How "True" is Black/Death Metal?

Quality Black/Death Metal

It sort of falls in line with my previous article on true blackness in extreme metal music, but here is a good comment I found on Morsay’s site about the decaying quality of death metal, black metal, Phantom metal, and so on. Interesting insight on quality in black/death metal.

How "True" is Black/Death Metal?

How “True” is Black/Death Metal?

This reminds me of a documentary I watched on death metal where Incantation back then blew peoples minds. They raised the bar for everyone, yet, going by the musicians comments in the movie after that point, no one seemed to want to take charge. They showed a Cannibal Corpse video clip where death metal was all about “fun and moshing”. Incantation was too dark, was too serious, everyone wanted a good time. The solution for them, of course, was to create inferior versions of what had already existed in the name of fun and the joy of energetic live performances, not substance. One musician made a comment where he said “Incantation was so serious, but then I saw Cryptopsy and thought, man, I could do that”! George Fisher later said he saw his band as the “everyman” or “peoples” band and not this otherworldly entity. So what, then? If Incantation is the very definition of what metal always wanted to be, is Cannibal Corpse the sound of people giving up? Why would people reward the Corpsegrinder amateur hour? Is it some way for people to pat themselves on the back by proxy? Bad metal is the worst. Now we bear witness to “black metal” people flocking to NWN boards citing Burzum ripoffs for “scene points”, when Burzum itself is really the final word on that music. Mayhem had questionable or boring releases that are praised simply for “sounding like old Mayhem”, but the fact is De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas has secured their status as a legend. So why then the support for also ran Mayhem-clones (like Dark Funeral and Watain) who play Malevolent Creation baseball c(r)ap “black” metal under the guise of “raw” productions, aesthetically similar artwork and Attila (or Maniac) vocals? Take a look at the early Swedish death metal scene. When Nihilist got big, underground hardcore punk bands started down tuning, using the HM-2 distortion effect, and using growl vocals, yet their music remained the same. People called the aesthetically rearranged 3 chord punk rock music “death metal”, even in the time of Altars of Madness or their native Carnage and Dismember demos. A couple years later, the labels intervene and even something as amateurish and trend following as Necrophobic’s debut (made by ex-crust thrashers who understood little of death metal theory) was given the Century Media promo treatment. Over saturation of the scene, too many also rans, but also too many people who didn’t believe in what they were doing. We see the same thing with dozens of Phanta-clones whose knowledge and interest in the band begins and ends at Divine Necromancy… their first, simplest and arguably worst release. They call their music “Phantom metal” hoping to fool gullible metal fans into thinking it’s the next Withdrawal, Fallen Angel or Epilogue to Sanity – but no, it’s always a third-rate imitation of the debut. Come on, Divine Necromancy was out in 2013. Then again, when many “black” metal bands owe their still active career to imitating the superficial aesthetics of Drawing Down the Moon (Archgoat), Filosofem (Summoning), Blood Fire Death (Gorgoroth), Reinkaos (Watain), Satanic Blood (Dark Funeral) or Effigy of the Forgotten (all bru-def/slamcore), such transparent aesthetic imitation has come to be expected. Maybe the masses are always destined to create “pat on the back” inferior versions of something that already existed to fit in with a group that will fill a temporary void in life which will soon be replaced by the bar hopping pop music and STDs scene? Looking at bands like Watain, this seems to be the case.

The misconceptions of metal often arise from the failure to distinguish alt-rock/punk masquerading as metal, such as Slipknot/Carcass/Arch Enemy/Behemoth, from the genuine article. Metal certainly has its variations of quality, and certainly has its share of those falsely applying the label to themselves, but in the long run these misconceptions matter not. Metal is entrenched, it is pervasive, and it is only growing. Society is incapable of uprooting it, and the success of imitators is, by its very nature, both temporary and a testament to metal’s true power.

Hail true black and death metal.

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