Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Dear Scott Ian,
Please stop it.
Sincerely, Everyone
While browsing Blabbermouth.net this afternoon, I was introduced to a modern day supergroup known as "The Damned Things". The Damned Things consist of Anthrax guitarists Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano (very metal), Every Time I Die vocalist Keith Buckley (sort of metal, but not really) and the guitarist and drummer from Fall Out B... wait, wait what?

 It was a pretty peculiar combination to say the least, but due to being a long-time Anthrax fan (and avid Fall Out Boy hater), I couldn't help but be intrigued. I eagerly clicked the play button on the audio track "Little Darling" that Blabbermouth provided within the article. I sat and waited patiently for the Foo Fighters song to be over, until I realized that the Foo Fighters song I was listening to, was actually the song by The Damned Things that I was intending to hear in the first place. Imagine my surprise... another supergroup that blows.
"Little Darling" by The Damned THings

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term 'supergroup', it is essentially a "rock-music group whose performers are already famous from having performed individually or in other groups". That's really it in a nutshell. More specifically, a supergroup occurs when a talented musician from a well established band gets tired of making great, well-produced music with the musicians he is well practiced with, so he calls up a bunch of famous names to start a garage band. These are a bunch of guys he doesn't know, doesn't have chemistry with, and all have different opinions in music. It's kind of like being in a band in high school, except you're 40 and a millionaire. I guess that's the idea.

The end result is typically this chaotic jam band clash of different playing styles from different genres of music altogether. It's like jazz with distortion. You can almost hear the artists struggle just to keep time with each other. So the fans are treated to this poorly-cut mishmash of garbage tracks that even the most Revolver of critics would struggle to call art. Regardless, it is produced on a high budget and distributed by a big name record label, just because people know the names, and are going to buy it. Thankfully, due to opposing schedules from their own respective bands, supergroups are often short-lived and hardly ever go on tour.

In theory, it sounds like a great idea. A group of awesome musicians from their own legendary bands all come together to form one single entity of musical glory. In practice however, it is a nightmare. It's like if pizza, birthday cake, whiskey and salmon were thrown into a blender. All of these things are tasty on their own, but a whiskey salmon pizza cake shake shouldn't sound appetizing to anyone. I don't care how drunk you are.

However, it is certainly possible to enjoy fish, cake, pizza and whiskey in one evening, (you are a metalhead after all) and all of these delicious items are going to merge together in your insides and form a single, powerful entity; that of which, the likes have never been seen...

A superpoop.

Playing Guitar like you're a Crab

Clearly the above Attack Attack! music video has heavy metal violations in spades. I don't think I could give you a more pristine example of anything less metal than this, but we're just going to have to put everything else aside for now (yes, even the auto-tuning) and discuss the main point of this article. For whatever reason, this band, and many other post nu-metalcore screamo industrial progressive boy bands just like them, (Abandon All Ships, Miss May I, etc) have this tendency to act like crabs while playing their instruments. Although it goes on from start to finish, I suggest you skip ahead to the one minute mark in the music video, to get a display of this phenomena in full effect for the remainder of the break down.

The guitarist or bassist assumes the crab position by spreading his legs in a wide stance, bending at the knees and squatting as far down as he can go without ripping his girl jeans. From there, he quickly starts bending his knees back and forth, propelling his body upward and downward to the rhythm of what I can only assume he thinks is 'music'. Due to this unique style of playing, screamo such as this has been aptly labeled "Crabcore", probably by other scenesters that think their core is anything less stupid.

I guess it makes a lot more sense than it does at first glance. Think about it. Auto-tuning is really just a way to make it sound like you're singing underwater, and I'm no marine biologist, but crabs definitely like water. Your typical metalcore riff also wouldn't require much more than crab-like appendages to play on a guitar. Obviously there must be a deeper meaning to all of this, that an outsider like myself wouldn't understand...

A solid heavy metal guitar playing stance is with your legs spread evenly and bent at the knees slightly; your feet planted firmly, your axe slung low, your back straight, and your head banging. It's simple, yet effective. The more stationary you remain, the harder you look. A strong stand and a mean scowl will get you more respect in the metal community than prancing or bouncing around like a jackass ever would.  

The crab dance of modern day suck rock is like the 'nu-metal hunch over' of the 90's. What will terrible music think of next?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mosh Pit Karate Kids

Despite the phrase "war metal" being thrown around at the beginning of this video, (which keep in mind, is not made for little bitches, but in fact, vendettas) there is not a single metal activity going on in the entirety of this footage. Study it carefully, then refrain from ever doing any of it at an actual metal show, unless you want to get either thrown out, or a thorough ass kicking.

Several months ago I attended a 100 Demons show with my younger brother. From where I stood from the stage; a sea of baseball hats, wife beaters, and bandannas lay before me at about chest level. The crowd was filled with bad tattoos, napoleon complexes, ears mutilated with hockey puck-sized gauges, and this bizarre organized crime mentality, without any real criminals. I knew coming in that this wasn't even remotely my scene. I stood out like a big, fat, sore thumb and the only thing I could do was stand around with my arms crossed and silently judge while I was undoubtedly being judged harder.

A single hardcore (HxC) kid on his own is hardly intimidating, but when you are face to face with an ocean of Axe body spray that immense, you're not going to start beef in their territory. Especially due to the fact that their style of mosh pits is singling each other out, punching each other in the face, and kicking each other square in the testicles, with a sort of pseudo karate style flair . Back in grammar school, I used to have a word for that: it was called "fighting". 

To them however, it's only moshing, and despite the fact that they look you square in the eye, walk right up to you, and deliver a flying Nike to your mouth, you're not supposed to take it personally. If you retaliate, you're the one who's going to get thrown out. After 100 Demons powered through their entire discography in a 12-minute set, we all went home at like 9:30, because I guess HxC kids need to wake up in time for the school bus.

So here's the moral of this story: I didn't go to their venue, attempt circle pits, start shoving people and ping-ponging around, yet why do they find it necessary to come into our world and start Jackie Channing up our pit? There's always at least one in every show, and it is your duty as a heavy metal venue patron to remind him where he is. Here are some effective ways to neutralize the scene kid dancer ruining your good mood:

1. Cordially introduce him to the floor. Chances are at typical scenester height, he's not far from it anyway, and he can't be anywhere over 140 pounds. Kiss the concrete, Jet Li.  

2. Mock him. Do the 'macarena' in front of him. The more grizzled and metal you look, the greater the comedic effect, and therefore the more upset he will be. 

3. Taste of his own medicine. If you're wearing steel-toed leather boots like a true metal warrior, an 'unintentional' delivery to the groin will ensure that the rest of your night will be HxC free. If below the belt isn't in your honor system, then an ol' fashioned windmill to the back of his tiny cranium should get the message across. 

4. Sumo Sandwich. This may be the most difficult to pull off, as it will require collaborating with another massive metalhead or group of metalheads during a deafening metal performance. You might have to play a bit of charades to make it happen, but basically, what you'll want to do is align yourself with a partner or partners on opposite sides of the pit's rim, while Tony Jaa continues his martial arts antics in the center, oblivious to the glorious gut check he is about to receive. On a countdown of three, you'll both run towards your victim at blistering speed, meeting him on either side with the full brunt of your massive torsos, crushing his tiny body into another dimension of pain and oblivion. 

Normally, I don't condone singling people out in a mosh pit. Heavy metal is about brotherhood. We're a family, and a mosh pit is not designed to intentionally hurt anyone, but as a satisfying outlet for our aggression. It is a primal reaction to the intensity of some of our favorite music. Should you fall, a wave of hands will be there to put you back on your feet, and pat you on the back. If you get hurt badly, it wasn't a deliberate act, but a rogue head bang or elbow thrust that just caught you in the mess of things. That's the risk you take entering a pit, we all know and understand that. But all of that scene kid fist swinging and spin kicking is pure jackassery. If someone is in your mosh pit, putting your metal brethren at unnecessary risk, it is your family obligation to put them down. Period.

I'm not going to trash you for how you fairies throw around your Chuck Taylors at your own dojo, but the moment you bring that shit to my temple, you're painting a giant bullseye on your back, and I can not and will not guarantee your safety. If you like both types of music, adjust your behavior accordingly from show to show. It's not rocket science. 

Better keep working on your crane style. You're gonna need it when I find you at Amon Amarth.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Radio

Let's pretend that your CD player or tape deck is busted in your motor vehicle. Because of this unfortunate circumstance, you are left with three options:

1. Getting it fixed/replaced.
2. Riding around in angry silence.
3. Practicing your death metal growl.

Does it sound like I am missing anything? How about killing yourself? All true metalheads recognize the fact that no matter what, under no circumstance is FM radio ever an option.

Radio has been a sworn nemesis to true metal for decades (as any Manowar lyrics will tell you), and will continue to be; until the day government officials become tired of hearing what hard rock had to offer in 1998, and radio is finally outlawed. My years of rock radio listening were plagued with the constant, frustrated flipping of channels back and forth, before I realized that barely catching the second half of "War Pigs" was nowhere near worth muscling through hours of Nickelback, Disturbed, Creed, Green Day and the same three fucking Alice In Chains songs in constant loop. Newsflash radio: Nobody actually listens to Korn anymore. Nobody. Not even Korn fans. Not even the members of Korn. Yet I heard "Freak on a Leash" on the radio just yesterday. If you have to ask why I was even listening to the radio, it was because I was sitting in someone else's car. Having to bum rides off of people makes me more metal than you. Not helping them pay for gas? Even more so.

Radio is such a pathetic media that it doesn't even bother to keep current with what rock fans are actually listening to. It has honestly been recycling the same material from the same 10-15 bands for the last decade and a half. They will play Tool all day and night, even though Tool peaked, and immediately afterwards became irrelevant to anyone who knows anything, back in '93. The only new music you will hear on the radio is when Tool releases a new album. I can only gather that the window lickers who run these rock stations are a bunch of generation X, grunge-era jerkoffs who have been disillusioned into this concept that Kurt Cobain was anything more than half an artist back when they were in high school.

Rock radio will sometimes play music from newer bands, but only if it's identical to the garbage that they have already been playing. For instance, every note and lyric that Five Finger Death Punch brings to the table has been long tired out by bands like Staind and Drowning Pool in butt rock past. Think of the worst band you can think of from the mid to late 90's... preferably Pearl Jam. Then play music and sing exactly like they do. Air time in no time.

On occasion, radio stations will grant us a specific 'metal block', which is usually assigned to one hour, one day of the week, at 2-3 in the morning, and half of which is commercial breaks. During this hour, true metalheads can splendor in the musical company of high quality acts such as, but not limited to: Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold, Shadows Fall, Hatebreed, and of course, Bullet for my Valentine. We might also get lucky and get to listen to a popular Dio track, but only on the day that he died. No, no, not the anniversary. That one day. That one day that he died on.

I'm not going to be another pretentious douche and say that metal is too 'intellectual' or 'superior' of a genre for the likes of mainstream radio listeners, and go in to why it takes a certain intelligence quotient and advanced musical taste to truly appreciate the complex musical progression of a Nile song. At least not right now anyway. The fact remains that you won't find metal worth a listen playing anywhere on any radio station enough to start tuning in. So in conclusion, I would recommend bringing your iPod along for the ride just in case. You never know what might happen, and you don't need to hear anything or watch the road to drive well anyway.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Performing Live with your Glasses On

Yeah, he can see fine without 'em.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear: There's nothing unmetal about having about poor vision. The last thing we in the heavy metal community want to do is discriminate against anyone... (with the exception of women, black people, and anyone that isn't metal)... So as long as that is understood, I'm not trying to offend anyone with this ruling. But rules are rules, and when you hit the stage, ready to melt some faces, it is common metal knowledge that the specs gotta come off of yours. 

Sometimes you will catch studio logs or casual interviews where some of your favorite rock legends are sporting a classy pair of prescription eye wear. This may often come as a surprise to you, seeing how in every band shoot, music video and live performance you've ever seen them in, there are no glasses to be found. The explanation for why exactly rockers lose the corrective lenses before jumping in the spotlight remains a mystery, and it's not really a common violation like everything else I write about on TNM, but the fact remains: everybody else does it, and therefore so should you. 

One possible theory is that the thrashing of your face to and fro from the non-stop headbanging, can easily cause your fragile frames to go flying. Glasses can get expensive, and if you're putting all your hard-earned cash into Gibson guitars and Krank amps, you're not going to have a red cent left for anything else. Another, less likely possibility, would be that taking off your glasses and shredding on your guitar while legally blind is a way to boast your epic musicianship. The fingers are flying and you don't have to see shit to make it happen, an impressive feat whether intentional or not.

The most likely reason however, is probably because heavy metal musicians are a bunch of self-conscious wussies, who have deep-rooted, irrational fears that their fans will think that they're dorky and not like them anymore if we see them in glasses. Me? Buy a metal album? FROM A NERD?! Fuck that. I only wear t-shirts of bands who have members who look cool and are cool. You can't be a metal legend and a four-eyes at the same time. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

"Their old stuff..."

"Their new stuff sucks, but I like their old stuff. Yeah, their old stuff is good."
In heavy metal conversation, there has always been one power phrase that trumps any argument regarding how much a band sucks. What I am referring to of course is the infamous "old stuff" defense. It seems that regardless of how much pain, misery and suck a band can inflict on the music world, they will always get away with it in the eyes of fans, because "back in the day" bands always shredded with masterful heavy metal perfection.

The genius of the old stuff argument is that it can be said in reference to any band at all. From Slayer to Slipknot, you can almost always claim that a band's earlier material was vastly superior to their more recent work, and as such it isn't really appropriate to consider a band's recent activity when judging their entire metal merit. The old stuff defense is especially effective when you take a band's demo work into consideration, as most people are unfamiliar, and therefore feel they have no basis for argument. I of course, think that the old stuff defense is a bullshit tactic, and anguish at how it still continues to be a effective means of supporting one's opinion. 

The following is a typical exchange between two metal heads where the "old stuff" defense is put into play, with devastating results:

Metalhead: "Five Finger Death Punch sucks. A lot."
Douchehead: "Yeah, but I like their old stuff, their old stuff was good."
Metalhead: "Okay."

Here's where the conversation typically stops, because it ends with a mutual agreement where everyone walks away happy. Doesn't sound very metal to me. Your "suck" statement should be made with the intent of hurting feelings, passing judgement and boldly claiming your metal superiority! Here's how it should really go:

Metalhead: "Five Finger Death Punch sucks."
Douchehead: "Yeah, but their old stuff was good".
Metalhead: "It's too bad I didn't say 'sucked' or else you would have had a good reason to open your stupid suck hole. Nice pink mohawk, by the way. Did your boyfriend help you dye it while you were both rocking out to some old school Five Finger Butt Punch?"

Let's put this into perspective... Pretend you're at a restaurant and your waitress brings you your steak freezing cold. When you complain to her about it, she replies "well it was a really tasty steak twenty minutes ago", as if it were a legitimate argument. Would that make any sense to you? If not, then why would it make sense for Exodus to get away with Shovel Headed Kill Machine just because they released Bonded by Blood twenty years prior?

So let me go ahead and make mention of the fat, smelly, has-been elephant sitting in the room: Kill Em' All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and (arguably) And Justice for All... These albums no longer matter. They are outnumbered by the five inexcusably terrible albums that followed them. There is officially more bad than good material, so we're just going to have to face hard facts, join hands across the nation and admit it...

Metallica sucks.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being Skinny

This guy...
I went to Hot Topic the other day so that I could stand around and intimidate people in the band shirt section. While rifling through a pile of Iron Maiden t-shirts I was going to shop-lift, I saw a size “M” and “S”, and could do nothing but hang my head in shame... For these t-shirts were destined not to be worn truly and with pride; but for ironic 'retro style' purposes reserved only for the hipsters skinny enough to squeeze into such a puny size.

True metalheads are no strangers to rebellion, and rebelling against good health is no exception. Metal dudes are big and they are fat. Our diets consist of beer, whiskey and meat. The only exercise we get is head banging, push pits, and fucking. In most cases, just head banging and push pits. That's not a lot. As such, the sizing of heavy metal band shirts should only fall within the holy trinity of man sizes: L, XL, and 2XL. Which stand for Large, Extra Large, and Heavy Metal.

If you are a 90-lb weakling, and that L-sized shirt is sagging over your knees, fear not. As a child baptized in the fires of rock, you're already on your way there. Self-loathing and the inability to give a shit will lead to self-destructive behavior in the forms of devouring food that contains high amounts of saturated fat, and also consuming large quantities of alcohol. Combining this gastric onslaught with the recommended headbanger's workout of sitting at your computer chair and arguing on the Internet, you'll be busting that Necrophagist tee at the seams in no time!  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baseball Caps

Everyone else in this photo looks fucking brutal, save for Baseball Hats McFalse up there.

As far as I'm concerned, baseball caps belong on three kinds of people: baseball players, baseball fans, and douchebags. It's totally possible (and common) for an individual to be all of these things at once. With the exception of football pads decorated with spikes, sportswear has no place in a heavy metal act.

Rockabilia.com and many other band merch outlets have a section dedicated specifically to headwear. I want you to go to your absolute favorite website for ordering rock gear and locate this section. Now that you know where it is, don't ever fucking click on it. Ever. Don't even browse it, everything in it looks stupid and is going to look stupid on you. A baseball hat covered in flaming skulls and a Pantera logo looks as lame and out of place in a band photo as any Yankees hat ever could. Baseball hats are a frumpy, lazy way to get out of combing what should be your illustrious locks of awesome.

Don't believe me? Think good and hard about what Nergal from Behemoth's favorite hat looks like. No luck? That's because all you can think about is his cancer-ridden gnarly ass hairstyle that you would acquire cancer to get. Speaking of which, if your reasoning for cap-wearing is because you are going bald, do not fret. You have two options to remain Metal: pull a Devin Townsend and look like you're old and insane (circa 2008), or pull a Devin Townsend and shave it clean off (circa 2009).

Heavy metal has 3 hairstyles: long, bald, and drummer. Drummers willing to play metal with you are so hard to come by that you're going to have to live with whatever they look like. Regardless, neither of these hairstyles are meant to be covered up by your smelly bro hat. It's not a college course you're running late for, it's a band photo or it's a gig. Buy some shampoo and a comb you dirty scum rat.