Many years I was too cool to listen to Rammstein, I kinda had this opinion in my head that all their songs are boring techno/metal mashups with some deep voice vibrator up their asses. Judging from a few songs I heard. I never listened to an entire album of this, and I know that now, great band at that time. One sunny day, though, I listened to my Recommendation radio (back then it was still free all around the world, yay!) and on came Sonne. A song quite unlike what I believed Rammstein to sound like. And I liked it. But it still took me about a year to decide to hunt down all the Rammstein stuff. I listened to every album and loved them all. If it wasn't some serious rocking going on it was the lyrics, which can be moving, thought provoking, sometimes even clever of course some are dumb as well... And sometimes they just stir up shit. Because the music industry needs some serious stirring.
2. Venetian Snares
I just wished that stirring could be done by an artist as great as Aaron Funk. What kinda name is that anyway? Too cool to exist. Probably a pseudonym. But no, he's mostly active making music that fits in a genre which is apparently mostly enjoyed by people on the Internet. Because I have yet to find someone I know personally who likes this stuff. Or someone outside of his shoutbox on Last.fm. Rossz csillag alatt született was my gateway drug. I coincidentally stumbled across the artist page, saw the picture where he holds up one of his cats and thought "Gee, that must be a cool dude, let's listen to this shit". listened and was amazed. Back then, I believe, the whole album was streamable and I listened to it just like that. Before that I actually kinda looked down on electronic music (even though I did release some albums of my own at the time. HYPOCRISY). Now I'm intensely in love with a great portion of VSnares' albums.
3. Explosions in the Sky
Before I listened to my first Explosions in the Sky song I heard that name several times and thought "Whoa, that's a cool name for a rock band". But was kinda afraid it was just generic testosterone driven music about how awesome it his to ride a winged robot shark through an exploding sky while banging two busty blondes who moan in complete and ungenuine (not a word, I know, tell your teacher) ecstasy the moment they see something that might have a dick or at least a halfway phallic appendage. Those who listened to at least one of their songs know how completely wrong I was. It's good instrumental music that manages to build an incredible tension, mood, or whatever else is built in music. They made the only song that ever made me shed a tear (What Do You Go Home To?). That's quite an amazing feat considering the amount of music I listened to in my life.
After that, let's get the testosterone pumpin'. This is fucking metal, and while there are no songs featuring winged robot sharks it's the sheer amount of rocking that makes them surpass that. Imagine the fast growly sucky metal thing that everyone who's not into metal associates with metal whenever It's mentioned. Now remove the suck and add the awesome! What you get is Nile. While it is a fairly generic theme for a metal song Nile made one of the best end of the world and everything songs ever. The closing lines and music of Iskander Dhul Kharnon made me throw the horns and shake my head all metal like (headbanging they call it, I believe). Reading the liner notes reveals that the band actually does a lot of research for their lyrics. Sometimes that research was made years before they cared to make a song about it so it's safe to say the band has a great knowledge of and interest in the stuff they write songs about. They do all that while still making awesome technical rocking, often at speeds that should make the drummer's arms and feet fall off. Maybe he's a real life Spider Man, though. With two pairs of arms and legs each.
5. Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
A band which mostly make songs about love, peace, having a good time and the apocalypse. Their lyrics aren't limited to that, of course. But I found a good deal of their songs are just about that to varying degrees. They went from what they who like to label things call Death Metal, almost exclusively with harsh vocals to what they are now. Which mixes growls and screams with singing and, in one case, even rapping. And they make it work. Basically, they appear to be one of those bands who just do what they like. They often do some experimenting and explore the area beyond their designated "genre" And that's what makes a good band great in my book. To not imprison themselves in something they are 'supposed to be' according to someone.
Don't read on if you don't want to hear me going on about my own music.
Last and definitely least I will shamelessly plug my own project, which came to life because of Last.fm. I mean, I might have still made those first few songs. But I probably wouldn't have published them if it weren't for Last.fm. And If I hadn't published the first four I might not even have made more. Even though no one encouraged me to continue making music. It was the thought that my stuff was out there, and maybe one day someone would listen to Heavy Metal Gunfight to find his ears shoot jets of blood afterwards. My most recent songs wont do that to you anymore, I'm afraid. I had to switch from my lo-fi recording technique to something more sophisticated because my neighbors complained about noise or something. Anyway, this probably sped up my ascension from a swamp of shit into an endless brown wasteland and further. All my stuff is free for download via Last.fm. My latest full album as well as the half-finished one I'm currently working on can be found on Bandcamp. Jamendo has the last two full releases.