Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The mark of brilliant song writing.

      Today at work I had this song stuck in my head.

     I haven't listened to Bruce Dickinson in at least 5 years, and I didn't even listen too it that much then.  Whenever I have a craving for BD's voice I usually just throw on an Iron Maiden album.  Truth is, this album is much more solid than many Iron Maiden albums.  The songs are all very strait forward, the production is fairly modern but still pretty gritty, there isn't anything pretentious or flashy.  This is where the albums strength lies; you won't hear any ostentatious acoustic intro that lasts over 2 minutes or any song that lasts over 6 minutes. The aforementioned facts alone puts this album above Iron Maiden's last two outputs.  The songs are also very well composed, the choruses are more interesting than your typical one or two words repeated ad infinitum commonly found in traditional metal (not that it's a bad thing, although it does not make for unique songs.)   I figured I would throw on the title track as well to give a sample of what I'm talking about.

    Listen to this album, if you are anything like me; the songs will be stuck in your head for years.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

People don't actually listen to music, they just hear sounds. (part 1)

     I know what you're thinking: "I don't get it Curt, listening to music is hearing sounds."  What you are thinking is totally correct although there is much more to music than simply "sound."  Before I start explaining what it is exactly I'm getting at I will share a fun tune, pay attention!

     Did you actually listen to it and pay attention?  I understand that it is pretty hard to sit through an entire five minutes of this nonsense.

Fun Fact: people hear this music and like it
Fun Fact: these people don't actually listen to music

Hearing Sound:

Synth: Creates a symphonic atmosphere making the music "epic" and "spooky."
Guitar: Sick shredding!!!!
Drums: SUPER FAST BLAST BEATS!!!!!1 making the music brutal
Vocals: Grunts making it death metal, clean vocals making it "melodic"
Bass: Tremolo picked madness!!!!

Listening to music:
     Okay, all of the above elements are things that would be a decent recipe for a good melodic death metal band.  When it actually comes to the music there is absolutely no song writing competency.  This "music" has absolutely zero substance.  The into is totally pointless and doesn't contribute to the song in any way except to flatter a false pretense of sophistication.  The drums are terrible, the triggering is so over the top that they don't even sound like drums.  For all its worth they might as well have a drum machine. The clean vocals are horrendous, the growls are totally devoid of any passion.  The only time you hear the guitar it is during a solo. Apparently this is considered "good" production.  I would take "under a funeral moon" over this any day based on production alone, at least I can hear the guitar on that album.

     I just read the lyrics, they are about some chick dying in her blood or something... I don't really get it.  The video has NOTHING to do with ANY of the lyrics.  Why are they dressed like faggots? Why are their faces covered in soot? Why is their keyboardist playing a real piano?  The only part about the video I like is the part where the one band member kills the rest of the band and then himself.  LOL self pwnage.

     I can understand why this music appeals to drummers, their is some really fast blasting going on, it probably makes them cum.

    Why do other people like this music?  People hear the outward aesthetic of the music rather than the actual substance.  People get stoked as soon as they hear the pretentious intro.  Then when the "metal" starts they get super pumped!  The obnoxious drum triggers make them start hardcore dancing and headbanging until all of their brain cells are destroyed.  I forgot to mention that their guitarist sweeps, this really impresses the unschooled metal head, I have never fully understood why.

     What it all boils down to is that people don't actually listen to music, they just hear sounds.  Rather than judging the music for its actual composition, people just hear aesthetics and production.  Today I chose FGA because they fit the bill for bad modern production and lack of song writing skill.  I could have easily chosen COF or Dimmu for this post but those bands actually have more substance.  I am going to make at least one more post on this topic, there are lots of gimmicky bands with no substance out there.

If you wan't to have keyboards in death metal; do it like this:

posted by curt

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Do The World a Favour and Start a Doom Metal Band.

Why is it that Doom Metal seems to be pushed to the wayside so often? Oh yes, I always see people discuss it in at least one token thread on every online metal forum and there are some bands with relative popularity. (Candlemass - duh, St. Vitus, Cathedral, and especially if you want to count Black Sabbath) However, in real life (my boring reclusive life at least) it rarely seems to come up when I'm talking with my metalhead buds or when I meet someone new (which is seldom anyway).

Even in the digital realm Doom Metal doesn't get the representation other genres do. There are the hardcore die-hard fans of course ( but there doesn't seem to be a lot of casual doom listeners floating around.

Metal blogs and forums are always choked with and endless barrage of black or death metal discussion:
 "<3 Burzum" "Check out this shitty black metal band, so fvcking vndergrovnd!!!!" "Obscure brutal death metal from (shithole country)". etc. etc. etc.
Metal Archives lists 19,886 black metal bands and a whopping 28,035 death metal bands in existence! Doom metal has a lowly 6,120 entries.

Now I love black metal and death metal... but how many more drum machine bedroom fuzzfests do we really need? I've been told really bad bedroom funeral doom is a growing trend now too, but I think it's far from being an epidemic like shitty black and death metal has become.

I don't know why so few are motivated to play Doom. There's the apparent lack of listeners, but there'll always be the few dedicated fans in the underground, and more good bands can only lead to more people hearing of and giving Doom a shot. The "slowness" and the lack of showing off one's ubershredzskillz may be offputting to some, but anyone who makes or listen to music as art and not a theatrical side show should be able to see the merits of Doom metal. It may be incredibly inaccessable, even for fans of the already inaccessble(ish) genre of metal as a whole, but it's not too hard to acclimatize one's self to this awesome music.

Start with this:

Then this:

Then this:

Then just keep going! See? You too can enjoy Doom metal. You don't have to be a fat neckbeard stoner piece of shit, you just have to like metal and appreciate good art! Now, round up your buddies, start a Doom band and get it out there! I don't want Doom to be the next big thing, but a bit more recognition in the underground would be awesome. The day I get a message saying "Review my Epic/Trad Doom band from (shithole country)" is the day my faith in humanity is restored. (a little...)     

Posted by Tex.                           

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Spotlight: Estatic Fear

     I was honestly a tad bit surprised when I managed to find this song in its entirety on youtube, not only is this TFU (true fucking underground) it is brilliant music that deserves way more attention.  The length of this song seems is very daunting at first, but if you are the type of person that enjoys listening to albums from start to finish it really shouldn't be much of a problem.

     There are several ways to write an "epic" song.  You can follow the "progressive rock" format "Rush" set out; with "The Fountain of Lameth" and "2112." Which is essentially stringing 5 or 6 songs together with the same theme.  This is  by far the easiest way of composing this type of song.  Another common method is beginning with one theme and gradually expanding on it in a "stream of consciousness" format, with very little repetition.  One melody will gradually turn into a totally different melody.  This is commonly enacted by bands like "Esoteric" and "Skepticism." It is much more challenging to write a song in this style effectively, but if done properly creates an amazing atmosphere.  

     The interesting thing about "Somnium Obmutum" is that it fits into both of the aforementioned categories.  Rather than having several songs with no breaks in between "Estatic Fear" choose to bridge many short song together with interludes that become so interwoven it's hard to tell when one song stops and the next begins making this song feel more like one entity.  It is very difficult to place this band in a specific genre category due to the shear volume of influences present.  Although there are many symphonic instruments, they seem to function simply as instruments, rather than a backdrop for the "metal."  I find it very interesting how the symphonic instruments come into play, it almost feels like traditional folk/classical with metal influences, rather than the reverse.

     Although this is an amazing musical achievement for this band, there are a few downfalls.  The most noticeable problem is that "starts" and "stops" occur far too frequently.  There are many sections in the song where the music will stop abruptly and only one instrument will play.  After the single instrument plays for a short while the music abruptly starts again, disrupting the flow and preventing this work from becoming a true masterpiece.

     It is shame that this band split up, I believe that they had the potential to create something truly magnificent, instead we just have something that is exceptionally good.  I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys epic music, metal or otherwise.