Tag: Metal

No One’s Going to Take Me Alive

Check out this uber-cool video for Muse’s "Knights of Cydonia."



I’ve become a bit obsessed with this band since discovering them on Guitar Hero III. And this video’s got it all–it’s a pleasing mash-up of kung-fu, SF, fantasy, and western tropes. It’s got cowboys, laser guns, robots, a unicorn…What more could you ask for? (Okay, well, it would be cool if it all made sense somehow, but come on! It’s a music video!)

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iTunes Meme

An iTunes meme, stolen (as usual) from Andy Wheeler, who (as usual) stole it from Keith R.A. Decandido:

How many songs total: 5861
How many hours or days of music: 33.7 days
Most recently played: "The Dissentience" by Protest the Hero, from Fortress
Most played: "Blacken the Cursed Sun" by Lamb of God, off Sacrament (135 times)
Most recently added: "Goddess Gagged" by Protest the Hero, from Fortress

Sort by song title

First Song: "A.D.D." by System of a Down, off Steal This Album!
Last Song: "…" by Callenish Circle, off Flesh Power Domination

Sort by time

Shortest Song: "Invite Yourself In" by Ultraspank, off Progress (00:17)
Longest Song: "Iowa" by Slipknot, off Iowa (15:05)

Sort by Artist

First: The Absence
Last: 36 Crazyfists

Sort by album

First album: Above the Weeping World by Insomnium
Last album: 2000 Years of Human Error by Godhead

First song that comes up on Shuffle: "Midsummer Night" by Korpiklaani, from Tales Along This Road

Search the following and state how many songs come up:

Death – 541 (Probably because of the "death metal" genre labels; it probably would’ve been even more, but not all of my tracks are correctly labeled.)
Life – 132
Love – 42
Hate – 45
You – 249
Sex – 16 (14 of them due to White Zombie’s album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1)

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How to Appreciate Death Metal

It’s just a coincidence that my previous post had to do with death metal, but I was just looking up the origin of the term death metal to see when it was first used, and I came across this page on wikiHow called, "How to Appreciate Death Metal":

1. Learn about the history and characteristics of death metal. I bet that it’s more interesting and complex than you thought. Also, learn about all the stereotypes of death metal music and its fans and why they aren’t true at all. They are not all lazy, Satan-worshipping, animal-sacrificing psychos. They are actually normal people with family, friends and complex off-stage personalities.


It’s a pretty interesting read, and if you’ve always been baffled about why people listen to death metal, well, go check it out.

Also, see "How to Do Harsh Death Metal Vocals". If you still want to know more after that, there’s always The Zen of Screaming.

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Concert: Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Soilwork, and DevilDriver

So, I’ve done a number of interesting things lately that I feel I should have blogged about, but haven’t had time to do so, so let me attempt to rectify that.

First, on Nov. 30, I attended a concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom featuring Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Soilwork, and DevilDriver. I’ve been to the Starland Ballroom and the Roseland Ballroom, but never the Hammerstein before, and I can’t help but wonder at the fact that metal shows are being held in a place called a "ballroom." After seeing concerts there, it’s kind of hard to imagine them as ballrooms. The Hammerstein is the nicest of the three, I think, and the best for a concert, at least from my point of view as a 31-year-old who doesn’t want to get kicked in the face in the mosh pit. I sat up in the mezzanine on the advice of a friend, which turned out to be a great idea. There were actually chairs to sit down in, and the balcony gave me a great view of the stage, even though I wasn’t among the first people in line. I even got to sit in the chair for a good deal of the night; once Lamb of God came on stage (the third band to do so), it was pretty much standing from there on out (because everyone in front of me was standing).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m a huge fan of all four of these bands, so it was a rare treat to see them all at one show–there was no "filler" bands I had to sit through in order to get to the main event. I thought all four bands played really well live; of all of them, I thought Soilwork had the best overall set, mainly because all of the songs they played were ones I’m particularly fond of, and they didn’t do a lot (or any, as I recall) of that annoying "make the audience sing the lyrics" bullshit. (Mostly they played stuff off their most recent album, Sworn to a Great Divide.)

DevilDriver annoyed me a bit by playing several songs off their first album, which I don’t really like, and completely neglected their second album, which is great (with most of the songs coming from their most recent third album, which is also really good). I wasn’t sure how good they’d be live, as before their third album came out, they’d released a live recording of one of the tracks on their MySpace page, and it was really terrible. The song itself is great, but that recording? Man, I don’t know what they were thinking, the quality was just abysmal. But turns out they do sound really good live.

Similarly, I felt like Lamb of God played too much of their older stuff, which I think most of the fans enjoyed, but as with DevilDriver, I’m not as fond of their older stuff. To me, their most recent album, Sacrament, is pure genius, whereas their other albums I can appreciate for the craft, but I don’t really enjoy listening to them. (However, I’ve enjoyed their older stuff live more than I do on CD.) As is the case when I saw them the first time, by far their best live song–and their best song period–is the great "Blacken the Cursed Sun." Incidentally, LOG is the loudest fucking band I’ve ever seen live. They use a gigantic wall of speakers  on the stage, and I mean wall. To give you an idea of how loud, check this out: Between sets, I was listening to my iPod, and had it up pretty loud to drown out the chattering (and house music) around me. But when the roadies were setting up LOG’s equipment, and they started testing the drums, that first drumbeat scared the crap out of me. I mean, I had my iPod blasting and that drumbeat completely drowned it out. And, you know, the earphones were in my ears.

Killswitch Engage played a lot of older stuff, mixed in with the newer stuff, which was fine with me, as I like pretty much all of their stuff. I didn’t realize how popular they were though; I thought they them and Lamb of God were about equal when it comes to popularity, but it was clearly a Killswitch crowd, based on the sing-along portions of their set (which they did, unfortunately, pretty often–of course, they have a lot of actual clean singing in their songs, rather than screaming, so it makes more sense for them to do it). They closed their set off, with their encore, which was their brilliant cover of "Holy Diver" (originally by Dio). I’d encourage anyone who likes rock or metal to go check out that track on KSE’s MySpace page; it’s really one of the best covers I’ve ever heard–it really captures the essence of the original, yet sounds utterly like a KSE song; they made it their own while retaining all of what made the original so good. I’m glad they ended on that song; it’s a great choice for a closer. It’s odd, though–they have not one but two songs that seem ideal for closing numbers: "Bid Farewell" and "My Last Serenade." Though they didn’t end on either of those, they did play both of them.

Great bands, great venue, great show. If all concerts were that good, I’d go more often.

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Ticketmaster, oh, you know me so well…

I’m going to a great concert on Friday–Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Soilwork, and DevilDriver. I’m a huge fan of all four of these bands and this is pretty much the best multi-band bill I’ve seen.

I got the tickets from Ticketmaster, and after checkout they send me a coupon code for a free song from iTunes, which I thought was pretty cool. They also gave me access to a free multi-song sampler of "hand-picked" music. By "hand-picked" I thought that they meant the selections were chosen based on the concert ticket I bought. And so I thought, "Wow, that’s pretty cool, and a great way to cross-merchandise bands." However, this is the artist list of the sampler they gave me:

  • Motion City Soundtrack
  • Matt Nathanson
  • Mandy Moore
  • Galactic & Juvenile & Soul Rebels Brass Band
  • Bloc Party
  • Finger Eleven
  • Noisettes
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Ryan Shaw
  • Manic Street Preachers


Mandy Moore? WTF? In their defense, however, it was an email from Ticketmaster that notified me about the concert in the first place, so for that at least (and for the free iTunes song) I’m grateful.

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Trivium & Protest the Hero

I was just discussing music with Paul Tremblay via email, and I noticed that Trivium has their instrumental nigh-masterpiece The Crusade up on their MySpace page. I demand you go listen to it. Look, it’s instrumental, okay? There’s no screaming vocals, just blistering, bad-ass guitar work.

Also, while you’re at it, check out the video for “Heretics & Killers” by Protest the Hero. It’s bizarre–it’s got the band dressed up as the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, but they’re all in the real world and out of work. It really must be seen. Now, I’ll warn you all with delicate auditory sensibilities: They’re not nearly as accessible as the instrumental Trivium track, though they’ve also got some blistering, bad-ass guitar work.

Protest the Hero‘s rapidly becoming my favorite band, despite their limited amount of output thus far in their young careers. They seem to pilfer the conventions of various metal and punk subgenres, which when combined together form a unique sound. The instrumentation is complex, and so are the lyrics. Check out what it says about their album Kezia on Wikipedia:

Kezia is a “situationist requiem”, similar to a concept album in that it tells a story. It is an elegy of a young woman named Kezia, the supposed savior of mankind, and her execution that is thought to be able to save mankind from its poverty, after the killing of God. The story is chronicled in the perspective of three characters: The Prison Priest, The Prison Guard/Gunman, and Kezia herself. Each character is designated a section containing three songs, with a single retrospective finale concluding the album. The three characters represent an aspect of the bandmembers themselves, endowing artistic fingerprints to a deeply personal album.

Check out the lyrics too; they’re wild.

Incidentally, if anyone knows how to get a hold of PTH’s Search for Truth album, or any of the other songs listed under “other songs” on that lyrics page, let me know!

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Replay Music: Streaming Music Recorder

If you’re like me, and you hate it when bands stream a song on their MySpace page or wherever, but don’t let you download it, then this software is for you. Replay Music is a streaming music recorder, and as the ad copy says it’s incredibly easy to use. I’ve used it several times now, and every track has not only been simple to record, but its turned out perfect as well. You can download the program as shareware and get 25 free recordings out of it, and then if you want to keep it, it’ll cost you $39.95. You ask me, it’s totally worth it. 

See, the thing is, you give me a song to put on my iPod, you’ve dramatically increased the chances I’m going to buy your album. But you put it on your MySpace page, where I have to sit in front of my PC to hear it, it’s not going to help you much. And I want to discover new bands as much as those same bands want to be discovered by me and others like me, so everybody wins.

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Rock Arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon

If you like guitar at all, you have to check this out. Apparently, there was a whole internet phenomenon that I completely missed out on: this guy, known as funtwo, recorded audio and video of himself playing this kick-ass rock arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon, and posted it to a Korean website (which was later then posted to YouTube by someone else).

It’s really amazing just watching this guy play. Some of the commenters on YouTube said that it’s not *that* hard to play, but it’s a pretty cool video, watching this guy just play this technically stunning guitar, while displaying almost none of the emotion typically displayed by guitar players.

And to add to the coolness factor: no one knew who he was for months. But now there’s a New York Times story about him.

This makes me want to hear rock arrangements of more classical music.

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