An iconic picture of the band Immortal, gesturing emphatically, but holding tubs of Desitin in their hands.

Desitin – It’s like corpse paint for your baby’s butt

At first, black metal aesthetics and baby-related stuff don’t seem to have much in common. But as I’ve proven time and again, the two aren’t always mutually exclusive. Desitin, a popular rash cream for babies, happens to match up rather remarkably to everyone’s favorite evil (and occasionally unintentionally goofy) metal genre.

Let’s explore how Desitin and black metal mix!

Not-because-I-want-to-but-because-I-have-to obligatory disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review. I have NOT been provided with review copies tubs of Desitin for this blog. My opinions are my own and are for entertainment and personal semi-endorsement purposes only.

It’s applied liberally.

Corpse paint adds an air of mystique, an element of the frightening unknown for those who choose to don its alabaster appearance. The rest of us plebs can’t possibly grasp its trve kvlt significance, but if there’s one thing our fragile minds can understand about corpse paint, it’s that you don’t modestly powder it on — you fuckin’ slather it. Anything less leaves you looking like a beach-bound tourist. I can’t vouch for how much a single trip to ULTA costs the members of Behemoth, but I’m sure they need a bag attendant to carry it all out. “Slaves shall serve,” indeed.

Desitin is applied in similar amounts, although the surface area you’re working with is much, much smaller. You only need a good finger dab or two (might I suggest the pointer and pinky fingers?) to completely de-Satan a baby butt rash with Desitin — a little bit goes a long way. I’m no brand loyalist, but it’s been nearly two years since I bought this two-pack off Amazon, and I’m just now dipping past the halfway mark on the first container. Value and effectiveness? That’s my fucking kryptonite.

It’s grim.

You’d think that corpse paint lends itself an irreplicable aura of grimness — a serious dedication to the dark arts whose might cannot, under any circumstance, be matched. But really, Desitin is no different, for what could be grimmer than the somber affair of reducing a rash from a child’s butt? It’s not easy work — you’ll set yourself upon the dreary task, knowing you’ll have to withstand an arching back, kicking legs, and vile, hate-spewing screams. It’s like a scene from The Exorcist, but with way more vomit potential (after she’s been eating nothing but corn and raisins all morning, you’re the one who’s going to end up losing their lunch).

It’s divisive.

If those wackos in Mayhem are to be believed, corpse paint is named for the appearance that fully alive individuals take on when they want to look like a bloodless deader (although I’d imagine making a Norwegian person’s already-sun-deprived pallor even more pallid wouldn’t be too difficult). If that sounds morbid to you, then ignore the part where Mayhem’s first vocalist, Dead, often said to be the purported progenitor of the practice, used to huff dead birds while performing live on stage. Or the part where Mayhem’s then-bassist Varg Vikernes stabbed guitarist Euronymous over twenty times and took pictures of his corpse. Or the part where drummer Hellhammer has said, in summary, that black metal is “only for white people.”

And that’s just one band.

There’s such a strong public association between corpse paint and black metal that any makeup-wearing modern band is assumed to have some kind of satanic or misanthropic tendencies. (Judging by how long KISS has been hellishly stringing us along with farewell after farewell tour, I’d wager that’s not too far off.) But black metal seems to attract individuals who subscribe to all sorts of shitty behavior and ideals.

But despite black metal’s controversial proclivities, this is one instance where the baby example may be more extreme than the metal one. Where Mayhem, Emperor, and others among the esteemed black metal elite have shunned corpse paint for the simple, petty notions of “it’s too mainstream” or “it’s lost its meaning,” Desitin detractors have much more dire reasons for not being fans.

A quick glance at the World Wide Web yields queries of whether Desitin is safe or not. People from about the mid-to-late-2000s point the finger at a several ingredients. Although Desitin mostly contains zinc oxide, it also contains butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), a food additive that is listed as a carcinogen in the state of California. The ingestion of large quantities of BHA have had certain effects on certain mammals, but reading about it makes my fucking head spin. Luckily, the FDA has provided a tl;dr for those of us whose brains have only enough room to remember the personnel lineups of every Megadeth album:

“While no evidence in the available information on butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) demonstrates a hazard to the public when it is used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced, uncertaintied [sic] exist requiring that additional studies be conducted.”

Basically, “questions remain.” If that doesn’t sit well with you, then definitely do your research (and keep in mind that “Desitin cancer” is a search term you’re likely to come across). Don’t be afraid to dive deep and read up on opinions from all sides, no matter how extreme.

So why am I using Desitin if there’s even the slimmest chance it could have ill effects on my dear, darling Gorgonna? Well, that’s a good fucking question. Desitin is to me what Dimmu Borgir is to black metal — it’s the mainstream choice. I can hardly conceive of what other diaper rash creams are available on the market. Like, maybe there’s a Gnaw Their Tongues-equivalent out there, or an orthodox anti-cosmic atmospheric rash cream that would turn ouchie skin from the hue of a boiled lobster to a fuzzy pink peach. Clearly, I’ve got my own research to do, but until then, I’m going to be livin’ for givin’ the Desitin its due because it’s worked for us so far. Ignorant? Lazy? Could be, but I — unlike some ass-backwards individuals out there — can change my ways.

Conclusion

As far as I know, most black metal bands keep corpse paint to their faces; everything else is sealed away behind layers of black leather and silver spikes. Sounds to me like a prime environment for chafing, where a little zinc oxide might be appreciated. Desitin’s ability to soothe rashes of seemingly any potency can’t be discounted when you’ve got incantations to spew and beats to blast, so maybe we’ll start seeing some endorsements soon. At the very least, if black metal bands began hurling tubs of BHA-addled Desitin into audiences instead of pig’s blood, I can’t think of anything more brutal.

Verdict: It is your Desitin-y

Diaper rashes are inevitable and uncomfortable. Have a means to treat them for the sake of your kid, but do decide if Desitin provides the best means to achieve that. Find a solution for diaper rashes that sits right with you and your child.

Album Review: Power Trip – Nightmare Logic

At first listen, Power Trip’s Nightmare Logic sounds for all the world like your typical thrash throwback — a pandering, nostalgia-laden love-letter to a decades-saturated genre. So why the fuck am I enjoying it so much?

It proudly wears common thrash trappings like whammy bar-wankery, retro reverb, time-twisting tempo changes, and syncopated percussive punching ripped right from Ride the Lightning and other damned-obvious source material. And after multiple listens, I still can’t pinpoint any effort Power Trip has made to modernize what they’re doing on Nightmare Logic. Therefore, I have to conclude that this Texas quintet has written an honest-to-God goddamned good thrash album.

Album art for Power Trip's Nightmare Logic.

“Soul Sacrifice” riffs with Exodus-esque enthusiasm before breaking into a Slayer-like sprint. “Executioner’s Tax” rolls like thunder toward a passage of Ulrich-ian tom pounding, building up tension to return to a lightning-crack chorus. “Waiting Around to Die” — with its palm-muted to open-note picking pattern and hazy production — could fit right at home on So Far, So Good… So What! (and even fits better, if you remember that “502” exists). It’s all stuff we’ve heard before, but even Power Trip’s previous effort, 2013’s Manifest Decimation, didn’t get it this right.

What Nightmare Logic does so well is harness the infectious energy — the no-nonsense, fluff-free, often-imitated intensity — of the primordial Big Four and Co. and injects it full to bursting into nine solid songs.

Aside from a few lo-fi, analog-sounding synth intros and outros, there’s barely a wasted second on the entire thing. Each song flows seamlessly between vicious verses, killer choruses, headbanging bridges, and dynamic breaks. Certain riffs occasionally get milked (the outro of “If Not Us Then Who” comes to mind), but it never takes too much of our time before we’re tearing into another track. Even the tacked-on second-verse solos — their inclusion more a regretful courtesy to the genre than anything truly noteworthy — serve the higher purpose of stoking the reignited flames and keeping the old-school metal momentum going. Strange, then, that for all their efforts in recreating the past, Power Trip’s tunes are so good at moving us relentlessly forward.

Above all, the thing that would sell any Bay Area ‘banger on Nightmare Logic (and Power Trip as a whole) is the vocalist. We’ve endured thrash singers for years, we know what to expect: sharp, rapid barks, accenting the attack of the guitars. And although lyrically it’s nothing special, Riley Gale’s vocal delivery would have stood out even in ‘85. His brazen hardcore howls, occasionally dragging deliciously behind the beat, are pulled off with charisma and confidence. He’s not carrying the band by any means, but he’s a hurricane force to be sure.

Power Trip does seem to favor their 75-85 BPM backbeat-banger riffs, but given the nostalgic context these sections never feel out of place — they’re practically made to be played live and get the circle pit brewin’. I can perfectly picture the bridge from “Firing Squad” eliciting the kind of impromptu mosh pit camaraderie that makes you sling an arm around the slippery, sweaty shoulder of the hesher next to you — and him to you — and headbang in unison until both your goddamn heads rattle off.

Nightmare Logic doesn’t surge with unrestrained electricity, or seek to impress us with phenomenal fret- or feet-work (the drummer doesn’t have a double bass pedal). Power Trip wears their influences on their sleeves, and they don’t spend a second trying to convince us they’re anything more than what they are. Instead, Nightmare Logic hits hard and plunges deep, an IV needle pumping us full of magical, time-traveling fluid, miraculously bringing what was once thought dead back to life. This concise, carefully executed package is the real deal.

If you’ve ever argued over whether Metallica or Megadeth was the better band, I can’t imagine you not liking Nightmare Logic.

Support Power Trip and buy Nightmare Logic in the link located above.

Album Review: The Drip – The Haunting Fear of Inevitability

At the risk of sounding like a complete ignoramus, I’d like to go on record as saying I know next to nothing about grind. Its permutations, its lyrical themes, its musical tropes — even the other genres it tends to play nice with — so let’s put all that aside, shall we?

Now let’s also put aside whether or not Washington’s The Drip even classifies as grind, or deathgrind, or d-beat, or whatever the fuck else I see people calling them. Because none of that matters when you hear what’s on offer with The Haunting Fear of Inevitability.

The whole album, front to back, is a whirlwind whiplash of energy and aggression, and it takes whatever form will accomplish that the quickest. Passages with hauling blast beats shift gears into herky-jerk d-beats. Phlegmy hardcore shouts deftly morph into brazen death metal barks. A melting pot of influences is cooking on full blast here, with no time for solos, or even choruses for that matter.

This is metal, and it’s the ass-kicking kind.

Album art for The Drip's The Haunting Fear of Inevitability, featuring a hooded decaying skull.
(Image source: Toiletovhell)

But why stop there? The Haunting Fear of Inevitability easily bludgeons every other part of the body too, from face to fanny. You’ve got balls-out bangers like “Terror War Industry” that clock in at under a minute and a half, while longer jams like “Anathema” slow down for groovin’ (okay, you could hardly call 2:45 “long,” but I’m trying to be respectful of these boys’ time). A good number of tracks fall into the latter category, which makes for a more dynamic listening experience.

Some music just makes you want to go nuts, and Haunting will let you do that. The album lacks the elitist sophistication I usually look for in metal these days, but I can’t deny the unbridled electricity charging every song. This isn’t thinking man’s metal, no sir — you’ve got five dudes terrorizing their instruments, delivering a slammin’ set of tunes. But that’s not to say the songs themselves aren’t thoughtful.

Thankfully, The Drip doesn’t sacrifice smart songwriting for pure auditory manhandling. Want neat and tidy song structures? The end of “Blackest Evocation” revisits the machine gun percussion from the song’s intro, which ties a neat little bow onto an explosive package. If you want something more organic, look no further than “Dead Inside.” A breakneck beginning slows to a shambling gait a mere minute in, a pace that continues for the remainder of the song and makes for one of the album’s more memorable tracks.

Ultimately, your being a fan of grind matters less than you being a fan of metal in general. There’s plenty of grinding (??) going on during the punishing half hour that is The Haunting Fear of Inevitability, but they’re pulling from genres in a way that makes sense. It all makes an intimidating/unfamiliar genre a bit more digestible. And you don’t have to subscribe to any of these things! If you even remotely like your metal bearing down on you like a chrome-plated rabid warthog, you’ll find something to like here. Then again, if you’re turned off by one track, the other twelve aren’t likely to convince you. But if you, me, and everybody else ends up getting into grind this year, I reckon we’ll have The Drip to thank for it.