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Mortals – Death Ritual EP by orlandooom407

I am regularly taken aback by the sheer amount / volume of brilliant music coming from NY, specifically Brooklyn. Whether it be doom sludge mavericks Hull, or electrifying black metal trios such as Mortals, or even the highly divisive Liturgy, there is obviously a vibrant and diverse environment in Brooklyn, and we in ‘The City Beautiful’ are grateful whenever they take the time to shimmy their way on down the east coast to pay us a visit. Such was the case when I was lucky enough to see Mortals here in Orlando, and was so floored to the point of being inspired to vomit up the very review your eyes are currently drinking in. Death Ritual is a thousand pound two track assault, of which those two tracks complement each other in pristine accord. Not so much in a yin and yang kind of way (they are not what I would consider opposites), more like two dual frenzied sprinters tunneling forth to the same finish line with a maniacal intent at rapid pace. There really is not let up to the constant assault in both of these tracks, while at the same time it never seems to be too busy or lose any of its momentum, a hard balance to strike, and one Mortals achieves with finesse employing a combination of riffs that are both dark in their scathing harmonies as well as some that are just catchy and fun as hell to listen to.

The title track opens as something of cataclysmic tidal wave. That wave crashes upon you without a moments reprieve, and you are ever the grateful for it. The thick sludged out bass wrapping itself homogeneously around the relentless percussion and melodic and methodical cries and riffs. Their ability to transition from something so grooved out and catchy and down tempo as the aforementioned riff and then move into a blistering and hypnotic dark sea of torrid landscapes, is something we (those musicians among us at least) could and should all learn from.  The logo for Mortals features a blade assuming the role of the letter “T” in the bands’ moniker, and it is almost as if you can feel that very blade being jammed into your third eye, in the most enjoyable of ways of course.

I won’t lie; Final hour is easily my favorite track of the two, which is evident in how many times I destroyed the replay button before purchasing it from their Bndcamp. The second track moves along at a crushing clip, with anthemic motifs chewing away at you instantly like a buzz saw. The riffs are eloquent and memorable, especially the opener that makes its distinct appearance at 0:04 and is probably my favorite singular riff in this whole EP. The 4 minute mark introduces another example of one of those riffs Mortals weaves into their writing that is just fun as all shit. The range that is covered is impressive, and the pacing (evident in the serpentine crescendo that starts to build up at 2:21 and ultimately explodes at 2:40 in this track) is phenomenal. Mortals command such impressive compositional control over their pacing throughout each moment of the song it really is hard not to be impressed with them.

Regarding their live performance, Mortals easily exceeds what you hear on the EP, an impressive feat, and a compliment to both their EP and their killer performance. There was not a moment during their live performance where I didn’t see Caryn (drums) without a sinister grin on her face, and that’s how they will forever be remembered by me, until the next time I’m fortunate enough to catch them.

Methodical, maniacal, bliss.

Mortals on Facebook!

– Kenneth Reda



1992, Nirvana and Ryan by orlandooom407

The year: 1992. “The Year that Punk Broke” or whatever the fuck they called it in retrospect. I was eleven going on twelve years old. A lot happened in 1992. Bill Clinton became POTUS. John “The Teflon Don” Gotti got sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder and racketeering. Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida. Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Miss Black Rhode Island, Desiree Washington. Much like today, all kinds of bizarre shit was going on around the world.

There were two things that happened in 1992 that changed and shaped my life forever. The first is the exoneration of four police officers for beating the absolute fucking dog shit out of the late Rodney King, and the subsequent riots that burned a portion of Los Angeles to the ground. At that point in my life I had no idea who I really was, but I was starting to rebel against everything. Parents, teachers, religion, you name it. At such a young age racial equality (or lack thereof, more accurately) wasn’t something I really thought about. I was just a white kid from the largely African-American community of Pine Hills, Florida. Much like any other pre-teen I wanted to ride BMX bikes, play football, and that type of thing. However, I was starting to figure out that I was really fucking angry. I was angry about a lot of things, but I couldn’t (and still don’t know if I can) pin point exactly what it was or is. At any rate, the L.A. riots got me paying attention to social injustices, politics, and just the world around me. I can’t really tell you if that’s a good or bad thing, but it is what it is.

The second thing that happened was a little band you may have heard of called Nirvana was thrust upon popular culture. I don’t think I could legitimately call myself a fan of Nirvana. Sure, they were a huge part of my childhood and introduced me to a lot of things that I love to this day. I do have a lot of problems with Nirvana as a band, but they aren’t important. What is important is how important Nirvana are as a band in the annals of rock ‘n roll history. It shouldn’t be forgotten.

As a child of the 80’s I was plagued with shit like Whitney Houston and even worse: hair bands. All the fucking “Living on a Prayer” and “Talk Dirty to Me” bullshit. I couldn’t relate to that goddamn nonsense. It seemed like I woke up one morning and all of a sudden all those bands were dead in the water, and here’s these three dirty sons a bitches from the Pacific Northwest that were fucking angry. About what? I had no clue. I couldn’t understand a fucking word Cobain sang. I didn’t mind, though. I didn’t need to know. I didn’t even know why I was angry, so it didn’t matter. They were just angry and accidentally throwing the entire record industry for a loop in the process. I felt I could relate to it.

I’m going to leave my negative feelings about Nirvana aside, and talk about the positives for this article. Whether you love them, or hate them matters not. You have to somewhat admire the dudes. I mean, for fuck’s sake they hammered the nails into the coffin of bullshit glam metal. Everyone should be forever thankful for that. To me, they were essentially the suburban white version of N.W.A. While N.W.A. were screaming “FUCK THA POLICE!” Nirvana were screaming whatever the hell they were screaming to suburban teens fed up with their mundane lives.

I’ve always felt that my generation didn’t really have any sort of identity. You had your beatniks, your baby boomers, your hippies, your disco queens, generation X, all this shit. We had Super Nintendo and….Nirvana. That’s pretty much it. Now that we’re all in our thirties, I can look back and say there is absolutely nothing exceptional about my generation. Though Nirvana changed the direction of the music industry forever, as a band, I don’t think there’s anything exceptional about them. I think that perfectly represents the generation of which I came from.

Anyway, whether you like it or not, if you’re in your early to mid-thirties, Nirvana were a big part of your childhood. At one point in time they were the biggest band on the planet. Kurt Cobain once said that the way he wanted ‘Nevermind’ to sound was like if the Bay City Rollers were being molested by Black Flag. I honestly think that’s a perfect description of the album. So, there you have it. Nirvana were the Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag, and white kids of the 90’s were being molested by Nirvana.

Though I don’t consider myself a fan, I do have respect for Nirvana and what they accomplished. Their impact on rock ‘n roll isn’t only undeniable, but it was absolutely necessary at the time. I thank them for that.

*side note: Though I absolutely HATE that Nirvana covered Turn Around by Devo, I do feel I should give some credit where credit is due. Normally I would be against anyone covering Leadbelly, but I’ll be goddamned if they didn’t absolutely nail this cover of Where Did You Sleep Last Night. It says a lot that I love it because as I previously stated I’m against anyone covering Leadbelly, and I fucking despised the whole MTV Unplugged concept. Bunch a bullshit, I say.

Thanks for taking the time to read my inane ramblings!

-Ryan Pemberton



Imperial Triumphant – Abominamentvm by orlandooom407

“The order of the world is always right – such is the judgment of God. For God has departed, but he has left his judgment behind, the way the Cheshire cat left his grin.”

~ Jean Baudrillard

Thematically, Imperial Triumphant’s latest release, and first full-length album, is shown provocatively on the album cover itself. Christ hangs crucified not to a cross, but to a gigantic and filthy-looking engine with what could be a pair of large machines or simply extensions of the engine itself. The message here seems to be that Christian ideology subjugates and renders slavish its subjects in the same manner as the machines and technologies of the modern world dominate peoples’ lives and fates. Screens absorb the masses into seductive virtual hallucinations while millions are driven out of their jobs and purposes towards society at large by machines and robotic replacements. It is rare to see anyone now without a computer small enough to fit in their pocket, and even rarer to see one of these people not neurotically attached to such a device, depending on it for everything from communication to navigation and pornography. To travel anywhere in most civilized areas, one needs to depend on a car, or some form of mechanized transportation. To not be utterly and completely detached from the happenings of the world, one needs a virtual connection to our vast virtual repository of information: the Internet. Mankind may have created machines, but machines now rule mankind, and as Baudrillard would put it, the object now rules the subject.

Technology, in its cold rule over humans by their dependence on it, is a kind of extension of the abstract rule of an ideology like Christianity, taking the weak and addicting them.Did mankind not create both God and technology (perhaps unconsciously) for that express purpose: to compensate for weakness and absolve sufferings? We are so burdened by our responsibility to our will and fate that we must give it away to something else, so obsessed with production and surplus that we must minimize the time spent doing every possible activity (through technology of course) in order to keep up with the world, which accelerates with this very technological progress as its engine. The situation seems unbreakable whereby man creates technology to increase production and reduce the time needing to be spent on a particular act, but ends up over-working himself rather than gaining anything at all, because the extra time gained from these concatenations are simply spent on further activities, and the cycle continues ad nauseum. We are crucified by what we created to liberate and enable us. The same way Christian morality and metaphysics turn its followers into a herd of slaves (if they were not already), technology eventually comes to dominate its users and turn them into slaves dependent on its power and the comfort it brings to their lives, much like faith and resignation to an abstract all-loving and eternally-just God. Further, in the same way capital displaces the value of things and transfers them into an abstract endlessly-modular and exchangeable unit (money), the ideas of Heaven and God and similar abstract sources for value rob the natural world of its own value by stating that value can only be located within a “beyond” or an intangible God.

In ‘Abominamentvm’’s lyrics and music, the cyberpunk fear of technology’s subjugation of mankind, and black metal’s essential rejection of Christian metaphysics and morality doing precisely the same thing, are combined in full force. The overall pace of the album is very discordant and seems heavily inspired by the almost free jazz progression styles of other third-wave black metal bands like Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega, with songs sometimes lacking any discernable structure during various points. The bass playing is very impressive in this album and on a few songs even breaks out into a bass-driven solo where the bass is usually pushed almost to the very back layers of the song. Despite these strengths, the music is so discordant that those with a taste for distinct melodies and song structures will only find those so-often within the songs. Discordant songs tend to run together and leave the listener with no distinct memory or idea of what they have listened to, which while interesting left me with little desire to hear any particular song again.

I feel the strongest songs on the album are ‘Manifesto’, ‘Crushing the Idol’, and ‘S.P.Q.R.’ which all have some pretty solid and technically fascinating progressions, even with the overall discordant embrace in which the songs are played. Again the bass solos and general bass prominence, along with unconventional sounds like air raid sirens, sound very interesting within a metal song. When the riffs are rolling they remind me of Marduk’s militant and pounding black metal style, and often the riffs will start after a nice drop-off in the song’s structure, carrying that much more impact. There are well-made and atmospheric transitions throughout as well, and they really help to drive home the palpable feeling of a terrifying “deus ex machina” future of mankind, sounding at times like the aftermath of war, and at other times like the harkening to a dark future. While I don’t aesthetically care for the discordant dissonance on this album, it does certainly fit the theme; it evokes the image of furious and free barbarians of the future reclaiming a world enslaved by religion and technology through hate, sweat, violence and fire.

– Maher



Pug Destroyer Shirts Benefit Pug Rescue of Florida by orlandooom407

How can you say no to that face? I certainly couldn’t because I submitted my application to volunteer with the Pug Rescue of Florida this morning after reading this Metal Injection article. My philanthropy senses began to tingle much like Spiderman’s hyper sensitivity to super suited psychopaths. The shirts themselves are available for $18 thanks to Pig Destroyer and ANIMAL New York. Portions of the proceeds go directly to the Florida Pug Rescue crew.

Click here to order your very own Pug Destroyer shirt!

Click here to visit the Florida Pug Rescue site to learn more about donating and/or volunteering!

And, here’s the video that spawned the viral craze:

Follow Jared Oates Haggard on Twitter.

– Jared Oates Haggard



New Beastwars Music Video For Tower of Skulls by orlandooom407

BEASTWARS, the band (sorry Dinobot), have released a vibrantly new music video for our enjoyment. The song, entitled Tower of Skulls, boasts a psychedelic trip through camera trickery and a myriad of visual hypnosis spanning several different natural landscapes including blue deserts and eclipsing suns. Enjoy!

BEASTWARS on Facebook!

Follow Jared Oates Haggard on Twitter.

– Jared Oates Haggard



Things We Lost in the Fire by orlandooom407

Few fascist administrations have proceeded without direct participation of the reigning religious authority. In Mein Kampf, one can find the sentiment, quite early into it, that “In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord”, and a phrase of related significance was emblazoned on the belt buckles of Hitler’s Wehrmacht: Gott mit uns, or, “God with us.” In return for the Fuhrer’s loyalty, the “Venerable” Pius XII managed to do as little as he could to help the wretched conditions and the systematic regime of murder taking place under his very holy jurisdiction. Even after the war, he still could not mention the killers by name, reciting a now-famous speech over the course of forty-five sanctimonious minutes exhorting “mankind” to protect the “hundreds of thousands” (oh, Pius!) from race-murder and oppression. His conduct during the Final Solution and his useless condemnation after the fact earn the pope rightful scorn at the Holocaust museum in Israel’s Yad Vashem, a slight that the current pope, himself a former member of the Nazi Youth, succeeded in protesting early last year, certainly earning his rodentine birth name Ratzinger.

In Simon Sebag-Montefiore’s redoubtable chronicle of poet and firebrand Joseph Djugashvili’s growth into the first Premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Young Stalin, the fledgling revolutionary renounces religion as early as he is able to tell the difference. He later succeeds in leading at first groups of other young men on minor waves of terror, ripping off banks in Tbilisi and committing acts of arson, but is finally able to consolidate his influence through a surgical itinerary of internecine purges. These were usually overseen or carried out by a psychotic henchman nicknamed Kamo, with the clear intention of galvanizing the lazy proletariat into participating in a revolution allegedly unfolding on their behalf. This incidentally sounds like the retrospective mandate for the classic black metal scene, with an emphasis on tearing down much the same forces (greedy corporations, corrupt religious institutions) and through much the same means. This is how the tired hashing out of the Euronymous/Grishnackh feud assumes a new element of absurdity, as what has been traditionally understood as an ideological clash – with Aarseth supposedly on the far left and Vikernes very clearly and unapologetically on the right – has more in common with the early Marxists than with their religious contemporaries in Italy, Japan, and the Third Reich.

Vikernes has often admitted to being a religious man. It is only that his faith is largely unrecognizable to a majority of people and the caveat is that his gods have been recently played for camp on screen by the actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. In the documentary “Until the Light Takes Us”, he cutely posits that “everybody can relate” to the pagan gods; his writings on burzum.com intuit that the church fires he all but admitted to lighting were done to draw the line at the encroaching influence of Christianity. This is key to Stalinism, not Hitlerism, but Vikernes has embraced the latter (see his execrable anti-Jewish rant shortly after the terrorist attack of Anders Breivik in Oslo) even as he offensively pretends against his own neo-Naziism. Had Euronymous prevailed in 1993, the cult of personality would have centered around him, the busiest member of the “circle”, and it is not impossible to imagine black metal shifting leftward for the remainder of its golden years.

The few stated leftists in black metal have taken for their genre the mouthy “red and anarchist black metal”, a reworking of the official name of an anti-racist, anti-fascist skinhead group from New York. (The illustrious Aaron Weaver of Wolves in the Throne Room [no word on Nathan] definitely voted for Obama, and I don’t also doubt that the guys from Deafheaven or Liturgy did as well, but the kind of left-wing black metal I have in mind is more actionable.) RABM does not like to think of itself as a reaction to NSBM any more than Vikernes likes to think of himself as BM at all, but it cannot be easy to dent the triumphant paradigm of nationalism in black metal when every genre release sounds like the first take on a rejected demo. The most well-known RABM band is Jarost Marksa (“Fury of Marx”), and their EP is unlistenable and largely derivative of the usual long-form tropes. The void left by Euronymous and awkwardly filled by the square peg of Vikernes-esque conservatism has, if I may be allowed to breathe new life in that old cliche, produced music first as tragedy, then as farce. For those on the left inclined to the chilly strains of a tremolo pick, the stunted growth of socialist black metal is an unforgiveable loss.

It is a long-documented phenomenon that the most conservative states – those most opposed to institutional assistance – are ironically those most reliant on government intervention for their health and livelihood. And to ignite a church in service to another is not to tear down an institution, but to re-entrench oneself in it anew. RABM, if it ever gets off the ground, may be the last best opportunity for counterposing itself against the victorious trend. There was a familiar if faintly heard promise in the anti-church dictums of the original black metal scene, last perceived spoken into the yearning ears of Stalin’s and Mao’s proletariat – right before they were sent to the gulag. It is the same promise squandered in the vicious murders of Magne Andreassen and Sandro Beyer (the latter by a confessed neo-Nazi band). It would be nice to see that promise fulfilled in the reddened blush of a new age of black metal.

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– Zack Sigel