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  • Writer's pictureBSchmidt

Back from the dead: A 2020 recap thus far

Half past midnight, the wind lightly whistles an ominous warning, as if to say, “you shouldn’t be here.” The crescent moon, blood red, radiantly watches over the unkempt grounds, bathing the thick knee high grass in a red glow. This was not a night for the faint of heart. The rolling hills seem to sprawl forever, sinister red purgatory of rustling grass. An amorphous black figure appears in the distance, with its long thick limbs outstretched, inviting you into its evil embrace. Something draws you towards it. A closer look reveals the figure to be an enormous leafless black tree. As you approach, you notice the bark on the trunk, dry and cracked, is twisted into a sinister face. Below it lies a circle where a limb had been amputated. Centered within it lies an imprint of a hand. The wind whispers, “do it.” You lightly press your palm into the tree. Suddenly you are knocked back. The screams of thousands of doomed souls pierce your ears. You cup your ears and curl up in the fetal position, unable to bear the pain. The screams seem to last for an eternity, then silence. Inches away from your face something bursts out of the ground, showering you with dirt. After clearing the dirt from your eyes you see an amalgam of sinew and bone, coated in grime and maggots rising out of the ground. The strange mixture twists around revealing itself to be a decayed hand. It flay's it's bony fingers outwards, ready to strike.

And just like that, we’re back! After being beaten to death by the American collegiate education system, and let’s say, crippling personal issues, we’re back. Boy howdy, some crazy stuff has gone down in the world. We narrowly escaped a third world war, had systemic racism unabashedly show it’s ugly head regardless of us all filming it, and entered into the age of “Rona”. Seriously, how are we even still alive? If this isn’t a prequel to a Mad Max dystopian future, I don’t know what is. Despite this clearly being the darkest timeline, a few good things have happened. Down time is at an all time high, which is a double edged sword for some of us, we got some heckin' metal video games that we all had plenty of time to play, (looking at you Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons), and despite the lack of shows, the metal community remains strong, with both local and national bands releasing a ton of new merch, music, and entirely new forms of metal content. There are a ton of things to cover, so let’s get started.

Metal bands everywhere release killer looking masks, as if it’s not super depressing having to wear one. Most of the masks I've seen have album artwork screen-printed on them, but I've seen few original designs. My favorite one was released by Cattle Decapitation, which has an amalgam of 2020 highlights on them, including toilet paper, tiger kings, and an all encapsulating metaphor for the year, a dumpster fire. Not only that, but on the back of the mask, or the part that actually touches your face, is a screen printed butthole. Do with that what you will.

Continuing on our exploration of unconventional merch, The Black Dahlia Murder, a long death metal mainstay for most, and one of my all-time favorite bands, released a D&D campaign themed off their latest album Verminous. This is one of the most creative ways I've seen a band promote themselves, and I hope more bands continue to find creative ways like this to make money. Never have I ever wanted to dress up in my goofiest bathrobe, don the home-made wizard cap my mom made me when I was twelve, and swing around a cool stick I found in my backyard more than I do now. If it’s anything like their medieval crypt-crawling themed album, someone is bound to be eaten by rats. What fun! Props to them for inspiring me to write that totally cool D&D style intro to this article.

National heavyweights weren’t the only ones to release some cool stuff. Local black metal badboys, Crypt Fiend, released a new shirt design in Animal Crossing! Since the release of the game, metal fans everywhere have been using the game’s custom pattern mechanic to remake their favorite metal merch in the games, be it t-shirts, beanies, or corpse paint. I haven't been super impressed with the majority of the designs, as there is not much room for detail, and the anti-aliasing the game does to smooth out the pixels ends up ruining a lot of the line work, but that Crypt Fiend logo designed by fan Lisa Gulizia looks killer!

Not only did we get some new merch, we got a ton of new content including but not limited to, new tracks, music videos, lyric videos, live streamed sets, seizure inducing lights, and porn I guess. There is a ton of stuff to cover, so I apologize ahead of time for shotgunning through all this.

Witherfang teases new ep with preview video. The boys recently posted a short snippet of them rehearsing new material on their Facebook page. Although Withingfang is still in its infancy and hasn’t put out much just yet, everything they have put out has been super high quality, so needless to say, we’re super excited for more!

Silence is Madness released 2 singles to tease their new album which dropped… Ope! It Dropped yesterday! The boys kicked off the release of Xero with a streamed live show, which after a couple of technical hiccups, was quite fun to watch. Both featured tracks, Welcome to My Life, and Solitary Nightmare, offer rich, high quality mixes and capture the unique sound we have grown to love from the band. Keep an eye out for a full album review later this week.

Flux Amuck dropped a new music video for their song Flux Amuck, labeling the video as not safe for work, with the warning “might cause epileptic seizures.” The video features flashing lights, juxtaposed against the spooky psychedelic imagery Flux Amuck have become known for. The band also teased they were filming a new music video for their song Caterpillar, in collaboration with Aaron Gum of Glow in the Dark, and Bill Hedges of Cosmic Cat Studios, however this was teased shortly before the Coronavirus hit the United States, so I’m assuming it was pushed back.

Orpheus, local death metal favorites, dropped a lyric video for their track 666 off their upcoming full length album Cast into Oblivion. This news is exciting as the band has changed their sound quite a bit since their last self titled entry in 2016. Coop, you better release more soon dude, because I’m already going through withdrawal.

Y-Incision dropped two music videos on us, both of which are hilarious! The first of which is a video featuring DIY footage of the boys in the nude playing tracks A + B Is To A As AIs To B and Bowie Was Right About Americans. The video is censored on youtube, but the band mentions in the video description that you can find the uncensored version on Pornhub. I’m not entirely certain if that’s a joke or not, because I uhhhhhh… was unable to find it with a casual search, and I’m not so interested in seeing their Drummer’s butthole that I would dig any deeper beyond a cursory search.

Pic provided by the incredible Brandon Longwell.

The second video was more of a professional story based music video. Titled The Turning, the vid features the band passing time during quarantine, using toilet paper as poker chips, and wearing panties on their faces in lieu of masks. Y-Incision remains one of the most consistent bands, pumping out quality content on a consistent basis. I’m glad they are continuing this trend even in the face of a pandemic.

Last but not least, I’d like to shine light on all the amazing folks in the metal community supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. All over the metalsphere we’ve seen bands, fans and personalities come forth to support the George Floyd protests. Some have tweeted and shared videos, some have joined the protests, and some have supported charities all centered around helping the families of those who have been victims of police brutality and racism. We at Slime & Grime are proud of you all, keep fighting the good fight! Here are some of the highlights surrounding the movement.

Lincoln venue Wooly’s, which hosts the majority of the metal acts that pass through Lincoln, canceled their Cody Hicks show, over racially insensitive comments posted on Hicks' social media pages, painting BLM protesters as looters and thugs. While I’m not entirely comfortable with the implications of this, as, racist or not, it will most likely further entrench this person in those views, I can understand not wanting to have your company associated with someone whose views do not match that of your company. I don’t personally feel that we lost all that much though, as I have no idea who that guy is.

Who doesn't use dark mode?

Our boy Anthony Flakus, professional photographer, DJ, and guitarist for local heavyweights Live and Obey, and Witherfang, provided us with some spectacular photos of Omaha’s own George Floyd and James Scurlock protests. What more can I say? His work speaks for itself.

In funnier news, there is a petition going around to erect a statue of Oderus Urungus, late frontman of Gwar, in place of a Robert E Lee statue. Following the beheading of a Christopher Columbus statue in Boston, protestors in Richmond, Virginia, who defaced the statue of the Confederate general on Monument Avenue with graffiti, were joined by current Gwar drummer JiZmak Da Gusha, in support of the petition. JiZmak announced his arrival with the battlecry, "Gwar is here," and praised protestors for their "beautiful artwork." This is the most metal thing to happen to statues since the statue of Baphomet was erected in front Arkansas capitol building.

If you think we are getting overly political, and catering to the leftist shills, you might be right, however I’d like to think that equality Is a human rights issue that affects everyone regardless of party affiliation and shouldn’t be made into a partisan issue. Nobody deserves to die for menial crimes, and the fact is that African Americans are disproportionately affected by police brutality and are more likely to be killed by the police. Slime&Grime has largely remained silent about the issue, however this is largely due to me not wanting to overshadow black voices. I personally believe that if you can’t add anything to the conversation you shouldn’t, and should instead opt to share from those who do. What we have posted thus far is my attempt to add to the conversation, addressing the metal community specifically. If it isn’t blatantly obvious we support the BLM movement, along with the beheading of racist statues,and besides, breaking stuff in protest of systematic oppression is what metal is all about..

In conclusion, even though this year has sucked, we managed to persevere. Both fans and bands have done a great job of creatively coming up with new ways to support our community, be it monetarily or emotionally. This is a rough time to be living through, but we’re all in this together. Keep it up guys, we’re almost out of the woods.

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Jun 22, 2020

Wolly's is in Des Moines, not Lincoln.

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