Underground metal stood out from the rest because it did not aim to be friendly to the audience and offer them something soft and easily engaging to distract them from reality. Instead it offered enmeshment in the challenge of our time, which it met with violence and distrust.
We might see metal as, much as modernism bled over into postmodernism, a form of postmodernism that leads into a different place. It offered a simple rule: do not trust comfort, glitz, pandering, symbols, surface emotions, or anything else which thinks like a human crowd.
Much as postmodernism argued for a kind of meta-relativity that said we must be skeptical of any absolute, centralized, or universal truth because there are many views of the same thing, underground metal said that the many views eventually meet the hard conflict of reality itself.
In other words: humans small, world big. Humans have many perspectives, some of which are limited by their psychology, others their individual intelligences, and still others by relativity itself, meaning their proximity, angle, and vector toward the subject in question.
But in metal, subject and object are the same. An enlightened person sees orderly categories and symbols; someone who has taken the beast within sees only what must be done and what is real and relevant to someone in that state of mind. There is no peace here, nor utilitarianism.
Unfortunately this also fascinated the crowd, so they came in with their own version and quickly took over through the greater numbers of people who want Hot Topic style edgy music that is essentially the same stuff under the surface, rather than something outside the category bounds of normalcy.
When you let the herd take over, you get a product adjusted to the herd and not those who know what they are doing, hence a race to expensive mediocrity that because it is mediocre, threatens no one and becomes popular for socializing reasons:
American chocolate (I’m talking about the non-fancy stuff) has a lot more sugar and a lot less cocoa than its European counterparts. Some producers also allegedly put their milk through a process called controlled lipolysis which produces butyric acid. What’s that when it’s at home? It’s something that’s found in vomit.
Americans have basically been poisoned into believing that their chocolate tastes nice, I reckon.
No, it is this, you dumb scab voter: Americans have few options because of the Bell Curve. If only ten percent of the audience can tell that the chocolate is garbage, money is saved because something that costs half as much can still be sold to the ninety percent for the same price.
They just write off the ten percent, just like teachers in school write off the most intellectually curious students, companies write off the screwball innovators, politicians ignore the actually literate, and entertainers make capeshit movies for imbeciles even though they make sane people vomit.
In this sprawling species, perhaps only one percent of the population does anything useful and the rest go through the motions. That one percent tend to learn through what Varg called syncretic eclecticism or pattern comparison — think of Platonic forms — between different disciplines:
In her notes, which ended up twice as long as the original article, Lovelace drew on different areas of her education. Lovelace began by describing how to code instructions onto cards with punched holes, like those used for the Jacquard weaving loom, a device patented in 1804 that used punch cards to automate weaving patterns in the fabric.
Having learned embroidery herself, Lovelace was familiar with the repetitive patterns used for handicrafts. Similarly, repetitive steps were needed for mathematical calculations. To avoid duplicating cards for repetitive actions, Lovelace used loops, nested loops, and conditional testing in her program instructions.
The notes included instructions on how to calculate Bernoulli numbers, which Lovelace knew from her training to be important in the study of mathematics. Her program showed that the Analytical Engine was capable of performing original calculations that had not yet been performed manually.
Nature consists not only of repetition of historical cycles but repetition of mathematical arrangements that serve certain purposes. The same symmetry and balance that inform good embroidery also makes for computer programs that, like the ecosystems they emulate, operate by repetition of shape in new form.
A good riff, for example, like a good computer program emulates what it hopes to portray at a structural level versus an aesthetic level. In rock, certain notes convey certain emotions; in metal, the shape of riffs evokes a pattern in reality, and as it develops, tells us of an adventure or poetic moment.
All of this remains inscrutable to the thundering mainstream herd, which just wants to hear about how we are rockin’ out despite the world and our species being in an advanced stage of slow failure:
For King Fowley — the 51-year-old juggernaut frontman of Deceased — death metal isn’t a style of music so much as a metaphysical sensation. “To me, death metal is an eerie vibe, a weird vibe, an aura of dread,” he says. “And that mood is what Deceased goes for. I need to feel that.”
Fowley says he’s still trying to figure out why anyone would want to make a film about him, but he’s certainly aware of his own optimism, especially in relation to how it “balances out” the act of conjuring dark music from dark times.
These days, “it feels like the real hell on earth is right next door, but I want to live my happiest life,” Fowley says. “It’s weird, man. I’m the happiest guy in the world, I’m Santa Claus 12 months a year. But with Deceased, we will never have a happy ending in our music.”
To normies, we are like aliens who descended from a UFO. Our motivations are different, our methods are not constrained by the need for socializing with normies and bugmen, and our goals exist on a longer time-scale than anything outside of Doctor Who and Perelandra.
The interesting thing may be that in human groups, all paths converge on the same thing. Costs go up as more people become involved, and the system converges on lower quality and higher price, just like in communism, a monopoly, or a union.
All costs are passed on to the audience. Taxes, regulations, lawsuits, strikes, and stupidity by the left edge of the bell curve are all socialized and added to the price you pay. In metal, this means time listening to absolute wastes of vinyl that nonetheless get praise on all the “big” metal blogs.
Death Vanish – Hermitic Fire: although this is more capable than most it essentially riffs off the past and adds freaked-out echoing vocals but keeps songs fairly linear with layers like an industrial band, leading to a profound sound of feeling like one is lost at the mall and somehow the one security guard who is both insane and retarded but got hired because he is the son of a major investors has gotten control of the PA system and is professing his love for a trained baboon he met at a glory hole one night in October a year ago shortly before the shock therapy kicked in and almost completed what the lobotomy and Haldol started.
Lord Mortvm – Dead Christ Baptism: bashing Christ is dead not because Christianity is foreign and dualistic but because with the death of majority culture it is about as controversial as saying that you dislike rice-based casseroles, so the bands using this as a crutch come across as wheezing geezers repeated drunkenly the tales of the old days when sheep did not run at the sound of a zipper, but this album seems like a doom metal album that crashed into a grindcore demo on the way to the hair salon, so you get plodding and then riffs based on each other which sort of run down like an amusement park ride when the drunk homeless guy urinates into the transformer.
Magnus Rosén Band – Its Time To Rock The World Again: the guy from Hammerfall finally reaches his inner soul with this hybrid between Motown, progressive metal, and the music they play in the waiting rooms of psychologists so that the psychos who did not take their meds postpone their decompensation until they can stab a nurse aid and get her disability for life, but really the biggest problem here is that the cheese goes nowhere but cycling through old tropes and then dropping in some shredding guitar among the smooth jazz grooves and ancient heavy metal riffs played slightly more offtime to make them seem difficult and obscure, even though really this is just Def Leppard covering Michael Jackson and is just as bad as Hammerfall.
Sever – At Midnight, by Torchlight: the last of the Deathspell Omega influence comes forth in a band that does not write songs so much as craft aesthetic situations with one trudging waltz-like riff and one faster one, then alternates between the two with aesthetic tweaks from rhythm and vocals, producing a lasting atmosphere of the loss of a genre to reinterpretation.
Tristitia – Garden of Darkness: one would find it difficult to hate this musically-literate, intensely artistic band but might also find it difficult to want to listen to this again, since between its high art pretenses, doom metal pace, and insistence on songs where equilibrium of tone is maintained in what are essentially circular structures, this band is about as exciting as comparing different types of masking tape at Home Depot, which is actually surprisingly interesting when you are in the aisle and looking for the ideal point on the price/performance curve for optimal taping pleasure, or even making quasi-religious doom metal.
Unpure – Prophecies Ablaze: remember how long ago you were warned here (Pepperidge Farm remembers no doubt) that black metal had entered the same stage as late hardcore where the music was indistinguishable between bands so they would rely on novelties? Here we have the TRVE KVLT band that sounds like Motley Crue trying to be Venom and throwing in lots of fast pentatonic guitar solos borrowed from the harmony parts on Justin Bieber albums, in songs that are not really songs so much as riff loops that cut off whenever they repeat so much even the band gets bored, complete with lots of Satanic posturing that falls about as flat as Paula Deen doing a margarine commercial.
Thanatomass – Hades: basically fast heavy metal over punk drums, this band drones on with phrases that do not lead to each other but come to a stop in a pitch harmonic or fill, mainly because they have nothing going for them but a catchy rhythm and some texture, with melody given a backseat to Darkthrone-inspired takes on Twisted Sister classics, driving forward through a series of techniques but never coming to a conclusion or development because essentially the goal of this band is the tautology of being some kind of black metal band so everyone at the drive-thru knows you are vicious and gets your fries on time.
Thysia – Islands in Cosmic Darkness: unlike most releases in the review queue (obese people vomiting into Walmart environmentally safe plastic trash cans while sharting thunderously into their sweatpants) this one features songs that hold together and achieve an atmosphere which is consistent with all of its parts, but unfortunately for them these songs do not develop more than your average Italo Disco track, which is to say that you get a verse and a chorus and some “deepening” event like a new riff or extended form of the melody to an earlier riff, but it does not confront, meld with, or expand the meaning of what came before, sort of answers it like Boomers on a party line, every person contributing their view on a topic and then it all trails off into static and bleedover of AM radio traffic through the copper wires strung over Farmer Hedgestead’s croft near the new freeway where the cops bust people just to sell their organs to desperate social welfare recipients just over the border in Canada.