Hells Headbangers is one of those labels that cranks out the hits faster than I can write about them. And while I’m usually opposed to these types of roundup style reviews, my recent Oodles of Brutals series (HERE and HERE) has taught me that it can actually be pretty fun to write them and other people seem to dig it, which is always a nice perk. Not only that, but let’s be honest, not every metal album, no matter how great it is, warrants a full-on 400 to 700 word review. So without further ado, I present my thoughts on a ton of recent releases from the goddamn mighty HHR. If you’re not familiar with this ridiculously awesome and quality consistent label, consider this a way to get your feet wet. If you’re a longtime fan, you’ve probably snapped all of these up already, so just consider this “bonus material.” Onward and downward…
Deiphago’s Filipino Antichrist was one of the most punishing, abrasive metal albums I’ve ever heard. Not only were the songs designed for maximum destruction, but the production scheme whipped the music into an ear-bleeding, ungodly racket that had more in common with harsh noise; think Venereology-era Merzbow and pre-Bermuda Drain Prurient trying to play blackened death metal and you’ve got a pretty good picture of the OTT aural rape that album was capable of inflicting. But while there is a lot to be said for such deafening ultra-violence, it also rendered Filipino Antichrist a bit of a challenging listen; you knew there were songs lurking in the noise, but that noise sometimes made them difficult to discern. For follow-up album Satan Alpha Omega, Deiphago have sharpened their sound considerably. While some might be under the impression that this development would only serve to somehow soften Deiphago’s sensory-overloading assault, the truth is that Satan Alpha Omega blows Filipino Antichrist out of the goddamn water in just about every way imaginable.
When it comes to willfully over-the-top metal mayhem, South America knows how to get down. Ever since bands like Sarcofago, Vulcano and Sextrash emerged from the darkest, dirtiest depths of the continent in the 1980s, it has developed a devastating regional sound that takes the gnarliest parts of black, death and thrash metal and combines them with punk rock recklessness to create something truly distinctive. Indeed, South American metal bands are continually among the most dedicated and ferocious I’ve encountered, and Bolivia’s Satanic Bloodspraying are proving to be yet another standout entry in the region’s vicious tradition with their debut full length, At the Mercy of Satan.
The death of rock ‘n’ roll has been greatly exaggerated. In the mainstream sure, rock ‘n’ roll is as cold and lifeless as Kurt Cobain’s corpse (yeah, yeah, I know he was cremated, whatthefuckever), repeatedly shot in the face by the malformed and talentless post-grunge spawn of crumbling major labels. But in the underground, it’s a different story. Rock music is alive and well in seemingly endless permutations, from stoner to goth to death n’ roll, as raw and dangerous as ever.
I’m pretty sure I first heard Motörhead via Headbanger’s Ball, around the time of the March or Die and Bastards albums. I distinctly remember the video for “Hellraiser” from March or Die making quite an impression on me; Lemmy Kilmister had to be pretty badass to be playing cards with Pinhead. I already loved horror movies when I started getting into heavy metal in the early nineties, so making a connection between my two obsessions made perfect sense, even if Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth didn’t exactly turn out to be cinematic gold. Also, being already familiar with Ozzy Osbourne’s version of “Hellraiser,” I thought Lemmy must be doubly badass if The Prince of F’n Darkness is stealing his tunes. The Bastards album spawned “Burner,” which is a great song and had a pretty cool accompanying clip in spite of it being a glorified performance video, as well as ”Born to Raise Hell,” which appeared on the soundtrack to Airheads, a horrifically dumb movie (which I absolutely love) about a metal band holding a radio station hostage.
Acid Witch is a band that appeals to me on so many levels that it’s virtually impossible not to like them. On sophomore album Stoned, the Michigan monster squad’s use of horror soundtrack synths, down-tuned doom riffage, battery acid gargling vocals and Halloween decorations gone hallucinogenic artwork is irresistible, as if someone combined all of my obsessions to create one killer recording. It’s also the perfect antidote to a metal scene that’s become a little too serious for my liking of late. I mean, how many po’ faced transcendental post-black fruit-bot-core bands do we really need?
It’s no secret by now that I’m a fan of things that are unapologetically over-the-top. I can’t think of a modern metal band that embodies this more spectacularly than Florida’s Black Witchery. Everything about the trio, from their Christ-beheading, angel-raping album art to their death-shrouded, graveyard-skulking band photos, to the unrelenting, monochromatic racket that is their music, positively screams OTT. What is it that makes this so appealing? I’ve always liked bands that put a lot of thought into all aspects of their presentation, bands that are sonically, lyrically and visually cohesive, an approach which in turn typically leads to bands being labeled OTT. Black Witchery takes this concept to its illogical conclusion (see also Portal and Gorgoroth for other prime examples). Music this crude, filthy and evil simply wouldn’t have the same effect if it came in a discreet brown wrapper and was being played by dudes in jeans and t-shirts. Indeed, the awful beauty of Black Witchery is the cruel totality of their assault, blasphemy as sensory overload.
From the get-go, Black Witchery’s intent has been crystal clear. Smash the skull of the listener with the hammer of Satan. The purity of their approach is admirable, an unwavering dedication to battering the listener into submission while worshipping at the altars of Blasphemy and (early) Beherit. Nothing at all has changed on their third full-length, Inferno of Sacred Destruction. Clocking in at less than twenty-five minutes, the album is the sonic equivalent of blitzkrieg. Wikipedia describes blitzkrieg (or “lightning war”) as follows:
concentrating overwhelming force at high speed to break through enemy lines, and, once the latter is broken, proceeding without regard to its flank. Through constant motion, the blitzkrieg attempts to keep its enemy off-balance, making it difficult to respond effectively at any given point before the front has already moved on.
What might me be truly overwhelming about Black Witchery’s satanic salvo is the fact that it’s the product of only three men, rather than an army. Most bands with twice as many members would have difficulty invoking the level of musical devastation that Inferno of Sacred Destruction is positively crackling with. But it isn’t about the number of guitars, amps or bodies in the band. It’s about conviction. Impurath, Tregenda and Vaz are positively possessed by their music, three metal diehards taking the power trio format to frightening levels of extremity; no melody, no variation, no fucking mercy.
Of course, some might consider these same traits to be Black Witchery’s weaknesses. If you’re coming to Inferno of Sacred Destruction looking for things like catchiness or songs you can tell apart, you’re missing the point completely. Inferno of Sacred Destruction is not about these things. The raw, ugly monotony of the music at first overpowers, but eventually becomes hypnotic, a trance of sonic ultraviolence that drags you into Black Witchery’s world of hate and death and damnation. By the time you’re fully aware of what’s happening it’s over, just as quickly as it began.
Inquistion’s Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm was my co-album of the year for 2010 (along w/ Deathspell Omega’s Paracletus). Due to some “controversy” regarding the official release date (It was officially released in Europe and South America in 2010. The official US release date was 2011, but HHR was selling copies in late 2010), it might also be my 2011 album of the year. Nowhere on Earth will you find a better modern take on traditional black metal than this album, or Inquisition’s stellar back catalogue for that matter. Dagon’s riff wizardry and eerie, ritualistic vocals mesh with Incubus’ drumming par excellence to create a perfect storm of black metal that is both catchy and crushing. The duo is taking USBM back from the hipsters and bullshit artists one devastating track at a time.
After worshipping the band from afar for several years, I finally got in touch with guitarist/vocalist Dagon to discuss the new album and the thoughts/concepts behind Inquisition’s singular take on black metal..
THKD: What can you tell us about the new album’s title, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm? I know there is a quote from you inside the booklet that explains it to a degree, but can you give our readers some further insight into the meaning?
Dagon: The title itself, in essence means “dark laws of the infinite universe”. On the cover you can see two skulls, one above and one below and in the middle a dead star cracked with a black hole in the middle. The two skulls represent the forces of duality and the dead star represents the the mass where all the energy goes recycling back into the astral plane.
That cycle is the prime law of the universe, something very powerful, opposite forces uniting to create and destroy leaving behind a black hole, something massively powerful, a form of Satan if you will.
With that said, this cover explains well the meaning of the entire album.
THKD: What did you set out to accomplish with Ominous Doctrines…? What was your mindset going into creating the new album?
Dagon: As cliché as it may sound, my primary goal was to create the best album I could and by that I mean creating very catchy riffs with quick twists and turns, make an active album that kept the listener busy and glued to the speakers without losing interest and adding as always those spoken, chanted like vocals that simply dwindle upon the music simply communicating a message.
Production wise I wanted a good classic guitar tone so I went with the old Marshall heads, we all were going for a natural drum sound that still projected strong, and near zero effects on the vocals.
THKD: How would you describe your approach to songwriting? Did you do/try anything different when it came time to write Ominous Doctrines…?
Dagon: Nothing different at all but I would say that for this album I spent much more time writing riffs alone, allowing myself more deep thinking while writing. In the past I would try and create with Incubus there with me, improvising as we go and keeping what I liked. This time, riffs were mostly created while alone.
THKD: Exceptional guitar work is one of Inquisition’s trademarks. Who are your influences/inspirations as a guitarist? Do you practice often? How would you describe your approach to the instrument?
Dagon: Lately I have been practicing much more than before. I’m trying to keep the one hour a day rule to keep those muscle groups in check we guitarists rely on so much in the forearm areas and also simply keep my creativity on fire. I am starting to write the riffs for the next album so it’s important to stay active.
Influences, believe it or not my number one influence has been Angus Young. He inspired me to start playing a guitar and he inspired me to play those fat power chord driven riffs.
My approach, I assume you are asking about technique? I took classical guitar for almost five years, so the good thing is I am very focused on good posture because poor posture really can affect how you are able to execute your chords. I always make sure I play hard; I play very hard in fact, because it’s the way to get tone out of a tube amplifier. Tubes have dynamics and when you strike or tremolo pick those massive power chords you want people to feel that power. Clean playing, is another golden rule, I want people to hear every note I am executing.
THKD: Another Inquisition trademark is of course the eerie, reptilian-sounding vocals. How did you develop your vocal approach?
Dagon: Back in the day when I was thinking about a vocal style for Inquisition I came to the conclusion that I did not want something screamed out at top lung, so many people were doing that, and still are, and identity is important to me so I figured what can I do that the majority are not doing; meanwhile I kept hearing this idea in my head of a spoken like inhuman form of vocals chanting over very heavy and at times fast music creating a contrast.
That’s why when people say it sounds like a frog or anything else I feel I obtained what I wanted, I achieved that goal of keeping the human factor out of the vocal chants.
THKD: Inquisition is a band with a satanic message. What does Satan mean to you? Is black metal inherently Satanic?
Dagon: Black Metal is very satanic. Its individualism, elitism, rebellion against unnecessary control, pride with a cause. Everything that Christian book tells us about “the devil” is in essence what Black Metal is but through sound waves. Forget one moment about Christianity in general and think of Satanism as the negative pole.
THKD: In addition to Satanism, I also detect some cosmic and metaphysical themes on the new album. Can you talk a bit about that?
Dagon: Satanism is much deeper than what I just described. That energy is everywhere, it’s in that cosmic dust that makes the ground we walk on and even who we are. Every cosmic molecule is in you and will eventually crumble and die, recycling itself back with the stars, from there you hear the known phrase “we are all a star” for good reason.
Also, space in general is simply the most real heaven and the most real hell you will ever come across alive or dead, that’s it, it’s the real deal. The massive chaos, titanic cosmic bodies that dwindle around, everything around us is so massive and powerful that I see the parallel of what all the known mythologies to mankind have written about heaven and hell as a direct inspiration from it (space) as something we have been overlooking our entire lifetime.
There is much more to my views on this but overall the roots of it were mentioned.
THKD: Inquisition continues to wear corpse paint while many other black metal bands have abandoned the practice. Why is this important to you and what does it symbolize?
Dagon: By removing it I feel it would symbolize a change so removing the paint one day is out of question. It symbolizes a movement within a movement, Black metal; it represents the difference between “their” metal and thinking and “our” metal and way of thinking. It represents the fact that black metal is more than music and is a form of magic and ritual. It represents the fact that the spiritual self is unleashed.
Dagon: The point to get across to people was the fact that transcendentalism, mysticism, spirituality and elevated states of mind go beyond the nocturnal veil. Day is as powerful as night, we don’t resonate with the night only.
To be specific though, on our 2004 album “Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer” the main focus was Lucifer himself, the morning star and what better to celebrate that than having adding images under the rays of that star.
To many its funny, I understand, I have probably more sense of humor than most reading this or listening to Inquisition, but at the end of the day as an artist I will follow through with an idea if the meaning of it overpowers the reaction I will get from the crowds.
THKD: Why do you prefer to work as a duo? Would you ever consider adding more members to Inquisition?
Dagon: Because it works just fine. If your food tastes fine with just two ingredients why add more? Stupid analogies aside, I can tell you it is comfortable while touring, but at times it has its negatives like taking in more work per member as well. But overall the band functions just fine, for rehearsals we meet and there’s no one else to have to wait for, less room for error, a much more personal feeling rather a group feel to it. Live there is no lacking of low end so we don’t even miss having a bass player and that in itself is what makes Inquisitions sound, something a little different.
THKD: With that said, what does each of the two members of the Inquisition bring to the band? The two of you have developed a unique synergy.
Dagon: I don’t think we bring anything anymore special then other bands do when members get together and arrange songs. I mean, I bring guitars and vocals; Incubus brings drums to the scenario and we put songs together like any other musician does. I think the extra care lies in the way melodies are chosen and put together; the magic is knowing what a good tune is and knowing where to place it. Incubus is great at knowing when to highlight something and when not to and just keep tempos and not saturate a song with meaningless drum fills. All those things when you add them together is what we both contribute.
Dagon: I met him in 2002 through his zine he was making at the time. After talking to him I found out he painted, it was something he did on a personal level. I asked him if he could show me his art without ever letting him know I was interested in finding a new artist. Once I saw a sample of his work I asked him if he would like to work with us because I was interested in an artist that had not been working with anybody and could basically grow with the band. I never wanted to work with an artist that lots of other bands had worked with so luckily it all worked out because you can look at an Inquisition cover and immediately know whose cover that is, his style is unique and uniqueness is an important element for Inquisition.
THKD: In addition to Ominous Doctrines…, you recently re-released your first album, Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult. How does your first album compare with your most recent work? How has Inquisition evolved since then?
Dagon: I think we evolved, absolutely. We are tighter, faster, heavier… the elements we had before have been worked on and improved, and to me that’s evolution.
THKD: Ominous Doctrines… and Into the Infernal Regions… are your first releases for Hells Headbangers. How did you come to work with the label?
Dagon: Chase contacted us asking if we were interested in allowing his label to release a special addition of our first album. Knowing how good of work he does and his excellent reputation I felt it would be a good idea to ask him if he would like to re-release all past Inquisition releases in special editions for fans. Also, we needed to get some distribution taken care of in the Americas and Hells Headbangers could cover that, No Colours Rec. alone was not distributing well enough on the American continent.
THKD: It is well known that you originally hail from Columbia, but now reside in the US. What are your thoughts on the state of the US black metal scene?
Dagon: To clear things up, I am an American that’s half Colombian. I started the band down in Colombia where I had been living for 14 years and decided to come back. I have no thoughts on the American Black metal scene; I have nothing neither great nor bad to say.
It’s such a passive scene that I don’t have enough material to form an opinion on.
THKD: Will you be touring in support of Ominous Doctrines…? How would you describe the Inquisition live experience?
Dagon: The shows will always be about the music first, we have a very simple stripped down stage setting, just a few banners. The only visuals we rely on are low lighting to enhance the atmosphere. The music is the drug, the poison, the spiritual experience and even war all in one dose. Come to an Inquisition event and I promise you will walk out feeling just fine. I can’t use many words here; I don’t want to try to sell myself here or the band.
Touring, of course, we are definitely a live band. Keep your eyes open and I am sure you will come across dates. We have festivals coming up. Maryland Death Fest, Kings of Black Metal in Germany, Hammer Open Air in Finland and more to come.
THKD: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Dagon: Enjoy the new album, “Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm”
For the most part, I try to keep things positive here at the THKD bunker. I only review albums that I would recommend to someone else, or at the very least albums that open themselves up to interesting thoughts and discussions (see the recently reviewed Raunchy album). I don’t single out bands or individuals I don’t like, tempting though it may be. I only let my grouchiness come through on rare occasions, such as my responses to Brandon Duncan’s questions in our dual interview, or in my piece on the sorry state of metal journalism.
But more often than not, I can’t help but get the feeling the majority of metal is turning into something I don’t want to be a part of. Thanks to social networking and the internet in general, metal has become infested with the kind of name-dropping, backslapping industry scumbags that the culture set out to destroy in the first place. I’m not naming names, but when I see so-called “journalists” and “publicists” bragging about what bands they’re partying with or what sweet promos they’re listening to while partying with said bands, I feel like I want to start vomiting and never stop. No one in the world cares about who you know and who you blow.
No, I’m not jealous. I’ve met my share of bands, interviewed “big names” and gotten my share of sweet promos in the mail. I don’t feel the need to go on and on (and on) about it on myspace/facebook/twitter/etc though. Yes, vanity has crept into metal like a particularly nasty case of syphilis. The ego stroking even happens in print, thanks to a slew of writers who think that just because they have a widely read opinion, this somehow makes them “cool” or “elite”. Reviews don’t matter when anyone can go on the internet, google an album and download it instantly for free (In fact, it is probably thanks to these “writers” that albums leak before their release dates).
What does matter in the internet age is conversation, dialogue and interaction. The lines of communication between bands, journalists and fans can and should be wide open thanks to the internet. No one is going to want to interact with you if you come off like an elitist asshole and a braggart, except for other elitist assholes and braggarts. Maybe I’m just getting old and bitter, but as someone who writes about metal because they love it, I find reading these self-serving reviews/articles/blogs/tweets/whatthefuckever extremely hard to take. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I’m still humbled by and grateful for the fact that bands are willing to talk to me about their art, labels are willing to send me albums to review and other fans and writers are interested enough in what I have to say to interact with me.
Journalists with superiority complexes aren’t the only ones getting under my skin. I love the many publicists I work with (Earsplit, Clawhammer, Fresno, Nathan Birk, etc) to keep the new content flowing for THKD. Without them, this site wouldn’t be half of what it is. But, there are some I refuse to work with, and it’s for a good reason. I understand it is the publicist’s job to entice me to write about whatever band/label/etc they happen to be pimping at the time. But a good publicist, like the ones mentioned above, understands the tastes and demeanors of the folks they’re working with, and bases their interactions on that knowledge. When someone sends me e-mail after e-mail acting like I owe them a favor, asking me to cover a band that anyone who reads one post on THKD could tell I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, that’s a good way to forget about getting any coverage on my site. I will decide what bands are covered on THKD and I’m not going to compromise my own integrity or stroke your ego by writng about some shit band as a “favor” to someone I don’t even know. Get a fucking clue.
Unfortunately, many metal review sites don’t know the meaning of the word “integrity” and are more than happy to partake in the giant circle jerk that is the metal industry. Did some of these sites ever stop to think that if they stopped reviewing all the terrible and mediocre shit labels pumped out, maybe it would help re-instill some level of quality control? Some sites, like Invisible Oranges have wisely embraced the philosophy of only writing about releases that are “good” or will open up a dialogue. I wish more sites would follow this template, as ignoring an album altogether says a lot more about its quality than wasting valuable time and energy to write an unfavorable review. Maybe the labels would take notice if this happened, but I fear that most of them are so out of touch that it probably wouldn’t make a dent.
There are some extremely high quality labels, like Profound Lore, Hell’s Headbangers and Nuclear War Now! that are obvious labors of love and show genuine care for the music, the releases and the fans. Some of the larger labels on the other hand, pump out records like widgets coming out of a factory. The fact that 4th and 5th tier metalcore/deathcore bands have record deals is undeniable proof that bigger labels are more interested in flooding the market with crap in an effort to turn a quick buck than they are in investing in quality artists who make music that will stand the test of time. I’ve been told that labels have to release a certain amount of albums every year in order to get a distribution deal. Apparently, this is how distribution companies decide if it is a “good” label, encouraging quantity over quality.
The fact that there are approximately 51 billion shitty metal bands out there hoping one of these labels will snap them up certainly doesn’t help. If most of these terrible bands would do the world a favor and break up, we wouldn’t have some of this problem. 99.9% of metal bands need to just get it through their thick heads that they’re never going to be the next Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death or whatever the fuck it is they aspire to and call it a day. Trust me, the world would be a better place for it. The more low quality bands there are, the better the chances of low quality bands getting signed to big labels and winding up in your local shops, iTunes and the radio. It’s hard enough to find anything good to listen to without having to wade through an ocean of toxic feces.
Oh and by the way metal fans/listeners, you’re not off the hook either. Not by a damn sight. Some might say illegal downloading is killing metal, but I think it is the passive attitude of metal fans towards what they’re being spoon-fed that is quickly becoming the genre’s death knell. By willingly putting up with this stuff, you’re giving labels, mags, zines, websites and musicians a free pass to fill your eyes and ears with steaming loads of crap. All of us need to band together and say “Hell no, we aren’t going to take it anymore!”. Don’t listen to it, don’t write about it, don’t download it, don’t buy it and don’t talk about it, even to say that it completely sucks. It is time we took metal back from these fat cats, pig-fuckers and assorted blowhards and broke this vicious circle of bullshit. It doesn’t belong to them, it never has and it never will. It belongs to us.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately with Apostle of Solitude’s Last Sunrise (Profound Lore, 2010). These guys really stand out from the traditional doom pack thanks to Chuck Brown’s awesome Danzig-esque vocals. Brown is an ex-member of Gates of Slumber, but trust me Apostle of Solitude rule way harder.
The band also has a great sense of dynamics and knows when to bring the heavy and when to mellow the fuck out and pour on the atmosphere. The music and vocals are bleak and emotional without ever sounding cheesy or overwrought. There is a gravitas present on the album that other trad doom bands can’t hope to match with their pot-addled tales of wizards ‘n’ witches. In other words, seriously killer stuff.
A lot of fuss has been made over the cover art. Is it bad that I don’t hate it? To me it looks like it could be a still from some freaked out foreign film. Or maybe a romantic comedy gone sociopath? All I can say is, don’t let the artwork deter you in any way from checking out this sweet slab of doom.
There are also a couple of bonus cover songs tacked onto the release, my favorite of which is a spot on cover of the Misfits’ classic “Astro Zombies”. Personally, I would love to hear the Apostles doom this sucker out rather than be so faithful to the original, but the song does speak to the band’s Danzig influence, which is great.
Apostle of Solitude just happens to be in the midst of a brief tour. I’ve never seen them live, but I’d recommend doing so if you’re anywhere near these dates.
Jul 20 2010 8:00P The Court Tavern New Brunswick, New Jersey
Jul 21 2010 9:00P Ace Of Clubs Manhattan, New York
Jul 22 2010 9:00P The Bug Jar Rochester, New York
Jul 23 2010 9:00P Annabell Akron, Ohio
Jul 24 2010 9:00P The Metal Shaker Chicago, Illinois
Jul 30 2010 9:00P the Melody Inn Indianapolis, Indiana
Aug 7 2010 7:00P The Melody Inn Indianapolis, Indiana
Another recent discovery is Italy’s Children of Technology. This quartet recently released their first full length, It’s Time to Face the Doomsday, a catchier-than-syphillis blast of crusty Motorhead worship. Think Toxic Holocaust doing speed and whiskey shots with Lemmy while watching a Road Warrior marathon in a filth-ridden garage and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what these fuckers sound like. The album clocks in at less than 25 minutes, but CoT pack so many gnarly riffs and singalong hooks into that time that you’re still getting plenty of bang for your buck in spite of the abbreviated length.
Currently the album is only available on vinyl and cassette. I opted for the ultra-rad “radioactive green” cassette since I don’t currently own a turntable. Word has it that the mighty Hell’s Headbangers will be releasing a CD version this Fall, so those of you that aren’t into outmoded forms of technology will get chance to hear this shit. I e-mailed them with an interview request a while back but have yet to get any sort of reply.
Watain‘s Lawless Darkness has finally started clicking with me. I’ve been listening to the damn thing since before I interviewed Erik Danielsson for the now defunct Sonic Frontiers, but for some reason the album just wasn’t holding my attention. Much like Sworn to the Dark, this album is a grower, and it’s myriad depths probably won’t reveal themselves to you unless you are willing to sit down with the album and devote your full attention to it.
I think that’s the reason a lot of albums get written off. People either can’t or won’t devote the time and effort necessary to discern the intricacies of an album like Lawless Darkness. Even I don’t have time to give every CD the “king’s listen” it deserves. People want instant gratification, but oftentimes the best works of art just don’t lay themselves bare so quickly.
Perhaps I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it at the time, but I take back everything I’ve said about the band peaking with Casus Luciferi (although that is still my favorite Watain recording to date).
Personal rant time… when did record store clerks become so annoying? Unless I’m with my wife or one of my friends, I prefer to be left alone while browsing. No sooner did I start checking out the metal selection at the local FYE this weekend, then a clerk started stalking me. I was wearing a Sepultura Chaos AD shirt and the guy says to me “A guy who posts on one of the message boards I’m on says Sepultura is the worst band ever!” I felt like saying “That’s fucking great, do you and your message board buddy want a cookie?” but before I could come up with any sort of response, he says “I told him he didn’t know what he was talking about.” I said that Sepultura had gone down hill after Max left and kept browsing.
Just when I thought he had gone away and I was in the clear, he pops up over my shoulder again. This time he hands me the new Soilwork CD. At this point I wanted to say “Soilwork?! You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.” but instead I basically advised him that in my opinion Soilwork hadn’t put out a good album since Natural Born Chaos (some would argue they crapped out long before that) and I hadn’t paid attention to them since. With his Soilwork parade officially pissed upon, he went back to the register and at last I was left to browse in peace.
I’m sure he meant well and is a perfectly nice person. However, I like to be left to my own devices when browsing music, unless I am with someone who has similar tastes (i.e. my wife, my friends). Basically I’m a mean, curmudgeonly old son of a bitch who doesn’t want to deal with these young whippersnappers and their melodic metal. I especially don’t want one of them recommending shit to me or commenting on the band adorning my fucking t-shirt to try and get a reaction. Man, I’m a total asshole.
Anyway, I think I’ll be posting scatterbrained pieces like this every so often, just to get things off my chest. Any suggestions for bands or other metal-related subjects to be discussed are welcomed.