Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Maniac Butcher - Cerna Krev

Maniac Butcher - Cerna Krev
1998, Pussy God Records

I suppose that the thing I enjoy the most about this band is just the fact that they are so overtly, unapologetically underground. This tape, which has the moss, growth, and blurred memories glazed over its surface, is a very good example both of Maniac Butcher's (Sileny Reznik?) sound, as it has developed over the years and reached a sort of final monument status as a melancholy, raw black metal, and their entire approach to the world scene. To be blunt, for a second: this band just does not give a damn about anything at all - trends, stylistic 'evolution', what any other bands is doing at the same time, etc. This is so refreshing to hear. Combining some of the rawest and most insane vocals in the entire black canon (think Veles or Rob Darken, perhaps, crossed with Hat from the first prototypical Gorgoroth recordings), high-speed snare and cymbal-concentrating hammer work, and cold, trebly guitars descending in a direct line from Darkthrone's earliest albums, these musicians have found their sound, honed it to a razor sharpness, and proceed to lay waste to song after song, through album after album. The Maniac Butcher back catalog is legion - from the discography on this tape alone (which has the insert for 'Invaze' (English translation: simply, 'Invasion') I count an even ten releases, either tapes, CDs, split releases, live recordings, or full albums. So where have they been, you ask? Simple: hiding from the light, far away from you...

As far as I can tell, there are only two influences for Maniac Butcher, or only two bands that I really hear in their music: Darkthrone, as mentioned above, and Gorgoroth, although I'm sure Mayhem also played a part. I do hear certain affinities with or straight similarities to other bands - for example, Judas Iscariot - but I think that may just be coincidence. I don't know that much about the link between Iscariot and Butcher other than members of both these bands have shared a stage at a certain point. When it comes down to it, in the final summation, there really isn't much more one would want to say about this album, or anything else this band has put out, other than to trace a few influences, leave a couple of descriptive signs, and move on. Discovering this band should be an independent thing, I think, as it will not agree to all tastes. It's abyssic, violent, pathologically disturbed, morose, down-looking black metal from the crypts, always full of a grim despair, and it's all just excellent - or at least, everything I've heard is. You see: Maniac Butcher would never claim that they are 'original' or that they are trying anything new in their music...I'm sure they don't see the point. At some time in their evolution as musicians and members of the black scene, they just decided they liked to create certain moods or atmospheres with their music, and have stuck with that, over time. There was a time when I didn't really agree with that viewpoint, thinking one should always be involved in some sort of progressive search if one was a musician, but bands like this have influenced me towards accepting the opposite path as equally valid. However, I'm not saying that Maniac Butcher have stagnated...there is a definite range at work here, a sense of dynamics, songwriting skills that have been sharpened, as I said above, over a number of years...but ultimately there isn't anything here that is so far out of their own style that it would offend their fans or their own sensibilities. Conservative? Maybe...but it still sounds good...

Whatever else you may think about this band or how 'true' they are (as Arkadin said in an earlier review of 'Epitaph', if there was a contest for the most 'true' band, Maniac Butcher would win easily), this, as I see it, is just a collection of extremely dedicated individuals, rapturously in love with the entire ethic and history of underground black metal, and passionately sworn to creating even more of what they have always sought out in other bands, other scenes...and they have also been doing this for song long (since 1990?) that it would be criminally ridiculous to ignore the impact they have had...

Vicious, storming, war-torn, freezing, Czech black metal...filled with malice, hatred, and a rabid disgust for the light. It's difficult to find anything so satisfying as this right now, as most of the bands who used to play in this style (including Darkthrone and Gorgoroth) have moved on to sunnier pastures, but here, as elsewhere in the shadowy depths of Europe, lurking in the underground, there is a grand tradition of passionate metal still being played, still being blasted forth...rest in peace, Maniac Butcher.