bad one. This is heat-death:
Thermodynamics, an older and even more inviolable pillar of physics, says that [the universe] may end in a different way, with all things dim, tepid, and sluggish: in equilibrium.
The eventual fate of the universe, from this view, is something called heat death. Thermodynamics dictates that large systems evolve toward equilibrium over time. This is a balanced, calm state where no more reactions are favorable; nothing has energy to gain or lose compared to anything else.
Entropy starts when too many random decisions are made for anything to be truly distinct from the sum of the past. Like rules, footnotes, precedents, conventions, trends, and panics the details overwhelm the main point and bog it down in a thousand different obligations.
Your only way out of heat-death is to have good strong leaders who can say “no” to the many things that people want to attempt. Even if they get it wrong sometimes, they stop the surge in randomness that eventually makes everything pointless.
Most people are destructive agents. They want their share without contributing, so they sabotage whatever is there so that it can fall apart and they can consume what they want. Then it dies, and they skip off to another victim, a parasitic process we call wumping.
Given time, and lack of supervision, any human group will grind everything good to a nub, eat the seed corn, urinate in the pool, then collapse the mess with endless victimhood before fleeing to the next nice place they can destroy. As St Burroughs wrote:
Junkies always beef about The Cold as they call it, turning up their black coat collars and clutching their withered necks… pure junk con. A junky does not want to be warm, he wants to be Cool-Cooler-COLD. But he wants The Cold like he wants His Junk – NOT OUTSIDE where it does him no good but INSIDE so he can sit around with a spine like a frozen hydraulic jack… his metabolism approaching Absolute ZERO. TERMINAL addicts often go two months without a bowel move and the intestines make with sit-down-adhesions -–Wouldn’t you? — requiring the intervention of an apple corer or its surgical equivalent… Such is life in The Old Ice House. Why move around and waste TIME?
Room for One More Inside, Sir.
Some entities are on thermodynamic kicks. They invented thermodynamics… Wouldn’t you?
Individualism and pretense allow each person — if they are so burdened by mute load that they no longer care about anything but “living in the moment” for tangible and social things — to isolate themselves from awareness of the world. This is the real cold.
The Human Disease and The Civilization Problem exist in parallel: humanity has not figured out how to rule itself, since it needs to constrain individualism in order to avoid having all those moronic individualists select a Defender of the People to be their new tyrant.
Our species never found a replacement for natural selection. An animal which is oblivious to reality quickly becomes a meal. The constant munching of these little solipsists prevents them from taking over the group. Even apex predators fight constantly to remove the weak.
Perhaps this was our solution all along: our ancestors simply were afraid to (forget eugenics for a moment, since that is too organized) kill off the weak, especially among those who were not in power. When the herd is stupid, they will pick stupid leaders.
Where metal was in the mid-1990s showed us how good things could be, but then in came the armadas of bedroom black metal bands and later, the “me too” bands that the label wanted to get their share. Does anyone remember them now? They were transitory, temporary novelties and trends, at best.
Even more, metal had shot its wad. Yes, rebelling against the Christianity in the old order was a bit edgy, but now with consumerism and diversity, no one really cares about traditions or culture anyway. This leaves a lot of metalheads holding an upside-down cross that has no more significance than a Volkswagen logo.
The imitators do not stop, however. They want to keep going, rebelling against hollow targets and reliving the past, simply to have their fifteen minutes of micro-fame before they sigh, shave the hair, get hired to manage their local CVS, and buy a condominium in a trendy zip code.
What could metal rebel against now? Possibly symbolism itself. Slayer had the right attitude: invert the inversion for a rediscovery of reality, then find a way to make it exciting. Their evil music was not protest rock; it was a love song to life.
We all need horror in our lives:
She thinks horror experiences are popular because “people love to lose control” especially if “they’re in a comfortable environment”.
Horror gives way to moral ambiguity, meaning that if something bad is coming after you it is okay to kill it, and that in turn leads to a devout realism in which good/evil is replaced by an ecosystem of striving, self-interested parties:
“Miyazaki built a film in which there are no bad guys,” he says. “There are only consequences.”
The best path for excitement in fact leads past the moral kiosk straight into nihilism where one can simply describe life as it is experienced, a world of ambiguity in which good/evil matters less than worse/better in a holistic sense, where no one has allegiance to weak Jesus or sniveling Satan:
Annie Wilkes, the nurse who holds Paul Sheldon prisoner in Misery, may seem psychopathic to us, but it’s important to remember that she seems perfectly sane and reasonable to herself — heroic, in fact, a beleaguered woman trying to survive in a hostile world filled with cockadoodie brats. We see her go through dangerous mood-swings, but I tried never to come right out and say “Annie was depressed and possibly suicidal that day” or “Annie seemed particularly happy that day.” If I have to tell you, I lose. If, on the other hand, I can show you a silent, dirty-haired woman who compulsively gobbles cake and candy, then have you draw the conclusion that Annie is in the depressive part of a manic-depressive cycle, I win. And if I am able, even briefly, to give you a Wilkes’-eye-view of the world — if I can make you understand her madness — then perhaps I can make her someone you sympathize with or even identify with. The result? She’s more frightening than ever, because she’s close to real. If, on the other hand, I turn her into a cackling old crone, she’s just another pop-up bogeylady. In that case I lose bigtime, and so does the reader.
In this world, the judgments of human groups are simply a path to illusion, since people reveal what they fear more than what could become cool:
— (@Vox_Oculi) November 19, 2022
Metal — in its classic era — found the cool that was uncool. We did not want to be popular and join the trends; we wanted to explore the stuff everyone else feared and find out the source of its power, because with power we found realism, and with realism, we escaped the mental ghetto of The Enlightenment™, Christianity, and commerce.
After all, trends reflect people trying to participate in popularity, and this is not mindless but a crafty but moronic strategy for personal power, thus following trends makes you the slave of the unrealistic ambitions of others:
Dr Bernardet, said: “Humans demonstrate an initial tendence to follow others — a reflexive, imitative process. But this is followed by a more deliberate, strategic processes when a person will decide whether to copy others around them, or not.”
This is why to us, the herd provokes misophonia:
a condition in which one or more common sounds (such as the ticking of a clock, the hum of a fluorescent light, or the chewing or breathing of another person) cause an atypical emotional response (such as disgust, distress, panic, or anger) in the affected person hearing the sound
Normies disgust us because they favor the social, tangible, short-term, and paths to petit power over the longterm power of becoming one with the natural inside of us, accepting our intuition, and stepping outside the herd to discover our own niche and thus what is important.
When you discover reality, you quickly begin to think along the lines of The Human Problem, namely why our solipsistic simian species almost universally pursues self-destruction. This leads to The Civilization Disease, or why our societies collectivize this behavior and self-destruct.
Heat-death rules us all. Perhaps it can be reversed. When you blaspheme the conventional wisdom of the meritocratic experts, dethrone the assumption of moral intent, recognize humans as calculating self-interest machines, and filter out the buzz of trends, the irrelevant melts away.
This leaves only a wide open space for the real.
Act of Impalement – Infernal Ordinance: if all you need in life is wallpaper, produkt, or background noise for television watching that is marked “death-doom,” this band will suffice: wandering riffs, clashing overtones of distortion, and chaotic leads mark these wandering songs as the band tries to get to a point or a goal with some nice bouncing beer-hefting rhythms that are perfect for browsing Facebook at 3:32 AM for incest porn while police sirens radiate in the background.
Maerzfeld – Alles anders: the worst thing in music seems to be the aggregate, or a recombination of everything that has been very popular, because with that many inputs the process of managing the balance becomes a goal in itself, and songs revert to their ancestor in pop, such as with this Rammstein-inspired band that devolves into emo between the hard rock staple riffs and quickly becomes Schlager music for the kids hiding in the cupboards hoping uncle is too drunk to achieve an erection this night.
Irae – Assim na Terra como no Inferno: this band hits every “raw black metal” — a marketing term for the original real deal instead of the nü-plastic versions — trope that you can think of, has the right melodies and riffs, some of which are engaging beyond the immediate, but because it unites nothing into a changing sensation ultimately comes across as nothing more than Mutiilation and Darkthrone in a blender with the setting set to teenage bedroom with police sketches of Zodiac and the Unabomber replacing the anime posters.
Satanic Warmaster – Aamongandr: Dimmu Borgir with extra steps, this band went from primitive punk-like drone black metal to melodic metal that rehashes every cliché of the genre as if it were a new discovery, using too many happy tempi as if to complement the cartoon-comical name of the band, remixing them in a mashup of past successes that misses the why behind each one and unites them only through rhythm and key (marginally) for a tour of past highlights that becomes melancholic simply because it is funereal for the genre, sort of like people wandering through feces-strewn vandalized riot-burnt cities of boarded-up shops and convincing themselves their high property taxes are worth it for the benefits of first world living.
Abysmal Lord – Bestiary of Immortal Hunger: whacka whacka whacka whacka bluuuurrrt whacka whacka whacka whacka whacka whacka whacka cymbal crash whack whack whack buuurrrrpp arrrgh farrt whacka whacka whacka whacka bluuuurrrt snare intensifies bluurrrt burrrp (pause) whacka whacka whacka whacka burrrp; this is a sonic lobotomy in pulsing drone form with periodic echoing slow passages to make you think someone is digesting.
Burgûl – Abans que ens engoleixi la llum: black metal grew great because they figured out a way to make melodies even from unconventional asymmetric patterns and unorthodox modes, but writing symmetrical patterns that repeat between two signal notes does not induce long-term listening pleasure, which is a shame because otherwise this band has the Burzum aesthetic down and obviously is a personal project of adoration for Varg Vikernes (no homo).
Mathagal – Contos de Meia Noite: although it adopts a lot of nü-metal technique, this release mostly sounds like NYHC crossbred with Pantera that has occasional tribal noises mixed in, showing us why trying to make folk and metal combine for any tribe proves rather challenging, although for something this chunky and bouncy with LEGO riffs the use of harmonic structure exceeds what we have come to expect from mainstream metal, making it sound less like Sesame Street got ahold of some guitars and methamphetamine.
Lucifericon – The Warlock of Da’ath: these guys seem to love Hypocrisy, Ancient, and Behemoth which results in lots of rhythm riffs that have almost no connection to harmony or melody except as an effect, so you get the typical “local band” sound of random riffs with similar rhythms flowing together while you swill watery beer and think that these new imitations of the underground are about like filet mignon after it gets processed through several human centipedes along with midnight taco truck burritos and boysenberry-tomatillo Prime.
Entropia – Total: pretenses of musical growth, development, and open-mindedness follow this release like a cloud of flies despite its essence being random 70s guitar rock tropes mixed with black metal riffs and vocals which not for lack of trying with erratic drums attempt to gel into songs and fail, falling apart like one of those disgusting sour cream and jello salads with pineapple chunks when you leave it in the trunk too long on a summer day and it explodes like gaseous dog vomit the minute you drop it on the table from a three inch height.
Rexoria – Imperial Dawn: fairly standard power metal wrapped around pop songs with lots of keyboard and absolutely nothing metal beyond the surface, this band will satisfy those who want to be listening to Taylor Swift while manicuring their beards and playing Dwarf Fortress but for the rest of us this stands revealed as what it is, sugar-pop with some guitars in the background playing speed metal, nü-metal, and hard rock riffs with the grace of MH370 crashing into the Adaman Sea.
Kuolemanlaakso – Kuolleiden laulu: tell us all about the death-doom band that starts with pop punk riffs, moves on to a Europop chorus, and then bangs through some power metal chants before male and female voices mingle under swelling keyboards with vague distortion noises in the background, basically dressing up rather typical pop as something it is not, sort of like the Lula presidency pretending it is not Communism or ESG/DEI companies pretending they are not simply money-grubbing rent-seeking usury leeches.
Ofermod – Ofermodian Litanies: these guys wish they were Gorgoroth and Belketre in the same package but end up getting closer to glam metal or NWOBHM with the Dissection riffs tied to a few darker moments that feature more pure momentum than phrase shape, making for a listen that arrives at its destination before starting its trip and then loops around endlessly like a millennial trying to park in a large urban shopping mall.
Extirpation – The Endless Storm: good metal comes from having a theme, building continuity, then opposing it with another, and finally synthesizing the two so that there is a point to the song; something evocative in the theme reminds us of the parallel bonds between individual mental state and events in the outside world, such that like Odysseus we might learn the meaning of what we do and through it force ourselves to change and in the process, gain wisdom, as has been the human pattern since before learning to make fire. Too much random change even ruins some promising riffs like these which while built off well-known archetypes show dexterity and flexibility in interpreting the metal sound, leaving behind a listening experience like randomly changing the channels on a late 1990s TV with 500 channels of random cable, none of which are relevant.
Mask Of Prospero – Hiraeth: “modern metal” seems to mean a hybrid between Pantera, Opeth, Meshuggah, and Tool with none of the grace of the originals, since this type of cobb salad metal combines random ingredients for their “revolutionary” and “shocking” quality in both inverting metal tropes and having zero internal consistency, leading to a bad pop song as the center like every postmodern novel has a moronically simple thematic core because when you mix too much stuff in the salad, all anyone can agree on is that the dressing is nice on their way to an avantgarde performance of Beethoven on vuvuzelas and harmonica with all the melodies adjusted to be pentatonic so the chorus of obese wheezing castrati can sing the vocal parts in Pig Latin with a Spanish accent.
Rienaus – Luciferille: this band combines atmospheric metal with bounding primitive punk-metal riffs and a fair amount of hard rock and speed metal, but wraps it up into a final package with melody that although simple is neither random nor reactive deductions from the first pattern, making for an engaging listen even if aesthetically it appeals less than the traditional black metal sound, which is probably enough to baffle hipsters since they only like incoherent music that keeps the voices in their head confused long enough for them to masturbate in the graffiti-smeared bathroom of their local hole-in-the-floor Pabst Blue Ribbon dive bar.
Ocean of Grief – Pale Existence: sometimes it seems metal has been taken over by micro-celebrities who want you to remember their bands that hipsters fifteen years ago thought were “the true revolutionary future of black metal” (forgetting that revolution and future are opposites) and this has created a marketplace culture of cultivated quirks, with each band trying to be as unique in aesthetics as possible to distinguish itself from the rest for the clueless, but it ends up being like this “doom metal” band that is basically comical emo and post-metal with disco lounge jazz bass and bouncy hard rock riffs that use inverted chords to be different, just convincing us that at the center of all this randomness there is nothing more than the usual, sort of like no matter what weird stuff you add to it at your hipster café it is still an omelette inside.
Rotten Coffin – The Agony In Slumber: mix a little stereotypical brutal death metal with a little stereotypical hard rock and then add some melodic metal and you get a meandering path to nowhere with the blockhead riffs seeming more pointless because of the context of randomness into which they are dropped; this feels like songwriting by committee, each of which wants to show off his own playing and be in a band of a different subgenre.
Fredlös – Fredlös: recombining genres is cool and all but it only works if you balance the parts, and this band alternates between modern metal and folk metal with mournful violin and female vocals, focusing mostly on aesthetic since the songs themselves fit very much within conventional expectations and eschew any distinctive harmony or phrase structure, making this a soporific release that is probably best used as background music in sandwich shops.
Left Hand Solution – Fevered: this style of music has never seemed compelling because it centers around the female vocals that provide all of the structure, with guitars creating a background sound that is inconsistent because it uses a great deal of bounce as well as sustained chords, sounding sort of like a dump truck trying to catch up with the homeless woman on meth who keeps singing the bluegrass songs of her youth in a deep voice from too many cigarettes and bicycle police arrests in the park where there are more needles than blades of grass.
Witchmaster – Kaźń: does “blackened thrash” always mean bullshit? When you get past the introductory material, you simply get speed metal without many non-chromatic intervals but with lots of death metal vocals, despite when paired to the hightops-and-sweatpants bouncing beats simply makes a comical result that sounds like a schizophrenic saying “everything will be OK” and then five minutes later beating an electric juicer to death because it talked to him with the voice of Christ and described his childhood molestation in detail.
White alert, white alert, white alert! The mercenaries are here. Our patrols have spotted them in the jungle. Quick, drink the potion. They have come to kill us. Quick, drink the wine. Drink the wine! They will be here with flamethrowers. Drink, drink! In a few seconds you will feel drowsy and lie down and go to sleep. Sleep forever.
Anyone remember Necrophagist? Red Fang? Gojira? Opeth? Depressive Suicidal Black Metal? Groove metal? Digital black metal? Industrial metal? Nü-metal? Like all trends, they focused on the tangible and social right now over the eternal, and naturally they faded away.
Humans experience something we might call brain sensuality, or preference for that which generates a strong signal in the brain because it “feels” real and immediate, as opposed to the invisible world of causes and effects over time that intellectually we can intuit.
Socializing may have arrested or retarded our development as a species. It gave us a way to turn the external world into something we could handle, as if tangible, because it was comprised entirely of the opinions of others and our own judgments, feelings, and desires.
This explains why human evolution went upward and then took a sharp turn to talking monkeys with car keys.
The music industry always reverts to its core, namely pop songs, sort of like the “French bread” in the grocery store slowly wormed its way back to being standard commercial bread, just in a unique shape with a hotter heat cycle at the beginning to give it more of a crust.
When something new comes about, they resist it, then accept it, then tame it. Hence “modern metal,” basically a hybrid between Pantera, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Cannibal Corpse with hip-hop rhythms injected. They took their best sellers and made an average, then turned it into grocery store bread.
They seek to destroy the unique. The unique does not monetize well because not everyone can do it, therefore it cannot be controlled. The labels have to wait for an artist of talent to come along, and that might take years. They want pap they can churn out so the suckers buy it.
Normies turn everything into entertainment in order to trivialize it. This is how they destroyed the internet by making it “safe”:
A microgeneration of people born roughly between 1985 and 1995 experienced that era. They spent their adolescence on the web, which was created in 1989. By their teenage years, it was already a popular place – Amazon, Google and Facebook already existed – but they lived their lives on forums and blogs that they read on their home computers.
In the second decade, everything changed. “The second phase started probably in early 2010. That’s when literally everyone else joined us. All of a sudden, spending all your time online became completely normal,” she recalls.
That distinction between digital and real was whittled down to zero: “In early 2020, real life and the internet finally completely merged into one world,” she says. Everything that happens or is said on the internet is now real. It has consequences at work or in private life, and it is linked to your identity forever.
It turns out that an internet based on popularity created an echo chamber for the lowest common denominator:
PageRank generated its results based on the idea that websites that link to other sites would be most valuable if they were based on merit rather than commercial motivation. The web was still young, conceived to be a force for good, sharing, personal expression, and unifying the world. The algorithm was a huge success. Inspired by how citations were used to “rank” academic papers, pages with links from a more significant number of other pages got a better “page rank,” which led to a fast and efficient way to produce the most relevant results for any query.
That was a fantastic breakthrough, but something started happening over the years. As some websites became more prominent thanks to their page rank (which was well deserved!), their publishers also realized they could monetize the traffic they started receiving. At the same time, search engines also discovered that ads are very lucrative.
This quickly led to ads becoming the dominant business model of the web. And the proliferation of ads brought another thing with it – a conflict of interest. Whether it is an ad-supported search engine or an ad-supported website, their users and customers suddenly have two different interests. Their user usually just wants to browse or search the web, while their customers try to sell things to that user.
Do we blame capitalism because people sell ads, or Google for creating a false reality where what was most popular was presumed to be the best? Giving Google the power has given Google an incentive to abuse their new-found authority:
Making my domains repeatedly unusable, effectively without notification or appeal, and falsely telling my clients and staff that I and my company are a bad actor on the Internet, seems an extreme consequence of their defence actions. It’s as if their worldview excludes the possibility that people might be self-hosting servers on the Internet. Or, worse, as if the extremity of their action has the useful side-effect of driving business their way.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, they say. If this is true, it applies to Google, every voter, and anyone like a TikTok nurse who has some power. More likely, some can handle it, but not Google because it is based in a bourgeois hugbox in Northern California.
The worst form of absolute power may be the trend. Like Google, streaming music seems to be subject to the same abuses and market forces created by the intersection of moronic government (democracy is cruel and inhuman) and people obsessed with the short-term in order to pay the democracy taxes.
A wonderful ode to the compact disc:
The compact disc had been around for some time; there was just a long argument about how much music should be pressed onto it. Finally, it was agreed that the playing time of a CD should be long enough to fit one of the world’s most famous classical works — Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in Wilhelm Furtwängler’s 74-minute version.
In 1981, the CD was presented at the Berlin Radio Exhibition. The first industrially produced discs rolled off the production line on August 17, 1982, and legend has it that the ABBA album “The Visitors” was burned on them. Perhaps it was also a recording of Richard Strauss’ “An Alpine Symphony,” conducted by Herbert von Karajan, who had outed himself as a big fan of the CD from the very beginning, describing it as “a miracle.” Another legend says it was waltzes by Chopin that were pressed onto the first CDs.
My CD collection grew to over 40,000. And it had to move with me three times. The curses of my movers echo to this day. But there’s a certain style about walking along a five-by-two meter shelf looking for the CDs for a party, a music show or just a music evening with friends.
And a quick reminder that as the boom in popular trendy illusion driven by democracy, consumerism, equality, and internationalist religion winds down, we are going to be eating tasty people:
The word “cannibal” is derived from “Carib”, an ethnic group that also gave its name to the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus and other Spanish conquistadors reported that the Caribs dined on roasted human flesh, and colonial people-eating lore was soon well established: the cannibalistic Queequeg is one of the main characters in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
Life on planet Earth is beautiful, if we allow it to be, even for those who find beauty in noise, death, and darkness like the underground metal legions.
Terrörhammer – Gateways to Hades: as the review queue goes on, one gets the sense that there is less good and bad music and more that most music is simply pointless, a participation award for producing something in a genre to brag about at the pub, both expressing nothing and filling that void with insubstantial distraction, which in the case of “necro speed metal” means songs that hold together well and play all the old tropes, sounding like a cross between Merciless and Destruction, but nonetheless fail to express anything but a vague urgency and a desire to chant the same four-word phrase in the alley behind the bar until the cops show up with vagrancy warrants.
Appalling – Sacrilege: this release is generally well-executed and keeps good energy throughout but the band does not know how to end their riffs in a way that leads to others, so you get lots of abrupt shifts or worse, lengthy fills that contribute little musically, when really each song rests on a strong driving riff and a chorus response that is often a bit amorphous, resulting in a sense of falling into an inertia and then having it chopped up or dissipated, leaving the listener feeling empty like the last person to eat the last can of beans salvaged from the shelves of the ruined city after a nuclear holocaust.
Forlesen – Dark Terrain: take a bunch of guys known for doing weird things in music, put them together, and have them create a black/doom hybrid that plods along slowly because the aesthetic is the whole message, with fairly standard guitar noodling accompanying formless riffs consisting of crashing power chords interrupted only by the type of “weirdness” you expect from their previous bands, except here it has been sent into a factory with standardized parts and scientific management so that a homogenized result emerges such that every quirk simply affirms the tendentious process of grinding out yet another release to sell a thousand copies so the members can brag to everyone else in the call center about how many upvotes on Reddit they got.
Arkæon – Parasit: when a genre collapses, its insiders become outsiders, emulating the past but trying through recombination of known success and injection of random borrowings from other genres to make something new out of a backward-looking, nostalgic, and fatalistic approach to writing music, resulting in something like this album which is a mash-up of tropes and formless drone riffs attempting to make us feel something like hope for excitement but resulting instead in the same exhaustion that staring at four hundred different types of mustard in the grocery store creates.
Nocturnal Departure – Clandestine Theurgy: it makes all the right sounds but they do not add up to much purpose, so you get a recycling of the second Darkthrone album and its imitators, basically random riff practice with lots of cool shrill threadbare vocal chord screaming but ultimately nothing to hold it together, making an experience as devoid of interest as sitting in the DMV waiting for them to approve your registration despite the car having been flooded in a hurricane ten years ago, rehabilitated with fake papers, and repainted with a Mercedes logo glued on the hood.
Vrag – Exile: people like to say best is the enemy of good enough and vice-versa but the liberty of low expectations challenges the pretense of revolution and in this band, the aim to make basic raw black metal achieves a basic level of listenability that is rare at this point, although it is worth noting that songs are almost exclusively circular and so you have the hot tub problem namely that once you are in the comfortable circle of verse-chorus or equivalent, nothing much changes so you get the feeling of being in the garage of the mom of your friend who always gets buckets of ditch weed cheap while you drink Natty Light and watch old war videos as the same song plays for what seems like hours — or maybe it is the weed — and feel your life drain out slightly more slowly than it will in a corporate job while paying socialist taxes to keep the pretense of altruism, peace, and love floating on a bourgeois cloud of denial.
Corrosion – Starvation: someone very carefully rehybridized ultra-raw black metal with blackened speed metal and came up with this very heavy metal tribute that holds together fairly well but trails off before it can make a point, mainly because frenetic activity alone cannot unite what are basically rhythm riffs without much shape because they rely so heavily on repeated downstrokes, but also because hybrid styles like this pit continuity against syncopation and result in a bouncy, blustery mess that never comes crashing down but never really rises either.
Fell Ruin – To The Concrete Drifts: despite the black metal vocals which here are extended enough to serve simply as a complementary instrument, the core of this band is the kind of adroit heavy metal that Voivod explored, playing around with dissonant chords occasionally among the museum tour of metal riff forms from the past four decades, and they wield this well to make easily listened music that creates songs where the parts relate to each other but does not provide much beyond this basic stoner doom with progressive touches approach, perhaps perfect for the soundtrack during lonely moments in a rom-com when the lead character realizes that in fact he is a loser who should die but he can still con the girl into dating him with some quirky amusing simian stunts.
Heretic Ritual – War-Desecration-Genocide-Passages of Infinite Hatred: one finds it hard to dislike the bands that set their sights for a specific sound and achieve it, as is the case with this basic death metal band that aims for bounding chromatic riffs with high internal variation despite too much chromatic fill and downstroke abuse as well as focus on vocals as the lead instrument of each song, producing a varied atmosphere which fulfills the album title (which also sounds like some kind of synopsis of American foreign policy since 1961).
Confessor AD – Too late to pray: a modern metal approach taken to old school death metal yields this festival of riffs that have more in common with melodic metal of the heavy metal style but do not emphasize the melody with tuning or production, giving a nice stream of chords in each verse riff offset by slower harmony work in the choruses, with a few Slayer-style additions for discursive breakdown riffs but mostly a later Exodus-styled riding of a rhythm in songs that cleanly state a point and exit, missing the classic death metal rush of expanded context and contrast but keeping songs cohesive and avoiding the rambling riff salad of your average band now since everyone gave up on fearing the apocalypse and now just wants it to show up and deliver us from the review queue.
Mamedoro – Miasma of Well: primitive black metal on the black-n-roll side of things rhythmically but with intriguing melodic insertions and a good sense of internal variation, then adds in some punk with grindcore touches before ending in a complete loop; obviously this is well-executed and studied but it seems to want to express a fairly monolithic mood and most focus on the instrumentals, at which point one asks why bother with hardcore or the vocals, since both restrict the guitars so that the vocalist can rant out some dogma? This band has potential if they keep pushing their own envelope.
Skeletal – Bitterness and Burning Hatred: old school death metal that incorporates too much late Iron Maiden style heavy metal likes both “football players carrying windmills hustling down a field” rhythms and “standoffish teens telling off the principal” chorus riffs but nonetheless invents a few compelling riffs a song on the subtle side of melody with an emphasis in getting songs to the point where they explode into uncontrolled but inhuman emotion, producing a more listenable result than average even if its energy dissipates in AC/DC affinity riffs, sort of like a storm escaping the barriers of weather patterns and unleashing its true self through flooding most of Florida and Texas just so the gods can laugh at the scurrying humans trying to protect their hoards against forces too big for them to conceptualize much less morally accept.
A Transylvanian Funeral – Gorgos Goetia: essentially a loving tribute to Darkthrone and an attempt to maintain the purity of focus (and impurity of moral and social judgment) which made old school black metal great, this band creates its own emotion with melody and not aesthetics in the original black metal mold, attempting to amplify the metal sense of transition between an absurd and ambiguous new normal into a space where the darkness reveals not just its logicality but its utility, sort of like using the skulls of your enemies as chalices in the ruins of post-apocalyptic Los Angeles as the last of your species perishes from the airborne AIDS unleashed by Pfizer and the WEF to stop racist thoughts before they form.
Penthos – “Lifeless Haze”: revisiting the days of thrash and then melding it into a background of underground metal riffs produces a supremely listenable album in which each song expresses something unique strongly, even if variants on a mood of obscurity and rejection of all that the daylight world sees, this album moves between doom and grind and melody-tinged death metal riffs in pursuit of a mood, with the parts summing up to more than their mere combination, taking the listener on a journey through the cavernous darkness of the human subconsciousness even more than reading the comments on your average YouTube video.
Glaukom Synod – Vampires and Gorgeous Throats: harsh noise tends toward either the Tangerine Dream ambient or the Einsturezende Neubauten industrial side, and with the explicit rhythm of drum-like percussion this album heads toward the latter which limits the former, meaning that melody takes a back seat toward driving tribal energy with machinelike bass and roaming distortion in the background creating an atmosphere of technological collapse and primeval resurrection, about like going to Walmart in Austin after four on a weekend.
In Pain – The Thing From the Grave: the production screams a better version of the Carnage and Dismember albums, but the songwriting likes really obvious symmetrical patterns with no internal conflict, making this into the equivalent of the music they play at the local lady barbershop salon type place that is basically circular jazz fusion with song names like “Thyme on the Wind” and “Sun Over Glistening Waters” so that people can put their brains on hold while some garrulous ambisexual slices away inches from their faces with razor-sharp scissors.
Beltfed Weapon – Darkened Demise: this has the same 1980s parody-nostalgia approach that Toxic Waste used to appeal to a bloating and decomposing audience of millennials and xers who wanted to recapture the state of things before social media, diversity, and quantitative easing turned it into a wasteland, but in this case you get the most popular ingredient these days, speed metal, with a little bit of progressive jazz-influenced guitar noodling grafted in to give it spice sort of like tossing a spoonful of mayonnaise into cabbage soup to give it body, but what kills it is the lack of individual character to these songs or artistic allusion to anything but reliving the 1980s in a radio-friendly speed metal band.
Hammers of Misfortune – Overtaker: from the laugh out department, a band that mixes quasi-progressive 70s rock with 1980s speed metal by… get this… varying them in serial. Random atmospheric noodling that belongs in an ABC After School Special for when the “bad” kids smoke weed behind the school gives way to drum whacka-whacka with fast formless riffs and what sounds like female vocals having a drunken conversation behind a gastropub while keyboards join in like Billy Mays telling you the extra specials that come with the combination air blower, popcorn popper, and masturbation aid that you purchased from Alibaba when you were wasted on grocery store wine and lint weed you found in your old jacket pockets.
Thulcandra – A Dying Wish: say what you want about this band, but they know how to write songs, understand the basics of harmony, and keep their QA high instead of chucking a half-dozen riffs into the same time signature and key and calling it a song. However, this is soulless music for online shoppers wanting to keep just 25% edgy in addition to their 50% compassionate and 25% hard-nosed modern prole following the Jack Sparrow morality (“take all we can, and give nothing back”). You kind of float along on bouncy drums while lead guitars stitch out a melody on top of surging riffs that a purely functional support structure and have no character of their own. Might be great for a beach holiday but empty for metal listening.
Obituary – “Dying of Everything”: most bands when trying to join a genre do what an MBA would do and lay out the most successful bands, then imitate all of what they did, forgetting that what they are seeing are techniques which were chosen to achieve a goal, and therefore not a thing that can be recombined without being incoherent, but masters like Obituary can easily combine Metallica into Incantation and then hybridize that with first- and second-album Obituary to make a form of universal death metal that will someday be AI-generated in every video; if the universal review is “it is not bad if you like that sort of thing” then the review for older bands seems to be “this is a cursory take on their earlier material and subsequent influences, but executed well even if I see no point in listening to it again.”
Analepsy – Quiescence: you can see easily how modern metal evolved out of death metal — use basic late 1980s speed metal, mix in early 1990s percussive death metal, and apply the hip-hop rhythms of nü-metal and the lead guitars of trendy 1970s jazz fusion, and you have a hybrid of all the big sellers of the past fifty years (people love hybrids because they fear natural selection) — with this band that does it well, in that even the disruptive-discursive sections are exceptions that confirm the whole which is a chanting rhythm up against a screaming rhythm in the horror movie duality that Six Feet Under made huge. This should satisfy any modern metal fan.
Conjureth – The Parasitic Chambers: this band stays true to the old school style, yes, but rushes through a series of very similar riffs which do not interact with each other more than in basic rhythm, making this a confused and ephemeral listen, probably something which people will discard relatively quickly except that we are all fleeing from “modern metal” and its consumer-savvy recombination of Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Public Enemy, and Iron Maiden.
Black Spell – Season of the Damned: stoner doom generally means regular rock dressed up as dark music, but this release seems to be more partying loud rock somewhere on the nexus between Motörhead and the White Stripes with the death vocals whispered and acted out like a high school theater department Merlin when not sung in an alternative-rock deep falsetto, with regular circular songs and some good heavy riffs that would have fit on an The Obsessed album but are not of much interest to those whose interests go past blues-based heavy rock.
Rigor Sardonicus – Praeparet Bellum: for fans of Winter and Skepticism, this glacial death-doom focuses on building an atmosphere around primitive riffs that evoke basic feelings of inescapable misery and fatalistic inefficacy, but uses layers of technique to gradually intensify this feeling to make the grimness seem absolute, gradually grinding toward a state of complete abandomnent of hope, in music that is not particularly exciting but consistent and purposeful such that it might make great listening at a crematorium, abandoned nuclear plant, or space shuttle Challenger museum exhibit.
Narnia – Ghost Town: power metal combined speed metal with the more emotional side of rock and pop that speed metal sought to escape, and this band builds its power metal on the more chant-oriented and melodic aspects of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with more percussive guitar riffs and lead guitars that clearly spent time at the church of Metallica and Satriani, which results in a form of power pop that is ruthlessly catchy but misses out on most of what makes metal endure, although it should be popular with festival audiences wading between the latrine swamp and the MDMA merch tables.
Xalpen – The Curse Of Kwányep: like most bands at this point, there is nothing wrong with this one, only a lack of reasons to listen to such a faithful rendition of the past including its riffs, rhythms, melodies, and tempo changes. Like many bands, this serves as a grab-bag of technique from the past four decades of metal and while the pieces fit together and unlike many bands, interact well with each other to promote an overall effect in each song, there is no compelling reason to listen to this instead of throwing on the classics which, having more focus on a shorter range of effects, made clearer and more interesting statements.
Ashen Tomb – Ashen Tomb: the one thing we can have in life is purpose, which if based upon observing reality, leads to constructive and creative outcomes, but the problem with most metal is that it rationalizes purpose based on the influences, riffs, and ideas it has and ends up with a refrigerator leftovers omelette that qualifies as metal but will never be a compelling listen, which is why you see lots of “230 views 5 years ago” on YouTube videos, which is where this band of old school metal with crypto-influences from modern metal is headed with a random compilation of riffs like they went around the room and had each band member throw in a part then cut the tape.
Hessians dominate North America once again, this time in the news of mass graves:
Researchers believe they have located the remains of as many as 12 Hessian soldiers — German troops hired by the British — in a field at Red Bank Battlefield Park along the Delaware River in Gloucester County.
The remains were only discovered after a human femur was found back in June during a routine public archaeology dig at the site of the 1777 Battle of Red Bank.
Officials believe the Hessian soldiers were among the roughly 377 troops killed by Colonials forces during the battle 245 years ago.
It turns out that metal may be more of a lifestyle than previously thought:
A woman gave birth to a baby son at a Metallica concert in Brazil last weekend — just as the band was rocking out to their heavy metal classic, “Enter Sandman.”
Joice Figueiró said she had been cleared to go to the show by her doctors, and was sitting in the Couto Pereira stadium’s handicapped area Saturday when her little boy, Luan, decided it was time to come out and start head banging.
And speaking of genetics, an insight into why classic rock was “different”:
Growing up in Kent, he was privately educated, like other British prog-rock notables — the members of Genesis, for instance, a band with which Bruford had a brief and unhappy stint drumming as a hired hand in 1976.
Nature works through hierarchy, which in computer science we know simply as a sorting algorithm. It is in fact a very efficient algorithm: reward notability, tolerate minimal adaptation, and punish insanity. This allows nature to try every combination without a plan in mind.
When humans are intelligent — rare — they use the same pattern in their societies. Push up the good, reduce costs for the average, and yeet the bad. Maybe even through cannibalism, which is still probably better for you than the average processed food hot dog.
Of note are the Mongolian death metal vocalists and bats (do not eat in soup) who use similar vocal techniques:
Now a new study in the journal PLOS Biology reports that for some sounds, bats use the same technique as human death metal singers and throat singing members of the Tuva people in Siberia and Mongolia.
“We identified for the first time what physical structures within the larynx oscillate to make their different vocalizations. For example, bats can make low frequency calls, using their so called ‘false vocal folds,’ like human death metal singers do,” said Coen Elemans.
Worldwide a symbol of aggression, heavy metal music appeared in politics recently as our society decides what to eat first in its endless self-destructive autocannibalism:
In April 2009, the family was living in Nevada when Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers.
According to Tasha, the group was born of an all-night writing session during one of Rhodes’s manic spells.
Tasha remembered trying to soothe one of her children as her husband blasted heavy metal music, and kept her from leaving the room.
Maybe it is simply time to move so that we can join the Slayer mob:
But what really blew us away was that the town, which is named Wadeye (pronounced “Wad-air”), was split up into gangs named after heavy metal bands. There were the Judas Priest Boys, the Evil Warriors, and the Slayer Mob.
Apparently these guys take a back seat to the other two who are fighting a gang war for control of territories ceded by incompetent democracy:
Scores of Aborigines have fled their homes and are living in squalid refugee-like camps as two rival gangs, the Evil Warriors and the Judas Priests, fight for control of the Northern Territory’s largest black town.
Even better, they are fighting with medieval weapons:
[T]he gangs are interesting with their curious loyalty to long-haired, white, heavy-metal bands. They are based loosely on ancient divisions between the town’s 20 clans and seven language groups, but also interwoven by marriage to make them even more complicated. They had kept the town in a perpetual state of hostility as historic rivalries turned to modern squabbles.
Luckily, as the thousand-year (or two-thousand-year) trends wind down in the excreta of their own failure to observe reality, the physical world is reclaiming its place as the rightful determiner of human focus:
In the “brave new world” scenario speculated on by the World Economic Forum (WEF), people could soon enough – by 2030 – “own nothing and be happy.”
Well, perhaps not so fast, because the issue of ownership and questions around it – over anything from computer games, to health choices – are getting ever more relevant, rather than fading into obscurity.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is now reporting that CD sales went up last year in the US for the first time since 2004. Consumers are also getting fonder of vinyl recordings, and put together, the sales data for 2021 shows that physical music sales have increased for the first time in nearly three decades – since 1996.
This comment does not aim to enforce materialism, atheism, and individualism — they are the same: self-worship that denies that invisible aspects of the outer world in order to suppress both reality and intuition so that social pressures can rule — since your author here has never been an atheist, only an anti-dualist. To someone who observes nature, it is clear that a vast and benevolent force propels this universe forward, and nothing of use is wasted. If we kept our religious observations to that, we could avoid the chaos created by conflicting interpretations of the metaphysical, since religions are simply metaphors for the inexpressible and therefore, fighting over the details misses the point.
The indicator Formed pre-1994 (value of 1, 0 otherwise) designates bands active in the underground scene (before 1994). These bands are generally perceived as representing the genre’s transgressive values and as more authentic or credible than the bands formed after 1994 (Moynihan and Søderlind, 1998; Sgourev and Aadland, 2022).
For Generation X, slamming the brakes and screaming “stop!” was not enough; the only way forward, in our view, was transgression. Violate all the dead institutions, dethrone the sacred cows, and burn the books of lies.
This took a different approach from the Boomers, who merely wanted to replace all those old institutions with ironic versions of themselves. To them, the point was to detach, neuter, and disable society so that individualism could thrive in a big pretentious party.
For the future, metal needs to restate its primal message: beauty in darkness via structure instead of aesthetics. That is, grim realism and a worship of power, contra moralism and the optics necessary for commerce.
With that, this update can conclude. A number of releases submitted here going back over a decade have finally seen the light of these pages. With luck this will mean exposure to these bands and a more honest and analytical look at where metal is and where it needs to go.
Tags: abysmal lord, act of impalement, analepsy, ashen tomb, conjureth, entropia, irae, maerzfeld, microgeneration, nocturnal departure, obituary, ofermod, penthos, rexoria, rigor sardonicus, satanic warmaster, skeletal, slayer mob, smr, thulcandra, vrag, witchmaster