Yes, I’m afraid it’s time for another rant about Facebook. The pressure was building, and I needed to vent for fear that otherwise I’d have an attack of explosive diarrhea.
The last time I had to resort to this kind of diarrhea remedy was in June, when the subject was an exploration of the algorithms that Facebook uses to determine who gets to see Page posts and the rollout of Facebook’s Promoted Posts feature. In a nutshell, if you’re the admin of a Facebook Page and you add a Page post, Facebook doesn’t deliver your post to the news feeds of all your Page fans. At one point, Facebook reported that on average only 16% of your fans will see any given post.
Facebook does give you the option of paying them to expand the distribution of your posts. That’s the Promoted Posts feature. We’ve used that feature only for certain posts at the NCS FB Page — when we want to spread the word about a song premiere or new album stream here at the site — and, unsurprisingly, it definitely does work. The stats we get from FB show that our posts reach a much larger percentage of our FB fans, as well as FB Friends of our fans, though the reach is still not 100%.
But we’re not a business, we get no revenue from anyone for running NCS, and so there’s a limit to how much money we’re willing to spend to spread our content around the FB community. Impecunious metal bands aren’t any more likely to fatten up Facebook’s bank account in order to reach more of their fans either.
But it turns out that with Promoted Posts, Facebook was only getting warmed up. On Wednesday of this week Facebook rolled out a new “test” in the U.S. (they’ve been doing it longer than that in other countries). Now, even individuals get the awesome opportunity to pay FB in order to increase the visibility of shit like your wedding photos, pics of your newborn brat, where your band is playing next weekend, and big news like what you ate for breakfast. Wheeeeeee!!!
(In this post TheMadIsraeli brings us a fascinating change of pace, with a review of classical music composed by Nick Vasallo.)
Today we aren’t reviewing a metal album. Today we’re reviewing a classical album. We at NCS are classy men anyhow, so why not?
Though in all seriousness, classical music has been (dare I say it) the foundation of metal (not rock) as we know it. Yes, there is no doubt that Blues was as integral to metal’s development, but I think classical is an even bigger part of the equation. You can take even brutal tech-death like Cryptopsy or Suffocation and find a way to draw parallels with baroque, classical, or even romantic-era music. This shit flows through the veins of the most brutal of music, so in my mind it actually seems entirely relevant that this kind of music should be reviewed here.
Of course, I didn’t just go and pick something out of the blue; this album is even more related to metal than most of its genre. Why? Because the Vasallo in question is Nick Vasallo – one-third of up-and-coming tech-deathers Oblivion (whose three-song demo I reviewed in February — it fucking owned). I was quite surprised to find out that he’s a classical composer and that this is actually his musical forté (maybe even over metal?), although it’s quite obvious in his work that he tries to incorporate his love of metal into this niche, as well as both Western and Asian classical music.
This creates an interesting dynamic. Usually we humans take the old, the established, and try to find ways to keep them fresh, yet grounded in convention. Vasallo does the opposite, taking a tried and true ancient form of music that brought us some of the greatest masterpieces ever written and breathing new life into it by reversing the roles, where the orchestral instrumentation is made a student of the metal. I realize that sentence sounds garbled as fuck, it may not even make much sense, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.
So, in essence, what does metal have to bring to this table? I suppose it should be noted that in my dialogues with Vasallo, death metal seems to really be his thing. So, to rephrase the question, what does death metal offer? What does it capture that’s relevant to these compositions?
Here are a few items of interest that I saw and heard today.
RIVERS OF NIHIL
We were first introduced to this Pennsylvania band by NCS guest writer The Baby Killer (who needs to stick his head back in our lair soon). The focus of his post back in January was not only the band’s ripping recorded music but also their ability to play a fire-breathing brand of technical death metal with immaculate skill on stage, stirring the shit out of the pit while delivering spot-on execution of their complex music.
Today I saw that the band had released an official music video for a song called “(sin)chronos”, which appeared on their 2011 album, Temporality Unbound. Listening to the song is like sticking your head into a blast furnace while simultaneously getting a megawatt jolt straight to your brain stem. Faces will melt and nerve endings will explode. It’s fast and furious, eminently mosh-worthy, and lit up with technical acrobatics. And dat bass!
Watch and listen after the jump. Crank more Rivers of Nihil music and download at their Bandcamp page, buy it as a CD via this link, and hook up with the band on Facebook at this location — and stay tuned, because the band are at work on their next album.
Because you’ve been good, I’m giving you this. 62,119,286 YouTube viewers since July 15 can’t be wrong. Can they?
Please, hold your applause, and don’t thank me. Thank Ben C at The Church of the Riff, because he sent this to me.
(From the video’s YouTube description: “From 2 years of break, PSY is finally coming back with his 6th album ‘PSY6甲’! The album’s weighty title song ‘Gangnam Style’ is composed solely by PSY himself from lyrics to choreography. The song is characterized by its strongly addictive beats and lyrics, and is thus certain to penetrate the foundations of modern philosophy.”)
UPDATE!! — Thanks to Old Man Windbreaker, we have a second video in which a dude adds a metal backbone and some nice guitar solos to this song. Assuming you can take the song a second time, check out that shit after the jump.
SPOILER ALERT: If you’re new to Dexter and haven’t yet made your way to the end of Season 6, skip this post.
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but one show I do watch like an addict watches for his dealer is Dexter – the ongoing story of a police blood spatter analyst who moonlights as a serial killer (or vice versa). For six seasons I’ve been glued to it, caught up in every twist, turn, and cliffhanger. And speaking of cliffhangers, Season 6 ended with a real doozie, as Dexter’s police-detective sister Deb enters the church that Dexter has outfitted as a kill room just in time to see him plunge a knife into the demented Travis Marshall.
This is obviously going to mark a dramatic turn in everything about the show and its central characters. Dexter’s success, against all odds, in passing as “normal” is over. He can’t possibly think his way out of this mind-blowing revelation. Or can he? That’s what Dexter addicts like me will find out when Season 7 begins on September 30.
Yesterday, Showtime started streaming a trailer for Season 7 that got my blood racing — a montage of eye-popping scenes that hint at awesome things to come (and of course raise far more questions than answers). And in one last bit of coolness, the music of “Change (In the House of Flies)” by Deftones can be heard at the end. Watch it after the jump. Any other Dexter addicts in the audience?
It’s a fact: No one has ever accused the humor at this site of being too sophisticated. We pride ourselves on being moronic, juvenile, and foul as often as possible, or at least I do. For example, I don’t think you can ever have too much dick humor. I know you feel that way, too, which is why this post is just gonna light you up!
Yesterday I was introduced to a French band called Chateau Brutal by the always entertaining Church of the Riff — and if you’re not reading that blog on a regular basis, you’re missing out on some primo entertainment. For example, here’s what the Church had to say about Chateau Brutal’s new second album, Ham Slicer:
This French garage rock duo’s second album is 10 tracks of rump rattling, ear splitting, foot tapping rawk and fucking roll. It’s the drunk guy at the bar who’s lost his pants and is screaming at the half-empty pint on the table to fill itself up again. Noisy, fast and frenetic, it’ll grab you by the nose and shake you until the screaming stops.
Take one porterhouse thick guitar tone, mix in a hammering percussion section and season with everything from turntables to saxophones. Then soak it in beer, rip it’s pants off and stay the fuck out of the way. It goes hard, but not on the sonic destruction front, on the “drink all your beer, then steal some more, then get laid, then find more beer, then steal a zebra from the zoo and get the police to chase you”…front.
Well, fuck, don’t mind if I do!
You just know an album is going to be good when it’s opening track is “My Dick”, and it’s followed immediately by “Meet My Meat”.
And thank you to George Takei for circulating that stunning photo of the first image to be transmitted back from Mars by the Curisoity rover.
I’ve discovered through our previous posts on things like the discovery of the God Particle and verification of the existence of Dark Matter that many of our readers are science geeks, just as I am. So, I decided that what happened last night on Mars really couldn’t be overlooked on our site — though I nearly overlooked it since I was stuck at my fucking day job most of the weekend with my head up my ass (and thank you, Phro, for making me aware of what I nearly missed).
And yes, NASA successfully landed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars at approximately 1:30 a.m. EDT on August 6. The more you know about what this required, the more stunning the achievement becomes.
Curiosity is the size of a small car, weighing about one ton. There’s not enough atmosphere on Mars to allow aerobraking, and Curiosity is too heavy to bring it down to the surface by parachute and air bags. So what did NASA do?
Once the aeroshell separated from the rocket, a giant parachute was used to slow the descent, but just below 6,000 feet above the surface, the parachute was jettisoned and the aeroshell began firing its own rockets to slow the descent further. But they couldn’t use rockets all the way to the surface because those eventually would have kicked up a shitload of dust, throwing rocks and other debris back up into the rover’s instrumentation. So they invented the Sky Crane.
(Here we have another of our UK scribe Andy Synn’s collections of five favorite things. The last such post was about five of his favorite guitar solos. This one is going to take us outside our usual stomping grounds.)
Ok, so if you follow the site at all closely, I’m sure you’ve got at least a vague idea of the areas each of the regular writers tends to specialise in. You might even be able to make reasonable predictions about what bands we listen to, and what bands/albums coming up we’d be expected to like and give coverage to.
You’d know, for example, that my bread and butter these days is black metal, the more interesting the better, with a side helping of more melodically inclined (but still heavy as hell) death metal. I’m not so much of a thrash or hardcore guy as I was when I first started my metal journey, and while I still have a soft spot for some metalcore (and its ilk), that’s very much on a band-by-band basis. Overall though, I like metal for its variety, for its honesty and integrity, and for the skill and effort it takes to compose.
So what I’m thinking is that I’ll throw away any remaining kvlt or tr00 cred I have left, and namecheck 5 bands – all peripherally related to rock/metal – who I absolutely love, but who I don’t think any of you would guess at in a million years.
We’re going off topic with this post, but for a good reason: because your humble editor just watched a movie trailer that caused a few thousand micro-strokes, leading to one big fuckin’ head explosion.
Cloud Atlas is the name of a novel by David Mitchell that was published in 2004 to considerable critical acclaim. It seemed like it would be a fascinating read, so I bought the book. I’m pretty sure it’s lying around here somewhere, probably underneath some animal pelts or unread magazines from 2005. Anyway, I didn’t read the book and forgot all about it, until today.
And today a friend sent me a link to the trailer for a movie that has been made from the Cloud Atlas novel. It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, and Susan Sarandon. It was co-written for the screen and co-directed by the people who made the The Matrix trilogy (Andy and Lana Wachowski) and Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer).
Trying to describe the plot is difficult, but from what I’ve read, it involves interlinked stories spanning centuries (and extending into the future) about six characters, including a voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer struggling in Belgium between the wars; a journalist in 1970s California; a vanity publisher fleeing gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and a young Pacific Islander witnessing the downfall of science and civilization.
I have no idea how these stories connect, though some time travel seems to be involved. Maybe it will turn out to be a confusing mess — some people who’ve read the book are fearful about that. But I can tell you that based on this long trailer, the movie LOOKS fucking awesome.
Okay, I’m gonna show a little bit of my age now: I read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash when it was a new book, and it turned my brain inside out. It affected a lot of other people the same way. Though not as seminal a work in the cyberpunk oeuvre as William Gibson’s Neuromancer, it was still pretty damned influential.
At long last, Snow Crash is going to be made into a movie. When I say “at long last”, that doesn’t mean I’ve been eager to see this happen. In fact, I think the odds of a book like this being turned into a good and faithful movie are slim. I mean that the movie rights to the book were first acquired by Paramount in 1992, and the project was later transferred to Disney, where it seemed to die.
The development of the movie is now back at Paramount, in the hands of Kathleen Kennedy (Kennedy/Marshall) as producer and Joe Cornish as director. Cornish is the guy who directed a highly buzzed-about alien invasion movie named Attack the Block, which I haven’t seen but which I heard good things about. He seems to be a hot property, and Paramount seems to have made this production a priority, so this is probably going to become a reality.
I hate to be a pessimist (which in fact goes against my nature), but I have some anxieties because there are so many ways this can be fucked up, starting with selection of the actor to play the book’s half-black, half-Japanese, sword-wielding hacker protagonist, Hiro Protagonist. Yeah, that’s his name, and don’t laugh until you’ve read the book.