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Veracs
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Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:56 pm
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Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:26 am 
 

From the period of the early nineties USBM has been derided as being mediocre to our European contemporaries who birthed the genre, and while most of my generation wasn't able to make qualitative judgements about bands- is this necessarily so? Bands such as Absu, Judas Iscariot, Blasphemy, Grand Belial's Key, Profanatica, and Weaking all offered unique takes on the music, and even more recently albeit not without certain verdicts on its fidelity- Cascadian bm has proved that North America can offer the metal world something. For the older forum denizens, has the disregard for a slew of mediocre "Darkthrone clones" from those days been an assessment that is adequately justified? Or have you revisited albums for the aforementioned bands that make you question your prior judgement in those days, are you even bothered to listen to newer material in the hopes of forever laying quality of black metal bands from North America to rest? Is the quality and sheer diversity of black metal from Europe and elsewhere just more than what is/was offered here?
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pastafarian
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:07 am 
 

Blasphemy are from canada. Just sayin.

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Panflute
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Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:11 am
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:08 am 
 

I just can't get into it and I don't really know why. Something about it just doesn't feel right. This applies to both older bands such as Judas Iscariot and Weakling, as to the newer "Cascadian" bands. Absu is cool, as it sometimes reminds me of Zemial, but other than that, I stick to BM from Europe and Québec pretty much exclusively.
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TDD
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:36 am
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:19 am 
 

Suffice to say USBM has got Nightbringer. That fact alone makes it worthy; some of the most intense, elaborate and amazing BM out there, if there ever was any...

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katatonia47
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Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:54 am
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:43 am 
 

I love it, personally. I don't think the genres of Black Metal the US bands put out are inherently good or bad, but the main frontrunners such as Cobalt and Deafheaven are among my favourite bands, so I have to like it, really.
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InfernoxDeath
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:40 am
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:56 am 
 

Misunderstood perhaps? It's all due to people making comparison to European and Scandinavian black metal.
TWILIGHT is an exceptionally brilliant black metal band from the States. Second Cobalt
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CrushedRevelation
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:17 am 
 

As one of the older denizens of this board (in age that is), the bands that emerged from the US are of (obviously) varying quality, BUT there has been some excellent bands to have come from it. Bands like Judas Iscariot, Leviathan/Lurker Of Chalice, early Nachtmystium, Kerasphorus, Black Witchery, Nightbringer, Thornspawn et al all contributed to shape USBM (and the others named in the OP), and for the most part were of good to excellent quality. The fact that Judas Iscariot were sonically not too dissimilar to early, post Soulside Journey Darkthrone, was a contributing factor of me checking them out, and went from there. I also believe Blasphemy had a massive impact upon lots of the newer crop of bands, in the more destructive nature.

Is it mediocre? Most of it is of course, but there will still be those that stand out, and help further it's development, and they will most likely take cue from what has come before, as is the nature of most metal bands. Comparing them to Scandinavian bands is ridiculous, but thanks (mostly) to the second wave, this is where a majority of bands probably took their influence. I still like to check out bm bands from the States as there are some gems to be found.
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Kveldulfr
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:10 am 
 

People is harder with USBM cause the number of outstanding bands seems to be way inferior to Norway or Sweden, but, hell, USA can't be the best in everything. See death metal, I think USA is the country with the most exceptional dm bands, even dm was born there. The fact that Death and Morbid Angel are from US is enough to obliterate the rest of the countries in terms of comparisons.

Then again, Scandinavia/Europe is full of Darkthrone/Burzum clones... BAD clones, but since most of the most revered bands of the genre hails from there, no one gives a shit. Judas Iscariot is the best band inspired on Darkthrone's trilogy, even surpassing them sometimes IMO, just like Grand Belial's Key is simply unique and one of the best of the entire genre.

Anyway, if there's another country that can rival with the scandinavians is Greece. Rotting Christ, Varathron, Necromantia, Deviser, Kawir, Naer Mataron, Thou Art Lord, Agatus, Nocternity and so many others makes the greeks as productive and great in quality as norwegians for me.

But ultimately it's not important. The fact that Switzerland has both Celtic Frost and Samael is proof enough that it doesn't matter from where the bands come, there's always a chance to find great music wherever you look for.
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Metallumz
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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:02 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:23 am 
 

I think people find it harder to relate to USBM because by notion Black Metal is seen as music made and influenced by isolation/desolation whereas the US by state is often seen as the powerhouse of western industrialisation, corporatism, and social affirmations derived by conformism. Its harder to accept artists from say somewhere like Los Angeles or NYC because that lack of desolation isn't derived through American culture. We want it to believe that its the land of dreams and people chatting away in McDonalds with skyscrapers towering over them.

I know personally that this concept is misconcieved, very few places in the states are as industrialised and urban connotated as the western msm would lead you to believe. With mountains many times taller than those in Europe including tens of active volcanoes, deserts, marshlands, forests, tundra, etc. Such a differential continent can be just as isolated away from the American society as anything similar experienced in Norway or Alpine France. To truly break into USBM you need to ditch the notions of everything you think you know about the country and culture and just enjoy the music for what it is. Anti-conformism and more importantly anti-westernisation.

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TDD
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:26 am 
 

Metallumz wrote:
I think people find it harder to relate to USBM because by notion Black Metal is seen as music made and influenced by isolation/desolation


I thought BM is all about Satan...either literally or metaphorically...

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Metallumz
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:37 am 
 

Black Metal philosophy is misconstrued as being that of Satan (even encouraged by the bands for publicity), however the theology behind the music is in-part thanks due to the isolation/desolation many of the artists experience through their lifestyles and general situation.

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CF_Mono
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:45 am 
 

TDD wrote:
Metallumz wrote:
I think people find it harder to relate to USBM because by notion Black Metal is seen as music made and influenced by isolation/desolation


I thought BM is all about Satan...either literally or metaphorically...

Lyrical content is something that a lot of people somehow like to say defines black metal. But it's not the case at all. You can hear musical differences between black metal and other extreme genres, and they're very apparent. The Norwegian movement specifically tried to not sound like death metal, and they specifically intended to be satanic because they thought it was more evil, atmospheric, and extreme in their eyes. In the end a lot of those bands ended up not really being satanists, and didn't really think that the music should be dedicated to satanic themes at all. There have been a few exceptions who have said satanism is the sole element that makes something black metal, but those guys only say it because... well, they're the satanists :lol:

That being said, there are a lot of US black metal bands that sound marginally different from European bands. Sometimes this "different for the sake of being different" idea gets taken too far and does result in mediocrity, but there are some musicians that know what they're doing and have made some really great works with this "modern black metal" aesthetic. On the other hand, there are some USBM bands that are brutal, and sound more like their transpacific counterparts and are great as well. I'm going to have to say misunderstood on this one. One of the fascination things about black metal, is how many different ways it has been interpreted over the past two decades. A lot of people took elements of music they liked from different places, and played this mix and match game with them. In the US, there was a lot of this, especially in black metal.
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Sokaris
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:04 am 
 

You'd think just by sheer volume the US would have more decent bands but personally there's very little that evokes any kind of response from me. As far as the early days of the second wave go, I think in the great European BM scenes there was a snowballing effect. The pioneers kind of came up together and sort of encouraged their peers. There was no tight-knit black metal scene anywhere in the US.

Also, I just want to type Absu over and over and over.
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Expedience
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:22 am
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:23 am 
 

Metallumz wrote:
I think people find it harder to relate to USBM because by notion Black Metal is seen as music made and influenced by isolation/desolation whereas the US by state is often seen as the powerhouse of western industrialisation, corporatism, and social affirmations derived by conformism. Its harder to accept artists from say somewhere like Los Angeles or NYC because that lack of desolation isn't derived through American culture. We want it to believe that its the land of dreams and people chatting away in McDonalds with skyscrapers towering over them.

I know personally that this concept is misconcieved, very few places in the states are as industrialised and urban connotated as the western msm would lead you to believe. With mountains many times taller than those in Europe including tens of active volcanoes, deserts, marshlands, forests, tundra, etc. Such a differential continent can be just as isolated away from the American society as anything similar experienced in Norway or Alpine France. To truly break into USBM you need to ditch the notions of everything you think you know about the country and culture and just enjoy the music for what it is. Anti-conformism and more importantly anti-westernisation.


Norway might not have more beautiful and inspirational landscapes than the US but its tiny population managed to produce much higher quality BM than anywhere else. Surely this tells us the physical geography of the country is not the only important thing. I always saw the longing for nature and romanticism in BM, along with the church burning and anti-christian sentiment, as a reaction to the modernisation and industrialisation of the landscape. Rather than a more positive, poetic love for nature, which is a form newer (US)BM tends to take. If I had to guess I would say part of the reason is that the incursion into Norway's traditional way of living was much more sudden and severe than in the US, or the bands thought it was.

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the_raytownian
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:46 am 
 

CrushedRevelation wrote:
Is it mediocre? Most of it is of course

...which is like saying most BM bands from other countries aren't mediocre as well. :idea:
I personally really like a lot of the, uh, raw/lo-fi/so-called "Punk" BM that seems to exist largely on the west coast.

Ignoring any cultural stereotypes of "west coast" or "the US" in general, I think it's sort of impossible to claim there's some kind of inherent mediocrity/genericism that only exists for "USBM", especially considering people gobble up similarly derivative/mediocre/boring crap, as long as it seems exotic for coming from some place like south America or Micronesia or something.

The colonists are hungry, I guess!

I think the epidemic of bad USBM is largely a psychological one... Which is not to say that bands from this country are any more inherently "good" than bad, but that it is a HUGE country with A LOT of bands, coupled with the fact that actually-good BM bands anywhere are pretty fucking few and far between, and that people seem to have a subconsciously-critical attitude of the country's bands for simply "being from the US", despite how much garbage from other countries (including, or especially, Scandinavian ones [EDIT: note that I am referring chiefly to "contemporary" bands]) is lauded as great music.

For the record: I'm not "nationalistic" in any sense of the word, and I do not consider myself a patriotic person. I'd be saying the same things if I lived in any other country. I attempt to keep my opinions as objective as possible, without denying the fact that I live in The United States.
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Last edited by the_raytownian on Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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the_raytownian
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:58 am 
 

Metallumz wrote:
Black Metal philosophy is misconstrued as being that of Satan (even encouraged by the bands for publicity), however the theology behind the music is in-part thanks due to the isolation/desolation many of the artists experience through their lifestyles and general situation.


Oh, the rural south is more kvlt than you could ever know... Mississippi ist krieg!
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CF_Mono
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:22 pm 
 

Expedience wrote:
Norway might not have more beautiful and inspirational landscapes than the US but its tiny population managed to produce much higher quality BM than anywhere else. Surely this tells us the physical geography of the country is not the only important thing. I always saw the longing for nature and romanticism in BM, along with the church burning and anti-christian sentiment, as a reaction to the modernisation and industrialisation of the landscape. Rather than a more positive, poetic love for nature, which is a form newer (US)BM tends to take. If I had to guess I would say part of the reason is that the incursion into Norway's traditional way of living was much more sudden and severe than in the US, or the bands thought it was.

Yeah, the chemistry for such hateful and dark metal to come out of Norway is a delicate mix. There are plenty of places in the U.S. that are crazy inspiring. I get lots of "running through the woods" black metal vibes hiking through the Adirondacks up here, but the sentiment is different. The U.S. isn't nearly as ethnically simple or physically isolated as Norway is. The religious tension also isn't really extreme over here. Everyone is over-confident of their freedom of speech and freedom of religion, thus there isn't as much shock value to anything. That's probably why people feel a disconnect with the ideologies of black metal in the U.S.. And it's also probably why the most successful lyrical themes from black metal bands here (scratch that, most American metal period), are those dealing with isolation and heavy criticism of brainwashed masses and modern culture.
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GTog
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:04 pm 
 

I vote mediocre. I've heard around 100 different black metal acts from the US and Canada over the years, and here I sit with (still) just Kult ov Azazel's Oculus Infernum in my collection. Nothing else is a keeper. The closest I get to USBM that I like are Forest of Impaled.

But is that something inherent to this side of the pond? No. 90% of all black metal I've heard from anywhere is just awful. I don't think anywhere has a lock on quality black metal, though I do find a disproportionate number of keeper bands from Sweden, with the likes of Dark Funeral, Setherial, Marduk, etc.

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SadisticGratification
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:53 pm 
 

I'm finding it hard to keep up with these acronyms and not being a black metal fan makes it even worse, can someone explain to me what USBM is?

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Veracs
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:55 pm 
 

GTog wrote:
I vote mediocre. I've heard around 100 different black metal acts from the US and Canada over the years, and here I sit with (still) just Kult ov Azazel's Oculus Infernum in my collection. Nothing else is a keeper. The closest I get to USBM that I like are Forest of Impaled.

But is that something inherent to this side of the pond? No. 90% of all black metal I've heard from anywhere is just awful. I don't think anywhere has a lock on quality black metal, though I do find a disproportionate number of keeper bands from Sweden, with the likes of Dark Funeral, Setherial, Marduk, etc.


Have you even bothered to check out any of the bands I mentioned in my original post? While Kult ov Azazel aren't bad musically they're more or less one of the band's people I've heard mention as emblematic of the lack of creativity of US black metal.
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Thing is, Suicide Silence actually are more sonically massive than a good 95% of all the death metal bands in the Archives! Not metal, sure, but definitely a lot more brutal.

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Panflute
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:50 pm 
 

SadisticGratification wrote:
I'm finding it hard to keep up with these acronyms and not being a black metal fan makes it even worse, can someone explain to me what USBM is?


"United States Black Metal".

So BM from the USA, pure and simple.
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Flugeldufel
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:04 pm 
 

I think bands like Profanatica, Demoncy, Absu, Averse Sefira, Inquisition (technically), GBK etc. are all great black metal groups from the USA. Not mediocre at all. Different in style from other parts of the world, and from each other, but nothing to misunderstand I don't think.

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Marag
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:08 pm 
 

I used to be of the opinion that USBM was nothing but 3rd rip offs of the norwegian. I still think many bands are nothing but this. However, since I got into Bone Awl, I got more open to american bands. Leviathan is commonly lumped into the DSBM label, but I find it to be extremely spiteful music, free of pretentions, and while not top-tier, its still a good band. Jef's other project, Lurker of Chalice, is excellent, a good example of integration of ambient and bm that many other american bands try but fail miserably. There is also GBK, a band which is more often disliked for the ideologies of their members than for their music, which has a very interesting take on bm, playing a style that sounds like a mixture of both the oldschool "proto-bm" black/thrash/punk hybrid with the more modern atmospheric style. There is also the whole Bone Awl punkish inspired scene such as Furdidurke and Strongblood, and if you consider the fact that the mighty Inquisition released all their black metal while in the USA, it adds tons of credibility to this scene.

Overalll, it's not my favorite scene, and yes it's full of lame copycats, but it has plenty of good material to offer. If the Scandinavian scene has taken inspiration for the natural isolation they experience, I'd say USBM took inspiration from the chaos and revolt that comes from living in such a large, diverse, and ultimately confusing nation.

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iAm
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:19 pm 
 

What exactly entails USBM? It's a quite diverse scene with everything from Drone/ Noise bands, hundreds of Darkthrone clones, raw shit from the early nineties, Post Rock influenced stuff and so forth. Lumping it all together is quite foolish.

I could care less where a band is from. It's music.
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AsinineUsername
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:18 pm 
 

There's plenty of good shit, if you know where to look. Particularly bestial shit.

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Marag
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:24 pm 
 

AsinineUsername wrote:
There's plenty of good shit, if you know where to look. Particularly bestial shit.

my dog and cats already pump out a lot of bestial shit, i don't i need to look for more of it

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AsinineUsername
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:34 pm 
 

Marag wrote:
AsinineUsername wrote:
There's plenty of good shit, if you know where to look. Particularly bestial shit.

my dog and cats already pump out a lot of bestial shit, i don't i need to look for more of it


Smartass or joking?...

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the_raytownian
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:40 pm 
 

Somewhere in the middle, most likely...
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Marag
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:04 pm 
 

AsinineUsername wrote:
Smartass or joking?...

Is there any difference? I was joking anyway

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SladeCraven
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:17 pm 
 

I don't know of as many decent USBM bands in terms of quantity as I do European, but I will say that one of the best black metal bands I have ever seen live is Averse Sefira and they are from Texas. I find their music to be much more compelling and interesting than a good number of contemporary BM bands from various other countries.

It's just something about their song structure and vocal layout that makes me pay attention more than a lot of other bands I come across today.
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SadisticGratification
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:24 pm 
 

Panflute wrote:

"United States Black Metal".

So BM from the USA, pure and simple.

Ahh makes perfect sense, I just see lots of acronyms here like DSBM etc... I find it hard to keep up, thanks for that :)

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DeathfareDevil
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:25 pm 
 

Even among the derivative bands, there were some gems, Fog's Through the Eyes of Night being a prime example. It didn't really bring anything new, musically, to the plate, but it proved that the States could be better than Thornspawn, Blood Stained Dusk, and Kult ov Azazel when it came to aping worldly peers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgjb9Adnr9E

I agree with the sentiment that a large part of black metal's appeal in the early days was related to how exotic -- otherworldly, really -- it felt. My imagination was fired more by images of a solitary figure shambling alongside moonlit fjords than it was by, say, images of a solitary figure shambling through the trailer park I'd just delivered pizzas to. But of course I'm sure Helvete had its share of Meat Lovers delivered to it back in the day. While I've come to accept the music for what it is, whether from Bergen or Biloxi, anything foreign is bound to hold a certain charm that, no matter how much I love domestic acts like Leviathan or Grand Belial's Key, somehow adds an element of excitement to the whole listening experience. I suppose it's the illusion of unfamiliarity, even though as I said, our human experiences aren't vastly different -- especially when talking about Norwegian black metal: music made by relatively well off, educated white males.

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the_raytownian
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:27 pm 
 

SadisticGratification wrote:
Panflute wrote:

"United States Black Metal".

So BM from the USA, pure and simple.

Ahh makes perfect sense, I just see lots of acronyms here like DSBM etc... I find it hard to keep up, thanks for that :)


Yeah, man. For the longest time, I thought it was "Ultra-Satanic Black Metal".
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AsinineUsername
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:28 pm 
 

I'd mention Black Witchery & Nocturnal Blood.

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AppleQueso
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:30 pm 
 

the_raytownian wrote:
Yeah, man. For the longest time, I thought it was "Ultra-Satanic Black Metal".


I find this incredibly funny.

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AsinineUsername
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:33 pm 
 

AppleQueso wrote:
the_raytownian wrote:
Yeah, man. For the longest time, I thought it was "Ultra-Satanic Black Metal".


I find this incredibly funny.



Someone needs to name a demo or something this.

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the_raytownian
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:35 pm 
 

AppleQueso wrote:
the_raytownian wrote:
Yeah, man. For the longest time, I thought it was "Ultra-Satanic Black Metal".


I find this incredibly funny.


Thank you. I'll be here all week.
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KFD
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:42 pm 
 

USBM mainly refers to a geographical location, because in terms of music, the American black metal scene has no specific identity. What's the link between Judas Iscariot, Absu and Grand Belial's Key?

On other topics I said my thoughts about Judas Iscariot, it's just a pretty good but very generic Darkthrone clone. Absu play thrash/black metal with Celtic themes, and Grand Belial's Key really have their own sound.

Each of these 3 well-known bands could basically stem from any White-populated country in the world. Their nationality has no real impact on their music, concept and imagery.

In short: there is no USBM scene. There are diverse bands who live in or come from the USA.
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AsinineUsername
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:11 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:45 pm 
 

KFD wrote:
USBM mainly refers to a geographical location, because in terms of music, the American black metal scene has no specific identity. What's the link between Judas Iscariot, Absu and Grand Belial's Key?

On other topics I said my thoughts about Judas Iscariot, it's just a pretty good but very generic Darkthrone clone. Absu play thrash/black metal with Celtic themes, and Grand Belial's Key really have their own sound.

Each of these 3 well-known bands could basically stem from any White-populated country in the world. Their nationality has no real impact on their music, concept and imagery.

In short: there is no USBM scene. There are diverse bands who live in or come from the USA.



I think most people would disagree, in that there are more local town-and-state scenes than something like "True Norwegian Black Metal".

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KFD
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:51 pm 
 

Oh yes, probably.

By the way, can Inquisition be classified as 'USBM' because they relocated to the USA?

But I certainly admit that some good bands such as Grand Belial's Key or Pantheon (USNSBM, haha) have managed to develop their own style without sounding like any other band. I still don't see the musical link between GBK and Pantheon, except they both play NSBM. The structures are different, the type of riffs is quite different, and the influences are different.
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