Metalheads should never forget how once upon a time metal was music for outsiders:
A black baseball-style cap bearing the emblem of the hard-rock group AC/DC found at the scene of Dayle Okazaki’s murder had given him that impression. That music group was known for having produced some lyrics with cultist overtones.
Reads the Los Angeles Times, “Authorities focused on AC/DC’s 1979 Highway to Hell album and its six-minute ‘Night Prowler’ cut, which says, in part, ‘What’s the noise outside your window? What’s the shadow on the blind? As you lay there naked like a body in a tomb, suspended animation as I slip into your room.'”
This both allowed us to gain a vision of this society that could not be had by a vested member, because vested means you have skin in the game and need the system to keep grinding on toward heat-death and therefore are unwilling to really rock the boat although you will be edgy because that is a marketable image, and go too far, where people decided that they were their own gods and therefore they would make music to fool tools into buying garbage, or go on a serial killing spreed.
There is only one god and it is reality. Any other gods fit within that framework if they are not Judeo-Christian hocus-pocus or Buddhist shuffling of the cards to repackage egotistical atheism as a mystical experience. Maybe the Hindus and Pagans are less stuffed with excrement than the rest, but the brutal fact, scientific and otherwise, is that we do not know what lies beyond this world, which makes the atheists just as insane as the Osteen “prosperity gospel” Baptists who want your twenty-four bucks for a video now or Jesus will hate you forever.
Serial killers hit America at a time when it was like metal in 1993. Things seemed to be peaking, since our technology was finally paying off, but we had lost direction although we kept inertia, like ballistic missiles heading in to their targets, heedless of anything but gravity. Diversity had begun its poison, the corporations rose to prominence on government dollars voted for by people who wanted anti-poverty and anti-racism programs, mass culture went into moronic hip-hop and romantic comedies where burger equalitards found love despite having no redeeming qualities, as if the world was run by a god who loved only pity for the stupid and money for the vicious.
What do you do, almost thirty years past that point, where just about everything in metal is more competent than ever before, but just as empty as a 1980s corporate job, post-9/11 politician bleat-repeating “diversity is our strength,” a BLM race riot, or a 1990s commercial where stupid people wearing acid-washed clothes find profundity in a new type of breakfast cereal? Humanity peaked, and now it is dying; everything death metal warned about has come to pass.
Only one meaningful form of rebellion exists and that is planning to rebuild Western Civilization with Western people and no middle eastern religions or Asiatic tyrannies, or even the Irish method of letting corporations run everything by buying votes with liquor and potatoes. Humanity deserves to live, and to win, but that does not mean all of us. We need to leave behind the narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, neurotics, retards, idiots, perverts, and incompetents because they are human waste and must be purged.
Every human group builds up such human waste. Whether through naturally-occurring mutations, rampant child abuse, long-dormant genetic combinations, or some kind of mystical moral choice made (badly) by individuals, you get people who are dedicated to feeling warm fuzzies about themselves and others who are united in denying reality so that we can have selfish priggish individualism enforced by the collective via equality instead of striving for something meaningful.
This same group, by the way, took over metal. Place a teaspoon of cocoa powder in a bowl. Now, add four liters of milk. Heat and stir. Do you taste something? Yes, the chocolate is that powerful. However, you do not taste enough to ever choose this over regular milk. That is what happened to metal; our musicians and audience are scattered, since on top of the underground, people dumped a whole bunch of imitation bands and hybrids with existing soy/cuck genres in order to take advantage of this new audience of Reddit and Hot Topic idiots.
We might view human society as a genetic conflict between the capable and those who depend on civilization for survival. The capable create things, then the dependents rush in and parasitize, mutate, denature, and then consume them. The first thing the dependents do is to prohibit criticism of the incapable, as noted by noted voice Glenn Danzig:
And so we’ve got a lot of great reviews and we’ve got a lot of reviews by people who hate it. But if you look at Citizen Kane, that was panned; it’s now a classic. It was panned as overindulgent, terrible, unwatchable. Everyone has an opinion, and they’re entitled to their opinion.
People don’t understand, because everything’s so cancel-culture, woke bullshit nowadays, but you could never have the punk explosion nowadays, because of cancel culture and woke bullshit. You could never have it. It would never have happened. We’re lucky it happened when it did, because it’ll never happen again. You won’t have any of those kinds of bands ever again. Everyone’s so uptight and P.C., it’s just like, “OK, whatever.”
Once the incapable take over, actual innovation dies and is replaced by imitating the past but with the usual contrarianism and ironism applied so that everything becomes quirky, deliberately unique, odd, and purposeless. It may be that in this sterile and energyless environment nature introduces chaos agents motivated by misery, such as serial killers, to shake up the sheep by slaughtering a few dozen of them and eating their livers.
Human groups suffer from a type of entropy brought on by repetition. Something succeeds, so we stick to it, but that leaves individuals without a method of distinguishing themselves, so they revolt against logic, common sense, history, and culture in order to stand out by being different. Over time this produces a situation where people do anything but address the obvious and necessary, a.k.a. the elephant in the room, and you get a fungible uniform crowd of people refusing to do the same thing in any way but ending up as variations of known archetypes, essentially reducing complexity while increasing intricacy.
We are in this place in metal now, and we need an Ed Kemper, Richard Ramirez, Gary Ridgway, Arthur Little, Dennis Rader, or Ted Bundy to come through and start harvesting the souls of the mediocre bands, labels, and writers. Only when the scent of maceration fills the air and the roasting of human meat fills the night with crackling noises can the genre start to rebirth itself, and while this seems paradoxical, things must experience great death in order to be reborn. Metal needs a winter of eugenic murder.
As written in the presence of those who cull, we are Metaprometheans who seek to bring enlightenment to humanity in the form of a purging talon that recognizes we will never be equal and must instead form ranks by hierarchy in order to exclude the useless and parasitic:
We who take this path are metaprometheans, both those who steal fire from the gods and bring it to man, and also those who steal from man his presumption of being godlike and return that to its rightful home within the gods. We are pious and irreverent.
The original Promethean myth, echoed in both Judeo-Christian scripture and the French Revolution narrative, tells us of a fundamental ironism and rationalization by which we declare that reality is not as by every sane measure it appears to be, but merely a distraction from another purer world.
This fundamental rationalism consists of the idea that we, as humans, can invert causality by finding what we wish to believe is true and then selectively choosing aspects of reality to “prove” it, instead of looking at the whole of the facts.
Turn the cross upside down, then place it next to one that is right-side up, and throw both into the fire. We do not need “good” and “evil,” but instead a natural and logical push toward the sane, balanced, thoughtful, aspirational, aggressive, and beautiful. What we call “evil” is an adjective, not a noun, that describes the effects of stupidity upon our dreams, but to nature, these terms have no meaning. There is only adaptation and function, or a lesser degree of that, a divide between less-stupid and more-stupid.
A pursuit of sanity leaves us with the realization that mediocre metal is useless. We crave only the experience of full intensity, whether in music, art, literature, or science, that shows us the majesties and amazements of this world without becoming enmired in the human drama over personal status and emotions. Our goal is to transcend all this, which like all leaps requires finding a new goal, such as understanding the beauty of darkness and power, death and misery, as that which limits the excess of life which chokes human efforts.
From the news of the day, Epic bought Bandcamp as the music industry seeks a new model to replace CD sales:
Since our founding in 2008, we’ve been motivated by the pursuit of our mission, which is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans. That simple idea has worked well, with payments to artists and labels closing in on $1 billion USD.
The problem now is that the audience does not reward good music. This needs to be rectified with tastemakers who are more geared toward quality than novelty, unlike the “influencers” (hipsters and thots) who draw your attention to every new thing that they are paid to showcase, but never focus on the eternal, which is how one sees quality. Think in terms of infinite time and you can see the valuable parts of life, but if you refuse to, you end up enmired in worthless ever-changing trends.
Speaking of that, let us look at the festival of feces rising from the review queue…
Undead – Existential Horror: this band takes the approach of early Carnage and Nihilist but mixes in just a little bit of middle period Carcass and perhaps a smidgen of Nunslaughter, using bounding punk-style versus that race into rippling tremolo verse riffs ascending but then plough back into the middle; the songs stick together and express a singular idea with each, although these ideas relate to the the theme of the band in seeing the horror within, and despite sticking to similar tempi and rhythms stand out enough to make this album a repeat listener.
Nxxses – Dark Prison: so this is “trap metal” which seems to be more trap — low-grade industrial based around the vocals like rap, with synthesized power chords serving as a kind of rhythm instrument while keyboard sounds and samples do fills that anchor layers — than metal, and is fairly enjoyable as background music but inspires nothing that the soundtrack to a show about a disabled detective who drives a dump truck to solve crimes by using a proctograph to trap suspects by their gut bacteria profile would not inspire, sort of like a faintly dark background that feels like being in an office wrestling with a trivial but detailed problem while the printer blinks PC LOAD LETTER.
Utkena – Nex Fornix: this release should go into a museum as an example of not to make music, since it combines together every cliché of the Blazebirth Hall and depressive shitty (sorry… “suicidal”) black metal era, then slides gracelessly into the emo/indie era, and as a result makes music which works in a whole lot of happy beneath the demonstratively contrarian and ragey edgy tantrumist drone with blast beats and lots of distracting activity, but this is the black metal equivalent of hip hop meaning no big plan just lots of ranting until you get to the chorus, then it goes nowhere but you should keep repeating the words like Soviet propaganda set to a Coca-Cola jingle.
Misery Path – Withered Grace: this act strikes me as more defensible than most of what graces these pages because it attempts to be a hobby metal project that aims to be simply enjoyed, and in doing so while it aims low, it expresses a sense of contentment and the songs fit together like someone designed these to enjoy jamming on them, but at the end of the night, this is not all that exciting, although I will take this ten thousand times sooner than the average insincere angsty influencer cachet-begging try-hard cult emo drone black metal project.
Spellblood – Demo: this would have been C grade local death metal back in the era and we would have all gone to the shows because after four blunts and sixteen beers time becomes chopped into discrete enough units that the lack of relationship between different riffs does not matter and you find yourself focusing almost entirely on the inertial rhythm and texture of sound, at which point something like this becomes palatable but not before and that is a lot of money in beer and weed to spend just to enjoy something that is rapidly fading into a past of irrelevance and most likely FMP/NWN style ranting while leafing through collectible Blasphemy merchandise.
Ethereal Shroud – Trisagion: it took a special kind of stupid to think that the way forward involved stepping back on composition, standardizing technique, and importing chord progressions from emo and worship music, but that is what this band and thousands of others have done in order to cater to the soft, sweaty audience rising from the basement to buy crap on Spotify that goes well with eating tendies, sucking down Adderall and Pepsi, while listening to podcasts and exploring new indie games on SteamOS.
Møl – Jord: if you play indie and emo chord progressions fast over a blastbeat and under a heavily reverbed take on what Mayhem did on its first album, you can claim to be an innovative form of black metal when really you are the same crap that all the punk bands pumped out from the late 1980s onward, and your songs are about nothing other than being an angsty sweat-pig of worldwide liberal democratic market socialism who wants a few years of token rebellion before getting Ritalin, Zoloft, and a corporate job to pay for all those therapist sessions and Funko Pops you keep in the basement. This is awful, like retarded awful music for retarded awful dishonest and soulless anal whore woodchipper bait people.
Necrotizer – Archaic Ruin: when black metal lost direction, bands stopped writing melodies and began making the equivalent of “reaction pieces” to black metal itself, adopting technique and then ad hoc modifying it so that the song was not entirely predictable, which created songs about nothing which despite great creativity expressed nothing more than a desire for the inevitable participation award in a genre that got washed out by the entrance of a larger audience who wanted the same pap as on top 40 radio but with a necro and dark aesthetic so that they could claim to be edgy for a few years before giving up and becoming the call center employees that Illuminati Judeo-Christian globalism needs.
Posthuman Abomination – Mankind Recall: standard strobing post-Suffocation blasting percussive death metal but with less of the Pantera-influenced “slam” and more of the pure chopped up churning and pounding, resulting in a listen that is not offensive but also is completely unmemorable, since there are about eight billion bands doing this style with about the same level of expression and musical enjoyment, which makes this sort of like your favorite doorknob in the basement of a jail, useful only to hold on to during anal rape.
Analepsy – Quiescence: deep album name, check, classic death metal name, check, and slightly-groove oriented percussive death metal in the Suffocation meets Immolation style complete with squeals, check; this is better than most, but still checks in as a B-grade local band, despite occasional use of melody and bass harmony to augment their riffs, since the riffs are not evocative nor do they evolve over song structures, making this one a high grade participation award but still, a participation award.
Non Est Deus – Impious: late stage black metal has a specific sound that alternates between grandeur and minor key pop music that sounds a lot like indie rock without the apologetic nerdliness, and tends to focus on a series of melodic structures borrowed from bands like Gorgoroth, but without the one thing that made black metal great, namely the evolving atmosphere that found strength in darkness and beauty in melancholy, leaving you with this Disneyland dinner theater of a caricature of a once-great genre
Malignant – Reign of Decrepitude: solid death metal that touches on tropes of the past with its own variations, has small amounts of song development but tightly integrated and mostly distinctive songs, but works in a little bit of the later percussive death metal influence to have perhaps a bit much bounce, Malignant does a credible job but like most of contemporary death metal, will probably not stay with you for more than a few weeks, sort of like American Chinese food made with turkey: in an hour you are starving.
Cognitive – Deformity: we need a word for a genre that while based in percussive blasting death metal actually consists of a core of emo wrapped in a matrix of riffs designed to distract, sort of like a carnival freakshow where the main melody repeats after an interruption for some random stuff to accompany what the clown is doing and OMFG is that an elephant, with lots of wheedly guitars and husky men barfing on microphones after climbing a flight of stairs and nearly dying.
Devil Master – Ecstasies of Never-Ending Night: cross Discharge with The Clash and you get the basics of this band which wraps itself in black metal like draping a doily over a murdered partially-cannibalized kidnapped child makes the carcass into a pleasant living room decoration, but the band goes back to the verse-chorus pop framework and throws in a little guitar-based variation on the theme, with zero evolution because this is designed for morons made stupider by garbage compressor brick weed smoked by the half pound.
Fright – Fright: as a genre dies, the mashup becomes popular where bands attempt to combine lots of random influences in order to claim they have the new absolute truth of musical coolness, but in the end, you simply compile the weaknesses of these genres like deleterious mutations in your average public school student from a divorce home fed nothing but pizza cubes and Sam’s Club generic soda, mainly because there still is no point to this except to make three-minute tracks that qualify as “songs” if you are not paying attention.
Sidus Atrum – Spiral of Life: did Putin invade the Ukraine to save us from this band? It fits within the late stage black metal format: post-rock verses, downtempo speed metal choruses, lots of spacy stuff to tie it together, and then a Game of Thrones inspired triumphal return after which everything repeats again at which point we consider the guilt that emo and depressive suicidal black metal share in ruining this genre and consider suicide just to finally hear something pure like the rush of blood from our wounds.
Kauan – Lumikuuro: when you enter the hair stylist, you notice a scent of jasmine and lemon grass as they lead you to a soft chair and bring you a cup of herbal tea, then you hear the Muzak-replacement they have going, which is music designed not to jar you or upset you because it repeats a few basic themes in different patterns without ever having any inner conflict or turmoil, even when it gets a bit loud to signal strong emotion, sort of like an emo band crossed with a drone band pretending to be metal.
Downcross – Hexapoda Triumph: black metal got stupid in the same way that late hardcore did, since the template was known and all anyone had to do was make a version of that and dress it up, so you got bands with cool intros and forgettable paint-by-numbers music, which is the case here but you have Darkthrone and Pantera riffs mixed with shoegaze and emo instead of pure late hardcore, but the same principle applies: this is a waste of your time, your energy, and your life.
Sidious – Blackest Insurrection: the new pseudo-genre of “heavy black metal” means exactly what you think, namely those old 1980s and 1970s riffs recycled into songs that like nu-black expand gently for atmosphere and go nowhere but punctuate this commute to oblivion with bouncy Motley Crue or Pantera riffs breaking up the My Bloody Valentine, Fugazi, and Foo Fighters derived nonsense, leading to circular songs that produce a general feeling which then mutates back into itself after a distraction, going nowhere faster than democracy.
Scimitar – Shadows of Man: this quasi-progressive band comes up with some soundtrack melodies and creative lead rhythm riffing that preserves tone but relies too much on the chanted vocals and syncopated offbeat rhythms to the change in phrase on the choruses, making it sound like a really bright version of Exhorder that crossed with Supuration and went to college and got nerdly, weirdly reminscent of the Descendents despite having power metal overtones and the Disney sing-song of “pirate metal” (Reddit rock) worked in, making a very listenable guitar track with irrelevant vocals and a tendency to ruin itself with too much cleverness and primitive, tribal bounce.
Regler – Regel #8 (metal): according to the band bio this project seeks to explore “musical reductionism: taking the bare elements of what constitutes a genre and decompartmentalising in what initially seems to be a pretty esoteric whole”; they mean more deconstruction and reassembly around an ambient framework, which while quirky is quite listenable if you forget expectations of metal and treat it like a noisy version of Aphex Twin. Three tracks span heavy metal, speed metal, and black metal, misinterpreting each in a creative way that allows it to become noisy background sound.
NKVD – Totalitarian Industrial Oppression: this album has so much presence it is painful to proclaim it as anything less than top notch but these songs are arguably incomplete, creating a pervasive mood of darkness with industrial percussion, metal riffs, and mostly sampled dictator vocals or period music from the WW2 and Cold War era, but then rarely taking this into more than an extended tour, showing its roots and developing a lingering sensation from the mood, but never growing that through conflict into a different place, therefore crushing the listenability over time for this otherwise highly creative work.
Demiricous – Chaotic Lethal: if you wanted someone to impose a slight bit of dark atmosphere on late 1980s speed metal from the Exodus and Destruction tradition with bits of slam metal and death metal influencing the voicing of the riffs, you might enjoy this band, but the songs achieve nothing except a strong affirmation of theme which is in the worst speed metal tradition based around vocal rhythmic hook over bouncy drumming and chanting choruses, perfect for special education study hall while you wait for the PCP to wear off.
Sacrifix – The Limit of Thrash: although these are supposed to be sadistic reviews, sometimes we find something with some appeal, like this charismatic speed metal in the early 1990s style of Slayer, Exodus, and Nuclear Assault that hammers out simple songs which drop into a type of anti-groove and then riff against it while stunting with song structure to provide and finally release some tension in an armada of drums and muted power chords, producing a listenable band if you like speed metal which I do not.
In Aphelion – Moribund: speed metal release with black metal vocals and post-metal consonant drone riffs that manage sentiment to offset the pounding verses, this band shows us where metal would have gone in 1987 had Metallica decided to pair up with Stryper and make inspirational worship music for angry bedroom armchair critics, and makes sure to include every heavy metal cliché known to humankind in one short release that is as stimulating as the US tax code read underwater by traumatic brain injury victims.
Mantar – The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze: playing sludge at grunge tempi and working in a lot of indie rock and metal flourishes, this band make boring music with a catchy beat so that you do not notice the suck in the background until you are halfway through the album and figure what the heck keep it around and maybe it will get better, but at some point you realize its soul is angry pop music for people who will never act on their anger and that it is lowering your testosterone and IQ just by being on your hard drive.
For the Storms – The Grieving Path: why use many words to write a review when the essence is “slow metalcore with pop rock interludes for self-pity” and nothing more needs be said because everything on here you have heard before done better without the pretense and emo-style minor key chord progressions that go nowhere except into a loop of wailing at the sky because for those who like this it fails like everything in their lives and they do not understand because they are soaked in self-pity and fentanyl-adderall speedballs sucked off the bald pate of a catboy wearing a Slava Ukraina tshirt.
The True None – Interdimensional War Poetry: some people like boring music and they will like this hybrid of garage rock, grunge, and stoner doom that picks a trudging pace and wears it into the ground so that the chanted chorus can work its hook on you even though it leads nowhere and the song circles around itself without ever discovering itself or evolving, making this sonic wallpaper of the least inspiring kind, perfect for waiting rooms at funeral homes and proctologists.
Angelcide – Hunting Astral Prey: someone thought a fusion between Dimmu Borgir and Grand Belial’s Key might make a good addition to the metal world and for the most part they are correct since these songs rip through heavy metal patterns, generally verse/chorus with a couple Slayer-style introductions before riff change, then plunging into a melodic bridge for lots of bluesy soloing, without going far awry but they also fail to be anything like black metal or underground metal, which makes them seem sort of hollow at the center even though there are some quality riffs on here.
My Favourite Nemesis – Dark Room: these guys clearly studied, worked hard in school, and sweated the details at their jobs; this band is nearly perfect metalcore, driven by vocals but with enough atmosphere thanks to guitars shadowing it and percussion that is not based on interruption so much as continuity, giving this band the sense of someone driving through a city of ranting lunatics where all is doomed instead of some meaty guy eating a cheeseburger while beating a crackhead to death with a toilet plunger while behind him a chorus of prostitutes scream WEF slogans at the empty sky.
Aztlan – Revolucion: the band clearly put a lot of thought into adapting tribal® style drums and chants to heavy metal, and ended up with music driven by drums and repetitive vocals over which heavy metal riffs and leads serve not as riff but as placeholder, keeping time like drums would in rock while the tribal drums function more the way vocals would in pop music, making a songtrack for a Disney ride that is not unmusical or unpleasant but not particularly interesting either unless like rap fans you memorize the words.
Mitochondrion – Antinumerology: this early attempt to frame war metal in the context of rushing death metal like Incantation or Infester works out to be a rather two-note affair, since you get the dominant theme moving lots of air, then sound type of contrast/counterpoint theme which tends to be fragments of scalar melody slowed down until miserable emptiness is reached, at which point the war machine can speed back up to Gatling gun drums and roaring flamethrower guitars while vocals rant like a field hospital medic who huffed all the ether and wolfed down all of the Pervitin before sneaking out the back door to dismember his girlfriend and hide her organs in burn pits, but once you have heard forty seconds of this you have heard the essence of this mini-EP.
Boötes Void – C.O.L.D.: utterly symmetrical and paired to sing-song rhythms this band makes lullabyes for the kids who ignored the warning labels and drank the transmission cleaning fluid resulting in the erasure and dissolution of two-thirds of their brains, so this band kindly designed music to rock yourself to sleep in juvie to based loosely on black metal, emo, and the jingles from commercials for diapers and enemas, making music that bores anyone sane to sleep but might be good for long stays in a van down by the river.
Morbid Cruelty – Holodomor: like many South American releases, this album mixes up speed metal with raw thrash/speed like early Sodom and Necronomicon, making toe-tapping and foot-stomping music that migrates internally just enough in each song to retain interest, but requires that you like this kind of straightforward, rather bouncy music where the riff takes a backdoor to the shared rhythm between vocals and drums, even though I get sleepy like a stoner who bought a four pound pack of Twizzlers at Costco and ate it all while watching MST3K on a stolen lobby television.
Morbitory – Into the Morbitory: this band had a brainstorm, namely doing Destruction like Exodus or Pantera, and they end up with whispery death metal vocals over bouncy groove speed metal riffs in songs that fit together well with no fat on them but do not develop much either, except of course in the vocal track, which gives you the feel that like a rap album this disc serves to showcase vocals and have the riffs draw attention away so the vocals can return in power, which does not seem very metal and detracts from what could have been a strong album.
Abnormality – Fabrication of the Enemy: if you have no musical direction, get political or get religious; this is why most black metal since 1994 has overemphasized Satanism and grindcore faded out in a blur of soundalike bands that were sure capitalism was the problem with humanity, but here takes the form of a death/grind/emo crossover that on the plus side knows how to work a basic rhythm and then contrast it with layers of percussive chromatic noodling, but on the minus side still cannot make songs that both hang together and keep a theme.
Nostradamus – Vanitas Vanitatum et Omnia Vanitas: exactly what you expect from later death metal in the fast style instead of the percussive one, although it gets in lots of Cannibal Corpse style blasts, where someone stuck in keyboards at crucial points as if trying to recreate black metal despite the thudding and pounding of chromatic riffs which exist solely for rhythm, this album goes nowhere because it balances the random with the predictable and makes both of them more repetitive and also, more incoherent.
Hellmouth – Oblivion: people call this crossover because it has some metal aspects but it sounds more like late hardcore with the wimp stripped out and the structure stripped down, which works out well although it still does the NYHC standoff-on-the-basketball-court vocals that sound like drunk government employees insulting each other, showing just how much hardcore was still stuck in rock and relied on vocals, although here the songs stand out well for themselves and remind me of a faster Crowbar with more groove.