Today I learned about a genre of metal called “New Old School Death Metal” or NOSDM. While I think the resurgence of old school style Death Metal is awesome, I’m a little surprised by it. Had it really gone anywhere? I was always of the opinion that since its inception, there have been dudes playing Death Metal the same way. Sure, the bands change and the members of the bands change, but hasn’t there always been a core of old school Death going on somewhere?
Did I miss out on something? Was I too busy listening to Old Old School Death Metal (OOSDM) records to notice?
Did Death Metal change so much that we’re experiencing a revival of the classic form much in the same manner as thrash suddenly became huge again about three years ago? Do we refer to Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust as “New Old School Thrash Metal” or NOSTM? Are all these labels really necessary? If we didn’t call these new DM bands NOSDM, but just plain called them Death Metal, would it be so hard to understand? Would it be wrong?
Let’s posit that Death Metal in its traditional form peaked about 1994, to be superseded by the Swedish style that dominated the later 90s and early 00s. (No, nü-metal doesn’t fucking count.) The earliest known uses of the term “Death Metal” were found somewhere around 1984, giving Death Metal a 10 year run. Now, if a style falls out of favor but does not disappear completely, can we really call its resurgence by a new name? Composers wrote Baroque music for 160 years. It’s not like when Baroque first showed up, went through a wave of initial popularity, decreased slightly in public opinion, and then showed up again they called it New Old School Baroque Music (NOSBM), did they?
The whole thing, and really the extreme fragmentation of metal subgenres in general, seems pretty silly to me.
And, because I am such a caring person, I won’t let you go without some examples.
Let’s do a chronological survey of some of my favorite Death Metal, shall we?
1987’s “Beyond the Unholy Grave” – Death
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/11-Beyond-The-Unholy-Grave.mp3|Artists=Death|titles=Beyond The Unholy Grave]
1987’s “Bleed for the Devil” – Morbid Angel
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/1-07 Bleed For The Devil.mp3|artists=Morbid Angel|titles=Bleed for the Devil]
1989’s “Sacrificial Suicide” – Deicide
1990’s “Burden of Evil” – Monstrosity
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Burden Of Evil.mp3|artists=Monstrosity|titles=Burden of Evil]
1991’s “Jesus Wept” – Suffocation
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/09 Jesus Wept.mp3|artists=Suffocation|titles=Jesus Wept]
1992’s “Hammer Smashed Face” – Cannibal Corpse
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Hammer Smashed Face.mp3|artists=Cannibal Corpse|titles=Hammer Smashed Face]
1993’s “Preacher of Sodomy” – Broken Hope
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Preacher of Sodomy.mp3|artists=Broken Hope|titles=Preacher of Sodomy]
1994’s “Born Headless” – Cryptopsy
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Born Headless.mp3|artists=Cryptopsy|titles=Born Headless]
1995’s “Nothing But Fear” – Morbid Angel
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Nothing But Fear.mp3|artists=Morbid Angel|titles=Nothing But Fear]
1996’s “Permanently Disfigured” – Dying Fetus
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Permanently Disfigured.mp3|artists=Dying Fetus|titles=Permanently Disfigured]
1997’s “Save To The Cross” – Deicide
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Slave To The Cross.mp3|artists=Deicide|titles=Slave To The Cross]
1998’s “Flame To The Surface” – Cryptopsy
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Flame To The Surface.mp3|artists=Cryptopsy|titles=Flame To The Surface]
1999’s “Blowtorch Slaughter” – Cannibal Corpse
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Blowtorch Slaughter.mp3|artists=Cannibal Corpse|titles=Blowtorch Slaughter]
2000’s “Christians To The Lions” – Behemoth
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Christians To The Lions.mp3|artists=Behemoth|titles=Christians To The Lions]
2001’s “Blind The Vision That Shatters” – Neuraxis
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Blind The Vision That Shatters.mp3|artists=Neuraxis|titles=Blind The Vision That Shatters]
2002’s “Dead Sea Scroll Deception” – Lock Up
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Dead Sea Scroll Deception.mp3|artists=Lock Up|titles=Dead Sea Scroll Deception]
2003’s “History Is Rotten” – Misery Index
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/History Is Rotten.mp3|artists=Misery Index|titles=History Is Rotten]
2004’s “Sensual Sickness” – Decapitated
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Sensual Sickness.mp3|artists=Decapitated|titles=Sensual Sickness]
2005’s “The Victorious Reign” – Hate Eternal
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/The Victorious Reign.mp3|artists=Hate Eternal|titles=The Victorious Reign]
2006’s “The Crawl Inside Me Uninvited” – Coldworker
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/They Crawl Inside Me Uninvited.mp3|artists=Coldworker|titles=They Crawl Inside Me Uninvited]
2007’s “Rebirth In Blood” – Blood Red Throne
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Rebirth In Blood.mp3|artists=Blood Red Throne|titles=Rebirth In Blood]
2008’s “Slaughtering The Will To Live” – Bloodbath
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Slaughtering The Will To Live.mp3|artists=Bloodbath|titles=Slaughtering The Will To Live]
2009’s “Carrion Sculpted Entity” – Cannibal Corpse
[audio:https://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Carrion Sculpted Entity.mp3|artists=Cannibal Corpse|titles=Carrion Sculpted Entity]
Sorry, for some reason I don’t have any Death Metal from 1988 on my iPod right now. I’ll fix that oversight when I get home tonight.
Now, listen to the bands on an article by Decibel Magazine about NOSDM. It seems to me that besides some basic evolution in the quality of the productions, that Death Metal has been alive an well since at least 1987. So, do we need this new label at all? Can we not just keep calling it Death Metal? Do we need OOSDM, MEOSDM (Mid-Era Old School Death Metal), and NOSDM? What happens when NOSDM becomes Old New Old School Death Metal (ONOSDM)?
For the initiated and uninitiated out there who take the time to read and listen to this, what do you think? Comment away.