Monday, December 16, 2013

Attention, David Simon. I FUCKING HATE DIXIELAND JAZZ.

I am from New Orleans, a fact to which i've made reference many times on this blog. That being said, I take great issue with the one dimensional way in which David Simon's "Treme" portrays the musical culture of my hometown. Simon's show falls into the typical bullshit trap that most fiction written about modern New Orleans by outsiders does... it depicts us all as a bunch of shiftless rednecks or general trash with a ridiculous affinity for Dixieland Jazz, a genre that was well past its expiration date the moment the first recording of it was made. Yes, yes, we all know Kid Ory, King Oliver, and Buddy Bolden are from the city... but a huge chunk of us moved past that long ago. Personally, I can't fucking stand "dixieland" or "traditional" New Orleans Jazz. It's terrible. It sounds like 20 guys playing different songs in different tempos with completely different keys at the same time... or to pull one from The Boondocks: "it sounds like a long car accident involving some cats." Personally, my allegiances have always leaned more toward the Metal scene. Yes, believe it or not, New Orleans has quite a good metal scene that has spawned some unique and influential bands. Hell, you could make the argument that without our scene there would be no Sludge Metal, and that Pantera would have remained an awful glam band. Yet none of these outside evangelists and defenders of our city's culture mention so much as an inkling about Eyehategod, Crowbar, Exhorder, Goatwhore, Acid Bath, Opprobrium (formerly Incubus), Floodgate, Soilent Green, and the myriad other metal bands that DONT feature Phil Anselmo and whom call the city home. There's never a mention of the city's past developments in Hardcore music, Hip-Hop, and Alternative rock, No, it's always back to the whorehouses in Storyville and those damn Dixieland bands. I know that in terms of music, the size of the Metal and Rock scenes in New Orleans is no match for Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Los Angeles, and other bloated, urban meccas, but it wouldn't hurt people to actually explore it a little deeper rather than continue the perpetuation of the myth that our music scene has not developed at all since the early 1900s. Thank You.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Watain in New Orleans, 10/31/2013

After posting this last night whilst half asleep, I decided I was not happy with the result and decided to do a revision.

Rather than going to a Halloween party dressed as a skank and a douche like so many of our fellow... ugh... "millenials" do on Halloween, I decided to take my most fair associate, Spynal, to see her favourite band. A black metal show on Halloween in the city that is the gestation point of a thousand superstitions, an obvious recipe for a good time. The show was to start at 9 p.m., with doors opening at 8 p.m., but we arrived early..... perhaps too early. Siberia, for those of you who are as unfamiliar with it as I was before this show, is a small bar on St. Claude Ave. just on the edge of the Marigny. The stage is situated immediately to the right of the front door and there is no side entrance. This means that the performers have to haul their gear in through the front door. This, coupled with our incredibly early (2 and a half hours) arrival, afforded us an opportunity for some rather comical celebrity (and I use that term loosely, of course) people watching. A lot of this was courtesy of the shows second support act, In Solitude. The pants these guys wore were ridiculous. So tight that it looked like they had to be poured into them in the morning... despite the fact that four members of this Swedish quintet have the physique of mid 70s Geddy Lee. After their sound check (which was finishing up as we arrived), they could be seen walking around the audience in a single file line.... seemingly organized in descending order by height.... almost like a group of gangly, Scandinavian ducks. This, coupled with their rather blank facial expressions, was a source for much unintentional humour for the pair of us. When I say blank, i mean blank...... like Mtv reality show blank. Mouths agape, eyes glazed over and fixed off toward the distance in a permanent state of wonder. After a bit of a delay caused by local show openers Abysmal Lord failing to show up promptly for their sound check, the show finally got underway a little after 9 p.m.

Abysmal Lord were terrible, though likely not for the reasons you would expect. Their riffs were good enough, they performed tight enough.... but the songs were too repetitive for the length that they were. They were also structurally very similar. You know the drill.... upbeat blast section, punk/thrashy double time section, blues waltz section, end... the fairly standard issue structure of a black metal song. The vocals were also terrible. The vocalist's mic was treated with a toxic combination of reverb and delay that rendered the vocals a complete distraction. Their set was short, and both of us were glad when they were done.

The second band of the night were what could best be described as an "ultra traditional heavy metal band" from Sweden (the same area of the country as Watain if i'm remembering correctly) called In Solitude. Their sound rested somewhere between Mercyful Fate and Sad Wings era Judas Priest. They played fairly tight and had excellent tone. Once again, the problem with them was one of sameness. Too many of the songs sounded alike..... only being distinguishable from each other thanks to between song banter. About two or three songs into their set, Spynal dragged me off to the merch counter.... and I was all too happy for the escape. On the positive side, they were a bit more energetic than the other opening acts.. what with all of the ridiculous power metal poses they struck. During their set, a couple of the guys from Watain actually entered the bar and circulated among the crowd a bit. Erik (always followed by some roadie who stunk of patchouli and cheap vanilla cigars) was perched over in the shadows by the back wall for a bit of this set. My companion "stalked" him, which is to say she talked to him twice for a grand total of about ten minutes.

Main support was provided by a black metal band called Tribulation. Who, believe it or not, were actually the biggest snobs of the four bands there. They did not emerge from the tour bus until In Solitude were finishing up their last song. They were pretty standard issue and boring. A group of four shirtless oafs in corpse paint with all the stage presence of a pet rock turning out the same boring, tremolo picked crap we've all heard a thousand times over. Their vocalist didn't banter between songs, so their set was short..... which was a good thing. During this time, I was standing over near the pool table at the back of the main room when I felt someone rather obnoxiously barge past me. I looked over and saw what looked like a rough midget trucker who Spynal quickly informed me was Hakan, the drummer of Watain. He proceeded to give her a bit of a hostile stare... which kind of pissed me off thinking about it, but I largely ignored him. When Tribulation finished up their set and made a hasty rush for the door, the road crew began the set change for Watain.

When Watain took the stage, Spynal and I decided to move toward the front of the stage. Her right in front, and me directly behind her. This, of course, didn't last very long. As soon as the first song started..... some pecker wood started tugging at my arm in an attempt to toss me into the mosh pit. After scuffling with him for a bit, a gargantuan Swede on Watain's roadcrew pulled me into what could best be described as a half sleeper hold and proceeded to deliver a single fisted beat down to my assailant. I spent the first three songs of Watain's set with some dude that looked like a blonde Kahl Drogo's knee up my ass and arm around my chest. Not a very welcome or comfortable position. Somewhere in this fray, Spynal was somewhat trampled by a couple folks rushing the stage and got forced onto the stage. Then there was some fat douche that looked like Jimmy from Eyehategod who spent most of the set instigating mosh pits then recoiling like a pussy when he got caught in one. This, of course, ended abruptly when the aforementioned gargantuan Swede proceeded to wrap his fingers around the fat bastard's neck and reared back to punch him in the face. After recoiling in horror and then acting like a big man in front of his girlfriend (despite his pathetic display just moments earlier), he was a great deal more tame for the rest of the show. At one point, some fellow flipped Erik off and proceeded to rush the stage only to be greeted by the rather diminutive front man's fist (it actually looked like he caught the dude in the jaw with a part of the microphone). I could go on longer about the entertaining chaos of the moshpit, but I have to talk about Watain. I've tried, and failed, several times to get into this band, but apart from Casus Luciferi.... none of their albums hold my attention for very long. Of course, they are one of Spynal's favourite bands, so I decided to take her to the show. I had heard many good things about Watain's live show, so i figured this would be a last ditch attempt for me to try and find something I like about them. Unfortunately.... between the perpetual blanket of red fog over the stage, ominous music that played while Erik worked the crowd between songs, and pig heads impaled on inverted crosses..... I just found the whole experience rather corny and reminiscent of the Stonehenge and Rock n Roll Creation scenes in This is Spinal Tap. They were a very tight, energetic, and (dare i say) charismatic band though.

In closing, despite finding the venue likeable, the show just wasn't my thing. While I may be a sucker for a woman with blue eyes, apparently i'm not much one for Black Metal. Spynal, on the other hand, greatly enjoyed the show (even when Pelle, for whatever reason, randomly stopped in front of us and screamed "WATAIN!!" in her face)... which more than made it worth the cost. This, of course, being New Orleans.... some of the freaks at the show were entertaining to see (especially on St. Claude Ave. during Halloween).

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thoughts on the Tag "Extreme Metal"

This is in response to one of my reader comments, and I was afraid it may run a little long for the comments section, so I've decided to make a dedicated post.

I use the term extreme metal quite a bit on this blog, but it is a term i've never actually liked simply because it's far too broad in its definition. We all know the various individual genres classified under the banner of extreme metal (Death, Black, Grind, Deathgrind, Thrash, Speed, and their various spawn), but there is far too much variation in each of these genres really to lump them all together under a single banner. Yes, these various genres do share a common ancestry that can trace its roots back to hardcore punk and/or speed metal, but please indulge me while I do a bit of a breakdown here. We're all familiar with the Death Metal genre I'm sure. Morbid Angel are a Death Metal band, but then so are Dark Tranquillity. Morbid Angel are, for all intents and purposes, a by the numbers picture of what most folks think of when the term Death Metal is mentioned. The music is fast, it's technical, dissonant, has guitar solos that utilize huge amounts of chromaticism, blast beat drumming, etc., etc. Dark Tranquillity on the other hand have the dark lyrics, growled vocal delivery, downtuned guitars, and it is somewhat technical.... but the type of melodies created by the instruments are far less dissonant, and if one were to strip away the vocals and tune the guitars back to standard, they would be left with power metal... which is not exactly what one thinks of when the words "extreme metal" are uttered. You can find similar far flung dichotomies in Black Metal, Thrash , and Speed Metal as well. This is why the term "extreme metal" is one i've always taken issue with... a lot of what qualifies under it isn't very extreme by any stretch of the imagination.

I was also asked to comment on if I view Doom Metal as part of the "extreme metal" tree, and the answer is no. I think it's just the idea that the lyrics are dark, and the instruments are tuned lower than standard that leads the various rock journalists out there to classify it as an extreme genre. But really, we all know that dark lyrics and down tuning have been in heavy metal music since it began. When bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, et al. defined what heavy metal was.... Sabbath were down tuning. Geezer's lyrics were quite dark. Led Zeppelin most certainly experimented with lowered and greatly altered tunings... they would often pen lyrics steeped in occult or mystical imagery. Deep Purple did this as well. These elements are not exclusive to extreme metal. While bands like Pentagram, Candlemass, Witchfinder General, etc. may craft music that is incredibly dark and heavy, it is by no means "extreme." They are undeniably metal bands, but the idea that they are part of the same direct lineage as Sodom, Morbid Angel, Mayhem, Raven, etc. is absurd.

Didn't get much sleep last night, so my brain is operating funny. I hope that little diatribe makes sense to you. Just to sum it up, I hate the term extreme metal because it is too broad, but it is so ingrained in the psyches of metal fans (myself included) that I seem to be unable to stop using it. And Doom Metal is only classified as extreme because the guitars are tuned low and rock journalists are lazy. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Original Line Up Is Always The Best.

When did this mentality take hold so strongly? The fact of the matter is that the original lineup is NOT always the best. Kids these days need to pull their heads out of their asses and come to grips with this. Sometimes changing a drummer, guitarist, or (heaven fucking forbid) a lead singer is just what a band needs to take their sound to the next level. The thing that brings this up is the current crop of kids and late 90s musicians who are bordering on has been status derping on and on incessantly about how the latest Sabbath reunion (I don't think they ever broke up, so how the fuck can they reunite) isn't really sabbath because some fat fuck who obviously hasn't practiced his drums in a long time isn't sitting behind the drum kit. I wonder how many of them realize that Sabbath released quite a few commercially successful albums with drummers who were not called Bill Ward. In fact, Sabbath put out two of the best albums of their career (Mob Rules and Dehumanizer) without Bill Ward and his sloppy, slap dash drumming. It makes me shudder to think of all the great albums the world would have missed out on by numerous bands if this original lineup fetishism had been around when some of the greats were first getting their act together. Bands like Rush, Death, Metallica, Anthrax, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Morbid Angel, Cynic, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and various others would have never made many of their best albums... and in some cases some of them would never have recorded at all if the fans had had this idiotic, widespread original lineup fetish that persists today. Can you imagine Rush without Neil Peart and Geddy Lee? Anthrax without Charlie Benante? Deep Purple with no Ian Gillan or Roger Glover? And how about Metallica with Lloyd Grant and Ron McGovney? Honestly, kids these days need to pull their heads from betwixt their ass cheeks and come to grips with the fact, yes the FACT, the indisputable FACT that original lineups are not always the best.

Now, for you kids who don't believe me.... i'll leave you with a list of some great albums that would be missing right now if all bands ended with the dissolution of their original incarnations:

Judas Priest - British Steel, Screaming for Vengance, Killing Machine, Sin After Sin, Painkiller

Death - Individual Thought Patterns, Scream Bloody Gore, hell... the entire discography

Rush - Moving Pictures, A Farewell to Kings, Rush, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves

Dream Theater - Awake, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Images and Words

Deep Purple - Machine Head, In Rock

Anthrax - Among the Living, Spreading the Disease, Persistence of Time

Spocks Beard - Day for Night, Snow, Beware of Darkness

I'm sure you could think of some more, anyone with a functioning brain could. Anyone not blinded by original lineup fetishism could. Hell, since i referenced the Sabbath reunion earlier in this posting... the latest musician bordering on has been status to piss and cry about the lack of the complete original lineup is Joey Jordison from Slipknot. I wonder how his equally idiotic fans would feel if they discovered that Slipknot are not on their original lineup either. After all, there's no Anders, Donnie, or Josh.... so, by the logic of people like Jordison and his idiotic followers... it's not Slipknot and they should break up (something that I would welcome... does the world really need another album by a group of nine poseurs playing rap rock and pretending it's some sort of death metal... i don't think so). Let's see.... i think Rob (Robb?) Flynn of Machine Head pissed and cried about it to. Really? Last I checked your lineup is mostly replacements at this point too fella. This is something that needs to stop. Frank Zappa used to say "the mind is like a parachute, it doesn't work unless it's open." The fruitcake with the Kabuki mask who pretends to be a drummer and the guy that used to be in Vio-Lence, as well as their idiotic, white trash followers would do well to heed this phrase.

Friday, September 6, 2013

If Sam Dunn Is An Expert, Then I'm A....

Can we all just admit now that Sam Dunn knows as much about heavy metal music as Forrest Gump knows about performing brain surgery? I mean seriously... was I the only one that watched his little series and felt completely underwhelmed and unimpressed? It was not a documentary about the evolution of heavy metal and its various subgenres. No, it was 11 hours of some blithering moron rhetorically fellating his favourite bands. Nowhere in the series is this more glaringly obvious than in the episode devoted to progressive metal. Dunn spends what feels to be about 3/4 of the episode figuratively sucking off Georgia prog/sludge/post hardcore/awful hipsters Mastodon and the other other quarter stroking Mike Portnoy's fragile ego. Mere lip service is paid to bands like Fates Warning, Annihilator, and Watchtower. All of whom were pioneers of said genre, and all of whom predate Dream Theater by 1 to 4 years and Mastodon by about a decade and a half. I guess he didn't run across that in all of his peerless research. Then there is the omission of Death Metal and Black Metal in favour of Grunge and Nu Metal. Both of which are more accurately described as subgenres of alternative rock more so than Heavy Metal. The grunge episode in particular was an entire hour featuring aging, long haired Seattle hipsters denying any connection to the heavy metal scene. The one focused on Nu Metal spent most of its time focusing on experts who seemed even more clueless than Dunn offering only tenuous connections of the genre to heavy metal music. Now, just to remind everyone of his general cluelessness, thanks to the miracle of that modern innovation known as "crowd funding," Dunn is at it again. According to the internet's worst heavy metal news site, blabbermouth, Dunn is now set to debut a 12th episode of his definitive magnum opus, focusing on... "extreme metal." Now, i'll save you the obvious criticism which is that there is bound to be some redundancy here as there was already a piss poor episode about thrash metal and thrash is a form of "extrme metal." Instead, let's focus on the other glaring fact here which is: EXTREME METAL IS NOT A GENRE. No, instead it is an adjective phrase used to describe various genres including, but not limited to the aforementioned thrash metal, death metal, black metal, and their various spawn. To lump all of these genres, scenes, and movements into one category is to, yet again, show ignorance on Dunn's part. After all, Peace Sells But Who's Buying is an extreme metal album, but so is Day Into Night. Would you consider them part of the same genre? Unless you are one of those hippy dippy forum dwellers whose brain is completely coated in resin by this point (those "there's only like two types of music, man... good and bad" types), then the answer is probably no. Napalm Death, Immolation, Watain, and Dark Tranquillity are all "extreme metal bands," but they are all damn sure NOT the same genre of music. For an alleged "expert," this guy makes Eddie Trunk, Iann Robinson, Ian Christe, that LatiNation douche, and Joel McIver seem like undisputed authorities on the subject. Such idiocy. There is a job for people of your level of intellect Dunn, it's called the fast food industry. I'm sure they have a McDonald's or Burger King up there in Victoria. Perhaps you should go apply.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clean Vocals in Extreme Metal

Yes, I know, I know...... you've been around for over a decade and you're starting to get a little bit of popularity and that big shit producer than the label brought in for you is telling you that you're the greatest singer since Andrea Bocelli and that you're the greatest lyricist to grace the face of metal music since Neil Peart, but guess what...... you're not. As Dirty Harry Callaghan once said "a man's got to know his limitations." Since the producer and your own enormous ego are preventing you from noticing yours, allow me to point them out for you. First off, your vocals chords are likely shredded from years and years of growling, screaming, barking, whatever. What am I talking about? You know that weird tone your speech has where it always sounds like you have a glob of phlegm stuck in your throat? Yeah, that carries over into your vocal performance and it's especially prevalent when you decide to try and sing "clean" or "melodically." There is a reason why Death's version of "Painkiller" isn't as good as Judas Priest's, and it has nothing to do with the instrumentation. No, it has more to do with the fact that by the time Chuck decided he was gonna spend 5 minutes or so pretending to be a power metal singer that his vocal chords were so shredded, he sounded like a chipmunk drowning while gargling the semen of a mountain goat. This, however, is not your only problem. The second is the simple fact that.... well...... you can't fucking sing to start with. Yes, yes, I know.... you've always been into "a lot of really good non metal stuff too" and that you "wanted to show those influences too, man," but the thing is....... if you could sing prog rock or power metal..... you would probably be fronting a band in one of those genres instead of gurgling about mutilation and lucifer whilst everyone ignores you and pays more attention to guitar players and drummer, hmm? It's true that your vocal chords may not be shredded...... or at least not as shredded as someone like Chuck Schuldiner or that humpty dumpty lookalike that fronts Cannibal Corpse, but your tone deafness and lack of vocal range make your vocals even less enjoyable than one of those patchouli scented douche bags who thwacks out cut rate renditions of indie folk songs at the local coffee shop on Saturday nights. The bottom line, if you were always into soaring vocals and such, maybe you should have spent some more time trying to get your pitch right and less time polishing your bullet belts, eh? I find myself wondering if half of you jackasses take the time to listen back to your piss poor "clean" vocal tracks. Maybe you do and your own fucking hubris just prevents you from acknowledging reality..... the reality being that you are called a "vocalist" and not a "singer" for a reason. By exposing the world to your out of key caterwauling or dead, lifeless mumbling masquerading as singing, you're not making extreme metal better, you are just making music worse. That's all.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Think I Would Prefer Camembert: Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat is a like a lot of female musicians with acoustic guitars. She writes bland, inoffensive background noise that talks about puppy love and other saccharine garbage that's straight out of some idiotic teen romance film. Honestly, is there anything more that needs to be said about her? I find it hard to believe that she would be taken seriously if her father wasn't Ken Caillat, the guy who produced Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" album. Something tells me that has a lot to do with where she is. That, and the fact that the average American radio listener is about as intelligent as a common garden snail and has an attention span worse than that of the average meth addict. I've said it before, and I'll say it again..... nepotism and hollywood inbreeding are one of the things destroying the entertainment industry. Ms. Caillat and her "music" are just another symptom of that. I am a capitalist, I believe in competition. I'm all for using your connections to try and get a leg up on the competition (within reason of course), but c'mon..... don't you need to bring in some new blood every now and again? We've reached a point now where it seems that every actor out there is related to or is the spawn of another famous actor, and that every musician is related to a producer, musician.... or... actor. And people in California think inbreeding is a problem where i'm from....... fah.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Talentless Plastic Bottom Feeder: Christina Fulton

Alright, who the fuck is this woman, and why should I care? It shows up in photos from Hollywood shindigs all the time, always carrying itself like it's some kind of hot shit, but what has it ever done of consequence to earn it's fame? It's acting skills are awful at best, that's why it hasn't done any work since 2000 and it's biggest claim to fame was a recurring stint on a late night cable soft porn series. Now it's turned its sights to becoming a pop star of some kind. Listen here lady..... 45 year old women who have no singing voice, the body of a... well... 45 year old woman, and a face that looks like it's had so many plastic surgeries performed on it that it now has the look of a counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbag purchased from a shady Haitian gentleman in a New York alley are in no danger of becoming pop stars. And the way this broad dresses, it looks like she's been raiding the closets of groupies and 15 year old Thai prostitutes. White trash with money, nothing more, nothing less. Based on the way she presents herself, it's no wonder that jackass kid of hers is so fucked up in the head. Also, am I the only one who gets a serious incest vibe coming off of those two? The way she hangs on him all the time and gazes..... for lack of a better term..... longingly at him, it makes my skin crawl. I understand that human beings often show affection to family members, but c'mon..... there's a limit. So, the question is... had it not been for the multimillion dollar divorce from the lowest hanging fruit in the Coppola clan, and her banging Shagrath, would anyone know who the hell this broad is? The answer is clearly a resounding no. In the realm of Hollywood bottom feeders that has included such luminaries as Kim Kardashian, Amanda Bynes, Latoya Jackson, and Paris Hilton.... I think Fulton is the worst. She's not even famous for being famous...... she's famous for divorcing the nephew of a guy who used to be famous and raising a no talent, woman beating, train wreck of a son. Bravo, Christina..... some legacy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Progressive Music Part 2: Progressive Metal

Why should greasy hippies have all the fun with odd time signatures and "real" music? Sometimes metal guys like to get in on the action too. It can also have splendid results...... this is a listing of some of my favourites.

-Death - "Individual Thought Patterns"

-Watchtower - "Control and Resistance"

-Dream Theater - "Awake"

-Dark Tranquillity - "Damage Done"

-Emperor - "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise"

-Cynic - "Focus"

-Atheist - "Unquestionable Presence"

-Symphony X - "Twilight in Olympus"

-Annihilator - "Alice in Hell"

-Spastic Ink - "Ink Compatible"

-Devin Townsend Band - "Synchestra"

-King Diamond - "Them"

-Areyon - "Into the Electric Castle"

-Nevermore - "Dead Heart in a Dead World"

-Freak Kitchen - "Move"

-Zero Hour - "The Towers of Avarice"

Edited to include a few that i overlooked when I initially posted it. I will also give an honourable mention to Pain of Salvations "The Perfect Element, Part I." Not really one of my favourites because they have a tendency to get a little pretentious and directionless.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Metal + Diversity = Terrible

I'm getting the distinct feeling the next Megadeth album is just going to be fucking terrible. Not only did the first single sound like something that may as well have been released by a late 80s hair band, they've been throwing that word "diversity" around a lot. Listen Metal fans, when Thrash bands throw around the word "diversity" what it really means is "this album is going to be radio friendly garbage." I was hoping that "Super Collider" would be the exception and not the rule on this album, but just based on the rhetoric coming out of the band... I'm getting the exact opposite impression now. Megadeth are poised to commit career suicide for a second time. I know Dave is on a permanent quest to outdo his former band, but shouldn't that be something that one does by making better music? What revenge is there in "out sucking" them? Of course, we all know delusions of grandeur run rampant among the members of the so-called "big four of thrash." None of them can seem to come to grips with the fact (and i'm sorry ladies and gentlemen, it IS fact) that they are all good at one thing, and one thing only: Thrash Metal (in the case of Metallica... watered down Thrash). Before recording this inevitable travesty.... Dave and Co. would have done well to revisit such "classic" releases as: Stomp 442, The Sound of White Noise, Volume 8: The Threat is Real, We've Come For You All, Load, ReLoad, St. Anger, Diabolus in Musica.... and even his own works Cryptic Writings and Risk. These weak, half assed commercial hard rock offerings are what are produced when Thrash bands play at musical "diversity."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Progressive Rock Recommendations (1970 to 1980)

At this point in time, Prog may as well be rechristened "Zombie Rock" because everyone and their grandmother's band seems to be picking its corpse for ideas these days. So, in honour of this dead, irrelevant, unpopular yet somehow incredibly alive, relevant, and popular genre.... I've decided to recommend a few of my favourites.

-"Hemispheres"-Rush (1977)

-"Selling England by the Pound"-Genesis (1973)

-"Larks' Tongues in Aspic"-King Crimson (1973)

-"Flying Teapot"-Gong (1973)

-"The Inner Mounting Flame"-Mahavishnu Orchestra (1971)

-"Relayer"-Yes (1974)

-"One Size Fits All"-Frank Zappa (1975)

-"Emerson Lake and Palmer"-ELP (1970)

-"In the Land of Grey and Pink"-Caravan (1971)

-"Masque"-Kansas (1975)

There you have it, 10 of my favourite "classic prog" albums. I know Mahavishnu Orchestra is technically jazz fusion..... but they definitely could fit in well alongside something like ELP, so I've included them on this list. I spent quite a few years immersing myself in this genre, to the point that I could probably do a separate list for Progressive Metal and "Neo Prog" as well.... which I may do at some point later. Anyway, enjoy the greasy hippie music. And I know you may be asking yourself "where's the pink floyd... did he leave them out on purpose?" Yes, yes I did.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Open Mindedness Is Overrated.

Honestly, I think I could fill a novel the size of Atlas Shrugged these days with rants about everything that is wrong with the Akerfeldt/Akesson/Mendez/Axenrot lineup of Opeth and the albums (excuse me... "observations"... how fucking pretentious) that they put out. A couple years ago, Opeth released an album called Heritage... I think I covered that in the previous entry. Two years on and...... what a surprise..... people still dislike it. Not content to live with the fact that people have differing opinions on things and that art is subjective and as such no one is going to like everything you do... Akesson and Akerfeldt have taken to that most time honoured, and vilest of metal band turned shit traditions: blaming bad music on the fans. Yes, that's right. Apparently the issue with Heritage is not that it's a boring retread of something that was done better thirty years ago, and that it sounds like the songs are just edited together out of random bits and pieces. No no no, the issue is that guys like me, guys who followed this fucking band for over a decade are "not very open minded." Someone needs to set guys like this straight on what the phrase "open-minded" means. It does not imply that one should force himself to like everything a band puts out. Which brings me to the overall theme of this article. This is not an Opeth rant, this is about metal fans. More specifically the modern metal fan. You are all a bunch of pussies. Spineless, weak kneed, limp-wristed pussies. Why do I say this? Well, because once some person accuses you of being "closed minded" you wilt like a flower in the bitter winter cold. It sickens me, absolutely sickens me when I see metal fans that fall all over themselves naming lists.... big, long lists of the "non metal" bands they listen to in an effort to impress people that are still gonna call you "closed minded" anyway simply because a couple of the genres you listen to may be called "(insert word here) metal". What the hell is wrong with all of you? I've been a metal fan my entire life. I've been accused of elitism, mocked, and endured myriad other bullshit for being a metal fan. Never once have I felt the need to apologize for it. Nor have I ever felt the need to assure people that I listen to "so much more than just metal." No person on this planet listens to one genre of music exclusively. However, if they wanted to.... how is that wrong? I just don't get it. "Open minded" simply means that you are open to entertaining new ideas or forms of expression.... it does not mean that you have to like them. Don't let people like Flo Mournier, the guys in Opeth, or their fans make you feel like you are the problem, you are not. THEY are the problem. Their egos (in the case of the musicians) and sycophantic manner (in the case of the fans) have rendered them incapable of handling counter-opinions. People like this have no place in the arts. I often find myself wondering why they become artists of any kind if they are not prepared to deal with these negative criticisms. Just stop listening to them, and grow a spine, you're making our genre look bad by wantonly trying to impress these people by attempting to conform to their flawed (read: INCORRECT) definition of "open minded."

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Have No Place in the Metal Community

     Well, dear readers..... I regret to inform you that I have to shut down this little enterprise. It has certainly been fun writing these diatribes for you the last few months, and I hope you have enjoyed reading them. Unfortunately, I have been informed by David Draiman, that pillar and arbiter of all things metal, that hatred and bitterness have no place in the metal community. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the end of The Blank Page. I will begin the process tomorrow of converting it over to a blog specializing in videos of cute puppies, kittens, and infants. To anyone whom I may have offended, i offer a sincere and heartfelt apology. I can only hope that you all will forgive my terrible, terrible conduct.

     Yeah, right. I don't think any metal pundits are going to silence themselves because the gimp from Disturbed has an attack of conscience after a guy he insulted dies of a spider bite. You keep thinking your opinion is sent down from on high, Draiman. I'll just go on thinking you're a pretentious ass and laughing at your various idiotic diatribes and pontifications.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Golden Gods? Make Mine Atheism, Then.

Not content to look like a bunch of hipster poseur dipshits in print alone, about 5 years ago the idiots at "Revolver" decided to put on a little awards show. You see, after years of the Grammys misunderstanding their own metal category, it was time for someone to devote an entire awards ceremony to.. well.... misunderstanding metal. For those of you who have never seen it, the Golden Gods is a quite pathetic affair. Once a year, a legion of poseurs drag themselves out of their mommy's basement and cram into a theater or a nightclub somewhere in California to watch a bunch of poseurs with gigantic egos and recording contracts jerk each other off on stage. Which is a fancy way of saying that by trying to create a "metal" alternative to the Grammy Awards, Revolver have actually made the Grammy ceremony seem more metal by comparison. I'm sorry, I don't need to see a bunch of guys who spend more time on their facial hair than their music and who wouldn't know what the fuck metal was if it brutally ass raped them in a back alley with a broken glass bottle give each other little faux gold statues. They already have something like that..... it's called the Grammy for "Best Heavy Metal Performance." Seriously Revolver readers... you're pretty fucking stupid if you think Five Finger Death Punch are the least bit "metal." And Corey Taylor is not a metal vocalist in the slightest.... let alone a great one. It's, for lack of a better term, fucking Jock Rock. Seriously, the stuff this awards show pays tribute to is not metal. In fact, when I was in high school... the guys that listened to the kind of bullshit that Revolver bills as Metal used to threaten to kick my ass for listening to.... well..... metal. In fact, I always find myself wondering if the idiots that actually watch this little awards show could even name any "true" metal songs that aren't called "Walk," "Raining Blood," or "Master of Puppets." Something tells me they can't. It's the equivalent of those fucking morons you see walking around wearing Dead Kennedy's swag and can't name a single song other than "Police Truck," which they likely heard when they were playing their older brother's dusty copy of "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater." The idea of Revolver doing a metal awards show has got to be the worst idea since Al Pacino's fake Caribbean accent or nominating "Dubya" for the presidency. In all honesty, I don't give a fuck if a bunch of poseurs want to get together and play bland rap rock and pay tribute to it even though it is was played out as soon as Anthrax did that stupid song with Public Enemy, but DO NOT fucking call that shit metal. It is bland ass commercial hard rock. Nothing More, Nothing Less. Why not call your awards show "The Revolver Corporate Phallus Tickling Awards?" It would be a more accurate descriptor.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Virginal Tramp: Taylor Swift

Let me begin this by saying that I think Taylor Swift is a tramp. I don't care about the innocent act she tries to pull off, this chick is a tramp. I know people in the entertainment industry go through relationships like most people go through toilet paper, but Swift seems to be intent on taking things to a new level. It seems she is with a new guy every other day. Who does this broad think she's fooling? She may have those idiot yokels that buy into the whole country music thing fooled, but not me. There is a saying "you are the company you keep." Well, Taylor Swift has been involved with a member of (and seems to idolize) the Kennedy family. The Kennedy's are Massachusetts resident white trash dynasty. Boozers, womanizers, and philanderers. If this is the company she keeps, her innocent schtick is most definitely an act. Oh... and she's dated John Mayer as well. One of Hollywood's better examples of "white trash with money." Moving on, there is the matter of Taylor Swift's music. I know it is classified as country, but I haven't heard anything of her's that comes remotely close to country music. It sounds like fairly garden variety pop music with a little bit of bad acoustic guitar playing. Her vocal performance is akin to listening to someone drag a roofing nail across a chalkboard. In some ways, i think that would be a preferable sound. Lyrically, all of Swift's songs revolve around one of two things.. breaking up with some random guy (i guess this is a trait she has in common with country artists), or how badly the guy supposedly wants her back. One has to ask the question, who would want her back? She's not very attractive, and if she's not a skank... she has to have some type of off putting personality to keep driving these guys away, but that's a completely separate rant unto itself. Swift needs to find some new topics to write about quickly, the broken heart schtick is only good for so long before it becomes tiresome. In the wardrobe department (and we all know how much pop stars love their outlandish costumes), Swift looks like she attended a yard sale held by Ike and Tina Turner. If swift insists upon wearing form fitting, flamboyant dresses.... someone needs to get that girl a lifetime supply of Twinkies fast. She looks like, despite all of her money, she hasn't eaten in years. I've seen malnourished Ethiopians with more heft to them than Taylor Swift. Her fucking vertebrae look like they are on the verge of puncturing the skin for fuck's sake. People bitch about their sons idolizing people like Roger Clemons, but seem to have no qualms with their daughters holding up Taylor Swift as some type of role model. So somehow it is wrong for your male child to idolize a man who may or may not have used steroids, but it is okay for your daughter to look up to a no talent, obviously anorexic girl who seems to have been plugged more times than the Hoover Dam? I don't see how people make this trade off. Personally, I find all of these self-described "virgin" celebrities to be a bit creepy (especially that football player guy, but again... that's another rant unto itself). I'm not a parent, but if you want my advice people.... you shouldn't have your kids aspiring to live like any of their favourite celebrities, whether they are a purr-tend virgin or not. As for tonight's photo... I have to extend a special thanks to Shayne for finding me this photo of Taylor Swift wearing what could only be described as a "grandma sweater.":