Jan 042013

As of today, the Invisible Oranges metal blog will be run by Brooklyn Vegan. So says a statement published today at the IO site by its founder and still-owner Cosmo Lee.

According to the statement, Lee’s move was prompted by the decision of Aaron Lariviere to step down as IO’s editor and the fact that “no successors to Aaron were readily in sight”. Effective immediately, Brooklyn Vegan’s Fred Pessaro, who is responsible for BV’s metal content, will become IO’s editor-in-chief.

According to Lee, “The InvisibleOranges.com URL will stay intact” and “IO will remain a site dedicated to metal, as it should be.” However, the site will now combine Brooklyn Vegan’s own metal news content with IO’s editorial content.

From my perspective, this seems like a union that should work. Although metal has only been one part of Brooklyn Vegan’s focus, with indie rock commanding the lion’s share of the site’s musical attention, the metal content at BV has been excellent. And to get a sense of Fred Pessaro’s metal tastes, check out his personal year-end list here. Continue reading »

Mar 252010

This is turning into Invisible-Oranges-link-week. A couple days ago we wrote here about a post at that site on the “Top 10 Most Overused Words in Metal Journalism.” The list unfortunately included some of our favorite words, including the word “fucking.” So, of course we had to litter our own post with F-bombs, just to make ourselves feel better. And that drew some pretty goddamned funny comments, which also made liberal use of F-words, including an observation from Cosmo Lee that we were all starting to sound like Frank Mullen.

At the same time as I stumbled across that Top 10 post at Invisible Oranges, I also read Cosmo Lee’s review (here) of a new album by a German black-metal band called Imperium Dekadenz. That beautiful review really grabbed me. As we try to do at our site, Cosmo Lee included a track from the album to stream — and the song just floored me. So without delay I bought the album the quickest way I knew how (iTunes) and listened to the whole thing — and I was even more floored.

I thought, there’s a chance some of our readers at NCS might not also follow Invisible Oranges, and this is music I really need to share. So my original plan was just to tell you the album is awesome, point you to Cosmo Lee’s review, make a song available, and quit while I was ahead. That would have been the smart thing to do, because seriously, I didn’t think there was a snowball’s chance in hell I could improve on Cosmo’s review.

But I’m not so smart. It occurred to me that although I couldn’t improve on that review, I could translate it into the kind of verbiage we tend to use here at NCS. You know, language written by and for mentally impaired people. And then I thought, what the fuck, I might as well go all-in and channel Frank Mullen while doing that!  So here goes:  (read on after the jump, if you’re mentally impaired . . .) Continue reading »

Mar 232010

This weekend I spent a little time catching up with other metal blogs I like. If I weren’t so fucking wordy in my own writing, I’d have more time to read on a daily basis and wouldn’t fall behind. Anyway, there’s one post I wish I hadn’t read. It was Justin Norton‘s feature on the “Top 10 Most Overused Words in Metal Journalism” at Invisible Oranges. It made me cringe. Here’s how it started:

“Writing about metal is a lot like covering sports. Dozens of releases drop week after week like games stack up during a season. Just like sports writers try to find ways to make a touchdown pass sound like a major event, it’s tough to find a novel description for the umpteenth grindcore or black metal album. So the same words and phrases show up again and again.  Trust me, I’ve used them all.”

And then he proceeded to catalogue the 10 worst offenders — the overused, cliched words that metal writers litter in their album reviews like Big Mac wrappers on the sidewalk. You know, our oldest friends — the words we use constantly here at NCS, particularly No. 9. We can’t bear to include the painful descriptions that followed each word in Justin’s post, but here’s the list:

1. Brutal
2. (Enter genre) and add a y (e.g., progg-y, doom-y)
3. Epic
4. Blackened
5. Melodic
6. Majestic
7. Any adjective hinting at bodily harm (e.g., pummeling, bruising, scorching)
8. Full-length
9. Fucking
10. Lots of adverbs (e.g., kick-ass)

(Groan. . .) Kind of hits the mark, doesn’t it? But is there another side to this story? Shit, we hope so. (By the way, “shit” wasn’t on the list, so I feel safe in using that word.) For example, if I had to write a whole review without being allowed to use the word “fucking,” I’m afraid I’d have some kind of seizure. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Dec 062009


For all you horn-headed stat geeks out there, Cosmo Lee has compiled some fascinating numbers that you can read about in detail at his Invisible Oranges site. In a nutshell, in 1986 (which Lee uses as a baseline), 458 full-length metal releases came out. Assuming you had wanted to, you could have listened to all of them at the rate of 38 a month. Last year, there were almost 5,000 full-length metal releases. You’d have had to listen to more than 400 albums a month to cover all of them. And that’s not counting demos — there were more than 4,000 of them released last year.

We can guess about why this flood of metal has built to tsunami-like proportions over the last 23 years. For example, advances in technology have made DIY digital recording much easier and cheaper, and the netz have made it vastly easier for bands to get their music out into the world (regardless of whether the music is worth a shit or not).

None of this means those thousands of metal bands releasing new music every year are making any more money than the 458 who released albums in 1986. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if those 458 metal releases generated more total sales (in constant dollars) than the almost 5,000 released last year. Sure, the population has grown since then (in the U.S., from about 240 million in ’86 to about 304 million in ’08). On the other hand, file-sharing and downloads have just about succeeded in putting a stake through the heart of CD sales.

One thing is for sure: The flood of metal has populated every metal micro-genre with lots of choices and has made it increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff if you’re a listener. As Lee astutely observes in his post:

Such multiplicity means that consensus is likely impossible to reach nowadays. Year-end lists show much less overlap because people have many more choices. . . . In the past, people had limited, overlapping access to information — the same few TV channels, record stores, and so on. Now technology has blasted everything wide open. The only year-end list that matters now is yours.

Nov 222009


The latest issue of Decibel magazine arrived in my mail on Friday.  Big photo of Mastodon staring me in the face.  Says on the cover that it’s the January 2010 issue.  My calendar says that Friday was November 20 in the year 2009.  Okay, that’s not so unusual — every magazine advance-dates their copy.  (Even a weekly like Time has got an issue on the stands right now dated Nov 30).  I’m not sure when advance cover-dating started or why.  Maybe you know.   I guess if you publish a magazine you can put whatever fucking date you want on the cover.

But guess what’s inside the “January 2010” issue of Decibel:  Their list of the “Top 40 Extreme Albums of 2009.”  Why does that strike me as odd?  Find out after the jump, and I’ll also give you the Decibel Top 40 list.   Continue reading »