There’s a lot of crap out there these days. I don’t need to enlighten anybody; if you’ve been listening to this music for any amount of time longer than two years, you know this all too well. Then there’s those bands that have left their mark on the underground and are still highly revered to this day. Bands that actually matter. Bands like Profanatica. Despite a very storied and troubled history and some REALLY bizarre onstage and backstage shenanigans (which I won’t elaborate on here, but there is a DVD released by Deathgasm with the exact same name and cover art but is actually a collection of 1990s live performances that you can seek out of you’re really curious), Profanatica’s place in the annals of black metal cannot be denied. Their uncannily raw and underproduced sound and basement-quality vibe reek of all things blasphemous and perverse and still to this day makes me feel like I need about 10 showers after a listen.

Preceding the explosion/implosion of the Norwegian scene, Profanatica never really catapulted into the “limelight” so to speak as many bands of that era regardless of national origin did at that time either for nefarious deeds or have in more recent years as the music became a marketing darling. Leave it up to a very reputable label like Hell’s Headbangers to bless us  back in 2007 with a “Best Of” retrospective, complete with archival photos, laughable artwork and a lengthy and very trying on the eyes biography (when will the world learn that yellow text is always best to use on black backgrounds???). Compiling material onto two CDs from the band’s infancy in 1990 all the way until 2002’s “Broken Jew” EP, the highlights here are the tracks from their seminal split with Columbia’s Masacre that Osmose Productions released in 1992, a highly sought after split that fetches some pretty pennies. Their rants and raves between tracks about religion and how they wish to deal with it with their own form of justice accompanied by growled vocals make me laugh out loud more and more the older I get. Ah, the things I used to be amused by in my youth! Singer Paul Ledney also has a project called Havohej (yes, spell it backwards, it really is that simple) whose “Dethrone The Son of God” is often considered one of black metal’s early masterpieces and should be in the collection of any devotee, albeit you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish that project’s sound from that of Profanatica, especially considering that many of the same songs appear on both band’s material, ironically or not.

And alas, like many other bands of the time that we thought split-up for good and actually left a respectable legacy behind, they have decided to reform after a “hiatus”. Well, I guess when you can potentially have tracks appear on Guitar Hero, appear on MTV.com, and sell ringtones of your songs, it might be a great time to cash in on the black metal trend, particularly for a band who seemed to have disappeared before it all rode the MySpace tidal wave. I for one have a hard time being convinced that such maneuvers are ever for altruistic reasons, and I won’t hesitate to say so in an open forum any chance I get. Let your memory be a good one instead of tainting it with false hope for yourselves AND us! These kind of antics are really starting to wear thin and while there is in fact a contingency of people lauding their latest release “Disgusting Blasphemies Against God”, I have yet to take the plunge and seem to get “distracted” by just about everything else, namely ABBA, Toto, and Starland Vocal Band, instead of pursuing that album. Well, shucks! Maybe sometime in the future, after I finally climb Mt. Everest or take a trip to the moon. Until then, I think it’s time to revel in this here release over and over and let that which once was still be instead of bothering with that which may be questionable! (FA)

CD – HELLS HEADBANGERS
DVD- DEATGASM RECORDS