Verbal warfare through radical ideals

Posts tagged “music

Asylum

Cool water rippled around my feet, as a brisk autumn wind thrashed my hair about.

The day was September 26th, 2014. I felt right at home here. I wasn’t home, however. I was a thousand miles north, with my legs hanging off a pier into clear water, in Lake George, New York.

Four years had passed since my ominous date with destiny. With everything crumbling around me, I didn’t have time to reflect on how it had changed me. While staring into the beauty of that emerald lake though, I lost myself. I had been through hell and back, and had done my best to try to shove as much of it as far down in the grave as it would possibly go. This day was different, though. Sitting peacefully with the chill of autumn whipping me in the face, it all came flooding back as if it had clawed right up my legs. It was the pain of remembering how much ground I’ve lost; a continuous sting of watching members and loyal bodies walk away without looking back. It was the multiple connections with women in the vain attempt to find love again after burying it myself, years earlier. It was compounded by the deaths of my last two grandparents, whose bodies were slowly taken by the crippling effects of living in a world where the vices and vigor of a person are two paths leading to the same end. It was the lack of vocational purpose, brought on by my own career suicide years earlier. It was the slow desertion of friends who had lost their zeal for the pact of kinship we had all signed in blood, and sweat.

It was my funeral, and every new defeat was another layer of dirt shoveled on top of me.

As my feet swayed back and forth in the water, waves swished in either direction. Flashes from the past year, and the past month still echoed. They were both realizations, and ones that had left me no closer to figuring out who I was, what I wanted or when I wanted it. But here I was, away from home, my family, and even the life I knew. This was the odd direction I had chosen to go.

My computer’s monitor was off, but I could hear the sounds of annoying children bickering at each other through my speakers. They were discussing angrily the aspects of restructuring their gaming community. That’s why I was there. What had initially been an easy task of cleaning up their member inactivity, designing a simple website with forums, and creating a communication server for them had turned into a month-long ordeal where I was made to babysit these kids every time they had a spat. One side of them argued that their glorious leader was being tyrannical, a common complaint among people in a power struggle. The leader was coward though, not an autarch. He hid behind a series of diseases and disorders that were more than likely fiction, and when it came to significant decisions, he deferred to my judgment, regardless of the fact I was an independent party in their silly online passion play. I understood my position, and the people had a respect for me that I neither deserved nor demanded. Their gaming guild was pathetic, and one that, despite my best efforts to clean up, was doomed to fail within six months if they didn’t stop acting like children. I hated them. I hated all of them, and my fake smile was held up only by the sheer miracle that I was being paid for my assistance. I wished a swift death to their community, as it was a toxic environment that bred everything I couldn’t stand for. I longed for the days where my friends were right there with me; our legion’s influence both unpredictable and powerful, forcing people to question the nature of the world around them. It was a better time. I couldn’t stand to listen to the incessant whining anymore. I clicked the sound off, and sat in silence. There wasn’t a point in announcing my departure. They wouldn’t care anyways.

I had left my Jeep parked in the elementary school’s parking lot 500 feet away. Leaving it alone at night wouldn’t harm it, as this was my old school, and I knew the area better than most. I strolled around the side of the building, staring into the large windows as I passed them. They had the intentional design of being able to see from one end of the building to the other, straight through the upper walkway of the cafeteria. The school was showing its age, but it smelled the same; a mess of weathered brick and mortar, an old library full of books in poor condition, and the rusting sheets of aluminum from the portable buildings fifty feet from the side doors. This was definitely the same place I had been less than fifteen years ago. It brought back bitter-sweet memories of self-worth, from reading to kids in higher grade levels, as well as my first kiss. Things were simpler then, and I longed for a person to communicate my frustration to. They never came. I trudged out to the school playground, past the cracked blacktop of the basketball court. It was a larger than average park; one that kids would drool at out their passenger side windows as they drove by it. In the center was a dome-shaped jungle-gym that reached at least eight feet into the air. I scaled up the hexagonal bars on all fours, recreating my childhood internally in that hope that I could escape the life that had somehow strangled me. I laid there and planned at the top of the dome. Staring into the light polluted sky above me, I realized I couldn’t even see the grandeur of the stars if I wanted to. It had all become hopeless, and I came to terms with the idea of ending my life that night. There was nothing left for me, and not a thing that could bring me joy again. In that moment, I hit my lowest point.

My head hanged low. I leaned up, my hands moving to wipe hot tears from my cheeks. I pulled my shirt collar up, drying my face and clearing my blurry vision. As I pulled my shirt back down, my hand brushed against something small and rectangular in my pocket. I struggled with the object momentarily, having to force it from its now lodged position. It sprang from my pocket with a push of my index finger, and though in the dark I could tell instantly that it was my iPod. The earbuds had been wrapped around the case as usual, and had become tangled in the confines of my pocket. I hated knots, and I decided at once that I had to fix this issue.  In the process of untangling, I accidentally hit the “play” button, and the screen illuminated with the image of Disturbed’s album cover for Asylum. I had been listening to the album earlier that evening, and had stuffed the device in my pocket on pause as I left the house. Untying the last knot, I clicked the back key six times from “The Animal”, to “Remnants”.  I slid the earbuds deep into my ears, and cranked the volume to a degree that would drown out the noise in my head. The guitar solo ended, and the BOOM of the track change signaled that “Asylum” was starting. I banged my head. Hard. It was all I could do to make the pain subside. It was the only reasonable action, and I committed to it like a ritual. When the song finished, I listened to the next track, “The Infection”. Then the next. Another. When the album finished, I threw on “Indestructible”. Three more albums went by, and when I finished, the sun had begun to creep over the Eastern horizon. I climbed down off the jungle-gym, and began a jog to my car. I had to get home. There was no time to waste on any of these thoughts, anymore. I still had one thing to be grateful for. Disturbed as a band had freed me from bullies in the past. Now they had saved my life once more, by reminding me that I still had something to live for. If I left now, I could never listen to Heavy Metal again. I could never go out and find the person I want to be with. I could never reunite my friends under one roof. I could never recover from my economic depression. I could never inspire someone again. My chest pounded with the words that begin Asylum. They’re two powerful words of defiance, proclaiming one’s will to survive. On my birthday of 2014 , I declared my insecurities, my fears, my weaknesses, and my despair to all…

RELEASE ME.

In Asylum (I live a lie)
I let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
(without you) this world is not fulfilling me.

20140928_153717

~Jake


The Return of the Darkness and Evil

Stars filled the darkened sky, and the night was quiet. A man and woman lay face to face on a hill, sealed in warm embrace. Their foreheads pressing together, they breathed deeply in harmony. A resounding comfort could be felt surrounding the two of them, and they gripped each other tighter. This was a moment of relaxation, and it couldn’t be broken by anyone, or anything. Cold wind beat against the back of the woman, giving her a chill. She giggled, and the man leaned up with a grin to remove his long overcoat. As he draped it over her shoulders, they both looked up to admire the view. It was painted in celebration of their freedom this evening, and a brightly dotted skyline was a gift fit for anyone. The man reflected on this year of pain, which brought him to the top of this lonely hill in the countryside.

Visions of sorrowful family members appeared, all mourning the death of his recently deceased father. His grief however, was ignored. His love of darker music, evident to his devout family had pushed him out of their circle of importance. They shunned him, and looked down upon him as if he was not one of their own. His persona was just clothing that he couldn’t take off, and they treated him as an outsider for it.  Their condescending gazes cut through him like a razor, and in-turn shoved him into a closet, where razors themselves were his only friends. Severe depression coalesced with acute inadequacy, and only a sacrifice of flesh and blood kept the world from overtaking him. Forsaken by his kin, he wept alone in dim corners, while riffs tore viciously at his ears through an old pair of headphones. Cracking snares made his ears ring, and he listened to the comforting shrieking of a ghoul at the head of the band. Only these lyrics could understand suffering as he did. Only these few people could make an acceptable noise to play him through this slump. Only he could grasp the power behind the words, and bring a meaning of his own to them. Only through this sound could somebody love him.

The woman closed her eyes and flashed back to the surroundings that drove her to this hill. She recalled the office; the grey walls of flimsy plastic enclosing around her like a prison of the mind. False faces mingled with the magniloquence of narcissistic colleagues; it was an exercise where they all drowned each other in an effort to remain afloat in the ocean of white-collar purgatory. She sighed while spinning around in her chair. Boredom and insignificance clutched onto her like a sickness. She hated all of this. This day meant nothing to her, and the work she “accomplished” today would be the same chore she scorned tomorrow. She wanted to be in a crowd of that which is loud, breathing in sweat and alcohol as she screamed her lungs out at her favorite group on stage. The silence stabbed her in the temples, inducing a strong headache. Home was no consolation, at all. Either out of desperation or loneliness, she chose to remain with the man who simply noticed her first. He expected much though, and upon entering the door she knew that only housework and cooking awaited her, followed by copious amounts of faith-based guilt. If she was expected to remain his woman, she would eventually have no choice but to live under a creed she didn’t share, with pseudo-morals that he didn’t even follow. Her life was a deplorable sideshow; a regrettable story that only went in a circle. Death and taxes sounded much more friendly, so long as she didn’t have to witness part two. This was not how she imagined life would go at this point, and with love now ingrained as a tyrant who sought to strip her of her identity, she longed for a day where she could simultaneously be herself, and be with others who understood this virtue. She desired a life where she could be as loud as she wanted to, and say the words she denied herself daily. She snapped out of her daze, and out of her illusion of normality. She was not of the grey world. She was different. Tonight would change everything. She would change everything. She would show her true color (or lack thereof), and it was black.

The crowd in the club was rowdy and rambunctious; this show would be a night to remember, and the masses of people swarmed with excitement. A sea of black shirts comprised this concert, as is the law at all metal performances. The house lights became faint, and with it grew the sound of the people, now buzzing with glee. The squeal of a pick hitting the string sounded, and the room erupted into chaos. Bodies soared on a sea of outstretched arms, while bottles and clothing articles flew aimlessly through the air. It was a scene of perfect insanity, and just another day in the lives of Metalheads. As if by a spark of fate, strobe lights flashed endlessly, while two sets of eyes met across the room. A handsome guy with long dark hair caught pulsating glimpses of the eyes of a beautiful girl buried beneath strawberry curls from the far corner of the pit. The two wandered mindlessly toward one another, loss in a lapse of wonder. The pounding clash of cymbals and snares echoed against the apocalyptic riff, and the two lost souls came together in a minute of clarity.

On a hill miles and hours away, these two lonely children of the riff came together to enjoy the twilight after their unforgettable meeting at the show. This wasn’t just venting the rage, despair, and isolation they felt at the hands of others; this hill would be where they consummated their metamorphosis. The man pulled out a pack of smokes. Ejecting one cigarette from the box, he gripped it with his lips and reached into his other pocket to grab his matches. With a quick swipe across the striking surface, the match ignited and he lifted it to his mouth. Before the fire touched the end of the cigarette, however, the woman plucked the lit match from his fingers and ran off down the hill. When she reached the bottom, she turned around and waved to him. She swiftly crossed a parking lot and accidentally kicked over a can of gasoline haphazardly placed on the curb. With a flick of her wrist, the burning stick sailed effortlessly into the waiting puddle at the foot of a church. The woman bolted back across the lot and onto the grassy hill where the man sat waiting. As she took her seat next to him, she leaned her head on his shoulder, smiling from ear to ear. The man smirked, and kissed her on the head. Almost in unison, they began to recite the words of the father of black metal, as the chapel stood ablaze for all to see.

“Then the clouds of death shall gather
then the night shall always burn
then the ancient prediction comes true
and the bells of fate chaime
THE RETURN…”

Fenriz, early 90's

Fenriz, early 90’s

-Jake


Devour

Dusk came, and the night brought the appealing prospect of a new beginning.

My hand gripped the wheel tight, becoming an anchor to the shaking sensation that was trying to control my every action. Trembling was not a sign of confidence, and if there was anything I desired at that moment, it was the facade of unfazed arrogance. I played an inspiring song in my head, turning the truck around to face the screen. It was another mistake in a night where oversight was determined to stomp all over my dreams.

I forced my foot to stop tapping; I knew this was a blatant retaliation of my body against my mind. The movie had already started, but it was irrelevant. It wasn’t my focus, nor did it hold the answers I sought. My eyes crept slowly to the right, more than likely in a manner less subtle than I believed it to be. Her top, a cream or pearl shade (I’m terrible with colors), held a mesh screen at its heart; the revealing neckline simultaneously alluring, and provoking to my more carnal desires. The top ended with a thick black belt, giving way to dark azure flairs of smooth cloth. Her legs, both strong and commanding, flowed down into a pair of shoes that tip-toed across my line. These devil-may-care heels were as heavy metal as you could get without stepping into evil territory. Black and studded with the softest of pseudo-spikes; it was her way of showing me she meant business. Very seldom does clothing choice inspire a sense of intrigue, but this ensemble was just good enough to fuck with me in all the wrong ways.

I sat back in my seat, attempting to lean the chair back in the vain hope that I would stop being awkward, and start being both sweet and charismatic. She grinned, the outline of her face glowing brilliantly in the reflective light of the projected screen. Whether it was a cinematic joke or an inner acknowledgement, this jovial moment struck a spark within me, setting ablaze the pyre on which I left my doubts to die.

The center console suddenly became a nucleus; a conduit that juxtaposed the chaos of my sound to the calm of hers. Fingers danced against each other in a ballet of intertwined affection. Eyes locked through lenses of plastic and acid. Her past was a cloudy mystery that gave me hope and hunger; mine, a decade of aggression that was shoved forward by haste and hatred. None of it mattered at that moment. I was lost, clawing softly for just a few more seconds of her warm fingers and delicate tendrils. The movies passed without a hitch. Stimulated by a few shared hours of epic battles and ultra-violence, I turned my eyes to the journey home, angry at nightfall for its brevity, and dawn for its swift approach.

The highway’s blur of grey flew under our feet as the soft blues rhythm of the guitar played over the speakers. Swaying melodies and soft cymbal splashes set the tone and the speed of our comfortably quiet ride. I turned my head slowly, almost trepidantly, towards her. Relaxation encompassed her in both mind and body, as she leaned her head to the side, dozing in peaceful respite. Her chest rose and sank with each breath, as an undeniable spring of relief washed over me. We had a good time, and her moment of security was the only assurance I needed.

As we pulled up to the front drive, her eyes gazed over at me. Beneath her comedic remarks about “being happy she could go to bed”, she grappled with an exhaustive look of gloom on her face. She had a good time, and I knew what she felt. I didn’t want it to pause, and it felt like an act of cruelty to do so. I just wanted her to be close. We walked slowly to her car. Inconsiderately slow. As we reached the driver’s side door, she quickly opened the door and threw her purse like a brick in a riot. Now facing each other at the end of the day’s fun, she turned her gaze up towards me. Lust met a momentary lapse of true happiness, and I graciously accepted this outcome with suppressed elation.

“Lay it on me,” she exclaimed with arms outstretched. Her scent was poison, and in that moment we locked lips for a split second. Mutually surprised by its initial display, we retracted.

“Again?” I asked with a smirk, already instigating a second encounter. She nodded, and we returned to our lock. Tongues met teeth and each other as they moved in playful repetition. When we released, all I was left with was a fading taste of her presence.

As her car slid effortlessly down the street, away from me and my newly found chasm of loss, I walked into the house, and trudged back to my room. As I collapsed on the bed, I stared up at the ceiling, clinging desperately to every single image, sound, scent, and touch of warmth I could recall. I held my phone tight. I couldn’t sleep. I knew I’d miss her if I closed my eyes.

My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    My pain is not ashamed to repeat itself
    
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    I can’t sleep until I devour you
    
    and I’ll love you,
    if you let me
    and I’ll love you,
    if you wont make me stop…

-Jake


Heavy Metal

Greetings, children.

While I may be the writer that you all know me as, and I may dabble from time to time in the realm of philosophy, I’m undoubtedly sure that most of you know me as a die-hard Heavy Metal fan. I’m sure this comes to no surprise for most, as the vast majority of my posts are lovingly titled in homage to a metal tune of some sort. I quote lyrics daily to strangers on social media, and in my gaming community alike. I’m constantly whistling or singing along to a new song that has become stuck in my mind. (I probably cycle anywhere between 10 and 20 songs on any given day)

Needless to say, I love Heavy Metal.

Despite how much adoration I have for the genre that carried me through my adolescence, and continues to do so today, all is not well in paradise. Metal has sustained a wound that refuses to close, and though many people would view it as a form of diversity, they’re only ignoring a continuous problem that Metal faces every year. The growing catalog of ridiculously unnecessary sub-genres has become a problem that not only forces people into senseless debates over the interpretation, and appropriate titling of bands; it dilutes the entire genre of Heavy Metal.

Assuming that what I’ve proposed to do here is indeed, “dissect various sub-genres of metal and effectively reassign them to an appropriate new blanket-genre”, I should undoubtedly go over a few of the classes of metal that need to stay, since there are so many good ones that cover the broad spectrum of the shredder’s rainbow.

  • Heavy Metal– It’s fair to say it’s not going anywhere. The widely accepted definition is the first, and it shall remain. This is what we shall base the origin of Metal with: “With roots in blues-rock and psychedelic-rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness.”
  • Thrash Metal– Its spot is safe. In order to slim down thrash, we would have to completely toss out speed-metal, and forget about Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, and Pantera. It’s not happening.
  • Death Metal– Easily the most broad definition in all of this genre’s history. Death could use slimming, but it’s so broad, I almost view it as an impossibility. One could also make the assertion that the benefits of Death’s creation significantly outweigh the negatives.
  • Black Metal– This sub-genre gave rise to some of the most powerful, and well-known names in the business. To get rid of Black would be a disgrace to the progressive styles of our European friends. It stays.
  • Power Metal– One could argue that Power has been slowly deteriorating over the years, but I’d like to believe that it has only become broader in definition. Power Metal has always been uplifting, and goes through various stages of harmonic glory that one can’t simply discard.
  • Doom– This genre, I will discuss later. Yes, it will be dissected. Not for the purpose you think, though. Doom stays, because it is the closest we have to the origin of metal. It’s also going to receive top-honors in the end, as we trim a bit of fat off of its name and dispose of the extras that are riding along behind it.
  • Nü Metal– While I understand it is indeed a hodgepodge of both good and bad ideas, Nü has brought forth some of the greatest groups of the late 90’s, and early 2,000’s. It would be a tragedy to throw out some of the finer elements of Korn, Slipknot, Disturbed, Godsmack, Otep, early Linkin Park, and even Coal Chamber. For the sake of history, Nü-Metal will retain its spot.
  • Industrial– I couldn’t rightfully get away with losing Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Kidneythieves, Combichrist, or Nine Inch Nails simply out of convenience. No, they will keep their spot because industrial as a whole has grown stronger in the world of metal, and I like it right where it’s at. Necessary only to the beat and to the constant remixing and blank-filling that it allows in metal.

These are the groups that are staying. Now that you’re all happy that I’ve kept your favorites, it’s time to break out my wood-chipper to shred some useless garbage, as well as the clay to sculpt a few new genres that should stand in the place of numerous others. I’m fully aware that makes me sound like a bit of a hypocrite, but I’m willing to take that risk if you’ll let me attempt to convince you.

Metalcore– Since this sub-genre alone is arguably responsible for over 60% of the atrocities that have been committed in the name of Heavy Metal, I’m going to start here.  While Sepultura and Pantera have been credited for giving birth to this monster, you may rest easy knowing that may not be entirely true. While Sepultura has implemented various rhythmic changes in their albums, as well as quite possibly bringing the infamous “breakdown” to life, they are assuredly a thrash metal group, and will remain as such. It also would be a tragedy to pry Pantera from their home of thrash, so I will not offend them.

What follows is a list of the multitudinous absurdities that have been combined in triple-hyphenated fashion in order to justify the creation of a Metalcore group:

<Please note that while I respect Melodeath, Math, Viking, Medieval, Industrial, Progressive, and Deathcore, they will also be used as a reference for the point of bringing light to the issue>

Funk, Groove, Stoner, Neo-Classical, Math, Death, Nintendo, Post-metal, Folk, Djent, Symphonic, crossover, Teutonic, classic, sludge, Prog, Power-prog, Glam, crab, Pirate, Wizard, Viking, extreme, hardcore, punk, Latin, Industrial, Death ‘n’ roll, grind, goregrind, Celtic, Pagan, Christian, avant-garde, experimental, break, drone, gothic, anarcho, crustpunk, unblack, Dark, Cello, Rap, trance, dub, psychedelic, NSBM (National-Socialist-Black-Metal), WP (White Pride), Screamo, crunk, Electronicore, Mall, Satanic, and yes… Anal Distortion.

Every single one of these have been used at one time or another to describe a band, sub-sub-sub-genre, or an album. My head spins just thinking about how much psychological-conditioning it takes for one not to bash their face into a wall at the sight of a band who uses three hyphens to describe what type of music they play. Virtually all of the list above can be tossed out, with the exception of the fundamental names I have already listed as necessities of the original genre itself.

Why? Why would I go and throw out a gigantic wall of sub-subs that might very well hold relevance and beauty to Heavy Metal if put to the test? Because, they already exist and are well-known elements of bands, and songs that we all remember so fondly. I can name thirty bands off the top of my head who use Neo-Classical riffs, and folk instruments on a nearly daily basis. You know what they have in common? None of them would sell their dignity in order to cling to the idea that they’re “Neo-classical-Celtic-Stoner-Prog-Metal”. That bullshit has to go, which is why I’ve just done it for you. It’s gone. Good riddance.

Now, don’t fear for the future of Core. Core is also going to retain its spot, regardless of the plethora of filth that seems to never get wiped off its boots. Metalcore is widely-regarded as one of the best things to come out of Metal, and I can’t say I’m inclined to disagree. It wouldn’t be the same without Trivium, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Atreyu, Soilwork, or Diecast. Yes, Core has a bright future so long as it holds on tight to the basics that make that genre so good. What drags it down is when they allow a disgusting mix of undisciplined sounds to diffuse the power of what we all know already works. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for progressive sound. It’s one of the best things about metal, is allowing bands to experiment and create new tunes with odd time-signatures, untapped instruments, and mixing that brings a new perspective to the genre. What I don’t like, is when five dipshits under the age 0f 21 all grab a fender and play half-ass slow riffs, call it a “breakdown”, use a drum-machine in place of an actual drummer, trade-off who gets to play keyboard, and then auto-tune the vocalist so people don’t know they sound like garbage. You may be laughing right now, but if you have seen as much destruction to the beauty of metal as I have, you would know it happens alarmingly often. It would seem record labels have lowered their standards, and are now paying these children to make a quick buck, just so they can toss them out next year and churn the mixture to produce another terrible band with the same sound, and new members. Let this be your only warning, Metalcore fans. If you don’t stand by what Core originally was, it’s cursed to become something you won’t recognize.

I know at this point, some of you might feel I’m just another purity-obsessed Metal-head who can’t stand new bands joining because it takes attention away from older ones. I’m here to dispel that notion, right now. If that was the case, I would also have to throw out almost every band after 1990, which I don’t intend to do by a long shot. New metal is great, and I love hearing it. What I don’t like, are pretentious children who think they know better than those who came before them, and want to implement the most bizarre styles to a genre that is just fine so long as you’re decent at musical composition, and you can fret/drum/sing/growl/scream with the best of them. I’m even willing to allow the repetition and lack of vocabulary if it sounds like you put some time into it. Ozzy Osbourne, a man who was practically illiterate after leaving school– helped form Black Sabbath and his own solo group while crafting some of the most-praised lyrics of all time. It takes a creative genius to be good in metal, and I grant anyone that can master it my undying loyalty.

Lastly, I want to dissect a range of sub-genres that I have come to love, but I feel that they should be adopted into a broader genre that I have created for them. The sub-genres of Doom, Stoner, Psychedelic, Classic, and Neo-Classical all are redundant and and overlap each other in multiple spots. While Doom stands on its own two legs, many people don’t understand what entails being a Doom group, and will therefore lump many bands that don’t belong there simply out of convenience. I’ve never heard a song from The Sword, or Baroness that should be classified as Doom. Katatonia, who is one of the main groups that come to mind when Doom is mentioned, is capable of so many varied genres that to limit them simply to Doom is almost restraining. There are also, of course, bands such as Black Pyramid and Dawnbringer, who are known for incorporating the finest elements of the classic Metal sound, as well as strong waves of Medieval riffing, alongside a generous helping of Neo-Classical harmonics. They also, are somehow inhabitants of Doom, and yet they don’t fit the description. I also wish to rid the world of the idea of “stoner”, metal. I find it to be an insulting term that clearly implies that the music is designed to pander to those who are lovers of weed (alongside copious amounts of droning,  reverberating guitar chords as well as psychedelic echoes, of course). It adds no substance to the band itself; instead it promotes the band as being limited to a certain demographic, and I would think that would annoy the group more than anything else. Because of all these reasons, it has has led me to believe that we need one blanket genre to support bands that don’t quite fit in with any of ’em.

This genre is dedicated entirely to the idea of retaining the classic sound of Heavy Metal, as well as promoting the folk instruments, Neo-classical sound, and the rich tri-tone of classic metal groups. At first, I couldn’t decide what to call it. I wanted it to revolve around the idea of the band that best represents the origin of Metal: Black Sabbath.

Seeing as how “Black Metal” is taken though, I’ve had to resort to a much more technical idea. The name of this genre is indicative of everything you would hear from the fundamentals of classic metal albums; single solos that stretch over a minute, simple distortion, and the loud studio sound that you would expect from such a powerhouse group. When people hear of Sabbath now, they recognize them for the classics they put out. It is seemingly everyone’s first encounter with metal, and for this reason I have concluded that there can only be one title for this genre:

Primary Metal

This genre perfectly describes all of the elements of why it is necessary to keep them separate from their brothers and sisters. They seek to establish a classic mindset to new sounds. It’s the best of both worlds, in one broad package. You don’t even have to tread on the feet of other bands to do it. Candlemass is perfectly content being the grandfather of Doom. The Sword however, fits quite nicely as the head of this brave new world of metal; a realm that recognizes and reveres the sound put out by bands such as Sabbath, Maiden, Pentagram, Motorhead, and Judas Priest. They don’t want to mimic it; they want to enhance it.

I hope some of you will take away a fresh understanding of the genres of metal. I know some people will want to remain neutral and keep to the idea of, “It’s musical taste! Who are you to say what should and should not be?”, and that’s absolutely fair. However, I only want to help grow the idea of metal, and in order for newer, better bands to grow out of sub-genres to spawn their own ideas of the genre, sometimes you have to shave off some of the trash that is trailing around behind them. These quadruple sub-genres only limit the image that bands can have for themselves, and it gives idiots a very narrow view of what Heavy Metal is from the perspective of an outsider. This genre is so much more than most people can imagine, and if people can unite under as few banners as possible, Metal can once again overcome the non-stop drivel of horrible, anti-intellectual music that pollutes the minds of people everywhere.

It’s your one way ticket to midnight
Call it Heavy Metal
Higher than high, feelin’ just right
Call it Heavy Metal
Desperation on a red line
Call it Heavy Metal noise

-Jake


My New Music Blog

Evening children!

After much deliberation, I have decided to open a secondary blog, dedicated strictly to the review, appreciation, and idolization of Heavy Metal (because that’s how I roll).
If you’re a fan of my writing style, can appreciate the messages in many of my posts, or can relate to Heavy Metal and wish to seek out various new bands and songs you may have never heard of otherwise, please check out my page! I will, of course continue to update this blog with my personal arbitrary observations, but this other page will be a progressive step towards bringing a positive light on Heavy Metal in a world where it has long since lost its resonance. Thanks people! The link for the “Messenger of Metal” blog is below!

www.messengerofmetal.wordpress.com


-Jake


Nowhere To Go

Long time no see children. I’ve been gone awhile, and I will explain my lengthy absence in detail in my next post.

First however, I’m going to share a story on this most joyous of evenings.
As the cold wind whipped my shoulder-length hair back across my black leather jacket’s collar, I relaxed against the front quarter panel of my 1967 Ford Mustang. My hands in my pockets, refusing to stop fumbling for something to occupy them while I attempted to cloak my nervousness. The door to the awkwardly painted turquoise house stood ajar, with loud, expectantly zealous squeals from multiple young females within. As they began filing out of the door, a large figure emerged from behind the herd. The patriarch of the family, complete with wrinkle-free plaid shirt, as well as over-starched beige dress slacks, stepped out towards the car to intimidate me. With dull, hostile eyes gazing downward at my ensemble of black leather jacket, black jeans, black combat boots, and a Disturbed Tee, it wasn’t difficult to grasp that he did not trust me in the slightest with the lives of two of his daughters, as well as two of their friends in my muscle car. A quick handshake, a second glance into my backseat, and a nod were all I received before he went back inside. Not before he uttered the cliché warning bestowed upon all potential boyfriends by the father of their date.

” You let anything happen to my daughters, this’ll be yer’ last Halloween”.

I climbed into the car, met by the sounds of chattering females filling the cabin. Discussions on trick-or-treat locations, Halloween parties, and church events were spewed out all at once, forcing the girls to continuously raise their volume in order to state their ideas. As I gripped the leather steering-wheel cover tight, I came to the realization quickly that I hadn’t signed up for a date; I had become a chauffeur service.

As I chastised “the stupid, sucker Jake” for once again falling into another ploy at the hands of this young girl and her cult of freshmen vultures, the unanimous voice of the council was heard all at once.

“Let’s go visit Glenda”!!

Normally, I wouldn’t have protested; this “Glenda” lady was the girlfriend of an older sibling to the girl I was attempting to date. She was also incredibly handy, as she would take the annoying chorus off my hands anytime I felt it was the proper moment to regain my sanity. She would be their ride, and it allowed me the freedom I so desired. Glenda was good for me. But not this time. We were coming over unannounced, and Glenda was a busy woman who didn’t do social visitations without a phone call ahead of time, or at least text message of warning. This gave me the grim impression that I would be with these loud children for the remainder of the flight, and I wanted to grab the parachute and bail so bad I could taste it. Visions of an actual enjoyable evening teased me, as I played with thoughts of a movie marathon, cheap scares at a nearby haunted house, or even the thrill of a bit of Hallow’s Eve-inspired vandalism. These delusions were fleeting though, as the giggling sound of the sirens surrounding me reminded me of my current purgatory. Passing a nearby soccer field, I caught a glimpse of a small pond at the edge of the turf, placed almost in Kodak fashion in front of a small viewing area with a white gazebo to complete the portrait. I remember distinctly pondering to myself as I carted the girls down the busy highway street, “wouldn’t that be a prime location to enjoy the evening quietly”?
As I turned the corner, I pulled up slowly to the monumental house. Coincidentally enough, the girls usually picked Glenda’s house for a camping spot as she was reasonably wealthy, sporting a fairly large in-ground pool, as well as a home theater system, pool table, and several other trivial goodies that made it a kid’s wet dream. She was also located in one of these neighborhoods that were “safe”, and by that I mean they had gates, a man patrolling the streets as a form of pseudo-security, and well-lit sidewalks by Victorian-fashioned street lamps. However, undoubtedly the reason these obscenely rich individuals felt most comfortable here, was because this burg was almost completely devoid of black people. It was a relic; a warp that transported only the most vain people into a block of absolute ignorance of the world around them. (But I digress, this story is not about the socioeconomic trends of those with money. I’ll save that for another day.)

While the girls filed into the front door, I was met by the cautious, untrusting gaze of Glenda. Her eyes told me everything I needed to know. She believed I was simply there to inhabit the space of her future sister-in-law, and that my presence was a burden on not only her, but the entire family in which I had become involved with. None of them honestly took too long to classify me; I was simply an invader who wished to do harm to each and every one of them systematically. I was a perfect stranger, and one of whom most of them believed to be completely disposable. As often as I was informed that I was in good hands with them, this unit of the moral majority spent the majority of their time making some pretty immoral prejudgments. As I strolled inside the main foyer of this mansion, stereotypical examples of postmodern art lay strewn over the walls as carelessly as they were created. Nothing but lines, boxes, and polygons as far as I was concerned, and only those who were desperately seeking to seem intellectual sought these works to instill a sense of inferiority in the viewer. Upon reaching the theater room down the hall, I was disappointed to find that not only would I undoubtedly receive no intimacy with the lady I desired, there would also be no opportunity for social interaction with her. The room, packed to the brim with a dozen adolescent females had become a nest of estrogen, craving snacks and slasher films to entertain them into the wee hours of the morning. Knowing I would have no place in this festival, I quietly turned around and headed back towards the front door. As I exited, a sharp stab of hesitation crossed my mind.

“Should I just let Glenda take them off my hands”?

The question rang clear momentarily, until I returned to the age of reason. I didn’t belong here to begin with. The father hated me the same as any other date’s father. The girls disregarded me as just another ride to get somewhere. The lady I was trying so hard to impress, didn’t just play hard to get. She played hard to please, hard to contact, hard to not irritate, and hard to not kill after a night of tolerating her bullshit. I realized then, it wasn’t worth destroying myself over, and they would get a ride home regardless, because rich chick didn’t want to piss off her boyfriend’s parents, because she had been with them so long already she ACTUALLY had something to lose. No. This was my night. These harlots weren’t about to ruin it.

My sanity intact, I quickly jumped into my cherry red mustang and took off down the street, blasting Slayer’s “Ghost of War” so loud that these four-car garage having, Cherub loving, spiteful businessmen and women probably thought that the apocalypse was upon them, and I had the soundtrack. As I sped down the three-lane highway, I caught a glimpse that made me slam on my breaks. The pond with the gazebo lay across the street, beckoning me towards it with welcome arms. I immediately turned onto the small dirt road leading out to the soccer fields. As I pulled my car up to park, I noticed a small blue SUV occupied the lot. The two wayfarers of the vehicle, already sitting on benches under the canopy of the ivory painted gazebo, averted their gaze my direction. The one closest to me was dressed as an air force helicopter pilot, clad in forest green gear, and a backpack as well as a large pair of combat boots ; the other, as Beatrix Kiddo from “Kill Bill”, complete with her Katana and the tribute jumpsuit to Bruce Lee, as well as a blonde wig. As I climbed out of my car and began the stroll up the tiny path to them, the pilot called out to me.

“What’s goin’ on?” she asked as I approached them. I smiled and threw a weak wave in her direction. The second one stretch her neck back from leaning against the railing to get a glimpse at me.

“You weren’t just at Nate’s were you? We kind of left in a hurry,” she stated. “…It was really dull though”.

As I took a seat next to them on the bench, I explained my situation. They both chuckled to themselves as I recounted the disgustingly sterile neighborhood, the protective father, my disdain for playing the role of simply a driver, the room full of t’weens going insane for social acceptance at their tiny meet and greet. As with several times since, a silent current of understanding flowed between us.

“That sucks. I don’t think that’s unheard of though. I am a girl, and that’s pretty much most females I know. Want some Candy?” she responded while tossing a giant bag into my lap. I grinned, and unwrapped a jolly rancher. As we sat by the water’s edge, watching small coy rise to the surface repeatedly, they took turns describing the party they suspected I came from. Rooms of nothing but hilariously intoxicated high school seniors singing horribly at karaoke, as well as spilling loosely laid plates of BBQ over furniture that didn’t belong to them. Much like you’d expect from a party in the Midwest, I can only surmise. They informed me that they only went to enjoy the company of a friend, and left quickly when they realized what a pathetically pointless social occasion they had joined. They were both alone on Halloween, enjoying a single friend’s company and feasting on treats they had earned earlier in the evening.

The crickets sang from the tall grass beyond the well-maintained field, and I sat next to the ladies playing Mudvayne’s “Forget To Remember” on my small pair of iPod speakers. They sang along with me, and we had numerous laughs comparing our friends who didn’t share the same love of metal that we did. For hours, a euphoric sense of relative comfort inhabited the nonexistent walls of this gazebo, providing atmosphere and a soundtrack to the still, black water and the bright stars above. In the end, we came to agree that Halloween was a wonderful holiday, but the rules apply in the same manner as Valentine’s day. You don’t require a special someone to be with on October 31st, but it damn sure helps.

we’ve been brought here for a reason
Be it fate, or internal treason
Souls will be saved,
Or mutiny’s waged,
As we plead for something to believe in

Happy Halloween everyone. It’s good to be back.

-Jake


Timeless

Greetings!

I’ve been an avid fan of various forms of music since I could retain memory. Notice, that I do not state I am a fan of “all” music. That phrase is completely misleading, as people never truly mean what the saying implies. To do so, would mean a ridiculously broad spectrum of musical genres to embrace; so many in fact, that it would encompass the acceptance of some of the strangest, and even most disgusting melodies ever crafted to date. When someone utters the phrase “Oh, I listen to everything”, what they actually mean is:

“I listen to country, blues, virtually every indie rock group ever, many of the classics predating 1995, most soft rock, quite a bit of Electronica, jazz, practically all of pop, some hip-hop, classical, all acoustic folk music, maybe a bit of gospel, and numerous songs from mainstream tolerable gangster rap, and Nü-metal with lyrics that are completely coherent”.

What they won’t listen to, is a significantly larger list. What “everything” leaves out oddly enough, is most music not domestically based, including Afro-cuban, Nordic, Latin America Cueca, Gregorian Chants, Maori music, most uncelebrated reggae, Inuit throat-singing, American-Indian Opera, Cowpunk, Psychobilly, Blackened-Death metal, Cuddle-core, Naturalistic, Yacht Rock, Trucker tunes, Neo-psychedelic, Folktronica, Polka, Pornogrind, Gypsy-punk, dream pop, Crunk, Vegetarian progressive grind-core, and yes…Anal Distortion. Evidently, none of these made it onto the list of a word that somehow means “to include all”, but I’m merely quoting what people have told me in the past.

That’s why it confuses me when my Heavy Metal gets tossed out with the trash, especially when the lyrics tend to be eons beyond most genres on the market, and the musical integrity is mind-baffling to say the least. Don’t misunderstand, this does indeed sound like the speech of a musical snob preparing their target audience for indoctrination. I am also aware that this music is not for everyone. Some people just like music they can dance to, which is completely respectable. Others, simply listen to music for the ambiance it provides. I, however, listen to my music for its intellectually pleasing philosophy, and the artistic involvement required to produce such feats of melodious excellence. The difference being is that in said conversation you’re left to take it on faith from the prophet of said genre how amazing it is, when I’ve come to offer the alternative; a strict, objective comparison to the subject I speak of itself.  You see, my favorite genre of music, “Heavy Metal”, is plagued by a swarm of pathetically short-lived stick-men bands who like to sing about their feelings and scream incoherently about how they are different because they are non-conformists. Their songs are without resolve, nor do they add anything to the genre in which their “All-father” of metal, Dark Tranquillity resides.

Album cover T.G.

Album cover of Dark Tranquillity’s “The Gallery”

True Heavy Metal does not lack a story to be told, nor does it seemingly turn into a corrosive blight on the surface of the musical masterpiece in which its predecessors originated. Sometimes based on Folklore, other times on the questioning of one’s own morality; these titans of Iron have brought what few bands today can ever claim. Their legendary album, entitled “The Gallery” made people around the world stand still as the brilliant lyricism of Mikael Stanne met the bone-chilling guitar work of Martin Henriksson. What followed were some of the most intensely polished, perfectly articulated neo-classical riffs of all time, caressed by the clean, intelligible growls of Stanne’s intellectual anecdotes. Acoustic met electric, and soon a storm became this band’s legacy. A testament to what makes classic happen, Dark Tranquillity stood out as not just proof of the influence of Heavy Metal, but evidence of the powerful ties between the greatest composers of the past and the modern metal group. Holding true to melodic quality before monetary gain, they confirmed that greatness could be crafted through inspiration and dedication, rather than just popularity and reputation.

Enough adoration, though. I could gush forever over the finer intricacies of a band who has done everything on the planet, and influenced so many others on their paths to worldwide renown. The point I’m arriving at, is that however much of a loyal following that DT has obtained throughout their enduring, and notable career, they are swiftly dismissed by people who begin to mesh them in with what popular culture has labeled “Screamo”, a sub-genre of metal that has appeared steadily over the past ten years, created by groups of effeminate males who have given rise to the notion that Metal is strictly designed as a way to incoherently screech gutteral sounds in an attempt to be rebellious and original. In no way does this relate to the true nature of Heavy Metal, that attributes quality to musical complexity, inventive lyricism, and individual vocality. These standards have produced so many artists with actual talent, that one would presume their notable accomplishments would outshine any effort by lesser groups to shroud the genre. This is untrue, as society’s common musical perspective has demonstrated. From ignorance, have spawned a generation and a half of deliberately misguided people, all oblivious to the genuine face of Rock and Roll’s offspring.

With just a simple comparison and alteration to one of Dark Tranquillity’s anthems, I aim to prove that anyone can become a fan of metal. The following song, is DT’s first track off their 1994 album “The Gallery”. It’s entitled “Punish My Heaven”, and is the biblical tale of Lucifer’s exile from Heaven, as told in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. Even if you’re not a fan of the vocals, take a minute to appreciate the lyrics, and see how well-crafted the words fit into the spaces between each riff and chord. Understand how the singer’s voice transitions from growl, to comforting tone as he takes on the voice of the fallen angel Lucifer halfway through the song, and how one can begin to almost empathize with this being’s plight.

Lyrics:

For we’re the outstretched fingers
That seize and hold the wind…

The strangeness of awakening
In an oh so silent world
Breathlessly waiting
For the first proud beams of light
As the hours grow longer
And the shadows never fall
My sky has forsaken me
My desperation grows

Bring me the light
In the fires that never end
The dawn will never come
Punish my heaven

We have arrived
At the outermost crossroads
The charge of cosmos
At our atmospheric skies
Will cause our fall

If I had wings, would I be forgiving?
If I had horns
Would there be flames to shy my smile?

(Unless I’m worthy…)

Hymns of loss are heard
From the masses in the streets
Praising the last of days
I punish

Bring me the night
In the fires that never end
The dawn will never come
Punish my heaven

The charge of cosmos
Charging at us from unearthly distance
I challenge the universe
It’s the choice between heaven and hell

My soul bears all the weight of mountains
As mankind weaves its silent end
Can there be no forgiveness?
I curse the heaven above me
As the light sinks through
My outstretched fingers
Fading in my open arms

Make each tear in my bare hands
A lifetime in hell

On this last day of light
When our autumn leaves fell
And as heaven itself commands me
Out of its lair
I fear not
My face lined for darkness
I’ll go!

Now that you’ve heard the original song, and can grasp the basis for what this paragon of neo-classical substance sounds like, you can fully appreciate what a marvel of metal it is. Even though you may not embrace the harshness of the vocals, or even the machine gun precision of the double bass drum pedals, you may still feel that something more awe-inspiring rests in the song itself. It’s an empowering tune, that no matter how many times I hear never loses its resonance.

Now, in order to relate this song to any other person who is not a fan of metal, there has to be a common ground established. Certain bands will cover a song, simply because it’s in their genre and they feel comfortable with the transition of guitars, vocals, and drums to their already pre-existing catalog of music. Nothing major changes, but the key might sway a bit, or the rate at which the song is played may speed up or slow down. What seldom happens though, is the dramatic genre change from something unnoticeable into something profoundly entertaining. That’s where “Slaughter of the Bluegrass” comes in. SoTB is a Swedish folk band, that produces covers of fairly well-known death metal songs, in the form of traditional bluegrass harmony. Not only are their covers a smooth transition; they’re executed with the utmost perfection. Bridging the gap between the chaotic and the serene, this group has mastered the ability to create fans out of non-believers. For those of you who weren’t convinced by DT’s work the first time around, you’ll now hear it through the refined calming tones of a banjo, an acoustic guitar, and a violin. This is SoTB’s cover of “Punish My Heaven”, by DT.

Through this beautiful showcase of string and voice, a group known for their traditional instruments has brought a sort of peace to a song about supernatural violence. I can only hope that through my comparison here today, that people will begin to embrace true metal for the engaging melodies that these bands create, as well as how one can come to see from the other side of the glass how something so loud and untamed can be negated by such passion and fluidity.

-Jake