Feb 262019
 

 

(The following article was written by Tør, a self-professed metalhead, data nerd, and ex-academic, who is also a contributing writer and photographer for a number of online metal publications. The article, and the accompanying interactive maps, are based on his work on a Ph.D. doctoral dissertation.)

Metal historians and researchers often explain the proliferation of metal music in terms of early tape-trading and local scene formation. The story is a familiar one: a small group of young metalheads get together and listen to a few tapes, trade tapes with other metalheads, and get inspired to make their own music. Indeed, the early spread of metal music and culture occurred in large part due to the human networks formed by individuals in local scenes. However, there is an emerging debate about the way in which metal has spread across the globe and what that process entails in the digital age. Continue reading »

Feb 232019
 

 

I’m going to regret this. Hell, I already regret it, mainly because the critique I’m about to present will drive more clicks to the article I’m criticizing (whose main purpose was obviously to attract clicks in the first place), but also because the full back-story leading to the points I want to make is only slightly shorter than War and Peace; tedium might be the only victor in this exercise.

So why am I writing this despite those regrets? I’ll come back to the reason in due course. But first, the back story, which I’ve slightly condensed in an effort to combat tedium-induced catatonia. Continue reading »

Feb 162019
 

 

(Andy Synn is the author of the following opinion piece, which we will not attempt to summarize here and risk spoilers… so please read on….)

I’m not sure if you’ve all noticed, but a LOT of people have been VERY angry online over the last few weeks.

Whether it’s furore over the upcoming release of the (frankly rather terrible looking) Lords of Chaos movie, the apoplexy inspired by a certain festival headliner announcement, or the excessive sniping, ignorant sexism, and self-congratulatory back-patting inspired by the purposefully click-baity title of a recent (and otherwise extremely well-written) article, there’s been a ridiculous level of rage on display across the interweb recently, something that only seems to have further fostered and widened the inherent divisions within our disparate community.

And while I don’t have time to dive into all of these issues, there’s one in particular I’d like to share a few thoughts and feelings about. Continue reading »

Nov 172018
 

 

(Andy Synn prepared this essay, with numerous examples of music, about the value that lyrics can contribute to the enjoyment of metal if written and delivered with conviction.)

So in lieu of another edition of Waxing Lyrical (don’t worry, the column’s not going anywhere, it’s just very dependent on the availability of the bands I talk to) I’ve decided to ask you all a very important question:

What’s more important to you, the lyrics or the music… the message or the medium? Continue reading »

Oct 042018
 

 

Two days ago Metal Hammer published an essay entitled “I witnessed the death of genres“, in which the author raved about the live performance he’d recently witnessed by a band named  Scarlxrd, praising the artist’s hybridizing of musical styles from different genres, including metal. The article ended with these words:

“Where else will you find a night of music so indebted to aggressive metal and hip-hop, but unafraid to introduce AC/DC and Oasis into the mix? This is the future of music. Just music. Nobody cares about your arcane genre tags or inexplicably niche sub-genres that only two bands fit into, it’s all just sound, we’re in a genre fluid world and you should embrace it. Music is beautiful and narrow-mindedness is ugly.

“Be part of something, be part of everything.”

This provoked a Facebook status by my NCS colleague Andy Synn. By the time I saw it, it had drawn a large number of comments and exchanges, and one of those dialogues was with our mutual friend and former NCS scribe Joseph Schafer (who now writes for such publications and sites as DECIBEL and Noisey, after a stint as Invisible Oranges‘ editor). Continue reading »

Aug 202018
 

 

(Here’s an opinion piece by Andy Synn.)

…of the good. Or so we’re so often told. And a chance encounter on Twitter this weekend only reaffirmed this particular factoid to me.

Allow me to set the scene a little. As part of my duties monitoring and managing the Beyond Grace twitter account, one of the bands I frequently interact with is Allfather (whose new album you can read about here), as I like their music, their ideology, and their general outlook on life (although I do sometimes question their taste in beer), and have enjoyed several productive discussions about music, politics, and other related topics, with them as a result.

Cut to yesterday, when I see that they’ve become involved in a thread about how anti-fascism is now becoming the “in” thing for a lot of bands, with the original poster asking for more recommendations of artists who are consciously and explicitly rejecting the current geo-political shift towards authoritarianism, while also asserting that, if we want this to be more than just a passing trend, we need to really get behind and support the movement.

So far, so good, right? Continue reading »

Jun 252018
 

 

(In this post Andy Synn discusses the phenomenon of metal bands releasing remastered or re-recorded versions of older albums, and recommends two recent examples of the practice, by Vader and Hetroertzen.)

For all that we’re supposedly in another “Golden Age” of television, I know there are quite a few people out there (thousands upon thousands of them) who are becoming a little tired of the seemingly constant stream of reboots and remakes of supposedly “classic” (and some not-so-classic) shows from previous eras, under the assumption that some sort of ingrained sense of nostalgia will help sell them more than something like, say, quality writing or a new, interesting premise, would.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of these new versions of older shows are absolutely fantastic, and benefit greatly not only from the new and improved technology of today, but also a greater freedom to reimagine things which comes from a more modern idea of what television can be, when given the chance to do more than simply entertain. It’s just that, as you might expect, the number of lazy remakes vastly outweighs the more creative ones.

The same sort of thing goes on in the music world too, particularly in the Rock/Metal world, where artists with long-running, wide-ranging careers often feel the need to at least remaster, if not entirely re-record, material from their early days, if only because they feel that the technology or budget available to them at the time simply wasn’t sufficient to allow them to properly capture what they were really trying to convey.

And, let me tell you… I’m not entirely against this process. Continue reading »

Jun 152018
 

 

(Andy Synn offered the following thoughts about his conception of our mission here, plus recommendations of three new albums.)

Why are we here? That’s the big question which has been playing on my mind for a while now.

Not in the philosophical or religious sense though, more the very concrete, very real question of why are WE, the people who make up NoCleanSinging, actually here? What is our purpose? What are we trying to achieve? Continue reading »

Mar 152018
 


Anthony Pilon: “The Fevered Sycophant”

 

(Andy Synn goes on a rant.)

 

I don’t know about you guys, but the amount of fawning hype I’ve seen being bandied about with regards to certain bands recently has begun to make me feel a little green around the gills.

It’s not so much the fault of the bands in question either – both Rivers of Nihil and Conjurer (to name but two) have produced new albums recently which, while overhyped to a frankly ridiculous degree in places, richly deserve the praise they’ve been getting – nor do I blame them for capitalising on it, but the general lack of any sense of professional ethics or detachment and the perceived unwillingness (or inability) to even try to be even semi-objective on the part of many of those who call themselves “reviewers” has really started to get my goat.

And I realise I may be putting the cat amongst the pigeons here, nor do I contend that NCS is entirely innocent in this regard either, but the fact of the matter is that a large number, maybe even the majority, of the reviews that I encounter these days tend to read more like unpaid press releases than an attempt at any sort of critical analysis/assessment. Continue reading »

Dec 022017
 

 

(We invite you to respond to Andy Synn’s invitation to fill in a certain alphabet…)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll doubtless be aware that a little band called… Morbid fuckin’ Angel… just released their long-awaited and highly-anticipated – albeit with a certain amount of trepidation – new album, Kingdoms Disdained.

And while it’s not a total three-point-slam-dunk-home-run (I don’t know sports…) it’s still a solid album, replete with a bevy of stand-out tracks that go a long, long way towards redeeming the band’s slightly tarnished reputation.

Although I still contend that it should have been called Judas Continue reading »