Jan 072013

(We welcome Richard Street-Jammer with the following guest opinion.  I will be sorely disappointed if we don’t see comments about this.) 

Capital One’s youtube account posted the video above on December 27th 2012. If you’re reading this and can’t watch the video, it stars Dragonforce’s guitarists. They trade off leads as each one uses the Capital One mobile banking app on his cell phone. The narrator tells us that the app “lets us bank wherever, so you can keep doing what you are doing,” and then the guitars shoot huge bolts of lightning in space, because HUGE BOLTS OF LIGHTNING IN SPACE. If they’re not playing an actual Dragonforce song, I can’t tell; it sounds like a Dragonforce song, and Dragonforce has only written one song.

As metal band -> commercial appearances go, this one’s a pretty naked grab for cash. To my knowledge, the band has never taken a philosophical stance against hawking products other than musical equipment. (e.g., guitar and guitar amp sponsorships). Dragonforce is a professional band that falls on the fun and entertainment side of the artistic spectrum. They’re entertainers, and their music is a product.

I don’t know their band’s income, but I doubt they bank the kind of lucre we associate with being a rockstar. Given the downward trend in music sales, some extra money from doing a commercial spot can’t hurt. Relatively few bands are able to monetize their music in this fashion. Of those bands, even fewer still play heavy metal. It has happened before though. Suffocation did it a few years ago when they appeared in a History Channel television commercial. Based partially on a fan’s request, Falconer did a TV ad for Mini automobiles. While it does happen, it’s still a shock to see a metal band in a commercial. Continue reading »

Nov 072011

(Andy Synn ventures outside his usual meat and potatoes with this one. I’m not objective, of course, but this post includes many observations that ring true to me, and maybe will to you as well. Also, this post includes a heavy cargo of highly-worth-watching videos.)

I’ve been looking at doing some shorter pieces on various topics for a while now, spreading myself a little more widely and letting the material do most of the talking for me, and Islander’s sabbatical seems like the perfect opportunity to do so.

So I wanted to bring your attention to a couple of music videos which you may have overlooked, and highlight why I like them and what I think makes them a good example of the video “art-form”. Equally, however, the success (relative or otherwise) of these videos highlights some of the regrettably common failures of most metal videos!

Now bear in mind that most metal videos are a missed opportunity. I’m a fan of a good solid performance video, this is true, be it live footage (purpose-shot or amalgamated) or the traditional warehouse/barren-field performance, as long as it gives you a sense of the intensity and power of a band really getting into their music and their instruments. However, this is where most of them fall down, simply giving us a general shot of “hey look, this is what we look like when we’re playing” rather than any sort of “feel” for the intensity of the experience. And I’m not saying this is easy, far from it.

I do, however, want to highlight the issue that for so many bands (and most recently I’m looking at the plethora of metalcore/deathcore/djent bands) videos become merely a case of being SEEN without actually SAYING anything with the opportunity they’ve been given. Just because you’re moving/jumping/posing does not mean you’re coming across as doing anything more than singing into a hair-brush in front of the mirror.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 262010


See those pictures above? In descending order, that’s Arch Enemy, Behemoth, Dragonforce, Dez Fafara, Carnifex, Axl Rose, and the late great Dimebag, all flipping the bird. This is a pretty random selection. If we’d had more time, we could have made this photo gallery a lot longer. For every metal band you’ve got on your personal music player, odds are that somewhere there’s a photo of them giving the finger.

Who are they flipping off? Is it the photographer? Is it you, their adoring fans? Is it the world in general? And why are they doing this?  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »