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The mighty force of metal
March 3, 2011 11:18 PM   Subscribe

Invisible Oranges is a blog devoted to heavy metal. The term “invisible oranges” describes the clutching gesture you make when the mighty force of metal flows through you.

The proximate cause of this post is the first installment of Heavy Metal Bebop, a series of interviews by Hank Shteamer on the subject of jazz & metal, but the blog is full of interesting stuff. (Note the awesome use of the Black Flag logo, here looking more Blue Note than usual.) Invisible Oranges hosted the interview discussed here, but the blog is worthy of a post in its own right, I think.
posted by kenko (73 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Actually, according to the Strongbadian expert on death metal, Strong Bad, one must "...hunch up all over [ones]self, pretend you're holding a mystical orb in each hand and let the evil flow forth!"
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:23 PM on March 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Whoa, they've got correct-looking tabs! Always wanted to learn Desperate Cry but never got around to it.
posted by ignignokt at 11:24 PM on March 3, 2011


Looking over a list of heavy metal bands, I was struck by how few of them had names related to citrus fruits. I'm glad to see a reference to oranges in connection with heavy metal, because vitamin C should be part of any balanced diet.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:26 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Black Metal Inspired by Kittens
posted by DaDaDaDave at 11:33 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh, their top 10 chromatic riffs list does not contain the bridge riff from Angel of Death, the riff that, when you hear it, singlehandedly makes every cell in your being understand that, by leaving behind diatonicism on waves of distortion, they can momentarily be in another dimension, one that is both alien and far more alive in ways that human mind is not quite capable of grasping.

Obviously, they are not to be trusted and entire invalid. Kidding.
posted by ignignokt at 11:41 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not a metalhead but I still read this blog sometimes. Their post on heavy metal t-shirt wearing is a gem
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:00 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't this a double? Invisible Oranges was the site with that classical vocal coach critiquing heavy metal vocalists, right?
posted by Justinian at 12:49 AM on March 4, 2011


The first record that I got was Chaosphere (laughs), and I was just floored by the sound, like (punches hand: pow!) just in your face, and the more and more I listened to it, I would see how the vocals were really connected with the the rhythm of the song, just so intertwined. And I was studying Indian music, too, at that time, so the beat cycles that they were using were fascinating to me, but it never lost the groove. Some metal bands for me, the groove is kind of weak. Meshuggah, to me, that’s really what it’s about – the groove, really strong – and seeing them live is a testament to that. Even with all the shit that’s goin’ on and all the crazy meters, the backbeat’s really there. I love it. It’s like soul; Meshuggah’s like soul.

My god he gets it! \m/

I was listening to Neurosis and Isis in my car on a long trip once, with a friend who's an Indian classical music expert. After explaining the genre to him he says: so this is "heavy metal Dhrupad." He was precisely correct.
posted by vanar sena at 1:21 AM on March 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Previously.
posted by dersins at 1:45 AM on March 4, 2011


i know the site is called invisible oranges, and i get it. but a fucking orange isn't metal. tasty, yes. i love citrus. but i prefer to think of that hand gesture like you're holding a goblet, a chalice.

and speaking of indian music, this is totally heavy. in particular at the 8:30 mark. there are more videos of these two from this show, they totally rule but i'm not seeing them at the moment (and it's late and way past my bedtime).

the left hand path is another good (better) metal blog.
posted by rainperimeter at 2:03 AM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


... because "invisible testicles" was too homoerotic.

(Appropriately so.)
posted by markkraft at 2:34 AM on March 4, 2011


Good on you @markkraft for making a joke on the internet involving testicles !
posted by knoxg at 3:47 AM on March 4, 2011


I got my Harley t-shirt
My wine skin and a six pack
Some homegrown for the ride back home
And Halen on the eight track!

posted by Meatbomb at 4:42 AM on March 4, 2011


Not being a metal fan, but loving Strongbad, I couldn't help but think something like

"Den-tist!" *jugga jigga wugga*
"Deli-style!" *jugga jigga wugga*

I sincerely apologize to metal fans.
posted by ZakDaddy at 5:13 AM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


one must "...hunch up all over [ones]self, pretend you're holding a mystical orb in each hand and let the evil flow forth!"

That's hilarious—it almost precisely describes this awesome shot taken of my friend's metal band.

I used to hate metal, because: 1) I didn't really know much metal, and 2) I'd only really been exposed to one kind of metal, which admittedly I still hate. But there's so much out there and a lot of it completely defies your expectations (same band as above).

\m/
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:24 AM on March 4, 2011


the left hand path is another good (better) metal blog.

An excellent example of varying mileage. I hate that blog. Everything is overwritten to hell and back.
posted by kenko at 7:27 AM on March 4, 2011


Isn't this a double? Invisible Oranges was the site with that classical vocal coach critiquing heavy metal vocalists, right?

That post is linked in this post.
posted by kenko at 7:31 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow Master of Puppets turned 25 just yesterday. I can say for sure that that's the album I've listened to allthe way through more than any other, by a large margin. (Possible exception being Classic Queen which was, for a time, the only tape I owned, it being the first music I bought with my own money)

If you share an office with me you can tell when I'm listening to Puppets because I'll be air drumming unconsciously.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:45 AM on March 4, 2011


i know the site is called invisible oranges, and i get it. but a fucking orange isn't metal.

I've also heard it referred to as "invisible grapefruit". However I would like to propose "invisible grapefruit leaking juice into invisible papercuts."
posted by Kabanos at 8:39 AM on March 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


ok how come I never knew how funny strong bad is??? I just nearly ruptured myself watching the vid shawnstruck links to at the top. my cat thought something was wrong with me....
posted by supermedusa at 8:53 AM on March 4, 2011


supermedusa, it warms my heart to see someone discover Strong Bad. Don't forget to click around everywhere at the end of each video to find the awesome little easter-eggs.
posted by straight at 9:27 AM on March 4, 2011


but a fucking orange isn't metal.

And screwing in lightbulbs isn't goth, and finding change on the street isn't ska. However, thems is the dances we do. Taking any of it seriously is known as Mistake Number One. ::goes back to spooky tree dance form as "Ubiquitous Mister Lovegrove" plays on::
posted by FatherDagon at 9:30 AM on March 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


@rainperimeter: That video is fucking rockin', thanks!
posted by word_virus at 9:39 AM on March 4, 2011


I used to hate metal, because: 1) I didn't really know much metal, and 2) I'd only really been exposed to one kind of metal, which admittedly I still hate. But there's so much out there and a lot of it completely defies your expectations (same band as above).

I'm listening to that now and really digging it. It is very, very good. But how is it "metal" in any sense? Do the guys in the band dress "metal" or something? Because the music sounds like early-90s indie rock noise. Is Sonic Youth "metal?"

As someone who was a teenager in the '80s and was very much into metal for at least 20 years (and I still listen to metal quite a bit), I am totally baffled that something that sounds like the noisy indie stuff that I was also listening to in the '80s is now called "metal."
posted by The World Famous at 10:07 AM on March 4, 2011


Yeah, Apocryphonic wouldn't really qualify as 'metal', per se - they're more in the style of post-rock type stuff that is occasionally, semironically referred to as 'crescendo-core'. Check out Red Sparowes for a comparison, or for any old reason at all, because they are AWESOME.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:22 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


But how is it "metal" in any sense? Do the guys in the band dress "metal" or something? Because the music sounds like early-90s indie rock noise. Is Sonic Youth "metal?"

1. Guitar + bass + drums * loud / rock = metal. Listen to the growling lyrics of Bear Launcher and I think you'll agree, though.*
Ready the catapult!
Ready the bears!
Ready the catapult!
Ready... bears!
2. I don't get "dressing" metal. Sorry. A blind man should be able to recognize metal. My friends dress in jeans and t-shirts, usually black, often of their other friends' bands. The Portland metal scene is a little incestuous like that.

3. Noise-rock and death metal share a lot of common ancestry, but overall I'd say "no."

* Bear Launcher was written for a local 48-hour songwriting contest. Bands had two days to come up with something given the two topics: "the apocalypse" and "animal as weapon."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:40 AM on March 4, 2011


they're more in the style of post-rock type stuff that is occasionally, semironically referred to as 'crescendo-core'

Interesting, I hadn't heard the term but I think you're right.

Check out Red Sparowes for a comparison, or for any old reason at all, because they are AWESOME.

Once again, I think you're right. :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:43 AM on March 4, 2011


Guitar + bass + drums * loud / rock = metal.

Bullshit. If this is the case, then metal = punk, and I think we can all agree that this is not the case.

Metal has a pretty distinct tradition of song-structure, just as punk and rock do, and what you linked to really, really isn't metal.
posted by vorfeed at 10:51 AM on March 4, 2011


1. Guitar + bass + drums * loud / rock = metal.

Interesting. So, basically, all pop music that's not orchestral or electronica is metal?

The Beatles = Metal
R.E.M. = Metal
Pink Floyd = Metal
Elvis Costello = Metal
The Jam = Metal
Oasis = Metal

Right?

I mean, philosophically, I sort of like the assertion that everything in the world is Metal. But as far as a useful music categorization, it's sort of useless.

On my way to work this morning, I listened to Iron Maiden and Mastodon. I'm pretty sure they're both Metal. I'll listen to The Smiths on my way home. I'm pretty sure they're not Metal.
posted by The World Famous at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2011


However, I think we can all agree that a metal Smiths cover band would be pretty cool.
posted by Erroneous at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fucking hell, Red Sparrowes ARE awesome! I hear hints of The Mission or Nephilim in there which is great for me, being a fan of 80's (proper!) goth.

I could see this fitting in quite nicely with my current Earth and Boris jag.

Thanks for the introduction to them, FatherDagon.
posted by littleredspiders at 11:06 AM on March 4, 2011


However, I think we can all agree that a metal Smiths cover band would be pretty cool.

Yes. The Deftones' cover of Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want is really good (they're metal, sort of, aren't they?).

What shall we name our metal Smiths cover band? Just calling it Metalsmiths would be too obvious. Black On The Inside would sort of work, but might be misinterpreted. How about Miserable Now, The Cemetery Gates, or Die By Your Side?
posted by The World Famous at 11:13 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obsessing over the minutiae of slight differences in loud music, whereby the types of fills that a drummer plays make it an entirely new genre is what I call Metal. When this discussion extends to having the correct clothing, haircut, tattoos and piercings enter into this discussion I call it Hardcore.
posted by dobie at 11:20 AM on March 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metal has a pretty distinct tradition of song-structure, just as punk and rock do, and what you linked to really, really isn't metal.

No, many of the same song structures appear in metal, punk, and rock songs. I don't think there's a "metal song structure" that is unique to metal and has appeared in more than one song. Metal is usually set apart by an emphasis on riffs rather than shifts in overall tonality, but even that's a rather subjective matter.
posted by ignignokt at 11:26 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to try to distill down a definition for a genre of music. I think it sort of boils down to "I know it when I hear it." But I also think there are some defining musical characteristics, as well - certain guitar tones and playing styles, for example.

In my mind, at least, there's a certain fairly-narrow set of guitar tones that are pretty much mandatory in order for something to be Metal, including certain characteristics of both the players' dirty tone and clean tone. Vocal style is not as important in terms of staying within the genre. Drum style and production style are a key part, too.
posted by The World Famous at 11:31 AM on March 4, 2011


No, many of the same song structures appear in metal, punk, and rock songs. I don't think there's a "metal song structure" that is unique to metal and has appeared in more than one song. Metal is usually set apart by an emphasis on riffs rather than shifts in overall tonality, but even that's a rather subjective matter.

Why isn't that track metal, then? Why isn't punk or rock or post-rock metal? It's not just the guitar tone.

I agree that there isn't One True Metal Song Structure that appears in all metal and doesn't appear elsewhere, but I do think song structure has a huge amount to do with whether something is metal. That goes double as you start to branch out from heavy metal into metal subgenres. And yes, that's "a rather subjective matter", but so's music.
posted by vorfeed at 11:40 AM on March 4, 2011


It's interesting to try to distill down a definition for a genre of music. I think it sort of boils down to "I know it when I hear it."

Much like pornography! And knowing when you hear it will also change over time. A metaller in 1980 hearing Altars of Madness might think it was crust or "experimental" music. A band like Kyuss would be thought of as heavy metal immediately at that same time, but now is thought of chiefly as stoner rock.
posted by ignignokt at 11:40 AM on March 4, 2011


The obsession these days with creating ever more specific and narrow sub-genres is a little silly, I think. It's to the point where no artist can be said to occupy a single genre. I won't have to go much farther before there is a separate sub-sub-genre for each song. And then we'll have to think of sub-genres for different parts of the songs themselves.
posted by The World Famous at 11:47 AM on March 4, 2011


Why isn't that track metal, then? Why isn't punk or rock or post-rock metal? It's not just the guitar tone.

Tonality, which I referred to, is not "guitar tone" which is actually to timbre. Like I said, punk and post-rock are usually not drawing emphasis to riffs - they're more interested in focusing the listener on a wider field of view. People remember metal riffs, usually many riffs per song. In a, say, Ramones song, riffs aren't among the first things they remember, even if they are good on closer examination.

I agree that there isn't One True Metal Song Structure that appears in all metal and doesn't appear elsewhere, but I do think song structure has a huge amount to do with whether something is metal.

No, that's not true to a significant extent. Even modern death metal songs are quite often intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus. Which you'll find everywhere in the rock world.
posted by ignignokt at 11:49 AM on March 4, 2011


The obsession these days with creating ever more specific and narrow sub-genres is a little silly, I think.

Yeah, I think the line between "subgenre" and "description" has been crossed. I see why bands like to do it, though - it gives them a certain power.
posted by ignignokt at 11:51 AM on March 4, 2011


No, that's not true to a significant extent. Even modern death metal songs are quite often intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus. Which you'll find everywhere in the rock world.

And I'd say that modern death metal's quite often not very metal, partly for this reason. Potato, potahto.
posted by vorfeed at 12:00 PM on March 4, 2011


I think part of the constant genre bifurcation is the same evolution of sound that you see in all music, combined with the high-speed turnaround of information and discussion nowadays. It's the same reason that a lot of the 'Original Metal' groups (Sabbath, Zeppelin, Pentagram, etc) would now qualify as straight up Rock, and quite often wandering into the Classic Rock territory as far as radio classification goes. And Rock from the 50s is now 'Oldies'. The window moves, and the focus changes. Part of the reason the genres get so abstract is that all genres (like all words, really) serve not just to identify specific characteristics, but to interrelate specific objects based on their shared features, and more broadly to indicate what things those objects are NOT.

When you say 'tree', you don't know if you're talking deciduous or fruit or baobab, but you do know you aren't talking about clouds or salmon or the writings of Levi Strauss. With a broader knowledge of the topic comes a need for greater specificity, especially when you're talking about something so open to interpretation as music. And with the vastly greater access to information we have now vs. 15 years ago, as well as the broadening of who can participate in what discussions based on a damburst of communication, the nomenclature has grown that much more finely tuned in order to keep pace.

tl;dr - i blame the internet as the reason I don't describe Neurosis as 'metal', but as 'spiritual post-metal with apocalyptic psych-folk leanings'.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:04 PM on March 4, 2011


OK, then old school death metal, like Morbid Angel and Entombed, very often uses that structure. And pretty much all of thrash metal and classic heavy metal, like Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden.

Softcore taters, hardcore taters!
posted by ignignokt at 12:06 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I'd say that modern death metal's quite often not very metal, partly for this reason.

Get ye some Wolves in the Throne Room. Wandering somewhere between American Death and American Black, but definitely structured in a different fashion. And awesome.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:06 PM on March 4, 2011


OK, then old school death metal, like Morbid Angel and Entombed, very often uses that structure. And pretty much all of thrash metal and classic heavy metal, like Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden.

Yes, I understand this. But Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden were not rock, and there's more to that than just tonality. There's something about the way the riffs and the rhythms are structured that's different, especially once you get to stuff like Morbid Angel and Entombed. And old-school death metal doesn't stop at verse/chorus/verse, either -- not much rock or punk is structured like Incantation, for example...
posted by vorfeed at 1:15 PM on March 4, 2011


While I'm here, I may as well be vaguely on-topic and link to this Invisible Oranges interview with A.A. Nemtheanga from Blood Revolt. This and Ares Kingdom's Incendiary were easily the best albums I heard last year -- challenging and original stuff that stands head-and-shoulders above the hundreds of bands playing [Insert Shoegaze/Post-Rock, Sub-Sub-Genre, Or 80s Band Here] Metal.
posted by vorfeed at 1:40 PM on March 4, 2011


The obsession these days with creating ever more specific and narrow sub-genres is a little silly, I think.

I'm pretty sure this happens with all music that has passionate fans.
posted by flaterik at 1:51 PM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden were not rock

That's not strictly true, however, and illustrates why song structure is not the delineator.

Also, I'm not talking about general tonality - I'm talking about the movement of tonality. Rock and punk tend to shift the tonal emphasis more or less every measure or every half measure. In metal, oft times that same feel is gone. The tonal center moves rapidly over the course of a measure, leading to a listener to either perceive it as constantly moving or as not moving at all or to forget tonality completely.

There's something about the way the riffs and the rhythms are structured that's different, especially once you get to stuff like Morbid Angel and Entombed.

The difference in "riff structure" is something closer to the truth, but the key difference is that the riffs are more intricate than in punk and general rock, and that derives from that they are given more emphasis.


A side note about the word "structure": Back in the days of Usenet, I noticed the overuse of this word in a lot of metal reviews written by people who felt that metal was really important (and as much as music can be, it is) and wanted to elevate it, to get it the serious respect they felt it didn't get. Also, they wanted to sound smart.

So what they did was try to use overwrought language and used words like "complex structures" without ever specifying the scope (song? phrase? riff?) of the "structure" or what aspect of the music that the structure applied to. Harmonic? Melodic? Rhythmic?

Vorfeed, I do not think you're trying to sound smart. You are smart. However, I think it would be worthwhile to be careful that when you say "song structure sets metal apart" that you really mean song structure, and not "the riffs have a different rhythmic template" because they are entirely different things.
posted by ignignokt at 2:02 PM on March 4, 2011


The difference in "riff structure" is something closer to the truth, but the key difference is that the riffs are more intricate than in punk and general rock, and that derives from that they are given more emphasis.

I agree. It's also layering, and counterpoint, and the use of techniques (like tremolo riffing and palm-muting) which aren't used to the same extent in other genres. Put it all together and you get stuff that just isn't "structured" the way rock or punk is "structured", despite the fact that all three come from the same place and are made from the same basic ingredients. Perhaps you can explain what I'm getting at better than I can, but I think there is a difference here, and it's a difference in songwriting, not just in how the songs are played or recorded.

Maybe "intricacy" covers it, but I don't think that tells the whole story: simply playing more intricate rock does not necessarily get you metal, as the first prog rockers proved at around the same time the first metal bands did. Likewise, some metal is minimalist and simplistic, but is still metal rather than punk.

However, I think it would be worthwhile to be careful that when you say "song structure sets metal apart" that you really mean song structure, and not "the riffs have a different rhythmic template" because they are entirely different things.

Fair enough. I never said I was deep-steeped in music theory; just metal.
posted by vorfeed at 2:35 PM on March 4, 2011


When it comes down to it, it's an overall aesthetic distinction, rather than a technical definition based on music alone. For example, about half the songs on Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie album (as well as several songs on Gish) fit pretty much every conceivable technical musical definition of Metal, but Smashing Pumpkins are not Metal.
posted by The World Famous at 2:49 PM on March 4, 2011


As for metal reviews, feel free to check the link in my profile and see what you think. The most recent stuff is here.

I try to avoid the kind of pretentious pseudo-academic language you're referring to, but I also think it's important to actually describe the music as best I can. Too many metal reviews say very little about what the album is like -- they're either a big pile of buzzwords and band names, or a treatise on how much the-scene-sucks-but-this-band-doesn't. If I say "song structure" where I meant "rhythmic template", I suppose that's my mistake, but better that than not saying anything at all about the way the songs are put together.
posted by vorfeed at 2:58 PM on March 4, 2011


Metal is fucking into it. It's naked nihilistic enthusiasm. Metal is now, folk is yesterday and tomorrow. Metal is angry disco. Metal isn't sure where it will be tomorrow. Metal scrounges for change in the couch.

Map of Metal. Previously.

I just had occasion to post this bit of what?! in another thread but I think it belongs here too.
Psychology of Heavy Metal Music
Effects on Mood, Aggression, Suicide, Drug Use and Intelligence

May 8, 2008 Jennifer Copley
Effect on Animals

A student named David Merrill subjected mice to the music of a heavy metal band called Anthrax 24-hours a day to discover how it would affect their ability to learn new things, but instead of completing Merrill’s maze, the heavy metal mice all killed one another.

                         \m/       \m/
posted by vapidave at 3:33 PM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Few things are sillier than discussions of things that are or are not metal, which seems to dominate about 90% of the online boards I go to searching for good discussions on metal. I do have to say that the band The World Famous talks about upthreat really just sounds like postrock to me. But whatever, if they want to call themselves metal, that's their business. Don't hurt me. After all, we're talking about a genre that contains multitudes already.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:07 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metal, Metallica in particular, came into my life at just the right time, my mid-teens. It was music for geeks and outcasts. I was on my way to being kicked out of home by my mom's boyfriend and it meant all the world to me to have not only a few songs, but damn near a whole musical genre that seemed to say I wasn't alone and that you had to fight.

Arguments about 'what is metal' or not are fun, and frustrating. We spend too much time categorizing things, and ultimately, people. It is useful to marketers. It is less useful to anyone else who just needs to hear music that speaks to him or her.

Metallica (80s), Dio (l miss him!) and Black Sabbath are miles apart in terms of speed if you look at average songs among them. They are undeniably Metal.

Besides, in 2005 a special meeting was held to determine what to do about misuse of the 'metal sign'!
posted by kmartino at 4:38 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metal has a pretty distinct tradition of song-structure, just as punk and rock do, and what you linked to really, really isn't metal.

OK Mr. Metal Genius. Please explain what metal is. Please do this without referencing any particular band or song.

Now, please try again, only without sounding like you're trying to sell us Monster Cables.

Yeah, that's what I thought.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:02 PM on March 4, 2011


On my way to work this morning, I listened to Iron Maiden and Mastodon. I'm pretty sure they're both Metal. I'll listen to The Smiths on my way home. I'm pretty sure they're not Metal.

That goes for you , too, Doc Metal.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:03 PM on March 4, 2011


I keep trying and failing to get into metal. I was at a festival recently with Slayer and Iron Maiden. Slayer got sick and pulled out but Iron Maiden were awesome. But that's more on the Classic Rock line.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:41 PM on March 4, 2011


Lovecraft IN Brooklyn whomever says Iron Maiden is Classic Rock is mistaken.

Maiden is Metal. As Metal as can be. And there are other bands near it in style that you might consider:

Queensryche (listen to "Operation Mindcrime" in its entirety)
Judas Priest (sometimes)
Helloween
Iced Earth
Dio
Fates Warning
Bruce Dickinson's solo works ("Tears from a Dragon" is awesome)

And here is a great article about Iron Maiden and Middle East peace from AlJazeera.
posted by kmartino at 5:51 PM on March 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know how I missed Dream Theater in that list, but them too.
posted by kmartino at 5:57 PM on March 4, 2011


That goes for you , too, Doc Metal.

As I've been saying, I don't think it's something that you can just plug a formula in and declare, but I do think there are certain basic guitar tone criteria etc. that are sort of guidelines. Beyond that, it's an overall aesthetic, and not a musical formula, and yeah, you know it when you hear it.

Beyond that, given that I am a Doctor of Metal, I'm afraid you'll have to pay my very steep public speaking fee in order for me to expound further. I didn't go to Metal Medical School for eight years for nothing, after all. You could, I suppose, check out my Metal dissertation, but it would probably go way over your head. I will warn you that the committee wept tears of blood and held invisible oranges when it was first presented.

In all seriousness, I think I may record a Metal track this weekend and post it to MeFiMusic in honor of this awesome Metal discussion, as I did previously with the Cure discussion. Stay tuned.
posted by The World Famous at 6:07 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I try to avoid the kind of pretentious pseudo-academic language you're referring to, but I also think it's important to actually describe the music as best I can.

I totally agree. I think music reviews - for music of any genre - are generally worthless as reviews for this reason. They are sometimes worth reading as an explanation of the writer's experience, but that's not what I think of as a review. I'll check your stuff out!
posted by ignignokt at 8:37 PM on March 4, 2011


I think the more extreme metal gets the more distinct it gets from other music. Except when it crosses over with punk and hardcore. Or when it turns into the stuff that gets compared to Sigur Ros.
Isn't the aesthetic as big a part of metal as the music? Serious question
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:51 PM on March 4, 2011


The World Famous, I going to stay quite tuned.

Lovecraft in Brooklyn, in addition to kmartino's list, you might want to check out and Running Wild (Dragonmen!) and Gamma Ray, particularly Somewhere Out in Space. They're melodic and gallopy like Maiden. For years, I hated the idea of "happy" metal, but some of Gamma Ray's songs are kind of a headbanger's dream, ridiculously cheerful or not.
posted by ignignokt at 8:56 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Argh, unclosed bold tag! It's like spilling a bottle of ink.
posted by ignignokt at 8:56 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


kmartino, that article deserves it's own post
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:57 PM on March 4, 2011


i don't know where this falls in with other comments; there are things to me that are distinctly metal, and others that are distinctly not. but i think my parameters may be more narrow than a lot of other people's parameters. but a tag or label or whatever that i use often is heavy. like earlier the deftones were brought up. in my opinion not really metal; heavy sure, metal no. heavy is less narrowly defined. for me of course. you do and say what you like.

metal
metal
metal
heavy
heavy
heavy
posted by rainperimeter at 12:40 AM on March 5, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn, will do. Gotta pull together a set of links :)
posted by kmartino at 6:25 AM on March 5, 2011


a metal Smiths cover band...

Years ago, Quicksand did a pretty heavy version of How Soon Is Now
posted by gwint at 7:51 AM on March 5, 2011


Echoplexing kmartino old metal != classic though there are old metal classics.
I'd also like to add this:
Psychology of Heavy Metal Music
Effects on Mood, Aggression, Suicide, Drug Use and Intelligence

May 8, 2008 Jennifer Copley

Intelligence
Interestingly, college students whose musical preferences are alternative, rock or heavy metal actually obtain higher IQ test scores on average, particularly on questions where abstraction is required. Some studies have also found high intelligence among adolescent heavy metal listeners.
Not sure what they mean by obtain but it's pretty much duh that metal dudes are intelligent and volatile and better kept away from fire and weapons lest they do something spectacularly adolescent.
posted by vapidave at 3:39 PM on March 5, 2011


Not sure what they mean by obtain but it's pretty much duh that metal dudes are intelligent and volatile

I think the key qualifier in what you quoted is "college students." All the metal dudes I knew in college were pretty intelligent. All the metal dudes I knew in high school who didn't go to college were sort of the opposite.
posted by The World Famous at 6:22 PM on March 5, 2011


As promised, I wrote and recorded an instrumental Metal track over the weekend inspired by this thread. Here it is on MeFiMusic. Is it Metal?
posted by The World Famous at 10:35 AM on March 7, 2011


As promised, I wrote and recorded an instrumental Metal track over the weekend inspired by this thread. Here it is on MeFiMusic. Is it Metal?

Orthoclase certainly on the Mohs; not to go all 70's East German but maybe pyrite honesty, it seemed you were playing at the idea of, rather than invested in. But only slightly.

Skill full marks for: Excellent feedback, enraged syncopated drumming, Generally Badass, oaken tone on guitar, scared my cat.

Negatives: cat was in my lap, absent vocals, citrus reference, cat was in my lap.

Four point eight six out of 5 on the standard Rhoads/Lemmy scale of telling your current employer to get bent.
posted by vapidave at 10:38 PM on March 7, 2011


Thanks, vapidave. I think the true spirit of Metal would have been a bit more present if I hadn't been working around the schedule of a sleeping infant in the next room. Most of my youthful rage was focused on indie music and post-punk, and it's a little weird to be recording my first real attempt at original Metal now that I've been more or less domesticated.
posted by The World Famous at 11:24 AM on March 9, 2011


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