OK, so for the last Black Metal Banchan we talked about some hellish stuff coming out of the Land of the Morning Calm, so we’re going to just continue that trend for this episode! However, we’re kicking it up a notch by going with a more “war is hell” theme by discussing the discography of bestial black/death/war metal maniacs Adokshiny/Goatphomet and Nocturnal Damnation (who I actually interviewed awhile ago, you can read the interview here) before reviewing some of Korea’s most famous “army stew ramen” and then finally wrapping things up with some army-themed horror/thriller to come out of Korean cinema. Enjoy!
ADOKHSINY / GOATPHOMET
The first group we will be exploring for our hellish lineup this week is none other than the mighty war metal horde Goatphomet (previously known as Adokhsiny). The story behind this band begins with the main dude behind this band, an enigmatic mastermind known as Han Jae-ho (한재호), who began his metal career as a vocalist going by the nom de guerre Necrotorment.
Adokhsiny started out with songs about the usual gothic BM stuff- y’know, Satanism, vampires, etc. Unfortunately, it looks like these songs are lost (unless you happen to own a physical copy of this material) to the ages. However, at some point a transformation occurred, and Adokhsiny completely re-formed. Only our boy Necrotorment (who was now going by the colorful pseudonym Nocturnal Rites of Black Goat and Profanity) remained, and had managed to find a couple Malaysian BM dudes (Waxs Witchell and Tormenized) and a Spanish BM dude (Skullcrushed) and surprisingly went from playing melodic black metal to bestial black/death/war metal (in the vein of Blasphemy, Archgoat, etc.). Also, we all know that it’s not cool for a war metal band to sing about vampires and shit, so Nocturnal Rites switched it up and started writing lyrics about nuclear war, bestial desecrations, etc. Much more appropriate!
Unfortunately, it looks like Adokhsiny only recorded about 3 songs during this time, which were released on a few splits with some other bands. However, if you’re into war metal, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! While it’s not as fast or brutal as say, Black Witchery, or as raw as like Blasphemy or Goatpenis, it still hits the spot if you’re looking for something more “balanced” with your bestial black/death fare! The drums sound fucking great too, with that pingy-ass snare!! Sadly, Adokhsiny has no Bandcamp or anything like that, but of course you can find some of their stuff on YouTube (via Tormenized’s channel)!
Anyway, it’s unclear as to what exactly went down, but it looks like around this time both Waxs Witchell and Tormenized left the band, and Nocturnal Rites started a new band with Skullcrushed called Nocturnal Damnation (see below). However, Nocturnal Rites would still continue with Adokhsiny, and in 2012 he changed the name of the band to Goatphomet (and his own pseudonym to Black Mass Incantation ov Goat Pervertor). He also introduced a new lineup which included a mysterious Korean dude identifying himself as Nuclear Vaginaliax and Rotten Clitorias Vengeance on guitars and bass and a Peruvian session drummer, H. Goatkommander.
Together, they produced a 2-song demo in 2013, Oath of the Goatkvlt. Unfortunately, I can only find one track online, but it’s enough to get the idea of what the other song on the demo probably sounds like. Faster (at least at first) and arguably more brutal, it’s too bad that the band went on hiatus soon after releasing this came out. However, there was still plenty going on in Mr. Han’s other band, Nocturnal Damnation!
So, when Skullcrushed began helping out on bass with Adokhsiny, it looks like he must have also gotten along really well with Mr. Han because when the latter started an entirely new project (Nocturnal Damnation), he again enlisted the aid of Skullcrushed (who, for this particular project, adopted the pseudonym Infernal Saviour of Nuclear Onslaught and Warmageddon) to perform all the instruments and songwriting. Also, for this project Mr. Han adopted the (much more manageable) pseudonym Bestial Desekrator.
Their first effort was the Sadogoat Warmageddon Command demo (2011), a primitive onslaught of barbaric brutality. The recording and production is garbage, but definitely shows that these guys are not here to fuck around, as this stuff is more chaotic and aggressive than Adokhsiny and Goatphomet. It reminds me a lot of Deiphago, but a bit more coherent (which isn’t hard to do, let’s be real).
After this, ND appeared on Bloodshed for the Wargods (2012), a 3-way split put out by Iron Bonehead Productions that also featured Seges Finder (who are NS lol) from Brazil and Purification Kommando from Denmark. While this split featured a couple of the same tracks found on ND’s demo, it also included the new track “Iron Baphomet’s Demoniac Reign”. Listening to this track reminded me of something I’d like to mention- if you live in Korea, I highly recommend walking around and listening to this music late at night in some of Seoul’s seedier, more industrial areas. Even though the music (not including the vocals) was entirely created and recorded in Spain, it just fits with this neighborhood so well with a bit of imagination. Obviously there are a lot more violent, fucked up places in the world that would unfortunately be a “better” match for ND’s bestial war metal, besides the sketchy-ass shit that I’ve personally witnessed in Mullae-dong myself, the real connection lies in the industrial (not the musical genre) feel of both ND’s music and the neighborhood.
This period of ND sounds like it was created by a methed-out mechanics (Korea does indeed have crystal meth!) in one of the many grimy garage shops that line Mullae’s streets and alleyways (and also double as entrances into makeshift brothels). The guitars are so crude and “dirty”-sounding, and the programmed (as best I can tell, at least) drums sound like they’re being played on an improvised kit that’s partly made out of oil drums. It sounds like the audio equivalent of being force-fed diesel fuel by a sadistic, morbidly obese mechanic wearing a pig mask and an apron stained with oil and blood in one of those tiny, auto part-filled garages during the late hours of an incredibly hot and humid summer night in Mullae. At least, that’s what it makes me think of when I listen to it.
2012 brought us the release of ND’s full-length debut, Desecration, Crucifixion, Perversion. Initially released on cassette by Silver Key Records out of Denmark, this album would actually be re-released twice, both by a different label and with different artwork. The Silver Key version’s cover art is OK, but the 2013 CD version by Dunkelheit Produktion is much better, in my opinion (although my favorite cover is the Inhuman Assault Productions’ cassette re-release version). I’m pretty sure all of these album covers are by Sickness666 from Indonesia, who’s one of my favorites. Yeah, he gets a lot of flak for some of his stuff being too similar to Thorncross’ work, but I don’t care. I really love this style!
Anyway, as for the music itself, it’s quite similar to what you would expect if you were familiar with ND’s earlier stuff, except the production is noticeably improved (especially the CD version)! This shit sounds really fucking explosive and intense!! The guitar solos also sound like someone is scraping my ear canals with a stainless steel scrubber. While the music itself is pretty fucking intense and driving in its chaotic brutality, my favorite part are the drums! They still have the oil drum-sound to them, but with much more reverb and power!! The vokillz, of course, are bestial, brutal, whatever you want to call them, it’s good stuff. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is a solid album! Very impressive album!!
Unfortunately, all was not well in the ND camp soon after the release of their LP. Apparently, Infernal Saviour and Bestial Desekrator weren’t really getting along, and the former was soon released from his duties. For three long years, ND was silent. Even Goatphomet (see above) was only able to belch forth a two-song, 6-minute demo in 2013 before being put on hold. It’s unclear as to what was going on exactly, but it looked like unfortunately Mr. Han was running out of steam.
Luckily, ND wasn’t finished at all!! It was eventually revealed that for the past couple of years, Bestial Desekrator and a mysterious entity known only as “P.” had been working on some ferocious material that just as brutal and blasphemous as the earlier stuff, but with a totally different style. In 2015, P. revealed his true identity as none other than the mighty Patiwat Naowaphon from the mighty Thai bestial horde Zygoatsis (among others), and ND showed off their new material (two tracks) that same year by releasing a split with (now defunct) Thai BM horde Goatchrist666 titled A Damnation of Tyrant’s Necro-sodomy (the label apparently misspelled the album title on the cover, so it’s supposed to be “Damnation” not “Domination“).
When listening to this ND’s side of this record, it seems quite obvious that this is almost a different band, as the songwriting style, production, and overall feel of the songs is completely different from ND’s earlier stuff. It’s much more “melodic” in and, dare I say, “listenable” in terms of being stripped down in that you can actually understand what’s going on. That also may be because of the much more toned-down programmed drums, allowing much more room for the riffs and brutal vokillz to breathe. Overall, this is much more direct, to-the-point, straight-for-the-jugular death metal, and a lot less “bestial black/death/war”-sounding. Far less chaotic than the earlier stuff with Infernal Saviour, I’m honestly feeling this more than ND’s earlier stuff just in terms of the quality of the riffs and songwriting, although I do kind of miss the sound of the old drums. Still, this new incarnation of ND is definitely an improvement!
You can buy a digital copy for a mere $100 here!! It’s a steal!!
Next up in the ND discography is Sacrilegious Fornication Masscare… Filthy Desekrators! (2016) (I think they mean “Massacre”…), a split release with the infamous Abigail from Japan. Unfortunately, it only comes with one song (unless you get a different version of the split, see below), “Anneliese Death Ritual”, but
Musically I’d say this picks up right where the previous material left off, except honestly the production seems a bit worse this time around…while everything else sounds great, the frantic programmed drums (which otherwise sound great) are completely buried in the mix. It’s too bad, because it’s pretty solid, blasphemic, brutal death metal, with plenty of groove and evil atmosphere.
As I mentioned before, if you can snag a CD or cassette copy (via Putrid Cult) you’ll get hooked up with different cover art and a bonus track!
You can buy a digital copy for a ONLY €666 here! Now that’s what I call a deal!!
All of this finally brings us to ND’s latest release, Blasphemous Alliance of Chaos (2017), a split CD with Disforterror and Perlokus, both from Brazil. However, although I haven’t actually had the opportunity to listen to the record myself, it looks like the ND tracks for this one are all re-recordings of older ND tracks from 2011-2012! It’s going to be cool to see how they redid these old tracks in what I’m presuming is the new style 😀
Check out Nocturnal Damnation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialNocturnalDamnation/
Check out Nocturnal Damnation’s official website here: http://goatwar.egloos.com/
Army Base Stew (“Budae-jjigae” / 부대찌)
Tying in nicely with all the war metal we’ve been covering with this edition of the Black Metal Banchan, I couldn’t resist including the ramyeon version of a popular Korean soup (“budae jjigae”, which roughly translates to “army base stew”) that unfortunately came from a time in South Korea that was pretty fucked up 🙁 After the Korean War, South Korea’s infrastructure was shattered, and being a small, mountainous country, didn’t have much in the way of food (or available resources that could be exchanged for food), and to rely heavily on the good will and donations of other countries (namely, the United States). Because there were (and still are) so many American army bases set up all over the country (which obviously had plenty of food), many Koreans out of desperation had to go through the garbage and scraps of the leftover food that the army base kitchens would throw out at the end of the night in order to get at least some sort of sustenance. Pretty fucking sad. Anyway, with these scraps (usually lots of processed meat and random vegetables, I’m assuming), Koreans would throw pretty much whatever they could find together in a giant pot and cook it, the result of which being budae jjigae. Of course, South Korea is now thankfully a fully-developed, modernized country, and having to make dinner out of army base table scraps for survival is a thing of the past, but budae jjigae still remains to be a popular snack here (especially as a late night snack with your pals, accompanied with copious amounts of beer and/or soju!). So, I guess it was only a matter of time before the Korean snack conglomerates decided to capitalize on the popularity of both budae jjigae and Korean ramyeun by combining the two into a delicious new snack!
BOGEUL BOGEUL BUDAE JJIGAEMYEON (보글보글 부대찌개면)
Which brings us to Nongshim’s Budae Jjigaemyeon! By combining the deliciousness of Shin Ramyeon with the flavor of traditional budae jjigae, the result is pretty good, but slightly underwhelming. It tastes exactly how you would expect if you’re familiar with budae jjigae (fairly spicy soup with a strong hot dog/processed salty meat flavor), but I was hoping for it to be a bit more spicy and intense. The dry sausage meat flakes (not to mention the little bits of kimchi and other veggies) they included in the soup aren’t too bad, but honestly I’m a bit let down. While it does successfully differentiate itself from other typical spicy ramyeons with its unique taste, it just doesn’t blow me away. Compared with Nongshim’s other stuff, I’ll probably just stick with Shin Ramyeon, or, even better, Mat Jjambbong!
PALDO BUDAE JJIGAE RAMYEON (팔도 부대찌개라면)
smells like old kitchen garbage,” said Gumiho as she plopped a container of stinky kimchi next to my bowl of freshly cooked Budae Jjigae Ramyun. This struck me as funny for a couple of reasons- first of all, I guess smelling like “old kitchen garbage” would be a good thing if you’re going for authenticity because, technically, that’s how budae jjigae originated (see above). Second, the kimchi she brought out from our refrigerator definitely smelled far more funky (although it’s still quite tasty!). Anyway, this stuff is quite similar to Nongshim’s Budae Jjigaemyeon in terms of ingredients and taste, except that for whatever reason I found this to be significantly more delicious (although this could just be my imagination)!
OTTOGI BUDAE JJIGAE RAMYEON (오뚜기 부대찌개 라면)
BONUS: HAEK BULDAK BOKKEUMYEON (핵불닭볶음면)
Seeing that this is a war-themed post, how could I neglect to write about the 2017 limited edition HAEK BULDALK BOKKEUMYEON (“NUCLEAR FIRE CHICKEN STIR-FRIED NOODLES”)?! I’ve talked about the mighty Buldalk Bokkeumyeon (and its various incarnations) before, but when I saw this on the shelves at my local convenience store I could already feel my bowels melting as a result of this molten lava passing through my intestines. At exactly 8,706 SHU (the original is at 4,404 SHU) according to the packaging, I am unaware of a spicier ramen on the market right now. Seriously, just ask the Ramen Rater, he says the same thing!
Anyway, I tried this out and sure enough, it’s spicy as fuck! In the classic Buldalk Bokkeumyeon tradition, when you start eating it you don’t think it’s too bad, but goddamn does it get hot later! Especially with the “핵” (“nuclear”) in the title, I can’t think of a more appropriate ramen for this particular episode of Black Metal Banchan. I guess technically you could argue that this isn’t really “ramen/ramyun” because it doesn’t have any broth (you pour out the water before mixing in the spicy paste, so there’s absolutely no chance of you wimping out and putting in extra water or something to reduce the heat), but who cares! If you want the food version of war metal, I’d say this is the perfect incarnation. Also, as a bonus, just like the original Buldalk Bokkeumyeon, it’s absolutely fucking delicious as well! Just make sure you take some diarrhea medication or something when dealing with this bad boy!
BONUS: PALDO VOLCANO CURRY KKOKKOMYUN (팔도 볼케이노꼬꼬볶음면)
Goddamn!! Right off the bat, this shit goes for the jugular in terms of letting you know that it’s going to give its arch enemy, Buldak Bokkeum Myeon (불닭볶음면) (whom it’s obviously copying off of, look at the packaging ffs) a run for its money in terms of lethality. The twist here, however, is that Paldo has mixed it up by bringing us the similar taste and experience of buldalk, but with the added bonuses of a hint of curry as well as those thick-ass jjambbong ramyun noodles that I love so much!! Brilliant! This shit is dank af btw, and quite spicy. I’m probably going to regret it later, if you know what I mean 🙁 Ah well, in the name of bestial nuclear war metal, I officially declare my taste buds completely fucking annihilated. Mission accomplished, Paldo!!
R-POINT (알 포인트) (2004)
This film kind of reminded me of Jacob’s Ladder (1990), or maybe even a bit of Full Metal Jacket (1987). Also, I could have sworn I read somewhere that this movie actually based on an urban legend that started during or soon after South Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War, but maybe I’m just imagining it. Either way, this was a really interesting movie, very psychological. Unfortunately, if you go into this movie expecting it to be pure entertainment and edge-of-your-seat thrills, you’ll probably be disappointed. The overall plot is fairly straightforward and predictable (battalion of soldiers goes missing so the government sends in a recon team to go find them and end up having a bunch of weird supernatural shit happen to them), but it seems obvious to me that there’s a lot more to this film than it just being a simple ghost story. I’d argue that it comes off as more of an allegory, although to determine about what exactly is perhaps a bit more challenging…perhaps the cyclical nature of violence, or maybe the psychological consequences of being a soldier during wartime? I should probably watch it again because it can be kind of confusing at times.
THE GUARD POST (GP 506) (2008)
This film actually starts out in a similar way to R-Point in that it opens with mysterious circumstances involving a massacred platoon, but unlike R-Point this film doesn’t get too paranormal or psychological. However, that’s not to say that it’s straightforward or easy to follow, as the narrative keeps on jumping back and forth in the chronology of the events that take place, so it can be a bit confusing if you’re not paying close attention.
Anyway, this was a cool horror/thriller movie in that it’s got its fair share of brutal violence and gore, but still manages to not go overboard and still invests in some good acting and storytelling.