Friday, January 1, 2016

Violation: Year End Lists (and The 5 Albums on Every One)

Happy New Year, poseurs.

I tell you, 2015 can snog my pimply white hairy Irish ass. What a seeping garbage bag year for "metal" and shit even trying to be like it. You want to know what Brenocide's top 5 essential albums were for the year of 2015?

5. Tank - Filth Hounds of Hades
4. Tank - Power of the Hunter
3. Tank - This Means War
2. Tank - Honour & Blood
1. Tank - Tank

02's Still At War was only okay.

"Wait, how can that possibly be when all of these albums were released in the 80's?" I hear you ask, mouth agape with cartoonish stupor in anticipation for what could possibly be my answer. Simple, dipshit: you can listen to music released whatever year, whenever the fuck you want. Hahaha, what a bunch of dummies. You guys are all like "um, I guess the new Intronaut was pretty good I guess." Sure, you can enjoy your Nu-Metal with your bawidaba's and your boom-dada-oom-nom-nomina's because you think you have to, only because it came out in the same trivial year you're actively wasting right now.

Who? No, no that is definitely, definitely Intronaut.

Not me, fuck that racket. Every poseurpuff "metal" band that took the time to record something this year shouldn't have fucking bothered. Like I've been saying since 1989, everything is now poseur metal copping riffs from the greats. New music is played by poseurs, loved by poseurs and should fuck off forever. What, were you born after 1976 and think you have an opinion? Haha, you baby cunt little twerp fuck off gtfo out of here with your baggy zipper pants you Hot Topic screamo little bitch. How about you listen to some of your favorite screamo bands like Gorguts and Darkthrone and cut yourself and write poems. Haha, who cares? You think you're all manly and cool because you all just hit puberty in your 20's and can grow these red wispy bullshit grayless beards on your pockmarked little baby faces and you revere mallcore trash like Dream Theater as if it were the classics. You wouldn't know a classic unless Coca-Cola printed it on a bottle you impossible nerd. I oughta slap you so hard that your dumb snapback hat will never fit on your chicken-neck topping little dumb head again you djent loving vagina. Fuck you.

Yet even though all the good metal stopped being produced in the 80's, every single year I have to suffer through another pile of derivative nonsense organized by some psuedo-intellectual metal bloggers who think they have all the answers for what you're supposed to be listening to, in order to stay hip with the latest metalcore trends. Do you know where a lot of these guys operate out of? A place like New York City. Have you been to that shithole lately? The kids there are putting mustaches on bacon or some shit.

After sifting through so many 2015 year end lists, I started to notice a distinct pattern with every list posted. While just about every single countdown has completely different albums, many of them were exactly the same. The lists were the same in the sense that every album shared on them had to meet certain criteria in order to be part of a well rounded 2015 cool kid list. Every single blogger had to feature in their list an album that somehow met these exact guidelines. We will discuss these guidelines now, sharing the most prevalent examples available on the 2015 Metal Sucks Lists along the way. If there's anything in any of these examples that might somehow be worth listening to, I'll provide links to such, since I'm such a good fucking person.

1. The "You've Probably Never Heard of It" 
(May also be referred to as the "Who??" or the "You don't know what 'Best of the Year' means do you?")

In each and every single 2015 list out there, metal bloggers couldn't resist the urge to try and earn themselves their underground metal expert cred. They just about all featured a bunch of no-name, sloppy underground acts that nobody has heard of and nobody listens to.  Many of these bands have only been active for a short amount of time, have maybe a few hundred to thousand social media followers at best, and just plain don't make good or interesting music. These projects are doomed to silently break up and phase out of existence once they figure out no one cares about them besides some low-level metal journalist trying to fluff up his year-end shit list. It's almost always crap you've heard a billion times before by a billion different other amateur garage bands whipping together some derivative baseline metal noise so they can cure their boredom by going out and opening up for bands only a little more popular than they are. Bloggers attempt to insincerely whip up these positive reviews for these sorts, referring to the music as "raw", or "unbridled aggression", which typically translates to "poor quality". They will tell you that a shameless knockoff act 'carries you into familiar sonic territory' and the author will gush over the 'nostalgia' that these bands provide him or her. In all honesty, these bloggers dig through their e-mails to find the deepest, darkest pit of bandcamp that they can possibly find, and drag up whatever shit has the coolest album cover, all in an effort to appear more underground and in-the-know than you are. While I find it commendable to bring exposure to lesser known acts that truly deserve it, the quality of the music will get them there over some blogger's incessant need to prove to everyone they are as anti-pop as possible.

Honorable Mentions for Total No Names in 2015:

Gloam - Hex of Nine Heads
Havukruunu - Havulinnaan
Horrendous - Anareta (Brenocide recommends even if it's not 80's, check it out)
Sarpanitum - Blessed Be My Brothers
Lychgate - An Antidote for the Glass Pill

2. The "Safe Bet"
(May also be referred to as the "No Shit" or the "Captain Obvious")

The "Safe Bets" refer to the albums strongly beloved by literally everybody with a metal blog and their grandma during the year. While there is no shortage of on-purpose elitists in the metal blogosphere who purposefully avoid gushing over the year's finest in an effort to maintain their infinitely high levels of maximum underground edge, there are some albums so good, that it would be a crime to not feature them among your end of the year countdown. No albums like that were released in 2015. Yet much in the same exact manner that millions of people agree that the Big Mac is a tasty meal, metal bloggers worldwide agreed that Tribulation's latest album was just the best damn thing since Ghost's latest album. They also shared a collective vegan quinoa salad of total adoration over Cattle Decaptiation's most recent release. It managed to squeeze its protein-starved pale face into just about every fucking list imaginable with its sub-standard death metal tropes and overblown edge factor.

It's probably more common than one would think that the Safe Bets are featured so prominently because metal blog staffers are under a deadline crunch when producing their lists. They probably took a good look around to see what everybody else liked, fluffed up their list with these easy picks, and did whatever else they could to meet the arbitrary top album number they were assigned.

Honorable Mentions for Typical No-Brainers in 2015:

Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction 
Intronaut - The Direction of Last Things
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls 
Tribulation - Children of the Night (Brenocide recommends even if it's not 80's, check it out)
Mgla - Exercises in Futility (Brenocide recommends even if it's not 80's, check it out)

3. The "Contrarian"
(May also be referred to as the "#problematic" or the "trollbait 0/10")

Metal fans love to be difficult -- arguing is our favorite thing to do. There's not a lot of better ways to start a raging flame war and piss everyone off than to outright claim your love for an album that most metal fans in the community amicably agree to completely hate. You want to up the ante on this concept? Take a universally reviled album and put that bad boy up on the pedestal of the year's absolute best. This underhanded maneuver ensures that there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. It's almost too good a troll move to resist.

Metal bloggers are S-Class contrarians. So much so, that they will convince themselves of their own breathless adoration towards the type of music that just about every other reasonable metal fan completely detests. They do this just so they can provide us with long-winded explanations for how we could be wrong about the things we know to be true. In our rage and scorn, we call upon our fellow heavy metal brethren to descend alongside us upon the blog making the offending statements, while said blog sits back and enjoys a series of clicks among the mayhem.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Honorable Mentions for Albums No One Actually Liked in 2015:

Periphery - Juggernaut
Clutch - Psychic Warfare
Myrkur - M
(Believe it or not, Brenocide recommends zero of these.)

4. The "Girl Power" 
(May also be referred to as the "Metal with the Chick" or the "Metal Muff")

It's safe to say we've experienced quite a bit of change these last several years. Change that you do yourself no favors by not embracing. Dialogues regarding privilege, diversity, respect and fairness in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation and class just about dominate the conversation. We live in a world of forward thinkers, visionaries, and activists that are leading us forward to a modern society that is more fair, sensitive, understanding, and open to progress than it has ever been. What that can mean for us in the metal realm, is that metal isn't just a boy's club anymore, and its our duty as fair, balanced journalists to acknowledge female metal artists and their contributions to the genre. At least it should work this way. In all reality, the modern PC movement is just a vapid attempt to keep up the pretty appearances of progress while doing painfully little to alter its underlying inhibitors. Everybody is an activist now, but with no activity to show for it. Sexism and male privilege in metal will always exist in some form or another, but we can make it look a lot like less of a thing if we carefully hand select bands with ladies in them to appear on our year end lists. How fucking proper of us.

I like to believe I'm not a sexist. (Don't pull receipts on that statement, I can make jokes without being directly attributed to their content.) In fact, I am so impartial to aspects of gender in metal that what you may have under your zipper is of absolutely no novelty to me. I see positively zero reason to see your band differently or treat your music any worse or more favorably just because you have women performing it. Of course, women can be in, and have completely made up good Metal bands. While Girl School is a classic example of this, they are also one of the most classic examples of female musicians being exploited for the novelty of their gender in metal. They were called "Girl School" after all, and in fairness, their music was ultimately subpar, especially considering it was released among metal's single most glorious period in history. Girl School was -- for all intents and purposes -- just okay. Can we honestly say that the musical content of Girl School would have been anywhere on the NWOBHM map if it were just another group of young chaps performing it instead? Is it unfair of me to assume that tickets were sold for this band strictly so listeners could bear witness to the spectacle of an all-woman musical group playing metal for a change?

Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, I feel this underlying sentiment seeps into the subliminal intentions of those preparing their year end lists. Since it is such an unfortunate rarity for women to perform metal music in such a male-dominated genre, your group and its music suddenly finds itself earning additional commendations simply for having a female whom exists there in some fashion. In an effort to appear progressive and hip with these changing times, socially-conscious music journalists scramble to ensure their best album collections aren't complete sausage fests. I for one, don't see any reason for there to be a genital quota in my year end list. The music speaks for itself, regardless of who's performing it. Myrkur's M was a completely unremarkable release. I was going to review it, but I ultimately decided not to because it was so remarkably dull and lackluster in terms of black metal music. Were it released by some guy, it would have been another drop in the endless ocean of okay black metal made by other guys. It would fall into obscurity with the rest of the shit that was lazily released this year at a daily rate. Yes, she's a skinny pretty Scandinavian woman with long blonde hair who made a black metal album, but I see no reason to consider her music any more noteworthy than all the skinny pretty Scandinavian men with long blonde hair out there doing this already. Who cares? Stop writing album reviews with your dicks.

You know what's a great band with a lady? Vastum. They're brutal, classic-sounding death metal and they do it damn well. But you know who did it way fucking better? Gruesome. Gruesome released an infinitely better classic-style death metal album this year and it's all a bunch of dudes, just like always. Right? I'm right about that. I'm pretty sure I'm OH SHI-

There goes any point I had here at all really. 

Honorable Mentions for Golly I hope she sees I featured her album in my year end list and messages me personally to say thanks and that conversation is the prelude for our inevitable whirlwind romance in 2015:

The Agonist - The Eye of Providence 

Cloud Rat- Qliphoth 
Dreadnought  - Bridging Realms
Vastum - Hole Below (Brenocide recommends even if it's not 80's, check it out)
Sanzu - Heavy Over The Home
Royal Thunder - Crooked Doors

and last but not certainly not least, on everybody's 2015 shit list, we have the...

5. "That's Not Metal"
(May also be referred to as the "Open Mind" or the "I Listen to All Types of Music")

Not to be confused with The Contrarians, which are albums that can possibly be perceived as "metal" in some totally obscure perception somehow; the THAT'S NOT METAL is just a bald-faced, shameless declaration for the love of a piece of a music that should be absolutely nowhere on any metal blogger's playlist whatsoever, let alone year end list as one of their musically favorite. I'm sure it's just about common knowledge at this point that Metal Sucks keep contributors like Sergeant D, Metal GF, and Brian Storm around for the very specific purpose of pissing off metal fans. Sergeant D in particular just plain doesn't like metal music anymore, he hasn't for years. When I approached him to write a guest post for me, he personally told as much. That e-mail saying so was sent to me probably five years ago. I feel like I can take or leave metal at this point much in the same way, but unlike Mr. D, I handle it appropriately. I just go over to where two walls intersect in a corner, stand there and seethe instead of listening to anything at all. I'll continue doing exactly as much until I'm fucking dead because no other music is worth it. 

Sarge instead went off and found other music that could still be worth his own time. Most of it seems like pretty common Warped Tour fare from where I'm standing, but some if it is just unapologetic pop radio music. I find this peculiar, as I can't possibly fathom how being a total girlchild is any sort of upgrade from being a manchild, but as the space gorilla always tells us, there is no need to be upset. Metal is just a phase for a lot of people. The heavy metal community will always majorly be comprised of individuals who are genuinely passionate about the music of their genre, but it's not a musical category that's renowned for its maturity. Heavy metal is easy fodder for try-hard kids trying to look tough; edge lords who get off blaring Cannibal Corpse in college parking lots, or walking around shopping malls with t-shirts that have curse words and eviscerated women featured in their prints. I'm convinced that the reason my blog plummeted in popularity so much from the time of its inception, is simply because it's been a thing for over 5 years and high school only lasts for 4. 

As a person grows older, it's easy to imagine how somebody can grow out of  something like metal. At some point you start to realize that all the racket is -- well -- a fucking racket. In the summer time, Mastodon's Brent Hinds came out and ousted himself a person who not only doesn't care about metal, but fucking hates it. The man claimed that his adoration for the genre was simply a "phase in his 20's". I found it unimaginable that I could possibly go through a "phase" at such a decade, where I was sure my progression to adulthood has long since completed. Yet here I am just about finished with the decade in question and I already thoroughly feel that if each and every Slayer track disappeared from existence, never ever to be played again, I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep over it.

Finding metal music that's worth my time anymore or that provides something a little different from the rest is like trying to find the teeniest tiniest needle in the world's most massive, ever growing haystack. There's just too much shit to sift through, and even the diamonds in the rough aren't bright enough to shine through. Too many nobodies making nobody metal music that sounds exactly like all the other nobody metal. If you honestly have nothing to contribute, why fucking bother? Even if you manage to ride the coattails of better bands than you for a little while with some popularity thanks to your shameless derivative ways, do you really imagine its somehow going to last?

Considering that the grand majority of metal bands are complete ass, it almost becomes too tempting to give it all up and crank up Adele with the rest of the normals. But do you want to know what I'm gonna do whenever that time comes; when I feel that pop, indie, or punk albums start to become my absolute favorite albums of the year, to the point that I start trying to recommend them above all other albums to other people?

Stop writing for a fucking metal blog.

Honorable Mentions for Albums for Poseurs in 2015:

Adele - 25
Turnstile - Nonstop Feeling
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell
Neckdeep - Life's Not Out to Get You
Gunship - Gunship
Ghost - Meliora (Yeah, I said it.)

(Believe it or not, Brenocide recommends zero of these, and takes back everything else he recommended prior.)

- Brenocide \,,/

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