Sunday Sesh: The Worship Bands Episode
Since you’re a consumer of the finest, most sophisticated
poop fetish toilet-themed metal blog on the internet, I know that you, dear reader, are a beacon of wealth a taste. Yours is an epicurean palate, one that yearns for the finest caviar and the most daring spice. Yet, every now and then, you feel like staying in rather than going out to the latest gastropub, eating Chinese take-out that is, at its best, an approximation of authentic cuisine rather than the real deal. This post is for you, dear reader, and those days when you’d rather just enjoy the unoriginal facsimile of the thing rather than the thing itself. This is a post for worship bands.
Prior to 2017, I, honest to goodness, saw little appeal to worship bands. Why waste my time and listening energy upon a record that deigns to do no more creatively than replicate the success and style of a more important and influential band? A fair question, I think, and one that reveals much about my own listening habits; I prefer listening to records that, to borrow a metaphor from my friend Christian Molenaar, introduce new flavors to my life and expand my palate. Whether it’s a classic metal album I’d overlooked in my formative years, like Embrionic Death‘s Stream of Solidarity, or a brand new adventure that expands metal’s horizon’s, like Patrons of the Rotting Gate, I much prefer new listening experiences than simulations of those experiences.
So it was with great surprise that I found Totengott‘s Celtic Frost-worshiping debut, Doppelgänger, such a delight. Let’s not beat around the bush here; there isn’t a single original idea on this album. From the guitar tone to the meaty doom riffs to the melodic leads to the “Ughs!”, Doppelgänger is wholly an act of artistic plagiarism. Without Celtic Frost and Triptykon, there is no way this album would exist.
All of which begs the question: why do I enjoy this so much if it doesn’t offer a single new vista under the sun? Why do I give this album a pass while flushing so many other crappy black metal worship acts that find their way to the inbox. I have an hypothesis. Doppelgänger in many years takes a retrospective look at the entirety of Tom G. Warrior’s career, from the banging thrashy riffs of Morbid Tales to the gloomy narratives of Melana Chasmata. As such, Totengott have summoned a patchwork phantasm that includes many elements from the Celtic Frost/Triptykon legacy that you don’t often hear side by side; the wrath of old is melded with the tension of the new to make something that, while not wholly original, is at least a welcome complement. It fits like a comfortable, Monotheist-shaped sweater, but with some of the newer design sensibilities paired with the old quality craftsmanship. And it is precisely that Monotheist sound I crave.
So congratulations, Totengott, you sold me on a worship album.
I’m curious if other worship albums exist that can scratch the same itch. It’s not really my bag, but I know a lot of you enjoy worship acts like The County Medical Examiners or the myriad dis-bands. Maybe one of them is for me. So here’s your assignment: tell me your favorite worship act and why you enjoy listening to them rather than simply going back to the original.
Sound off in the comments below.