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Nothing in music is superficial

Nothing in music is superficial
January 05, 2013, 11:53:26 PM
[Black Metal] Vocals are a superficial to the music as a whole. If you find yourself hung up on them, then perhaps the music just doesn't appeal to you.
I hate this sentiment, everything about the music is vital. The vocals, instrumentation, production and even the lyrics all come together to form a whole. If you believe that certain aspects of the music are superficial, then perhaps you are a musicologist and not an artist.

NHA

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 06, 2013, 02:49:51 AM
Lets not kid ourselves - metal lyrics tend to be fucking garbage in general and the vocals often play a very diminished role compared to most music.

Not sure how you haven't got used to BM vocals yet (although i think most people have felt the same at one point or another). Maybe its cause BM doesn't have the same try-hard machismo as DM?


Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 07, 2013, 10:33:36 PM
I was also finicky about such things, but if you stick with it long enough, the vocals will "fade" into the background.  So, in a sense, DL does have a point, but when all factors work together to create a whole, then in the final analysis no single factor can ruin the whole, either.  So the "problem" kind of is "with the listener" at this point.  That article by Aaron Copland that was linked here a few weeks ago about the 3 levels of understanding and appreciating music comes to mind.

But let's be clear, lyrics are not the same as vocals.  And I take exception, NHA, to you saying that metal lyrics tend to be garbage.  Not the metal I listen to.  Yes, it is not particularly sophisticated; it is, indeed, primitive, but therein lies its charm!  In fact, the more that metal lyrics tend toward sophistication the more they fail miserably at it.  The more primitive-minded, the better.  Graveland and Immortal come to mind as personal favorites.  Have you read the Sagas?  Are you familiar with the literary technique of the kenning?  Immortal's lyrics are very kenning-like!

A third factor that should be considered is neither how the vocals sound, nor the meaning of the lyrics, but HOW the vocals "interact" with the music.  This dynamic is one of my favorite aspects of metal, and when done well makes songs very memorable.  What I am talking about is basically when the music "takes a step back" and the vocals "take a step forward."  The song Thousand Swords on Thousand Swords uses this to great effect - after the first minute or so there is a perfectly timed groan brought to the foreground as the music almost "stops."  The same goes for the "epilogue" of that song, as Darken switches to a more spoken cadence in the foreground - good lyrics to this song as well.  Another one that comes to mind is Immortal "Unholy Forces of Evil."  This is on Diabolical Fullmoon but the really good version is on the EP.  It's at the part where the lyrics go "Sacrifices as old as the earth..."  Notice how the music almost "stops" and the vocals become more "spoken."  A thrilling effect!

NHA

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 09, 2013, 04:23:17 PM
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Yes, it is not particularly sophisticated; it is, indeed, primitive, but therein lies its charm!  In fact, the more that metal lyrics tend toward sophistication the more they fail miserably at it. The more primitive-minded, the better.

Agreed on all accounts. Yet still there is little virtue in being primitive if one is too limited to be capable of being otherwise.
 
Immortal is for kids and Graveland's best album is probably "In the glare of burning churches". Sure Fudali sounds like kermit the frog after having his throat slit but its very raw and hateful yet atmospheric all at once.


Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 09, 2013, 05:08:05 PM
It's not actually being primitive at all, it is a facade, an emulation of the primitive. The primitiveness is an aesthetic. Sure it probably isn't a meaningful distinction for some bands, but I think it holds true for Immortal. I think serious exception should also be taken to your comment about Immortal, their first two albums are masterpieces.

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 09, 2013, 08:20:06 PM
Nothing in music is superficial?

What about superficial music?

NHA

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 09, 2013, 10:17:52 PM
It's not actually being primitive at all, it is a facade, an emulation of the primitive. The primitiveness is an aesthetic.

Not hugely relevant. Art is always one step removed from life.

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I think serious exception should also be taken to your comment about Immortal, their first two albums are masterpieces.
Good albums don't make them any less of a ridiculous act. Immortal pretty much epitomizes metal as entertainment. I don't think I've ever seen them pretend to be serious in any way at all - which is fine.






Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 10, 2013, 08:25:12 AM
I don't understand, the music is serious, what do the antics matter? They are a profound act that tends to goof around, that seems qualitatively different from what you're saying. Anyway I dont think I can get anywhere arguing the nuance of metal's primitiveness, so on that I'll concede.

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 11, 2013, 02:56:12 AM
It's not actually being primitive at all, it is a facade, an emulation of the primitive. The primitiveness is an aesthetic.

Not hugely relevant. Art is always one step removed from life.

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I think serious exception should also be taken to your comment about Immortal, their first two albums are masterpieces.
Good albums don't make them any less of a ridiculous act. Immortal pretty much epitomizes metal as entertainment. I don't think I've ever seen them pretend to be serious in any way at all - which is fine.

Metal is like a mythology, and so it doesn't require a literal interpretation as the process is largely subconscious. Taken for what it is, you don't even consider whether it's serious or not because the music speaks for itself. So in this way perhaps even an obvious joke like Impaled Nazarene can hit on something 'serious'. The dream can influence reality without directly translating into existence.

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 11, 2013, 11:14:31 PM
Why do people look upon childhood with such snarkery? I don't think I would have ever taken metal seriously if I didn't discover everything I thought after highschool a complete facade. I looked back to discover what really matters.

NHA

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 12, 2013, 02:13:24 AM
Metal is like a mythology, and so it doesn't require a literal interpretation as the process is largely subconscious. Taken for what it is, you don't even consider whether it's serious or not because the music speaks for itself.
It speaks directly to the savage ape man lurking within. Metal's primitiveness becomes its defining virtue because the ape can't be escaped no matter how hard one tries and acknowledging this puts you one step closer to self-actualization.

Anyway back to the main topic:

The primate has no real need for poetic lyrics. Has anyone here really disqualified a metal album based on its lyrics? Just fucking growl, moan, scream and throw feces at the crowd.

I think with metal the vocals, production and lyrics act only as amplifiers and are not core components. Compare Mayhem's "Live in Leipzig" vs the studio album: its the same despite any aesthetic differences.

Although i guess one could counter argue that those Burzum re-released tracks are fucking terrible.

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So in this way perhaps even an obvious joke like Impaled Nazarene can hit on something 'serious'. The dream can influence reality without directly translating into existence.
Probably this one of the major reasons why most bands create only a handful of vital albums and then go on to produce garbage for the rest of their career.

Re: Nothing in music is superficial
January 12, 2013, 12:44:23 PM
Metal is like a mythology, and so it doesn't require a literal interpretation as the process is largely subconscious. Taken for what it is, you don't even consider whether it's serious or not because the music speaks for itself.
It speaks directly to the savage ape man lurking within. Metal's primitiveness becomes its defining virtue because the ape can't be escaped no matter how hard one tries and acknowledging this puts you one step closer to self-actualization.

Surely there's more to it than that. As I see it, this primitive, animalistic element is only half the equation. The other half longs for something beyond man. Perhaps to see man as a stepping stone between beast and god.


The primate has no real need for poetic lyrics. Has anyone here really disqualified a metal album based on its lyrics? Just fucking growl, moan, scream and throw feces at the crowd.

But the epic, narrative style of black metal naturally lends itself to this poetic quality. A band like Summoning for example made great inroads in this department. And what would Drawing Down the Moon be without those insane ritualistic vocal incantations? Sure it's not what makes the album, no single element is, and no one element is necessarily equal to another, but it belongs there and serves a purpose all the same.