Metal needs a facelift. Bands are so overproduced, their music so paint-by-numbers that it’s effectively unlistenable. The Gothenburg sound has been co-opted by whiny mallcore bands who have the audacity to refer to themselves as “punk.” Converge may have been interesting at first, but they managed to produce a sea of bands cranking out jagged, atonal bleatings that I hesitate to call music, let alone “hardcore.” Mastodon…well, I may be coming around to Mastodon, but it’s hard to say yet. Nothing they do comes out and grabs me the way I’d like it to, but that might require repeated listening. You don’t get rennaissance vihuela music right away, either…
Where are the good bands? I mentioned Nasum in my last post. They’re good, but their frontman died in that big Tsunami (bummerville) so we’re left with their legacy. I do like the new Slipknot album, and feel they’re sometimes unfairly lumped into the mallcore thing. I like the new Dissection, but that’s a band with another dead frontman.
You know who is good? Amon Amarth. And the new Machine Head record.
Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore is recommended reading for anyone who found themselves listening to a lot of Morbid Angel and Deicide while teenagers and scaring the hell out of their parents (like me.) Oh, how I miss those days…
Now, though…I find death metal obscenely boring. Sure, I’ve been listening to a lot of Morbid Angel lately, but I find death metal to be largely unmoving, especially the new stuff. Death metal is a teenage thing, and will always be a teenage thing. I’m okay with that.
It’s not like I’m not listening to heavy music: quite the opposite, actually. I’ve never been more interested in heavy music than I am now. The new school grind bands, like Nasum and Pig Destroyer, absolutely fucking RULE. Grand Magus is the new king of doom, and the newest (and sadly, last) Dissection record is unstoppable. Arch Enemy, Melechesh, anything from Rise Above records…yes, I’ll take it all.
But death metal…death metal kind of sucks, you know? Akercocke is okay, Incantation has a fierce new album out, and the new Lost Soul is pretty awesome. But on whole, I prefer the old stuff: Entombed, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, At The Gates. You know, the shit. Where else can it go, really?
I just love the manic intensity of some of the stuff on Lefsetz. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who still care, and those people and I apparently share similar viewpoints. (Seriously, I was thinking of writing a very similar post before I heard of this one!)
So there ya go.
Interesting article in an old Extreme Tech issue. By interesting, I mean more than a little galling.
It’s amazing how much contempt people actually have for “average Americans.” On the one hand, you have the writer pointing to the consumer as THE arbiter in all things tech, as in noting that we (the consumer) don’t want multiple standards. This is absolutely true: when I buy a DVD, or a laptop, I want the thing to Just Work; it’s why people are still buying Apple Computers. The things Just Work.
On the other hand, this constant harping on the public’s inability to “understand” what “good audio” is absolutely insulting. It’s like this: people don’t care. They just don’t. People don’t want “high fidelity” sound because the sound they have is good enough.
Does vinyl sound better than CD? Arguably. Do CDs sound better than mp3s? If the mp3 is ripped at a low bitrate, sure. At 160 kbps or above, does it really matter? Stop for a minute and listen to your surroundings; it’s probably pretty loud. Is that extra dynamic range really gonna make much of a difference on your evening commute, sitting next to a cattle truck on 494? Not really.
It’s not that I don’t care; as I guy who is into all things audio, I want my music and movies to sound great. That they don’t is lamentable. But don’t blame the technology, and don’t blame the public. Blame the people producing all of that crass, relentlessly mediocre material, and the executives who have so much contempt for their audience that they’re convinced that’s what we really want.
Paging through Rift magazine brings me to the following observation: it’s simply inconceivable to me that anyone would react to the bands being reviewed the same way I did the first time I heard “Ride the Lightning.”
I know how biased and unfair a statement that is, but it’s true. This doesn’t just go for weird indie bands with asymmetrical haircuts; it goes for music in general, these days. Slipknot kinda rocks, but there’s no *atmosphere*, no sense of real purpose. Slipknot doesn’t offer the kind of escape Metallica or Napalm Death did, and you can be damn sure the Current doesn’t either. Maybe it’s that I’m older, jaded and cynical. All of these things are true.
But, dammit, what happened to music?
Zero informs me that Mastodon will be at SXSW.
Explain to me again the hype surrounding this band?
Do you like ‘Lord of the Rings’? Do you like metal? Well, check out www.swordmetal.com.
It’s about dragons, metal and metal about dragons. Wizards, too. And swords, of course. Ale shows up from time to time, as do comely wenches. Mmm, comely wenches…
I keep pushing for some songs about swords and/or longboats, but it’s been an uphill battle (no pun intended…or is it?) The closest we’ve come is “The Last Song”.
We’re more comfortable here: www.gothmetal.net
Anyways, metal rules.
Am I the only person in America who likes the drum sound on St. Anger? Cuz I do.