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We all need a release from the everyday grind of work/eat/sleep. There has to be more to life than just existing, but sometimes, it’s hard not to let everyday routines get you down, feeding a kind of direction-less resentment towards (almost) everyone and everything. In recent weeks, Satanic Dystopia’s Double Denim Shotgun Massacre has become my soundtrack to such a negative outlook, with its brand of dark, crude, fairly primitive metal being exactly what I want to hear after another bad day at the office. The press release describes it as paying tribute to “masters of old, visual atrocities and unholy violence,” and it succeeds on all those counts. What the accompanying text doesn’t mention is that it will make you want to start fights, bang your head and worship Satan, but rest assured, it succeeds on those counts too.
Beginning with a short sample about the power of darkness, the title track kicks things off, demonstrating exactly how metal can harness that power. There’s a great build-up based around cymbals and guitars, before a throaty roar kicks things in to full speed. It’s immediately clear: this record is vicious. The guitars have a wonderful chainsaw style buzz to them, and the drums and bass are powerful in the mix. Meanwhile, A. Osta’s vocals are raw and throaty, all but indecipherable for large parts of the record, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the feeling this music produces, and the emotions it stirs. You’ll be unsurprised to learn that such reactions are all overwhelmingly primitive, tapping right in to the core of what made extreme metal so exciting when it was first making itself known to the world in the 80s: violence, power, speed, aggression, hatred. They are all here in abundance, along with a considerable degree of song-writing talent, not to mention an evident love of cult cinema and blasphemy, with some well placed samples underlining the above. This is metal that doesn’t care about popularity or social norms. It is ugly, nasty music, which is exactly how it should be.
Of course, such things matter little if the song-writing is substandard, but as mentioned above, these guys know how to write a killer tune or (on this record) eight. There’s plenty of blasting that harks back to the days of early black metal, with a hint of Ross Bay Cult in the sheer violence of the drums and bass tone; second track “Steel Breeze” is a prime example of this. At other points, there’s an appreciation of thrash on display, as in the tempos and structure of tracks such as “Nuclear Nightmare”. There’s also some superb riffs; just check out the start of “Black Stallion”. You’re barely given a moment to catch your breath over the course of the record, though the slightly slower “Tombstone Queen” does help anchor things, stopping it being that bit too overwhelming. Satanic Dystopia may play a primitive kind of metal, but they do so in an intelligent way.
Ultimately, Double Denim Shotgun Massacre is 22 minutes of crude, ugly, deeply unfashionable metal, of the sort that will, paradoxically, never go out of style. There’s always a demand for music that gives an outlet to the negativity you have to keep hidden away in order to act like a normal human being, and this release meets that need perfectly. If you’re a fan of bands like Aura Noir or Deathhammer – or, put another way, of bullet belts, goats, and trashy cinema – then Double Denim Shotgun Massacre is for you.