Wednesday, January 11, 2006

O Heavy Metal, Cleanse this Noise from My Haunted Mind!

Today I taught grade 6 band...all day. 5 periods of 25-odd 11 year-olds stumbling their way through a layered rendition of Frere Jacques.

If I hear Frere Jacques one more time I think I may hang myself.

To cleanse this evil spectre from my mind I've been listening to heavy metal all day. I thought I'd talk briefly about some new CDs acquired through Christmas:

City of Evil-by Avenged Sevenfold
Disagree all you like but I think this was the best album of 2005. I was a punk rocker when it was uncool to like heavy metal. Very uncool. I also happened to be a staunch Guns N Roses fan in my youth. The one metal band it seemed was okay to like was Iron Maiden.

It just so happens that Avenged Sevenfold sound like the Misfits mixed with GNR and Maiden. Perfect. Arena metal with punk snarl and questionable lyrical content. Music seems dangerous again.

Epic punk metal tunes dedicated to late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell and Hunter Thompson with sweeping choral arrangements and flamenco guitars! Sweet Shitstick! Why don't you own this?

9.0 Live-by Slipknot
Now, I preface this discussion with the observation that for the past few months I have been distancing myself from metal. I used to live and breath it and sing it for that matter!

I have found myself listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Brian Wilson a lot. Slipknot (and singer Corey Taylor's side project Stone Sour) has been the one standby.

Slipknot are punishing, brutal, violent, melodic at times and a little scary. I've seen them live 3 times. They are the one band on earth of whom I would buy a live album without a second thought.

It begins better than any live album I've ever heard: a British guy's voice over the loudspeaker telling the audience that Slipknot will not be performing this evening right before the music begins. Beautiful. Drummer Joey Jordison (one of the most talented fellas working in rock music today) produces the album and thus added a drum solo of which I am not usually fond. His however was blistering.

Needs more cowbell though.

Masters of Horror Soundtrack-by Various Artists
I usually steer far clear of movie soundtracks that don't involve a score these days. Especially horror movie soundtracks containing heavy metal. I got this one on sale Boxing Day so I bit. And it's pretty good.

It is without the "lame remixes of a Marilyn Manson song by a guy from Linkin Park" type songs. This double disc has a lot of underground and indie metal bands of which I witnessed a few at the Sounds of the Underground festival. However, a lot of that falls flat to me.

Highlights are: "This is My Own" by Shadows Fall, "Nervous Breakdown" by The Bled (a cover, I know, but it does the original Black Flag tune justice), "End of the Road" by Murder By Death (winner of coolest band name on the album and most Nick Cave-ish sound), "Discover Me Like Emptiness" by In Flames, "Victoria Iceberg" by Bear Vs. Shark (winner of the third coolest band name) and "237" by Fear Before the March of Flames (you guessed it! they came in second).

It's got the "collaboration" song. Only this one's okay as it is a collaboration between psychotic kabuki-masked, Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket wearing guitar murderer Buckethead and Serj the singer of System of a Down. Not many people could come up with something as insane as "We Are One".

One thing is regrettable: live songs on a horror soundtrack. Because nothing's scarier than "Hello Cleveland!" The real shame is that they have live tunes from two bands who really deserve to have their music on this album: Mastodon and Avenged Sevenfold.

What's missing you ask? The horror! Slayer's "Dead Skin Mask." Satyricon. Cradle of Filth. Dimmu Borgir. Really edgy and scary shit.

Rosenrot-by Rammstein
One band I find myself coming back to over and over again. It seemed silly even buying their second album when I heard "Du Hast" on the radio. I knew in my mind that the novelty was going to wear off but it hasn't yet. 10 years later.

Their first album is still their most ferocious but these German metalheads seem to get better and better at writing music the older they get.

I love them and the German language was suited for heavy metal.

Their last album (Reise Reise) had singer Til Lindeman singing in English and Russian. This one has him singing in Spanish accompanied by Spanish Brass on "Te Quiero Puta!" (which I understand to mean: You Want Bitches!).

Click here to listen to the title track as well as watch its cinematic creepy video. Rammstein are known for making short films out of their music videos.

That is all.


3 Bitching, Moaning and Praise

Blogger Admin said...

Wow band class! Some of the craziest stories from high school come from either band class or french class.

9:10 pm  
Blogger Big Ell said...

Heavy metal rocks and congrats on little Cade. Hopefully he'll be playing the chords to Ironman before long.

6:33 pm  
Blogger Rick Geerling said...

Don't forget to throw a hearty helping of Anthrax into that Avenged Sevenfold equation. And I definitely agree with it being one of the best (if not the best) album of last year.

5:45 pm  

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