Alright. Fuck this. Straight-up, we all know that slam is the new flavor of the month – essentially the new deathcore. I mean, a two minute Youtube search of this micro-genre is proof in the goddamn blood pudding! With band after fucking band after fucking band springing up every several seconds, this entire thing is certain to implode – just as deathcore did a few years back. What then, fuckers? Well, fret not, as there exists some truly brave, innovative souls who see the writing on the proverbial slam-scarred wall.
In the past, we've made a concerted effort here to cover a few of these exciting, worthwhile bands. One such band, Hateful Transgression, was covered in our A Slam By Any Other Name Is Still A Slam installment from several weeks back. Well, the guys are back, and this time we are handing founder/guitarist Daniel Martin the dankened reigns – where he is free to espouse the obsidian virtues of his 'blackened slammin death metal' from right here – atop the dank slams pulpit!
You might ask why we are doing this, instead of bringing you a handful of bands y'all will forget by next week; well, for no other reason than we think the band is just about the slammiest, slamtastic band out there these days. If you call yourself a fan of this shit that we bring you each and every week, do yourself a favor and read – then reread – this week's very special edition of dankness.
Take it away, Dan!
"Hateful Transgression started during the summer of 2015 and features members from Georgia, North Carolina, and the Netherlands," starts our very special Dank Slams guest. "I was tired of not doing anything with music, tired of having no musicians with similar interests in my general proximity, and was ready to change that. I wrote four songs between the months of May and June and approached my friend and previous drummer of a band I was in during high school, Thomas Martino, and asked if he would be interested in playing drums for an EP I was working on. He owns a studio, now called Bookhouse Recording, which is where we ended up recording everything for the self-titled EP. I didn’t know any vocalists who were interested in slam or black metal at the time so I made a bunch of posts on Reddit looking for a vocalist. We tried out a bunch of different people and settled on Frank Jonker from the Netherlands. He was very passionate about the project and that was exactly what I wanted out of a vocalist. After experiencing the frustration of dealing with disinterested musicians in the past he was a welcome surprise. Frank finished the vocals in August of that summer and we were officially a band, or 'internet project' if you will, by then. From the start, I knew I wanted to do something different, something new, weird, and unexpected. That’s sort of the ethos that I stand by for this band and I hope to continue it indefinitely."
Ingenuity does not come without first having a solid understanding and respect for those that had the foresight and initiative to trailblaze. Dan gives us the scoop on who/what bands led him to his very own trail… with flame in hand.
"I listen to a lot of different styles of music but mainly within the vicinity of punk and metal," reveals the guitarist. "For Hateful Transgression, specifically, I’m influenced by a lot of atmospheric black metal, dsbm, and blackgaze bands, as well as a select few slam and brutal death metal bands. I’ve never been a huge fan of 'traditional' Scandinavian black metal other than Burzum’s first few albums, which I was heavily influenced by in my song writing for our first EP. For whatever reason, I tend to prefer the older USBM bands like Leviathan, Xasthur, Weakling, Twilight, and Lurker Of Chalice. For the split songs I was very influenced by bands like Paroxysmal Descent, Deafheaven, Ghost Bath, Xasthur, Lifelover, Der Weg einer Freiheit, Drudkh, and Behemoth – in terms of the 'blackened' elements. As far as the death metal or slam element goes, Cryptopsy’s [previously featured here on Dank Slams] first two albums have been hugely influential on my death metal style riffing. I do not listen to slam or brutal death metal regularly other than Devourment and maybe Ezophagothomia occasionally. I’ve always found Devourment's demo songs on the 1.3.8. album extremely influential because of how raw, disgusting, and atmospheric they sound. I’ve never heard another slam band that achieved such primitive ferocity. It's always difficult to pin-point all of your influences, but I think that really what I’m trying to do with this band is make slam atmospheric and unique in a way that doesn’t regurgitate themes and the expected stylistic influences."
For a relatively new band, Hateful Transgression has a solid collections of songs. Dan takes us on a quick trip through the band's current catalog.
"We released our first song, “Denied The Significance Of Nothingness”, in October of 2015 and followed this up with our S/T EP in November of the same year. You can download those for free from our bandcamp page and you can purchase a physical copy of the EP on cassette from the label Osso Crosso. We released a split LP with Jesus Wept and Martyrs Of Necromancy on November 11th through Transcending Records on CD. You can also purchase our side of the split on our bandcamp page for $1. In terms of future plans, we are working on a new song to contribute to a split with Pestilent, $lutrot, and Nephrectomy (other bands TBA) and are planning to start work on our first full length next year."
One does not have to have their head bashed in listening to slam 24/7 in order to actually write and record relevant, meaningful songs within the sub-genre itself. As Dan goes on to point out, slam is kind of at a crossroads – with some bands following the specific, sterile-sounding route, while others are preferring to follow the less-traveled left hand path.
"As I’ve stated before, I do not listen to a lot of slam," reiterates Dan. "There are definitely some great bands out there that I’ve neglected to check out. However, I think overall the sub-genre is becoming really interesting. There are great bands going for the traditional all out brutal approach, like Pestilent, Internal Devour, Decimated Humans, Traumatomy, Corpse Stove, Dysentery, and Putridity, and some great bands doing cool experimentation. In Demoni’s new EP, for example, has some awesome keyboard parts that I adore. One of the aspects that I do not like about the current state of the sub-genre is the change in overall production value. Many bands seem to be going for a very sterile, clean, production that lacks that raw atmosphere that I love from older slam bands. When every band starts using programmed drums and amp sims, everything starts sounding even more regurgitated than it already did. I think this trend also has to do with the fact that most of the kids in the slam/bdm scene were of the late 2000’s deathcore generation. This is also evident in that bands call themselves 'slamming' or 'brutal' deathcore now. I’ve noticed that generally slam is becoming the trend that late 2000’s deathcore was previously – 'slam' is the new cool thing in the extreme metal scene that all the young kids are finding more accessible. Deathcore bands like Carnifex, who previously made merch saying 'Death Metal' on it – in attempts to shed off the negative deathcore association – posted videos regarding their new album implying that they were going for a 'slam' vibe but continued with their same deathcore format. Why did they do this? Because 'slam' is cool now. Another aspect of the slam scene that I dislike is the general hatred for experimentation. Most of the slamheads I’ve encountered are of the opinion that black metal does not belong in slam. At least that’s what people would say to me when Hateful Transgression first started and what we were doing was relatively unheard of. Ironically, some of the same people who did not give us the time of day later started their own 'blackened slam' or 'blackened beatdown' projects (you know who you are). All of this aside, I think the sub-genre will continue to have great bands that define the genre, and then others that seek to redefine the genre. This is what I look forward to for the future of the genre.
Without mincing words, we asked Dan – straight up – why 'blackened slam'?
"I love the atmosphere and raw emotion of black metal and the brutality and groove of slam. I always wanted to do something with slam that was non-conventional. I wanted to write lyrics about themes that I was passionate about that weren't necessarily about the usual blood, gore, misogyny, and deviant sexual behavior topics. I wanted to bring a distinct atmosphere to slam in an attempt to take the genre in a new direction. I do not know if I’ve achieved this, that’s definitely up for interpretation, but I am trying my best to create something fun and out of the ordinary within a sub-genre that’s already pretty strange. That said, we are not the first to attempt this style. The band Skinned Christ is the first band that I am aware of that started the sub-sub-genre in 2013. I was not aware of this band until recently and I believe they disbanded. Jesus Wept and Martyrs of Necromancy are two bands that are doing blackened slam as well and we crossed paths around a year ago and planned the split we just put out earlier this month. I am actually in two other bands with Evan, the vocalist of Jesus Wept, called FVRLVRN (blackened grindcore) and Hematospermia (slamming brutal death metal) [shameless plug!]. Check out both Jesus Wept and Martyrs Of Necromancy, both awesome bands and awesome guys making great music. The only other actual blackened slam band that I would mention is Torment. Definitely check out their demo, great stuff!