Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Problem With Metal

OK guys, this is something I posted last year in a separate blog. After posting "Don't Stop Believin" a few days ago, I thought it appropriate to repost this, so I could get these issues well and truly out of my system. "But you keep attacking rock and heavy metal!" I hear you say. Well I think I can leave them alone for a day or two after I have these posts up and running. Again, if you have a problem with these, please use the exit behind you and don't let the door hit you on the way out. It has a nasty spring on it all together.

Anyway, this is edited so as not to over stress some of the ideas and motivations I intended to suggest. Open your mind to them, don't clench your sphincter.



Before I go on here, I want to state that I do actually like Metal. Not as a whole genre as such, but there are a few bands I have a soft spot for.

See, I'm 28 now and at that, I'm grown up, whether I want to be or not, so I'm not exclusively a metal fan any more. I can appreciate every instrument's contribution when listening to a particular musical piece, not just exclusively metal and it's important that I hear every one when I personally judge whether a song is good or not. This is where metal has failed me as I've gotten older and it works on a few different levels.

firstly, I cannot listen to blistering death metal any more because I find that every single instrument including the vocalist's contribution is so loud they all want to demand my attention all at once. This, I'm told, is a difficult thing to appreciate about death metal as it's all intentionally failrly brutal. And I mean brutal in the literal sense, not in the Irish slang sense. I find now that as I've gotten older that my decibel tolerance level has gotten pretty low. How do those bearded 'oul fellas in Bruxelles constantly punish themselves like this? It beggars belief. So what is so appealing about death metal when you're hitting 30? I'd love to know. I used to love it and there are a few bands I think I have sentimental attachment to. However, I don't take it seriously at all. Open the cover of the nearest death metal sleeve to you. Look at them there, arms folded looking angry. They are pissed off because they couldn't get their levels right when it came to print.

Next, there's the neglect and poor production that has infringed on the rhythm section in Metal. Don't you think it's worth hiring a good producer to bring out the best in your rhythm section? The horrible production on some of these albums means that the drums are usually way too clangy or too smothered, never, almost, a fair balance. Sometimes the bass is too over-driven and most times you just cannot hear it at all. I know that some will argue that bands are going for this poorly produced sound and that's fine. I guess. But my question goes out to Bass players and drummers. Don't you care that all your years of playing are going unappreciated by constantly playing E in every song continually or having your snare louder than everything else? I stand by the idea that Metal Bassists have the easiest jobs in the world with exception to a few Bassists. Notably Steve Harris and eh...

As for metal guitarists on the most part, they are way too distracted with wanting to prove their worth by layering wanky guitar solo over wanky guitar solo everywhere in order to be heard over the din. Everywhere! It's more impressive to write a melodic flowing guitar riff than it is to say "look at how good i am on the guitar!" Soloing for the sake of Soloing. Metallica Black comes to mind. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani might actually write some good solos here and there though. I'm guilty as charged by owning one or two of these albums myself. But does every heavy song have to have a guitar solo? What ever happened to consistency?

As for vocalists and lyricists (and I say this with respect to the musicians who write the lyrics and not necessarily sing the songs) well, most of them annoy me for another set of reasons. with lyrics, I have personally grown out of the whole "Metal Leather and Chains" aspect of it all and frankly see it all as a bit gay. Seeing as I'm neither gay, nor young and rebellious, I don't buy into those kinda lyrics any more. Also, the whole "we are the best, better than everyone, metal is the one voice... etc etc." line of lyrics is so juvenile and redundant, it makes the band as a whole look like they are idiots who support this non-sense. Just tell me where this mythical gauge that measures how good you are compared to everyone else in the world resides and I'll get a repair man out to fix it because you're obviously deluded, seeing as the majority of the people of the world don't agree with you. Grow up. That leather waist coat doesn't fit you any more besides. Wait! "Most people don't agree? We're trying to be different!" Trying = contrived. As for Satanic lyrics, well this is probably the lamest thing and here's why: As an atheist myself i don't believe in a "God" or "Gods", so to hear this line of bullshit being growled down a microphone (when it's decipherable) is both completely unnecessary and a bit juvenile at best. The lyrics hold no personal message for me. When I hear the Vocalist say that they don't believe in God but they want to be "Satan's servant" or some other drivel I'm compelled to ask them "you do know that the belief in the Devil also merits an acknowledgment of God's existence too you know. They are part of the same Ghost story".As for the vocals themselves, i don't much buy into growls equivalent to those similar to noises i myself can be heard made after one too many Jack 'n' Cokes in the pub on the weekend. If i want to be reminded of this discomfort, i will not be putting it on a stereo for my amusement, i will simply go and repeat the liver punishment again at the weekend... All the while not listening to it being blared so loudly in the background that i cannot enjoy a chat with my friends while being stared down by depressives wearing black for not wearing corresponding dreary apparel. And i'm not talking about priests here.

Lastly, there's one more thing that I don't understand about metal. Since when did listening to it mean that you had to join a uniformed regime? I like metal but I don't wear black tee-shirts exclusively and don't spend half my day getting in and out of leather trousers. I had a person once say to me "oh, I like metal because it stands against society and the desire to follow fashion. I like being different. I like to be non-conformist". Wait a minute, you wear the same kinda uniform as every other metal fan. You have long hair and a beard... like every other metal fan. You go out of your way to dress the same as every other metal fan. You are the most conformist person I have spoken to this long time! When I look at you, i know you like metal. When you look at me, you have to ask or assume. It was a girl I was talking to.
Personally, I dress however I want. I see something I like, I buy it. Simple as. My musical taste has never affected how I dress... at least in my adult life anyway.

So yeah, that's what bothers me about metal. If it's good and melodic, consistent, not contrived or formulated and doesn't have ridiculous lyrics that compromise the integrity of the music or a certain organisation of followers that must "Die for Metal" or something equally redundant or compromise the integrity of the listener, it's OK by me. Let's not forget the production either ;-)

Sure I guess It's a matter of personal taste after all

Anyway, this is my blog, my opinion and my rant, so it doesn't matter if you agree or not.

Thanks for reading all the same.

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