Monday, May 4, 2015

Quick Reviews: I Hated Metal Music in April 2015



I'm the blogger the metal scene deserves, but not the one it needs right now. Or ever, really. Oh you think metal is your ally? You merely adopted the metal. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see pop culture until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding.

Has it not been April for a while? Fuck you pissant, you wouldn't even know that if it didn't tell you what month it was on your glowy little, fingerprint crusted iPhone screen. Go check Twitter, you cunt. I'm so irrelevant, I quote Batman films two Batmans ago. As you are aware, being irrelevant is what true metal is all about. Speaking of things that aren't new anymore, did you guys check out that Bman V. Sman trailer? I'm not really so angry about the fact that Daredevil is playing Batman like everyone else, but I've always wondered why Hollywood is under the impression that they can only pick actors to play super heroes from a tightly knit group of like 11 dudes. The fuck is up with that? Why get Johnny Storm to play Captain America, and then get Deadpool to play Green Lantern? It's fucking with my head. Even more than when they made that movie where Wolverine disagrees with Batman about magic tricks, so Wolverine goes to Ziggy Stardust for help. Everything's all out of order, and then there were two Batmans all along. Two Batmans fucking Black Widow behind Wolverine's back. Alfred was there too, with lots of sage Alfred advice about the whole thing. Shit's confusing.

Anyway, here's some randomly selected albums I didn't give much of a chance in April:

GRUESOME - Savage Land



Relapse Records is probably gonna remaster and rerelease this in 25 years too.

5/5 Because I'm pretty sure I just listened to Leprosy again instead. 




CENTAURO - Ciénagas del Engaño




No bueno.

2/5 porque la música era muy derivado


GIFTGIVER - Shitlife



I don't think "featuring Frankie Palmeri from Emmure" is anything to really proudly point out on your album. That's like saying "featuring Alex the driver for Domino's" as a vocal guest. Except people actually like Alex. Plus you should know what you're getting into when there's basketball shorts right on the cover.

1/5 Shitmusic


WILDERUN - Sleep At the Edge of The Earth




This album is a perfect pair of pale, white, big, pillowy, corset squeezed folk metal tits. It's deep, melodic, majestic, epic, symphonic and there are mandolins and harps and flutes and sometimes drums and an electric guitar even. Buy it. Did you know the official Massachusetts state sandwich is peanut butter and fluff? That's like the worst fucking choice of official sandwich out of 50. The term "fluffernutter" has sometimes been used disparagingly to describe something that lacks substance and has minimal to no cultural value. Even though Sleep At The Edge of The Earth came out of Massachusetts, it's no fucking fluffernutter. Unless of course that's now a new slang term for some sort of dirty sexual move. Because this album made me come.

5/5 When I bought this album on bandcamp, Evan Berry personally e-mailed me to say thanks. Because he's a super ultra mega sweet dude who deserves every slurper he every received. Which if I know the chicks in Boston like I know the chicks in Boston, must be upwards of at least 321,643 times. That's the entire female population of Boston according to suburbanstats.org. I'm not even factoring in repeat pole smokers. You're fucking so welcome, Evan, you beautiful bastard. Hope you get another fluffer until you nutter. 

ABIOTIC - Casuistry 




I looked at the cover and I was like "yup, this is gonna be a tech death album". It was quite exactly a tech death album.

3/5 If you think tech death is great, you're gonna be amazed at how this is also exactly just as great as that.

ACID KING - Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere



Acid King has always been one of those bands that you have to be ripped out of your mind to enjoy. Remember kids: You smoke, you overdrive, you lose. For people not familiar with Acid King, they are fronted by a badass lady named Lori S, who respectfully exists within the metal scene as a person who doesn't think shit like cleavage smooshing corsets are a necessity. You'd think that'd be something worth mentioning, but this is stoner metal, and as such, nothing is worth mention.

2/5 because getting blazed hasn't been a thing since my dealer transferred to a different junior high school.  

BOTANIST - Hammer of Botany



Botanist is the perfect post black metal to go with your vegan three bean quinoa salad. But seriously, pretty interesting, weird artsy stuff if you feel like something different. And by different of course, I mean not metal. CHANGE MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE.

3/5: Probably as metal as flowers and stuff are ever gonna get. 

SULPHUR AEON - Gateway to the Antisphere




I actually listened to this whole album and I think I liked it.

4/5 Seriously though, the whole thing. 


FROM FIRST TO LAST - Dead Trees




The moment I started listening to FFTL, I was like "oh great another fucking Periphery knockoff" until I realized that it was actually Spencer Sotelo performing vocals, and then I was like "oh great another fucking Periphery knockoff". The nu metal scene has become so chock-full of Periphery clones that now Periphery is copping Periphery. It's like Periphery Inception.

1/5 oh great another fucking Periphery knockoff.

MAGIC KINGDOM - Savage Requiem



I didn't listen to a second of this album before writing this. I just looked at the band name, album title and cover and guessed every note that was played and lyric that was sung.

4/5 Look, there's a dragon and a wizard and everything. 

SIGH - Graveward

Forget any artsy fartsy hipster kids doing whatever they think is wild and different with black metal. Sigh was always, and continues to be, the black metal king of just plain batshit froot loops fucking nuts.



4/5 You're gonna be like what the fuck, but in a good way. What the fuck, though... 


ENDLIGHT - The Treacherous Fall





This was really good you guys, really, good job.

0/5 I lied. Stop it. 



I realize of course, rating albums by number is full-blown retarded, but I have lost the will to even sorta kinda care. I might do this sort of thing once a month. Maybe. If, you know, the suicide hotline operator I'm about to call is on his game tonight.

-- Brenocide \,,/





Sunday, April 26, 2015

How to Be A Guitarist on the Internet who's not an Asshole: Part 7 of 7

7. We Can't All Attend Berklee 

Ladies, please. Don't smudge the Carvin.

Oh right, I was supposed to finish this.


You can play through a solid state amp, or maybe I'll secede the modesty of a Peavey Valveking. Your favorite guitar could be a Korean Schecter or an Indonesian Ibanez. An instrument, that you throw a little cash at your buddy to set up proper for you with some fresh strings every five or six months. Your bridge could be as fixed as God ever intended, and maybe you might just sorta like the idea of some low-end riffing on a seven or eight string. Or you know, whatever, might not be your thing, but to each his own and all. You never spend too much on gear, because you know that any sort of solid guitar tone is always gonna be 90% the player, and 10% the stuff he shelled out the bucks for. You could have all the makings of the coolest, most laid-back, approachable, raddest guitar player ever.

But all of that goes down the shitter the second you rag on somebody else's ability to play. You my friend, are a next level cocksucker.

We're talking from "sloppy playing" comment numero uno; you automatically transcend all other dukes of assholedom as the Grand Messiah King Alpha First Coming of Quadricentennial Ultra Octa Douche Crimson Elite God Mode fucking asshole.

I'm well aware that this is incredibly hypocritical of me to state as a music critic, and just by being a music critic, I am already aware of my inescapable jerk dick status. I do hate music critics, all of them. Therefore, another solid reason to hate myself.  I am, and always have been my biggest critic. (As well as Sonic Syndicate's.) I'm a terrible person for being rude about how predictable the guitar playing is on any given Asking Alexandria song. Those little twats worked really hard to put those albums together, okay? Who am I to just step and in be all "shit sucks" and say it's derivative and boring and played out and simple and cookie cutter? That was like, their art, you know?

True art is played above the belly button.

But to my credit, Asking Alexandria's members are paid musicians. They're musical professionals. Their instrument is their job. We can hold up musicians of their status to a certain expectation, just as one can freely criticize a Hollywood movie or a primetime television show. Just because I'm not critical from the position of a creator, doesn't mean I can't recognize something of poor quality as a consumer. I don't have a single cross word for the playing technique of a guy such as Lee Malia of BMTH or Jake Pitts from BVB. It's the final product that raises my ire, not the manner of how said product was produced.

With that said, do you know who doesn't play guitar for a profession? The kid in his upstairs bedroom practicing tabs on his Dean ML in his t-shirt with his Gundam Wing posters proudly on display. This fella was excited that he learned how to recreate some classic riff from your entry-level fare like Slayer or Iron Maiden, and wanted to show his buds on YouTube how close he's got it. He doesn't need to hear from anybody about his misplaced string-muting, his sloppy lead playing, or maybe...

How he might have...

...missed...

The one.

Fucking.

Note.  

"Not bad, but then that pitch harmonic at 1:48... ouch bro. Ouch."

Suck a gun.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Be A Guitarist on the Internet who's not an Asshole: Part 6 of 7



6. Not Everyone is a Luthier 



This sort of shit runs rampant in the guitar-playing community. Every blue collar handyman thinks you're a "complete fucking moron" because you aren't too keen on changing your strings / setting your action & intonation / adjusting your truss rod / swapping your pickups/ changing your amp tubes/ or dealing with that fucking Floyd Rose.

Because if you can't play guitars well, you might as well fix them well.

It might sound unrelated (because it is), but I fix office equipment for a living. So I'm not exactly a stranger to a screwdriver or a soldering iron. But working with customers in this field for as long as I have, it's safe to say not everybody is totally comfortable pulling their shit apart, even in the most basic fashion. Especially if said shit was expensive. Even more especially if they're smart enough to recognize they don't know WTF they're doing, and don't want to risk the very likely possibility of busting anything.


Of course, stringing a guitar is pretty basic and a vital skill for DIY gigging, but I can tell you from personal experience, it's real easy to do a sloppy job at it. You can also irreparably damage your instrument if you do it wrong. A lot of the people are just happier to have it done at their local guitar shop by a pro to make sure it's done exactly right. It's their money, it doesn't cost that much to have the shop tech do it, so B-F-D if someone wants to pay a little extra to have their ax set up by a pro. People who are tech savvy tend to consider themselves so brilliant, that you'd think they'd own enough brain cells to figure out not everyone else in the universe can be bothered to know how to do all this shit perfectly.

 In my travels, I once read on a guitar forum that "changing pickups is easier than changing a tire". From the tools required, to the practice, that sort of thinking is so apples to oranges, I can't even breathe trying to work out what this human winner could have possibly meant by that. But working off that stupid analogy, let's look at things this way: lots and lots of people drive cars, but the sweeping majority of them aren't mechanics. Most people don't even change their own oil. Shit, the smartest people in the world don't change their own oil. Do you see Stephen Hawking climbing under his car? Ok, bad example.

"Wow, thanks for the Carvin kit, dad. Hope you saved enough dough on this to put me through fucking therapy."

Regardless, in the same way that people drive cars without knowing how to fix them, I think it's a reasonable expectation that you should be allowed to play music without complete knowledge of your instrument's repair and maintenance. Also, professional luthiers need to eat too:


Saturday, April 4, 2015

How to Be A Guitarist on the Internet who's not an Asshole: Part 5 of 7



5. Stop Getting Mad about ERGs AND How they're Usually Played



Among the modern guitarist community, no one is bigger bunch of blubbering, sob sucking crybabies than the butthurts who can't get over how guitars are being produced with more than six strings. These people fall right in line with the same bunch of pissant curmudgeons who can't understand why they should consider amp modelling instead of good-ol fashioned tubes, digital audio files instead of good ol' fashioned vinyl, or having to use "the Firefox" instead of "the AOL".

For the sake of all things heavy, we have been taking those old fashioned six-strings and we have been down-tuning them to an unplayable string floppiness that rivals my penis. To circumvent this flaccidity, we have been using thicker and thicker gauge strings so they can be tuned lower, yet maintain a playable firmness that also rivals my penis. But these thicker gauge strings, with their higher pounds of tension, put our skinny 6-string super strat necks in danger of irreparably warping. So, we built a bigger neck, we reinforced it, and for the sake of extra metal, we made it so that it could hold another, even thicker gauge string. All was well. Then we were like, fuck that, let's do it again. Then again. So now we have mainstream guitars being produced that allow you to go down a couple or several octaves while still maintaining a standard range of guitar tuning; but because that's not what John Mayer plays, everybody on YouTube is crying and shitting their dad jeans about it.

Their light, light, light blue dad jeans.

For simplicity sake, let's focus on the 8-string guitar. We'll focus on eight, because the seven string didn't really raise the ire of anybody, seeing as how every guitar player thinks Steve Vai is the greatest thing to ever happen since the blowjob was invented. We're not gonna make much mention of the 9-string guitar, because let's face it, that pretty much was a "fuck-it-why-not" novelty concept more than it was meant to be an instrument that has a genuine place in modern music. And no, there is no number of Rob Scallon videos anyone can send me to convince me of otherwise.

The eight string guitar has become wildly popular among young guitar players, especially with the increasing popularity of "djent" riffing and more progressive styles of playing. You might expect that a guitar with an "extended range" would be best used to add a greater complexity or depth to a musician's playing. This is evident in the music performed by bands like Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit, Beyond Creation, Black Crown Initiate, Ihsahn, Allegaeon and some other bands I forgot to mention that someone will get mad about.

However, complexity is not the reason why anybody is buying 8-string guitars.

For every nuanced progressive type using the 8-string as an extended canvas with which to broaden the strokes of their artform, there are 10,000 brocore kids chugging away only at the lowest strings. And look, why wouldn't they? The F# string on an 8-string guitar provides you with the most maximum chug even with its standard tuning. These same sorts have been taking your traditional 6-string for decades and drop-tuning them to play low down, dirty shit anyway. Ibanez was just like "check it motherfuckers you don't have to restring and set up with a thicker gauge we did that shit for you homes" And there was many a tipping of flat-brimmed caps and raising of Natty Ice cans and gauging of ear lobes and inking of necks in celebration.

If I keep my fingers way up here on the fretboard for the photo, maybe everyone will be nice to me...
The biggest argument in favor of the Extended Range Guitar is that it can be used to its fullest potential creatively by someone who really knows what they're doing; that we shouldn't damn the instrument because of the stigma attached to it as a result of all its derivative, low-down riffers. While I agree to a point, I don't really see how that's a satisfactory defense for the instrument's existence; or even a proper acceptance of its purpose. Whether it's an 8 or a 9 string, we have to consider those 6 other strings, what with 22-24 frets to be pressed on that make this instrument just like any other electric guitar. All any 8-string is, is a regular guitar with just more guitar. So I can't wrap my head around everybody belly-aching about how players of 8-strings aren't fully "utilizing their entire fretboard." Obviously if you get a guitar with two extra lower strings, then you're specifically going for low, right? If someone wanted to primarily focus on notes from E to e, then why would they pay the extra money for two of these extra oversized strings? Extra strings that mind you, have to be properly muted and skipped over when playing the standard part of the guitar. Yes, I know baritone guitars are a thing, but they are far and few in between when it comes to market availability. ERGs, on the other hand, are coming out of the woodwork, (npi).

Regardless of whatever sort of higher-level playing can be accomplished on them, 8-string guitars are, and always were, just built for the low-bros. End of story. 

Yes, we have young guys like Tosin Abasi and Christ Letchford composing impressive and progressive music with their 8-string guitars. But let's be honest: their very best guitar playing featured on any of their albums is performed within the standard range of the fretboard. If both of these performers were left to make magic with only a six-stringed instrument in hand, I challenge anyone to prove to me that they wouldn't do just fine.

Musically, I mean of course. Abasi's 8-string usage is specifically what makes him so marketable as an endorser. Ibanez wouldn't be selling 70% of their cheap RG8s without that guy. And sure, these two guitarists throw everyone a lil' of that sweet muddy djent every once in a while in their music, if only to remind us that they have a guitar that gets that low. I also won't fail to mention that Abasi's guitar slapping and tapping technique is what truly sets him apart from other metal players, something that he does indeed utilize the lowest strings for.

But hey, we're all metalheads here. Well, I am. You're always up for question. Who the hell wants to slap? The only thing funky about any of us is our smell. Even the guy considered the modern standard for proper, progressive 8-string playing knows what that 8th string is really there for. It's for the chug, brah. It's for the riffage. It's for that deep chunky BJOW:



Guitarists on the internet, if they aren't against 8-string guitars altogether, love, love, love to complain how all of these 8-string guitars are being played by most of their owners. As if these instruments are being denied some sort of greater purpose by just getting chugged away on. What nobody here seems to be able to wrap their head around, is that getting low-riffed on is literally an ERG's truest purpose. So if someone with an 8-string guitar is on YouTube trying to showcase in a video the riffage that 8-string guitars are specifically hand-crafted to fucking make, you look like the only omega supreme second-coming of the bicentennial ultra quad ASSHOLE if you complain about them doing it in the comments section.

Lemme take us back once more to the car analogy to really drive home how much you infinitely and will always suck. Let's say you have some dude just showing a video of him and his buddies taking his Jeep Wrangler off-roading. A Jeep Wrangler is, when considering its most basic quality, a car. It does all of the car things like all other cars can. However, it's designed to also be great for off-road driving. So, because of this, you're gonna see a lot of guys who drive Jeep Wranglers sharing YouTube videos where they are presenting the vehicle being used in the way it was specifically designed to be used.

But now here you come to the video's comment section, and you bitch and fucking moan about how this guy didn't present you with a sufficient idea of the trunk space, head and leg room, seating, miles per gallon, or how easy the vehicle is to parallel park. Do you have any idea how mind-numbingly full blown retard you would look if you did that?  I'll tell you: exactly as full blown retard as you actually are.

The point here is, just shut the hell up and let the kids go mudding: 

That thing will never properly intonate.