Jan 082015

 

(BadWolf provides his annual list of personal favorites among not-metal albums released in 2014.)

I’ve never written so few lists at the end of the year. During my first year at No Clean Singing, I wrote three separate lists. Many writers compose even more, and I have no idea how they do it. However, each year my format has changed as I think of new ways to think about music. As time goes by, I simplify, I erase boundaries.

There’s only one meaningful distinction in my list this year: metal vs. not-metal. My metal list is currently up at Invisible Oranges, and it serves as my unified vision of 2014 in heavy metal. However, this is my favorite list—my favorite piece of copy that I write each year. There’s something about writing about mainstream music on an underground metal blog that strikes me as fun and transgressive.

More to the point, I always loved reading the opinions of metal heads and musicians about non-metal music. To people outside of the culture extreme music is what sets us apart. Inside the community, however, our tastes in other genres of music can offer interesting window into people’s personalities. I also wonder if the commonalities we find outside of the music reveal something about the threads that other artists and metal share. For example, my #1 album is, I know, fairly popular among metal bloggers, but you’ll have to wade through my bottom nine to get to it.

Jan 042015

 

Welcome to a new edition of THAT’S METAL!, the first one of 2015. I’m kind of proud of myself since I only let three weeks go by since the last edition, instead of seven or eight weeks. I have to applaud myself when I can, because it will probably be March before I get the next one done.

As always, the focus of this series is on images, videos, and news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. I have nine items for you today.

ITEM ONE

Mount Javornik is part of a mountain range in eastern Slovenia and the location of a popular ski center. High up on the mountain, high winds and freezing fog encase trees and lookout towers in thick layers of ice, creating alien spiked sculptures.

Photographer Marko Korosec hiked up the mountain on December 9, 2014, and took a series of photos of these jagged shapes — which definitely seem metal to me. One photo is at the top of this post, and a few more follow. To see more of his weather photography and additional images from this shoot, go to his 500px page.

Dec 142014

 

It’s been six weeks since I compiled one of these posts. I was going to let another week go by because laziness is my master but then I got some messages from Phro demanding entertainment which somehow he did not find in my Hetroertzen review from earlier today so I relented and sacrificed some time at the gym and wrote this thing making sure to begin it with a long run-on sentence because running is supposed to be exercise and since I’m not going to the gym I need some kind of substitute.

And since Phro caused me to lose my desperately needed gym time, I’m going to embarrass him and stream this version of “Jingle Bells” that he recorded using a koto that he allegedly played with his own hands, accompanied by some computer-generated orchestration.

 

 

Okay, now that I’ve embarrassed Phro (and believe me, that’s a Herculean task), let’s get to the business at hand — a new collection of videos, images, and news items that I think are metal even though they’re not metal music. I have eight items for you today.

Nov 022014

 

Welcome to another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which I collect images, videos, and occasional news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. Today I have eight items for you.

ITEM ONE

November 11 is Armistice Day in the UK, commemorating the end of hostilities on the Western Front during World War I — a war that sacrificed an entire generation of young men throughout Europe, with more than 9 million soldiers killed (as well as 7 million civilians). This year, Armistice Day is being remembered in London in a way that’s both visually spectacular and entirely appropriate to the slaughter that the armistice officially ended.

Beginning in July and steadily continuing into this month, red ceramic poppies have been placed on and around the Tower of London, with each poppy representing a British or Commonwealth soldier killed in World War I. When the last poppy is installed on November 11, there will be 888,246 of them.

Sep 142014

 

Here we have the landmark 90th edition of THAT’S METAL!  I wish I could say that two months have passed since the 89th edition because I was assiduously preparing for this special occasion, but instead I’ve just been dragging ass. I wish I could say I will be less drag-ass in posting future installments of this series, but I doubt that would fool anyone. Anyway, after two months I’ve collected an enormous number of candidates for this installment and from that list I’ve sifted the following 10 items (some with subparts).

For any newcomers out there, this series is devoted to images, videos, and occasional news items that I think are metal even though they don’t consist of metal music.

ITEM ONE

I’m going to start with some volcanic activity. Item One is a video with the somewhat misleading title of “Diving Into An Active Volcano”. Despite the fact that no one literally dives into magma in this thing, George Kourounis does get awfully damned close. I’m guessing that even with the protective suit he was wearing, it got pretty toasty. And even the beautifully filmed footage of the lead-up to his walk along the brink of hell had my stomach doing flip-flops.

The location for the video is the Marum volcano on Ambrym Island in the South Pacific republic of Vanuatu. The camera work was done by Kourounis and Sam Cossman, and the dramatic score for the film is a piece called “I Still Have A Soul” by Gabriel Shadid and Tobias Marberger. Kourounis and Cossman were guided to the magma lake by Geoff Mackley, who originally pioneered this stunt and is responsible for other earlier videos filmed at the same location (see this).

I don’t think I have to explain why this is metal. I’m including a second video that shows different scenes from the same excursion.

Jul 062014

I hang my head in shame: Almost two whole months have passed since my last THAT’S METAL! post. Even by my own lazy standards, that’s pretty terrible. I have excuses, but they’re not very good ones. I’ll just keep them to myself and get on with it.

Because so much time has passed and I’ve collected so many items, this will be a super-sized edition. And if you’re stumbling into this series for the first time, it’s devoted to images, videos, and news items that I think are metal even though they’re not metal music.

ITEM ONE

As usual, we begin with a photo. Actually, the first six items in this collection involve photos. The first one is above. It was taken by Russian photographer Denis Budko inside a cave near the Mutnovsky volcano in Kamchatka, Russia. The unusual visual patterns were created as snow inside the rock tunnel melted. Here are a couple more (and still more images can be viewed at Neatorama, which is where I found them). Fire + ice = metal.

 

May 112014

Welcome to another (long-delayed) edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which I present images, videos, and occasional news items about events that I think are metal, even though they having nothing to do with metal music. For this installment I’ve collected a whopping 10 items.

ITEM ONE

As usual, I begin with an image, the one you see at the top of this post. It’s a drawing entitled “Single Note” made with pen and ink by an American artist named Ben Sack. The diameter of the original is 4 feet and the circumference is 12.5 feet.

Clicking on the image will allow you to see a larger version, but even that won’t reveal the astonishing degree of detail that Sack meticulously created, incorporating a variety of architectural styles both ancient and modern (and some that have never existed except in the imagination). Perhaps equally humbling is the fact that Sack is only three years out of college. Here are a couple of enlarged details from “Single Note”:

Mar 302014

Greetings and salutations, and welcome to another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which I assemble for your (potential) enjoyment images, videos, and occasionally news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. For this installment I have eight items.

ITEM ONE

Clark Little is 44 years old. He lives on the North Shore of Hawaii. He is a surf photographer. Armed with a Nikon D300 camera and a fish eye lens encased in a waterproof box, he goes where the surf is breaking and takes amazing photos, usually from inside the tube of the waves. His camera takes pictures at the rate of 9 to 10 frames per second, but he still doesn’t have long to make his shots before the waves bury him. The results are spectacular.

In the one above, Little captured a large wave while lying on dry sand as it broke to create a “shorebreak barrel”. Seconds after the shot, he was washed up onto the beach — his whole body covered in sand. In this next photo of a backlit wave on the West Shore of Oahu, the wind was blowing strongly offshore, creating a mist flying off the top of the wave.

Feb 232014

It’s been about six weeks since the last time I assembled one of these THAT’S METAL! posts, so the list of potential items I keep as I see things around the interhole has grown to gargantuan proportions. Because I’ve waited so long to prepare a new installment, this will be a jumbo edition, with 10 items. If you’re new to this series, I collect images, videos, and occasional news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not musical.

ITEM ONE

The first item begins with the image at the top of this post. It’s a photograph of flesh yielding to the pressure of grasping hands. But it’s not real flesh and those aren’t human hands. It’s a detail of a sculpture carved in marble.

The artist was only 23 years old when he completed the sculpture. His name was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and he created the sculpture between 1621 and 1622 in Rome, where it is still located today. Its name is “The Rape of Proserpina” and it depicts the abduction of Proserpina by Pluto, the god of the underworld.  The statue also includes Pluto’s three-headed dog Cerberus. Phenomenal. You can see more photos below.

Feb 032014

photo by Erika Schultz (Seattle Times)

Those of you who aren’t NFL fans or didn’t care about the Super Bowl or, worse yet, were pulling for the Denver Broncos, you may want to skip this post. But that 43-8 win was a long time coming for Seahawks fans, and for the city of Seattle, and I have to do a little celebrating.

There sure as hell was a little celebrating going on in the streets of Seattle last night. It was a good place to be as people flooded outside in a display of mass delirium, the likes of which I’ve never seen here before.

Here are 8 9 reasons why the Seahawks 43-8 win in the Superb Owl was metal, even though it wasn’t music:

*  It was the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl championship in the team’s 38-year history and the city’s first championship in one of the four major professional sports leagues since the Seattle SuperSonics won the NBA title in 1979.  (It was the eighth professional sports championship overall: The Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917; the Sonics won the NBA title in 1979; the Seattle Storm won WNBA championships in 2004 and 2010; and the Seattle Sounders FC won the U.S. Open Cup in 2009-2011).

*  The Seahawks were an underdog going into the game but won by the biggest margin of victory by any underdog in the game’s 48-year history. The 35-point margin of victory matched the third-biggest in Super Bowl history — but all those other winners were favored to win.

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