(This concludes Andy Synn’s three-part post about the tendency of metal fans, critics, and bands to compare one band’s music to that of another and the ways in which it works… and doesn’t work.)
So, as I said, my writing process tends to be a little bit… free-form… so much so, in fact, that yesterday’s publication of Part 2 of Comparative Metallurgy was in fact quite different from how I’d originally envisioned it. One whole section was excised and replaced with the anecdotal part instead, which was originally intended to make up the bulk of Part 3, and the excised section put aside for a different feature sometime in the future.
But this raises a bit of a conundrum, as what I originally had planned for Part 3 has already been published, leaving me with no content for the promised column that you’re currently reading (and that I’m currently writing).
However, as always, our loyal readership comes to my rescue, with this comment from Gipson giving me a new idea for Part 3.
“Good piece! I look forward to parts 2, about egregious examples of misuse (should be fun), and 3, which I assume will be about times you really felt got it right.”
So, let it be written, and let it be done… these are the times when (I think) I didn’t get it wrong!
(Wil Cifer attended part of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival stop in Atlanta on July 29, 2015, and has a few thoughts about what he witnessed.)
There is no news like bad news, and the inner webs are quick to let you know it. So it’s no secret that this year’s Mayhem Festival has been getting more than its fair share of anti-hype. Kerry King spoke out against the lineup, saying “you need talent to make people feel like spending that much money”. I’m not sure if that was a self-deprecating stab at his own band or he really feels like going out with some bands the high school kids seem to love is mandatory career suicide.
The Mayhem Fest co-founder has gone on record saying the metal genre is in trouble because there are not many younger bands that have headlining power and blames the older bands for not taking less money, like punk rock bands, in order to benefit the scene. So I was curious when I checked the tour out myself.
Yes, I guess I’m still on a black metal kick, with this collection of new music being the third Shades of Black post in the last five days. I actually have listened to some new songs since the weekend that aren’t in the vein of black metal, and at some point soon I’ll throw that good stuff your way, too. But for now, moisten your lips with this poison….
Lots of friends who know of my liking for New York’s Krallice shot messages my way this morning to make sure I knew that the band had just released a new album — which did in fact catch me by surprise. This new six-song offering is entitled Ygg huur, a name “stolen from Scelsi” (in the band’s words). That explanation didn’t immediately make sense to me, but after a bit of googling I now know that Ygghur is both a Sanskrit word for “catharsis” and the name chosen by Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988) for a piece he wrote for solo cello. I found a description of Scelsi’s composition that included these words:
I think free (and nearly free) music compilations by metal labels are a great idea. Of course, I say that as a fan and not someone who has ever attempted to operate a label, so I don’t know if they actually help sell music. But from my perspective it sure seems like a good way to expose people to bands they’ve never heard before, especially when the comps include some bands you have heard before and like — at least in my case, that tends to function as a good enticement for listening to the new names.
Over the weekend I discovered three new compilations by small metal labels that I thought would be worth exploring for that very reason, i.e., they include music from some very good bands I already know about, but are dominated by names that are new to me. I haven’t listened to everything in every comp yet, but what I’ve heard so far makes these downloads worthwhile.
I’m also including another excellent compilation from CVLT Nation (also free) that has been out for a couple of weeks, but I only tumbled to it recently.
Les Acteurs de L’Ombre Productions: Sampler MMXV
This French label recently released a new compilation on Bandcamp. The new compilation includes 11 tracks, and among those are songs by Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Moonreich, Maieutiste, and Mare Cognitum, all of whom are bands whose music I’ve enjoyed. The remaining tracks are by Déluge, Suhnopfer, Darkenhold, Aezh Morvarc’h, In Cauda Venenum, Lifestream, and Profundae Libidines.
(Wil Cifer presents some thoughts about the new album by Chelsea Wolfe — Abyss.)
It is no secret that Chelsea Wolfe has managed to gather a fan base in the metal community without actually playing metal, aside from a Burzum cover. Rumors have been abounding that Abyss was going to be her metal album. Considering some of the stylistic shifts she has made with each album, going in a heavier direction would make sense — but how do the rumors line up against the actual album?
Well, this is a spoiler alert as to just how metal Abyss is.
(This is Part 2 of a three-part post in which Andy Synn discusses the tendency of fans, reviewers, and bands to compare and contrast the music of one band to that of others. Part 1 is here.)
Here’s a little peek at my writing “process” (scare quotes entirely necessary here…).
As I’ve said before, this was originally only a single column – at least in my head. But as it expanded and snowballed (no, not in that way… get your mind out of the gutter) into a longer and longer piece, it seemed prudent to split it up and rework each separate section slightly to give each one its own focus and theme.
So, as it currently stands, I’m actually still writing/rewriting the main body of Part 2 even as I type this introduction. That’s my process. A mix between stream-of-consciousness rambling and periodic bungee-cord recoils to retype or rework previous sections as and when something new occurs to me.
If I was feeling generous I’d call it “organic”. Although “haphazard” might be a better word for it.
Still, for Part 2 I’ve elected to focus on the ways in which the use of comparisons can be roundly abused and misused, whether consciously or unconsciously.
So let’s get on with it, shall we?
Once again, I decided to compile a group of new songs I discovered over the last 24 hours and liked a lot. As it happens, the ones I liked the best turned out to be in the poisoned vein of black metal — and so, we have another edition of Shades of Black.
It is true, as stated in the press release I received today, that Horna are a “Finnish black metal institution”. Their ninth album is named Hengen Tulet, and it’s now scheduled for release by W.T.C. Productions on September 22. I’m amazed by the cover art, which was prepared by Pahapasi.
The press release also states that the new album “carries forward a similar songwriting aesthetic” to the band’s last album Askel lähempänä Saatanaa, “but reinvigorates a foul, fetid primitivism”. Of course, I immediately searched to see if any music from the album was available for me to share with you, and discovered that, yes, there is — and that I somehow missed the song when it debuted in June.
The name of this new piece is “Amadriada“, and it’s the album’s opening track.
What a welcome piece of news! Not long ago, Listenable Records announced that Gorod’s new album is named A Maze of Recycled Creeds, and they revealed the cover art (which, as you can see, is awesome) — and for people who live in countries where something called “Deezer” is available, they premiered a Gorod song named “Celestial Nature”.
Now, I have a bone to pick with the choice of this “Deezer” place as the location for an exclusive Gorod premiere. The bone I have to pick is that YOU CAN’T FUCKING LISTEN TO IT IN THE UNITED STATES. I’m so annoyed I’m almost tempted not to provide the link. And what kind of focus groups decided that “Deezer” was a good name for… anything? Made me cringe even before I realized that only some other people can use it.
However, I realize that the song will surely surface someplace where the miserable residents of my great land will be able to hear this new Gorod offering and become overjoyed by its undoubted awesomenessness. I also concede that a guitar play-through video of the song was released in January, so it’s not such an enormous loss that some of us can’t now hear the song as it was mixed for the album.
Anyway, I’ll be mature and give you the damned link for the stream:
(Here’s a thought piece by Andy Synn about a topic that we as reviewers have pondered more than once.)
Ok, so… originally this was just once piece. But, over the course of writing it, it began to snowball and expand beyond the original specifications. So it seemed only sensible to split it up, first into two, then into three, separate columns – that way you can pick and choose whatever parts most grab your fancy (and ignore the others).
Anyway, I’ve been kicking around some thoughts, feelings, and questions with various friends and compatriots recently, all to do with the idea of what it means to compare one band with another – when it’s appropriate, how frequently to do it, and how to do it right.
Because, and I’m pretty sure you’ll all be with me on this, over the years I’ve seen it done right, and I’ve seen it done very, very wrong…
Which leads us to Comparative Metallurgy, a three-part infosplurge of spurious factoids and absolutely bulletproof opinions about the use, abuse, and over-use, of comparisons between bands.
(Another month is in the history books, and so it’s time for KevinP to name the releases from last month that most impressed him.)
As I prepared to write this month’s column, my initial thought was: the lack of releases in July as compared to the rest of the year. I quickly realized that I had listened to 30 albums, and what a ridculous notion that was. If I “only” listened to 30 per month (normally it’s somewhere in the 40+ range), that would equate to 340 per year, which is borderline insane. Ok, on with the festivities….