May 182012

(Andy Synn rides to the rescue of a site without much content ready for today with an opinion piece.  Limber up your fingers for some comments, please.)

Just a short, stream-of-consciousness piece here for today, since Islander’s been inundated with responsibilities to his life outside of the site (and honestly, who really needs a life outside of this site I ask you?), putting down some of my thoughts, in brief, on the ever contentious topic of metal and its place (or lack thereof) in the mainstream. This certainly isn’t a new topic, though hopefully I’ll be able to offer some interesting observations from my own point of view.

[Note here that whenever I use the word “we” in this article I am purposefully generalising – maybe certain points don’t apply specifically to everyone, but if you get a large group of people together they always come to be more strongly generalised than they would individually]

To start with, let me say something controversial: A huge proportion of the metal scene craves recognition/acknowledgement from the mainstream. And I’m not talking your Linkin Park’s or your Limp Bizkit’s, no, I’m talking about bands, fans, and journalists who are truly interested in the more legitimate forms of metal, yet are exceedingly sensitive to any instances of mainstream exposure. Even they have an underlying craving for acceptance. We claim not to care about such things, but the second a “real” metal act gains some chart success we’re out there trumpeting to the world in a strange mix of superiority and attention-craving.  It’s why every third-rate deathcore or metalcore act does a generic Katy Perry or Lady Gaga cover. It’s why djent failed to achieve its initial promise, falling prey to the same pitfalls of hype and ill-advised pop covers as nu-metal, albeit with more bedroom technicality. The mainstream is insidious in its influence, and permeates even the most underground of metal genres. Continue reading »

Jan 232010

NCS likes math metal. In fact, we likes it a lot. Which is why we were stoked to learn that Devolved was planning a new album for 2010 and that, to build some buzz, the band’s new label would be releasing a re-mixed version of their last full-length, 2004’s Calculated. And guess what? The new version of Calculated arrived in our mailbox earlier this week. And guess what? We like it!

The Background: Devolved started in Australia in 1996 and the band released a demo in 1998, and then a full-length in 2001 called Technologies. The Roadrunner Records-affiliated mag Outsider named Technologies Austrialia’s metal abum of the year.

Numerous line-up changes ensued, and eventually Devolved released Calculated in September 2004, with vocals supplied by Nik Carpenter. In early 2005, the band left Australia and moved to Los Angeles. More lineup changes followed, including the addition of vocalist Kyle Zemanek (ex-Five Finger Death Punch and Deathsett).

Then last May, the band signed with Unique Leader Records, and word is out that a new album is projected for release late this year. And as noted above, Unique Leader has now re-released Calculated. Except, the re-issue has been re-mixed and re-mastered and this time includes Zemanek’s vocals instead of Carpenter’s. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »