Digressions on Jim Konya’s departure

Metal is Death, Death is Metal
Nunslaughter Death Metal

This might certainly sound like the single weirdest article you might read on the departure of Jim Konya/Sadist/Lasagna, as I won’t hide the fact I never met this guy in my life. I cannot really understand why I never had the chance to talk with him, by chat or letter or face to face, as exploring the dozens of posts and memories that have popped on the Internet recently we certainly had a lot to share. In any case, putting together all the pieces of the puzzle from the various sources, not to mention some interviews I have read/watched lately, there is a lot we can learn from this guy. He definitely knew how to live this life properly.

I had a friend like him once who died of liver cancer just a couple of years ago. Still today he is my greatest if not the only role model I have ever had, the person I think of when I am going through difficult times. What would he do if he was in my situation? Something just reverberates correctly when I think about the passion and generosity of such persons. It might sound unfair to file them under a common roof as each one of them was certainly unique, but I find so many similiarities I just find it impossible not to. Luckily I know a couple of other people with that spirit. Not more than five or six, and they’ve been the only ones I have kept in touch during the long time during which I was basically out of the whole music “scene”. Unsurprisingly, they’re the ones who always manage to drag me into this “scene” every time.

“Scene” is a word the guys in Isten (most possibly just Mikko I guess but bear with me) just could not stand. Over fifteen years ago it (I’ll talk of Isten as a single, free willed entity) realized that things were not aligning properly. Scene demands proper form. Scene demands brotherhood, blindfold support (even of shitty bands), demands proper attire and as much homogenous thinking as possible. Weird stuff, for a music apparently created by the Devil, rebel card number 1. I personally mostly skipped the habits of scene-dom for the most of my life, save probably my very first years into it, could not care less you know. Every couple of years a new trend sets in, some I like, some I don’t, hell sometimes I just don’t care about listening to music at all for weeks.

But basically, are people like Jim and Isten on the opposite sides of the spectrum? I personally believe not. Isten certainly has its snobbish halo, and that I never liked, but it was undoubtedly spot on regarding the whole “Scene” thing: scene is glossy, big cumbersome and glossy as national metal magazines can be, all of them aligned to lick the ass to the same people. But above anything else it is false, it is form above content, and I could set my balls on a grill if Jim was into punk and metal for anything else but content. Obviously in metal appearance and aesthetics ARE content as well, but that is another story entirely. I am not talking about patches and metal vests here. The question is now: can you be as well liked like him without being a “scene queen”? Your answer resides in a couple dozens of articles like this that have been written ever since Jim’s departure.

I have never lived music as a religion. My passion and interest wanes and grows in cycles and it always did. When I am into it, I am really into it and that is the single most important lesson I have learned from people like Jim and my old friend. Life’s to short to live anybody elses life, even if it’s called “scene”.

Passion, honesty, truth, sharing good music for free, actually listening to the records you buy and not fearing to say an album is shit when everybody else is praising it. That is the lesson I believe we all should learn from these people. Since Jim is no more, it’s really up to us to fill his void by trying to live a little bit of his legacy, I certainly will try to. This time, this is really a call to arms.

Sorry pal for having never managed to meet you on this Earth, we have a lot of sick shit to trade down in the pits of Hell, wait for me.

Horns up.

New project in embryo

In one of my previous posts I mentioned that the trip to Finland gave me some renewed energy and hope for the whole music “thing” going on today. Since I came back I recovered a few habits I almost lost over time: I listen to music more carefully, I truncate bullshit as soon as it turns out, I also have some creative ideas I cannot wait to put into effect. basically there is some good shit going on nowadays. Certainly way better than that obscure period that went from 1994 to 2000. I am not entirely sure about 100% of this “old school renaissance” but for sure I can tell you there are some ripe fruits here and there and certainly some sincere enthusiasm which is basically what we all should focus on, I believe.
The first project I have in mind is to go back to print. I came back home with a couple of flyers and some ‘zines and caught in a stream of consciousness I went back to my old fanzines, and started browsing for hours. Ten it just clicked.

In the past brewed the idea to collect all the reviews of the last 10 years or so that appeared on the webzine/blogzine on paper, but at the moment the idea doesn’t sound to me as satisfying as writing new ones, possibly with stuff not older than two years (time in this brand of music moves slowly after all, and I already stressed enough the fact that nobody reads paper zines anymore for “fresh data” – just have a look at Compilation of Death, the various opera omnias of Isten, Voices from the Darkside or Slayer, or this recent Reborn from Ashes). Yet again just going through old zines and copying and pasting other people works definitely does not suit me. And on top of that, I can think of very, very few fanzines that covered goregrind extensively, Impaired from France was possibly the only one with some regularity. There are a few good fanzines today, but I found many of them either too glossy and too professional looking, or too thin and amateurish. And then there’s the clones, they stand in a category of their own. What I seldom gather today is passion, reading these recent fanzines is seldom entertaining. I am not sure if I can win the challenge of doing something different, but I will try.

So that is why I will be busy in the next weeks. Hopefully not years, although with fanzines you’ll never know. Wisdom heartily invites me to work full time on the distro so to collect money for releases long due, but at the end of the day, like Morbid Angel say, “you only die once”, so let’s just go with the wind.

The Finnish Death Metal Maniacs fest and general holiday rant DAY 3

After the long afterparty that culminated in drinking vodka and random liquors with Polish and Estonian headbangers I had the clever idea to sleep straight to noon (drinking water to limit hangover) and skip tourist traps for a day. Might have been relax, might have been the fresh weather, I woke up completely fit, rested and with no hangover whatsoever, ready for another day of sickness. Yay.

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A quick walk with a bleeding foot and the ever present thought of the via crucis and the passion of Jesus Christ brought me to the day of the main events. Happy I was to arrive just in time to see… (personal ratings between brackets, I still like to do that shit, sue me!).

Cadaveric Incubator (9)

This band completely blew me to pieces. Part Massacre, part Carcass, part “The Day Man Lost” era Carnage, and an ever-clinging Repulsion feel, everything blended together and with some of the best, most crushing sounds I have heard during that day: this band was a complete surprise, whoah! I heard some stuff on recording but I was not ready for the complete massacre that they were able to wreak on stage. Carcass inspired music is cool per se but when you bastardize everything with elements from other old school masters you really get *the* shit. Of all the “new” bands I saw at the fest, this is with Krypts definitely the one that impressed me the most. I certainly didn’t see it coming.

Festerday (7)

I did dig Festerday on studio recordings. Actually I somehow enjoyed their re-recordings of older songs on the Svart collection even better than the original tapes (which admittedly I never owned in original form, just dubs), something that happens very, very rarely. Yet for some reason that escapes me I wasn’t completely taken by their live performance, might be that Cadaveric Incubator did such a great show beforehand, who knows, they just did not have the same punch as I was expecting. Nevertheless the was intense and left me with the lingering desire to sit down on my couch this weekend and listen once more to the Svart collection with some more attention.

Necrolepsy (8)

I can’t conceal the fact that this band intrigues me like very few others recently. Their approach to music is basically the same I always searched for my fanzine as well. This is a band that only recorded stuff on tape so far, and distilled the filthiest aspect of everything sick in the classic old School Death Metal sound into a twisted, gruesome monstrosity. Autopsy for sure, but also a lot of other raw sickness, too many and yet none in particular influences to mention. I am pretty certain that the show hid something I could not appreciate completely as I still had no chance to listen to the songs before and the drummer which I asked for copies is not answering my emails since August. If someone who reads this blog could dub their releases to me, please do get in touch because I really dig this stuff (info @ nuclearabominations dot com thanks).

Lubricant pt. 1 and pt. 2 (4)

This band was a joke, period. I could (yet again, maybe not) get over the Sunday morning old bored husbands doing plumbing work attire. but I cannot stand these terrible, terrible vocals and happy as lark riffs. I still maintain that this band was not that special even in the pre-Nookleptia days, always retaining that slight tongue in cheek humour I basically find annoying in this music (unless you can properly handle it but there are so few bands capable of that). Not a fan of the records, I found them two steps worse on stage, and I had to suffer through them TWICE. Argh. Whatever. This was probably the only bad spot I could remember in the whole festival. Sometimes the Emperor is just naked, you know.

Amputory (7)

This is the band of Pekka and Saku from Pestigore, and they’re good, in a maybe more modern kind of “honest solid Death Metal” good. I can’t really find anything to complain about their show, as everything was in place, maybe lacking that darker, dismal touch one could expect from a Finnish band. Dem plus Gorephilia could be a good show.

(live 2013, no cr)

Necropsy (6)

I was expecting something more from this band actually, but then sometimes exceedingly long time spans somehow alter your perceptions. I loved the vocals of Necropsy on their older stuff and honestly I heard the two albums they released after the reunion just for a few seconds and with limited attention, as I always do with online music (I prefer to give full attention only when I listen to the physical stuff with a booklet or lyric sheet in my hands).

This is basically what I was expecting

Hear the phlegmy, gargling throat? The muddy, muffled sound? The twisted and slightly dissonant riffing? Well I couldn’t hear any of that at the show. Mostly a lot of chugs for which I have no special love. So what could I say? I really was into Necropsy 1.0, not so much sure about Necropsy 2.0.

Galvanizer (8)

A surprise for most everybody at the show where (we) attendants were mostly in the 30-40s range with somebody even slightly above that bar. There was certainly some kind of enthusiasm in seeing such young people playing with such passion and full blast force. I recognize most of us were that young or younger when we all had our own small local bands in the past, but seeing them in the middle of such geriatric wasteland was super cool. Even with eyes closed, this band gifted the festival with a great show, perfectly capturing the vibe with an interesting concoction of Finn/Swedish Death Metal with some grinding flavour (read “grind” as in pre-Nasum filthy “grind”, not that shit that goes as “grind” today).

(not that show, but I forgot to take pictures, sorry :v)

Bar Kino

The festival was interrupted in the afternoon to give everybody the chance to eat a bite or two and move to this Bar Kino for Lantern/Lubricant (sigh)/Rippikoulu. I stopped at a local Thai restaurant and arrived late at the venue, so I completely missed…

Lantern (n.a.)

I am still pissed off for having missed this band, fuck. On studio recording they’re so twisted with all that spiraling guitarwork I could not decide whether I liked them or not. I was hoping in a live show to understand if the band was an act or genius or just another attempt at something different. I guess I’ll catch them some other time, I have time, I am immortal.

Rippikoulu (8/4)

I give this band two ratings because I have completely opposite opinions on their older and newer stuff. First off I was immediately hooked by the beautiful horse jockey cap that the hipster guy that turned out to be the singer showcased on stage.

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Isn’t it Doom/Death enough for you?

In any case, the venue was big, clean, and the sound crisp and loud. Also the waitress that collected empty beer glasses was the most beautiful girl I have seen in my life and I had the urge to rip my eyes out with my hands every time she walked close to my couch, but with a couple of shots I could move my attention back to the stage. Jesus. Dat… Never mind.

Like I mentioned before, the old stuff was great. Crushing Death Doom of top quality and performed with no fallacies. The vocalist despite the terrible hipster outfit actually had some powerful vokillz, the songs had that vaguely drone-like hypnotic pattern, and combined to the theatre-like set up they were given the end result was memorable almost as much as the ass of the waitress.

What I didn’t like though were the new songs, which somehow sounded completely different from the old stuff to my ears. It’s like they dared a couple of times in that same ground walked by bands like Skepticism, and believe me, you DON’T want to fight Skepticism in their own element. Doom/Death is fine and welcome any time, as Solothus showed later with impressive taste and dedication, but do not dare to play symphonic “funeral” stuff when you play just before Skepticism or believe me it’s really going to be embarrassing. And it was.

Did I mention the waitress in this venue was otherwordly? I should write a review for her on Tripadvisor.

Back to Annis

The walk back to the Annis was mostly uneventful, lots of sticky beer all over the toilet floor, somebody collapsed on the streets. Nothing noteworthy.

Depravity (7)

I still believe “Silence of the Centuries” is the most representative Finnish Death Metal album (EP actually) ever. If someone asked me how Finnish Death Metal sounded like, I won’t blink for a second and shove that one in his hands. Yet the show wasn’t exactly the way I expected. As with Necropsy, I had probably way too high expectations. Sometimes you get “romantically” attached to an idea which just doesn’t turn out the way you expected. Who knows. The show was flawless from what I can tell but I just could not connect the way I expected. In any case, great songs.

Solothus (8)

Another big surprise in the new fertile ground of Doom/Death, give me Solothus over any new Rippikoulu any time. Certainly they walk very safe, widely familiar ground and I could not really gather any exceedingly original ideas, but what the fuck, as far as it’s well played and has all the right elements, I am totally in for this kind of Death/Doom. And they don’t have that shitty 70’s sound mixed in either, which is a big big plus in my book. Flawless stuff that could turn into something interesting in the future if they manage to “have it”.

Skepticism (10)

The bomb dropped in order to close the festival. Even before leaving I found it a perfect choice to close the event with Skepticism, but never I could imagine such a live show. That one has really been one of the most intense, heart rending performances I have seen in my life. They have all the bullshit of a symphonic band, but the way they arrange everything, the end result is something completely unpredictable, these guys are Artists with capital “A”, you really feel like being part of a masterpiece when they play. I have been into this band for a long time, but live, they are from another planet, like the ass of the waitress at the Bar Kino. Tired, drunk, with the lingering awareness that I would be back to my country the day after, I completely abandoned myself to the sea of sadness and abandonment that the band brought to the Annis. There were moments they were so intense I was actually shivering. I was shaking for minutes after the show ended, I swear. There is no way I could describe what is going on then Skepticism play, if you ever manage to see them live, especially in the same mood I was, you are going to remember it.

No afterpary

I skipped Exthenia, Retaliatory Measures, Cannibal Accident (the first two bands were horrible from what I listened online anyway) preferring to finish my bottle of Terva on a bench in the park with an headbanger from Turku with an Autopsy sweatshirt that was waiting for the train.

That convivial drinking and subsequent moderate hangover in the truest metal tradition concluded my experience at the Finnish Death Metal festival, the best festival I have ever been to, bar none. Perfect location, right amount of people, completely relaxed atmosphere, everybody in there to have good time AND listen to the bands, which is something I seldom find nowadays anymore. Great music for music’s sake, from headbangers for headbangers. Save for some bullshit like my bleeding foot, everything went the way I expected and even better. Rumors linger about a possible second in the far future, if I will still be alive, I will certainly be there.

Also do yourself a favor and check these great, great pictures of the event: http://www.cvltnation.com/cvlt-nation-covers-the-finnish-death-metal-maniacs-fest/