Tag: Metal

Free Music


Originally uploaded by slushgod.

I know, I know, it’s going to seem like I hate music. First, I’m giving away a piano, and now a couple of CDs. The thing is, I’ve already got these. When you order stuff from Century Media’s online store, they often give you free stuff, usually in the form of CD samplers. In fact, I’ve already gotten three sets of these; I’ve given one set away, but I don’t know who’d be interested in this other set, so it’s up for grabs.

Click here for a larger version of the image, on which you can probably read the track listing.

They’re both damn good compilations; I count about a dozen tracks between the two discs that I thought were very good or great; the others I mostly didn’t care for, or thought were decent, but nothing to get excited about. These two samplers resulted in me buying at least five albums (and might have resulted in more, except that I was already familiar with [and had the albums of] some of the bands who happen to have kick-ass tracks on the discs).

So anyway, first person to post a comment gets it. Be sure to include your email address in your post, so that I can contact you for your mailing address.

Update: CDs have been claimed (via LiveJournal comments).

Read More

eMusic and New Metal

I recently learned of a new online music store called eMusic, which offers a 14 day trial period, during which you can download 20 free songs. I checked it out pretty thoroughly during my trial period. Got 20 free songs out of it, so I was pretty happy with that, though they had quite a limited selection.

But I did discover at least one good band out of it: Gunmetal Grey. I’m really digging their album I downloaded from there. And holy crap, I just googled them to link to their website, and see on their MySpace page that they’re unsigned! Could have fooled me. This is good stuff. It’s firmly in the metalcore camp, with a mix of true hardcore growls with really clean melodic bits in the choruses. Somebody give these guys a record contract!

Which reminds me of a conversation I had with one of the guys manning a memorabilia table at the Viking museum exhibit. I was wearing my Killswitch Engage shirt, which he commented on, so we started talking about metal. I asked him if he liked Trivium, because they’re one of my favorite bands. He said he used to, but doesn’t like their new direction. That’s perfectly valid; I’m not entirely sure I approve of their new direction–I really loved what they did on their demo and first two albums–but I’ve heard three songs off the new album, and I have to say they all kick ass. It’s a very different sound; vocalist Matt Heafy has left behind the death vox screams in favor of a James Hetfield-esque growl; and like before, Heafy continues to contrast the harsher vocals with some clean melodic singing (which seems much improved since the last album). The instruments are as proficient as ever, and really freakishly so, considering these guys are all in their early twenties. (Of course, perhaps the most astonishing thing about them is that their demo, which is better than most professional produced albums, must have been recorded when Heafy was 15 or 16–and he not only provides the vocals; he also plays a blistering guitar.) But anyway–the thing that the guy at the Viking museum said that kind of stuck in my craw was that he disparaged Trivium’s melodic choruses, as if that were a bad thing. And this guy is certainly not alone in that opinion; I’ve seen a lot of other metalheads on online forums complain about that, not just with Trivium, but with any band that does that. This is not an opinion I share, and frankly don’t understand. To me, when a band shifts from a harsher riff to a melodic chorus, that contrast just makes the harder parts of the song seem all the more brutal. A non-stop barrage, with no melodic breaks, can feel like an attack; I don’t mind being bludgeoned by my music, but damn, give me a chance to take a breath once and a while.

Anyway–back to eMusic. Most of the other stuff I grabbed wasn’t that great. I got Darkest Hour‘s first album, which I think is just a demo; it’s not terrible, but I don’t particularly like it. Certainly not good like their other stuff. I’m still trying to find a way to buy their other recent albums on the cheap since iTunes still doesn’t have them for whatever reason. The WalMart Music store (which is cheap and has a great selection) has them, but I can’t play WMAs on my iPod. The thing is, I should be able to just buy them, then burn them to a CD, then I could re-rip the CD, and boom: DRM disabled. But my goddamn CD-R isn’t working for some reason. It just turns CDs into coasters.

I also got Days of Eulogy by Unearth, which is like b-sides or older stuff from demos or something. I never wanted to pay money for it because I didn’t particularly like their first album (and I expected Eulogy would be more of the same), though I loved their second (The Oncoming Storm), and the new one III: In the Eyes of Fire is equally kick ass. Eulogy is about on par with the first album, so I didn’t dig it too much. The other thing I got was most of Wolverine Blues by Entombed (didn’t have enough free tracks left to get the whole thing). It’s good, but I have a limited attention span for Entombed, and Wolverine Blues isn’t as good as the album before that, though it gets cool points for referencing everyone’s favorite mutant.

Some other music I’m really digging, which I might as well tell you about since I’m on a roll here, is the debut album by Mercenary, The Hours That Remain. If you click over to their MySpace page, you can listen to “Soul Decision,” the song that hooked me. This band is a bit unusual for me in that they feature clean vocals most of the time, with only occasional digressions into extreme vox (and the singer does both extraordinarily well). And as much as I like “Soul Decision,” there are songs on the album that are even better, and the rest are at least on par with it. So if you like that one, you’ll almost certainly dig the entire album.

Another band I’m very high on at the moment is Herod. Check out “That Green Feeling” and “Assimilation” for a good sampling of their stuff. And “Lies & Betrayal” is pretty awesome too, though it’s entirely clean singing (almost Iron Maiden-ish vocals), if that sort of thing bothers you.

And finally there’s Compos Mentis, a band who randomly friended me on MySpace, but damn, they’re pretty good. Thus endeth my seemingly quarterly music post.

Read More

eBay Bans Black Metal?

Blabbermouth.net is reporting that eBay is allegedly banning the sale of black/extreme metal on their site, claiming that it “promote[s] or glorif[ies] hatred, violence, or racial intolerance.”

It appears (again allegedly) to be due to complaints filed by some Christian groups. The funny thing about that is that though there are Satanic extreme metal bands (black metal), there are also Christian extreme metal bands (formed no doubt to oppose the evil black metalers and to battle for the souls of headbangers). And of course plenty of extreme metal has nothing to do with Satan or Christianity, so this is bullshit. Extreme metal doesn’t “promote or glorify hatred, violence, or racial intolerance” any more than any other genre of media–there’s angry lyrics, sure, but there’s plenty of violent movies out there; do they “promote or glorify” violence? Will those be banned too?

[Update: There’s an online petition here that you can sign to protest the banning.]

Read More

They might as well be singing in Klingon…

When I was going up to Readercon, one of the guys in the van with us (Chris Barzak) was telling us about how he lived in Japan for a few years. So I asked him had he ever heard of this Japanese metal band called Shadow over there (despite him not being into metal), and he said yes he had. And he seemed to indicate that they sang in Japanese, and so I thought well maybe he’s thinking of a different band, because the band I was thinking of sings in English. But then I stopped and thought, wait a minute… are they singing in English? So, later, I played a few tracks and tried to pay attention to the lyrics. And, well, as it turns out, I can’t understand a fucking thing that the singer says. Is it because she’s speaking Japanese?

The CD liner is of no help; there’s no lyrics inside. I guess I’d assumed they were singing in English because the song titles were there on the CD, in English. And I should point out that I think the band is great.  They’re amazingly accomplished musicians, and they play some seriously complex guitar melodies.  Not to mention the fact that the singer is a woman, but sings in such a great death metal growl that you’d never know her gender (or language of choice, apparently) by the sound of her voice. 

But I guess this all goes to show how important the lyrics of a song are to me. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate really good lyrics as much as the next guy, but clearly understandable vocals are not of the highest priority to me. I mean, I couldn’t even tell what fucking language they were speaking, and I didn’t even notice for months!

Read More

Hey, Look, I Get Published Without Even Trying

I opened up my new issue of Decibel today and discovered that my letter to the editor was printed (it’s in the July 2006 issue). 

In my letter, I praised them for being the best of the metal magazines I’ve encountered, and implored them to do a feature on instrumental metal.  And lo and behold, there’s just such a feature in this issue.  

Now that’s what I call customer service.



Read More

Some New Music

After all the research I’ve done to discover new metal bands, it’s nice to have them find me once and a while. See, MySpace *is* good for something.

First, this band, Behind the Scenery, contacted me. And it wasn’t just some random MySpace blast–they actually showed that they’d read my profile, enough to see who I cited as musical favorites and suggested I check them out since they’re similar to other bands I like. So I did, and they’re right–they’re similar, and they’re good. I’d’ve bought their indie-label albums already, but they’re German, and the exchange rate is a little high for my wallet ($25 for one album, though that does include shipping, I believe–still, too much for now). However, they do have several free songs available for download, so I’ve got them rocking my iPod. (There’s a few on their MySpace page, and a few more on their website.)

The other day, another band contacted me: Hung, and they hail from NYC, so they’re local. Like Behind the Scenery, they read my profile and made a targeted pitch. So I checked them out, and they’re good. And it turns out they’re having a free live show at the Continental in Manhattan on April 25. One of the guys musicians [not a guy] in the band–the one who emailed me, in fact–plays electric violin, a Juilliard-trained violinist, no less. I thought that was pretty cool; not what you usually see in a death metal band. As that might indicate, they have a pretty diverse sound–defintely worth checking out. There’s just one full-length song on their MySpace page, but you can listen to another of their songs (full-length) on their Battle of the Bands page. (Beware that link though–I tried following it twice in Firefox and it crashed by browser both times. I was able to get there in IE though.)

Besides these two bands, I’ve been on a bit of a musical binge lately. There’s a band I just discovered called Night in Gales. They’ve got a 4-song EP available on their website available for free download (there’s no direct link, so just look for the download page). I really dig all four songs, enough that I went out and bought one of their albums; alas, it wasn’t as good as those new ones. But I’ve only given it a preliminary listen thus far, so perhaps it’ll grow on me.

Another new band (well, an old band, but new to me) is Unleashed. They’ve got a couple free songs on their website too, for free download. Direct links are below. They’re all pretty kick-ass, and so is the album as a whole. I especially like “Winterland”–that was one of those songs that I just clicked with instantly and wanted to hear more. These guys are categorized as death metal, though they sound very thrash to me, albiet with a harder edge. They remind me a lot of Slayer, actually. Here are the free songs: “Winterland”; “Destruction (Of The Race Of Men)”; “Only The Dead”; “The Longships Are Coming”

Yet *another* new band is Scar Symmetry. They only had one free song to download, but it was enough to convince me to check out their album, and I’m glad I did. Though that song kicks-ass, it’s not the best song on the album, not by a long shot, which is a sign of a great album. Scar Symmetry is melodic death metal, but they have a really interesting take on that sound. Their line-up only lists one singer, but the vocals sound as if there’s dueling vocalists. A lot of singers shift between clean singing and death vox, but this guy probably has the most drastic range I’ve heard. He’ll go from really melodic singing, almost like the guy from Linkin Park, to this really deep, gutteral growl. It’s a nice effect that adds some nice dynamics to the music. They’re very melodeath in their complex guitar riffs, but it sounds like they add a bit of keyboards now and then (though they don’t credit a keyboard player in their line-up). And a nice bonus: it seems I’ve discovered them just in time to jump all over their second album, which comes out in May.

Read More


For all you Metallica fans out there, check this out: Kerrang! just released a special re-recording of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the classic album’s release. You can preview all the tracks here.

Or just go here and listen to what I’m guessing is going to be the best track: Trivium’s cover of the title track. It’s really quite awesome. They didn’t do anything new or original with it–they didn’t make it their own, as most good covers do. But it’s like a scene by scene remake of a film that somehow equals the original. Trivium are total Metallica fanboys, and they’re just totally true to that tune. Instrumentally, they sound almost exactly like Metallica, and vocally, Matt Heafy isn’t far off.

Read More


Holy shit, this bird is totally HARDCORE!!! Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself. What would the Wall Street Journal think of this?

via Scalzi (where I get all my avian death metal news).

UPDATE: In my haste to post about Hatebeak, I neglected to notice that there’s also a hardcore band with two pitbulls as its vocalists. “Caninus is members of Most Precious Blood with two pitbulls (Budgie and Basil) on ‘vocals’.” Most Precious Blood is a real band that I like, but their vocalist is definitely a human. Apparently, Hatebeak’s musicians are also from a real band–Triac–but I’ve never heard of them. Both albums, needless to say, are novelties–they’re not supposed to be serious.

UPDATE 2: And to bring everything in this post full-circle–what we need now, obviously, is for there to be a death metal band fronted by Frank Oz. (If that doesn’t make sense, you need to go read that WSJ article.)

Read More

In Flames Update

Okay, so the album kicks ass. I don’t know about it being the “heaviest and most creatively aggressive outing in years!” though. I mean, yeah, it’s clearly heavier than Soundtrack to Your Escape, which is the previous album, but it’s just about as heavy as Reroute to Remain, which was the album before Soundtrack. It’s not exactly going back to the savagry of Lunar Strain, but it is pretty awesome. Which is not to say that the heaviness of an album determines how good it is; I’m just questioning that quote on the package. As I said, I’m quite happy with the album–I’ve listened to it a couple times tonight already, and I really dig it.

As for the DVD–it actually has “videos” for the whole album (except for one track, which isn’t a regular song), but I put videos in quotes for a reason. The DVD is basically like one long video of In Flames in the recording studio. It’s stylishly shot though, and looks pretty cool.

Read More