Malthusian studies began at AMU in late 2013 with the offering of MMXIII (BLKM – 131126), an introductory course in psychedelic black metal with emphasis on atmosphere and a prerequisite of Altar of Plagues (BLKM – 130425), whose previous evaluations highly recommend drummer Johnny King. Below the Hengiform is the second offering in the recently introduced Malthusian sequence, which those who intend to pursue a degree in black metal may count towards their major requirements.
Below the Hengiform, proctored by Assistant Prof. Kronos (Dept of Death Metal & Experimental Studies), is composed of three units, “The Gasless Billows” (weighted at 37.4%), “Slouching Equinox” (36.8%), and “Forms Become Vapor” (25.8%). The final grade will be a cumulative taken from the performance of each section. If you would like to take the course pass/fail a request must be submitted to the Dean of Black Metal Studies, Madam X. The course is not curved, but performance in MMXIII will factor into the final grade.
“The Gasless Billows” briefly reorients students to the concepts of doom and haziness and subsequently surveys techniques in chromatic riffing. This unit’s main focus is the combination of such riffing with blastbeats and tom-led grooves and expands upon MMXIII‘s study of dual vocal lines.
“Slouching Equinox” shifts its focus to the interplay of blasting and slow grooves and introduces understated wailing guitar licks. The slow tempos and semi-clean leads in “Slouching Equinox” should be familiar to students who have taken courses in or crosslisted with the DOOM department under the direction of Dr. Grymm.
“Forms Become Vapor” investigates the use of odd-time and heavy repetition of Portal-influenced riffing, but places students in unfamiliar territory near the course’s close, introducing a semi-melodic groove and prominent basslines. Many students find this to be the most exciting part of Below the Hengiform.
Selected Student Comments:
-Although I overall enjoyed Below the Hengiform, I found that it was not as interesting as the previous course, MMXIII. The focus on atmosphere and spelean production was much weaker in this offering.
-I slept through some of “The Gasless Billows” but still managed to pass.
-I would only take a higher-level course in Malthusian if they were more varied. I got kinda bored during the first two units.
-Was hung over about 40% of the time, could barely tell apart from the other 60%.
-Readings for the first two sections were a bit on the long side. I would have preferred that they were under nine minutes long and less repetitive.
-The prof was an asshole.