Monday, February 17, 2014

Adam "Nergal" Darski: Winning at Metal.

Depending on your perspective,this guy is either going to hurt your feelings or validate your poorly justified sense of elitism over fans of other subgenres of metal.

I haven't ranted online about metal in a few...months I suppose.  So what motivates me today? Adam "Nergal" Darski and some recent comments he made in published interviews that managed to stir up the metal scene who otherwise would be having yet another pointless debate about "Pantera vs Metallica vs Iron Maiden" or upsetting themselves over why, one again, the Mayhem tour only has 3 quasi-listenable bands on it. For the sake of me throwing my opinion out there about a week after this was truly relevant, let's examine the pair of "controversial" quotes.

I guess this comment got some peoples panties all wadded up since he appears to be taking a shot at American bands and American death metal in particular.  Other people have used it as an opportunity to point and say “neener neener, Nergal agrees! Death metal blows d00d! I’m gonna listen to Finntroll and dress like a confused mess of a pirate…er…viking…er…Peter Pan!”  Honestly, I don’t think he’s doing either.  I don’t think all or even most American death metal is in a race to see who the most technical, or fastest, etc is.  I do think there’s a massive amount of overly similiar sounding bands that (predominately) emerge from California, signed to either Unique Leader or Sumerian Records (or perhaps Prosthetic?), all of whom seem to be playing a style that’s pointlessly technical and way too digitally enhanced.  Bands from that scene that sound like a cross of Suffocation and Deeds of Flesh (such as Inherit Disease, for example) I can totally dig on, but it doesn’t make Nergal’s assessment invalid; those bands are generic, seemingly a dime a dozen, and largely without personality.  If someone plays you Carnophage or Severed Savior, do you really know the difference?  And Brain Drill, for all of their hyperspeed, is boring as fuck.

That doesn’t reflect the whole American death metal scene, however.  Besides Malignancy and maybe Immolation, the bands from New York don’t play a super technical style.  The Florida scene, decrepitly old as all of those bands are, doesn’t fit Nergal’s profile, either.  And I don’t think he meant for them to; it was merely an off the cuff comment focusing on what does appear to be popular among the youngest generation of fans these days.

How fucking spot on Nergal is here.  These days anything with double bass drums and some variation of screaming/growling vocals is automatically considered “extreme”.  Am I supposed to think Killswitch Engage is “extreme”?  Slipknot? In Flames?  Perhaps in the 1980’s, playing a thrash beat and having a bit of gritty snarl in your vocals made you “extreme”, but these days grindcore has fully evolved.  Shit like Kill The Client or Wormrot is as fast, unrelenting, and anti-melodic as anything I can imagine this side of pure noise or some insane sort of electronic music.  Playing fast and growling isn’t extreme except to neophytes to the genre.  Behemoth has been around since the early 1990’s; Nergal has more perspective on this than I think he gets credit for since Behemoth never really gained a high profile until the “Demigod” album in 2004 or whenever it came out.

I think what irks people is that it seems like Nergal is being quite full of himself at the same time he’s become something of a celebrity in Poland; doing energy drink commercials and judging contestants on reality shows and dating super models.  

Face it, metalheads; you're just jealous because he's living the life and you aren't.
Guess what?  You release a record like “The Satanist”, and you get to talk all of the shit you want.  I’ve had some time to let this record sink in, and I’m convinced this is the best album to be released since Opeth’s “Blackwater Park” dropped in 2001.  I don’t think there’s any one element that’s revolutionary about “The Satanist”, but Behemoth draws from enough varied influences to liven up what had become, over the last few albums, a predictable Polish style of death metal not dissimiliar from Lost Soul or Vader.  It’s the most adventurous album I’ve heard from a death or black metal band that didn’t go completely lame (I’m talking about you, Shining) since Akercocke’s “Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone.”  

So if y’all wanna get pissed at Nergal for speaking his mind, fuck off.  At least he’s interesting and provoking debate instead of the hippie love fest that the metal scene is starting to become, where fans are accused of closed-mindedness if they dislike nerd-metal approved releases such as Opeth’s “Heritage” (which still sucks) or a recording of Devin Townsend reciting feminist poetry inside of a porta-john.

Remember, no matter how much smarter and more sophisticated you think your choices in the music and media you consume makes you, you still look like these dorks to the rest of humanity.  Get over it.


  1. Some snowflake is butthurt.

    Dude, his comments are true. Go back to listening to Job for a Faggot.

    1. So I realize my blog is more livejournal than journalism, but I still think I'm able to write coherently enough that anyone with slightest iota of reading comprehension would gather that I'm quite pro-Nergal here and agreeing with what his takes were by and large. Nearly 4 years later, I still do. So I'm not sure who the "snowflake" is that you're addressing.

      Having said that, I'm not sure what you're implying when you say "go listen to Job for a Cowboy." I mean, I'm not a fan of JFAC, but are we trying to suggest they play a dramatically different genre than say, Korpse or Katalepsy? Because that's absurd (the only difference really is that Korpse is really fucking good and Katalepsy's "Autopsychosis" album was sick too.)

      Also, it's 2017 and you gotta work on your wit. Homophobic slurs are so 1998-2001. I'm hardly an SJW, I'm just saying metal fans can be more creative than resorting to defaming minority groups to express dislike of a band/musician/idea. And no, referring to people as beta-cucks or whatever isn't creative either.

      Or at least if you're gonna be an asshole have the courage to not be anonymous about it.