lolmetal II: Invisible comments

I managed to whip up some more lolmetal pictures this weekend.

Disclaimer: The copyright of these images lies with their respective owners. If you want to display one of the lolmetal pictures, please contact me and leave a link to this blog.


A new load of cd's

A made another visit to my favourite cd-shop, LSP Company. One of the cool things they do is putting small labels on some of the cd's with a small description of what the music is like. This helps in trying out cd's of bands you never heard of before (which I like to do sometimes). Even though they're not full reviews, at least you have a basic idea of what to expect.
So, what did I end up with today:

  • Cavalera Conspiracy - Inflikted: This was the only cd of which I knew in advance that I would buy it. I'm curious to find out what the reunion of the two Cavalera brothers brought forth. They also enlisted the help of one of the Gojira members, one of France's best metal bands of the moment.
  • Dark Fortress - Eidolon: Never heard of them. According to a sticker on the cd, they make "diversified, frighteningly extreme, and highly creative black metal". As far as I'm concerned that title goes to Anaal Nathrakh for the moment, but we'll see what they can do.
  • Dylath-Leen - Semeïon: Female fronted melodic death metal. Never heard of them. Looking at the description and the artwork, I'm expecting this to be somewhat like Scar Symmetry.
  • Truppensturm - Fields of Devastation: Another noble unkown to me. The sticker on this one says: "Superb massive black metal with death metal influences! No NSBM. Very intense riffing, samples and pounding drums creating a violent atmosphere!" Quite the mouthful.
  • Unearthly Trance - Electrocution: This is probably the weirdest one. They supposedly play a mix between a heavy funeral doom and a post-rock sludge type of sound (like Neurosis, Rwake). As I'm a big Neurosis fan, I couldn't resist trying this one out as well.
So, it seems I got some listening to do. I got the Truppensturm cd on right now and that description wasn't lying...

Horns up!


Last.fm: number of tracks vs. time played

What I find a bit weird about how last.fm tracks listening trends, is that they only use the number of times you played a certain track. I always felt that this would favour bands that create shorter songs. A band with a average song lengths of 7 minutes will only get half as much scrobbles (in last.fm jargon) as a a band with average song lengths of 3,5 minutes. I used to wonder what effect this would have on my charts.

I must not have been the only one, because when I was looking at the build.last.fm page, my eye caught the last.fm normalizer tool. This tool will take your top 50 artists and rerank them according to the estimated time that you listened to them (more info can be found on the tool's site). Looking at my normalized top 50 artists, there are no big drops, but there are a few big rises. Wolves in the Throne Room gains 20(!) places, Red Sparowes and Evoken gains 15 places, and they are all in my top 15 now. This matches much more to my gut feeling of what I have been listening to the last few months.


Horns up to Indiemerchstore

I got a pleasant surprise today. The Black Dahlia Murder t-shirt, zipped hoodie and cd that I ordered late last week already arrived today. I got them from the indiemerchstore. Ordering went flawless, and the items got here quickly. So one big horns up to them!
The shirt I got has this Cthulhu theme that I really dig. Also, it's grey which is a nice change from the usual black of metal t-shirts. The zipped hoodie has a print in a metallic color that's also pretty cool. It's good to see bands making an effort in being creative with their merchandise. The cd I got is their first one, Unhallowed, so now I have all three. I hope they come over to Belgium somewhere in the near future so I can check these guys out live.

lolmetal I: I see what you did there

You can find lolpictures of just about anything on the Internet, but there are surprisingly few lolmetal images (except for one that has a bunch). So I decided to make some myself. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: The copyright of these images lies with their respective owners. If you want to display one of the lolmetal pictures, please contact me and leave a link to this blog.


Classics: Paradise Lost - Icon

In the "Classics" posts, I talk about the albums that I believe are true metal classics, or at the least meant something special to me. These will usually be releases that are several years old. If you haven't heard them before, I definitely recommend checking these out.

Icon by Paradise Lost was my first metal love. I listened to some metal bands before this release, but this was the first one that really got to me. I remember taping Headbangers Ball on MTV at the time, and in one of the shows there was a special on Paradise Lost that contained 30 minutes of live footage of one of their recent concerts. It was filmed in black and white with some grain added to the footage too. This worked remarkably well in setting up the atmosphere. The first song, Mortals Watch The Day, immediately caught my attention. There was something about this band that I hadn't heard before. When they started playing their newer songs, like Embers Fire and True Belief, it felt like coming home. It was if I had found something I had been looking for all my life.
It didn't take me long to go out and get the CD. I would just keep on listening to it. I bought their t-shirts. I wrote the lyrics in my school binders. I would even wonder if I could go a day without listening to it... It contained so many well thought out songs. It had a perfect opener in Embers Fire that set the heavy, melancholic tone for the rest of the album. It had uptempo songs (well, sort of) in Dying Freedom and Widow. It had one of the best metal anthems in True Belief. In the song, Christendom, they had a female vocalist contrasting with Nick Holmes' grunts. It was actually very well balanced and even varied for a doom metal release at that time.
With hindsight, I can now say that this CD was special in other ways as well. Up until then, my friends and I used to listen to more or less the same music. This album however, marked a change in this regard. For my friends, it was about as hard and heavy as it should get. For me, it was the start of getting into heavier and more extreme music.
As for Paradise Lost, I still find this to be their best release. I believe it marked a change for them as well. Icon seems to me the culmination of what they had been doing till then. Over the years, I managed to get my hands on their older releases as well. Those albums had some good songs as well (especially Gothic is worth checking out as well), but I didn't feel they had the same impact. After Icon, they distanced themselves more and more of the doom metal genre. They softened down their metal roots with cleaner singing and less heavy guitar play. I still bought Draconian Times and One Second, but after that I lost track of them.
As far as I'm concerned, Icon is one of those releases that helped shape the metal genre in the early nineties.


The Black Dahlia Murder - Nocturnal

The Black Dahlia Murder totally caught me off guard and just blew me away. I know this release, "Nocturnal", already came out in september '07, but I picked it up in january as a recommendation by my brother. I expected it to be more of a metalcore type of music, but they play some of the best Melodic Death Metal I heard in some time. They even have the artwork and the lyrics spot on. I still remember the days when you had to be born and bred in Sweden to be able to make music like this. Maybe these americans have scandinavian roots, who knows?

It also seems that they are rather controversial in the metal scene as they have their own hate group on last.fm (which I refuse to link to). Apparently, they "steal" from bands like Sacramentum, Carcass, and At The Gates. First of all, yes, they play music in the same vein, but steal? Please tell me, which parts did they steal exactly? None, that's how many. And second, those bands mentioned don't even exist anymore, let alone release any new music. Why not be happy that other bands, new bands, keep playing this genre?

Anyways, the title song, "Nocturnal", is definitely my favourite. It embodies all the typical elements that you expect from a Melodic Death Metal song and it's perfectly executed. But that's not the only one. The album is just filled with other killer songs as well: "Deathmask Divine", "What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse", ... I can play them again and again.

What truly lifts them up above other similar artists is their ability to create a dark and foreboding atmosphere with just the basic instruments and Strnad's incredible vocals (no synths on this one). It's something you don't see often, except in the great MDM releases like Dissection's Storm of the Light's Bane, or At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul.

I also firmly believe that you should always support the bands you like, so earlier this week I ordered some TBDM swag (a t-shirt and a zipped hoodie). Can't wait for that to get here.

For fans of: Dissection, At The Gates, (old) Dark Tranquillity, (old) In Flames


Black metal goes mainstream?

One of the least mainstream metal genres is black metal. But it seems that some people try to change that. Like this guy here:

What was this guy thinking? It had to be some kind of bet. Why else would someone try his luck at such a Star search tv program? He does get a 10 on 10 for effort. The t-shirt, the corpse paint, the pins on his arm, ... Perfect! He should have practiced on the screams some more though. I thought he was going to collapse halfway through. Even the judges looked genuinely concerned...


Saattue - Jäähyvästi

Lately, I have been listening quite a lot to Saattue's first full length album, Jäähyvästi. It was recommended to me by the owner of the Metalzone cd-shop in Vosselaar in february, based on some other cd's I bought at that time. I didn't pick it up initially, but I wish I had. Because after I did get it last week, it's been in my cd-player and my iPod for quite some time.

Saattue hails from Finland, and they play doom metal in their native Finnish tongue. I wasn't quite sure how those Finnish lyrics would turn out, but they work very well for me. Even though I don't understand one word of what they are singing about, they are able to touch me purely through their music. For me, a doom metal band is succesful if they are able to give you a feeling of melancholy. This band succeeds in that goal wonderfully. This is precisely the kind of cd I like to put on while driving home from work when it is overcast or raining. It doesn't surprise me that this bands comes from Finland, I think you almost need long periods without sunshine to help you make this kind of music.

My personal listening favourite is the second song, Vieraaseen Multaan. It has a female singer as well to help develop the ambience of the song (she doesn't have any lyrics). Her vocals contrast wonderfully with both the heavier sound of the rest of the music. If you don't mind Finnish lyrics, and you like doom metal, you should definitely check this band out. If you do mind the Finnish lyrics, check them out anyway, they might just make you change your mind.

For fans of: Evoken, My Dying Bride (especially the older releases).


It's the fault of last.fm

Starting this blog is the fault of last.fm.

Earlier this year, I read a news item about them planning on allowing streaming music of bands and giving them money back for it. This seemed interesting enough to go ahead and make an account. I was pleasantly surprised at all these features they offered. I didn't know that you could log all the music that you listened. Then they use this info to link you to other people that listen to the same bands. You can register with groups and get recommendations from people therein. You can tag the bands that you like. And best of all, just about all data of your profile is available through feeds. I have already seen some cool uses of all this info. They even went so far as to build a separate site to group all these plugins (some that they made themselves, and some more that were made by users of the site).

Anyways, one of the other features that they provide, is a journal that you can make. I wrote one post on my journal about the cd's I already bought this year, and I thought: "why not start a blog instead and be more flexible?". And that's how this blog got started. It's the fault of last.fm ;-)



When you turn on your cd player, do you hear raging guitars, pounding drums, and screaming vocals? And most of all, do you hear them loud?

Then you came to the right place!

Metal is a part of my life and of who I am. This blog is meant as a way of
expressing how I feel about what happens in this scene.

I don't care about genres and styles. I have favourite bands in everything from black metal to nu metal, from post-rock to melodic death. Everything goes, as long as it's played from the heart and brought with passion. If you want to know what I'm listening to, you can check out my last.fm profile.

Horns Up!