111

victorian-exercise2

I was looking up ‘laziness’ in some capacity, which quickly led to ‘Victorian exercise equipment’ …which existed in a time when elaborate sloth still required a three-piece suit.

Aw, man… another “number” post. You know what that means? I need to symbolically mark something, and it’s probably ass draggage. So yeah, it’s been 111 days since my last post on my own dang site.
Continue reading

6,16

POxy_w_616Dang, seriously? It’s been how long since the last article? Longtime readers of this site may remember when I had new stuff up here on the regular, even trying to squeeze in posts on my lunch break at the paying job. Although those pieces would often just be parroting news stories — which got lame after a while and have, in fact, been removed.

Maybe it’s serendipitous that a number of the beast factored in to this reawakening, but honestly, I was just tired of how the site has languished over the last six months and sixteen days. Continue reading

A BLACK SABBATH Reunion Tour without Bill Ward is an Unarguable Atrocity


I may be a little late to the burgeoning party, but sweet merciful fuck, am I glad to see the rally of support behind Bill Ward. To be fair… to me, anyway… I did recently highlight the man in my first rant about Black Sabbath. Plus, I probably voiced my disapproval while DJing once or twice.

Anyway, lots of great evidence has recently cropped up on 1,000,000 Black Sabbath fans say yes to Bill Ward—who have blazed from zero to over 20k Facebook fans in their first 24 hours—with a broad swath of fan photocaps, personal family letters, artist-friend endorsements, and kind words/posts from those running the Page (I’ve come up with the name Tony Conley of Rock Guitar Daily, but I’m not sure who else is involved).

What frustrates me about the whole situation is that it shouldn’t be an issue. This is an all-or-nothing deal here. Besides the fact that drummers have fundamental differences in terms of style and substance, the spiritual side will lack the most in Bill’s absence. I have never seen the transcendent “fifth member” quality in any band to the degree of Black Sabbath. How many groups out there bust out covers of classic Sab slabs? Surely, many of you have seen Ozzy kick out the jams over the years with different band members, yeah? And perhaps you were also lucky enough to catch Heaven & Hell before Dio died? Well, regardless of preference for the various incarnations, there’s something undeniably special behind the Butler-Iommi-Osbourne-Ward connection onstage—a feeling nigh-impossible to miss.

We don’t want something that’s pretty enjoyable; we want the genuine article. We don’t want 3/4 of the band that invented heavy metal; we want them all. You know they can make this work. Complicated though it may be, money can always be shifted around, and is so fucking unimportant in the grand scheme. This could be their last tour, and I’ll be damned if it’s not truly complete. I will not personally attend without everyone present and accounted for; all real fans should likewise boycott. Do you agree or not? Would you attend a show yourself? Who would be the best replacement for Ward, and who would be outright unacceptable? (You know, if you had to choose… gun to your head.)

Lastly, in terms of pure logic, if you believe that the original members of Black Sabbath are Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, and Tony Iommi—and a definition of ‘reunion’ is: “a gathering of the members of a group who have been separated”—then an reunion as originally promised would necessitate all four Brummies. Should they sally forth with Ozzy’s skinsman Tommy Clufetos, they must rename the act, or risk lying to our angry faces and empty wallets.

~MetalMattLongo

What Stays on MetalMattLongo's iPod

As Metal Director/DJ at WRUV, plus owner of this website, I get sent a metric shit ton of new music every year. I was once able to house my entire MP3 collection on a 160 GB iPod Classic, but as the inevitable digital shift progressed, my virtual library grew exponentially. For a time,  just all of my Metal (including new stuff) lived on the 160 gig …but then it died. The 64 GB iPod Touch became the most attractive option as a better overall tool for my needs, albeit at the sacrifice of ~100 GB in potential storage. So I had a decision to make:  what would now live on this iPod?

My inbox influx only expands. And in the Metal world these days (especially with radio) the average promotion cycle of a new album is 3-4 months—if not less. So my ‘Recent Adds’ and ‘Recenter Adds’ playlists would obviously make the cut during the albums’ “new” periods for review purposes, but I wanted some perennial favorites in there, too; a man cannot live on new music alone. So here is the initial list of 85 artists who never leave my iPod. It may be amended in the future.

~MetalMattLongo


A.L. Lloyd & Ewan MacColl
Alice in Chains
Alive & Well
Anaal Nathrakh
Arsis
Baroness
Bathory (added 2012Feb23)
The Beatles
Black Sabbath
Blind Melon
Carcass
Carnival in Coal
Clutch
Cormorant
Crooked Still
Cynic
The Damned Things
Death
Deftones
Dethklok
Elysian Fields
Faith No More
Fall of Efrafa
Fantômas
Frank Zappa
The Fucking Champs
George Carlin
Ghost
Glyder
Hammers of Misfortune
Hank Williams
Isis
Johnny Cash
Junius
Karl Sanders
Killing Joke
The Kinks
Kylesa
Kyuss
Led Zeppelin
Lesbian
Lovage
Mad Season
Made Out of Babies
Mastodon
Megadeth
Melvins
Mercyful Fate
Meshuggah
Metallica
Michael Jackson
Minibosses
Motörhead
Mr. Bungle
Necrophagist
Neurosis
Nile
Nirvana
Om
Opeth
Pearl Jam
Peeping Tom
Pin Up Went Down
Queens of the Stone Age
Rasputina
Regina Spektor
Slayer
Sleep
Sly and The Family Stone
Strapping Young Lad
The Sword
Syd Barrett
T.Rex
TesseracT
Testament
Thin Lizzy
Tom Waits
Tomahawk
Tool
uneXpect
Voivod
Volbeat
Ween
Yat-Kha
YOB
ZZ Top

On 'Post-', 'Djent', and Genre

"Whipping 'Post-'" was my working title. (found via http://www.fromoldbooks.org)

If you’ve read our lovely lists lately, you might remember that Cole hopes for more “metal” and less “post” in 2012. Then, our deaf jammer Brad Barratt (who contributed our first 2011 list—in 2011, even!) mentioned this, some 24 hours later on Facebook:

“I don’t understand the current trend with post-genres. Post-hardcore? Post-punk? Post-rock? Post-metal? What the fuck are the bands within these “genres” trying to do?”

So Cole and Brad got my gears turning, but then I remembered—as annoying as the mushrooming chthonic categories and subterranean subgenres can be, they’re often necessary. I mean, surely we fans have discovered groups by matching styles with other personal favorites. All you scribes and DJs reading know your eyes flash to genre every time you get a promo or one-sheet.

Still, people often get super pissed about genre—like one Randy Blythe. Re-reading this great piece from Heavy Blog is Heavy (itself inspired by The PRP) reminded me about Blythe’s ignorant comments and how I meant to write this article for a while. Scroll down through the comments section in the HBIH post and you’ll see a discussion about the mutability of words. After all, before the words “rock” and “metal” were used to describe music, they meant “solid mineral formations” and “an opaque, fusible, ductile, and typically lustrous substance that is a good conductor of electricity and heat”. Words hybridize, gain and lose meaning, and receive labels like ‘slang’ and ‘archaic’ as time passes. The notion of words as sacred is retarded.

Djent fueled Randy’s fire. And I admit that djent, as a subgenre, initially frustrated me. Not that I disliked the bands, exactly, but it didn’t seem like a critical categorization. It’s like calling ‘tremolo picking’ or ‘jud jud’ a subgenre …and so forth. But it has exploded outside of progressive metal realms in a few short years to include hundreds of bands, as evidenced in Facebook communities like The League of Extraordinary Djentlemen and websites like Got Djent, who also produced this fun little chart, which you probably saw about a year ago:

I'm bothered (though not butthurt) that Periphery is djentler than Meshuggah.

Anyway, part of the reason why I okayed the genre was because several characteristics fell in line, and bands that identified themselves as ‘djent’ bore similarities. Plus, the style basically arrived with—and blossomed through—the bands who employed it. So no, Rosetta, you can’t call doom metal ‘DUNNN’ because Black Sabbath invented that shit decades before the genre stuck. Hey, that brings me back around to the impetus behind this article:  the whole “post-” thing.

My problems with post-whatever stems from their static implications. This has existed, now there’s that; we were once there, and now we’re here. This contradicts the reality of music as a fluidly evolving beast, always adapting to reflect its environment. Not to mention that we have a habit of retrofitting certain bands with these obtuse genres; slap a label on Motörhead and see where that gets you. To all the young bucks and does, be thankful people try to understand your music; someday you might even become known on name alone. Just realize that everything we say — EVERYTHING — is arbitrary and symbolic. Words mean what they mean because we agree that’s what they mean. You remember that episode of South Park, “The ‘F’ Word? Thus, this includes post-whatever.

There is nothing inherently defining in “thrash” or “black metal” or “hardcore”, we have simply reached a consensus about how these words function as descriptors for different music. These descriptors are important to preserve our understanding of this music, without the need to recount the convergence of riffing/drumming/vocals and fire off a laundry list of bands every time a certain style is explained. The shorthand results in both surprises and stereotypes, innovators and imitators, masters and mediocrity. For those growing defensive, seriously consider the etymology of our brutal breeds; aren’t some just downright goofy?

My point is that I’ve made peace with the majority of these bastard offshoots. I realize this is a slippery slope, but bear with me a minute more. Again, this is all about evolution, right? So don’t be all scaredypants of every stupid sub-sub out there, because that’s counterproductive. Personally, I enjoy the expansion/specification/portmanteauification of “depressive black metal” and “[YOUR REGION HERE] folk metal” and “doomgaze”. If it’s a path to understanding, I’m gung-ho, but indeterminate confusion from monikers like “scenecore” and “deathcrunk” and “blackwheedlegrindskronk” will only hasten their downfall. Let the babies have their bottles.

So which genres have you made peace with? Is anything unforgivably bad? Will DOOM finally be commodified amidst the 2012 apocalyptic nonsense? If so, it would probably be ham-fisted and riddled with pop cult… oh no… the Dubstep Zombies of Doom are already here, aren’t they‽

~MetalMattLongo

Cole Dougherty's Top 10 of 2011 (+2 Bonus Reviews)

PRE-BEST OF 2011 LIST: Before I state my cases for the best albums of 2011, I still have a couple of lingering reviews from this year that I need to touch on quickly before we get this show on the road.

All Pigs Must DieGod is War
God is War brings the same level of ferocity and chaos that All Pigs Must Die showed off in their self-titled release from 2010. My favorite part about APMD is that, in a somewhat lackluster genre, they shine. While this album can get repetitive, the attitude shows through every time. Frontman Kevin Baker has been one of my favorites since his work with The Hope Conspiracy and Bars, and his delivery once again matches perfectly with this style of music. Harsh, rugged riffs, crusty blast beats and gravelly squawks make up a well-rounded and pissed-off thirty-two and a half minutes of music. 4/5

TexturesDualism
Plainly put, Dualism did almost nothing for me. I enjoyed a couple of tunes on the first listen, but by the time I got to the end of the album, I had already forgotten what I liked and why. My biggest problem is the new vocalist, Daniël de Jongh. Don’t get me wrong, de Jongh is a talented vocalist with solid range but the shoes he had to fill were enormous. Eric Kalsbeek, the former vocalist, was a MONSTER and truly pulled this band together. Now, with de Jongh aping Kalsbeek as much as he possibly can, it just sounds drab. It’s by no means a bad album, nor does it display poor musicianship, but it just doesn’t draw me in. 3/5


So that’s that. Here we are, at the very end of the last month of 2011. [Yeah… sorry, Cole—this should’ve gone up sooner!  ~Ed.]  This year has been an odd one and a somewhat off one for music. I was geared up for a year of truly great music as both Opeth and Mastodon would be releasing new albums. Lo and behold, I disliked them both. If you told me those two bands were releasing albums, neither would appear on my 2011 year-end list, and an old-fashioned rock band would top it… I probably would have given you whatever change I had in my pockets and kept on walking. Still, 2011 has not been a terrible year for heavy music (despite Lou Reed and Metallica’s efforts). Here’s hoping for more metal and less “post” in 2012.

Lets get started.

10. Abysmal Dawn – Leveling the Plane of Existence
No frills here, just top-quality Californian death metal. Great vocals on top of an explosive assault of modern day death metal make for a very solid album.

9. RevocationChaos of Forms
I am honestly still a little shocked at the turnaround this band made. I know a lot of people liked Existence is Futile, but I just did not get it. I decided to give them a second chance with Chaos of Forms and was blown away. Dave Davidson shows off his true skills on this album and has put himself on the map—big time. A master of his craft and maybe one of the best pure metal guitarists to surface in years.

8. InsomniumOne for Sorrow
I have never really let myself like Insomnium. On a past blog I had to deal with some internet creature who wouldn’t let up about how they were the best melodic death metal band ever, and At The Gates and Opeth were nobodies. I can’t stand fanboys, so that’s probably where my sourness stems, but these guys are seriously good. Their previous two albums have been great and this one is even better. Insomnium is definitely close to—if not on top of—the melodic death metal renaissance that is happening in Finland right now.

7. Animals As LeadersWeightless
Tosin Abasi is still batting 1.000. AaL’s keen ability to transform chaos into serenity is mind-blowing. Outstanding album.

6. CrowbarSever the Wicked Hand
Every so often, the metal world needs Crowbar, and that is just what we got in 2011. Kirk Windstein went through a pretty rough stretch in his life prior to recording this album, made a miraculous comeback, and put in his all. Excellent work from the kings of sludge.

(The next five are almost interchangeable, in terms of where they belong on this list; all have a solid argument for top slot.)

5. Cannabis CorpseBeneath the Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise
Cannabis Corpse has made me a big fan with this album. Usually humor and parodies in music are insipid and embarrassing, but the boys in Cannabis Corpse use just enough humor to get a chuckle, yet still write blistering death metal. While their style of “weed metal” isn’t all humor, for any Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and/or Morbid Angel fan, their song titles are pretty goddamn funny. However, despite their pothead puns, these guys can play thrashy American ’80s/’90s death metal better than the bands that started it all. Beneath the Grow Lights… is a dream for anyone who has ever wanted to hear an album like Tomb Of The Mutiliated with 2011 production values. Love these guys and can’t wait for more.

4. ObscuraOmnivium
Necrophagist is dead; long live Obscura. If you haven’t heard this album or are on the fence about it, YouTube “A Transcendental Serenade” and make sure you’re seated with a clean pair of underwear in grabbing range.

[Get ready to swap those drawers!  ~Ed.]

3. DecapitatedCarnival is Forever
This is a comeback. You lose your brother to a car crash and your band falls apart, so what do you do? You regain your strength, refill your band lineup and write a vicious, technical barrage of relentless death metal. Carnival is Forever sounds different than any other Decapitated album but still sound like themselves—no easy task. But most importantly, Decapitated is back.

2. Tesseract One
I would never ever listen to this vocalist in any other band, but for whatever reason, he works with this “djent/polyrhythmic” style that’s so popular today. [We’ll miss you, Dan Tompkins—peep his Soundcloud. ~Ed.] However, Tesseract‘s approach is more tasteful and confident; not some djenty deathcore band showing off its ability to imitate Meshuggah. Their unique compositions work phenomenally well, and the album itself has a strong flow from start to finish. I hope these guys continue to push themselves because their potential is limitless.

1. Gentlemans PistolsAt Her Majesty’s Pleasure
Yup, this album rules. It’s not Metal but it definitely has some metal flavor, thanks to their new guitarist (some guy named Bill Steer who played in some band named Carcass). I can’t really explain why I like this album but I definitely listened to this more than anything this year. Since first reading Keith Spillett’s fantastic review on this very blog, I have been beyond addicted to it. It’s got a solid dose of Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Cream and even a little bit of metal here and there. For me, this was the true bright spot of the year. If I had to pick out some albums that I thought I would still be listening to in twenty years, this would be one of them. It’s real rock and roll.

~Cole Dougherty