Nov 212009

Welcome to the launch of No Clean Singing and thanks for wasting spending some of your time with us.  Here’s an explanation of what we’re about, who we are, what we plan to do to for you, and what we want you to do for us.  Because this is our opening salvo and mission statement, it’s way too fucking long a bit longer than will be typical:

First Principles (What We’re About)

According to the Font of All Popular Learning, “in philosophy, a first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.”  Here are our “first principles” for this site:

  1. Almost all “popular” music sucks.
  2. Metal doesn’t suck, unless it’s metal with clean singing, which mostly does suck.
  3. Some metal with clean singing doesn’t suck, but that’s an exception to the rule.
  4. Some metal with no clean singing also sucks, but that’s also an exception to the rule.

To elaborate:  In our evolution as metal fans, your Authors have reached the point where  we want to vomit when otherwise promising metal songs with good riffage and crushing drumwork are interrupted by an attack of clean crooning, particularly the breathy, whiny, upper-octave kind of excretions that used to characterize a lot of metalcore but still pops up in even the most unexpected places.  If you know what we mean, then you’ve come to the right place.  If you don’t, then please fuck off move right along.

So, this site is mainly about metal music, but not all metal music.  What we love and what we’ll spend most of our time writing about is extreme metal.  To be clear, what we mean by “extreme metal” is metal with No Clean Singing (“NCS”).  Mostly, we like it fast, punishing, cathartic.  Purely instrumental metal, if done right, fits the NCS bill.  But if someone opens his or her mouth in a song, what comes out better be growling, screaming, or squealing.

Within the realm of NCS Metal, we likes all kinds of shit.   We like brutal, old-school death metal, melodic death metal, tech death, grind, black metal, viking and folk metal, deathcore, progressive metal, doom – and hundreds of other sub-genres that would be too boring to catalogue at length.  (Who thinks up all these genre classifications anyway?)  Your Authors have got their own individual preferences, but as a group we pretty much cover the waterfront.

We even like some extreme metal that is occasionally punctuated by clean singing (see First Principle No. 3 above).  We can’t just cast bands like Opeth and Mastodon into the shit pile, can we?

And we’ll write about a few topics other than extreme metal, too.  More on that below.

Who We Are

Your Authors are three metalheads who live in the Seattle area.  We span a pretty broad range of ages, experiences, interests, and activities.  We’re also related to each other by blood.  One of us is a woman and the other two are guys.  We listen to a lot of extreme metal, but our tastes within the genre are not the same.  We go to lots of metal shows in the Seattle area, including lots of national tours.  None of us has yet spent time in prison.

As you’ll see, we also write with very different “voices.”  (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the older boring guy.  The other two, whose occasional edits to this post I’ve deleted, are, how shall we say, more out there.)

What We Plan To Do For You

We’re going to do our best to add posts to this site every day.  Some of these posts will be regular features – reviews of new music releases and music videos, concert reviews, metal news, and random observations about the scene, among other things.   Every now and then, we’ll write about Exceptions to the Rule (see First Principle No. 3).

Because we live in Seattle, some of what’s on this site will be geared to what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest, but most of the content won’t be limited in that way.

Here’s one thing that will be Seattle-focused:  We’ve created a page called NW Metal Calendar, which will always be linked on the home page.  On this page we’ll collect in one place a listing of NCS Metal performances scheduled in Seattle, and sometimes elsewhere in the Northwest – bands, dates, and venues – and we’ll update it as we learn about new shows.  Your Authors don’t agree completely about which bands are worth listing, but we’re listing all bands that any of us think should be on there.

Our focus will be extreme metal, but we care about other stuff too, and we’ll write (occasionally) about some of our other interests – movies, video games, and books.  We’ll also have a feature called Mosh Pit — random observations about what’s happening in the non-metal world (we hate to venture out into that world, but as someone said, life ain’t fair).

And, because we care about you, we’ll have a feature called IQ Reduction – stuff you could read, watch, or listen to that would make you stupider if you did it.  We know some of you don’t have much IQ to spare.

What We Want You To Do For Us

One thing that sets metal apart from most other music is the sense of community.   Let’s be honest:  most people hate extreme metal and can’t begin to understand why anyone likes it.  Fuck them.Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.  The fact that so many people form bands in this genre, record music, tour, and throw themselves body and soul into this scene despite the fact that the fan base is relatively tiny and there’s no money in it still blows our minds.  To use a cliché, it’s us against the rest of the deluded, rapacious, ass-sucking world.  Really.

We want to bring that sense of community to this site, and to do that we need to hear from you.  We want your comments.  We want to read what’s on your minds.  And if you’ll speak up, we’ll respond.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

There’s a shit-ton of metal blogs and web sites out there.  Most of them suck.  We may suck, too.  I’m sure you’ll tell us if we do.

But there are two metal sites that definitely don’t suck:  MetalSucks and Reign in Blonde.  Those sites are in a league of their own.  Great writing, interesting perspectives, timely content, cool personalities.  They are what we aspire to.  They provided our inspiration.  If we could copy them without being sued be a West Coast version of MS/RIB, we would.

Having said that, we’re under no illusions about what we can pull off here.  Your Authors have all got “day jobs,” we don’t have the near-encyclopedic knowledge of metal that the writers on MetalSucks and RIB have, and we certainly don’t have their contacts and connections in the industry.  But we hope to make this endeavor good enough to draw you back here.  Horns up!


  1. This is really intersting. I was trying to find a definition of clean singing (don’t ask – it is a long story) and your site poped up on Google. My musical tastes are little more subded (right now I am listening to Scott Joplin). The whole scary-metal scene is confusing to me. You all seem like very literate and intelligent folks, yet you seem to find pleasure in art that celebrates darkness and pain. Do you do it to be ironic or to make a point about how you feel that you have been treated by the world? I saw the word cathartic used – is this music a way of healing some pain that you feel?

    Thanks for letting a an old fart ask a few questions. I was young once and sort of remember what it was like to be rebellious and angry. I like to think that my anger and rebellion is a little more focused and productive now, but maybe not.

    By the way, I really liked the post about giving the finger. I have a few thoughts about why people do that but I’ll save them for another time.

    • Hey man, thanks for writing! I don’t pretend to speak for my two co-Authors, who are younger than me, but I can tell you why I listen to this kind of music. In my case it’s really got nothing to do with exorcising pain, or lashing out at the world, or being ironic — though all those explanations might fit for some people. I actually love my life and have been pretty damned lucky, all things considered.

      For me, it’s all about the explosion of energy. Yeah, a lot of it sounds dark and violent, but that’s the mood and emotion it can create — it’s not what the people are about, and it’s not what I’m celebrating when I listen to it. I just like the total release and abandonment of constraints — a complete diversion from daily life that has a deep emotional core but appeals to the gray matter too. Other people get that kind of release from Beethoven or Miles Davis — or Scott Joplin (whose music is indeed very cool and has a similar appeal to both emotion and intellect).

      I also have to say that I really admire the artists who devote themselves to this kind of music — and don’t be fooled, most of them really are artists. They’re doing something that is about as unremunerative as any style of music you could pick, and they persist because they love it and are dedicated to it. I know that doesn’t distinguish them from the vast majority of artists of all stripes. I’m just sayin’, it’s something that has an effect on the way I feel about the music.

      And, to repeat, thanks for your thoughts. Write again some day (I’m still waiting for an explanation about the flipping-the-bird thing).

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