photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
i think its fair to say that METAL fans are a pretty conservative lot. they know what they want and are disappointed when their favorite bands make stylistic choices that deviate too far from their core expectations, which tend to be related to things like TEMPO, TECHNICALITY and extreme DISSONANCE (i.e. BRUTALITY). there is not much room for evolution in that constraint, but such is the case with METAL fandom.
what i like about the ongoing series 11 GREAT NON-METAL ALBUMS FOR METALHEADS on the REVOLVER magazine YOUTUBE channel is how it showcases the DIVERSITY of appreciation by actual METAL musicians. so far this includes NEIL FALLON OF CLUTCH, STEVE VON TILL of NEUROSIS, KIRK WINDSTEIN of CROWBAR / DOWN and RANDY BLYTHE of LAMB OF GOD. their choices range from expected like-minded AGGRESSIVE genres like FUNK, HARDCORE, OUTLAW COUNTRY, INDUSTRIAL MUSIC, DELTA BLUES, PROGRESSIVE ROCK and ROOTS REGGAE to more EXPERIMENTAL stuff like POST PUNK, JAZZ, FOLK MUSIC, GOTH ROCK, KRAUTROCK, AMBIENT MUSIC and even DISCO.
it just goes to show that INSPIRATION comes from anywhere and that ultimately FORM is less important than CONTENT. i remember when i was an english teacher living and working abroad i made a point of attempting to learn and understand local customs and folklore if possible. exploring that which i didnt know made my classroom all the richer for having made the attempt, even if i didnt utilize such knowledge in the classroom. i can only imagine that a songwriter must similarly have their antennas up for new IDEAS and JUXTAPOSITIONS all the time in an effort to make their own craft that much more COMPLEX and ROBUST. hopefully this series will shed light on such outside passions that will lead metalheads to explore the greater world of music beyond NWOBHM, GRINDCORE, METALCORE, SLUDGE, DEATH, BLACK and THRASH METAL.
sadly i doubt it.
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
i sought out the documentary AS THE PALACES BURN (9.14 PICTURES, 2014) after reading LAMB OF GOD frontman RANDY BLYTHE's memoir DARK DAYS (link to review HERE). its an interesting film in that it was originally intended to focus on the metal community and specifically fans of the band living in difficult situations (cartel violence in MEDELLIN and rigid gender prescriptions upon women in MUMBAI specifically) and using music as an outlet. what ended up happening is roughly halfway through filming BLYTHE was charged with manslaughter in the CZECH REPUBLIC for the death of a fan that happened two years before. rather than focusing on the fans, the film instead transitions into a compelling real-life drama revolving around concepts of personal RESPONSIBILITY and EMPATHY.
the fact that BLYTHE returned to stand trial after a few months after spending 38 days in the notorious PANKRAC PRISON is a testament to his character and his sense of honor and obligation to the family of the departed. it also served as a focal point for the wider global metal community to rally behind, as noted with interviews with the likes of SLASH and COREY TAYLOR. bassist JOHN CAMPBELL mentions that the album they were touring on during this whole debacle, RESOLUTION (EPIC, 2012), was named in honor of BLYTHE's mindset regarding maintaining his sobriety (the downside of which are made famously apparent in the previous band documentary KILLADELPHIA). each band member individually corroborate how the experience made them as a unit stronger as BLYTHE had absolutely "walked the talk."
what started as a documentary about FANDOM and the healing and rejuvenating power of music instead became one about the band's sense of duty to their community. this documentary is well worth seeking out or rewatching, irregardless of whether or not you have read BLYTHE's equally impressive memoir of his insane prison experience.
SPOTLIGHT | THE JASTA SHOW
photo manipulation by nacrowe
ok, admittedly i am not a HATEBREED fan. full disclosure. i did however highlight them in a recent METALCORE episode of DEER GOD RADIO and i do respect them, but i always found them to be a bit corny because their music was essentially humorless. i mean, even SLAYER throws in some latin rhythms every once in a while just to break up the monotony. i found it to be all about brute force and this unrelenting intensity that is just pleading to be mocked. seen them a few times, however, including OZZFEST JAPAN a few years ago and HATEBREED is absolutely crushing live. brutal and intense, no levity.
even though HATEBREED frontman JAMEY JASTA is a bit of a meathead (maybe guns and hunting is cool in CONNECTICUT?), he does have a captivating podcast that interviews musicians and peers from all reaches of the METAL community as evidenced with the recent participants such as of RANDY BLYTHE (LAMB OF GOD), JIMMY BOWER (EYEHATEGOD, DOWN), SAMMY DUET (GOATWHORE), BRIAN "HEAD" WELCH (KORN), OLA ENGLUND (THE HAUNTED), KEITH BUCKLEY (EVERY TIME I DIE / THE DAMNED THINGS) and TREVOR STRNAD (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER) among many many others. so i will give him that.
recently they started releasing videos of these shows on YOUTUBE so definitely check them out if you are hungry for SLUDGE, DEATH, BLACK, THRASH and PROG METAL news during this never-ending quarantine.