This band propped up out of nowhere and unleashed an icy fury upon the hardened souls of cynical metal fans everywhere. German foursome, The Spirit, re-released their debut “Sounds From the Vortex” on Nuclear Blast earlier this month and melodic black/death metal fans are throwing up the horns in praise of this awesome album. Despite this band being young – only forming in 2015 – “Sounds From the Vortex” is the best damn thing to come along since Vinterland, Necrophobic or even Dissection.
Although most of The Spirit’s debut hearkens back to the era of the 90s in which Stockholm ruled the world, the band does throw in just the right amount of technical flair to keep their sound fresh in the modern era. The band’s true strength, however, lies in their ability to temper icy dissonance with intense emotional melody, to create a sound that cuts through barriers and demands the listener’s full attention.
They open “Sounds From the Vortex” with an ominous self-titled intro that is pervasive in nature; only to immediately pummel the listener with the cold blistering melody of “Cosmic Fear.” The Spirit has a real sense of flow and melody and every tempo change and progression melds beautifully into the next without becoming predictable.
Another element that really stood out on this debut was the band’s ability to create memorable hooks. The vocalist, in particular, focused on classic songwriting elements that foster the almost arcane compulsion to hit repeat track. The track entitled “Illuminate the Night Sky,” in particular, had a bridge and chorus with discernibly clear lyrics that beckoned singing along.
“Burning streams are flowing; fatality! Souls screaming out in agony! Curtains of fire rising high! ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT SKY!”
It’s not difficult to envision a sea of black clad fans throwing horns and chanting along to a chorus such as this. In true black metal fashion, The Spirit focuses on mystical themes in their songwriting which temper well with the icy feel of their sound.
The only criticism I have for this band’s debut is that I wanted more. At only 38 minutes long, “Sounds From the Vortex” was a bit short. I trust the band’s sophomore release will offer a bit more meat for the listener. That said, this album packed a ton of quality into that 40 minutes. These Germans sound as though they came right of the coldest mountain tops in Sweden. When I say this is the new Dissection, I mean it. The Spirit’s debut is a serious contender for album of the year.
In the many years I’ve spent frequenting local and underground shows, I’ve encountered many different types of metal heads. Some of the coolest, most hardworking, intelligent and passionate people I know hold a special place in their hearts for the world’s most extreme genre of music. Metal fans are diverse, with a culture spanning all over the globe and attracting generations of listeners.
That said, any genre of music is bound to attract bottom feeders and scummy assholes. Annoying people are everywhere and extreme metal is not immune to attracting society’s most irritating masses. During my time in the scene, I’ve been able to assess a few common types of people attracted to extreme metal that would have been better off as mere cum stains on their mother’s 200 thread count sheets. Here are the top 10 most annoying types of metal fans.
The Only Knows One Band Guy
This dude can usually be spotted at fests and major shows and will oust himself within minutes. He loves Slayer, or Pantera, or Death, has memorized their entire discography and he wants you to know about it.
This guy’s annoying because he’s not really a metal fan. He’s a Slayer fan. While others love Slayer, and may even call them their favorite band, they don’t obsess about the band to the point of the exclusion of all other bands.
What I’ve found, is that many of these obsessive fans of one band don’t identify with the metal genre outside of that band. Slayer or Pantera gives them an opportunity to go nuts. That’s all fine and dandy, except that the media often depicts these one band pony guys as “true metal heads” which is both inaccurate and annoying. Metal heads are actually pretty complex and the dude screaming SLAAAYYYERRRR! at the top of his lungs is not.
The Uber Elitist
Also known as “me,” guilty as charged. I think most music journalists are to some degree. I can understand how this happens. When you belong to a subculture that society continually attempts to undermine, it can be tempting to hold that which you adore so deeply within your clutches that you get tunnel vision.
Metal heads are constantly told to open their minds to other, shittier types of music, only to have absolutely no one open up their mind to their music. The few times a metal head can get their EDM DJ friend to listen to Sadistic Intent with them, they have to listen to them rattle off the same drivel about how they “couldn’t understand the lyrics,” “they prefer music with clean vocals,” or about how they “should check out this band Five Finger Death Punch” who they naively believe is just as heavy. They insult your music despite the fact that they’re literally listening to a cleverly arranged computer generated noise.
It gets even worse when the clubs, record stores and magazines refuse to cater to your unique tastes in underground metal. When you see your favorite club, that was once exclusively metal, booking emo bands to rack in bucks, or your favorite magazine featuring Bring Me the Horizon on the cover when you could think of at least eight bands more deserving of that position, you begin to feel as though extreme metal is this special thing just for you to love.
That said, if we want Revolver to put UADA on the cover instead of Deafheaven, elitist metal fans need cultivate an environment that allows the movement to grow. Looking down on someone for not knowing who Belphegor is helps no one. Nor does refusing to acknowledge bands who even slightly experiment with other styles in their sound as “true” metal. These kinds of experimentation help new listeners get acquainted with a musical style they might not know they liked.
Myrkur is a perfect example of this. Her fusion of Scandinavian folk, black metal elements and neo goth/classical was beautiful in a lot of ways. Was it the future of black metal? Fuck no! But the manner in which many true metal heads went about in berating her efforts was pretty gross. This attitude is going to continue to get metal dismissed as a relevant genre of music by mainstream outlets. Cultivating that niche factor is cool to some degree but eventually it can be frustrating to watch metal be continually be overlooked in the media, despite its massive global scope.
The polar opposite of the aforementioned elitist, the anti-elitist thinks elitism is what’s ruining the extreme metal scene. This guy’s right, to a degree; elitist’s snobbery is off-putting to newcomers in the extreme metal community. The problem is that this guy takes his loathing of elitism too far. He can often be found on social media and message boards in a keyboard battle with a true metal fan inventing genres like melodic brutal death metal.
What usually unites these anti-elitist types is their love for a band that’s been deemed as a “poser” band, such as: Lamb of God, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth or Mushroomhead. Many of these types actually love some of the heaviest genres of extreme metal but some overly machismo elitist turds gave them crap for liking one too many deathcore bands a long time ago and they’ve never been able to recover. Now whenever a friend glibly remarks about not liking deathcore they flail shamelessly about how elitists like him are “ruining metal.” All the dude said was that he didn’t like it.
What’s at the core of this guy’s behavior is his own insecurity. He feels like he isn’t as seasoned in differentiating various styles of metal as others, or that his ear isn’t as discerning, so he lashes out at those with discerning tastes in metal, claiming they’re bringing about the downfall of the scene. He is right on some level, petty squabbling does not help metal grow. But he needs to calm down. His insecurity is showing.
The Hardcore/Old School Guy Who Wants to Get All Political
This is a more recent phenomenon. Sure, there have always been bands like Brujeria and Gojira whose lyrical themes were political. But the volatile political climate in the present day has everyone thinking they’re a goddamn pundit and it’s making us all hate each other.
In one corner you have the left winger metal fans who’ve leaked from the hardcore scene and are on a mission to save black metal from the Nazis. According to them, most black metal bands are Nazis — even ones who’ve only expressed disdain for Islamic thought or who have included WWII imagery on their album covers. What was never that much of an issue before has been blown way the fuck out of proportion.
On the other side, you have the equally annoying anti SJW tribe ready to defend even actual fucking Nazis in the name of “free speech.” These guys are loud, obnoxious and just as triggered as their supposedly sensitive counterparts. They regularly announce their SJW purges on social media.
The Old Dude Always Talking About How Much Cooler it Was Back in the Day
One of the most interesting things about metal is its longevity. It’s stood the test of time and every year new generations of thrashers are born. According to some people, however, metal’s hey day is long gone. Metal was just better in the early 90s and it’s important to never stop talking about that fact.
This guy is usually pushing 40 or older and remembers the tape trading days like they were yesterday — even though he was only 12 when that shit was happening. According to this guy, shows just aren’t as cool as they used to be and the scene is dying a slow death.
He bases his opinion on low turn out for a Monday night show that wasn’t properly promoted. This dude never drops by those Friday night tech death shows packed to the brim with 20 year old pit monsters.
This person is against growth in the scene. He’s curmudgeonly and stuck in his own ways. He prefers the old school style and hates technology — he’s unwilling to budge. What these dudes will find is that, if they stepped outside their relatively closed off circle for a minute, metal is actually bigger than ever before. More bands are forming than in the past and fans are all the more dedicated to supporting the scene. Because there’s so much saturation in the scene, however, it can be difficult for bands to gain their footing and stand out among the rest. But that doesn’t mean the scene is dying. Quite the contrary, it’s on fire.
The Dude Who Won’t Stop Promoting
This guy’s in a band, did you know that? It never fails, every time there’s major metal show about 15 dudes promoting other, smaller shows, their bands, their distros or whatever show up. That’s all fine and dandy. The problem arises when these dudes don’t know when to calm down, stop promoting for a minute and just have a beer and enjoy the show. I can’t be too hard on this guy though, at least they support the scene.
The Genre Specific Guy
This person won’t give anything outside their genre preference a chance. It’s one thing to have an inclination toward a particular sub-genre of extreme metal, it’s quite another to regard all other genres as lame or inferior to your genre of choice.
To be fair, metal fans of this ilk are genuinely rare. More often than not, people who know jack about extreme metal assume we’re all like this. But this dude does exist and it’s pretty fucking annoying. If this is you, expand your horizons; you might discover something cool.
The Dude Who Gets Violent in the Pit
The mosh pit is, perhaps, one of the most misunderstood elements of extreme metal. Outsiders looking in often view mosh pits as rings of violence — cold Darwinist death traps caustically thwarting the souls of lesser creatures disquieted by the sight of blood.
Metal heads see things differently, however. Pit etiquette is mandatory. If someone falls, pick them up so they don’t get trampled. Don’t mess with the people on the sidelines. Protect the women from the giant dudes and overall just have a rowdy good time with limited amounts of bloodshed.
Unfortunately, there’s always one dude, in virtually every pit, that has to mess things up for everyone. This guy is usually wasted and oblivious to how irritating his actions are. Often, he is an outlier in the scene, someone unknown by many of the locals, who’s acting up seemingly to garner attention to himself. He crowd kills, does hardcore kicking and will smash into you with a full beer in hand during a sound check.
This is why a lot of metal heads hate hardcore and deathcore kids. Many of them seem to exhibit this overly violent, bro-ey behavior. The good news is, the metal scene is full of big, burly men who will put an idiot like this in his place should he get too out of hand.
The Crusty Dude “On the List”
Maybe it’s a personal thing, but this type of metal fan irks me the most. This guy frequents grind and doom shows, may or may not actually be homeless and somehow manages to get into every show for free. He cultivates this image of the ultimate scene supporter but spends absolutely no money on the scene. He can usually be spotted with a Miller Hi Life in hand bumming smokes off the people outside who paid to be there.
Certain shows will be filled with this type of fan. At shows like these, grind and noise shows in particular, you’re likely to spot at least one frightened pit bull in the audience against its will, and a combination of patchouli and swamp ass will usually be permeating the air. Many of these types of fans are in bands, but because they’re homeless and have nowhere to really practice, the bands are sloppy, two piece noise projects that sully the name of metal.
The reason these types of metal heads irk me is because they don’t represent what metal is actually about. Metal fans are some of the hardest working people I know. Metal is incredibly difficult to play and takes hours of dedication to master. These crusty fans are simply lazy, for the most part, and are the antithesis of everything metal represents.
Prog/tech death fans
If you thought the elitist was bad, the prog and tech death guys take the elitist attitude to another level. These types of metal fans walk around with an annoying chip on their shoulder. They believe they’ve earned the right to look to down on other genres of music because of the technical prowess of their favorite musicians.
They walk around musing about pentatonic and diatonic scales feeling superior to everyone else. If it’s not steeped in technicality and incredibly difficult to play, it’s not music.
I get where these guys are coming from in some respect. I do tend to look for certain key elements in a band’s sound in order for them to qualify as metal, but the way prog and tech death fans disregard all artists outside their niche as not “real musicians” is pretty fucking irritating. What these people don’t realize is that musicians who play other styles of music are generally focused on refining elements in their music other than just technicality — they want to create melody and atmosphere.
What prog and tech death fans simultaneously overlook and gloat about is how the music they listen to isn’t accessible to everyone. But while they’re feeling superior for their ability to appreciate complex musical overtures, thrash and punk fans are giving themselves whiplash and just having fucking fun. These guys need to calm down. Music is meant to be enjoyed as a social primer and lubricant. It’s great to appreciate it as an art form — musicians work hard to hone their craft — but at some point it’s time to put that stuff aside and have fun.
PS: Anyone who takes anything on this list too seriously is figuratively a shard of glass lodged deeply inside the pee hole of an uncircumcised penis. Hails!
Back on August 4, 2018, up and coming New York death metal band Hypoxia unleashed their latest effort upon unsuspecting jaded metal fans. The music video for Hypoxia’s latest track, entitled “Condemned to the Abyss” is the band’s first sneak peek into the newest album rumored to be released later this year on Ultimate Massacre Productions.
Hypoxia’s latest music video has been proliferating within the underground digital space since its release and creating a lot of buzz despite the band’s relatively obscure status. They’ve been featured in mainstream publications such as Metal Injection and the band was even invited to play on the largest metal festival in Latin America, Rock Al Parque last night. So what is it about Hypoxia that makes them stand out so much among the droves of DIY death metal bands churning out riffs each day? I checked out the band’s 2015 release, “Despondent Death,” to find out.
There is something really special about Hypoxia, indeed. While their sound isn’t highly experimental and their musicianship isn’t steeped in technicality, the band’s sound does bring listeners back to a simpler era in death metal while still remaining relevant in 2018 by injecting just the right amount of brutality and tech elements into their classic, old school death metal sound. The production on their 2015 release gives them an explosive quality that is capable of penetrating through even the most cynical of ear drums.
Hypoxia’s riffs may be formulaic to a certain degree, but they rely on tried true methods to create the kind of neck breaking riffs fans of Malevolent Creation or Immolation have grown to cherish. Their newest single is just as explosive as anything on the band’s prior release and their image is just as huge to match. Vocalist, Mike Hrubovcak is practically demon possessed as he emits blood curdling growls spawned from the deepest levels of hell while ominously wielding a flaming torch and female drummer Carolina Perez’s blasts have the power to eviscerate the souls of the weak with their pummeling intensity. Hypoxia emanates a level of sickness uncommon among the hordes of new bands — many of whom have succumb to mediocrity due to over-saturation within the death metal genre. With catchy riffs and extreme power to boot, these guys are just doing it better. This is definitely the band to watch this year.
Florida denizens of death Hate Eternal are streaming a track from the upcoming LP “Upon Desolate Sands.” The new album is set to release on October 26 on Seasons of Mist. This will be the first album from them in over 3 years.
The new track, entitled “What Lies Beyond” has fans excited because it shows the band is practically immune to becoming stale despite having a career that has spanned over 20 years. They fuse tech elements with crushing intensity to create a sound that slowly builds into a maelstrom of blasts and shreds. The skeleton of the track is steeped in definitive death metal elements of which they add layers of complexity over to create a unique sound. This is classic Hate Eternal with a fresh appeal which leaves fans ever more curious and excited what’s to come in October.
The black metal community collectively celebrated in response to Ecuadorian black/death metal band Destroyer Attack’s sophomore release last month entitled, “Solve et Coagula” and for good reason — this album is fucking heavy!
Destroyer Attack are the kind of hardened war metal band you might expect to find posing with firearms. Clad in bullet belts and steeped in terrorizing aggression, this bestial foursome employs the best elements of war metal — in the vein of old Blasphemy — on their newest release.
The band doesn’t hold back or ease in the listener in any way; instead immediately attacking the listener with an onslaught of intensity within the first seconds of track 1, entitled “Communion of the Black Pest.” In fact, “Solve et Coagula” never wanes in aggression once. They pummel and blast from the first track to the last.
The first thing I noticed about this release was, despite their heaviness and aggression, Destroyer Attack has a great sense of melody. Many other bands in the same, war metal-esque vein — band such as Bestial Warlust or Black Witchery — have a tendency to succumb to noisiness and slop in their pursuit to create a “wall of sound.” Destroyer Attack, however, manages to maintain the tenets of good song writing on the LP; ultimately creating a neck breaking listening experience.
The production on this release truly stands out as well. Unlike other raw black/death albums, Solve et Coagula does not blur into a single angry fuzz — all instruments are clearly audible and the vocals shine through at perfect volume. The drums are just audible enough be impressive, but not pushed so far to forefront they drown the sound of the shreds. Overall, the LP maintains an aura of extreme anger while never forgetting to employ the kind of melody you could lose yourself in. Promo track “Purification Into the Internal Fire” is a perfect example of this buzzing melody put into action. The chorus and bridge are practically hypnotic despite maintaining an ugliness only found in bestial black/death metal.
The band’s roots in thrash metal might have something to do with their ability to inject complex melodies beneath the overall blasting intensity. Indeed, many tracks on the album, such as “Burying the Name of the Messiah” or “Ectoplasm” employed thrashier elements within them. This addition added to the melody in a positive way. Still, Destroyer Attack maintains that blasphemous and aggressive appeal throughout. The sound is pummeling in a way that conjures images of an erupting volcano spewing hellfire from the bowels of Gehenna itself.
This is the kind of album to listen to when you have become so cynical nothing sounds heavy enough for you anymore. Solve et Coagula is almost subversively intense. What makes them stand out, however, is their ability to maintain a whiplash inducing melody beneath the bludgeoning aggression. This is really great stuff here.
New York born brutal slam kings, Internal Bleeding are set to release their first full length album in 4 four years on October 19th with Unique Leader records. The album, entitled “Corrupting Influence” would be the band’s 6th full length album since their formation back in 1991.
Internal Bleeding is often credited with planting the seeds for the slam movement that grew from the band’s signature face melting breakdowns and chugging, down tuned guitars. The band has grown a bit of a cult following among slam heads in the underground since adopting this increasingly brutal style. Judging from the decimating intensity of the band’s last full length release, “Imperium,” fans can expect the new release to be just as bludgeoning.
You can pre-order “Corrupting Influence” directly from Unique Leader Records. Stay brutal slam heads!
On August 10, 2018 Stockholm legends, Unanimated released a new EP entitled “Annihilation.” When I discovered the mighty Unanimated were returning from their seemingly perpetual hibernation a wave of excitement poured over me. Upon listening, it’s safe to say the Swedish blackened death metal foursome is reemerging from a nine year hiatus with a bludgeoning EP that was well worth the wait.
The release of “Annihilation” breaks the silence for this band in a huge way. Fortunately for fans of the band, Unanimated hasn’t deviated too much from the mid 90s tempo of “Ancient Gods of Evil.” In many ways, “Annihilation” is even heavier than their prior release, “In the Light of Darkness,” which was honestly nothing to sniff at either.
The EP opens with the barbarous intensity that’s beautifully tempered with complex melody. The speed of the blasts combined with the calculated dissonance of the riffs immediately draw in even the most jaded listeners. They don’t slow down from there either. The entire EP is a beautiful example of perfectly executed Swedish death metal.
Unanimated have taken to the newest movement in underground metal of not holding back or attempting to appeal to a larger audience by unleashing an onslaught of heaviness in true kvlt fashion upon their fans. They’ve held steadfast to the formula that worked for them in the 90s while continuing to remain relevant in the modern era. The riffs on this EP are simultaneously melodic and intense. “Annihilation” is definitive of the sound Swedish metal fans are looking for in a release, and has enough momentum push Swedish death metal back into the underground spotlight with its hungry ferocity and technical prowess.
The main feeling I get from this EP is elation. If Unanimated can return after all these years with an EP of this caliber, what does the future hold for the band? It looks like good things are to come and, for that, Swedish death metal enthusiasts worldwide are eternally grateful.