Damn the Irish for fouling our pristine land. Great waves of them washed up after the potato famine of the 1840s, the most destitute national group ever to arrive on American shores. They couldn’t have been less desirable, a gaggle of morally depraved peasants with little education and equally meager resources.
And to make matters worse, they were Papists! Ignorant and superstitious, these mongrels took their orders from a foreign religious power and were bent on degrading and corrupting the moral purity of these great and Protestant United States. They dragged the culture of our homeland into the stinking troughs where they themselves wallowed by birth and breeding. They fled a wretched land and brought the wretchedness with them.
I bet you thought we were finished posting for this Tuesday. Nope, I just got waylaid by my day job on the way to finishing this thing, but now having surmounted those obstacles, I give you this round-up.
This collection a bit different from the norm, in that I’m including a couple of items that aren’t hot off the presses. But we’ll begin with two that are, and then conclude with a new Megamix treat from Crypticus that you probably won’t hear anywhere else.
MORS PRINCIPIUM EST
The artwork up there is by one of my favorite metal artists, Berlin-based painter Eliran Kantor. I’ve already posted it on our site’s Facebook page and made it the cover photo on my personal page. How could I not put it here as well? The artist describes it as “an apocalyptic homage to Vermeer’s ‘The Astronomer'” — and here’s what that famous work (completed in 1668 and on display at the Louvre in Paris) looks like:
(Andy Synn’s haiku review feature usually includes a trio of 3-line reviews, but this one includes a dozen haikus for a single album.)
So I assume by now that many of you, if you have even a passing interest in the band still, will have heard some (if not all) of the new Metallica album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct?
After all, it’s finally being released tomorrow, and the band have now debuted a different music video (some better than others) for each of the twelve songs which make up the double-disc set, so it should be easy enough to make your own mind up whether or not you’re still willing to get on-board the Metallica train.
Now as much as we tend to focus our energies on covering the smaller bands here at NCS, sometimes it’s fun to comment on the bigger acts too. It really just depends (in my case, at least) as to whether or not we feel like we have anything interesting to add to the conversation.
And having seen a mixture of reactions ranging from the hilarious (“death to false metal!”) to the fawning (“this is the best album of the year, Metallica can do no wrong!”) I felt like I wanted to at least say a little something about the album… and what better way than through the ever-enigmatic medium of the humble haiku?
So, after the jump, twelve haikus and twelve videos, summing up my feelings, good and bad, towards Hardwired…
Like a lot of people, I spent most of my music-listening time yesterday with Motörhead. For the hell of it, I also spent time listening to metal bands covering Motörhead songs. A lot of bands have done that. Out of the many covers I listened to, damned few of them are quite as good as the originals, and at least to my ears, none of them is better.
However, having invested the time hunting for covers that breathed some kind of different life into the classic originals, I decided to put them all here — the good ones and the so-so ones — by these bands: Satyricon, Sepultura, Ringworm (with guest vocals by Barney Greenway), Korpiklaani, Sodom, Machetazo, Avulsed, Overkill, Metallica, Horna, Kvelertak, Warbringer, and Krisiun.
But before I get to those, I’m starting with one that’s definitely a success. It’s a cover of “Orgasmatron” that Integrity released just yesterday on Bandcamp (here).
(In this post Andy Synn offers some opinions and poses some questions — and invites your answers in the Comments.)
Now that the financial crisis is over… fair and equitable punishments have been meted out to those involved… the banks have all learned their lessons… and nothing like that will ever happen again…. I think we can safely move on to discussing more important topics, right?
All (slightly depressing) jokes aside, zeitgeisty terms like “too big to fail” actually have their use and can be applied and utilized in a bunch of wider contexts. Case in point, what happens when a Metal band becomes “too big to fail”, and how does a band even reach that point?
(In this post, Andy Synn offers thoughts and opinions about the challenges that upwardly mobile bands face once they reach the peak of success within the confines of metal, and about the risks of attempting to make a leap into the mainstream. Your thoughts, as always, will be welcome in the Comment section.)
Oooh… there’s that word. The “M” word. A term so divisive I bet half of you just vomited from sheer internet-based rage. A word so contentious we had to invent our own subdivision of it (the “metal mainstream”) just to better separate the “true” from the “false”.
But… does it have its place? And if it does (and I think it does)… what are we going to do with it?
After the jump… my lengthy, stream-of-consciousness, pseudo-philosophical ramblings on the subject!
(Andy Synn offers some observations about two seemingly divergent perspectives within metal that may not be so divergent after all. Discuss!)
Let me make something clear from the outset here: I am not trying to build up an argument with this piece insomuch as I simply felt like writing down and acknowledging some stuff that (to me) seems pretty self-evident in the metal scene.
The two points I am going to address are, largely, intertwined – though at first they might seem almost diametrically opposed to one another.
First, I’m going to address the issue of “privilege”. Now “privilege” is a word that often crops up in feminist discussions (often I think to the detriment of that discussion) referring to how supposedly Middle (and Upper) class feminists can’t really relate to the issues affecting other women because they speak from a position of “privilege”. Their position of “privilege” might come with certain specific problems of its own, but ultimately it invalidates their experience, as it can’t be generalised. The same things happen in the metal media.
(I wish I had thought of this cool idea for a post. But BadWolf beat me to it — and this is his piece.)
It’s not news to anyone reading this ( I hope) that heavy metal culture has an elitist streak. In fact, read enough comment threads on this blog and others, and you will notice a tiered system of elitism, false barricades that we, as fans, erect to keep ourselves distanced from a perceived wasteland that is ‘the mainstream.’ By virtue of reading a metal blog, I’d wager you’re already a step or two up on the elitism pyramid. By definition, as a metal blogger, I am MORE than a few steps up on the elitism pyramid. But I’m not far enough up to lose my sense of perspective.
There is an appropriate amount of ironic self-distancing when appreciating art. The top of the elitist pyramid? Probably black metal purists, and look how even the mainstream lambasts the true corpsepaint-set as clowns. Those folks would do well to remember that most of the Norwegian attack bands abandoned the strict black metal template quite rapidly. Ihsahn is in a prog band now. Mayhem put electronica all up in their second album.
But at the same time, from where I stand, the lowest rung of elitism is abjectly deserving of ridicule as well. And what constitutes that bottommost rung? Probably the bias against breakdown-centric bands. You can even see it on No Clean Singing—we’re covering a lot more black metal than deathcore these days.
(A post in which Andy Synn presents five of his favorite mondegreens . . .)
This edition comes with a warning. If you want to continue hearing these songs in the ‘Correct’ way, don’t click the jump to the main article, because what I’m covering here today are the sort of misheard lyrics that essentially ruin a song for you forever. Ok, maybe not ruin, but they definitely stick with you. Once you’ve heard them, you can’t un-hear them.
And I’m not talking about the youtube-style ‘Boat Rudder’ or ‘Fishmaster’ parodies where someone’s posited ludicrous alternative lyrics. I’m talking about just a tiny line here or there that I accidentally misheard the first time round, and have never really been able to shake. Thankfully each of these also gives rise to some unintentional hilarity, as they definitely add a new interpretation to each of the tracks!
Some of them are literally only a one-word change, but that’s enough to completely alter the meaning of the surrounding lines, mostly in a rather ludicrous way!
Again – don’t go any further unless you want some songs ruined for you forever!
(Andy Synn wrote the following opinion piece. If we don’t get some comments on this one, I’ll be quite surprised. Andy’s got some questions at the end, and we’d love to hear your answers.)
Here’s a question that’s been on my mind for a while now; what do we do when our heroes let us down? What happens when the bands we love go off the boil, make weird creative decisions, or just simply move away from playing the music for which we fell in love with them?
Music is an intensely emotional topic, and one which promotes a peculiar kind of loyalty to develop in those of us who love it deeply. As metal fans in particular, we seem to embody the very extremes of this trait; treat us well and we will die for you, cross us and our wrath and enmity shall be eternal. Indeed, once a certain line is crossed it’s very common to see a band written off as “dead” by any number of their former fans.
Most recently, however, I’ve been trying to take positive steps when confronted with this situation. Rather than entering into either a) a defensive flame war on behalf of our fallen heroes, or b) seizing on the opportunity in order to heap my own well-earned scorn on the victims of this public derision, I have instead been taking the fall of our chosen heroes to promote potential successors who are ready and waiting to step up and take on the mantle.
This does, however, raise one further issue: to what extent we, as metal fans, are willing to accept our heroes being replaced and (if that is the case) do we actually always have one eye out for the Next Big Thing – not the one who’ll necessarily sell the records and get the airplay, but the one who will step into the well-worn shoes of our heroes once they have gone to the sacred feasting halls of Valhalla?
Now 3 particular albums/events inspired these thoughts recently…