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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



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



It’s Almost the 50th Anniversary of Beatlemania: Metalheads, Be Wary of Posers! by orlandooom407

When I was purchasing my tickets for the upcoming Kvelertak concert on the respective online box office for the tour, I found myself slightly amused to discover that, along with Converge, the Norwegian howlers had been labeled simply “hard rock/metal”, defining them in the effective subgenre shared by both Nickelback and Nirvana. But the brief thought also conjured up another name, on the occasion of its first single’s golden jubilee this month, from which a band being in that category places it only just two degrees of separation away. There is rather a significant overlap between consumers of “hard rock/metal” and fans of the Fab Four, and even those who find the Beatles too mawkish, meager, or otherwise lightweight – for a palette, anyway, that has currently expanded to include the exalted flavors of deathgrind, blackened troll metal, and powerviolence, which is apparently a type of music, now – must concede at least a primordial debt owed to them. We have, in any event, been entreated to the idea whether asked for or not.

The more mediocre commentators have always invariably pointed to “Helter Skelter” as the grandfather of metal (“I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”) but an imaginative sort can usually cite less obvious tracks, like the handful I recently saw nominated for this distinction by the author of a Top-100 list in Rolling Stone. “Ticket to Ride” seemed to be the most unexpected choice, and after a repeated listen, one may start to imagine something not completely dissimilar to Black Sabbath. The songs “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide But Me and My Monkey”, “Birthday”, and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” have also popped up in similar compendia, purporting to discover that missing link.

This is serious musical genealogy, but it’s being offered to you by fabulists. The familiar framework of the Beatles catalogue is precisely why “Helter Skelter” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” are as jarring as they are. The metal connection is piecemeal and elemental, owing to the fair-mindedness of John and Paul in inventing or popularizing the use of fuzz effects and rollicking solos. I would like to now suggest the possibility that the indiscernable bridge is a consequence of something approaching impotency. After all, Slayer’s encomium to Holocaust terror has been available for the entertainment of would-be mass killers for three decades, but the White Album inspired racist violence almost immediately. The kind of metal being said to have its roots in Beatlemania has had comparably little success in putting actions to its words at all.  The Beatles attracted more international scorn for claiming to be bigger than Jesus than did the early scene arsonists when they upped that ante at the stave churches in Skjold and Fantoft. But structurally, semantically, and aurally, the case simply cannot be made.

(Not unrelated but somehow more excruciating are those same critics who are still insisting that “Black Metal” should be credited with inspiring the music that bears its name just because Varg Vikernes got caught wearing a Venom tee shirt on his way to prison. Has anyone who makes this claim actually listened to the eponymous album? It is no more likely to have spawned Darkthrone and Gorgoroth than Iron Maiden. Remember, black metal was not even called that until death metal became too trendy a wagon to hitch on to, and now we are asked to believe that a band as bovine and effete as one that would write “possessed by the soul of the gods’ rock-and-roll” in its most famous song inspired our most benighted exemplar of nihilism in music?)

But I have made no secret of my partisan leanings and have had to catch myself in loosely insisting that a black metal element necessarily improves a track. And if we can believe that the Beatles at least inspired the music that inspired the punk that inspired the thrash that inspired the black metal, then let us be clear about what that means. The road from Lennon to, at least, Schuldiner is built on the latter’s unique attentiveness to riffage and picking, and paved with magnitudinal shifts in chord structure and percussion, but black metal managed to evolve divergently and in spite of the trends of either artist. The Beatles, for all their innovations and achievements, remain a manufactured product of capitalist industry, while black metal that is not an expression of working class angst can scarcely be graded pure at all. Your humble servant hastens to inform you that even a musician as prolific and illustrious as Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg was compelled to take a night watchmen’s job just to make rent. The latter-day Beatles came to be defined in opposition to the promiscuous conceit of the Johnson doctrine in Vietnam and within the overall movement toward civil rights and equality, but black metal has only recently developed a stomach for social consciousness that isn’t retrograde and nationalist.

And yet … “Let It Be”, for all its cloying sentiment, really does appear to contain a downtempo precursor to the Discharge-beat. And there is that riff, just buzzing enough, in the chorus of “Come Together” that one can imagine extended, through eight or sixteen more bars, and ruminatively re-expressed over a blast beat and a ghoulish shriek, that, maybe, streamed through a tinny amp and recorded in a basement, hints at the possibilities of black metal. But don’t expect any peace and love in the forests of poverty and decay.

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– Zack Sigel



Behexen – Nightside Emanations by orlandooom407
October 16, 2012, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Black Metal | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I was dead set on making it to Maryland Deathfest this year for my virgin extreme metal festival experience. I’m glad I did because I had the pleasure of zoning out to Horna and their tortured sentiments they’d sought to share. This infatuation led me to explore deeper into the raw black metal underground (of this week’s new releases). I discovered  this beautiful midnight polished gem, and regretfully have to accept a late pass since it’s technically been out for two weeks in everywhere but North America. Behexen and Horna share a common member in guitarist Shatraug, and his filthy forlorn guitar rings to a similar tinge. For a band with over ten physical releases spanning more than a decade Nightside Emanations does not stray from the scalding satanic chafes of traditional rugged black metal. Scourges of melancholy wash each track yielding a wretched tone sure to elevate the hairs upon the ears. Solid veteran effort to say the least, and you can enjoy it for free thanks to Spotify:

– Jared Oates Haggard




Core In China Sampler Available Now! by endlessgonzo

A new sampler has come out from the fine folks at Rock In China. This is exciting because we here at Orlandooom are always happy to see new Metal coming from countries normally bereft of heaviness. I am slightly bummed my personal favorite Chinese BM band, Yn Gzarm, isn’t on the sampler, but this is still absolutely killer!

Via MetalInsider



Scion Rock Fest Set Times Chart (IN COLOR)! by orlandooom407

Scion Rock Fest kicks off tomorrow at 2PM EST in Tampa, Florida. We all couldn’t surpass our current state of elation if we tried. Here’s a handy colorful chart, created by Floridian West Coast native Chris Elmore, to help you in breaking up your evening. Orlandooom contributors and friends are sure to litter to floors of The Rtiz, Czar Bar and The Orpheum. I don’t know about everyone else, but there’s no way I’d miss The Atlas Moth, Sleep, Witch Mountain, Church of Misery or Saint Vitus. Might dip out during Down to catch a peek at Merzbow to complete the day’s sonic overload. Here’s Scion A/V Metal‘s graphical running order too:

Scion Rock Fest Information

Scion A/V Twitter