Sadistic Record Reviews, 9-26-08

26 09 08 - 18:15

We got slowed up by the hurricane a bit, because when the power's gone and the water's gone, there's not much to do except kick back and play acoustic grindcore. But now that we're back online, here are this week's Sadistic Record Reviews, reaming the latest batch.



Metallica - Death Magnetic

We live in a world of hype. We were told this CD would be a return to Metallica's older form, something I oppose (why re-do the past? people want authenticity, and ripping yourself off is not it). What you get instead is a highly advanced form of pander. They sort of do the older style, by dropping to a muffled E5 chord, but that occurs between verses and choruses of their new alternative-metal-grunge-country style. There are surface attempts at extremity (squealy, shreddy leads from kirk, a few pick-ups and breakdowns) but they know their audience, and anticipate that they're thinking slowly, so it has the pace of a heavy metal record with a few brutal downstrums. The problem with such transparency in a CD it's that it's obvious to the pand that they're pandering, and so they make half-hearted attempts which mock good talent, notably in writing melodies that harmonize well between leads and rhythm guitar. If you find yourself enjoying this album, check over your shoulder, because surely an anal rapist is what's making you smile. As with all things Metallica since 1987, the melodies are well-written but the songs are confused and go basically nowhere, so you end up with a catchy chorus in your head and then a muddle as you try to figure out where that great clarity from their first album went. Avoid this turd of a CD. You will hear it for two weeks before you figure out what a farce it is, and then out of shame, will continue to pretend to like it, just like you did with those neo-homoerotic Pantera CDs a few years back.



Lustmord - [OTHER]

It takes one person in a room full of people to stand up and ask the question that shows the emperor's new clothes, unravels the ball of yarn, sends the walls tumbling down, etc. In this case, I have to ask: does anyone listen to noise music except as backdrop? Some noise, like K.K. Null or Maeror Tri, has enough musicality to suffice, but other bands, like Lustmord, Lull and Final, who most resemble each other, are droning passages to nowhere built on the dubious concept of "layers" whereby different sounds are stopped and started at different times, creating a perception of ongoing revelation without really going anywhere. I mean, Final for example had some great material, if you were alone in a silent place listening for a very linear progression from rough sound to the origins of melody, but even that was somewhat one-dimensional. Lull was fun to put on shuffle and put fans up to guessing which track was which, a task they always failed. Lustmord is another neat experiment that will be bought mostly for its novelty value. Atmospheric noise, some wind noise, a few hilarious crashes and thuds, then a guitar gently strumming the same three notes, all zooming and panning through a sonic space that seems designed more to distract us long enough to complete than to bring revelations. I know they work hard on this, and try to take it seriously, and I can see that in the end product, but I think that like postmodern literature, it's time to admit that noise as music had a few good basic concepts, but is an evolutionary dead end.



Auspicium - A Basilica of Black Stars

The introduction to this piece of later black metalwork takes after the Graveland "The Celtic Winter" introduction to the Gates of the Kingdom of Darkness, and then the demo launches onward into fast-strummed but slow-paced black metal with vocals cast upward like cats crying to an empty sky. Think of I Shalt Become and Xasthur in a feeding frenzy on the corpse of Burzum and you have the general idea, and this demo is comparable in quality to the better stuff Xasthur has put out. However, like most bands emulating the Burzum style, there is a lot of riding the drone and the harmony, and not enough dynamic change that makes enough oddball sense to inject meaning into each piece, meaning that we've got the metal wallpaper effect that reduces it to a soundtrack for any given thirty seconds of a mournful part of a forgotten Norwegian TV show. "Saltborne" launches this CD with a variation on the riff from Unleashed "Shadows in the Deep," but slow and fibrously ethereal in the way that distorted guitar can be made by those who want atmosphere. This song barely changes riff cluster (Unleashed-drone riff, dissonant counterpoint, and reversal) and does some "Det Som Engang Var" styled layering, with Ancient-esque Tangerine Dream-inspired lead guitars layered over it, toward the end as it is about to fade out, making it quite linear. "The Crane" has Swans-y drunk on a rainy day chanted vocals, but goes similarly nowhere. Something indicates a Black Funeral influence to this track. The final song doesn't massively deviate from the formulae enumerated above. Better than average / not enough that others will radically notice / we know you know how to write black metal, but what do you have to say with it?



Behexen - My Soul for His Glory

This sounds like Sodom around the time of M-16 put their brains around writing a black metal album, combining the uptempo Burzum moments with the plodding rhythms of Darkthrone, yet keeping the surging riffs and pumping syncopation of later Sodom. The first song does its take on the Burzum rhythm from "Det Som Engang Var," complete with the dissonant harmony toward the second half of the song, but it goes nowhere we the adventurous want to go. Instead, it returns its energy to a loop from which it cannot escape. Where this album really shines is in the riff judo department, where it keeps up high energy like Angelcorpse and Merciless in a cage match. They should really stick to this and leave the black metalisms to others, because here, they don't particularly complement the music. This band should just go retro-speed/death and call it a day. Like most things in life that are good but not good enough to search out, this album's about a B and will amuse the upper quadrile of human intelligences for up to a week. These songs start with riffs that would make anyone want to fight but then drop into Abyssic Hate styled three-note Burzum-ish dirges, and then trail off. They are competent at fast three-chord rippers, and derivative with everything else. I would like to like this. But it would be hard to see it as having any permanence, even if it is a competent continuance of technique.



Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer

Throw Hatebreed, Pantera and Motley Crue into a think tank and have them come up with an album to motivate street snipers to resistance, and it would sound roughly like the Cancer Bats. It's catchy, and chorusy, but just where you think it might get stupid some structural variation bursts forth with enough power to surprise you. One of its better innovations is what I'm calling the chorus majora, which is where a verse/chorus structure expands into another type of chorus, one that restates all its principles in a harmony of disharmony. Vocals sound like metalcore stalwarts Meshuggah or The Haunted, but there's more punk in the rhythms and riff structures, which makes it less of a battering ram preventing you from even thinking about the music playing. It probably will not fit a metal audience since riffs are too close to known archetypes, but might please fans of Superjoint Ritual or later Cathedral.



Helms Alee - Night Terror

As the new gold rush for the music industry, superseding hip-hop which was our last hope to escape the stale hipster repetition of freaky new same old from rock music, post-rock is a new age and yet still undefined enough that people can have fun playing with it. Unlike too many other bands to count, Helms Alee have not forgotten that "to play" music means "to play," and they have created here a fun hybrid of Maudlin of the Well, King Crimson and older Filter, something that rocks and then breaks into pure chaos, through which it finds a non-linear path to resume its linear rockin' along. Insouciant female vocals, buttermilk in a warm tinged with a yet unrealized sourness of outlook, waft through the music like dancers dodging night porters in speakeasies. Chaotic, deconstructed, it tries to leave us behind, but then comes back like a boomerang, needing to be heard even in its total secession from reality. This CD has an obsession with strategically placed silences and elision-as-transition which sometimes reminds me of 90s aggro-pop bands like Joydrop or Medicine. I liked this, even if it isn't my style of regular listening, and if only postmodern prog rockers will really "get it" enough to get the logo tattooed on their flesh. It's probably the best of this batch, living up to its starkly artistic cover.



Elite - We Own the Mountains

Very reminiscent of later Darkthrone, around the Total Death era, or perhaps some of the middle-period Gorgoroth and Ancient material, this CD attempts fast black metal with an explicitly melodic but not rockish outlook, and achieves that fairly well for a solid but not exceptional album. Variations on riff patterns from many years of underground metal appear here, used to great effect alongside droning bass, in a high-speed attack like a black metal version of Centurian or a melodic version of Angelcorpse. It is basic; it is not profound; it is compellingly rhythmic; it is better than most doing this style. What is solid here is the tendency to write in the old school style of verse/chorus interrupted by interludes and transitions, and its ability to maintain speed and energy throughout without becoming redundant anger like some of the past bands attempting this aesthetic. Like many early Swedish melodic bands, Elite develop a simple theme early in the song and repeat it with layers until the song ends, which gives the song a certainty that other styles lack, but also locks this CD in one dimensionality.



A Storm of Light - And We Wept the Black Ocean Within

So if later Corrosion of Conformity and Skepticism were traveling to a gig together, and got thrown into a Vulcan mind-meld, this might be what it would sound like. Droning but artsy, it is Pelican as informed by underground theatrical metal from Therion through Agalloch, more indie than metal but just when you think it is going to veer into R.E.M. territory, it surges back with a metallic power in the conflict between its riffs. Like Skepticism, A Storm of Light know how to set a scene with keyboards and guitars intermeshing as a fuzz which finds harmony only in its most disassembled soundwaves, but like more modern bands they are able to bring their audience to a core handful of rhythms and riff shapes that are repeated despite interruptions. Like Neuraxis, this is a break from the worst of the *-core (metalcore, deathcore, mathcore) in that it aims for continuity -- even if glaringly simplistic -- where others try to keep the chaos in motion as a way of, like riot bullhorns shouting slogans, suspending our ability to think and judge while we nod our heads. This CD will appeal to post-rockers and indie metallers most but shows a better understanding of metal than most of these Only A Sentence Is Enough type band name bands.



Diocletian - Decimator

It's a good season for Thergothon- and Skepticism-inspired doom, probably spurred on by Sunn-goatse who took those and Winter as inspiration, and Diocletian mixes that into death/black of a NYDM-inspired variety. This trudges. It drones. It holds chords and then returns to its original impetus. Then it explodes into racing high-hat blasting mayhem with undertones of melody. It does this again and again, with jazz-like drum commentary in the background. It adds death metal passages and hints of black metal in the chording of its faster complements. There is some promise in the tendency to use bass to provide countertheme, and in its ability to manipulate tempo, but the whole enchilada is not yet ready. Its sense of tempo is reminiscent of Incantation, and its songwriting, of Emperor, but it frequently falls into a rapidly devolving mess. Clearly thought has gone into this work, for which I'm grateful, but it needs more development and more clarity for it to have a personality, a character, as makes classic albums distinctive.



sBach - sBach

Some will call this post-rock, I'll call it postmodern rock or postmodern hard pop. Using sounds collaged from daily life, including video games and telephones and machine noise, sBach make quirky and playful pop that has a metal/hardcore sensibility in how it handles dynamic change. Warning: many of these sounds are irritating, annoying, even, and like a good postmodern novel, it's a chore to get through, but every bite is packed with inventiveness and a sense of ludic absurdity that enjoys mocking the seriousness that shakes its fist at it from the sidelines of rock'n'roll pretense.



US Christmas - eat the low dogs

What is post-rock? It's rapidly becoming rock, and in the meantime, there are bands trying to stake a place in the hybridsphere. If you ask this reviewer, post-rock is ambient rock music, with the drums set back and the standard pop format put on hold; it's like what emo should have been but got sidetracked into buttery self-pity instead. US Christmas takes a straightforward approach informed by indie-alternative in the 1990s style, mixing at atmospheric Pelican-styled drone with Burzumish lush harmonization and Iggy Pop-styled naked whipper vocals. There is not enough dynamic change for metalheads, but a good use of harmony that calls to mind Agalloch or Kyuss, and Motorheadish rhythms that just about anyone can enjoy. Like all post-rock, it blends in a good deal of acoustic and instrumental breakdowns, which is one way this rises above the hordes of post-rock that are arguably just upgraded *-core bands with more drone and emo vocals. Sometimes this reminds me of the second and third Danzig albums, attempting to write an epic song that anyone can toe-tap to, but there's a good deal of atmospheric lead guitar noodling that reminds me of the second Carbonized album or the later tracks from the Repo Man soundtrack. This CD is as much alternative as post-rock, but in doing so, it presents one way for post-rock to get out of the *-core ghetto which keeps it from developing any harmonic structure of interest.



Withered - Folie Circulaire

This band takes the current state of underground metal, gives it proficient riffing and the kind of musical knowledge one gets from studying songwriting, and just about gets away with a very subtle indie influence underneath the kind of underground classic study that can only come from those who love it. Reminiscent of a slower, more musical Fallen Christ, this band throws in the riffs and stops short of making a true salad of them, preferring to return to melodic chord progressions for choruses and to round out their music with instrumental flourish. It holds together well, but does not in the contrast between steps reveal enough in negative space to convey an idea in the underground style, making me think these guys should take the Acid Bath or Superjoint Ritual path and write rock songs with metal riffs, as that lends itself more to their harmonic style. Although it would be more repetitive and less densely riff'd, the album would end up being a triumph because this style of riff is still terrifying to that audience. In the meantime, this technical death/black metal is enjoyable, highly competent, and while nothing new unpainful to listen to unlike the recent raft of new stuff from the "true underground" camp.
 

Jesu - Why Are We Not Perfect

18 08 08 - 18:48

Jesu - Why Are We Not Perfect
Hydra Head, 2008

Justin Broadrick demonstrated through his early works a desire for that moment of unitivity when the conscious mind and emotions synchronized. Through Godflesh, and later Techno Animal and Final, he showed a passion for bringing colossal structures to bear on moments of quiet contemplation. With Jesu, he resurrects his music outside the ghetto that extremist offerings can be, and melds into post-rock disparate influences from industrial, shoegaze, noisepop, and so forth. Jesu, protean as all Broadrick projects are, in turn twisted from more radiantly noisy to its current softer state. On "Why Are We Not Perfect" Jesu moves the slider closest to shoegaze and pop, losing much of the more complicated structuring and sound that made earlier Jesu challenging. This gambit may prove risky: many in the post-rock fanclub would like to leave behind what so rigidly defines rock and brings the moths to its one-size-fits-all dose, and "Why Are Not Perfect" drapes its nearly ecclesiastical encompassing layered sound over the exuberant shuffle beats of rock/pop. Song structures are not linear but follow a verse chorus pattern culminating in a serenity like the moment after a surf crashes on the beach when water lapses into absorbent, silent sand. Less jagged distortion and cleaner, plaintive emo vocals guide each song and sounds elide smoothly from abrasive feedback to silken, reminiscent of shoegaze classics like Medicine and My Bloody Valentine. While this EP satisfies as a taste, and an exploration, this reviewer hopes Broadrick abandons the past -- and doesn't relapse into his influences -- so he can keep exploring the seemingly erratic, intense jigsaw song structures he served up on the self-titled Jesu debut.

 

Austin, TX

18 08 08 - 09:55

When I write about metal, I often distinguish works -- which I consider to, at their best, be art -- by how honest they are. It's fairly easy to tell, although most people find that unnerving. An honest work tries to communicate with you; a dishonest work tries to game you by convincing you it's something it's not, so that you do x, or y or z that benefits those who made it. It's a virus, in other words.

Dishonest works are generally the product of The Hipster, which is any person who tries to be hip for the sake of their own ego, instead of having a useful function of any kind. Hipsters are parasites on the social scene in that they want attention for being unexceptional, and since they can't succeed at life by being exceptional -- including making good music, being people we'd like to know, etc -- they become dramatic and draw attention to themselves with increasingly radical styles of dress and behavior. If you ever find someone doing something humiliating, stupid, freakish, or pointless while slyly watching you out of the corner of their eye, you've found the same psychology.

It's not much different from parasitic religions that convince people to fail at life so they can succeed at the board game called "What God Likes." I'm not saying life is about success, or material success, just that if you want to have a good life, you need to have some function and challenge yourself to do it well. Hipsters don't do that. They want the reward without the work.

We have a hipster core here in Texas. It's called Austin. Hipsters are fond of one of many modern illusions, a socialized liberalism -- a well-intentioned emotion channeled into a fashion that pretends to be an ideology, but never achieves its goals, despite making a hash of things on its path -- that like drugs makes us feel better, but doesn't solve any problems, and strengthens rather than weakens its ostensible enemy, the total state. Hipsters are useful because they beat liberalism out of people who are still able to think.

When I went to Austin, I was all about tolerance. I was still clueless as to the problems of the world, mainly because I spent most of my time working.



When I saw the liberal paradise that is Austin, I realized that liberalism is basically parasitism. "If someone has x, and I don't, I deserve it, and I'll force them to share with social guilt"; after seeing that, and the complete social havoc -- where good people were not only ignored but socially persecuted, and vapid whores predominated and suffocated art and culture with their lies -- I left Austin and liberalism behind.

(There may be an honest liberalism. To me, when I was a liberal, it meant not allowing big pointless entities to rule over people in destructive ways. I'm thinking about all the people who got dicked over by their stupid jobs, all the toxic waste dumped into rivers, all the junk products that just ended up in landfills, all the overdeveloped areas where forests were sacrificed, etc. For me, liberalism meant restraining humanity's appetite with common sense. I soon learned that if you oppose power, however, you soon get people who oppose power for power's sake because they're powerless. They have no power in life and no control over their own appetites, so they hate anything that resembles power, but since they're weak, they don't attack directly but through whining. I was a classical liberal, which meant treat people fairly. That philosophy however decays un-gracefully into revenge for the underdog, hatred of excellence, and desire to turn the world into one uniform Safe(tm) place. I realized quickly how this plays into the hands of our leaders. It distracts our best people and sends them off to defend those who have failed at life, and then the activists in turn fail at life, so they spent their time fighting for the right to fail. It's a sick cycle but easily avoidable if you think it through: the problem isn't power, but people in power without a clue, and they're in power because all the failed people want pleasant illusions instead of reality. So if you're an honest liberal, don't take this column as a personal attack, or a political statement. I'm pointing out how liberalism commonly decays into self-importance, hipsterism and other problems, not trying to assault the emotional or psychological impetus behind liberal thinking.)

Austin is the hipster capital of the world, in many ways. I've been to Seattle and to San Francisco, to L.A. (Silver Lake) and to Mizzoula, MT, all of which are hipster-havens. But Austin hipsters have the city locked down. Under the guise of fighting the man, you're supposed to be weird and freaky and do whatever the man doesn't expect. But you go back to work the next day, having learned nothing. It's a good town to work food service until you're 42 and then become a regular, bitter writer on Alternet.org.

Austin suffocates every quality band who tries to set up shop there. Metal bands in particular suffer because, unless you infiltrate the social network and start behaving like a hipster, no one will attend your shows. People are too afraid of being un-hip to go see an unknown, unless that "unknown" is secretly an underground favorite. As a result, the best Austin bands are the ones that have nothing to do with the "seen" (Scene) there.

Emos, hipsters, modern primitives, trend whores, carnies, defiant minorities and lesbians, drug use theorists, mantra-chanting New Agers, feminists, body modification fetishists, coprophages, "witches," faux artists of all variety, embittered defiant hippies, foreskin collectors, and other failures of all sorts cluster in Austin. They have failed at making something of their lives, so they are using cognitive dissonance, and making themselves a Big Deal in social/moral/hip circles.

When I seize power, it will be very unwise for anyone to spend time in Austin. The B-52 carries 27 tons of high explosive and, if unleashed on a city block, literally landscapes it into a moon surface of ceramicized dirt covered in the dust of charred, vaporized plants, animals, and buildings -- this is a consequence of the TNT/HE mix used in modern bombs. The explosions are so loud that people up to a mile away will lose hearing for the next two days. Some of the fireballs approximate a quarter mile in size, and can be seen from nearby cities. A flight of B-52s, properly targetted, can erase a city so thoroughly that from space it resembles a desert, and this is without use of nuclear weapons.

That form of horror, visited upon Austin, will not cost the human race any geniuses. Nor will it diminish its artistic or social potential. Instead, it will increase our potential by removing the false and giving space to something new, like weeding a garden and dropping in seeds for non-parasitic plants. Don't cry for Austin, because that entire town is one giant emo hipster cognitive dissonance passive aggression parasite. Its death in flaming vapor will be a great step forward for taste and beauty.

Metal music, like nature, is not about fashion. It's not about being nice to everyone so they can feel good for being exceptional. It's about results. About making civilizations that make people inhale sharply whenever they see their ruins for the next 10,000 years. About getting art, science, culture, etc. right. About doing things that matter because they're not the same humdrum. Forging new spaces, destroying emptiness, making life interesting and giving us something to live for. Like nature, in metal life is struggle, but struggle for beauty and not the bloated, ugly, self-importance of an ego. Metal is anti-hipster, and anti-Austin.
 

Dismemberment is metal

18 08 08 - 07:48


(click for larger image)


Police on Thursday accused a Brazilian man of killing and dismembering his 17-year-old British girlfriend, taking pictures of her body parts with his cell phone and stuffing her torso in a suitcase.

One photo appeared to have been taken in a bathroom shower stall, showing Burke's severed head placed on the chest of her torso along with a bloody butcher knife.
Man accused of killing, dismembering girlfriend


So she was dating a cocaine fueled maniac, probably oblivious, and he dismembered her and got a good laugh out of it. Life is nature, folks. There are predators everywhere. Watch your step, but don't forget the lulz when you accidentally cut up a corpse and post cell phone pics.
 

al-Qaeda translator releases metal album

12 08 08 - 07:16


Raised and homeschooled through high school by his parents on an isolated farm in Southern California, Adam played Little League baseball and participated in Christian homeschool support groups. As an adolescent he became very involved in the underground Death metal community. In 1993, he formed his own one-man band called Aphasia, releasing a few limited self-releaesed tapes.

This is one such tape, originally titled "DELIRIUM: 7 Hallucinatory Interludes, Op.2" A melange of experimental sounds and ambient passages, fused with occassional guitar interludes and drum machines bringing us into the adolescent mind of this future propagandist. Perhaps the final words of the last track, "Insanity," summarize the character of this esoteric individual when he closes the album with the words: "I'm mad!"


Adam Gadahn - Aphasia Op. 2
 

Averse Sefira: Trees don't pay taxes

04 08 08 - 12:06

One of the more lucid metal interviews:


Click to Play

 

Ludwig van Beethoven

13 06 08 - 04:24


Then, brothers, it came. O bliss, bliss and heaven, oh it was gorgeousness and georgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise, silver-flamed and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again, crunched like candy thunder. It was like a bird of rarest spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a space ship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures. There were veeks and ptitsas laying on the ground screaming for mercy and I was smecking all over my rot and grinding my boot into their tortured litsos and there were naked devotchkas ripped and creeching against walls and I plunging like a shlaga into them. -- from A Clockwork Orange


The spirit of Beethoven is the Faustian: the beautiful emerging from the tormented, warlike and aggressive human soul that wants to make beautiful by imposing itself on life.

It's an impulse balanced by a detailed understanding of both life, and humans. It's as if the human is a computer, intaking life, and returning to life an answer it needs: an enhancement of beauty through exactly placed effort.

Like a partial redesign in each interaction.

Some will attribute this spirit to specific groups, times or ideologies, but the fact remains that it is what motivates all of us who want more out of life. We want more beauty, and to that end, we struggle. We are never satisfied. We do not want comfort, we want greatness.

Metal has this contemplative spirit. Unlike rock music, which focuses on the karmic drama of the individual, it focuses on the whole of life as a large design made by blind watchmakers. It is a spirit of freedom from mental neurosis, a lack of fascination with the karmic, and a focus on order and beauty.

It is a form of worship for life; metal is perhaps the most religious popular music gets. It inherits the spirit of Ludwig van Beethoven and others like him, which is one where stillness of the soul is only found in Faustian rage for order.
 

National Day of Slayer - June 6

05 06 08 - 18:49

June 6 is a perfect day for Hessians across the country to come together and engage in something upon which we can all agree - listening to Slayer! Also, do you really want those evangelical Neo-Cons to have all the fun with their "National Day of Prayer"? Enjoy a "National Day of Slayer" instead:

National Day of Slayer

* Listen to Slayer at full blast in your car.
* Listen to Slayer at full blast in your home.
* Listen to Slayer at full blast at your place of employment.
* Listen to Slayer at full blast in any public place you prefer.

Download Slayer's 1986 Demo with songs from "Reign in Blood"

Then you can take that participation to a problematic level:

* Stage a "Slay-out." Don't go to work. Listen to Slayer.
* Spray paint Slayer logos on churches, synagogues, or cemeteries.
* Play Slayer covers with your own band (since 99% of your riffs are stolen from Slayer anyway).
* Kill the neighbor's dog and blame it on Slayer.<

National Day of Slayer

Sponsored by:

The Hessian Studies Center and
The Dark Legions Archive
 

Dissenter, Eldrig, Cauterizer

05 06 08 - 08:28

Cauterizer - Then the Snow Fell

This band made the classic mistake of trying to make death metal a bouncy, jaunty, ironic hard rock genre at the time it was moving away from all that garbage. Had they tried it eight years later, they would have been Slipknot, but instead, they're mostly forgotten. Sound is like old Therion and old Entombed played by Motley Crue.

Dissenter - Apocalypse of the Damned

We put Behemoth and Hate Eternal into a blender and got a highly competent effort that's painful to listen to. Repetition of themes is aggressive, as is mirroring of similar rhythms throughout each piece, and like all metal made after 1995, there's zero sense of dynamic, just a constant high-volume assault -- a lot like hip-hop. A shame since these musicians are clearly above average in proficiency.

Eldrig - Kali

I wanted to like this. As atmosphere, it's well-done; note choice is good, rhythm is good, dynamics are well done. As art, it's a non-entity because there's almost no change. It's like Hindu-themed apocalyptic wallpaper.

Black Funeral - Vampyr: Throne of the Beast

This is an inverse review: all the Black Funeral albums other than this one are lesser. Vampyr is the peak. Seek Vampyr if you like Black Funeral.
 

Deicide - Till Death Do Us Part

03 06 08 - 12:37



This is a good effort: they got themselves in better physical shape, focused their energies, and made a record better than anything afterSerpents of the Light. In form, it shows both a convergence to a mean (return to heavy metal influences of youth, mixed in a salad shooter and made generic by need of compromise) as well as a yearning for New York death metal like Immolation, whose internal rhythms and melodic rhythmic leads are borrowed here. Much of it sounds like more primitive versions of the rhythms behind Once Upon the Cross and Serpents of the Light, as played by a hybrid between Angelcorpse, Dream Theatre and Immolation. As a result they've thrown in some fairly advanced playing, but it is as an adornment, and not central to any message conveyed, which is the boiled-down version of the past mentioned above. It's a good effort; it may not be good enough to stay on our playlists for long, but it exceeds expectations based on past works and levels a groundwork for future works.
 

Autopsia

03 06 08 - 07:35



Autopsia sent in a link to their demo recordings. They play a style of old school gore death metal in the nexus between Impetigo, Suffocation, Carcass and Malevolent Creation. For more information, contact them at their email.
 

Metal Notebook: Daath, Seventh Angel, Shape of Despair

28 05 08 - 07:09



Daath - Futility

This band appears to be an attempt to integrate industrial beats, Marilyn Manson-style dark hard rock, and black metal vocals and aesthetics. It ends up sounding like a cross between Ministry and Prong with the kind of emphasis on internal rhythm that made middle-period Metallica so much fun to listen to. Vocals emulate the kind of radio propaganda that Rammstein use, but end up sounding like a phone conversation intercepted mid-song. Fans of Girls Under Glass and other techno/metal hybrids (let's be honest about what this is) might appreciate it but the Pantera elements -- gratifyingly symmetric rhythms, rock/jazz lead riffing, uniform complementary melodic slopes for primary riffs -- make this sound like nu-metal to an underground fan.

Seventh Angel - The Torment

Exodus crossed with Morbid Angel: introductory death metal riffing breaks to bouncy, precision-strummed speed metal riffs that exchange leadership of rhythm between a few patterns which ultimate regress to the initial offering. Song breakdowns and overall concept of relationship between tempi is reminiscent of Suffocation, albeit slowed down, but the majority of the songcraft here is rendered in the form of jaunty, ebullient muffled-strum offbeat romps that made Exodus fun back in 1986 or so. Melodically a reasonable comparison would be Iron Maiden, as songs develop melodically from pentatonic to patterns approximating minor scales with majestic leaps that preserve harmonic suspense in bass-centric development, but its relentless speed metal styling forces this music through a compositional channel which simplifies it. In addition, the attribute of the best metal bands, namely the ability to maintain a narrative which finds beauty in the confluence of seemingly disparate parts, is in light supply, rendering this inaccessible to all but diehard 1980s metal fans.

Shape of Despair - Shape of

Imagine Burzum hybridized with epic doom like Skepticism or Sunn)))HIV), with rhythms like feet treading the path to the place of execution overlaid with gentle keyboard sequences over a Norse-style longboat-rowing beat. Probably this music is best for time in prison, or when sick, or locked in the cockpit of a propeller plane crossing oceans, because while it is quite pretty it develops slowly and its atmosphere conveys mostly repetition. Much like Satyricon, these composers are excellent at starting promising-sounding melodies yet have no idea where to take them, so they repeat and then squeak out with an improvised exit strategy as best they can. The result is somewhat "obvious" in that little mystery hides in its direction or the resolution to its patterns. Songwriting ability is high, but strategy is correspondingly low. It might be perfect for a soundtrack to a film about prospecting in the sands of the Sahara for water (on foot) but as a musical experience it is less than compelling.
 

Nihilism

12 05 08 - 14:08


Nihilism is the removal of false logic based on the human perspective. Like heavy metal, it's an attempt to see the heavy in life -- the invisible threads of experience, need and wisdom that unite those who are awake.

Nihilism should be seen as a form of idealism, a rejection of the phenomenological and existential, as well as the dualistic heaven/earth scenario that creates an absolutist good/evil. Nihilism is looking at what connects the many parts of life, at once, instead of limiting ourselves to a human or machine perspective.

Nihilism is Romanticism.

Nihilism is derived from a Liberal impulse, "do what is right not what is profitable," but uses the methods that have been true in every age. It is more conservationism than conservatism. It is anti-liberal, and demands that both capitalism and socialism be tempered by an abstract goal.

Nihilism is nothing, like the order of the universe itself. You cannot touch it, you cannot own it, you cannot make it your own. Sometimes, you can channel it, and you will find your thoughts have greater clarity and your actions are not only more effective but achieve results of greater beauty.

And that, in the end, is nihilism: using primal science to escape linearity arising from our entrenchment in the human time-denying (but not timeless) perspective, and to unite the threads of interconnected reality into an organic order.


What is nihilism?
 

Black metal... cupcakes

12 05 08 - 14:06


In a perfect world everything would be as stark and void of color as these cupcakes. They are baneful in their absolute disdain for your tastelessness, and are true misanthropes as far as baked goods go.




Le Petit Gateau du Les Legions Noire-Traditional cupcakes inspired by untraditional black metal
 

Sanity and Metal

24 04 08 - 19:04

There's two ways to look at sanity.

If I'm starting a band, and I'm a realist, I see a bleak future. Thanks to technology, life always gets more expensive. You have tools to save time, but they cost more, so you either earn cash or go into the ghetto and work food service for the rest of your life. So if you're starting a band, it needs to be a career. Make songs many people want to hear. Make money from those songs. Then you can be a musician your whole life.

On the other hand, there's another kind of sanity. If you're going to be a musician, you recognize there's two levels to that: being able to play music, and being able to create -- write -- music that is evocative and powerful. Of course, the masses want distraction from living in ghettoes, so you're not going to demean yourself by making that. Instead, you'll make great art, and feed your soul if not your body. You might even find a way to sell enough of it to live on the fringes of the ghetto.

Both perspectives are valid. However, the first leads to a society chasing its own tail in decline, and the second leads toward building something greater which will continue to get better, and may transcend its meanspiritedness enough to no longer be a ghetto/rich whore division. Metal is fundamentally geared toward the latter because metal is about taking something that is offensive to most people (loud noise, heavy dark topics, bassy violence) and making it into something beautiful, even if most people are blind to that beauty because they fear it. The metal way is nto following the sheep.



Now do you see why there's such a binary division between true bands and sell outs?
 

Quick Reviews: Hod and Fetid Zombie

16 04 08 - 19:35



Hod - Cry and Piss Yourself

A fusion of Mayhem and Satyricon with impulse-driven American turbo death metal like Angelcorpse, Hod brings zero surprises but keeps the power of momentum balanced with an ambiguous lightly dissonant harmony. It suspends belief with single-string riffs which turn opposite views of a note cluster into an ambience, then launches into Gorgoroth-style additive chord progressions that end in obscure suggestions of direction which never materialize. The object of this band appears to be the contrast between mood and adrenaline, and if it does so without any particular deviation from the past, it also does so well. Its strength is this balance, and its weakness is a tendency to fall into variations of patterns that Destruction and Kreator made cliche long ago, but there is potential here for development if the band is able to flesh out its repertoire of riffs without losing the single-mindedness of its songs. Sometimes this band is like listening to someone's metal collection; for example, the song "Demoralizer" could have come from a Master session outtake. But what's with the 89-IQ-point, Pantera-inspired title?



Fetid Zombie - Pleasures of the Scalpel

Once upon a time, a lonely genre called death metal thrived, and people liked it because its message "only death is real" cut away the illusion of a world obsessed with social status, self-serving morality and trends. Then, some trendy fratboys put together a band called Cannibal Corpse and made the first real parody of death metal, except that they seemed serious, and people bought it in droves. Soon many imitations burst fully formed out of the garage studios of the world. Fifteen years later, Fetid Zombie skewers that tendency with a parody that takes the most simplistic aspects of death metal and blows them gloriously out of proportion. Guitars ride the downbeat of a chant synchronized to basic drums, hammering out the most linear riff patterns possible, on absurd topics of carefree infection, happy mutilation and joie de mort. It's unlistenable but delivers a message the death metal community needed to heed long ago.
 

Independent Heavy Metal Reviews

10 04 08 - 21:29



For some time, ANUS maintained a section of reviews for stuff that had not achieved classic status but was interesting to know about nonetheless. See our indepdent heavy metal reviews for reviews of P - The Larch Returns, Alchemy - Alchemy, Lubricant - Nookleptia, Bethzaida - Nine Worlds, Depression - Chronische Depression, Phlegethon - Fresco Lungs, Avathar - Where Light and Shadows Collide, Order From Chaos - Dawn Bringer, Vordven - Woodland Passage, Warhorse - Warhorse, Revenge - Victory. Intolerance. Mastery, Aukrehg - Lands of War, Revenge - Triumph.Genocide.Antichrist, Vinterland - Welcome My Last Chapter, Regredior - Forgotten Tears, Sombrous - Transcending the Light, Emit/Vrolok Split, Nightbringer - Rex Ex Ordine Throni, Polluted Inheritance - Ecocide, The Tarantists - demo 2004, Beyond Agony - Last of a Dying Breed, Fireaxe - Food for the Gods, Gnostic - Splinters of Change, Therion - A'arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming, Alethian - Dying Vine, Harkonin - Sermons of Anguish, Dug Pinnick - Emotional Animal, Aphotic/Dusk Split, Emit - A Sword of Death for the Prince.
 

09 04 08 - 20:36

Apparently, the fragile but adept partnership that was Celtic Frost has dissolved with the departure of lead conceptualizer Tom G. Warrior. The other members will carry on as they were. From the official website, "Celtic Frost singer and guitarist Tom Gabriel Fischer has left Celtic Frost due to the irresolvable, severe erosion of the personal basis so urgently required to collaborate within a band so unique, volatile, and ambitious." From all of metal: we are not glad to hear this but if it's what all members must do to keep creating, do it, and keep creating ambitious metal. Ignore whores, hipsters, ingrates and Jesuits.
 

Resurrection - Ritual Slaughter

09 04 08 - 20:23


So we're lazy around here, but it doesn't mean the metal has stopped flowing. We fed our metal-chain a high colonic and found ourselves listening to the latest from Florida's Resurrection. In short, it's good -- but there's too much Exodus/Pantera/Exhorder style bounce riffing. We're hoping they follow it up with something even more ambitious because the moving songwriting is still there. Check out the review;

Resurrection - Ritual Slaughter
 

Black Metal and MP3s

02 04 08 - 17:42




With MP3s, and newly fragmented civilization, it's harder to sell music. See how black metal will react to the new music market.