i spend a lot of time bitching about the things i dislike. it makes me sound horribly negative but i feel just as strongly about the things i dig. i’ve actually come across some exciting new music in the last several months so i want to talk about what it is and why it’s awesome.
first, BABYMETAL from japan.
i read blabbermouth.net (a heavy metal news website) religiously, and saw BABYMETAL mentioned a few times over a few months. i thought (and still think) it was the stupidest name anyone could have chosen for anything so i didn’t bother to read the articles on them. finally, something about one of the articles caught my eye and i checked it out. i saw the video for the song ‘megitsune’ and really wasn’t sure what to think.
i had a laugh and sent it to my metal buds. we more or less agreed it was well done but too silly to take seriously, and yet over the next week, i kept coming back to listen to that song and others by the group. after about a week, i realized that i honestly loved BABYMETAL. i’m sure countless metal snob losers will have their spiked leather undies in a twist over pop music and little girls getting mixed up in metal but that’s bonehead elitism. what makes BABYMETAL so cool is that it is supremely well done in all aspects: the pop music is sugary sweet; the metal is heavy as fuck; the production of the recordings is flawless; the songwriting is supremely clever, managing to avoid typical song formulas yet also managing to be ridiculously catchy; the girls’ and their backup skeleton dancers stage show is super entertaining; and the live band that occasionally accompanies BABYMETAL is comprised of tight-as-fuck legit metal musicians. i’m not a fan of every song i’ve heard but i think the majority of their catalogue is excellent and i will definitely be buying the album when it comes out in the next month or two. my buddy bill even got me one of their shirts, straight from japan! thank christ the logo is illegible, though. as much as i love them, the name still stinks, and i don’t want anyone seeing me in a shirt and saying, “babymetal? what’s that? is that like mini-pops?”
next up is voices, from the UK.
they were spawned from the ashes of akercocke, who may well be the single greatest extreme metal band of all time. they may even be my fave metal band, period, but i digress. akercocke really found their stride in their fourth and fifth albums, and then they inexplicably disappeared. then voices popped up, featuring 3 of the 5 members featured in the last incarnation of akercocke. like many sad akercocke fans, i was thrilled to hear what i expected to be version 2.0 of that band. alas, i was extremely disappointed. not because voices is not good—quite the contrary—but because i let myself believe this really was going to just be more akercocke. dejected, i left the voices album (‘from the human forest create a fugue of imaginary rain’) on my computer but forgot about them for probably a year, until last week when i happened to put it on. this time, i listened casually, with no expectations or preconceptions…and it was awesome. while akercocke is devoutly satanic and evil, voices is much more earthbound in its sickness and depravity: it sounds like the twisted, confused, violent mind of a serial rapist/murderer. it is completely different from akercocke but it is just as awful and disturbing, albeit in its own unique way.
and now skinny puppy.
i’ve always been a fan of skinny puppy’s mid and late era, notably ‘too dark park’ and ‘the process’, but i never heard their reunion shit from the early 2000’s until a year or two ago. i finally checked out ‘the greater wrong of the right’ and it was awesome. very different from any of their previous work, more modern with less grinding, grating, industrial sounds, but still really cool. so shortly after, i checked out the next album, ‘mythmaker’, and was bummed. i find it really boring and unremarkable, with the exception of the track ‘ugli’, which is deadly. fast forward to a few weeks ago when i learned skinny puppy will be playing in vancouver to promote their new album, ‘weapon’. this was exciting news indeed, so i checked out weapon hoping for the best but expecting the worst, and was psyched to hear its super old school sound. the lyrics are unapologetic and confrontational in true anti-establishment form, and the vocals are strange, like ogre is strictly singing/growling at the absolute bottom end of his vocal range. but what perhaps connects with me most is that, to me, this album captures the darker elements of burning man. it smacks of misanthropia and claustrophobia but also hope and love. that sounds super weak but fuck it, i’m being honest.
i strongly encourage the 3 people who stumble across this blog 10 years from now to check out all 3 bands/artists. they’re all wicked.