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Messages - wEEman33

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481
Metal / Suffocation's "Suffocation"
« on: July 24, 2006, 05:56:33 PM »
Suffocation has posted the first sample track from their forthcoming self-titled album:

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=8684142

Aside from a totally cliché breakdown bit, the song sounds alright, but as a band that has not released a worthwhile album since 1995, it's hard to tell if Suffocation still have something fresh and meaningful to say with their music or if they are just content to regurgitate and repackage their old material like all the other Suffocation-clones currently on the market.

Still, since the quality of their last album (supposedly) suffered severely from being rushed out the door by Relapse records, I suppose I’ll remain somewhat optimistic because the band claims to have had the necessary amount of time to tweak the songs to a superior level of quality.

Regardless of how the new album turns out, I’ll be seeing these guys live with Sleep Terror in Nashville, TN on the 31st of July, so hopefully their live show remains as tight and powerful as it has historically been.

482
Metal / Re: Celtic Frost tour
« on: July 12, 2006, 10:28:26 PM »
Quote
Man I wish they were coming to Nashville. But my town is cursed to only have posercore bands tour here.


Suffocation will be playing at The Muse on the 31st of July, but you'll have to sit through a bunch of -core crap to see them.

483
Metal / Re: Lyrics as narration
« on: June 03, 2006, 07:15:05 PM »
Regarding vocals:

Curiously enough, even though the harsh vocal approach is a more subjective singing style than clean singing--for instance, harsh vocalists are not open to criticism for singing off-key or being unable to harmonize with backup singers or keyboard/guitar melodies--in truth, like any vocal style, it is possible to make objective distinctions between a “good” / “bad” harsh vocalist.

By my estimation, there are approximately three key, objective criteria that a listener can justifiably use to judge the inherent worth of a harsh vocalist:

Phrasing - i.e. the places where the vocalist chooses to insert his/her lines and its relative affect on a song’s points of emphasis and overall sense of balance; also, the rhythmic style(s) in which the words are sung. For example, because death vocals are a primarily rhythmic instrument, these techniques become a critical part of a band’s success, as death metal in general is mostly a rhythmic/percussive form of metal (appropriately then, bands like Atheist, Cynic, and At the Gates are often considered “progressive,” partially because they chose to place most of their musical emphasis on intricate, interweaving, dual-guitar melodies while placing their respective rhythm sections into a more supportive role).

Emotion – Sticking with the previous example, death metal is intrinsically an intense form of music; therefore, a death metal vocalist must match the emotional intensity of his/her band-mates via the utilization of sounds that more suitably express man’s more viscous and primal emotions (basically, harsh vocals are often the best musical tool for transmitting feelings of vitriol, insanity, torment, etc. whereas clean vocals mesh well with feelings of contentment, calamity, love, etc.)

Relation to musical/lyrical themes – This is the primary, style-related reason why most extreme metal vocalists don’t sing cleanly; again, death metal deals not with the frivolous humanist themes that have historically dominated listener-friendly rock music, but rather, explores--through a primarily nihilistic viewpoint--themes that are typically thought of as taboo in contemporary Western society. Specifically, death metal tells tales of societal corruption, unimaginable violence, and unspeakable evil in an attempt to emphasize the ungoverned brutality of (human) nature. Stated plainly: extreme music demands an equally extreme vocal approach.

Virtually every other aspect of proper, harsh vocal evaluation is related to the personal preferences of the band and its listeners. For instance:

Decipherability/enunciation – Contrary to common opinion, this stylistic decision is a purely subjective aspect of singing, as its ultimate “success” or “failure” is almost always dependent upon the intent of the vocalist/lyricist. These intents vary significantly from band to band thus making it difficult to prove whether or not a certain band has made a “good” decision by choosing a certain level of decipherability/enunciation for their lyrics. In fact, direct consultation with the vocalist/lyricist is often the only way to obtain a correct evaluation of the band’s decision (though they are certainly not a politically motivated musical group, most Atheist songs contain a strong ideological message, and accordingly, Kelly Shaefer’s vocals are much more coherent than the screams/growls of the typical throat-artist from other early-1990s death metal bands).

Variety of style – A lack of vocal variety may or may not be a valid musical mistake depending on several factors such as the vocals’ position in a band’s hierarchy of sonic importance, the overall length of an album, or the vocals’ required adherence to strict thematic guidelines. This variety of vocal purpose often causes ignorant listeners who cannot abandon the “pop-music” mentality--i.e., that a song should be lead by its vocals and that the vocals should always be “pleasing to the ear” and “easy to understand”--to make incorrect assertions regarding vocal quality and overall song/album quality.

Of course, all this text hasn’t even taken into account variations in production styles that can alter the depth and texture of a singer’s voice or emphasize/deemphasize the importance of the vocal performance by lowering it in the mix (this is probaly why the vocals on complex albums like “Unquestionable Presence” are often so low in the mix; the music was created to become the album’s centerpiece). Consequently, if a listener is trying to focus first on the lyrical content in albums like "Unquestionable Presence" and not on the music itself, he/she is ignoring said album's central core of content. Again, most death metal is a guitar and drum driven style of music whose lyrics serve as an appropriate and necessary but relatively less significant aspect of a song’s overall purpose. Simply stated, death metal in its most basic forms is all about riffs and rhythms; any other aspect of the music typically gets relegated to a secondary role.

484
Metal / Re: No Metal in the bible belt?
« on: May 12, 2006, 10:03:42 PM »
Realistically speaking, Atlanta, GA and a few spots in Florida are the only southern US cities that receive consistent support from metal bands. As has been mentioned, the liberal ideology that is intertwined in most metal music clashes heavily with conservative, southern culture; the result is that most metal bands choose to hold shows in the north-eastern and mid-western parts of the country, where support for such music--and such mindsets--is more widespread.

I currently attend college in a small, north-western Georgian town, and I spend only my summers in Nashville, TN (though I have lived here for almost 20 years now), and sadly, there still is little metal-related interest in the area. There are a few small bars/clubs that book true metal bands (as apposed to the -core crap that's so commonly touted as "metal" and can be seen on-stage at least twice a week at various venues), but for the most part, a tiny downtown site called The Muse is the only place that regularly schedules metal shows (I believe Exodus played there with a bunch of banal -core bands on Tuesday night, and the Suffocation/Cryptopsy/Aborted tour came through that same spot during the week of Thanksgiving).

Looking at future dates, the only concert of note is the Sleep Terror show on Jul 31 at a bar/club called Wallstreet, but that too will probably be crowded with –core bands/fans, as the main member of Sleep Terror wishes to remain removed from the modern death metal crowds.

If you’re looking for music stores that support metal, check out the independently owned/operated store called The Great Escape; its used CD selection is often littered with discarded metal relics.

If you ever want a ride to an out-of-state metal show--and are willing to share gas fees--let me know; I ocassionally take trips down to Atlanta, GA and up to Louisville, KY if a show interests me enough (there are rumors that a reunited Atheist will be playing a warm-up show in Atlanta sometime in July).

485
Metal / Re: Anatomy of a Death Metal Concert (in 2006)
« on: April 16, 2006, 10:50:50 PM »
Heh, it's blatantly obvious that this post is a description of the ongoing "Masters of Chaos" tour that I attendted a week or so ago during the Atlanta, GA date.

I agree with all of the original poster's opinions on the three warm-up acts but have to differ on his assessment of Morbid Angel; except for David Vincent’s occasionally regressive rock-posturing, I thought the band’s performance was surprisingly genuine and practically perfect from a purely instrumental perspective. Only the aforementioned set-list issues kept it from being a "can’t-miss" show (they should’ve played less songs from “Domination” / “Covenant” and more material from “Altars…,” and especially “Blessed…”).

486
Metal / Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
« on: April 14, 2006, 11:20:18 AM »
So I gave this album a thorough inspection last night and I have to say that I still don’t understand why “Dreamweaver” has received so much critical acclaim. Though the guitarists’ present each note with one of modern metal’s most pleasurable tones and are certainly more than competent at creating creative, compelling riffs within the death metal mold, the painfully plain percussive performance and plagiaristic, pseudo-tri-vocal attack are particularly repellent. The overall result is a listening experience that is really only enjoyable if one can tune out the bland drum beats (a task that is quite difficult given the fact that Eric Krebs’ entire drum kit would sound about the same if each piece was replaced with hardened, synthetically-constructed shits) and copy-cat Carcass-isms that are present in the band’s vocal/guitar soloing style.

487
Metal / Re: Golem - Dreamweaver
« on: April 13, 2006, 12:46:40 PM »
I've had this album for a few months now but have only given it a handful of listens; I guess in those initial listens there just wasn't anything that stood out and grabbed me as being particularly intriguing.

I'll try to give it a few more listens this weekend and post some thoughts.

488
Metal / Mekong Delta
« on: April 08, 2006, 11:05:11 PM »
I have the opportunity to pick up Mekong Delta's entire discography for fairly cheap, and since I'm only familiar--and madly in love with--their first two records, I was just wondering if the rest of the Mekong Delta records are equally essential. Any opinions?

489
Metal / Re: Bloodbath
« on: March 26, 2006, 11:12:36 PM »
Just stick with the bands that they're paying tribute to; Bloodbath is a totally needless musical entity.

Try instead:

Dismember - Like and Everflowing Stream
Entombed - Left Hand Path

490
Metal / Re: Lord Worm on mediocre bands
« on: March 26, 2006, 11:03:58 PM »
Quote
It was bothing me for a while that I knew Lord Worm reminded me of somebody.  Took a while to realize it was Ron Jeremy.

Good point he is making though.  As for Cryptopsy's MTV video, the "song" totally sucks and is also cheesey in every way.  However, it is possible that they only sold out on one track, since it's not even a song really.  I haven't listened to the album very much.  Perhaps a review of the rest of Cryptopsy's catalogue is in order?


“Once Was Not” would be much more effective if the production wasn't so clinical and drum-heavy; the last three Cryptopsy albums have a dense, punishing, and almost over-saturated production style that keeps the guitars and drums on fairly equal footing, but this critical attribute of the band’s sound is all but lost on “Once Was Not” thanks to all the boring/lifeless instrument tones and poor mixing decisions.

The guitar work does provide some moments of intrigue, but Alex Auburn seemingly tries too hard to incorporate a variety of techniques/styles instead of making sure that the riffs themselves are satisfying and reasonably coherent within the context of a song.

Most people will probably agree that Flo Mounier’s percussive performance is incredible (as usual) and that Lord Worm is so far off from his past--and arguably brilliant--form that the band might have been better off recruiting a new vocalist or letting Alex Auburn and Flo Mounier fulfill the lead vocal spot until Lord Worm was physically capable of at least coming close to his past vocal prominence.  

Make no mistake, "Once Was Not" is the worst Cryptopsy album to date, and I say that as a fan that can tolerate Mike DiSalvo’s embarrassing, hardcore machismo and enjoys all their other albums to a great degree.

491
Metal / Re: University Metalheads
« on: March 08, 2006, 01:57:28 PM »
Heh, last semester I tired to land a spot on our college radio team and was rejected on the basis of "a lack of established interest within the college's listening community."

If anyone's curious, here's the sample playlist that I presented during my interview:

Theme: Exemplary use of the bass guitar in metal

Cynic “Textures”
Alarum “Woven Imbalance”
Spiral Architect “Insect”
Spastic Ink “Words for Nerds”
Vintersorg “Microscopical Macrocosm”
Iron Maiden “Flash of the Blade”
Watchtower “Asylum”
Sadus “Machines”
Atheist “I Deny”
Necromantia “Pretender to the Throne (Opus I: The Usurper's Spawn)”
Cryptopsy “Orgiastic Disembowelment”

And to answer the original poster's primary question, I'd say that if anything, rap and radio-rock are the most popular forms of music on campus. The few people that do listen to "heavy" music prefer metalcore and nu-metal over true metal.

492
Metal / Re: How Metal Got Mainstreamed
« on: January 27, 2006, 03:53:30 PM »
This was a well-written, well-researched, and highly informative read.

Nice find.


493
Metal / Re: Demilich to play Maryland Death Fest 2006
« on: September 21, 2005, 01:38:12 PM »
Quote
lol @ band name "Municipal Waste"


Silly name aside, their newest CD is an excellent example of a modern act exceeding at the hardcore/thrash style of early D.R.I., the first Suicidal Tendencies record, etc.

494
Metal / Re: Bill Ward on Wolves
« on: August 30, 2005, 12:49:19 PM »
Quote
Check out every single Catamenia album cover...


After checking those out, I feel compelled to point out the similarity between these two covers:

Moonspell's "Wolfheart" (re-issued version)


Catamenia's "Eskhata"

495
Metal / Re: Crimson Massacre - The Luster of Pandemonium
« on: July 31, 2005, 10:11:08 PM »
What follows is the review that I just sent off to the Metal-Archives, posted here in an attempt to "spread the good news," as some pastors love to say:

“aural insanity”–so says the liner notes, and so says any mortal that might tighten a helmet and test out his/her head's overall toughness by giving this disc a listen (though by most accounts, any number of a few four-letter expletives typically represents the average listener’s spoken impression of these crazy compositions; through the means of modern translation, it can be concluded that such swears usually entail bewilderment, amazement, etc. on behalf of the explicit benefactor).

As I sit here absorbing my twelfth trip through this tumultuous aural terrain, it has become apparent that the spirit of old At the Gates’ guitarist/songwriter Alf Svensson is surprisingly still alive, and apparently, was reincarnated into a fitter, more frenzied form that through an almost fanatic fixation on alacrity and a massive middle-finger to all accepted means of musical form has forcefully flung itself off the fringes of insanity and into the carefully-guarded grounds of genius.

What Gorgut’s “Obscura” did to the deadly death metal deluge that ran rampant throughout the terminal time span of the 1990's (i.e., essentially obliterate everything else that was available at the time), Crimson Massacre’s “The Luster of Pandemonium” does doubly to today's satiated and sagging scene full of spineless Suffocation simulators trying to out-blast and out-brutalize each other in addition to the many misguided Deicide/Cannibal Corpse admirers that agonize over attaining some supremely satanic/gory imagery and care little of creating sonically challenging content with substantial substance. As was the case with "Obscura," the sheer complexity of Crimson Massacre's compositions and singularity of their sound make this CD a strenuous spin for everyone. Still, these strange sounds should start making more sense in each subsequent spin, and any average member of Crimson Massacre's audience could conceivably be qualified to quantify any qualms/critiques/congratulations that he/she has comprehended by about five or six listens.

Moving on, to the meat of the matter, it must be mentioned that this CD's self-determined production decisions are absolutely perfect. Rather than try out the typical thick, thunderous, and artificially "heavy" tones that so many modern death metal bands abuse, this title utilizes a thin yet tenacious tone for each of the individual instruments, allowing the players' pounding, physical force to fade away so the beats/notes themselves become the focus and not the power at which they are being processed. This tenuous timbre also supports the frenetic frequencies at which these five instruments emit sounds (as with almost all forms of extreme metal, this particular vocal performance acts as another passionate, albeit primarily percussive instrument and not as a narrative peripheral), as not a single second is lost to that raunchy, remote rumble that’s ever-present in some death/grind gurus like Cryptopsy whose occasionally careless compositions can create sloppy sounding sections that surpass the capturing capability of their studio's setup. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why this whole musical conceptualization is simultaneously so confusing and captivating; instead of expressing sheer, stupid shock by saying, “Fuck, that guy can play fast!" or "Holy shit, that sounds fucking heavy as hell!", the enlightened listener's prevailing perception is probably something smilar to this: “My my, I can't say that I've ever encountered such an unusual combination of notation and composition.”


On the topic of perceptions, I must insists that I am not aiming to impart the impression that this album is all about alacrity. Although it is true that the only speed settings to be found are "by the winged heels of Hermes" and "we're actually accelerating our chances of acquiring arthritis by playing this fast" (as a side note, I’m a fervent follower of musicians that "fuckin' take it to the limit," and "The Luster of Pandemonium" most certainly contains that mystique), thanks to those potent production preferences that I pointed out previously, the only element that remains eminent while evaluating this performance is the playing itself, and not any of its aesthetic attributes. Crimson Massacre's chosen range of riffs is equally extraordinary, balancing a larger ratio of masterful, mind-altering (not necessarily in the narcotic sense) melodies with a smaller yet much needed supply of more standard note sequencing (relatively "standard," of course--I'm speaking of the six or seven sequences that the listener should have solved after two or three listens; chances are, the only melodies he/she will have figured out after the first listen is the climactic and thematic riff from “The Devourer” and the heroic, harmonized lick that highlights the latter half of the seventh song that's titled "The Luster of Pandemonium"). With harmony acting as the album's primary pleasuring mechanism, the several spots with wildly separate melodies being fired off at a frantic pace (found most frequently in "Of Perverted Hope and Fragmented Suffering") succeed in introducing dashes of dissonance, even though a lot of the discord is deftly disguised by the second guitar's similar speeds and somewhat stealthy standing in the album's overall mix (while noticeable during the massive, saturated harmonies, once must make a minor effort to locate the secondary guitar lines during all the other segments). Honestly though, the band has made a bright move by hinging their musical messages onto burly bolts of harmony, as most of Crimson Massacre's melodies are so deranged that any attempt at inserting an abundance of dissonance could have created a crippling, audio affliction. While overt, dual guitar discordance works wonderfully within the relatively safer strumming speeds that Gorguts' guitarists employed on "Obscura," it's hard to picture that same level of dissimilarity doing anything positive at a tier of mental exercise that's as tiring as "The Luster of Pandemonium."

Alas, there is one hindrance that keeps me from handing out a higher rank to this album, and that is the ten or so times throughout this trip when there is an upsetting popping sound that signifies a short slip in the sound quality and will last for a second or two. I have no clue as to the cause of this problem, but since I do own an early pressing of this CD, perhaps my copy is just defective.

Still, “The Luster of Pandemonium” serves as a marvelous muse for any musician with aspirations of achieving a sound that surpasses the mediocre "accomplishments" of most modern acts, and as usual, an adequate set of headphones is recommended for anyone with an insistence on obtaining an ornate listening experience (as an alternative, a powerful stereo system often provides a similarly splendid separation for music that's full of multi-layered sounds).

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