overground scene

Underated Extreme Metal Albums #1

Even though I think that I should first write a post about my ideas in regards to how taste in music is shaped, and about the extend to which our preferences are really ours, I will refer to some of the most underated metal albums of all time. Even though my experience is from Greece, I have recently come across many online zines (Blabbermouth, Chronicles of Chaos), from where I have diagnosed shockingly similar opinions.

I admit that it is really difficult to provide concrete evidence that these albums have been considered, by the greek press and audience, to be bad. The dominant metal magazine for almost thirty years in Greece is Metal Hammer, and for some years its monopoly in metal music was questioned by the short-lived Metal Invader (for some years now I think there are a couple of other zines which I have never read). I personally have bought Metal Hammer around ten times in my life and once or twice Metal Invader. The reasons why I would buy them usually was because they had interviews by bands like Dismember or Entombed. However, I have to confess that I always enjoyed the album reviews section and every time some of my friends would buy them I I would gladly go through it. Another interesting section, and from where someone can get an idea of what people think about bands, was the readers’ letters section. Occasionally, there had been polls where readers and/or the authors of the zine would vote for their best or worst albums.

I have to specify that I refer to more or less famous bands and not the less famous because then I would have possibly gone on forever. Metal Hammer writers back in ’93, were giving “tomb of the mutilated” 2 out of 10, or “osculum obscenum” a 3/10, and in general extreme metal was frowned upon. I will refer to two albums now and will come back to it in the future…

1. Slayer – Divine Intervention (1994)

The reason why this is my first choice is because I have heard people saying that it is a weak album, and because I remember a poll many years ago either on Metal hammer or metal invader with the worst metal albums ever, in which the people had voted for it. Even though I was certain back then that it had something to do with the fact that Greek metal fans were idiots, I recently discovered that other people from other countries have similar views. I think it was blabbermouth in which I read that Slayer had not done anything decent since “seasons…”. I even saw somewhere that someone considered “Diabolus in Musica” interesting compared to “Divine…”. Someone else, or maybe the same person, questioned Kerry King’s ability to compose songs (since many songs in that record are written by him)! In the greek magazine’s poll, the critique was that Araya was screaming like an idiot and that Bostaph was using tupperware instead of drums. Let’s get one thing straight: Bostaph is God! Way more intense than Lombardo. In the new album that Lombardo returned it is obvious that the man has lost his interest in that kind of music. I have never heard such a boring performance. On divine intervention Bostaph rules. Furthermore, the lyrics are super cool in most of the songs and there is big variety in song writing. Songs like “circle of beliefs“, “fictional reality”, “serenity in murder” are not only phenomenal but also innovative and progressive, that no other band has ever even tried to copy (in contrast to older slayer songs,e.g. dead skin mask, angel of death, raining blood, which have been copied thousands of times). The atmosphere of hymns like “213” or “divine intervention” is comparable to “dead skin mask” or “south of heaven” and even better! I cannot begin to describe the fury of “dittohead” and “sex.murder.art“. All in all a perfect and all time favorite album, which I listen to for 13 years and have not changed my mind a bit.

2. Deicide – Serpents of the Light (1997)

I was shocked to find out that there are people listening to death metal and don’t like this album. I can remember that the Greek metal hammer gave it an 8 or 9 out of 10 which was pretty good, but a couple of times I have heard people saying that this album is bad. Recently I have been reading stuff around deicide and their new album, which is by the way quite good, on Blabbermouth. First of all, I have to say that deicide have turned into a caricature of a death metal band and are now metal celebrities. Asheim is well known for his pro-war opinions and weapon obsessions, Benton for his personal problems and divorces! Furthermore they seem to have fired the other two members of the band with which they were together for almost 20 years over royalties issues. But these all are unrelated to how perfect “serpents…” is! I have read many times that serpents is awful, is a shame, is even worse than “insineratehymn”, or that it is among their records showing signs of decline! First of all, this album has awesome lyrics! On this album Benton’s vocals are perfect! They are the angriest vocals he has ever made and you can actually hear the lyrics. Moreover each song is coherent, with amazing continuity between melodies and riffs, not just riffs glued together like ALL new death metal groups. Finally each song has a perfect chorus. I personally think that Deicide will never write again songs as perfect as “Believe the lie“, “Serpents of the light“, “Father baker’s”, “This is hell we’re in”.

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