(For the last 5 days we’ve been re-publishing an interview series by Rev. Will that originally appeared at now-defunct The Number of the Blog and that focused mainly on metal bloggers. Beginning today, the series continues here at NCS with new interviews, beginning, fittingly, with the creator of TNOTB — groverXIII.)
Classic metal albums + Metal blogging = ?
When one thinks of that, one will no doubt arrive at 2 answers: Reign In Blonde (the gals must have dyed their hair black, which would explain the inactiveness) and The Number Of The Blog (R.I.P.). When one thinks of anime and metal blogging, one will no doubt think of Full Metal Attorney, since it could possibly be a reference to the wildly popular Japanese anime, Full Metal Alchemist, but I digress.
Blogging about metal (or any other kind of) music is not as easy as many would like to think. If done properly, it can actually start to feel like homework once the commitment starts to kick in. Deadlines? Research? Being constantly “marked” and judged on your worth by others? The similarities are all there, but the big difference is that blogging about music doesn’t really get you anywhere in life like school does (or is supposed to), unless you can turn it into a career like Axl and Vince of MetalSucks.
Frontman and founder Dan Grover of ex-The Number Of The Blog may not like to toot his trumpet, but he sure did contribute a unique voice to the metal blogosphere while The Number Of The Blog was still alive and well. Labeled by some critics and even by themselves (probably in jest) as “hipsters”, the blog was really anything but that. It will always be remembered for its one-of-a-kind daily columns, which had humorous and catchy names, yet dealt with serious as well as playful topics. From underground black metal in “Wintermoon Wednesday” to random, everyday topics in “Sunday Shit Shoot”, there was literally something for everybody. Hell, there was even a Pokemon-obsessed Devin Townsend fanboy contributor called Ziltoid; needless to say, he posted about the vastly varied species of colorful critters on more than one occasion.
So read on folks, if you want to get inside the mind of a hipster metal blogger with a very big and secretive plan to launch something new in the near future. I’m hoping it will be a hydrogen bomb filled with confetti.
(Shortly before The Number of the Blog met its sad demise, TNOTB began publishing an interview series called “Keyboard Warriors” written by a relatively new TNOTB staffer who called himself Rev. Will. Because the archive of TNOTB posts seems to have exploded in a spatter of bits, never to be seen again, we agreed to give these interviews a home here at NCS. We started on Sunday and have been posting one per day this week. Today’s interview was originally published late last year.)
Surprisingly, most professional metal writers actually don’t sport long manes and subscribe to heavy metal fashion like many of their writing subjects do. Maybe it’s because sitting down for hours and slogging it out on the computer keyboard, rushing out multiple reviews and features like a drone, can get really tiring and warm around the rear end; and the fact that long hair causes an itchy hotness to prickle the area around the ears, eyebrows, and the back of the neck as well doesn’t help much.
Being a journalist of any kind is actually quite a daunting job. It is pretty safe to say that journalism related to stuff-that-ain’t-important-from-a-macro-point-of-view (meaning subjects that aren’t essential to a normal human being’s ability to survive in the practical world out there) is a largely unnoticed (and hence, thankless) job that is strictly reserved for the extremely passionate only. And extremely extreme our dear interviewee is when it comes to metal journalism.
This is the easiest interview I’ve edited in this column so far by the way. The power of a magazine’s Editor-in-Chief is not to be taken lightly, folks. The dude even bothered to italicize all object names; I guess being Decibel’s Editor-in-Chief really made him attentive to such small details that usually only matter to metal writers themselves. Damn, interviewees like him really make a budding keyboard warrior like me as happy as a TFD missile warhead.
(Shortly before The Number of the Blog met its sad demise, TNOTB began publishing an interview series called “Keyboard Warriors” written by a relatively new TNOTB staffer who called himself Rev. Will. Because the archive of TNOTB posts seems to have exploded in a spatter of bits, never to be seen again, we agreed to give these interviews a home here at NCS. We started on Sunday and will be posting one per day this week. Today’s interview was originally published late last year.)
It’s the New Wave of American Heavy Metal Blogs!
Just one or two years ago, a slew of new metal blogs burst onto America’s metal blogosphere and joined the eponymous MetalSucks on their largely unoccupied bandwagon. Though not exactly giving MetalSucks a run for their money since most of these blogs don’t have anything superbly special to offer that would help them poach all of MetalSucks’ fans, and not to mention that they don’t even earn as much money (or none at all) as Axl and Vince who are having a blast blogging and hauling in heaps of moolah, these NWoAHMB’s have been instrumental in giving bored metal nerds a wider variety of online reading options to choose from, as they do compensate for their late foray into the fray by specializing in certain areas.
Enter Heavy Blog Is Heavy, the blogchild of college student Jimmy Rowe, which already has a decent readership base and is even earning him some money only two years after it was started up. Although not as insanely successful as MetalSucks, a website Jimmy obviously looks up to, Heavy Blog Is Heavy can be said to be the MetalSucks of the Second Wave of American Heavy Metal Blogs.
(Shortly before The Number of the Blog met its sad demise, TNOTB began publishing an interview series called “Keyboard Warriors” written by a relatively new TNOTB staffer who called himself Rev. Will. Because the archive of TNOTB posts seems to have exploded in a spatter of bits, never to be seen again, we agreed to give these interviews a home here at NCS. We started on Sunday and will be posting one per day this week. Today’s interview subject is some long-winded asshole who won’t show his face. It was originally published late last year.)
With a name like “Islander”, the first impression you’d have of this relatively new blogger-cum-boss at No Clean Singing is that he probably loves clouds; since the stereotypical depiction of an island is that of a remote piece of offshore land that is smack right in the middle of nowhere with lots of fluffy, tasty, and boob-shaped clouds overhead.
Well, we’re not wrong. Apart from being obsessed with the “f” word and clouds, this dude comes across as a pleasant guy who even has no qualms about featuring guest posts by first-time metal writers. How many up-and-coming metal blogs actually do this?
Rev. Will: Welcome back from your secret vacation on an island somewhere! Did you and Mrs Islander get to creaking any beds at all in the end?
Islander: Are you stalking me?
(Shortly before The Number of the Blog met its sad demise, TNOTB began publishing an interview series called “Keyboard Warriors” written by a relatively new TNOTB staffer who called himself Rev. Will. Because the archive of TNOTB posts seems to have exploded in a spatter of bits, never to be seen again, we agreed to give these interviews a home here at NCS. We started on Sunday and will be posting one per day this week. Today’s interview was originally published on Nov. 22, 2011.)
In 2006, a music blog burst onto the then-humorless and lightly-populated extreme metal blogosphere, boldly calling itself: MetalSucks. Two to three years after that, its popularity and authority on all things metal and troll-worthy soared exponentially. Before we know it, MetalSucks have even inspired their first batch of younger peers: The Number Of The Blog (R.I.F.P.), No Clean Singing, and Heavy Blog Is Heavy.
Honestly, when I first came across MetalSucks, I was trolled. My first impression was seriously that of a blog that was dedicated to bashing metal music in general… until I noticed how their blog logo copied the font for Pantera’s logo. Yes, laugh at me all you want, but I bet many of you out there probably went through the same trollololol-zy episode too before y’all realized that MetalSucks is really a metal blog by metal-lovin’ people for metal-lovin’ people.
Well, enough prattle already. Time to start feasting your undeserving eyes on what ½ of MetalSucks’ founding duo has to say to my siege of questions. From the elusive MetalSucks headquarters in NYC, the alter-ego of Mötley Crüe’s frontman talks about the two albums released by the blog so far, the inaugural Metal Suckfest from 2011, and other industry-related topics (VN – “Christ, this was a marathon.”).
(Shortly before The Number of the Blog met its sad demise, TNOTB began publishing an interview series called “Keyboard Warriors” written by a relatively new TNOTB staffer who called himself Rev. Will. Because the archive of TNOTB posts seems to have exploded in a spatter of bits, never to be seen again, we agreed to give these interviews a home here at NCS, mainly because one of the interviewees was me. So, beginning today we’re republishing the five interviews that appeared before TNOTB went down. We’ll follow those on Friday with an interview that didn’t appear before TNOTB shut down . . . and we understand more will be coming after that.)
TNOTB INTRO: Many of us have read, heard, and watched countless interviews with our favourite musicians/bands involved and gained a better understanding of their art and the difficulties that come packaged with it. How often do we do the same with the people who slog behind the limelight and come up with the very words you are taking in now though? Rev. Will speaks to veteran metal writer, Adrien Begrand, to shed some light on the overly underrated and underappreciated art of metal music journalism.
THE GREAT THING ABOUT INTERVIEWING A FELLOW METAL WRITER (AND A PROFESSIONAL ONE AT THAT) IS that I don’t have to spend a lot of time scrutinising the interview response for spelling and grammatical errors. Heck, I don’t even have to worry about the punctuation. Conversely, I’m pretty sure that if I were to interview infamous troll bands like Anal Cunt or IWRESTLEDABEARONCE via e-mail, I would probably be spending most of my working time on the piece heavily correcting their responses to inject more coherence and sense into whatever they might be trying to bring across to you readers. Or whatever it is they are trying to troll, once again.
Well, since we are on to the subject of trolls, has anyone ever heard any of your metalhead homies diss metal writers as mostly a bunch of nonsense-spewing and “they-just-don’t-get-it” people? The existence of such ungrateful apes has always intrigued me; it really just doesn’t make sense to me that anyone who reads metal-related articles online or offline to help aid in their purchasing or downloading decisions can make such audacious and uncalled for remarks. Sure, metal writers tend to get overly-excited or drunk at times and end up writing the occasional stuff that they will regret ever churning out later on, but alas, they are only human at the end of the day, too. On the other happier hand, metal writers do get some pretty juicy benefits over the everyday metal fan, and that is not including the joy they get out of writing passionately for their beloved Metal. Needless to say, the business of metal music journalism is not a walk in the park. Just like most other jobs out there, it has its fair share of dull and exhilirating moments.
By NCS contributor Rev. Will
The dusty wind blew across the frosted landscape with a ragged rasp. A clump of dust rolled by clumsily, slightly bouncing up and down as it traversed the bumpy forest floor (What the heck is dust doing in a frosty forest?!). Birds chirped their last call for their nest mates as the day drew to a close, with the sun turning a red-orange hue as it slowly descended beneath the horizon, disappearing into the ravenous maw of the icy cold night.
(The dude who has written for NCS as “Willard Shrapnelspear” also wrote briefly as “Rev. Will” for The Number of the Blog before that site shut down following massive technical problems that appear to have deep-sixed the site’s archive of web posts. We agreed to give Rev. Will’s homeless TNOTB posts a home, beginning with this one — which reminded me of this post I wrote for NCS back in the dark ages.)
Warning: Take one glance at these words and find yourself waking up in the hospital from an overdose of (visual) cheese.
By Rev. Will
I would have added “old school” into this list if not for the very obvious fact that it is made up of two words. Excluding the really quintessential terms like “riffs”, “solos”, “metal” et cetera, here is a list of words that I thought have become really overused and cheesy over the past few months of metal blog-scouring I did to pre-occupy my stay-home-and-be-a-metal-nerd hours. Some of them are mostly used in a very misleading context, while the rest are pretty normal-looking, everyday words… which is why you guys should already try your best to stop repeating them over and over again, dolts.
Hah! I Am Not Real, I Stare At Choo From A Painting
(Here we have a best-album list from a prolific writer who seems to have a nom de plume for every site he frequents. In his posts at NCS he’s “Willard Shrapnelspear”. At The Number of the Blog, he’s “Rev. Will”. At PopMatters and Pure Grain Audio, he’s Dane Prokofiev. I’m probably leaving out some . . .)
For the sake of those curious to know, the guy in the painting above was Frédéric François Chopin.
The flaw of any personal “Best of” list is as much its strength as it is a quirk, however oxymoronic this may sound. As the legendary Cosmo Lee once said on Invisible Oranges before he left our blogosphere for good, “the only list that matters anymore is your own”. It’s one of those common sense conclusions we all know and arrived at in our heads long ago, but we were all just waiting for some prominent Internet blogger to type it out.
With that said, some groundwork has been laid for what to expect from this list. As personal “Best of” lists are shaped by individual experiences from many aspects of everyday life such as work, exercise, play, dating, sleep, philosophical moments and such, every list has its own unique taste that gives you a little hint of how the list-maker has been living his life for the past year. Hence, it is quite an intimate affair for metal writers/bloggers to be showing our lists to the world; it’s kind of like letting everyone know our darkest secrets, but hidden behind the indirectness of lyrics and the subjective nature of the music’s sound.
One exception to this observation, however, would be some of the paid metal writers/bloggers who mainly roll such lists out annually like a toy factory conveyor belt, simply because it is their job to do so. In my opinion, unpaid metal writers/bloggers still make the most intimate lists around.
Record Label: Nuclear Blast | Year: 2011 | Genre: Heavy Metal
By Willard Shrapnelspear
Hell thrash Iron Maiden, hands down. Granted, I was never a huge fan of Iron Maiden to begin with, but this record refines the traditional NWoBHM sound so flakkin’ well that they detach the phrase “old school” from the not-so-glamorous connection to phrases like “narrow-minded” and “uncreative”. Unlike Iron Maiden’s let’s-play-safe-and-try-going-a-little-prog approach to their music on The Final Frontier (which somehow gave the record an annoyingly “mute” sound and draggy-as-hell play time; in comparison, this record sounds much brighter and thoroughly interesting throughout the long playtime of 1 hour 6 minutes), Hell have been creatively bold by deciding to incorporate symphonic and power metal elements into their technical brand of Satanic, prosaic heavy metal instead—a timeless move that should be greatly lauded!
Many old school heavy metal bands from the ‘80s and ‘90s had been known to utilize extremely recognizable power metal elements in their music, such as fantasy-oriented lyrics and high-pitched clean singing (e.g., Manowar, Helloween, Gamma Ray), so what’s so special about Hell’s rendition of such a trend in the 21st Century? (more after the jump . . .)