Upon initially hearing “Dead” on Autopsy’s Mental Funeral. Many would imagine that the second half consists of the same idea played on two different octaves before being harmonized together. While the call and response nature of this section may allude to that, the truth is surprisingly more complex as Chris Reifert and co decide to explore a much trickier idea of contrasting two related ideas played in opposition before reconciling them. Such notions are abound in rock music where the voice will alternate with the guitars during the verse before uniting with the chorus but in Metal such attempts have been met with general laughter. The more technical Hardcore bands would then introduce the poisonous and confused idea of then contrasting two completely unrelated ideas. Here Autopsy show that despite the simple nature of the melodies, that they are truly masters of the genre.
Let us momentarily forget the ridiculous circus act that surrounds the legacy of Mayhem at this time and focus on what earned the band all the praise they deserve. “Life Eternal” provides a particularly interesting example composition because it consists of a collaboration between multiple musicians during the long creative process that led to the release of the album. Featuring the final lyrics Dead ever wrote as a parting gift and some incredible ideas from Varg Vikernes and a large number of ideas from so many other musicians, it encapsulates the original vision that the Norwegian Black metal originally possessed in its purest form.
On the Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch, the young programmer protagonist, under the instructions of an Aldous Huxley inspired game developer, has the option of picking up a record by Tangerine Dream – Phaedra. As the young programmer and the viewer struggle with paradox in order to finish his game, we find a chance to do a casual DMU reflection on the parallels between metal and game programming, madness and the collapse of western civilization by substituting learning for entertainment.
Guttural vocals are the only true vocal innovation in metal as other singing styles are derived from other genres. The growed vocal technique is a combination of multiple frequencies and is harmonically too rich to be treated in the same way as more tonal styles. Since they are different to all that came before them they must be analyzed differently. And as metal continues to be penetrated by the mainstream it is important to understand what should be expected from a vocalist and what each one brings to the table since as humans we are inclined to judge vocals first.
In the spirit of understanding the wide variety that the technique has to offer, take a look at some of the more interesting and/or well known vocalists that death metal has given us throughout the years: (more…)
Former Morbid bassist Dr. Schitz was interviewed by metal webzine Bardo Methodology. Dr. Schitz, a working psychologist in Sweden, tells what drove his bandmate Dead from Mayhem, Dead’s Cotard’s Delusion, and why H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos along with the related Simon Necronomicon from the 1970s (used for lyrical inspiration by Morbid Angel) was so influential to non-English speaking metal lyrics and themes. Check it out.
Tomas Nyqvist, the founder of legendary Swedish label No Fashion Records and the Putrefaction Magazine zine, was interviewed by Bardo Methodology. Tomas talks about his zine and label, the careers of Morbid, Mayhem, Merciless, Dissection, and Katatonia, and how the infamous Stockholm record store House of Kicks screwed them all over. A book compilation of Putrefaction Magazine is scheduled for 2017 too.
Since ancient times man has looked into both himself and nature around him as a portal into dimensions our species’ abilities are not adequately or readily prepared to perceive let alone understand. This is why and the sciences developed their theory and instruments which became increasingly specialized and compartmentalized, to the point that the ulterior workings of, for instance, chemistry and physics are not even truly understood by any single person but that have been recorded and detailed so that theories can be devised to model them. This is both a weapon for more precise understanding and a blindfold that prevents us from seeing the big picture. The ancient occult sciences attempted something contrary to this, which was to grasp at the phenomenon as a whole, not by measuring bits here and there, isolating them and attempting to harness them for mundane tasks, but rather seeing how everything interacted and describing it through metaphor and accepting that knowledge concerning reality cannot be taught or communicated: the path can only be hinted at but it is for each person to take. (more…)