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 »

Dec 272010

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in November when I was away on an undeserved but still enjoyable vacation and unable to blog, lots of good people stepped up and contributed posts of their own so that NCS wouldn’t have to go dark while I was gone.

One of those contributors, The Artist Formerly Known As Dan, took a running head start on year-end album lists and became one of the first writers in metal blogdom to stake out a position on the year’s best metal (here). That post scored a massive number of hits, no doubt due in part to the fact that it was featured on MetalSucks.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we asked Dan if he had made any revisions or additions to the list he prepared a month ago. What we got from him was this.]

So, I hope all the NCS readers aren’t bored with me after my first list. I thought my picks for the best of 2010 were pretty solid, but reading lists can get old, so now I’ll try to focus my attention on one subject. That subject is potential musical recommendations for my NCS brethren that are outside the realm of metal.  I have a pretty wide range of tastes, but I thought that at least some of my “other” music might interest a few of you, specifically because it generally follows the NCS manifesto:

-it’s not pop music

-it has at least one or more of the following characteristics: fast, punishing, cathartic, dark, powerful, crushing

-there is no clean singing

So let’s get started.  (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »