Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Unmetal Report: Trancecore

"Asking Alexandria" what exactly? If she likes breakdowns blended with random shitty techno?
They call it "trancecore". I'll call it trancecore too, for the lack of a better term. I'm sure floods of techno loving fan boys have their own artistically void, beepidy-boopidy computer generated rave beat sub-genre that they want to be called "trancecore" instead of this. I'm looking forward to hearing from those fruitcups, but the argument is irrelevant. It's like you're gonna make me sit here, hand me a cup of dog feces and cat feces respectively, and then give me a hard time about which one I'm supposed to call poop.

Some evil, Nazi metalcore scientists were sitting in a garage together, trying to concoct a brilliant scheme as to how to make the genre of metalcore plausibly worse. All That Remains was releasing albums at a steady rate, so it's safe to say they had their work cut out for them. After years of careful consideration, they concluded on throwing a skinny girl boy with a KORG synthesizer into the mix, and the sub-genre of trancecore saw fruition. Bands like Asking Alexandria, Abandon All Ships, Attack Attack!, and Jamie's Elsewhere became the soundtrack to everything I hate in life...

Metalcore, being seen as "The Next Big Thing" quickly became this bloated, oversaturated sub-genre with more bands joining the fray than it knew what to do with. It became a beached whale, so to speak, dying from its own enormous girth, suffocating under it's own staggering weight. New bands with new sentence-long names starting popping up and getting signed by money hungry (Victory) record execs at an hourly rate. The same riffs, the same breakdowns, the same tired scream-the-verse-sing-the-chorus formula, over and over and over again. Originality was all but forsake in these lands. So the kids got desperate. To set themselves apart from the by the dozen metalcore acts, they incorporated the use of synthesized sounds and auto-tuned vocals. The teenage girls loved it. As you know, where there are teenage girls, there are young adult males trying to score with them by playing music that they like. 

This is a scene of shameless copy-cats, poseurs, and trend followers. The moment anything starts to pick up, everybody else has to start doing it too. Now every band that can play a breakdown is trading their Schecters for Casios, and instead of having a metalcore band trying something different, we have an entirely new sub-genre of shitty music. Trancecore is an obnoxious disgrace, even as far as metalcore goes. You got this breakdown sound that appeals to the highest spin-kicking of hardcore pitsters, yet you're bringing in this brain dead dance club element into the mix. It just ends up confusing everybody. Are we supposed to mosh, or are we supposed to flail some glowsticks around and suck on a pacifier? 

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate originality. Especially when the world of hard rock is quickly running out of fresh ideas. This is just taking things too far. This electronica dance club crap is what they do in pop music. Even if your screamo sucks man stick, you're still part of a hard rock underground that the radio mainstream fails to acknowledge. We will always have that in common. Or rather, we'll have that in common until your genre fades like the trend it is, and mine consistently remains. Either way, don't bring their world into ours, or else they're going to start bringing our world into theirs. Nobody wants that. 

Slayer touring with Rob Zombie

For multiple reasons, one band tends to piss me off more and more as the years go on. I love them and I hate them so much at the same time that it feels as though I have entered into a matrimonial relationship with them, which I think many of us have at some point in our lives. Their music has always been angry and mean and the speed of their early material, especially at that time, was perhaps second to none.

I am, of course, talking about Slayer.

Their music has been a staple in the metalhead diet like corn was for the Native Americans. With albums like Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits, Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss, who among our ranks cannot find a song that just exudes pure metal? Unfortunately, their recent musical endeavors have fallen completely short of their past greatness, turning to a commercialized sound and over-tuning their guitars for their arthritic fingers. Tom Araya has lost the ability to sing, having now only the capability of monosyllabic yelling in much the same manner that Chris Barnes sounds like he’s just come out of puberty and coughing up his tongue from years of doing it wrong. Despite this fall from grace, I would still be more than willing to dole out the money for a ticket to one of their live shows.

Recently, while conducting a morning News Feed check on Facebook, stalking my “friends,” I came across a link directing me to this.

Needless to say, I wanted to throw up. When I thought that Slayer could not get any worse, they proved me wrong. Sure, they’ve toured with un-metal, butt-rock bands before. Killswitch Engage comes to mind. However, this is stooping to new lows.

I have not listened to Rob Zombie as a fan of metal and thinking he was metal in over a decade. His music should be appealing to none but pubescent, voice cracking teens and tweens. Since White Zombie disbanded in the mid 90’s, Rob Zombie has continually gotten worse and worse, culminating with his most recent single “Sick Bubblegum.” I will cede him that he does a pretty decent job remaking classic horror films – and by this I mean some of his renditions, though he has a fetish with incestuous hillbillies – but that means absolutely nothing to me musically.

Who makes these decisions and do the bands get a say in this matter (this is a rhetorical questions assholes and I don’t need you trolling the comments section over this)? Sure, it can be pretty funny when two dissimilar bands perform with each other. It happens at almost every show. The opening act tends to be some screaming core band. When I sat down for Sonic Syndicate at the Worcester Palladium, it made Amon Amarth so much better. When I heard Black Star, Inc. open for Finntroll, it filled me with so much rage that Finntroll sounded AMAZING. However; there comes a point when two completely different bands should not go on tour together. This is one of them.

Rob Zombie fans and Slayer fans are entirely different crowds and are big enough names to headline on their own. This means that all of the Slayer fans have to deal with the Rob Zombie homos who are afraid of breaking a nail in the pit. When I go to a metal show I want to mosh, throw my body into someone else; knock the biggest guy on his ass  because I am full of hate and adrenaline as a metalhead. I hate going to a show where no one knows how to mosh, stands around wanting to hold hands and be friends, and make out with each other over the love of metal. That is exactly what I will expect from Slayer’s upcoming tour.

I didn't lie to you. Do they belong at a Slayer show?

 If I am going to spend my hard earned cash on a Slayer ticket, I have some expectations. Rob Zombie is not one of them.


"I listen to mostly metal, ya know, most of the time. Stuff you probably haven't heard of. Oh, you like Coheed and Cambria? Yeah, they're not my personal cup of tea, but I think they're pretty good. Like, I think Claudio is good at playing guitar and stuff, but yeah, that's cool."
Am I ignorant? Am I narrow-minded? Am I pompous? Sure, if that's what you call a man who knows what he god damn wants. God forbid. I should be more like you right? A free-loving douche fairy who flies by the seat of his pants and would blow a dude just to try it. Go ahead, suck off your buddy. Or aren't you open-minded

I tried music that wasn't pure, true, unadulterated heavy metal once. Sucks. All of it. I'm sorry if the metal genre is just better than everything else out there, and for whatever reason, that's a fact that you can't handle. Getting on my case or blaming me for that, is like blaming me directly for the sky going black at night. It's just out of my hands. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, right?  Except the opinion I'm entitled to is the correct one, whereas your preference is wrong. When somebody says that people are "entitled to their opinions", what they're really saying, is that once in a while, everybody is allowed to make mistakes. Having a positive attitude towards a band like Bring Me the Horizon is a mistake. 

We're seeing a time where the new age, progressive, liberal, lovey-dovey term for "metalhead" has become "somebody who mostly listens to metal". Way to flutter around your definitive taste like a dainty butterfly, you queef. "Mostly"? What else is there for you to listen to? Do you just get so tired of listening to the best music on the planet that you need to dip your toes into something that sucks every now and again? I don't see the motivation. I don't see why you have to go out of your way to let people know you're so open to everything. I can only blame it on every young person in this day and age being raised in an environment of tolerance and acceptance. The self-esteem movement is creating generations of limp, complacent weaklings who are fed garbage like how "everybody is special". Nobody is special. You have to make yourself special. Until then, you're just another oxygen-wasting asshole filling your face and filling your gas tank. 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and when the topic of music arises, they say something along the lines of "I listen to all types of music"? Horse shit. 10 times out of 10, that usually means you're dumb enough to like everything you hear on the car radio. These are the worst kinds of people. Yeah, that's right, worse than racists. At least racists know how to be passionate about something. So unless you got a playlist with Finntroll, John Mayer, Ludacris, Aretha Franklin, Ke$ha, Charlie Daniels, Pavarotti, Pig Destroyer, Beethoven, and Jefree Star, (+Yanni, Kenny G, and Barry Manilow - Tyranneous) playing in that order, you're full of shit.

It's not like the world of metal doesn't have enough music for you: Death metal, speed metal, power metal, black metal, thrash metal, folk metal, doom metal, the sub genres go on. The metal genre is not only the greatest, it is also the most versatile. Power metal and death metal are two completely different types of music, but share key similarities that make them actually enjoyable to listen to, as opposed to unmetal music, which is all garbage. Every mood you could be in, there is a metal song to match it: When I'm angry, I listen to metal. When I'm furious, I listen to metal. When I'm enraged, I listen to metal. When I'm irate, I listen to metal. You get the picture. There's no need to ever listen to anything else. An open mind is an excuse to be false. 

To ensure that you only listen to music that is acceptably metal, you need to cut yourself off from all outside influences that could lead you down the stray path. Does your girlfriend not like/listen to metal? Break up with her. There shouldn't have even been a second date the moment she named a musical act that was anything except a metal band. Unacceptable. Do you have friends, acquaintances, coworkers who listen to other types of music? Make fun of them for it until it's impossible to hang out with you. The moment they mention anything without shredding guitar solos, start forcibly laughing really hard and scoff at them. Don't make compromises. Your opinion in music is deadly serious, and the moment you start being friendly with the false, you are a friend to my enemy. The friend to my enemy will always be my enemy, and all my enemies are poseurs. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Awful Metal Video: The Man-Eating Tree - Out of the Wind

If you can take special note: I have removed the "of the Week" from "Awful Metal Video of the Week", leaving only "Awful Metal Video". This is a clear indicator of my blog's progression and unparalleled dominance in the world of true metal blogging. I am now streamlined, precise, and moving at the speed of light. I am a perfectly efficient true metal machine, oiled by the blood of poseurs. For every "of the Week" I cut out of my weekly bad music video review titles, I can cut out exactly 1.5 seconds of wasted time, and focus those precious moments on providing you with content so brutal, you'll cry black and shit your organs.

If there is anything that writing a weekly review of heavy metal and core music videos has taught me, it is that all metal music videos are terrible. I will never ever, run out of videos to talk about. If it's not some sort of performance video with a lot of fat-faced goroupies (short for gorilla groupies) and "look at my t-shirt" shots, it's some video director taking advantage of 3-5 minutes of song time to make a short gay art film and be expressive with our favorite music. We're going to yet again, experience the latter, with a music video for Finnish ambient-metal band, The Man-Eating Tree.

Jesus Christ. It's a beach video. I don't really understand the artistic symbolism of beaches, but metal bands are apparently all about getting sand in their expensive instruments, amplifiers, and of course, asscracks, so the director can make some point that nobody gets anyway. If I was in an established metal act, and some douchey director approached me about being on a beach, I'd be like "Sure. Let's go chill at the beach and talk about where we're shooting my real music video." Don't bring your guitar to the god damn beach. As a former electronics technician, I'll be the first to tell you that sand gets in, and destroys everything. My axe is my child. Art can suck it. Nice tribal guitar strap, bassist.

Now we have this classy vintage car driving down Finland's biggest highway. Out of the vehicle steps a traditional Finnish married couple. I say this, because the man is wearing an enormous wool cable-knit sweater and looks twice her age, and the woman looks beaten and wears muddy rags. They grimace at one another and share stern glances. Eastern European romance at its best.

The Man-Eating Tree reveals to us that its no stranger to the concept of Mandatory Babes on Keyboards. Heidi Maata (add umlauts wherever possible) is certainly nice to look at, but unfortunately we don't get to do much of that. The performance shots of the video are centered more around vocalist Tuomas Tuominen playing creepy hands with the camera. I don't think TMET is really a bad band, by any means, but what is up with this dude's singing? His vocals dip, quiver and wobble like Bjork and Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries started a band together.
"SkiiiIIIiin, AAaaAAaND FRAAaa-YEeell BoOoOoOOnes..."
Back to our lovely couple, having a pretty vicious argument on the beach. Did that little thing just shove that full grown man on his ass? Holy shit. Either that dude is an enormous pussy, or she's more of a scrapper than I first gave her credit. If she's capable of dominating the relationship so easily physically, how come she's the one wearing rags and no shoes? What's there really to fight about here anyway?  Did they have a fiery disagreement about who's better at freaking out in nature than the other? They part ways to put their abilities to the test.

1:30 - Tuominen: "Boo."

This guy may look like he's going absolutely nuts right now, but I can tell you first hand that grabbing small logs and large branches then smashing the shit out of the first tree you can find with them is incredibly therapeutic. I can't remember the last fight I got in with my girlfriend where I didn't have to go out and do this.  I strongly recommend you try it the next time yours mouths off at you. Trees can't call the cops and lie about everything. With me, instead of a large pine, it's usually the first guy in a Shadows Fall shirt I see, but it has the same calming effect. Fortunately for this gentleman, none of the trees he's attack are Man-Eating Trees. How disappointing. Don't tell me you weren't hoping for the same thing this whole time.

I wouldn't advise climbing a tree (particularly one designated as the type to eat to a man) while you are barefoot. Splinters aren't a joke. If you're going to be an adult and scale a large old tree for no reason other than to get over (npi) a lover's quarrel, then utilize proper footwear. Perhaps that argument on the beach from before was about who can dig the best hole. Just between you and me, it doesn't look like there was enough 'hole-digging' going on in the bedroom between these two, if you catch my drift.

I won't reveal in detail what happens at the end of the music video. Let's just say that the tree-hitting was for practice. The end of The Man-Eating Tree's Out of the Wind video is kind of like in the movie Freddy Vs. Jason. Specifically, how there were alternate endings with who emerges victorious from the ultimate fight. One where Jason wins and vice versa. To be perfectly honest, regardless of what ending you saw in Freddy Vs. Jason, no matter what happened, Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland still ate machete. So everybody won.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Glen Danzig's Housekeeping: When you see it, you'll....

All of us on the hard rock internet community shared a collective LOL when we saw a photo of Danzig walking from the store with some cat supplies. The thought of someone that portrays himself as being so dark and sinister on his hands and knees scooping cat turds was an image I couldn't stop playing back through my mind. It was a reminder that even someone so revered and worshiped as Glen Danzig has his painfully human moments along with the rest of us. Apparently, the tale of Danzig's woes as a simple man are far from over. A leaked IM chat between a confirmed Danzig neighbor and his friend sheds some light on the personal struggle that is living as, and next to Danzig:

Apparently when it comes to home maintenance, Danzig is more concerned with the state of his expensive, black Jaguar than he is with his living quarters. Many people were skeptical whether or not the chat had any hold on reality... Soon however, photographic evidence of Danzig and his supposed pile of bricks started popping up on the web:

A quick run on Google Image Search confirmed this was indeed the property of a one Glen Danzig, as well as this cryptozoological-esque photo of him being spotted hosing down his Jag:

Video proof of Danzig hollering while throwing his bricks into a dumpster is the new holy grail of the internet. This is beyond hilarious.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

TNM Review: How do you review a grindcore album? Rotten Sound - Cursed

When I'm out, I occasionally pick up issues of DecibelRevolver, Metal Hammer and the like. I always regret it real quick, but I do it mostly in part to the fact that I want to read something when I'm taking a dump, and don't want to scald my bare wang with a hot laptop bottom. Also because I sincerely feel that a time when the metal magazine artform will all but die out is fast approaching, and I must enjoy the printed medium while I can. Glossy color pages bound by staples, will inevitably be replaced by the digital media format of blogs, webpages, mobile sites and all that other magical internet fairy dust.

I often skip over the interviews and photo shoots of the blowhard mainstream acts that grace the front of the cover with their douchey, overrated, overbearing presence, and opt instead to skim the multiple small paragraphs dedicated to the metal underground strewn about each magazine's content. These quips are usually overpowered by advertisements double their size, but it's sometimes nice to see some not-so-talked-about groups getting their recognition somewhere in an otherwise mainstream publication. Sometimes. About 92% of the time, these groups are of the grindcore variety. Grindcore bands to me are the water buffalo in the Serengeti that is the hard music underground. They number as far as the eye can see, it's impossible to differentiate them between each other, and they're all stupid as hell.

Now I've spoken out against grindcore in the past, and like with every opinion I've ever shared, ever, I've caught my share of flak for it. There are people out there that love grindcore, and I've just never been one of them. Sorry. The biggest reason why is because I'm a fan of music. Sue me. I love the sporadic, heavy, vicious metal as much as the next bloke, but if there's one thing the genre of grindcore has taught me, it's that it is possible to make a sound that's too vicious, too sporadic, and too heavy. There comes a point when you're no longer creating music, you're just making a lot of stupid noise. You can take a sledgehammer to a litter of puppies and call it a song, (and I might buy your album for the novelty of it) but it doesn't change the fact that you're just producing the sound of senseless mayhem that's horrible to listen to. This sounds metal in theory, but in the end, it really just sucks.

Despite this fact, I look at these magazines and all these different websites writing thought-out, broken down, in depth reviews of grindcore albums. Some grindcore albums manage to get dazzling reviews with 5 out 5's and are complimented for their "punishing speed" and the ability to "make [you] want to smash faces through windows". Then there are others reviled for their "repetition" and "unimaginative" noise. Why? What makes one grindcore album a must-own masterpiece, and the other something worth dismissing? It's like they're digging through a dumpster, and they find a half-eaten Big Mac covered in maggots, and another one covered in bottle flies. Even if for whatever reason the food critics find the caramel accents of crunchy maggots superior to the sour aftertaste of fully developed flies, it doesn't change the fact that they're still eating garbage.

I may be a cruel man, but I'm fair. I am perfectly willing to experience first hand with an open mind what it's like to sit down, listen to a grindcore album, and give it a chance to offer me something that I can appreciate as a long time fan of heavy music. Due to its positive reviews and being commonly advertised on my site, I turned my attention to the album "Cursed" by Finnish grindcore band ,"Rotten Sound". Let's see if the grindcore genre has a rotten sandwich in its back-alley trash can that can appease this metalhead's musical palette... 

The grindcore formula is a simple concoction: scream, smash the drums, over-distort the low-tuned guitars and bass, play really fast, and do it all in a minute-long song. Rinse and repeat. At the beginning of Cursed, I immediately treat myself to an "I told you so" attitude, as Rotten Sound whips me up a painfully typical mix of instant grind brownies. The album starts with a 58 second opener, "Alone", (each song titled with only one word, as if to convey a single human emotion). I had no idea where the first song became the second, because the two tracks seem all but identical. I felt like I heard everything I needed to, in order to stop the album, get on my blog and tell everyone "this also sucks". Yet suddenly, I feel it happening. As Superior starts to approach its end, the senseless speed breaks and my head begins bobbing. Is this progression? Is this rhythm I'm hearing

While each song is undoubtedly fueled with your typical grindcore madness, and the overpowering fuzz of their distortion can start to gnaw away at the migraine center of your brain, I can't help but feel carried by some underlying groove from track to track. Each song transitions seamlessly to the next, in an unmistakable flow and change of pace that I thought this genre was all but void of. The blistering speed parts, while the mainstay of the album, don't often wear out their welcome, and nicely compliment the breakdowns that follow them, as well as the slower, heavier tracks.

Yes, there are breakdowns and plenty of them. They're not as open-stringed and painfully simple as what we've grown accustomed to, but a breakdown is a breakdown. At its best, Cursed is unmistakably a core album, and this is music made to mosh to. There were plenty of moments in this album where I felt like two-stepping and doing moshpit ninja moves in my living room. Be that as it may, Rotten Sound manages to borrow what little there is good about the hardcore genre, and it takes it to a much deeper, darker place. I feel like anything that's able to take the blood-pumping, hair-raising moments of a semi-respectable hardcore sound, and successfully break away from the "do your homework, take your vitamins" attitude of the hardcore scene should be appreciated. I would consider including deathcore with that statement, but deathcore takes the worst things about hardcore, and combines it with death metal. Although is there anything really good about the world of core? This album, oddly enough, might make me consider that possibility.

Cursed has its share of guitar solos, which I was pleasantly surprised to hear. However, they are incredibly short-lived, and typically fail to cut through the mix of fuzzy noise. This is more a production problem than anything, but it really hinders the quality of the album as a whole. Some unbridled, Finnish finger-flying would have definitely set this album apart from your typical grindcore fare, and the fact that you don't get a solid chance to enjoy any of it really disappointed me. Some of the slower-paced tracks such as Declare and Exploit all but convince me that I'm listening to a bona fide death metal album. While I can definitely appreciate that, and it got me headbanging with the best of them, it's nothing a genuine death metal band hasn't done before and better.

For someone like myself who typically despises the grindcore genre, Rotten Sound's "Cursed" pleasantly surprised me. While it's a long shot from my cup of tea, and I doubt I'll give it another listen anytime soon, I certainly found plenty of things to enjoy about it. If you're a grind n00b like myself, looking for something to ease yourself into those scalding hot grindcore waters, I would give this album a glowing recommendation. Although it's not perfect, Cursed is a good, solid hard music album with plenty of ups and downs to raise you up and knock you back on your ass. Perhaps this pompous metalhead should get over himself and consider dumpster diving once in a while? The caramel accents of Rotten Sound's maggots definitely proved that much to me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Slipknot + Bieber = My greatest nightmare fully realized.

Someone took it upon themselves to mash up the two least metal entities on the planet, to create what could only be considered as the least metal thing ever. This is truly terrifying. For those of you with weak hearts, avert your eyes.

Here we have Exhibit A: Slipknot's music matching up perfectly with a Justin Bieber song. Pop music time signatures people. The people present this piece of evidence as proof that you should stop being a Slipknot fan.

Leaving the band for family reasons

Recently, metal powerhouse and riff juggernaut Iced Earth announced that long-time frontman Matt Barlow left the band … again … for family reasons. What?

Who knew Barlow wanted to skip through this forest?

Now, I don’t want to take away from family, I mean we all have one and for many, family is the most important part of our lives, but come on. That just does not and cannot fly in metal. I am not just saying this because I happen to be a serious Iced Earth fan, painfully awaiting dreading a leaked track of their next album so that I can be disappointed by the new vocalist. I happen to say this because it shows us the true flowery-filled meadows of golden sunshine that live inside one of metal’s underground icons. The heart’s hills should not be alive with the sound of music and chirping song-birds, dancing with your lover and throwing your children in the air, pirouetting to sounds of spring. Metal is not a jocund and mirthful celebration of life and new life.

This is what I just saw in my head reading that statement.

 We all know that bands and artists and musicians come and go. That is just the reality of the industry. However, as metal fans, we expect that our heroes (and I use that term loosely) have a little more testicular fortitude to be able to handle raising a family and evolving a band.

Let me pause to tell you one artist who was able to have a family and successful metal career. Ronnie James Dio. Let’s think about some others. Iron Maiden comes to mind. Despite the fact that they have sucked for two decades, Metallica has been able to juggle family and band. Yet, there is one other, closely associated with Iced Earth that is among the greatest Power Metal acts of all time: Blind Guardian.

I understand that everyone is different and that they have different goals. I am perfectly fine and content with that. I am, however, not fine with metal artists throwing up the white flag of surrender because they have a family now. Your life partner should understand you are no longer some average, run-of-the-mill jerk off, no matter how long you have been together. By etching your name into metal history, so long as the band shall live, you are a voice for the throngs of metalheads everywhere. Retreating from metal, you have given up on metalheads and metal is not about surrendering or faltering, it’s about standing up and facing issues headlong into the fury.

There have been others who have taken the coward’s way out of metal. One name in particular stands out to me: original Mercyful Fate and King Diamond guitarist Michael Denner. Denner left in 1987, after the release and before the start of the tour for “Abigail.” So too did Timi Hansen, bass player alongside Denner in both bands.

If you are a metal artist and thinking about quitting because of your weak un-metal family that is incapable of co-existing with you in metal, do us all a favor and tell us the truth: you just cannot handle metal. You are too afraid of losing one and both, so ultimately you lose. We do not need excuses or apologies or even sob stories, we simply need you to go away and stop growing pansies in our venues. In the words of a legend: simply “Be invisible … go away” and please, do not try to reunite to redeem yourself. There is no metal redemption for this type of fail.

Would you rather spend time with this?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It seems like earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods aren't the only modern tragedy to strike Japan:

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that the worst thing to ever happen to rock music has somehow made its way across the Pacific, to negatively influence the minority of the Japanese youth whose test grades are inferior to the average American's. Crabcore has hit Japan like a big, hipster Godzilla. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Awful Metal Video of the Week: Timeswitch Engrace - Hymn of a Broken Man

For those of you who are understandably unfamiliar, Times of Grace is a "side project" that was started by Adam Dutkiewicz, lead guitarist of Massachusetts metalcore group Killswitch Engage. 
Yeah, that guy. 
Along for the Times of Grace ride comes pre-Howie Killswitch singer Jesse Leach, as well as second Killswitch Engage guitarist, Joel Stroetzel. So we have the first singer of KSE, along with the two most prominent members of the outfit. Howie for all we know has been MIA since he had to quit a tour for alleged "unforeseen circumstances"/back pain/knocking up a porn star. God knows this sounds like more of the same musically, we have all the members in place who matter, so why can't we just call it more KSE? If you put some new tires on a Chevy, and replace the logo with a Cadillac badge, you're still driving a goddamn Chevy. I don't know, you be the judge.

So it goes, if you (aren't a metalhead and) bought the special edition of a Hymn of a Broken Man from iTunes, the album included music videos for some of the songs. All of which seem like they're done by a film student out taking some shots of random shit in nature. In particular, we're going to look at the video for the title track, where we're out playing in the desert. There's a chick and a stand-alone window and a bug and some more desert. That's pretty much it. Who gives a shit?

Let's think like artsy folk here to make sense of all this. The song is called "Hymn of a Broken Man". I guess the desert implies emptiness, like of the heart or of the soul? Great, I already feel like a douche. It's just sand and pebbles and you wanted to film a shitty little beetle scurrying around like it means anything. It doesn't. So now we have this broad crawling through the "desert window" on all fours towards the camera, with curtains flowing in the wind. Her face is constantly skewed with special effects, which one might believe would have some additional artistic meaning. I'm certain however, that she asked to have her face skewed so she could hide from the fact that she had any involvement in such a stupid video.

Obviously all the shots of high, rocky hills symbolize the high hopes and steep obstacles a "broken man" has to face in his life. Obviously...

Here's the chick again, and she has some shit on her hands. Mud? Feces? Pudding? Cake? Whatever edible dessert it once was, it looks like it belonged to the camera man, no less. He's really pissed and chases the girl through the desert. She manages to escape. I don't know what he's so upset about, although on second thought, this is a desert, and whatever she got into, it's probably all they had to eat.

Good lord, they'll give anybody a camera these days and let them do what they will with it. Makes me sick. See you next week if I can find a music video that's worse. If possible.   

Vocal Covers

We're all familiar with the thousands of guitar cover videos that get uploaded to YouTube on a daily basis. In said videos, Guitar Center showoffs can take their smug, sitdown act global. With a guaranteed 5,000+ views of any song they cover, why bother going to Guitar Center anymore? They sure aren't going to buy anything. I find it difficult these days to click on any metal music video on that website, without seeing at least 1 or 2 different videos in the "Suggestions" panel, of some fast-fingered douche who makes a hobby out of doing nothing with himself except playing other people's music.

Not so prominent in the metal video community are the extreme metal singers, showing off their unbridled ability to growl, shriek, and yodel along to some of their favorite metal tunes. It only makes sense that we give them their chance in the spotlight; vocals are as equally important to a metal song as guitars, drums, or bass, right? A guitarist can't play the words "between the velvet lies, there's a truth as hard as steel". They need to be sung, and without lyrics like that, Holy Diver would have just been a bunch of power chords. Today, we are paying proper tribute to the not-so-unsung heroes that are the heavy metal YouTube growlers.

Trust me, the 1 minute 36 second lead-up is more than worth it. Your mind will be blown. An interesting bit of information is that Avenged Sevenfold whiner "M. Shadows" personally taught this young man how to scream. I find that fact really odd, but there's really no other way to interpret such a public thank you at the beginning of his video. Then we're teased with the concept that this will not be rockrboy's last vocal cover from "Waking the Fallen", which as I'm sure you all know is easily one of the best... Avenged Sevenfold albums, of all time. I especially appreciate how the video uploader introduces himself to the world by the end of introduction, leaving his birth title on the screen for more than ten seconds. I can only assume this is an effort on his part to make it easier for all the talent scouts hired by record companies to find the next best metal screamer on YouTube. 

What do the viewers get after one minute and thirty-six seconds of heart-raising anticipation? A high school kid in an awkward haircut and blue polo shirt. I forgot what A7X fans typically looked like. He's super into the music, as he wags his head side-to-side and drums his fingers on what I can only assume is a patio table, as this kid is for whatever reason, out on the porch. Neighbor dogs responsively bark at his howling, which only means that the neighbors have to hear it all too. Considering he's wearing headphones, his headache-inducing cat-like yowling and tone-deaf crooning is the only thing the neighborhood gets to enjoy. They have no clue that he's singing along to anything. They just hear some crazy kid yelling and screaming at nothing. Cue sip from funky, plastic, orange Walmart cup. Gotta refresh those pipes. Any and every person who considers A7X respectable, let alone is a fan of their music, deserves a running clothes line to the throat and face. Moving on...

Back in December, I had the misfortune of having to review the BMTH album, "There is a Hell, I swear to god dude I saw it myself that one time, check out these cell phone pics if you don't believe me; and oh yeah, there is also a Heaven too, but keep it on the downlow, for the time being, alright? I don't exactly want that kind of thing getting to the ears of the wrong types of people. Btw do you know if Kelly is gonna be at that party tonight? Text me later, k" It was a truly unremarkable piece of metalcore suck. Easily the worst song of the mix was "Don't Go", featuring the Canadian female synthpopper "Lights". I ran into this particular vocal cover while looking for the tracks to review the album. When I first saw it, I figured: "okay, it's a chick, she's going to sing the chick parts." I was surprised to find that a teenage girl can scream on par with a vocalist like Oli Sykes. Actually, that doesn't surprise me in the least. 

Nice CROW poster. Not only is the singing unbearable to listen to, like any screamo cover, the dumb broad is playing around on her iPhone the entire video. She even apologizes for it: "Somebody's texting me, sorry". No shit, I figured. Here's the great thing about text messages, ladies, they don't go anywhere. You can look at them and then respond at a later time. Don't apologize to me, the BMTH fan who wants to see a quality vocal cover of my number one favorite song. Apologize to the cute boy on the phone who can wait 4 minutes until you're finished with your fucking YouTube video. Either that, or the cute girl you're experimenting with to let everyone know you're "bi" and super alternative, so you can wear all that trendy rainbow crap from Hot Topic. Was perhaps a "second take" even a rational possibility? Or maybe putting the phone elsewhere from the get go? Jesus Christ. 

I can't tell if this is a vocal cover of a Behemoth song, or if this just a video somebody took of this weirdo trying to hawk a record-breaking loog. What the hell is he doing with his head? Is he showing off to everyone his superior technique in blowing people? Honestly, the last thing I ever want to see is this guy blowing anybody. Real or imaginary. Next victim please. 

Remember that part of the Disney movie, Lion King where lion dad Mufasa is trying to teach Simba to roar? But he's too pussy (npi) to really be capable? That's pretty much what we're seeing here. Prepubescence and Death Metal don't mix. This is a vocal style built solely on deep voices. When you answer the home phone, people still mistake you for your mom or your sister. Do the rest of us a favor and get back on YouTube after your balls drop. This crap is disgraceful.

If all this guy did was swing his hair the whole video, it would be the best video on YouTube. He opts to instead, lend his gurgling goblin voice to the Jari-powered extreme metal sound of Wintersun. I imagine if you were to slit the throat of a tied down bobcat, the process would sound a lot like this guy's singing. Not in a good way either. The Him shirt just makes everything way worse; it's a great indicator that whatever involvement this kid had with doing something metal, was doomed from the start. What's with that obnoxious microphone angle? It makes you look like a douchey orange unicorn. Speaking of which, is it actually even a microphone, or are you just playing pretend with your dad's safety orange MAG-light?

And of course I saved the best (worst) for last. This guy took his cookie monster karaoke to the next level, and made his own music video. I could go into every little detail why this is so horrible, but you really just have to watch it. Just watch...

I know how everyone in the metal community likes to go on about the technique of proper death metal growling, but there is no god damn technique. It's not an artform, it doesn't take practice or skill, you just make grumbly noises with your throat. That's it. You have no special talent that sets you apart from everybody else enough to show off on YouTube. Some people just sound cooler than others when they do it, and those people usually already have record deals. You don't. Shut the hell up.

Special thanks to David Tibbetts, Max Medlow, Johan Matthews, and Brian Wille for the videos. You assholes ruined a perfectly good week. 


Thanks olliemedsy

NEW Devin Townsend music makes me want to snuggle in an afghan and sip chamomile tea


I can't wait for the newly assembled Devin Townsend Project to come and play in my town. Me, along with my fellow metalheads will form a large circular opening in the middle of the crowd. Then, when the music reaches its heaviest peak, we will sit down Indian-style and discuss herbal remedies amongst ourselves. 

There's something I'm just not understanding. Why is Townsend still relevant in the metal community? He's not making metal music anymore. Don't think he wants to. Strapping Young Lad is long gone, along with Townsend's epic skullet. His only true musical endeavor now is producing progressive new age technical ambience industrial yoga groove. Let me just give you an example: If In Flames started making pop music all of the sudden, would we still be talking... you know what, never mind. 

Here are a list of tragedies in mankind's history:
  • Religion
  • The Black Death
  • The Holocaust
  • The day Devin Townsend decided we wanted to become an "artist"
    Firing ying-yang lasers. Pew, pew.
    I'm going to turn this track up, light some aroma therapy candles and take a long warm bubble bath with some cucumber slices over my eyelids now. Then I'll use the adjustable shower head to massage my balls. 

    EDIT: Deconstruction is going to be Townsend's answer to the obnoxious fans (me) that want him to make heavy music. He is quoted as saying "There's a whole network of people that are like 'No no no no no! We only want heavy music, we only want chaotic music, we only want devilish, horrible, destructive music'." Deconstruction is designed to make fun of the metal genre and its fans. Enjoy that. 

    Rebecca Black Death

    I heard Rebecca Black did a cover of this song.

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Video Tribute to Japan Crisis

    But seriously though... Japan just got their shit ruined by an earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown three for one special. They're having a pretty sucky time. Any little bit you can contribute to get our brothers and sisters from the Far East back on their feet would make an immeasurable difference for the better. What were you going to do with that money anyways? Take a hot girl out to dinner? Who are you kidding?

    If you would like to donate to the cause, please click here to visit Google Crisis Response. You might feel better about yourself for once. 

    Det Satan Club

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    All-time greatest lists

    This latest post is inspired by reader Albert Nish for his post on the Facebook page. Thanks Albert and to all of the loyal readers.

    Of all metal atrocities that are committed by those who claim to be fans of our genre, the absolute greatest and worst are the horrendous “Greatest …” lists. They are cleverly designed to attract all of our attentions because they come from Trojan Horses like VH1 and use the words “Metal” and/or “Best,” “Greatest,” “Bands,” “Guitarists,” etc., which appeals to the most gullible group of individuals in the market and the ones that are likely to (waste) spend their money on these things: teenagers and complete idiots with absolutely no common sense. Let me elaborate to say that teenagers are complete idiots with no common sense, but I had to specify two distinct groups, especially as some teenagers will develop perfectly functioning and cognitive brains later in life, though this is a very rare occurrence.

    Doubt it.

    These “Greatest” or “Best of” lists, which come in many different varieties but all center on the same basic concept, are simply ploys that publications and “authorities” use in order to increase revenue to their failing business venture, willing to sacrifice quality for profit. I can’t necessarily say that I blame them, I mean, money is money, but because they do this bullshit it is up to me (or some other asshole who you adore) to call them out for being douchebags.

    We all know of multiple examples of these lists, VH1 being the biggest and most prominent offender, so there should be no need for me to name them, especially as there are far too many to name in one blog post.  In fact, one of them has already been covered on this very site if you need any evidence. Probably the number one reason I shant go further is that some of you morons will go to their sites trying to find these lists, consequently and unknowingly supporting them, which is the last thing you should be doing.

    While they come in different shapes and sizes and a multitude of colors, they all revolve around the same three defining characteristics in order that they make money. First, that it include “metal” artists or bands. Second, that they use some group of “experts” to determine the list. Third, and most importantly, that there is just enough commercial representation in the list to be attractive to the masses but also providing ample controversy over the order and inclusions of the “Greatest …”, with notable and completely undeserving exclusions. This third characteristic is crucial to the overall success of the company and ultimately, your anger. By getting it wrong, you as the consumer are likely to be extremely emotional, responding to the list or after hearing about it, watching or purchasing the publication or production to hear or see for yourself. This makes them money and you have been left with a torn asshole as they slipped it in, did their business, and left you feeling violated and painfully sore with nothing but a deeply repressed memory that kind of never leaves your subconscious, if repression was successful.

    You can tell it's metal because it has a black background and Maiden-esque font.

     I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads or your nut sack right now. I’m sure many of you are pissed that I just got into the economics of the situation. However, you have to understand in order that you don’t fall for this and can stop it from happening by simply not purchasing the magazines, clicking on the ads, or clicking on the links. Websites monitor this shit, man. You, my fellow metalheads, should also understand that every list is subject to an editorial staff, whether it happens to be a television production or a magazine or web publication. No matter whom the experts are: fellow musicians, the fans/readers/viewers, or the editorial staff; it is all a moot point because the end result has to satisfy the condition that this list make the entity money.

    These lists are also not made for true metalheads. You should know this if you have much of a brain. I will refer back to my “That Metal Show” post about a month or so ago when I said that there should be no debate over the better or most metal anything because we as metalheads “know” what is and is not metal and better. We know that Alter Bridge is not metal. We know that Slipknot is not metal (because nu-metal or numetal is not a real word and only sub genres with real words are real metal). We can also definitively say that Van Halen, KISS, Aerosmith, Guns ‘N Roses, and AC/DC are not metal. Metalheads know the difference between Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Metal, and Glam, as good or vomit-inducing as the artists may be. The lists are created for the general public and the poseurs, especially because the editorial staffs of these entities tend to be poseurs themselves.

    I should not have to tell anyone that poseurs write this shit for poseurs, it should be self-evident. If you have taken away anything from this site and what it means to be metal it should be this, and I want you to repeat this emphatically and as brutally as you can: the most metal person on the planet is ME. Whether you agree with anything I say is irrelevant; metalheads are the biggest authority on what is metal and our opinions are the only ones that matter, even if we happen to be the only one who agrees. If you are the only one who thinks that an action, list, etc. is metal, that means you are the only one with a valid opinion (except me, and that other asshole). We don’t need a list to tell us what is metal because that was made by some crackpot fool who wasn’t one of us. The person atop every list should be us, because we are the most metal and everyone else sucks increasingly more as you go downward. While you’re going down, looking for something hard, I’ve got something hard and heavy that’s looking for a real softy and it even performs encores.

    Where's my album? This shit's stupid.