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Tag: On singing in metal songs

On singing in metal 5 – Attack Attack’s “Stick Stickly”

This has to be the most insipid, idiotic bullshit I’ve had the misfortune to endure since Avenged Sevenfold’s first record. If you cannot sing, DON’T THEN GO AND AUTOTUNE THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR PLAYGROUND POETRY WHINING TO MAKE IT SOUND “COOL”. I don’t want you to watch this. Really. You should, because you won’t understand what I’m talking about without doing so, but I sincerely apologize for forcing you to rot your ears with this trash. It’s cruel of me to subject you to this garbage.

And the bullshit Euro dance breakdown? It’s not even good dance music. It’s just more trash. These fucking idiots have gone and combined all these different styles—metal, hardcore, electro, crunk—into something that is far less than its parts. Instead of using those styles to make something fresh or smart or informed, they slapped everything together, not doing any of the bits particularly well. Just terrible.

The only good part of this is how funny the chubby lead singer looks as he bounces up and down like a fucking bobblehead on a dashboard.

On singing in metal 4.1 – The Agonist’s “Business Suits and Combat Boots”

[myspace]http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=16046880[/myspace]

…..eeehhhhh, not so much. Just goes to show that while one song can be totally brutal, the next one my choke on a million dicks. I’ll chalk this one up to inexperience since it comes from their first record while the previously posted video comes from their sophomore release. Getting heavier is always good.

On singing in metal 4 – The Agonist’s “…and Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep”

[myspace height=”355″]http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=55957820[/myspace]

I was all prepared to watch this video (which I found on MetalSucks) and then come here and lay into it with a new On Singing In Metal post. It has all the elements of the sort of band that starts off heavy and then interjects with some shit singing section that just doesn’t work or totally feels tacked on or, and this is really the worst, features incredibly bad singing. I maintain that I do not mind singing in metal songs as long as the singing is competent. Here’s what they had going against them:

Female singer? Check.

Song title that is unnecessarily emo? Check.

My prejudice against bands that aren’t clearly heavy as fuck? Check.

FEMALE SINGER? Check.

We can see what The Agonist had working against them, the primary factor being my completely ridiculous (side note: don’t you hate it when people spell “ridiculous” as “rediculous”?) prejudice against bands that I know nothing about and that have female singers. The only other band that I know that has a female singer that doesn’t lapse into completely horrible bouts of shit singing is Light This City, and I thought that they totally rocked, breaking up before they could really blossom. Am I wrong to judge bands before I hear them? Of course. Is that going to stop me from doing it in the future? Hell no. But, I’m always willing to give them a chance even if I end up thinking they totally blow.

And in this case, I was wrong. All my preconceived notions about what the song would be like based on the first five seconds and the first shot of the female lead singer with her multi-color hair and metal-head-fashionable style (what, no Suffocation t-shirt?) ended up being pretty wrong. And by pretty wrong, I mean totally fucking wrong. Do they lapse into singing? Yes, yes they do at about 1:38, but it’s buried so deeply in the mix beneath some disturbingly righteous demonic wails, pig vocals (!) and death growls that not only does it not stand out as bad, but it kind of feels good. I know. I feel so dirty writing that, but it’s true. Though singing, she doesn’t indulge in the typical Hot Topic-metal waaah waaah waaahs I hate so fucking much. You know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, here’s a perfect example of what I dislike. I also really like the horror movie style choral layer on top of the ripping metal sections. It’s like a cue from black metal without all the totally bullshit theatrics and better integrated into the song. And I swear those harmonized growls are evil enough to make Deicide proud. Pretty great. I’m going to have to pick this record up.

As far as the video goes, Brodsky did good job on what looks like cab fare. Shoot the whole thing in close up as a serious 1-shots of the band playing their instruments against a blank, featureless background? Sure, yeah, no problem. It’s going to cost you 30 bucks. That said, he did a good job with the edit making it feel frenetic, though the reversed footage shit seems kind of cheesy to me, but that might just be because A) I watched it like 8 times while writing this and B) I’m a total fucking dick. Whatever. Major kudos for the last shot though. And I love the guitarist’s intense ass metal faces.

Headbanger’s Ball’s Top 10 of 2008… Sucked.

Last week I watched my DVRed episode of Headbanger’s Ball from this weekend which counted down the top 10 videos from 2008. All in all, it was a horrible Top 10 list. So bad in fact that I nearly threw up the cold steak taco and chips I had eaten for dinner. That bad.

I went to the official Headbanger’s Blog to get the track list of the top 10 so I could rant about it here and I discovered that it was actually a top 25 of 2008, but they only showed 10 videos. That changes nothing really because the top 10 still sucks. Here’s the list.

  • 10. Brian “Head” Welch “Flush”
  • 9. Whitechapel “Possession”
  • 8. Slipknot “Psychosocial”
  • 7. Underoath “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”
  • 6. The Devil Wears Prada “HTML Rulez D00d”
  • 5. Dream Theater “Forsaken”
  • 4. 3 Inches of Blood “Trial of Champions”
  • 3. Avenged Sevenfold “Unholy Confessions”
  • 2. All That Remains “Two Weeks”
  • 1. Dir En Grey “Dozing Green”

Let’s break this down shall we?

Number 10 – Brian “Head” Welch “Flush”. I only saw the second half of this video and, correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t “Nü-metal” die in 2001? This video is terrible. Oh jeez, you’re chained up? Is that a metaphor for something? Aw, what’s this crazy pixie stix powder the porno looking chicks are licking and pouring all over each other? Is it supposed to represent something?

Well, if all the ham-fisted, inept imagery weren’t enough to convince you that this is a complete piece of trash, then how about this sampling of lyrics?

Life is boring/Same old story/Get drunk, throw up/Sleep all day/Like I’m something/I’m not nothing/I can’t let myself decay

Wow, “Head”. Deep. I love your delicate, sophisticated word play and the imagery you employ while calling to mind the words of master poets like Eliot, Keats, and Byron! This is playground poetry of the highest caliber. I know you’ve found Jesus, but that is no excuse for spouting such inarticulate nonsense at unsuspecting listeners. This was the first time I watched your video and it will also be the last.

Number 9 – Whitechapel “Possession”. I’ve discussed this video on this site before. It was awesome then, and it is awesome now. Next.

Number 8 – Slipknot “Psychosocial”. To be perfectly fair, this video isn’t all that bad. It looks nice for sure. I could do without the song. And the performance parts of the video. And Slipknot. But it looks nice, which is ONE good thing. I take exception to the title which is ALMOST the worst title on the list. Psychosocial? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I suppose that it makes the song sound tough to have the word “psycho” in the title, but I can’t help but think of the Biopsychosocial assessments my girlfriend does when she has new therapy clients. GRRRRR THERAPY IS SO METAL!!!!

Number 7 – Underoath “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”. This video is well executed. I am not a fan of performance in videos, typically, and I’m not a fan of it here. But, the dark fairy tale styling of the animated parts is excellent. The song is totally underwhelming and could easily find itself the topic of another “On Singing In Metal” if there were not two other songs on the MTV list more qualified for that distinct honor.

Number 6 – The Devil Wears Prada “HTML Rulez D00d”. Ok. This is horrible. First, let’s take a look at the band’s name. The Devil Wears Prada? The band is named after a book that’s a vaguely fictional memoir of a woman’s experience in the fashion industry in New York? For real? I’m not even going to get into how bad of a choice I think that is. That’s not even cleverly inane. It’s just stupid.

The song title, “HTML Rulez D00d”? Again, I demand to know what the fuck they were thinking when they thought of this idiotic stinker of a title. Is HyperText Markup Language some hilarious thing with the kids these days that I missed out on? Is the deliberate misspelling of the word “rules” with a z (zed for those outside the US) trying to convey something about the dynamically evolving nature of language? Does using two zeros in “dude” expand on that notion while tying back into the digital nature of the original HTML call out by referencing the l337-speak of computer yore? No? It’s just a stupid fucking title chosen by a bunch of morons? OHhhhhhhh. I get it now.

Let it not be thought I have something against inane song titles. I do not. But at least a band like Curl Up and Die had the sense to use asinine song titles to great effect with winners like, “Doctor Doom. A Man Of Science, Doesn’t Believe In Jesus, Why The Fuck Do You”, or Drowningman’s “Yeah, You’re Pretty But Do You Think You’ll Really Get Away With It?” There is a difference between stupid and irreverent that The Devil Wears Prada (again, that name, horrible) just don’t seem to get.

Ok, now that I’ve bagged on their obvious lack of decision making prowess, let’s approach the song, shall we? It’s totally generic, metalcore garbage, complete with god-awful whiny singing. Why do people think this shit is good? The singing in this song makes me want to stab knives into my ears and thereby deprive myself of the world of sound for the rest of my mortal existence. It’s really terrible. I have already written at length about how I feel about shitty singing in metal songs, so I’m not going to do it again, but god damn this song is terrible. It is still not the worst singing on this list though.

Number 5 – Dream Theater “Forsaken”. Dream Theater is classic metal band. I mean, really, there basically wouldn’t be prog metal without Dream Theater, so, like them or not, you can’t deny that they have been an important force in shaping the metal landscape. This video though is not that good. It’s not bad, exactly, but it sure isn’t good. It’s just cheesy. This whole rotoscoped animation thing they have going screams cheese, like the first Heavy Metal movie. Or the second one. Or the magazine. I think the video itself is well made, but I question the taste that went into it. All in all, not bad if you’re 13 and play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons.

Number 4 – Three Inches of Blood “Trial of Champions”. I’m into Three Inches of Blood. They’re an all right band. I dig the whole “pirate power metal” thing they do. This video fucking blows big ones, however. This is the perfect example of how having absolutely no budget can ruin a music video. Whether it’s the super “edgy” band against black background performance footage, the “acting” by the “actors”, or the complete lack of set design and decent cinematography during the non-band sequences, this video looks like crap. Note to the colorist: desaturating and pumping up the blues do not make badly shot footage look good. It makes badly shot footage look blue.

Number 3 – Avenged Sevenfold “Unholy Confessions”. Why is an Avenged Sevenfold video of a track off their 2003 record Waking The Fallen in the top 10 of 2008? Really, I couldn’t tell you. That doesn’t stop this video or band from being complete trash. I am going to hold my thoughts on Avenged Sevenfold for a future entry in “On Singing In Metal”. Let’s leave it at acknowledging this is one of the worst bands on the scene today and the worst abuser of bad singing in metal songs on this list.

Number 2 – All That Remains “Two Weeks”. This shit is so boring it puts me to sleep faster than that Isis show I went to see at The Bowery Ballroom where I nearly fell asleep over the balcony.

Number 1 – Dir En Grey “Dozing Green”. The Japanese have given us many gifts over the years: Godzilla, Robotech, Akira, Kwaidan, Kurosawa films. But did they give us the best metal video of 2008? Fuck no. Yeah, the projections on the screens are cool, but not groundbreaking. But that’s about everything that’s not just totally plain in this video. Ok, some animation, some scans of weird manga, some other crap—none of it good. Oh look! There are maggots and a chinook and some comics and the film burning and a sunset! WOW. WHAT STUNNING VISUALISTS THESE JAPANESE ARE. My mind is so blown, like oh my god.

I am totally offended that this was picked as the best video of 2008. No, not offended, ashamed. I am ashamed of America for picking this miserable top 10 list when there have been many other, BETTER videos this year.

To be fair to the people at MTV responsible for Headbanger’s Ball, their staff picks for the top 10 are significantly better than the fan picks. You can see both lists of 25 here: Headbangers Viewers, HBB Blog Pick Best Videos of 2008.

Major props for putting a video that I am in at number 6. Fuck yeah, The Sword is awesome.

Look out for another post where I list at least 5 videos from this year that should have been in the top 10 that weren’t.

On singing in metal 3 – Into Eternity’s “Time Immemorial”

[myspace]http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=47983160[/myspace]

Hmm. Do I like this? I liked the last Into Eternity record, but I was pretty sure at the beginning of the song that I wasn’t going to like this one. Then it got into the meat of the track and I wasn’t sure that I disliked it anymore. It’s actually a pretty decent song, I guess, even if it switches genres like crazy without any sort of real segue ways.

His singing verges on the unacceptable sometimes, but his penchant for taking it power metal really pulls him back from the brink of oblivion. And homeboy can definitely keep a tune, so I’m not mad. I’m just not sure how pumped up about this I am. But then, that’s what I thought when I first heard Protest The Hero, and I consider Fortress one of the best releases of this year. It’s probably appropriate that you ignore my first impressions because they are often wrong in moments like this. Usually, if I hate something right off the bat (that was a cliché), then I’m right on. Same thing for liking stuff. But when I’m on the fence and leaning towards dislike, I’m usually wrong, so, you know, whatever.

Sorry that this post sucks; my brain is officially mush. Watch the video. Keep on rocking.

Look forward to more interesting posts in the future!

On singing in metal 2 – Intronaut’s “Australopithecus”

This morning while avoiding sitting down to do actual real work, I was cruising the Deciblog and stumbled upon this new video by Intronaut. It’s stupidly awesome. The video echoes Jan Svankmajer’s Alice, but with a distinctly modern feel. The cut is sharp and punchy, and the cinematography conveys a palpable sense of dread. What more could you ask for from a metal video? That the song is appropriately killer? Taken care of. Harmonized growls, double bass, breakdowns, gnarly chorus; this song has it all.

So why is it in On singing in metal? I filed it there because of the musical shift at 2:14. I fully anticipated some truly awful singing destroying my initial impression of this song as pure slaughter. How delighted I was to make it through the calmer section to be greeted at the other end by the brutal crunch of the chorus! This is a perfect example of how to integrate melodic sections into your metal song without succumbing to the misguided need to throw in some contemptible “singing”. Intronaut, I salute you and your restraint and show of good taste. Well done.

The rest of you, pick up their record from Century Media here—Intronaut – Prehistoricisms. Only 10 bucks! That’s two beers WITHOUT tip. Do it.

On singing in metal songs

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I have a passionate, undying love for all things metal. Fist in the air, I throw the horns for the power of metal. It is catharsis on a primal level unmatched by anything else I do to blow off steam. I rock the fuck out and I don’t care who dislikes it. I am a relatively unpicky consumer of metal records. If it has a strong groove and some double bass, I’m into it. I try not to discriminate.

That said, there is one trend in metal over the last few years that I cannot tolerate. Have you guessed it yet? That’s right. I loathe singing in metal songs. But that is not wholly true. What I hate is bad singing in metal songs.

Let’s enjoy an object lesson, shall we? Read more