Until this month, Death Metal Invasion was just another illegal download blog, with traffic far in excess of that of this site. Then it admirably switched to featuring only legal, band/label-approved downloads. Its readers revolted. People up in arms over not being able to download illegally — when the rest of the Internet is available for that! What has the world come to?
Now Death Metal Invasion is actually an interesting site. It’s doing work that I don’t want to do. Bands often approach me about putting up their demos, but quality is the first consideration for this site. By default, signed bands are usually better than unsigned ones because they’ve already undergone screening by labels. I’m drowning in signed releases, so I’m not eager to feature unsigned ones now. By doing the dirty work of featuring unknown quantities, Death Metal Invasion could become a resource for labels scouting for talent.
Putting free demos online is becoming increasingly commonplace. It is also becoming increasingly necessary. The more bands do it, the more prices will drop for all demos. As I’ve said before, it’s nonsensical to charge money for demos now. People don’t want to pay for albums by established artists, so why would they pay for unknown quantities? If one’s competitors — and all unsigned bands are in competition to get the attention of listeners with limited bandwidth — are lowering prices to zero, one had better do so also.
Photo by Kris Arnold
One result of this trend is that the Internet will be even more awash in crap. It will be interesting to see what kind of filtering, if any, Death Metal Invasion will apply. If it hosts too much crap, interest may drop. But it must balance quality against its open-arms policy towards bands and labels. Perhaps a pure market approach would work: putting everything up and letting listeners sort it all out.
Predictably, there’s a fair amount of noise on Death Metal Invasion. But I’ve found some gems. Germany’s Depravity is enjoyable, if unoriginal (think Blood Red Throne). Face of Ruin, whose demo I reviewed for Decibel, could be on Unique Leader in due time. Coffinworm, whose demo I also reviewed for Decibel, is my big recommendation. They’re not death metal, but blackened sludge metal. (I likened them to a combination of Eyehategod and Deathspell Omega. Chicago’s Lord Mantis also comes to mind.) Their demo is downloadable for free here. A full-length, recorded by Sanford Parker, will come out on Profound Lore early next year. It will rule.