(Once again we are pleased to deliver unto you this year-end list by Happy Metal Guy, whose name you may recognize from the Angry Metal Guy blog, and whose other name (Dane Prokofiev) you may recognize from assorted other places.)
In the spirit of Khristmas, there is no mean, hierarchical list from Happy Metal Guy this year that ranks bands in a certain order of merit. Just like those annoying middle school camps with anti-climactic inter-group games that end with everyone winning, Happy Metal Guy has decided to go along with the festive mood and allow every band whose record he listened to and liked this year to be in its own league. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, altruistic, and spreading some e-love via some blog post that will probably never be read by most of the bands mentioned in it after all. Yohoho, everybody—but Happy Metal Guy—wins!
Some of the category names below might seem negative at first glance, but just know that Happy Metal Guy uses each and every one of those in a negatively positive way. Rest assured that all of the records mentioned below entertained Happy Metal Guy enough to be remembered and shortlisted. Some albums like Shining’s One One One and Thrawsunblat’s Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings were initially going to be mentioned here, but they have since lost their appeal to Happy Metal Guy for some reason.
(Here’s another guest post from Dane Prokofiev, who writes everywhere and has his own blog at Zetalambmary. It’s a year-end list of a different kind. As always, Comments are encouraged — maybe you’d like to add to this list?)
People who listen to and enjoy extreme metal have met these people before – be it in the form of perplexed roommates at university dorms or the curious and inquisitive stranger on the train who happens to see you listening to Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation on your iPhone and feels compelled to ask you about your strange taste in music. Listed below are five things people who are not into extreme metal often say about a form of underground music that never ceases to confound their expectations of what can be considered good.
1. “Why do the vocalists scream? It’s so pointless – you can’t even make out the lyrics like that!”
I find myself repeating variations of this line ad nauseam to laymen who like to be able to figure out what the lyrics are just by hearing music: “You’re not meant to make out the lyrics; the voice here is just treated as another musical instrument.” Just as certain Classical music composers made certain orchestral sections play dissonant chords on purpose at certain parts of a piece of music (or even throughout) to create an aggressive feel or disturbing mood, harsh vocals often serve this purpose as well in extreme metal.
(It’s been a while since we received a guest post from Dane Prokofiev (who writes everywhere and has his own blog at Zetalambmary), but today he returns with an argument about why it’s worthwhile to use band comparisons in music reviews.)
I used to dislike comparing a band whose album I was reviewing to another band in my written reviews and only resorted to doing so when I found absolutely nothing interesting about the band’s music to be worthy of description through the use of metaphors. Ever since my exposure to Saussurean semiotics, however, I have changed my mind.
Saussurean semiotics posits that there is no intrinsic connection between words and their meanings. That is to say, it is not natural for the word “dog” to refer to the concept of dog-ness. The word “dog” is a linguistic construct, something that is distinct from the concept of dog-ness. What English-speaking people label as “dog” is labeled as “الكلب” by Arabic-speaking people , “chien” by French-speaking people, “hunder” by Icelandic-speaking people, “犬” by Japanese-speaking people, and “狗” by Mandarin-speaking people. The fact that people use different words for the same object in different languages means that there is no particular connection between the word “dog” and the thing that we refer to as a “dog”.
The product of this arbitrary relationship between the signifier (“dog”) and the signified (the concept of dog-ness) is called the sign, which is the mental image that is conjured in a person’s mind when he or she sees the signifier and understands that it is referring to the signified, aka certain properties that constitute the thing-ness of something.
(In this post, Dane Prokofiev returns to NCS with another installment in his Keyboard Warriors series, in which he interviews metal writers — and now branches out to provide an in-depth look at the inner workings of metal’s most comprehensive single resource of knowledge. We are also indebted to Azmodes for the time he devoted to this fascinating discussion.)
Comprised of a large number of dedicated staff members and innumerable ordinary members, the non-profit cyber encyclopedia of metal bands is a project that requires a huge amount of constant effort in order to stay online and remain relevant and useful to metal music writers, fans, and researchers alike.
If you have ever wondered about the internal workings of Metal-Archives.com, here’s an inside look. A fairly new administrator of the site discusses a multitude of issues ranging from the hierarchy system to the controversial topic of what makes a band “metal” enough to be officially recognized and registered in the database.
(In this post, Dane Prokofiev [formerly known as Rev. Will around these parts] returns to NCS with another installment in his Keyboard Warriors series, in which he interviews metal writers. I swear this one was his own idea.)
I know what you’re thinking. But no, featuring an interview about you on your own blog is not an egotistical thing to do at all! It’s just like mailing a Valentine’s Day card addressed to you on Valentine’s Day; it serves to expedite one’s noble quest for attaining self-actualization. C’mon, everyone does that… right?
Nearly 3½ years into metal blogging, the laborious machine behind NO CLEAN SINGING has built a name for itself. Surely, achieving this feat is something that it could not have foreseen back when it took to the human World Wide Web and registered the NCS web domain just to have an online outlet to type about the type of music it loves.
Mysteriously named The Great And Glorious Supreme Leader of the Eternal Heavens (otherwise known more succinctly as “Islander”), the father of all decapitated T-800s entertains Yours Truly by answering a second round of questions.
(photo credit: Nick Palmiretto)
(In this post, Dane Prokofiev [formerly known as Rev. Will around these parts] returns to NCS with another installment in his Keyboard Warriors series, in which he interviews well-known metal writers. Today’s subject is the thoroughly awesome “Grim” Kim Kelly.)
The name “Grim” Kim is, surely, not unknown to denizens of the metal blogosphere and physical print media.
Starting at the tender age of 15, the New York-based female metal writer worked her way up from underground fanzines to bigger outlets, and she has been at the craft for nearly a decade since. Her career as a metal writer seems to be one of the most successful cases around, as evident from her perennially expanding portfolio (she recently became a staff member of Pitchfork Media), and so it is only natural to inquire: what were the unique life experiences that shaped her to be who she is today?
Of course, that is not all that perks the interest of the body modification enthusiast’s admirers and peers. In this interview, No Clean Singing delves into certain iffy metal issues with the seasoned metal scribe as well.
Hello Kim, it’s time to start talking about yourself again! Were you christened (or satanized) “Grim” Kim by a good metal pal, or did you come up with it yourself?
It’s a nickname given to me by my friend Curran Reynolds. He runs Precious Metal, a weekly metal night at Lit Lounge in Manhattan, and when I was in college in Philly, I’d often come up to catch the show and hang out. I eventually started DJ-ing there upon occasion, and he decided that “Grim Kim” was to be my DJ name. When I started writing for MetalSucks I used it as my pen name ‘cause everyone else there had a quirky nom de plume, and from there, I guess it just stuck. People like rhymes.
(In this post, we bring you an interview by Dane Prokofiev [formerly known as Rev. Will around these parts], and the subject is Andy Eftichiou, bassist and last remaining original member of Australia’s now-defunct Mortal Sin (pictured dead-center in the above photo). Dane would like to thank Liam Guy — editor of The Fallout magazine and drummer for Brisbane-based Malakyte — for his help with this interview.)
Australia’s now-defunct (again) Mortal Sin had always been plagued with line-up woes. Taking into account the more recent internal strife that ended the band’s career once more, it was the fourth and seemingly the final time the band would split up for good; and it was just after the latest line-up had found a new guitarist in the form of the young Ryan Huthnance (second from the left above) and the new vocalist Dave Tinelt, too (far left above).
The Australian thrash metal veterans were well known for being labeled as the “Next Big Thing” in the early years of their career, thanks to their well-received debut full-length album, Mayhemic Destruction (released in 1986). It seemed set to be a most promising career, with highlights of their active days being their 1986 signing of an international album deal with Vertigo Records, the UK sub-label of the titanic Phonogram Records (to which Black Sabbath and Metallica were signed to during its early days)—which re-released Mayhemic Destruction worldwide in 1987; being tour support for Metallica on their “Damaged Justice” tour in Australia during 1989; and working with famed producer Randy Burns on their first EP, Face Of Despair (released in 1988).
By a stroke of luck, NO CLEAN SINGING managed to catch up with one of Mortal Sin’s founding members and long-time bassist, Andy Eftichiou, nearly three weeks before the band’s fourth and supposed final demise, which was announced toward the end of April 2012. We asked Andy about his flashy new hobby-cum-career, reminisced about the glorious days of early Mortal Sin, stared in awe at a recent photograph of Gary Holt wearing a Mortal Sin shirt, and more.