Triptykon featuring The Metropole Orkest – Requiem (Live At Roadburn 2019) (2020)

This album will make waves because it is going to divide audiences based on who will give it a chance and who will categorically ignore it; this, like trolling, is the pure provocation that forms a necessary part of Art as opposed to Entertainment. The album possesses a fatal flaw, but makes up for it with some of the more interesting experiments within the notion of doom — dark, melancholic, sentimental, but not self-pitying — sounds, going beyond metal and rock in composition.

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Nerlich – Defabricated Process

On Defabricated Process, the only album by this now resurrected Finnish death metal band, Nerlich exhibits very competent compositional skill, utterly obliterating the chronic masturbators who picked up a guitar and think they can play death metal, by putting their egos at bay to serve the piece, much like good musicians should do.

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Bring Back The Apocalyptic Raids

Hellhammer is the ultimate symbol of what black metal should be about: a free exploration of dark phrasal music at the hands of a twisted mind.  Typically it was not only the chromatic movements between sections which defined the music of Hellhammer but the linking between them, whose effect was great because individual sections were in fact proper tonal areas.  It was their sensible juxtaposition, which gave the music its unique flavor.  Furthermore, the maniac howling of Tom G. Warrior added the final touches of a music that was to set the example for an enactment that resembled an entrancing ritual more than it did a simple, mundane hedonism and biker metal, which had been the rule until that point.

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Victory Over Peace

There are those who would make us think that peace is essential for life. They demand we must reconcile all manner of disagreements and simply live happily together. In reality, what happens in a real compromise (if indeed it is a compromise) is that every one involved gets a bit of what he bargained for. It is not unlike Celtic Frost, a.k.a. the failed post-Hellhammer experiment that tried going mainstream a step at a time. By the time the band released Into the Pandemonium it was clear that by trying to bring the monster of underground black/death metal into the light they only degenerated it into a joke that no one, except masochists, want to ever hear again. The reader may want to attribute the downfall of Celtic Frost to a host of other causes, but the decision was in fact simple: give in to niceties and benefits through a compromise, or keep on fighting, towards a transcendental victory.
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Demos and a Forsaken Future

“Dude, their demos were so much better” is one of the most obnoxious cliches of underground metal.  Usually a sign of virtue signaling used to mask one’s insecurities about their knowledge or taste, many lost souls of a nostalgia-obsessed age will use this one as a pale attempt to one up their brethren.  However in many cases within metal’s sonic sphere, bands that were truly fantastic on their early demos left much to be desired and ultimately left listeners unfulfilled.  Whether it be a record company’s influence, a change in heart or band members, or a touch of genius quickly fumbled away, may bands throughout the history of metal have never quite been able to match the quality of their demo recordings.

With death metal built on an entire sub culture of tape trading, demos were more than a proverbial foot-in-the-door to a potential record deal.  For musicians of the genre’s early days, the demo was the equivalent to having your record in the store- it was being shipped all around the world to fans desperate for something they couldn’t find in shops and to musicians hungry for new ideas.  Furthermore, a band’s demo was untainted by the direction and input of record labels who, in those days, quite often suppressed what was deemed “too weird” or “too extreme” as death metal was often determined by the suits of those days.  Tape trading death metal demos was an underground of its own, and your band’s demo tape wasn’t just a pathway to commercialization or musical success- but a often the start of new friendships in a rapidly globalizing world.  Given all of these unique factors, it’s no surprise death metal was full of bands who could never quite capture the magic of their demos.

To offer a complete list would be a dishonor and disservice to the legions of quality works that fall under this umbrella.  Therefore in today’s editorial, I will briefly offer a handful of my personal favorite death metal demos from bands that could never quite capture the magic.  Though I pay little mind to what happens in our comment sections, this will mark a special occurrence where I’d be delighted to know what DMU’s readers would have on this list.

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Tom Warrior Sheds Light on BMG’s Celtic Frost Remasters

Tom G. Warrior gave an interview to Zero Tolerance magazine where he shed light on why Celtic Frost and most other death and black metal bands do not own the rights to their own music, his problems with Noise Records, what was changed for the 2017 reissues that BMG recently put out, and why he eventually pulled his liner notes and endorsement.

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