Thursday, 5 April 2012

I'm gonna be writing for Heathen Harvest!

These fine people here. And after I got their name wrong in my Seeds of Iblis vid as well.

This might actually be the encouragement I need to get off my arse and actually keep to a consistent update schedule.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

That sounds serious.

Looks like I'm not going to be browsing there for a while.

EDIT: Wait... it's April Fools Day. That occurred to me literally seconds after I posted this.

Fuck me, I'm slow at this time of night.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Oh dear God.

I'm probably late to the party here, but I couldn't not speak up after watching this thing. I saw this bunch of assholes on the cover of Kerrang! magazine in the supermarket about a week ago with the headline "MOTIONLESS IN WHITE: Meet Your New Favourite Band!" A glance at Kerrang!'s website sees them called "clever [...] exciting, and changing heavy music for the better" Given that this is Kerrang! we're talking about, a magazine whose credibility as an authority on "heavy music" was nearing its expiry date around the time I was born, I naturally took this with a the entire salt shaker, especially considering that they're sporting a similar pallid, watered-down black metal/Misfits chic to that last bunch of tools who were supposed to be our new favourite band.

Mind you, I didn't find myself getting this worked up about the Black Veil Brides. I mean they're not good, but they're certainly not as cancerously awful as fucking Motionless In White.

Jesus! It's like an amalgamation of every last bad idea from the last decade of music, the lumpy pigshit of breakdown driven deathcore in the Oceano/Waking the Cadaver mold and the watery ejaculate of histrionic, self-pitying theatrics derived from My Chemical Romance/Funeral For A Friend/all the songs I used to skip on the Burnout 3 soundtrack, all brewed up into the worst milkshake imaginable. It's almost as bad as fucking Brokencyde, but people are apparently taking this seriously!

That fucking video... you know, if you want to respond to religious outrage, it helps to prompt it first? To the best of my awareness, there's been no puritanical outcry against the music of Motionless in White, and no wonder when you consider there are literally thousands of other bands making music edgier and more threatening than this. Playing the religious persecution angle just makes them look (more) ridiculous, especially given the bands who are operating in the midst of actual religious persecution. In 2012, I have a hard time believing any but the most staunch and out-of-touch American fundie would even bat an eye at these shenanigans. Mind you, if heavy metal all sucked as badly as Motionless In White, I'm not sure it would bother me if it did still get picketed.

Also, Dee Snider was involved in this video!? Goddammit. I like Dee Snider.

Ugh. I've rambled longer than I meant to, and I'm starting to depress myself. Let's listen to a band who are actually pushing the boundaries of heavy music, shall we? Yeah. That sounds like a plan.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mad German Scientists

Just a few thoughts on these young new prog rockers from Germany, currently supporting Pain of Salvation (my favouritest band of all time, for the record) on their European tour.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

What the hell is that noise?

You know, I'm still not sure I'm sold on Prometheus being a full-blown masterpiece - in spite of Ridley Scott's lofty claims about adressing the origins of humanity and bridging the gap between science and religion, the scenario so far seems awfully like a retread of the original Alien - crew of spaceship reconnoitre an alien planet, discover a terrible secret, carry it onboard the ship with them, and Weyland-Yutani executive probably has undisclosed, less-than-savoury aspirations. With that said, if the film does as good a job at cranking up tension and intensity as this trailer does, we could be in for something extraordinary.

Fingers crossed, between this, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, 2012 could be set to compensate for 2011's relatively lacklustre summer blockbuster season. Well... then again...

The title was ironic about four years ago.

I´ve been mixing my ass off and things are going smooth and steady now and the
album will be released late summer. Stay tuned for bigger updates about the
album (or should we say "albums", wink wink!) -
Jari Mäenpää, Wintersun

It may have been a while since my first run at this blog, but at least two things haven't changed: Wintersun still haven't released their almost impossibly hyped sophomore album Time after half an eternity of delays and setbacks, and I'm still waiting for it with bated breath. I can't think of a single other metal band who have had a eight-year gap between two albums without having split-up and subsequently reformed; the closest I can come up with are the seven years between Judas Priest's Painkiller in 1990 and Jugulator in 1997. As such, it speaks to just how much goodwill Wintersun's self-titled debut generated back in 2004 that there are still people on tenterhooks to hear more, although Jari's claims that the delays are partly due to the album's insane technical specs (500 tracks per song is the soundbite - for reference, Nightwish's Imaginaerum had about 350) haven't hurt either.

But it looks like the 'Sun is finally being glimpsed after a very long night. As you can see above, Jari's now saying late summer this year, and although deadlines have been broken numerous times before, the signs are positive that this time it's for real. Mixing is apprently going smoothly, they're slated to play a headline European tour in autumn which I doubt organisers would go for if there wasn't a long awaited album release to support it, and "late summer" is only five and a half months at the absolute most. A promo track or a compilation of samples would really seal the deal, but it seems that at long last the planets have aligned.

That sly little "or should we say 'albums'" is interesting in its ambiguity. Has Time filled out to two discs in the process of mixing and the term "double album" just doesn't exist in Finnish nomenclature? Or is a follow up already on the cards. Enticing stuff in either case.

As to what we should actually expect... well, as much of a fiasco as the creation of this record has been, and in spite of the tendency of media with really overlong gestation periods to end up exhibiting a kind of "Spruce Goose" effect, I'm still optimistic. Based on the numbers Jari's been throwing around for years, the album sounds like a behemoth of unprecedented proportions, and with the music made as massive and epic as possible being the subject of some one-upmanship in metal these days (see: Blind Guardian, Nightwish, Therion, Epica, Rhapsody of Fire, Virgin Steele, and pretty much the entire prog metal scene since Images and Words), it should be something to see a record that takes this tendency to its remotest extreme ever if nothing else. That, and the live bootlegs of the track The Way of the Fire that surfaced last summer were incredible. Even with awful sound quality, the song is a joy to listen to, and hearing it with crisp, heavy, clearly distinguished production and orchestration that's more than a semi-audible aural smudge ought to render it easily the best thing they've ever done. Yes, I realise that includes both Starchild and Winter Madness. I love the debut album, but in some ways it feels like a proof of concept for bigger and better things. Wintersun's sound is overwrought and over-the-top by nature, and as long as Jari embraces that sound and channels it correctly, he only stands to gain from making Wintersun more massive, glossy and grandiose.

It's unreasonable to hope for any album to bear up under eight years of expectations, but I can't help but set the bar high. Worst case scenario (other that another delay), Time ends up being an elaphantine monument to creative hubris that buckled under the weight of its own ambition, which still sounds more interesting than the workaday bullshit which makes up 95% of the Nuclear Blast roster. Best case, it tears the universe a new arsehole and leads us to a brave new world of epic melodic death metal. Either way, it'll be a day one purchase for me, and if you love metal, it should be for you too.