Help death metal ascend the throne again


“If you live under a rock…” the old cliché begins, but the truth is that you can live in a glass house in the center of the world’s biggest city and still miss the obvious. Denial is the most universal of human traits, and without the application of discipline and honesty we are nothing more than “talking monkeys with car keys.”

Unless you live in denial, it is obvious to you that death metal is in a bit of a recession. That is to say: there are too many bands coupled with a lack of quality in all but a very few, which makes for the inflationary but bearish (negative) purchasing that marks a recession. As warned, rock ‘n roll assimilated death metal, the imitators came in, and now you have death metal flavored rock music with lite jazz mixed in to make it seem progressive and “deep.”

Very few people understand this because very few people stop to consider anything beyond their immediate wants. They want to be listening to good music, so they pretend what they have is good, and by doing so blind themselves to what is good and bad. This is a great way to walk right back down that evolutionary ladder, have your legs turn to nubs and then jump in the sea to become a fish. You have literally undone any higher thinking ability you have.

For those who want their music to be of actual quality, these times are grim. A few bands stand out — Blaspherian, War Master, Imprecation, Sammath, and Demoncy — while the rest fade into the background like hipsters, with each one trying so hard to be unique that it loses sight of the ability to express something deeper than aesthetic re-arranging of known ideas. Death metal bands today are like the guy with the beard, glasses, skinny jeans and snarky t-shirt who has ironically decided to wear an Iron Maiden jacket. He thinks he’s being different and unique and showing what a precious snowflake is, but when the camera zooms out he is in a group of special people who from a distance look like chaos. And that is what they are: they have no purpose, because they have replaced the idea of having purpose with the idea of looking like you have purpose.

By now, I have filtered out most of the human species. Very few care about the topic, being much more interested in their desires, judgments and feelings right now, a state which flatters their sense of self-worth, and very few more can handle the flow of words which would have been zero challenge to an eighth grader in 1950 but are complete bafflement and a threat to the ego to your average citizen in the 2010s. I have also pushed away those who want to be hipsters or other self-aggrandizing people, and been cruel to enough hopes and dreams of delusional people to shock and drive away the love-bunnies, kumbayas and other zombies of the postmodern intellectual landscape. This writing will also disturb those who depend on a system of rigid rules and strict obedience to dogma and money for their self-esteem; it requires humans who are willing to go beyond humanity and look toward reality itself, a.k.a. the results of actions by ourselves and others, for their meaning.

For those who remain: it is worth acting to put death metal back on top. It is surprisingly easy to do so. But you will have to get out of your comfort zones. What you must do will be revealed in the second part of this article, coming soon.

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66 thoughts on “Help death metal ascend the throne again”

  1. Richard Head says:

    I’d die for death metal! (I just thought that up, intellectual property is mine, feel “free” to use it but expect to pay royalties.)

  2. LostInTheANUS says:

    If it involves fucking people in the ass (literally and figuratively) count me in.

    1. Jim Nelson says:

      but especially if it’s literally

    2. LostInIMDB says:

      Can we fuck each other at the same time?

  3. Laozi says:

    Such is the task of philosophers. The masses shun Philosophy, because abundant liberalism (po-mo) has negated the need for self-interrogation or contemplation at large. Well, except which CD they should buy: YOB or WITTR…

    1. sexy ladyboy redditor says:

      Yeah, way to go writing off a multi-generational intellectual discipline with crude and inaccurate generalization.

      Your estimation of post-modernism as a philosophically hollow movement betrays a paucity of intellectual honesty and rigor in your world view. On the contrary, Post-modernism has ushered in a renaissance of self-reflection and self-discovery. At no other point in history has it been more acceptable to look within ourselves and question social constructs like gender, race, and sexual orientation that have defined (or rather, confined) how we look at ourselves and each other. Post-modernism allows us to look within with a critical eye and dismantle these arbitrary delineations, thus enabling society to progress past the framework of oppression that has held back everyone but cisgender white males for thousands of years.

      I hope that one day you will realize the world is not so black and white. However that is doubtful, given that the so-called “new right” movement has apparently molded you into a bleating sheep that merely regurgitates propaganda handed down by the oppressor elite.

      1. Laozi says:

        I never said the world is black and white. I support the writers of this site, but I am neither left nor right. I’m apolitical. Sure, equal rights are great: but does that change the world? No. I also think its illogical to claim that society progresses anything. Also, the true elite are the enforcers of enframed society we are placed in. Metal is placed in a marketing category, and Post Modern thought is marketed too.

        1. sexy ladyboy redditor says:

          Saying that society does not progress is a very ignorant thing to say. As little as 50 years ago it was looked down upon to let your daughter have complete sexual freedom starting at 13. Also, now society knows better. Also, the next step will be abolishing gender roles and instating equal rights for ALL genders, not just the cis ones.

          Also, if you want a piece of my perky ladyboy ass, you’re going to have to try harder than that, especially with alpha males like Richard Head and Lord Mosher strutting their stuff in the comment sexction. Richard Head was dropping some MAD negs on me in the other thread; shit was SO cash.

          1. Lazoi says:

            What I meant is that it doesn’t follow that society progresses by way of Post Modernism. Gender roles are a choice. However, I’d rather a patriarchal society than a matriarchal society. I’m proud to be cisgender. What’s wrong with alpha males?

            Also, if I had a daughter, I’d want her to grow the fuck up before she engages her “complete sexual freedom.” You have yet to demonstrate beneficial tenets of Post-Modernism. My comment was generalized, sure, but Post-Modernism (not including philosophers who subscribe to it) is not about reflection, it’s about making people feel good and equal. Biologically, no one is equal. Persons of color and women deserve equal rights, but I’ll be damned if I Keep encountering the negation of white males.

  4. I blew my head off like Per Olin says:

    But what is the criteria of “good” and “bad”?

    1. Viranesir says:

      hahahahaha, that’s a really good one


    > we are nothing more than “talking monkeys with car keys.”

    You should really start paying royalties to Kam Lee of Massacre who came up with that phrase Brett…

  6. tiny midget says:

    i dunno brett. maybe i’m just a stupid moron that can’t tell the difference between good and great when it comes to death metal; truth is i just recently began listening to it, somewhere around 1999 but i still cant say which is better say, demilich or demigod. or why cadaver’s second album in pains is better than their first. or why mayhem’s deathcrush is not good.

    i think more than denial people are not gifted to tell shit from gold even if they try. what makes wombbath or demented ted below average? but most importantly any one knows what happened to levy spearmen’s mom ?

    1. hypocrite says:

      Extensive sodomy.

      1. Preferably acrobatic as well.

  7. 1349 says:

    Reindustrialization + rechristianization of the West would probably help to get metal back to the throne as the art of dissident elite.
    While reindutrialization + repaganization could kill DM entirely but use some of its internal principles to create mainstream music.

  8. brutal slayers of christians, noble hessian warrior of death says:

    The death metal scene continues onward thanks to the onslaught of new war metal releases…new GENOCIDE SHRINES, ARCHGOAT and GOAT SEMEN will make this year one of the most BESTIAL OF ALL TIME!!!!

  9. Bands like Horrendous and Swallowed are part of the problem (a kind of over-distorted Swedish rock/metal with added surface/compositional gimmick), and fueling this fire is their far reaching marketing power (ads, distribution, etc.). The constant (and needlessly extensive) reissues for bands that were never good like Fester or Necropsy hurt just through virtue of the claim that they did something good. The power of attaching Tom G. Warrior’s name to something like Triptykon elevates a disastrous product to a desirable one instantly, which isn’t good either.

    The end result of allowing things like this to continue is… Colored Sands.

    1. Ara says:

      So the retro sound is bad but death metal should still sound like classic death metal because progressive elements make it no longer death metal and if a newer band emulates the desired style it will be viewed as superficially approaching the genre but not having its substantial merits. Can any newer death metal band win at this point?

      1. Richard Head says:

        Ha, nice summary. It’s hard to say if newer DM bands can really do anything groundbreaking in this day and age. Can we get more creative than Morbid Angel or Demilich?

        Seems to me that DM doesn’t really need to “go” anywhere or progress “further”; there is still room for experimentation and expansion but DM is just what it is, and new bands should just be concerned with their message of doom and despair because there will always be a new generation needing to hear dire prophecies. Lots of younger people are not going to get into a style of music by starting with the musicians who created it; they usually work backward as newer bands serve as gateways to the mysteries of the past. That’s one good that newer bands can serve, don’t you think?

        1. Ara says:

          I think the Internet has made it so unlocking the past isn’t the rewarding idea it used to be. Everything new is so easy to find, and no one buys music anymore, so the gamble to finding something good isn’t meaningful. When everything is just a click away and immediate gratification is so easy in both the effort in finding stuff and pushing the superficial aspects of metal, the outlook seems very bleak.

          I had another question I was thinking about in regards to outlook: how many of us really want to be blown away by something new? I mean, it’s fun to be angry and shit on things for their downfalls. By not being excited about new records (perhaps the deserving ones) we both preserve the integrity of the old records we love and give ourselves a further chip on our shoulders by not allowing something to be validated in today’s immediate gratification climate since we didn’t discover it ourselves in a time when the gamble meant something. I do agree that a good majority of albums aren’t exciting now but I for one want to be blown away by a new approach to an old idea today, I just haven’t really heard it yet. Do we really want a revolution in the genre or is it more fun and more inwardly rewarding to be dismissive?

          1. I had another question I was thinking about in regards to outlook: how many of us really want to be blown away by something new?

            Raises hand!

            1. Beavis says:

              you said blown!
              bh he he he he


          2. Richard Head says:

            I get excited when I hear interesting new metal. I also get excited when finding out older bands that had a subtly influential impact on future writers. I’m rarely blown away but when it happens, it’s great. The internet does make it easy to listen to most stuff but there are still obscure recordings that can only be heard in shitty streaming quality (if at all) and must be purchased to be experienced fully.

            1. Ara says:

              As far as newer bands doing something exciting, it seems people here unanimously hate Portal and Ulcerate, and I have some questions regarding this. Both suffer from a one dimensional sound and interchangeable records, but the former nails a feeling of dread more than most bands I can think of. I’ll readily admit that after a song or two from each I get it and don’t need to explore more, but when Portal for example actually has a memorable riff like say in “13 Globes” they show a craft that I think could benefit the genre. So why the pure hate for them? Is it because hipsters like them?

              1. Richard Head says:

                Can’t help you there dude, I actually like Portal.

      2. Concerned Citizen says:

        The retro “sound”, if you’re referring to the over-distorted guitar tone of these bands (which approximate the early Swedish DM bands), is not bad. I don’t think any bands I mentioned use “progressive elements” (I don’t think the nu-“metal” of Triptykon was part of this or your “desired style” reference), but they do superficially approach the genre and add nothing of note to it or even come up with “great music”.

        The only newer band that could possibly win that I can think of is Desecresy, but their latest album failed to deliver on that promise. Still, there’s always hope for the genre (maybe).

        The Colored Sands bit at the end was just a reference to over-produced, meticulously written yet vapid music in general being promoted to seem like it’s “saving” something or is “the next new thing”, like the rewritten Convulse album by Horrendous.

    2. Richard Head says:

      So you’re blaming the labels and ad agencies? What about the idiots who consume their shitty output? Seems like all the garbage you mentioned wouldn’t be selling if there were no idiots to buy them.

      1. Thomas Magnus III says:

        U make me so wet Richie with that uber alpha swagger.

      2. hypocrite says:

        None of the bullshit humanity has sold itself over the course of its existence would’ve come about without idiots.

        I say let it die, but then again I don’t think I’ve ever felt/thought something that had to be expressed via death metal. Also, it’s not like euthanasia of the genre is really an option at this point. It will either rot away into obscurity or get an influx of people who actually give a fuck.

      3. Concerned Citizen says:

        True, but these labels are pushing the product and “spinning the narrative” so they too are part of the problem.

        Consider how Cannibal Corpse is terrible death metal right up there with Pungent Stench or Benediction, and that’s bad enough. Add a big name like Metal Blade records pushing them not only on idiots within but idiots outside “the know” (the ICP/Slipknot audience, for example) through the “edgy appeal” of violent comic book artwork makes the situation spiral out throughout the years into them being set as a “bar, standard, originator… (etc.)” and this contributes to even worse music later on. Consider the Limp Biscuit with growl vocals music known as “deathcore” which cites Cannibal Corpse as an influence (and is really not much different in content).

        1. Ara says:

          I know Cannibal Corpse’s popularity makes them an easy target, but they don’t really deserve that much hate now do they? I’ll admit they haven’t really excited me in a long time, but I could think of countless death metal bands that are far, far worse, and given that they’ve been around since the first wave and haven’t really compromised when almost all of their peers have earns them my respect. Linking them to deathcore because of their marketing is kind of unfair, and despite their being accepted by modern audiences you can’t really say they sound like deathcore just because it’s fun to pigeonhole them further.

          1. Think of Cannibal Corpse, Meshuggah, Pantera, and Cradle of Filth. What did each do?

            Simplified and dumbed down, thus popularized, an otherwise legitimate genre.

            Cannibal Corpse started out OK, but there was always that whiff of parody band about them.

            1. Ara says:

              Cannibal Corpse had a lackluster mid period but only recently started progressing a bit to make interesting music while not straying out from the death metal formula. Isn’t that what we want out of death metal now, eapecially out of someone with such a long career?

              Meshuggah started off as a technical thrash band then became something all their own until their sound was usurped by imitators.

              I don’t think either band is necessarily at fault for popularizing elements of underground music, and more than likely made for great gateway bands for a lot of people.

              1. Cannibal Corpse had a lackluster mid period but only recently started progressing a bit to make interesting music while not straying out from the death metal formula.

                They seem to be more rooted in the speed metal formula than anything, and the simplest version of it. The best of Cannibal Corpse lives on in Blotted Science.

                1. Ara says:

                  I’m starting to see after reading various things here that many feel that fast tempos detract from the dread of death metal, which I didn’t really acknowledge before. I wouldn’t call any of CC’s recent output “simple” though. I know you are hinting at complexity that goes beyond time signatures and such, but there is some depth to their recent stuff that they haven’t explored much before.

                  1. Not so much the tempos, but the song form and use of the muted chord. The use of it to emphasize syncopation or the end of phrases is simplistic and popular; Meshuggah and Pantera were both experts in that style. There’s a fair amount of that in Corpse as well, but the real problem is that their songs are, like black-album Metallica, essentially pop songs with metal riffs. Turn up both those aspects a little bit and you have nu-metal, for good reason. Nu-metal relies on populist styles (and types of content) for composition and is just slightly further shifted into the rock world. I’d feel a bit hypocritical for condemning Disturbed for making catchy, poppy songs with bouncy speed metal riffs and not doing the same for Cannibal Corpse (or pointing out that Cradle of Filth is an Iron Maiden clone, that tek-def is basically repurposed 1980s lite jazz with indie metal riffs, or that Opeth is basically Phish for metalheads.

                    1. Ara says:

                      I feel like the most championed records here have simpler, almost pop arrangements. The use of the muted chord has always been in death metal too, only recently has it been utilized as as the crux of the riff while spruced with occasional note flourishes. I think the last half of your post is a bit of a sweeping generalization that amplifies the weaknesses of the aforementioned bands to give a bit of an unjust dismissal to stuff you just don’t like, but we all do that, to a degree. The slippery slope to nu metal that you described is a bit of a stretch to me, and if we want to apply the six degrees of Kevin Bacon rule to bands or styles we don’t like, everything under the sun shares the same relative bed.

                    2. I feel like the most championed records here have simpler, almost pop arrangements.

                      Let’s not rely on feelings, but facts. Which did you have in mind?

                      The use of the muted chord has always been in death metal too, only recently has it been utilized as as the crux of the riff while spruced with occasional note flourishes.

                      You answered your own question here. Many techniques are used, but it matters how they are used and how predominant it is.

                      amplifies the weaknesses of the aforementioned bands

                      Just as we saw above, however, weaknesses are present in all things; it matters where they are. A car with a weakness in its steering or brakes is a far different story than a car with a weakness in its trunk, radio, or acceleration.

                      The slippery slope to nu metal that you described is a bit of a stretch to me

                      Not to be unduly technical, but that wasn’t a slippery slope argument. Slippery slope takes the form of “If we legalize marijuana, soon we’ll have legal heroin and meth too!”

                      My point was that music is a spectrum. At one end is primitive tribes banging on rocks, and at the other, Beethoven (or something similar). In the middle is rock music, with metal closer to the far end. But rock, metal, nu-metal etc. use similar instrumentation and technique, and can cross over. What was Mordred but proto-nu-metal, but done in a more underground spirit?

                      six degrees of Kevin Bacon rule

                      He married his cousin.

                    3. Ara says:

                      Also, if you really want to play connect the dots and still maintain an argument like “Black Sabbath has nothing to do with the blues,” you’re really just playing favorites.

                    4. “Black Sabbath has nothing to do with the blues,”

                      I disagree here. “Nothing to do with” and “is not motivated by” are not the same statement. Further, without the blues, Black Sabbath would have emerged exactly as it did. More likely, the blues are a forgery like rock music itself, and music has always been… just music.

                    5. Ara says:

                      Re: championed death metal having simple almost pop arrangements, I’d say Altars of Madness, any early Death, what I listened to from Desecresy, and so on. I’ll have to think of more examples later.

                      I’ll never understand your Black Sabbath argument, given the conclusions you’ve drawn elsewhere.

                    6. Dualist says:

                      @ Mr Stevens

                      Have you wrote any metal yourself? Again, that’s not rhetorical. I’m believe critic doesn’t necessarily need to be an artist.

                      But if not, why not? I’m sure you could knock out some suitably misanthropic lyrics. And even if you’re no Azagthoth, technique isn’t everything, yes? And you certainly feel you have enough understanding of composition to critique any band you encounter. Many of the greats don’t perform live so time shouldn’t be a constraint either.

                      What do you have to communicate? Give it a try man. It would be highly anticipated.

              2. Rar says:

                Altars of Madness has simple structure, not simple content(pop).

        2. Richard Head says:

          You’re talking about it like the producer/consumer relationship is a chicken/egg scenario but I think it’s simpler than that; labels saw an exciting new genre (that had already been around for 10 years) that a bunch of mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers would enjoy if only it didn’t confuse them (Limp Biscuit fans) so they pushed shitty metal and the idiots ate it up. The labels just fulfilled a demand. You can’t hardly blame them for capitalizing on the desires of idiots; that’s just chasing the American dream, baby.

  10. Frank says:

    Hey Brett, you should stop finding different ways to say essentially the same thing over and over and instead review some Eisenvater albums.



      Eisanvater is fucking gay shit for fucktard emos. Their music is circular that goes nowhere. Fuck this shit you’re gay if you buy this album. Stop pretending you’re a metalhead and go buy that ARA record you’re dying to share with your neckbeard buddies on the nearest Starbucks.

      The real question is, does anybody still truly consider AVERSE SEFIRA a top tier black metal band, or is it just a aspie phenomenom???

      If you revisit most of the albums in particular their first two, it becomes obvious they don’t hold up like say Profanatica or Demoncy do. If they weren’t Texans they’d never figure on the archives.

      1. Richard Head says:

        Averse Sefira is my favorite BM band besides Sacramentum. They have a way more vicious combative sound than the droney emo tryhard shit that has been coming out since they started playing. I don’t have their first album but Advent Parallax and Tetragrammatical Astygmata are fucking awesome. Way more replay value than Profanatica due to the elegantly composed songs with memorable themes and enough twists and switchback turns to keep the intensity cranked the whole time. I have no idea how you can’t love Averse Sefira.

        1. Ara says:

          Sacramentum over Dissection? I only had their first back in high school and didn’t follow them afterward.

          1. Dualist says:

            First Sacramentum is all you need. Definitely on another level than Dissection. But it’s no shame to admit to liking Dissection. They still get the silver medal for that style of BM. Great composers both.

          2. Richard Head says:

            Dissection, like later Immortal, is cool and all but when it comes to the wave of black metal that incorporated heavy metal melody, Far Away From the Sun blows everything else out of the water because it retains the feeling of being “black” so to speak (demonic, evil, melancholy, introspective, disciplined, mighty). It moves me in an emotional and intellectual sense that I can’t describe.

            The next album is good for what it is but FAFTS floors me like no other album.

            1. Ara says:

              How about Dawn?

              1. Richard Head says:

                I don’t know Dawn but I do know they play black metal. I generally don’t get much out of black metal but am always willing to check into a recommendation in hopes of finding something outstanding.

                1. Ara says:

                  Check out their Slaughtersun record. I think you may be into it.

                  1. down-syndrome guy says:

                    cHECk out the song Jerupitus, the Blood-drenched.

                    it’s really super duper awesom I highly recommend it!!!!!!!!

            2. Ara says:

              I just checked and the one I have is actually The Coming of Chaos. It never blew high school me away, but now I’ll have to check out the one before it.

              1. Richard Head says:

                That’s a fun album but Far Away From the Sun is a masterpiece.

              2. Rar says:

                Please check out Far Away from the Sun. It’s one of the best black metal albums.

        2. Dork says:

          Call me whatever you want, but Averse Sefira sounds exactly like most of those “orthodox” black metal bands, as in painfully bland.

          1. Richard Head says:

            Orthodox black metal would be what? Bathory? Darkthrone? Burzum? None of them sound the same and Averse Sefira don’t sound remotely similar to any of them you fucking ninny.

            1. Dork says:

              Orthodox as in theistic black metal (bands like DSO, Funeral Mist, etc). Its a catch-all term, just like warmetal. I`m not making up these descriptions.

              1. Richard Head says:

                Dafuq? Regardless whether you made the term up, you should be ashamed for perpetuating its use. Deathspell doesn’t even play black metal anymore and when they did they didn’t sound similar to Funeral Mist.

                If “theistic” is supposed to describe some diety-centric philosophy that underlies the bands lyrics then you’re still wrong; Averse Sefira draw some lyrical imagery from the Kabbalah but stay away from any theistic themes.

                1. Richard Head says:

                  Diety-centric = fitness metal? Heh. *Deity.

        3. Rar says:

          Averse Sefira your favorite? You have horrible taste.

  11. ODB says:

    Bands and albums that have had me riveted at various times over the past few years:

    Into Oblivion – Creation Of A Monolith
    Prosanctus Inferi – Noctambulous Jaws Within Sempiternal Night
    R’lyeh – In The Infernal Moment
    Ares Kingdom – Incendiary
    Diskord – Dystopics

    All cover diverse styles within “proper” metal; some take steps that haven’t been attempted before in the exact same way (Into Oblivion), others refine an established sound (Ares Kingdom, Prosanctus Inferi). I genuinely look forward to new material from all of them so at least not all is lost.

    1. Rar says:

      I haven’t listened to the others, but Diskord is gay.

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