Archive for the ‘Misc Music Articles’ Category

Jimmy’s Musical Landscape Summer 2015

Posted: June 29, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Life, Misc Music Articles

I haven’t been posting a lot lately due to being ridiculously busy and tired all summer, so I thought I’d just post an overview of the whole summer for me. It also shows you how my brain works in terms of filtering, catagorizing and compartmentalizing things.

First of all, what would I name my ‘Album of the Summer’ ?
It’s a tie between Slipknot’s .5 The Gray Chapter and Alkaline Trio’s From Here To Infirmary.

When I first heard the announcement of the new Slipknot album without Joey or Paul I was skeptical, when I saw the new masks I wasn’t excited like I usually get when new mask announcements taps into my 13 year old self (Corey’s and Clown’s are so lame looking this cycle, versus how very cool they were on the first two albums). I didn’t like the preview two songs on first listens. It wasn’t looking hot.

Since then its grew and grew and grew and grew (is it grown?) to the point where I absolutely love it and listen to it almost every single day. I listen to it on every trip to work nowadays, every single one.

You know what else I listen to on the way to or sometimes from work too? Well, its obviously Alkaline Trio’s From Here To Infirmary. I set that up pretty obviously, its not as if I’m George RR Martin with double and triple bluffs here.

When I first got the album it was purely because one of my coworkers at the time had an Alkaline Trio tattoo and I thought it might give me a conversation or two. Turns out the album sucked and I didn’t really listen to it much for the next three quarters of a year until I suddenly went on a get-value-for-money spree and re-listened to lots of such albums. This one, in perfect correlation to the increasingly sunny weather has grown/grew on me and now I wouldn’t be without it. It’s the ultimate sunshine album for me. It is also a perfect match for this transitional time in my life and it has a brilliant foreshadowing nature like a George RR Martin easter egg from my present to future (can’t discuss because of no-talking-about-it-on-the-internet policies).

At present I have a 1hr30min bus ride to and from work. I think of it as two trips, one to the bus station and one to work. Usually Slipknot are on the second, and the first is either ‘Trio, or a playlist of Pop Punk albums I’ve been buying for a penny or a pound-ish preowned on Amazon. The Distillers, Less Than Jake, The Offspring, NoFX and especially Rancid. Stuff I had an interest in as a 14 year old but didn’t explore because I wanted to go down a more Metal themed path. Stuff I’d watch on P Rock TV while that was still a thing.

This summer, its nice to get a little vitamin D when listening to All My Best Friends Are Metalheads or The Young Crazed Peeling, y’know?

I also almost always listen to Somewhere Far Beyond or Stairway To Fairyland or Warriors Of The World United on the way home from work, because that’s my main tier new acquisitions line.

The pop punk stuff is the second tier new acquisitions line.

The ‘new releases’ line is still stuck on .5 The Gray Chapter, The Righteous And The Butterfly, Vengeance Falls, Redeemer Of Souls, Bloodstone & Diamonds, LAGWBAT, Once More Round The Sun and IX because I haven’t moved on yet. No new Gamma Ray or Helloween or Sabaton albums that are actually the band’s new release, no new Marilyn Manson, no new whoever’s in the news.

On my days off work, or what I think of as recovering from work (usually spent with 6 or more hours doing work related stuff anyway) I have been listening to a lot of old favourites that are considered classics. Megadeth, Pantera, Sepultura, Fear Factory, Metallica.

So I’ve got my three ‘new imput’ lines to switch between. Then I’ve got the classics line.

There’s also a wildcards line. That’s been very much filled with Minor Threat’s ‘Discography’ compilation and Boston’s sophomore album Don’t Look Back. I don’t know why, but I’ve never felt like I got enough out of Don’t Look Back and I keep drawing on it, drilling it, hoping for the discovery of oil or whatever…. I’m waiting for it to hit. I’m trying to ‘get it.’ I get ‘Party’… Party is Boston doing a Kiss song with Van Halen lyrics. Party is awesome. Then there’s Minor Threat, which I bought to study Hardcore Punk, didn’t like and dismissed. Now I keep going back, like I do with Don’t Look Back (ironically, looking back despite being told not to), trying to get it, or learn the secret truth of Punk or something.

Want a satisfying conclusion to this article? Tough shit. Life is hard in medieval times, things don’t always work out as planned. (Ok maybe I am trying to sound like Gerogre RR Martin now).

*** Ps. Here’s what I’ve been Scrobling for the last 6 months:******

1. Manowar – 684 Plays
2. Slipknot- 672 Plays
3. Helloween – 559 Plays
4. Freedom Call – 427 Plays
5. Arctic Monkeys – 398 Plays
6. Jethro Tull – 356 Plays
7. Iced Earth – 315 Plays
8. Machine Head – 311 Plays
9. Corrosion of Conformity – 302 Plays
10. Accept – 279 Plays
11. Mastodon – 267 Plays
12. Alkaline Trio – 242 Plays
13. Stratovarius – 235 Plays
14. Def Leppard – 225 Plays
15. Sabaton – 224 Plays
16. Blind Guardian – 218 Plays
17. Gamma Ray – 213 Plays
18. Saxon – 198 Plays
19. Stone Temple Pilots – 182 Plays
20. Motörhead – 167 Plays
21. The Fratellis – 166 Plays
22. Fear Factory – 157 Plays
23. Mushroomhead – 152 Plays
24. Five Finger Death Punch – 148 Plays
25. Soundgarden – 147 Plays
26. Alice in Chains – 145 Plays
27. Marilyn Manson – 144 Plays
28. Megadeth – 143 Plays
29. Queensrÿche – 138 Plays
30. Angra – 137 Plays
31. Periphery – 135 Plays
32. Venom – 132 Plays
33. HammerFall – 131 Plays
34. Hatebreed – 130 Plays
35. Mötley Crüe – 128 Plays
36. Slayer – 126 Plays
37. Metallica – 116 Plays
38. Judas Priest – 115 Plays
39. Anthrax – 115 Plays
40. ZZ Top – 112 Plays
41. Raven – 111 Plays
42. The Distillers – 109 Plays
43. Grim Reaper – 107 Plays
44. Trivium – 106 Plays
45. Paolo Nutini – 106 Plays
46. Pantera – 105 Plays
47. Minor Threat – 102 Plays
48. Tygers of Pan Tang – 102 Plays
49. Nirvana – 100 Plays
50. Sick of It All – 99 Plays

Magic Circle Festival Volume II is a concert DVD by the legendary Heavy Metal band Manowar. This set was to record the impressive endeavour Manowar had of performing their entire first six studio albums in full, during the 20th Anniversary for their seminal Kings Of Metal album in the summer of 2008 at the band’s own Magic Circle Festival. It was produced by the band’s own Joey DiMaio and released on Universal.

The setlist is comprised of highlights from this undertaking, from different venues in different countries such as Germany and Bulgaria. Interspersed between the live songs is documentary snippets firstly about the Magic Circle Festival and then about the making of those first six albums full of archive footage such as photos in the recording studio, handheld camera footage from early concerts and old music videos. Together it works really well (although my personal preference would’ve been to have a full documentary and a full concert but that’s just personal taste) and provides a lot for any fan to find entertaining. In addition, there’s also a second disc with music from the other bands at the festival (Cassock, Sixth Sense, Kobus, Titanium Black, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, Metalforce and Holyhell) and bonus features.

The Manowar setlist is as follows:

Manowar, Fast Taker, Shell Shock, Death Tone, Hatred, Revelation (Death’s Angel), Black Arrows Of Doom (Bass Solo), Hail To England, Die With Honor, Warriors Of The World United, All Men Play On Ten, God Of Thunderpick (Solo), Animals, Blow Your Speakers, Violence And Bloodshed, Defender, Drums Of Doom And Destruction (Drum Solo), Blood Of The Kings, Pleasure Slave, Kingdom Come, The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of Kings), Bridge Of Death.
There’s also a bonus section of Mila Rodino and The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of Kings) on top of that. Sound is available in stereo and 5.1, picture is 16:9 anamorph, and region code is “All Regions.” It comes with a booklet with lots of photographs, tour information and liner notes.

Some of the tracks work really well in a live environment, whipping the crowd up and some may pull the pace back a little but overall the setlist is fairly strong. Eric Adams is a great performer and doesn’t perfectly emulate note for note the oldest material but gives it enough umph to compensate. The rest of the band are all generally enthusiastic, powerful and giving it their all – guitar leads smoke, drum fills are weighty and satisfying and Joey DiMaio lives up to the hype. The production values differ between the German and Bulgarian shows, with the German looking, sounding and being edited to a higher standard, but not enough for you to want to skip anything. The large international audience (filled with more flags than the Warriors Of The World album cover!) eat it all up and it all has that good live energy rather than feeling overdubbed and sterile.

For a band who pride themselves on their ludicrous over-the-top Metalness, they are very tasteful with the stage set, pyro and lighting. The only cringey bit (or awesome bit if you buy into the Manowar Hail True Metal way of thinking) is in the opening documentary bit, when there’s a big speech about Metalness (before the music has actually started). So if you want a Manowar DVD because you like Manowar’s awesome music rather than because you think they’re funny, then this is a very good option. With a huge setlist, a ton of bonus features and all that documentary footage and considering the visual, sound and audio quality of the German concert which makes up the majority of the main feature this DVD is really good value for money, and I’d really recommend it to those interested in the band. Even if you own Volume 1 already, the setlist is so different its totally worth picking up this too.

Playing God: Changing The Track Sequence Of Albums

Posted: March 24, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Misc Music Articles

My good friend Paul recently asked me what percentage of my music collection was still in its original running order. It got me thinking.

Recently, as of maybe 2012, I have found myself using technology (iTunes mainly) to reorder the sequence of tracks on albums that I listen to. I think I first started this regularly maybe when I heard Gamma Ray’s To The Metal album had different tracklistings in different countries and that it flowed better in the version I did NOT have, so I tried it the other way and hey, it DID work better. Some people hate Motley Crue’s Theater Of Pain, but I reordered the tracks and came to love it. Its now my favourite Crue album. That’s how big a difference that it can make for me. Nowadays if I find a NWOBHM album with a ballad in the middle, and a slow song first, I’ll swap the songs around so it goes from fastest to slowest.

Today, I made the decision to swap a track around on Children Of Bodom’s fifth album Are You Dead Yet, because on that album, every time I choose to listen to it I skip straight to the title-track and miss out on the opener. Making the title track the opener just makes more sense for me. So now it is. There are however, some albums that I could never ever listen to in any other order. It seems absolutely impossible to listen to Dark Side Of The Moon in any other sequence and even hearing just one track makes me want to hear the next one on the album. Slipknot’s debut is the same. It is my Dark Side Of The Moon for how influential it was on my musical development and where it came in my music discovering world.

Yesterday I discovered (thanks to a review by fellow blogger LeBrain) that I’d been missing out on Quiet Riot’s song “Slick Black Cadillac” from their Metal Health album for about three years because I accidentally failed to (or a technical error caused it to happen) ever rip it into my iTunes. These days I rarely use my CDs anymore apart from on day 1 of purchase when I rip them to the computer. I used to be CD obsessed and was a real late bloomer getting into digital music (I’ll still buy a CD nine times out of ten rather than buy it digitally, or stream it). But yeah, for the past few years, CDs rarely get used and that made me miss out on this nice Quiet Riot track.

This has now resulted in me reordering the whole Metal Health album, rockers first, slow tracks and ballads last. Its interesting, because to many, Metal Health may be their Slipknot’s debut or Dark Side Of The Moon and the idea of playing it out of order would seem awful.

Now its done and I like the new running order.

What do you readers think?
Do you keep running orders set in stone or change things you don’t like?
Which albums could you never ever change?

Rishloo, my favourite band in the world, (suitable for fans of Tool, Mars Volta, Porcupine Tree, Coheed & Cambria, Cog, Amplifier, The Dear Hunter, The Mayan Factor, Soen etc.), have released a new song from their long awaited reunion album Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth. I am a keen kickstarter contributor to this album, I have a Vinyl of their previous album Feathergun up on my wall as decoration, and I advise all my readers to give them a listen.

I haven’t been as excited about new material since Queensryche got together with Todd La Torre, that’s how big a deal this is.

Official KCP recommendations: Listen to this, encourage it, give it lots of views, get into the band, buy all their albums, go see them live.

A thought:

Posted: March 21, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Misc Music Articles

Are there any Death Metal bands, as in proper Nile/Cannibal Corpse/Deicide music, with full-on Power Metal vocals in the Kiske/Hansen vein… any Dragonforce style singers in Morbid Angel sounding bands?

If anyone knows of one, please tell me in the comments.

Also… Death Hair Metal. Not as in a Deathcore band with funny haircuts, but like, somebody who takes half their sound from Ratt and Posion and the other half from Cannibal Corpse and Dismember. Comment on if you know any.

I think Djent has become an independent subgenre now.

I understand that people were arguing about whether or not it was a real subgenre when it was starting out, but I think so many bands have come out sounding like eachother, so many record labels group them together, so many Djent fan sites and concert line-ups have been made that it has come online, become self-aware and is now a real genre.

People had the same problems with Thrash Metal when it was new, with Hair Metal when it was new and with Nu Metal when it was new, but now, most fans agree that they are real subgenres.

Sure they might argue about the name “Hair” is interchangeable with “Glam/Sleeze/Teeth/Pop Metal” and “Thrash” sometimes gets intertwined with “Speed.” “Nu” sometimes gets called “Rap” or “Alternative.”

There’s disagreement over all of them “Glam is just a look” “Nu is just rapping and DJs over the top” and people say the names are stupid. Nowadays, a few people say “Djent” is a stupid name and “Djent is just a tone” but there’s more to it than that, and it has become a real genre due to the critical mass of bands making Djent music.

Sure; Uneven Structure, Tesseract and Periphery are all pretty different, but so are Kreator, Anthrax and Metallica.

So are Linkin Park, Powerman 5000 and Korn.

So are Bon Jovie, Quiet Riot and Motley Crue.

In Power Metal, there’s a vast difference between Stratovarius, Helloween and Sonata Arctica. And its named after power? All Metal is Powerful.

I agree that naming Djent after a tone is unusual, but its better than naming it after a look (Glam/Hair) or the fact that it is new (Nu) is equally silly.

Maybe they should have called Thrash “Chug.” Sure, some non-Thrash bands like Motorhead and Sabbath had chugging, but that ties into the idea of how much Djent took from Messugah. Its similar to how much Nu Metal took from Faith No More and Primus. I know that some non-Djent bands have the Djent-Tone like Architects did on Hollow Crown, but that ties in with the idea of bands like Anvil and Metal Church being heavier than most Heavy Metal bands but not quite Thrash.

Maybe the name will change, but the subgenre will stick, if history is any indicator.
Maybe some of the bands will escape the tag becuase they’re too different, eg. maybe Animals As Leaders are too different than the core Djent sound like the way Slipknot are too different than the core Nu Metal sound, but overall, Nu Metal is still considered to exist.

Just go to Got-Djent.com and have a look at all the bands who play Djent music, or music similar to Djent, and check out all the similarities and differences.

Try out one song each by the top-25 most popular bands. Try that same trick for other subgenres like Black Metal, Death Metal, Hair Metal, Nu Metal, Power Metal, Doom Metal, Thrash Metal etc.
Pay attention to all the similarities and all the differences from bands still considered to be within one subgenre. Pay attention to how there are some bands or songs that are a bit borderline and ones that are definite. I believe that same balance now exists in Djent and that Djent has become a real subgenre.

Hostile And Unplesant Metal Fans:

Posted: December 29, 2013 by kingcrimsonprog in Misc Music Articles

Sometimes I find myself thinking “everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
More and more these days I find myself asking why it is an entitlement. I find myself now thinking that it shouldn’t be an entitlement at all; it should be a privilege, a privilege which you earn by being informed, logical, and willing to express it in a tactful, mature and reasonable way.

I’m not some advocate of radically over-the-top political correctness to the point where it stops making common sense, but I do believe that people should stop being so unpleasant, hostile and downright confrontational on matters of subjectivity.

I recently read a Blog about how a certain high profile Metal musician was supposedly a hack. Fair enough. If you’ve noticed a pattern of artistically-questionable decision-making by that artist then feel free to document it, feel free to question it, but why do you have to get so worked-up and rude about it? Why do you have to break out homophobic bigoted comments for people who disagree? Why does the whole thing have to be written in a spiteful and undeservingly superior tone?

I’ve also read a few dozen blogs about bands that were overrated or undeserving of their success. I’ve watched those youtube-sensation videos of teenagers arguing into the camera about why certain trendy bands are good or bad. Even the people disagreeing with the uninformed and poorly expressed originals are usually haughty and superior. Instead of educating people out of their ignorance, people choose to just pour derision on them in a pseudo-intellectual manner that makes them look as childish as the people they are complaining about.

Why can nobody respectfully disagree with each other anymore? Why does everybody have to churlishly insult each other and go out of their way to be as needlessly offensive and confrontational as possible? Is it really that fulfilling and enjoyable to be a jerk to people?

Current Metal Internet Culture Example:

Blogger: This fucking faggot is a talentless sack of shit. He is so fucking useless that I hope he gets murdered.
Commenter: I love that musician.You are a pathetic retard and I hope you get raped.
Blogger: Fuck you, go to hell you cock-sucking peadophile, your parents have down-syndrome and I hope you get AIDs.

Hypothetical Better Metal Internet Culture Example:

Blogger: Here are a list of well-explained reasons why I dislike this piece of media.
Commenter: I love that piece of media. I respectfully disagree with you.
Blogger: That doesn’t change my mind. I strongly dislike them. You know what? This is all subjective anyway. Let’s agree to disagree.

Ok, I know that is an amusingly over-simplified and slightly awkward/robotic alternative to what we currently have, but you get the gist of it. There’s no need to be so vicious and hateful over something as subjective as music.

Homophobia and offending the disabled have no place in a discussion about whether some piece of music is good or not, or whether some artist is credible or not. Even calling each other virgins, idiots, losers, saddos and any other deliberately goading remark is a bit far – there’s no need to damage each other’s self-esteem over a simple disagreement over a matter of taste. I definitely think everyone should stop wishing serious illness and injury on each other. Its just unnecessary. Who wants that sort of aggro in their life?

Maybe you feel that Metallica sold-out. Good. Write about that, it may be interesting. Maybe you don’t think Metallica sold-out. Good. Write about that, it may be interesting. Just maybe don’t write about musicians with the same vitriol and nastiness that racists use in their hate-speech.

Next time you want to tell someone to drown in their own shit just because they told you that your assessment of a piece of art didn’t chime with their own, instead try and understand why they feel that way and start a discussion with them, maybe you’ll have someone interesting to talk to and share opinions with.

Next time you see something about a band you like that is poorly written and overtly offensive, instead of telling them that they have severe learning disabilities and support Adolf Hitler’s cause, maybe instead work with them and tell them how to better express themselves. Ask them if they’d be willing to edit the comments to remove the slurs. Most of it is probably written in-the-moment by people who mightn’t know any better and they may benefit much more from supportive and constructive criticism than outright argument and attack.

I know its only the internet, but everyone on here is a human being. Let’s try and stop being so hurtful to each other and at least try to treat each other with consideration and respect.