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Topics - esoteric

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Metal / Interesting interviews
« on: December 19, 2010, 12:06:01 AM »

Metal / Druidry recognised as religion in UK
« on: October 02, 2010, 08:04:43 PM »

Druidry is to become the first pagan practice to be given official recognition as a religion.

Senior druid King Arthur Pendragon, told the BBC News website the organisation had had to "jump through hoops" to meet the commission's requirements.

Although he runs his own druid order, he said the Druid Network's achievement was a celebration for all members of the faith.

He said: "We are looking at the indigenous religion of these isles - it's not a new religion but one of the oldest."

Metal / Album Devaluation
« on: March 20, 2010, 11:00:51 PM »
Should a band's inferior releases influence our judgment of their good ones? Poor releases, just as much as good ones, give us insight into the band and their career as a whole and shed light on their other works. After all, Darkthrone in 2010 has the same members as Darkthrone 1990: If their later releases show poor songwriting then it's absurd to attribute a flash of brilliance to their earlier music, just as absurd as it is to say they were in poor form when they wrote FOAD. Think about it this way: If you purchase an apple you're buying the whole thing, not just the parts you can eat. An apple is not only the tasty flesh but the core, seeds and stem. If you saw an advertisement showing the inside of an apple, just the core and seeds, you would probably say 'well i'm not going to buy that'. But those bits - however undesirable - are necessary part of the apple and part of its whole. I just don't think it's right to say 'I like Darkthrone, but only their early stuff.' Each album shows me a different facet of Darkthrone and over 10 years of releasing crap shows me I don't actually like Darkthrone that much. The album/band distinction just seems totally nonsensical to me, we should stop severing parts of discographies and accept a band/composer entirely without reservation. There was no such absurdity in the classical era - a composer was the sum of his works.

Interzone / Metal reviews from non-metal websites
« on: November 13, 2009, 11:29:27 PM »
I find it interesting to read the opinions of reviewers who don't listen to metal. I'm not talking Rolling Stone or New York Times but legitimate reviewers.

One I've found recently is Pierro Scaruffi, who reviews everything including classical, avantgarde and jazz and is perhaps the most critical rock reviewer out there (6/10 is a very good album, 9/10 is basically never given).
The ratings and writings seem to line up with DLA surprisingly well.

Any others?

Interzone / Grumpiness increases mental capacity
« on: November 03, 2009, 06:39:11 AM »
I saw this article today: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8339647.stm

I have somehow known for a long time that this was true. Clearly, both happiness and somber reflection are important. But with TV, music and entertainment to please us at every hour of the day it's almost mandated that we be happy all the time. It really does remind me of the social conditioning used in Brave New World - control of the populace by inflicting not pain, but pleasure. Luckily TV and pop music does nothing but piss me off but I suspect i'm in the minority. I just wonder if we will now finally get rid of antidepressants for sad people and introduce depressants for excessively happy ones.

Metal / Suffocation - Blood Oath
« on: June 08, 2009, 05:30:17 AM »
First couple of listens suggests to me it's their best since Pierced From Within. Has anyone else had the chance to listen to this?

Metal / Why metal is no longer inventive
« on: May 20, 2009, 08:45:42 AM »
I've seen a lot of people puzzling over why innovation is no longer a feature of metal and lately I've been thinking about the topic.

The use of structure in composition might be part of the answer. Ideas were once embodied in the construction of a song, with riffs used as a building tool to reinforce those ideas. Look to early Voivod up to and including Nothingface, where ideas flourished in an fluid, pulsing organism with sequence and order (and even disorder) critical to the song's narrative. Now we have bands like Drudkh whose songs simply present a series of interconvertable riffs containing melody as their own substance. It seems that whereas once composition made use of structure, structure is now a static framework around which ideas are implemented. It's almost like it's no longer a part of the music, like a standard form filled out in your latest tax return. Riffs have become the standard building block and it's predictable, methodical and stale. It's not chaotic or violent: it's not metal. It's hardly even composition. How did it become like this, wasn't metal supposed to be destroying these sorts of predetermined fixtures? And how can we expect fresh ideas when bands limit themselves in this way?

I'm not sure whether this discourse helps to explains the topic in the title but I was hoping to encourage discussion on the matter. Thanks for reading.

Metal / Enjoy the Massacra
« on: May 16, 2009, 03:18:44 AM »
This band gets almost zero recognition outside the DLA. This makes no sense at all - their first three contain some extremely thrilling metal, certainly at the peak of death metal. To my knowledge there wasn't any band out there like this, probably because it's almost impossible to replicate stuff like this. They made songs in the same way I would envision someone putting together bits of shrapnel to create masterpieces of art. My favorite is Enjoy The Violence but only by a small margin. The variety of technique, skill in riff manipulation and songcraft found here is so high that there is not a moment of boredom during the whole thing. Songs are profound in what they express but are still extremely direct and to the point leaving no absolutely fat to be trimmed. It's also got the ideal death metal production. This band is the essence of death metal - violent ecstasy. Proclaim your love for Massacra.

Metal / Graveland - Spears Of Heaven
« on: April 21, 2009, 10:29:34 PM »
Am I missing the point of Darken's last several releases? He seems to me to me to be the biggest tease in music history. The riffs are dramatic enough and complement each other well, but there's no real action. The album is filled with drama, but that drama drones on until it becomes monotonous and no longer relevant. It's kind of like a writer giving us the following passage: "And the horseman rode ... and rode ... and rode". You expect them to come to some destination, or battle perhaps. But Darken never gives us that battle. The music rumbles on and on, building and building until... it ends like having great sex but without climaxing. Can someone explain what he's trying to do? 3 or 4 rotating riffs are not enough for me anymore, and I don't consider a song with no beginning or end a song. I understood and enjoyed Atlantean Monument which had contrast and composure am puzzled by this one.

Metal / Metal and lyricism
« on: April 18, 2009, 01:55:09 AM »
Could we say that metal is a non-literal form of art, as opposed to rock which is lyrical. The lyrics and singing are very important in rock - they are almost primary to the music Most of that which rock communicates is given through the lyrics, not the instrumental music. In metal it must be said that the lyrics are unimportant. We cannot deny that lyrics are integral to Bob Dylan's message, no more than can we say that comprehension of the unintelligible vocals in Dismember would increase the quality of the music. Intonation, melody and interaction with instruments is unimportant in metal. There are people who think in visual ways (painters), and those that think in words (writers). I would say that metal listeners are made up almost entirely of the former. We listen for musical contrasts and textures, key and time changes and visual and pictoral representations of the music. A textual person would quickly lose interest in metal because there's no text, which they place in the foreground of their thought.. Listeners of other modern music would be listening to the words and understanding and interpreting their message. Visual people would be confused because they would ignore the lyrics and not understand them because these people place the instrumental music upfront in their minds.

Metal / Decline of mass-produced metal?
« on: November 11, 2008, 02:22:04 AM »
I found this interesting graph on another forum. It charts the number of metal releases per year in each of the genres.

It seems the quantity of releases in death and black metal has dropped recently for the first time ever, which could be a good thing if inferior bands are struggling to get signed.


Metal / Dissonance
« on: September 05, 2008, 07:31:13 AM »
Gilboa, Avi; Amir, Dorit; Bodner, Ehud, 'The Unexpected Side-Effects of Dissonance', Psychology of Music 35:2 (April 2007) p. 286-305.

A study is presented that examined the effects of dissonant and consonant music on cognitive performance. Situational dissonance and consonance were also tested and determined as the state where one's opinion is contrasted or matched with the majority's opinion, respectively. Subjects performed several cognitive tasks while listening to a melody arranged dissonantly, consonantly, or under silence. Prior to hearing the music, subjects were given "worldwide opinions" of the music they were about to hear: adequate information, inadequate information, or neutral information. The results showed that dissonant situations (musical as well as situational) improved cognitive abilities. This was found under different cognitive loads. A possible explanation involves recalibration of the dissonance-consonance continuum with arousal. It may be that dissonance brings arousal to optimal levels, thus sharpening concentration. The author includes a discussion on ways to expand the understanding of dissonance and its effects on performance and cognition.

Like a desperate deer struggling to escape a predator, it makes sense that when we are at odds with our surroundings, we are most alert. The power chord is one of the most consonant intervals on its own, but its tonality, function and sonority in extreme metal is overwhelmingly of a dissonance nature. Unlike pop/rock music, the phrases rarely resolve quickly, denying the brain a chance to settle into a mode of relaxation. This instability creates momentum, demanding a level of concentration which must anticipate, sometimes for long periods of time, some kind of resolution to a situation where release of tension is achieved (inevitable by laws of quantum theory and entropy). Extreme metal requires more of the listener by suspending this resolution and as such can be used as a tool towards self-improvement, but like in classical music, the short-attention span listener who is unable to follow the plot will be lost for the ultimate pay-off. 

Metal / New SKEPTICISM recordings anticipated
« on: August 27, 2008, 05:31:46 AM »


Latest news:
[09.08.2008] Recording session for the new album was finished yesterday. Mixing will be started after a short break and the new album will mixed and mastered before the end of August.


Metal / Repetition
« on: July 31, 2008, 02:23:09 AM »
One question I've asked myself many times is this: Why it is so hard for metal to retire the riff-based rock repetitions in favor of alternative formats? I have not come across any band which was able to do this successfully, but beyond that, it seems it's something that is not being attempted at all. It doesn't have to have the diligence of classical or fluid non-structure of jazz, I would just like to see something that does not rely on the riff and its combinations to embody musical ideas. Why is this important? The riff came from strictly from the sustained rhythms of blues and rock, not from Wagner's leitmotifs as some claim, nor did it come from folk, which was much more fluid and flexible than neoclassical folk like Dead Can Dance is today. In fact, metal now relies far more on repetitious riffs than does rock. Bands are thinking of music creation as little more than building houses from Lego, and we can scarcely say that something is composed if half the content (substructure) is presupplied. If shaking off the rock influences is as important as it appears to many here, I think it needs to be asked whether metal depends on riffs or whether an alternative is foreseeable.

Metal / Morbid Angel - Formulas
« on: June 11, 2008, 10:10:01 PM »
I like everything except Domination, Gateways to Annihilation and Heretic. These I find dull, tedious and not as articulate as the others. Could this have something to do with Erik Rutan's presence on these albums? I know Trey is the main songwriter for the band but it would certainly explain why I enjoy Formulas Fatal to the Flesh but not these other albums.

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