*inlcudes free digital download
"There's so much talk of "real" and "true" in heavy metal these days, in particular within Black Metal. Nowhere else in the world of music is the integrity of musicians called into question so often, and it's always more so within Black Metal. I can always remember the feelings of distrust towards posers in the eighties; we always knew that the likes of Winger were lame, but never did we question whether, for instance, Overkill were posers because they had a neon green logo, or whether Nuclear Assault were taking the piss with "The Mister Softee Theme". They were Thrash bands, our bands, and that was all that mattered. Even when Death Metal was the underground's cause célèbre (the first time around), nobody questioned the jazz-inspired Disharmonic Orchestra, or the sci-fi sound effects of Nocturnus; it was just Death Metal, our Death Metal, and we lapped it up. Once the Black Metal frost started to travel across the North Sea in the very early nineties, in what was undoubtedly sloganeering, the motives of these earlier bands were called into question by the mysterious voices from Scandinavia - bands appearing onstage in jogging pants? Posers. Entombed? Shit. Glen Benton? A phony.
I can still remember reading an interview with Fenriz of Darkthrone in Bleak Horizons 'zine where he said they disowned their debut album and that their next LP, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, should be considered their "true" début. Black Metal it was, at the expense of all else, Hail Satan.By the time the Arnopp article went out in 93, Black Metal was almost done. The bands had settled into arguing and (literal) backstabbing, and existing bands either co-opted the look, if not the music, and countless impersonators were forming bands all over the world.
For me this was always the problem with post-93 Black Metal; bands were trying to be Black Metal, with little or no understanding of the pedigree that had gone before. No understanding of Persecution Mania.No understanding of Master's Hammer. No idea about Flag of Hate. No isolation, just a sensational article and an instant scene, and instant finger pointing and accusations of what is true, and what is "kvlt", from people who didn't get it.That's what I always looked for in later Black Metal, not who was "true", not who was "real", but who got it. What bands got Black Metal, bands who gave me that feeling of hearing stuff for the first time all over again. Which brings me to today, to the here and now, and to Satanic Dystopia's Double Denim Shotgun Massacre.
They undoubtedly get it. From the moment you are greeted with creeping feedback and Christopher Lee explaining the nature of evil, you are entering into a world that is within modern metal, but not part of it. Satanic Dystopia have a sound that whilst lo-fi, eschews what people think is black metal, the washed out, trebley sound of Norway, for an altogether more fuzzy, low-end heavy sound more reminiscent of the South American death-thrash bands that came before. Vocals sound as though they were recorded in a basement or cellar, and are an altogether more violent, guttural sound than the high pitched screams that the genre relies on so much, think more like Grave Desecrator's Butcherazor. Absolute teutonic riffery and the a love of all that is dark - halfway through Blood Spit and Concrete, they break into a synchronised head banging section with a sample of dialogue that just sets the scene completely - "Go out of the room. Take the children out of the room".
There is a rich vein of Thrash metal running through all the songs, if they are in danger of becoming to epic or stale they are instantly reined in and a tempo change takes place, or a riff re-appears from earlier, even though all the tracks are mercilessly short, none of them actually feel as if they are less than three minutes long. If you want a heavy metal album that makes you want to bang your head and streetfight, rather than put on a cloak and live in a cave, this is the one for you.
I can remember the first time I heard Hell Awaits all the way through and I just sat there in silence afterwards, knowing I had taken a step further than I'd ever been before.
Satanic Dystopia make me feel just like that again."
*Patchie Clancy(Theeclaw Blogspot)