NO CLEAN SINGING is three years old today. We opened the doors on November 21, 2009, and we’ve posted something (or several somethings) every damned day since then. Of course, the fact that we’re still here after three years doesn’t mean we’re worth a shit, only that we haven’t given up.
Whether this birthday is a cause for celebration or for mourning, depending on your perspective, it does seem like a good time to do three things: Explain who we are (because we seem to have accumulated a lot of new readers in the last year); take note of some accomplishments; and offer a few words of thanks.
WHO WE ARE
On birthdays it’s always nice to reflect upon your origins. This blog began as a protest against the kind of clean singing that was infiltrating metalcore music at the time (what temporarily happened to Bury Your Dead three years ago was the specific provocative incident). My two co-founders and I weren’t dead set against all metal with clean vocals — we announced from the beginning that there would be Exceptions to the Rule — we just found that the kind of extreme music we preferred usually didn’t include them.
Since then, we’ve expanded our horizons to include a much greater variety of metal, with more clean singing in the mix, though I’ve hung on to the site’s original name despite (or maybe because of) how confusing it may be to newcomers. My original co-founders fell by the wayside long ago, ultimately to be replaced by a cadre of regular writers and many irregular ones. Actually, to be brutally honest, we’re all pretty irregular. So’s the music. So, it’s a good fit.
For another year we’ve also stayed true to a few other founding principles. We don’t run ads, and we take no money from anyone for anything. This is a non-profit labor of love, and you can’t buy love anyway. Plus, we’ve continued trying not to take ourselves too seriously, and we’ve continued to stay positive about the music we cover. And we almost always include music in everything we do, including the reviews, because listening to metal is what it’s all about.
I don’t really expect very many people to care about the following statistics. But they make me feel good, and that’s what really counts, don’t you agree? Of course you do.
According to Google Analytics, we’ve had 1,116,598 page views in the last year, and site visits by 359,963 unique visitors from almost 200 different countries, with the top 10 being the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, Finland, Sweden, France, Italy, and Brazil. Slightly more than half of all the site visits over the last year came from new visitors, which means we’ve been growing. As a further sign of that, our support on Facebook has been growing steadily, too. As I write this, we’re up to 2,715.
Just since the beginning of 2012 we’ve reviewed 174 new albums and 61 new EPs, splits, or singles (and thats not counting the dozens of discography reviews covered in THE SYNN REPORT). We’ve published 44 interviews since the year began and 29 concert reviews from both Europe and the U.S. And I’ve lost count of how many bad jokes we’ve made. We’ve used the word “penis” a lot, too, but who’s counting?
At the top of the list of thank-you’s come the people who read this site, and the people who make time to leave comments on our posts. As much fun as it is for all of the writers to blather on about this and that, I suspect we’d stop in a heartbeat if no one cared. Knowing that people get something out of what we’re doing is what keeps this place going. As mentioned previously, we certainly don’t do it for the money.
Next on the thank-you list come the bands. Supporting music we care about is the site’s main mission, which is the main reason we write only about music we want to recommend. As many reviews as we’ve managed to publish, as many bands as we’ve featured in shorter pieces, I wish we could do much more. I’m afraid that anyone who thinks metal is getting stale just hasn’t been listening enough.
I also want to thank our regular writers, named in the order they joined this endeavor: Andy Synn, BadWolf, and TheMadIsraeli. And I have to thank Phro, too. Despite the fact that he writes prolifically for his own blog, he still makes time to throw some lunacy our way, too, in addition to ensuring there’s a lot of penis and tentacle in the comment sections. I’m also indebted to groverXIII and DGR, who gave us a lot of posts in 2012 while waiting for the launch of their next big thing. All of these folks have enriched this place over the last year, and they all happen to be really good people, too.
Kudos also to KevinP and GemmaD, who have given us some very cool interviews, and to Alex Layzell (Grind To Death) who almost single-handedly made possible a milestone for NCS — our first release of music; and if you don’t know what that’s about, go HERE.
We’ve also benefitted from a lot of guest writing in the last 12 months, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed. I’ve learned about a ton of excellent metal through all of our guest posts and been greatly entertained by the writing as well. Though our tradition is to make November a special time for guest submissions, they’re always welcome — and I suspect we’ll be seeing more from some of the writers who made their first appearances during this month.
As we begin our fourth year, we’ll continue doing our best to entertain, to inform, and to support metal and the community of people devoted to it.
And because we need to have music in just about everything we do here, the following are songs from two bands I’ve recently discovered, about whom more will be said in the near future: Tengger Cavalry from China and Ævangelist from the U.S. (and thanks to Raven Stead and Utmu, respectively, for these recommendations).