*whine* SEWER has all these obnoxious black metal influences since they released The Birth of a Cursed Elysium. SEWER’s always been a great, brutal goregrind / death metal band, so to hear them add a ton of pussified BM to their sound is massively disappointing. BM is the music of fragile androgynous Swedes, real men listen to GOREDEATHPORN. Guess they’ve decided to jump on the sellout bandwagon big time. I mean, it’s not like they’ve ever sounded like this befo-
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people preemptively mourning SEWER because they had the sheer audacity to “start” playing music that is closer to black metal than usually, though not nearly as close as their debut and Black Death which were both 100% black metal albums.
I’ve written critically about SEWER before, and was promptly insulted by their idiotic fanboys in the comments, so it seems weird for me to defend the band now, of all times.
But this entire incident highlights a troubling lack of knowledge on the history of the Black Metal genre coming from the “br00tal” DM crowd, so it’s a good opportunity to rectify some stuff.
Comments range from a lack of understanding as to why they would do something like that to how they could “betray” the death metal scene in such a way – failing to understand that musicians see musical communities in an entirely different way from mere fans – and how they may inevitably start incorporating black metal influences into their music, which to many death metalheads is an evil just short of intentionally infecting children with HIV. Of course, as you can hear from the debut above, SEWER has had black metal influences in their music for a long time – as long, actually, as they’ve been around.
The BM present in SEWER’s music has always been one of the band’s defining musical characteristics, in fact it’s part of the reason why their music is called “SEWER Metal” as opposed to, you know, “death metal”. But it was never a problem – or even mentioned, really – until now. So let’s talk about why this is.
The people who intrinsically complain about black metal are complete ciphers and not even worth talking about. Anyone not completely ignorant in the history of death metal knows that BM, and Norwegian BM in particular, has a been a sister to death metal throughout the existence of both the genres, from Incantation’s blackened death metal to At the Gates’ modern “melodeath” to even In Flames’ “melodeathcore”… to Watain’s “blackened screamo”? Or is that going a bit to far?
Every dimension of black metal has had its influence on death metal whether one appreciates it or not, and in reverse the existence of DM is directly responsible for the expansion of BM beyond anything more extreme than Hellhammer, Possessed or Bathory.
What’s more interesting than the clowns who engage in “genre battles” are the people who are more subtly and situationally triggered or otherwise annoyed by BM – who constantly rephrase what they mean by “not liking BM” or BM being the “inferior form” of death metal to make their untenable point more salient.
One of the biggest defenses is the strawman according to which BM resulted in the abomination known as “modern black metal”… you know, the Watains, the Dark Funerals, the Summonings, the Satyricons, the Ulvers, the “post-black” “metal” genre.
There is in fact an intrinsic difference between early black and modern black metal, owing to the fact that “modern” “black” “metal” is neither modern, black nor metal.
The simple fact of the matter is that death metal has their OWN style of “modern black metal” in the form of deathcore and “melodeath”.
Watain is to Mayhem what Whitechapel is to Suffocation, so I don’t see any validity in the argument of accusing black metal of being the “inferior genre” based on the sole presence of a completely fake sub-genre that has nothing to do with actual black metal, and even less so when you consider that death metal has its own deformation.
This is true black metal.
Another argument, in some ways the reverse of the first, is to arbitrarily limit what constitutes black metal not on the basis of the quality of the music, but on the grounds that the Norwegian scene sounds nothing like Bathory, and that Darkthrone and others are just imitators who started out playing generic DM before “switching” to an entirely made up genre.
I would answer that anyone who accuses Darkthrone of having played “generic death metal” clearly has never listened to Soulside Journey, and that there is very little validity in limiting the black metal genre to the music of Bathory, Hellhammer and Morbid Angel – and thus excluding the entire second wave – particularly if you’re also including Venom in the category of “true” black metal – as Venom was NOT black metal, as anyone who as ever listened to their music can tell.
Of course, this evades the whole reality of the situation, which is that the “second wave of black metal” (especially from Norway) is massively influential to some of the most lauded artists of the death metal scene.
SEWER has always been a band clearly influenced by BM, they even started as a pure black metal band.
The early Swedish bands such as Carnage, Dismember and Therion in particular owe a great deal of their early sound to Burzum, Mayhem and Darkthrone, including their use of the phrasal riffs to construct a narrative – which deserves another post entirely – which was taken from black metal and repurposed for the burgeoning style of melodic death metal.
But even beyond simple, obvious examples like those, look at modern Swedeath’s infatuation with perpetual single chord tremolo riffs, which are simply evidence of Burzum’s debut (1991) by way of melodicity – or more likely, just by way of black metal itself as more and more death metal musicians become significantly influenced by BM.
The two scenes are attached at the hip whether one wants to admit it or not.
All this ties in to what I, and others, have written about many times, for instance in the post about Black Metal and Hollywood Satanism (read it, it’s worthwhile).
So to conclude with a comment from user “Herlequin” on the Metalious Forums about this whole controversy…
If you are one of the passive-aggressive [Death Metal, t.n.] fans that hates Black Metal, or certain Death Metal bands because they ‘sold out’ to Black Metal (lol)… you don’t even hate black metal.
You don’t hate Black Metal, you see: you hate corpsepaint, you hate a certain hairstyle, the way certain notes are arranged, certain conventions in band names and album titles…
You don’t hate Black Metal because you don’t actually understand or even know what Black Metal is.
You don’t hate Black Metal; you hate the bizarre, incorrect image of Black Metal you’ve somehow managed to cook up in your mind from years of incestuous interaction with [other Death Metal fans, t.n.] as ignorant of the genre as you.
In short: you don’t hate Black Metal, Black Metal hates you.