May 162013

John Hyduk (photo by Andrew Spear)

I love to read good writing. The subject matter doesn’t even matter much. When the writing is lively and evocative, when it has style and flair, the prose is its own reward.

Unfortunately, I don’t read as much as I used to back before I began messing with this blog. But yesterday I read two things that were really good; part of why they’re good is that both writers use short, punchy sentences and phrases. They have a cadence, like a drum beat. I try to remember this lesson in my own writing, but for some perverse reason I continually forget it. What made both essays even more striking is that the authors — John Hyduk and Randy Blythe — aren’t people whose main occupation is writing.

One of the pieces is hilarious. The other is powerfully moving. The first one has nothing to do with metal, the other is very much about metal. I’m putting both of the articles right in this post.

I think I’ll start with the funny piece first. A fellow sufferer in the decade-long woe of the Seattle Mariners baseball team sent me the link. You’ll probably understand why if you read it (misery loves company). The author is a man named John Hyduk. As you’ll see, he works the graveyard shift for a beverage distributor outside Cleveland, Ohio. In his words, he’s “a yard monkey, climbing around inside semitrailers in the dark with a flashlight, checking pallet tickets against the product loaded, matching invoices . . . making the world safe for carbonated refreshment.” He writes as a hobby, or maybe he actually collects some extra money in doing so, I don’t know. He’s good enough that one of his essays got him nominated for a 2012 National Magazine Award.

Continue reading »

Jul 132012

We’re one of the few metal blogs on the web who have devoted no space at all to the criminal charges that Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe is facing in the Czech Republic. There are various reasons for that, but one of them is that we didn’t want to join the ranks of many whose writing on the subject has generated more heat than light, preferring instead to wait until a time when we might be able to contribute some meaningful insight into the problems that Blythe is currently experiencing.

Today is that day. Today, we have a guest post by a British criminal attorney, Clare Paget, who is one of the best minds at the law firm of Hanne & Co, in London, UK. She provides some actual trained legal insight into the situation. And for that, we owe thanks to one of our favorite UK extreme metal band’s, Prosthetic recording artist Dragged Into Sunlight, who put us in touch with Ms. Paget.

As you probably know, Randy Blythe was arrested on June 28 upon landing in Prague and was charged with what is being described as the offense of manslaughter under Czech law for allegedly causing the death of a fan named Daniel Nosek at a Lamb of God show in the country on May 24, 2010. At the time of this writing, Blythe remains in a Prague jail because the Czech prosecutor has filed an objection to his release on $200,000 bail.

Ms. Paget has experience with this type of case under British law, including obtaining the acquittal of a defendant in a high profile manslaughter case in 2011. Of course, because the charges against Blythe are based on conduct committed in the Czech Republic, the Czech criminal code will be applied to determine whether he committed an offense. Nevertheless, based on our research (which includes a review of this translation of the Czech criminal code and this summary and analysis of that code), it appears that there are relevant similarities between the Czech and British legal principles applicable to this type of criminal charge, as Ms. Paget describes them.

After the jump, Ms. Paget offers a concise analysis of the case based on her own experience in defending against manslaughter charges in the UK.  Continue reading »

Dec 052011

For those of you who subscribe to DECIBEL magazine or happened to see our post about DECIBEL’s “Best of 2011” list, you know that Lamb of God is on the cover, right above this headline: “INSIDE 2012’S BIGGEST METAL RECORD”. That’s a pretty big claim, especially since the album isn’t out yet — but it’s coming. And today, Metal Sucks premiered the first song from the album, “Ghost Walking”.

The long feature story in DECIBEL about the band and the making of the album (which is titled Resolution) includes this quote from Randy Blythe: “This is the first Lamb of God record that I actually like listening to.” Nick Green, who wrote the piece, calls it “the most diverse-sounding Lamb of God offering to date, mostly because guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler each contributed about half the songs, and there’s a wild contrast between their songwriting styles” — with Morton providing the more hook-driven, straightforward songs and Adler writing songs that sound like journeys (“the weird and unconventional stuff”, as Chris Adler puts it in the article).

Based on the article, it appears the album will include “true bookends and an instrumental interlude”, and one of those bookends — a closer called “King Me” – begins with Blythe’s “hushed vocals draped in eerie echo effects” and then volleys back and forth between his harsh vocals and an operatic female vocalist, with lyrics in Latin adapted from Mozart’s Requiem. There’s also reportedly “an arty and angular” song called “The Number Six” and “a bona-fide punk rock song” called “Cheated”. Yeah, that all sounds pretty diverse. Continue reading »

Jan 022010

About a week ago we finished posting our list of the Ten Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs of 2009. Finishing the list turned out to be a bit of a struggle because your NCS Co-Authors had more favorites than we had open slots on the list.  And each of us had some infectious favorites on our short lists that didn’t survive the final negotiations among us — but they just missed by a nose. So we’re going to roll out those songs now. It’s the next best thing to just reneging on our commitment to make our list a “Top Ten” and instead renaming it the “Top Fourteen.”

LAMB OF GOD:  In Your Words

Lamb of God enjoys such a hallowed place in the pantheon of extreme metal that thousands wait with bated breath for each new release — and then, when it comes, promptly engage in vociferous debate about whether it compares favorably or not to the monster hits of the band’s past.  Wrath was LOG’s first release in over two years, and predictably generated a war of words about whether LOG had lived up to its fans’ stratospheric expectations, and about what it signified about the band’s future trajectory.

We won’t engage in comparisons of the album to LOG’s ground-breaking work of the past: Considered on its own merits, it’s a well-engineered, riff-filled barrage of headbangery by some brilliant song-writers and musicians.

“Infectious” is Lamb of God’s middle name, but our most infectious favorite from Wrath is the first song that appears on the album after the (very cool) instrumental intro.  “In Your Words” launches with an insistent, immediately headbangable riff, followed by an extended scream from the almighty Randy Blythe (whose versatile vocals throughout the album are superb) and a crushing drum attack – and we’re off to the races.  At about  the 2:30 mark, the song defuses into a pounding breakdown and then culminates in an extended cascading wall of pulsing, groovy, tremolo-picked melody.  So damn cool!  See for yourself and then continue reading after the jump for our last three finalists:

Lamb of God: In Your Words Continue reading »