Musicians today have barely a chance in Hell of creating underground metal because they do not understand the cause before the effect. The music was the effect; the cause was a chance in thinking (throughout human history, the sane adapt or change their thinking to match reality; the insane demand that reality adapt to them, making external changes in order to regulate their internal mental state).
How else do we explain what seem like oddities in the imagery and mythos? Death metal awakened a historical almost literary view of humanity to get us out of the narrow world of individualism; it spoke of disease and death to deconstruct consumerism, itself a deconstruction of civilization; it praised Satan not so much to target Christians but to offend everyone who believed that by limiting methods, procedures, and behaviors, we could force people to think the right happy urban haute bourgeoisie thoughts and therefore we could all get along. After all, secularity with its worship of the symbol of equality might be the ultimate fundamentalism.
To understand music, you must first believe in magic. You might have faith that certain collections and orders of notes can be more than the sum of their parts and transport you to an understanding of life such that you appreciate it, see its greater wisdom, and seek to adapt to it instead of being obsessed with manipulating and controlling it like normies are. Most lose this sense of magic at age twenty-eight when music becomes a means-to-an-end, usually for socializing and staving off peer pressure, or maybe to keep bums off the patio at your store so you can keep selling garbage to morons and make enough of a pile to escape the horrors of modernity until you croak.
Standing proud in the never ending glare,
Of the churches burning in the name of Satan…
Like a thorn in the eye of God
The sons of satan
Are fighting in this holy war
It has begun
No one thought that you should survive to see the new millennium
Kill the priest, and burn the jew
The holy trinity will be crushed
By the sword of the Dark Lord… of this world
We are possessed by the moon
We are possessed by evil
We are possessed by Satan
Possessed by Satan
Never ending blasphemy… kill,
Manipulating in the name of the Pentagram
Even tho’ his soul to stray
To fight against the solemn god
Evil prevail’s over good
Evil lurks around every corner
Worldwide revolution has occured
Holy war, execution of sodomy
We are possessed by the moon
We are possessed by evil
We are possessed by Satan
Possessed by satan
And then we rape the nuns with desire — Gorgoroth, “Possessed (By Satan)”
In the present time, people have lost understanding of the cause of underground metal because the people changed. These are no longer the purebloods of the past, but cultureless grey people trying to reinvent culture from a few tokens, and they have no idea of the history before the time of their births. To them, the modern world is the ultimate state and everything always was this way, which you will recognize as the same bias that the elderly have when they pretend that the world has not changed since they were fifteen as they demand to get someone on the phone from Google to explain how to print from Gmail on Android. Music now no longer has significance because we no longer have a culture, but a big bag in which we contain all cultures, so there are no values, aesthetics, understandings, tokens, or communications in common. We know what is taught in school and on television and that is about it. We have nothing else in common. People now listen to music to have something new and distracting while they do stuff on their phones, much like they consume media for its novelty and forget it fourteen days later.
To the generation that produced underground metal, you either obeyed the mandate to make everything “safe” by limiting all parts of the external world that were offensive or referenced the ambiguous, like the literal fact that we never know what happens after death, only conjecture or project faith, or you rejected safety and embraced the unknown, obscure, ambiguous, occult, and eternal. You either walked with God, consumerism, diversity, lo-fat foods, the welfare state, we are all one, etc. or you rejected it all and were thrown in with Satan and Prometheus, a wandering outcast who would probably die poor and alone after a lifetime stocking shelves at Kroger. To fall from Heaven in flames was a badge of honor rather than following symbolism, which whether religion or ideology, sought to manipulate and control the world in order to make people have pleasant internal mental states. It is the palliative care of philosophies.
Blood turning black, the change has begun
Feeling the hatred of all damned in Hell
Flesh starts to burn, twist and deform
Eyes dripping blood realization of death
Transforming of five toes to two
Learn the sacred words of praise, hail Satan
This quest continues but embracing Satan no longer fits the world we live in since it is binary. There was a majority culture in a state of rot since individualism took over, basically a product of democracy, and rebelling against that made sense; now there is no culture, only government and ideology, and we are more like the Polish and Baltic dissidents who opposed the Soviet system and wanted culture back. Assertions of culture — which by definition are mono-ethnic — are the new heresy. If you dodge the question of genetics (race, class, ethnicity, IQ) then you are a collaborator to the system, basically a neo-Communist goodthinker. Preaching Satan just falls into the background noise, unless it is paired with a cultural revival based in ethnicity (not race). Rebelling makes no sense because the Revolutions rule us, but counter-counter-culture is the new heresy, since it rejects the foundation of modernity, namely individualism. If you embrace culture, nature, and history over the “everybody do what they want, society will subsidize it, and we will force everyone to agree so you feel safe” consumerist-Communist hybrid in which we live, you are striking out for new ground. If you fail to do that, you are simply endorsing one flavor of a failing system.
Much as we all love a good Satanic revocation of the anti-culture of the egocentric herd, it is pointless to target a Judeo-Christian myth, since Judeo-Christianity is dead. Christianity is growing but only in the third world; the people of the West have moved on from Christianity. Judaism is dying as outbreeding essentially converts most Jews into atheists and Buddhists, and despite all of our politicians slavishly waving Bibles, they are endorsing a multicultural Christianity which seeks to erase any real culture and replace it with an airy, symbol-based spirituality that mostly just preaches the same egalitarianism as the rest of everything else. Democracy is a dead man walking after it screwed up COVID-19, flooded the first world with “refugees,” let the infrastructure rot, spent itself into debt buying votes, polluted the planet, and created for us a consumerist dystopia where meaning and integrity are the final targets. How do you rebel against a Revolution which reduced you to being solely an economic and ideological agent to whom family, race, culture, ethnicity, and class no longer exist? You assert the order before this mess, and point out that everything that starts with individualism is death. The opposite to individualism is belief in orders greater than the individual like all those things modernity seeks to destroy.
The Center estimates that in 2020, about 64% of Americans, including children, were Christian. People who are religiously unaffiliated, sometimes called religious “nones,” accounted for 30% of the U.S. population. Adherents of all other religions – including Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists – totaled about 6%.1
Depending on whether religious switching continues at recent rates, speeds up or stops entirely, the projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070. Over that same period, “nones” would rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population. — Pew
We are first and foremost realists who aspire to adapt inner state to deal with external (ends-over-means), versus humanists who adjust external to manage inner state (means-over-ends). Humanism is just the herd form of individualism, simultaneously anarchy and communism, a.k.a. “everybody do whatever they want and society will pay for it” (and we will squash dissenters for offending you by refusing to validate your bad choices). The post-Anglo world struggles with this division, but the ancestral culture of the Western Europeans as well as other high-IQ groups tends to embrace it. As democracy and its little mistakes like diversity, entitlements, bureaucracy, and the nanny state fade away, culture is re-asserting itself, and an Old World Order is emerging. The ancient gods may have the last laugh after all.
Consider the moral fervor of the herd: they choose a morality, yes, but only one that keeps the group together, which as they have less in common, becomes an even lower lowest common denominator:
“When decisions are taken democratically, there is always someone else we can blame, and previous studies have shown that we become more selfish when the responsibility for a decision is spread among several people. However, our results do not support the idea that people become less moral when taking such decisions. In fact, quite the opposite,” says Kajsa Hansson.
We can see that in what happened in the record industry. In its hurry to shed the majority, it embraced world music and hip-hop, ending up hitting its peak and then decline as it did so:
Growth in the $12 billion record industry, which for more than a decade has ranged from 12 to 20 percent annually, has slowed to nearly a standstill, and people in the business can’t agree on why. All that is certain is that a malaise is sweeping every facet of music — its production, distribution and consumption.
Record labels still expect to take in at least $11 billion this year, but too many businesses are competing for a piece of a market that not only is barely growing but is also failing to create stars with durable careers, people in the industry say.
”Record companies used to be very good at predicting the tastes of record buyers, but their ears are clouding up a little bit,” said Russ Solomon, the president of Tower Records, which has had flat sales all year.
However, this trend is reversing because while the big labels pursued a mishmash of all the cultures under the umbrella, combining them all into a hybrid that like all committee-designed things pleases no one but falls below the level that raises complaints, smaller labels and independent artists have resurrected record sales:
“It was like the Wild West at times,” said Pelc, who joined state enterprise Gramofonove Zavody as a manager in 1983. He smiled as he remembered steering the privatized company through the unruly 1990s. The decade witnessed the birth of the Czech Republic out of the ruins of former communist Czechoslovakia, but also the near death of vinyl.
As the arrival of CDs all but throttled the older technology, GZ Media’s vinyl presses ground nearly to a halt. By 1994 the company was producing just 350,000 records annually, the vinyl presses running mainly just for punk and metal bands seeking cheap production and tiny batches.
“Now we turn out the same amount in one day,” said CEO Michal Sterba.
Even the compact disc has returned in force:
CD sales in the US for 2021 increased for the first time in almost two decades, according to data published by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Shipments rose from 31.6 million in 2020 to 46.6 million in 2021, and revenue from the format rose from $483.2 million to $584.2 million. The RIAA’s numbers corroborate a similar report from MRC Data published earlier this year.
Although CD sales are still far from their 2000 peak — when almost a billion CD albums were shipped in the US — Axios notes that the increase is another key element of the resurgence in physical music. Vinyl sales have been steadily increasing for over a decade-and-a-half now, and hit 39.7 million units in the US in 2021, bringing in $1 billion in revenue.
Much of this, as it turns out, came from older music because mono-ethnic cultures have clearer thinking because they share a culture in common and therefore are not caught in a perpetual debate over what is acceptable and who needs to be pitied and therefore promoted. Older music has made such big money that they have turned it into a type of sonic hedge fund:
The rationale went like this: by collecting a wide range of songs together in one fund, their royalties — paid to copyright owners when a song is played — could be aggregated into a steady stream of cash flows from which to pay dividends.
Of course, our duty to revolt against the Revolutions gets more serious because now that the money is involved, the powers that be are going to squeeze out anything honestly controversial and replace it with boring deathcore and k-pop — a meld of hip-hop, gospel, pop, and AOR — if they can in order to make perfect consumer cash cow product for rent-seeking the last cash left in a dying society:
It’s all about licensing, the licensing plague. It’s the shift from libraries owning things to corporations licensing and controlling access to materials that are in libraries. Corporations continue to control access to materials that are in the library, which is controlling preservation, and it’s killing us.
Lest you think this is more airy propaganda in a world of it, consider that they will eliminate realistic media if they can:
Always controversial and transgressive, the entire genre, when viewed through the prism of the progressive neoliberalism of the age of globalisation, was deemed guilty of cruelty, misanthropy, misogyny, racism, homophobia and transphobia. The rediscovery of Lovecraft’s racism instigated online petitions and some commentators even asked whether horror novels are “bad for the brain”.
To them, horror movies are an artifact of the last gasp of Anglo-American culture in the 1990s before consumerism, entitlements, diversity, and fundamentalist ate it up:
The decline in the aesthetic and commercial values of the genre only partially explains the somewhat abrupt bursting of the horror bubble in the 1990s. More important to both the rise and fall of the genre’s popularity – and, indeed, premising this popularity – were the fluctuations and mutations in the dominant ideology and ideals in the US during this period.
Fear of communism merged with the economic crises of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which marked the end of the decades of relative postwar prosperity. These crises were accompanied by acute anxieties about social disintegration, the spreading of cults, drug use and sexual permissiveness.
In other words, they want you to stop talking about the decline, and start buying the junk they are producing for low cost in huge volumes for low margins, since when government takes over your economy and the former role of culture, only government creates economic opportunity, and therefore, rent-seeking behavior becomes the norm as those granted these quasi-monopolies squeeze every last dollar they can out of you.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the metal for this week…
MindAheaD – 6119 – Part I: this is just pop with extra steps, the usual mix of worship music and motown with nods to 1980s UK work, but someone grafted on formless rhythm riffs using jazz fusion offtime techniques while keyboards periodically add that Hallmark Channel sap, making this essentially no different from the mishmash of styles with no content that makes K-pop and Justin Timberlake so excruciating.
Pitch Black Mentality – World Final Wake: hard rock verses launch into nu-metal choruses that then give way to a a Queensrÿche-inspired melodic style; while they pimp this as the next At the Gates, in reality it has nothing in common with that band at least before they switched from making death metal to re-doing athletic shoe commercial music in a metalcore style. This band is excruciating and they should just hide in a public toilet until they find something else to do with their time.
Eaten by Sharks – Eradication: metalcore is popular with Reddit Zoomers because it lets you assemble random riffs together and since the song is stranded in a constant and protracted breakdown, stitch them into something like a narrative with lots of little fills, but in the end the parts do not relate to the whole so the listening experience is like the auditory equivalent of watching traffic while waiting for your wife’s boyfriend to call you back about black market Adderall.
Hrafngrímr – Hólmganga: at this point black metal is deader than Kennedy and has been for over 25 years, so the tendency of people to keep ripping off its tropes seems baffling, and with this album of birthday party music that is as authentic as your average “world music” disc sold at Pier One Imports, the flog continues flailing as we get rhythm chanting in random Nordic languages with other instruments coming in periodically for depth, but it cannot hide the fact that this is basically rap music for occult trad poseurs.
Sacrilegia – Sold Under Sin: who knew that Amber Heard would become the most potent metaphor for what happened to underground metal but if you want to know what the sonic representation of digested tacos being deposited on your 800-count flax sheets wuold be, pick up on this hybrid between early speed metal and underground South American proto-black which rushes ahead at full speed to conceal the fact that its riffs have as much connecting them as the average two New Yorkers in a bathhouse with a number for a name, but really its only sin is being boring through repetition that borders on randomness in the midst of all the borrowed 80s tropes.
Universally Estranged – Dimension of Deviant Clusters: for an album to be great, three things must coexist in it — the parts of the songs must relate to another, this must express something, and that something must relate to internal change managing the external world — and this band nails the first one, unlike 99% of the review queue today (although there are plenty of reviews of horrible material here, the worst is left off because the review is always the same: technically music, disorganized, says nothing), with a combination of death metal, technical death metal, and hard rock riffs fit together well but ramble on because they never come to a point of focus. Still better than most, yet not good enough to listen to again.
Humanity is dead
hordes of zombies
victims of tunnel
plagued with deafness
can’t hear the
screams of pain
in early infancy
at an early age
unless humanity learns
from the mistakes
of the past we’re doomed
there can be no end
only death and misery — Terrorizer, “Hordes of Zombies”
Necromutilator – Oath Of Abhorrence: for those who like Mortem and Angelcorpse, this band charges straight ahead and their songs fit together well with riffs related enough to each other to make sense, although the speed metal tendency to end a phrase with a full stop fill of chromatic wandering kills the momentum frequently and songs are limited to a few tempi and are very similar to each other. This creates an inversion where the faster and more extreme it gets, the more it sounds like the rest and the mind wanders.
Necrodeath – “Transformer Treatment”: this band emerges as a radio-friendly melodic death/black band built around verse-chorus structures with a few variations, mostly as a delivery for wickedly whispered vocals similar to those on the second Cadaver album, which makes for a pleasant listening that normal metal fans can appreciate but reduces its longevity as a listen for those who want escape from pop conventions.
Mist of Misery – Severance: sentimental aesthetics mark this band as from the melodeth field but the pacing of songs is closer to that of a doom metal band even when riff texture is fast tremolo, and like Dimmu Borgir on their second album this band use keyboards as the actual lead and counterpoint it with simple guitar riffs that mostly keep the pace at a lower intensity so the keyboards can dominate with a gothic air not unlike Gehenna, definitely on the emotional side but they know how to write songs that hold together and leave an impression of some kind of emotional transfer in response to a real-world stimulus, which places them ahead of almost all metal now.
Kampfar – “Rekviem”: these guys came from the wave after all the good stuff hit when black metal got standardized a lot like hardcore and this song reminds me of the uptempo Discharge clones from the early 90s, basically straight ahead charging through familiar riff forms with melody inserted to make the song hold together, keeping interest but not really going anywhere past where you got with the first loop, even if clearly more “musical” than most of the newer entries.
Sarcator – “The Long Lost”: despite some modern riff technique, this band produces what is essentially epic hard rock in familiar forms, a little bit of Iron Maiden and Cirith Ungol creeping in with mid-paced songs that focus too much on vocals like Slayer Seasons in the Abyss, resulting in a complete listening experience that nonetheless does not deviate from familiar territory or wanting to be part of the genre so much that it improves on the past without being particularly compelling for a repeat listen.
Abyssic – Brought Forth in Iniquity: more of the black, death, and doom metal crossover that uses slow trudging riffs and keyboards to create a Skepticism-like funeral doom atmosphere with songs held together a bit more by a slightly faster pace and riffs structured to contrast one another as a backdrop for the keyboard melodies and nearly whispered molasses-paced vocals, this release offers an immersive listening experience but expresses a sonic wallpaper of sentimental despair and anger without any particular direction beyond that.
Deathsiege – “Dehumanized In Darkness”: the theme of this band is using the war metal method to produce atmosphere such as was produced on early Blasphemy releases but with more technical intensity, and they come close on this track which feels like it ends early without as much development as they will need to carry that mood through development to the point where its internal conflicts lead to a realization of its inner structure and how it relates to the world, which makes it hard to say much about this track except that on the right album it could be an excellent transition.
Dying Fetus – “Compulsion For Cruelty”: deathcore makes us groan because it is the underground metal equivalent of rap, essentially structured around the relatively similar rhythms of the vocals, with guitars filling in by getting as close to randomness as possible then affirming the hypnotic fast dirge rhythm, and this song represents some of the best of deathcore but still is not very useful unless you want to sleep until the break, then drink your beer and yell before the mechanical plodding resumes.
Imprecation – “Reborn in Fire”: slow ambient darkness invades this death metal release that repurposes a good deal of speed metal technique at doom metal pace to give the vocals room to expand, creating a ritual pace to contrast the rising death metal riffs which give it a cavernous sense of doom, but almost in a war metal style aim at a simple collision and then bring it to a conclusion by doubling down on the theme with more energy, although thankfully in a break with millennial metal this band uses a variety of riffs in a Celtic Frost like narrative style, keeping interest high for a repeat listen.
Epoch of Unlight – At War With the Multiverse: this band gets points for being consistent with its origins, mixing melodic heavy metal into charging death/black which could use riffs with more shaping and less coordination with the drums, but nonetheless balances the melodic expansion with a sense of closure and finality, keeping the darkness from evaporating diffractively into tangents designed to keep a mood consistent; the German speed metal styled tight integration of vocal melodies with riffs forces a jaunty interplay which makes this album, like much of speed metal, feel more like beer drinkin’ and foot tappin’ music than a discursive escape into the mysteries of imagination.
Anal Vomit – Demoniac Flagellations: this older album merits a review for holding together more than current metal and at least knowing what it is, namely an attempt to express primal darkness through inversion of safety into terror and risk, opening up space for human conjecture; this results in full-speed grinding metal with shades of Sarcofago, Blasphemy, Merciless, and Necronomicon in its riff stylings, showing that the band know how to write songs mostly by keeping momentum at high speed with relatively slower and more predictable contrasting pre-choruses, but enough variation to keep the pace moving, even if a bit too simplistic in phrase to be a repeat listen.
Bloodbath – Survival of the Sickest: this seems like a fusion between the mid-1980s speed metal that is trendy now with Nunslaughter-style spidery riff death metal, but the excessive focus on vocals takes it into deathcore territory despite occasionally great tremolo riffs, tying songs to the verse chorus and bringing out even more of the speed metal bounce as well as too much linearity in the counterpoint between halves of its riffs, creating a high-energy but low-interest prospect for the experienced listener.
Venom Inc. – “How Many Can Die”: the Venom guys were so scarred by accusations of technical incompetence that they got swallowed up by the technical speed metal hordes, and now have produced something that sounds like Sadus, Voivod, or Watchtower, in that while this is all technically precise and in the right key it gets dominated by a need to hammer out a rhythm repeatedly that is both catchy and musically adept, forgetting the art necessary to make metal interesting over time, not to mention incorporating the tropes of “modern metal” that dull the senses and encourage flight to those Doris Day and John Denver records in the other room.
He said: ‘I remember one night, it was just the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and several other members of the family. The invited guests hadn’t arrived so I said I would mix it up and I did movies on the bagpipes.
‘I would go around the tables and it would be like Top Gun and the Prince of Wales (now King Charles) had asked if I could do AC/DC Thunderstruck. – Daily Fail
Hagetisse – De Verminkte stilte van het zijn: this release exemplifies all that is true of our time, namely that it focuses so much on surface perfection that it has nothing to express except a very generalized sense of resistance that coincidentally dovetails with your consumer urges to buy and consume music, giving you riffs which play with ideas from the history of metal but then fill in direction with connective tissue for a perfect inversion i.e. the most important part of each riff is phoned in and the accoutrements are emphasized, creating a listening sensation of befuddled tedium.
Parahuman – Affliction: people forget how important Pantera was because it tied together alternative rock and the glam metal wing of the speed metal herd that had formed after Metallica forced everyone to upgrade technique, and now these bands have just mixed more advanced alternative rock including the pretense of “progressive” (really: late jazz fusion via Dream Theatre) into their work, ending up with a “snowball” of everything that has succeeded since the Boomers were young, but because it is focused on technique alone it misses the translation of experience into a perception of beauty that makes music normally worth listening to.
30 Immolated; 16 Returned – “The Antechamber of Hell”: hit us more with verbiage about how avantgarde and jazz-influenced progressive this band is, but other than some edgy offtime drumming you get basic grindcore with lots of random lead guitar divergences and no real compositional integrity, resulting in a listening experience like that of every other hipster band where the listener ends up thinking that everything in this track is demonstrative like the works of an actor, not a musician who hopes to channel existence into a liberation of our inner hopes. This band is where metal turns into self-parody and survives purely on people bleat-repeating the bio to show off their latest “deep” listening pursuits. If Tom Wolfe successfuly satirized the modern art that requires theoretical explanation to seem relevant with “The Painted Word,” here we have “The Guitar Chaos Intersectional Theory” and it makes for pointless listening. If people were honest, they would talk about “amplified suck” instead of deep ‘n edgy avantgarde jazz-grind high on the methane of its own digestive emissions.
Reincarnated – Of Boötes Void Death Spell: a qualified sense of rhythm and dark groove pervades this album of old school riffs and atmospheres, but injections of periodic trudge riffs and chaotic leads detract rather than enhance the experience, getting very close to a quality death metal album but falling off with some disorganization and too much use of obvious symmetrical balance in phrasing to anchor its riffs, leading to a sensation of material that fills a structural role without having value in itself. On the whole, a lot of good ideas and a thorough understanding of the morbid mood it aims to create.
Swim or Drown – Torment: if you want a summary of the absolute state of underground-ish music, this hardcore album with Pantera groove shows you exactly the patterns that all of these NYHC-derived bands imitate, complete with rap-like vocals and churning phraseless riffs that ride rigid chord repetition into a groove then restart the cycle to get ready for an emo turnaround after the nü-metal-like choruses. This is basically pure rhythm music that shows what happens when you mix the heritage of hard rock, heavy metal, rap, and punk, and unlike old school bands aims for bounce instead of a straight suspension of reality in formless rage. Some bands go in the “worth listening” pile, but like many others, this goes into the “worth avoiding” stack sort of like scoring crack for a pregnant teenage prostitute in the coomer alley of a major American city.
Usquam – Reborn: none of these nü-black bands aspire to anything like black metal, more like late 90s atmospheric rock with a lot of indie, emo, and Dimmu Borgir stylings mixed in to their Deathspell Omega and Gojira roots, showing how they do not aim for glory but just being another adornment in the empty lives of those waiting for the end of civilization collapse; this is basic rock music styled as black metal, not black metal in its soul or structure, and consequently it becomes just as boring as one might expect given its normie audience, normie musicians, hipster goals, and industry approval for this style because there are thousands of these bands and they can make enough shilling this crap to gormless morons to keep everyone employed and in health insurance so they can afford AZT and Risperdal.
Krankheit – Gargantua: at this point, “atmospheric black metal” seems to mean speed metal with screams and bullshit melodic parts to distract from the fact that you are basically listening to a furniture store jingle spelled out in power chords and slaphappy honky-tonk drumming, carefully mixing all of the popular stuff from the past two decades into one package of generic angry heavy music that will see its highest expression when used as background music in the club scene in some movie about post-millennial people attempting to communicate, fornicate, and figure out a cover story for their failed lives that lets them feel existential emptiness until their next dosage of Wellbutrin and Adventure Time themed THC gummies.
Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition, Chapter III: The Astral Drain: progressive rock could afford to be pretentious because it was musically more advanced than its contemporaries, but when you pair the underground DIY spirit from punk through metal with progressive decoration, you get the notion that music just has to appear progressive to the brain-dead audience and does not actually need any kind of melodic, structured, through-composed, and motif-driven construction but instead can be the usual verse-chorus emo/indie hard rock with the stylings of black metal, hiding its essentially boring character like the product of a middle manager who just wants to afford a sixteen-foot boat so he can go drink in the bay and ignore his harridan of a wife and moronic children for long enough to retire to Costa Rica with a transgender prostitute named Xandra and a mild coke habit.
Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain: how ironic would it be if the most anti-consumerist genre, (crossover) thrash, became adopted by those who turned it into a fungible commodity by reducing it to a series of tropes and techniques? Turn on the tap next to the hot water and you will find an unending flow of this AI-generated music of 1980s cliches made into catchy repetitive music that varies so little between songs and riffs — most of which are one chord and a fill — that you might as well throw the album into a blender and listen to that since it may have more of the ASMR effect you want of being drunk on Lucky Lager while lying on the dirty floor of your friend’s dandruff-infested apartment while taking bong hits and pretending that this is some kind of “having a life” before you give in to gravity, knuckle down, and get that “good job” at Costco where you make sure that every dead salmon in the frozen foods department is pointing the same way because this leads to an 8.32% increase in sales but hey at least you have those memories. Turn it off, this is closer to Madonna than DRI.
In Nothingness – Black Sun Funeral: following in the footsteps of Intestine Baalism, this band attempts to hybridize Dissection, later At the Gates, and early Swedish death metal, coming up with something that sounds like a more aggressive Iron Maiden with almost no variation in dynamics or intensity, which makes this hard to listen to, as do some of the trudgy chromatic fills that become free-standing riffs; the problem with Swedeath of this type is that it rapidly becomes a method and procedure such that the art of songwriting is lost, since these songs seem to be paeans to a style more than revelatory journeys written in a style for maximal specific vocabulary of expression.
Left Cross – “Promo 2022”: it was inevitable that war metal would hybridize with Incantoclone material and produce something that sounds like Blasphemy covering Bolt Thrower, but this band works in that style with its own unique riff sensibility despite these being slower strobing repetitive riffs with less phrasal complexity than the best of the Celtic Frost through Incantation era, which makes for a coherent and engaging listen despite the anomalous bluesy guitar even if this band does not stand out fully sort of like an obese mental patient might fit right into the Roe v. Wade protests or a church bake sale without anyone noticing or at least admitting they noticed.
Verberis – Adumbration of the Veiled Logos: when you meld Conqueror with Deathspell Omega, you get music that cycles between arty fruity airy fairy emo-infused “experimental” black metal and the roaring hair dryer sounds of raging underground chaotic mind music, creating a sensation like hanging out in the mall while bopping outside for a quick bump of meth and fentanyl before coming back in to play video games; the art of the distinct song and expression of an idea specific to it has been lost, replaced by a general experience of “10 metal genres in two minutes” videos as this band cycles through a lot of influences but never gels into a style or substantive expression like a speech given by JFK after the grassy knoll headshot.
Mortify – Fragments at the Edge of Sorrow: these guys listen to the right stuff like early Gorguts, Cadaver, and Immolation but translate it into a schizoid creation which sometimes produces mood and actual music but must always choke this with rhythmic interruptions and tuneless erratic lead guitar, showing a lack of plan beneath in any form other than the aesthetic, which means that songs are both typical South American/German charging ahead with a toe-tapping rhythm and not much else and whiteboard exercises in being musically iconoclastic, ironic, contrarian, and other exercises which by trying to alter the surface too much become obsessed and consumed by it, sort of like Christians who hate Satan and homosexuality getting discovered making semen sacrifices to Ba’al in the bathrooms of the Minneapolis airport.
Black Magic SS – Panzer Witch: if you took 60s psychedelic rock and mated it to a 1980s punk and heavy metal style uptempo format with whispered distorted vocals, you would end up with something that has a surface appeal but underneath is solid blues rock with more keyboards, making something that can be enjoyed while out drinking Natural Light with the boys before a rousing evening of writing “war” under the letters on every STOP sign with a mixture of menstrual blood and whale semen, but this probably does not belong on a metal page and lives on mostly for its provocative imagery and name.
Weeping Birth – The Crushed Harmony: this graceless release shows us the return of carnival metal, with the difference here that the band know how to keep a consistent rhythm and pace so that the song seems to fit together, but these riffs not only do not converse with each other but are in conflict that goes nowhere, showing us a vision of a world of pluralistic conflict which is accurate as metaphor but miserable as music, since you end up with songs that are deliberately random to the degree that their only commonality is the driving rhythm, ending up with a new kind of distracting randomness like watching the television while you defecate worms after a night of drinking sambuca in a dubious southern European hotel while a prostitute goes through your wallet and Iskander missiles target the local Tesco.
Neraines – Fenrir Prowling: trying too hard to be avantgarde or complex, since these are not goals in themselves but methods that result from what is needed to obtain a certain effect, results in tearing the center out of your music because content takes a back seat to methods, a classic means-over-ends or B->A logical error scenario, which happens here with abundant surface riffing that relates to a theme which has been broadened in order to include all the disparate phrases resulting in a ringtone masquerading as a metal album with the help of some guitar practice, about as appealing as eating bugs so neurotic mutation case Klaus Schwab can design a humanitarian Utopia.
Currently, we exist in an age of corporate control, where the city-state
is secondary to its income stream, the multinational corporation (as
appear in the Napalm Death songs and the books of Thomas Pynchon). As
it stands now, we have surrendered all of our will to a material
morality where the basest elements determine whether or not something is
challenging and new or “safe” and conservative. While we vote with our
hearts, our minds are deluded and occupied with “entertainment” like
television which presupposes life is not worth living and must be
replaced with unreal fantasy. Our political and social systems crumble
but our technology advances and the warlords get more powerful; we as
individuals may see great successes, but as a species, we’re pitting
ourselves against ourselves as resources become more scarce.