• Зараждане на рицарството

    3 jan 2008, 12:37 av shannarabg

    Еманципацията на жените донесе много права на нежния пол, но за съжаление имаше и един неприятен ефект. А именно – отидоха си истинските мъже, истинските жени и истинските малки космати същества от Алфа Кентавър. В памет на онова време, когато ги е имало, решихме да ви запознаем с едно явление, което вече не се среща, или поне не по нашите географски ширини – рицарството. Корените му се крият далеч назад в миналото, но ние успяхме да ги проследим и отсечем, за да ви ги представим тук като хербарии:
    Един ден Прекрасните Дами разбрали, че могат да ползват белите дантелени кърпи не само за да се сополивят, но и за да махат някому с тях. Висенето на балкона и веенето с кърпи на всевъзможни селяци и побойници било глупаво, поради което и се появили Рицарите.

    Рицарите – това са мъже, които само с хляб не живеят, на тях им трябва и някой и друг подвиг. В името на дамата. Няколко дами отпървом се чувствали доста неудобно, когато в тяхно име някой рицар накълцвал тиквата на друг, но след време се осъзнали; че и даже почнали да внушават на рицарите, че белезите красят човека. Впоследствие всякакви псевдорицари и прочее метросексуални същества започнали да се блъскат с брадви в муцуните, стремейки се да докарат въпросните до състояние на мъжествено лице.

    Пълен текст: http://www.starlighter.info/br_14_2007/thins2.html
  • Bands & lands

    9 nov 2007, 19:58 av Anybodyy

    Heh, well the idea is "stolen" from Pavek journal.. :))


    1. USA: 13.

    Mr. Big
    Paul Gilbert
    Skid Row
    Bon Jovi
    Joe Satriani
    Saigon Kick
    Lenny Kravitz

    2. Lithuania: 5.

    Andrius Kaniava
    Saulius Mykolaitis

    3. Finland: 5.


    4. Norway: 4.


    5. Sweden: 4.

    Freak Kitchen

    6. UK: 4.

    Depeche Mode
    Dave Gahan
    Acoustic Alchemy
    The Beatles

    7. Poland: 3.


    8. Germany: 3.

    Die Krupps
    Dark At Dawn

    9. Canada: 2.

    Strapping Young Lad

    10. Australia: 1.


    11. Belgium: 1.


    12. Switzerland: 1.


    13. Russia: 1.

    Gorky Park

    14. France: 1.

    Deep Forest

    15. Brasil: 1.


    16. Greece: 1.

    Rotting Christ

    So, it's only of my Top50, it'd be interesting to do of all bands I listen..but oh well. It would be too huge work, I guess :))
  • Industrial Black Metal: A BRIEF Guide.

    1 nov 2007, 19:09 av IPonly

    Be warned: even within albums, there's a lot of inconsistency in which influence is dominant in this genre, the black or the industrial. Give these bands a try if you like both of the adjectival genres:

    Soft Stuff:
    The Kovenant and Samael have a lot in common- two bands who will give you pure black sound if you go into their back catalogs, but have picked up a lot of electronic influences and the sort. They're both softer now, to the point where I can use them to interest non-metalheads, but that doesn't mean you should dismiss the unique sounds they've come up with.

    Real Stuff:
    With Aborym as the Platonic ideal of this genre to which other bands may be compared, check out the aggressive attack of Iperyt, the experimental industrial-heavy wanderings of Red Harvest, the black hole of noise which is Darkspace and the hallucinogenic, apocalyptic & criminal experiences of Trollheim's Grott and Mysticum. There's also industrial on the newest CD of the side project Troll belonging to the vocalist of The Kovenant and there's some band from Australia, The Amenta who I really need to get the CD for so I can tell you more then that their myspace tracks sound great. And then there's Nyne, who are my favorite band in this subgenre [for their excellent balance between “sounds like the kovenant” and “sounds like death getting nuked”] and they have a free four track demo on their website and their myspace, but nothing else. Support underground Industrial Black Metal!

    You may also be interested in the group Digital Black Metal Fans, where you can find an extensive list of bands in the artist connections.
  • All:My:Faults - Taste great free musik!

    16 okt 2007, 20:12 av Cattylein

    Here some free music I'd like to recommend.

    1. all:my:faults
    Great voice, great musik!

    And he best: the whole album Secrets can be
    downloaded for free at last.fm!
    So there's no risk in downloading - try it out!
    And tell me your opinions!

    More Infos at the last.fm-fangroup:
    http://www.last.fm/group/All%3AMy%3AFaults -
    feel free to join!

    2. [avoid the debris]
    4 free-downloads from the same band leader like all:my:faults
    I love this tracks!

    3. Great idea! Have you just recognized
    the journals from Darkerradio?
    They regulary promote the Free Musik Charts on this page .
    Every day a new free song is uploaded in there.
    You can take part, if you like to rate the songs
    (just a click on the stars at the bottom of every
    song-post - no obligations - really only a simple
    In addition to this, you can throw an ear on their
    radio station

    4. Last, but not least: Maybe you'll like this completely free album
    of various Artists:
    Ultra Dark Radio Compilation Part II
    (main-style: ebm/ dark electro on that album).

    I would be glad, to hear some opinions :).
  • Wacken - there and back again..

    9 aug 2007, 22:01 av Nyut

    So there goes yet another Wacken Open Air 2007 journal.. But not only. ;) Where to start, let's see..

    Early March 2007
    Two girls are sitting in a pub sighing. One says "I wanna go to Wacken." *another sigh*. The other replies "I wanna go to Wacken too." *sighs as well*. First says "Let's go then!". The second replies "OK, let's go!".. and both purchased their tickets in a week.

    July 30th, 2007
    Time to go. Everything is packed - rucksacks, tents, sleeping bags, clothes, food.. And, most importantly, The Tickets. Everything one would need for such journey.

    By that time others had joined our humble party so in the end there were eight of us at the Sofia Central train station where our 40-hour journey began by boarding the night train to Belgrade.

    July 31st, 2007
    We arrived in the Serbian capital two hours later than expected, at about 7 AM, which was good actually because this way we only had to wait for another 30 minutes to catch the next train to Wien.

    I guess this is the time to mention that I left my country for the first time ever because of W:O:A. A good reason to do it, as a friend of mine once said. So my first impressions of the foreign lands were that.. the Earth is flat! Just kidding.. Or am I? Actually, from Belgrade almost all the way to Wien the land was indeed flat. No hills, no nothing, just endless (corn)fields.

    Anyway, at the Wien train station a very rude employee told us that there were no seats for our train without any further explanation. Some of the more sensitive members of our group almost had a heart attack at that point. We ran to the train which was to leave in 10 minutes and found another employee there - a very nice lady which told us that there are plenty of seats, they just stop selling them some time before departure. Some of the more sensitive members of our group took a deep breath of relief at that point.

    Immediately after that signs of the upcoming event started emerging - metalheads screaming "Wacken!" and compartments loaded with as much beer as other luggage made me finally realize what I was up to..

    August 1st, 2007
    Early morning on the train to Hamburg. Very early. About 1 or 2 AM. The train stops in the middle of nowhere. Horrible smell fills the air. People in uniforms run back and forth in the passage. Some carry fire-extinguishers. Others are out and look under the coach next to ours. It appeared that its breaks burst in fire.

    Fortunately, within less then an hour everything was back to normal (only the smell remained for a while to remind us that it wasn't just a nightmare) and we were heading to Hamburg at full speed. So full that we got there right on time despite the ordeals that night.

    While getting near the train station I noticed the most beautiful bell tower I've ever seen (not that I've seen many though but still..) It was in Gothic style which immediately took my attention and didn't leave my thoughts till we got in the city for the second time on our way back. I just knew I had to take a closer look before getting home. But as I said, this is a story from the return journey.

    Now back to present. Morning. Hamburg train station. Bad news - no early trains back to Wien, we'll have to spend over 12 hours in town on the 5th. Did I say "bad news"? Well, bad for some, good for me and my tower.. But it's still 1st so.. Supermarket. Food, beer and Pepsi (yeah, I'm the Pepsi freak), then hop on the Itzehoe train. Metalheads everywhere. Shuttle-bus to Wacken. Half-full of people, half-full of luggage. One could hardly turn around. All kinds of languages reached my ears from all directions.

    And there we are - on Wacken land at noon. A sign over the road greeted us: "Welcome Metalheads!" We got our festival bracelets and full metal bags and headed for the camping grounds.

    First impressions: mud everywhere, smell of cattle and swamp.. Later we heard that it had rained for a whole week just prior to our arrival. They played a video between the concerts showing the preparations for the festival, the whole process of building the stages, placing layers of dirt, wood chops and straw on the festival area so that they are all ready for us. In my humble opinion, these people are heroes *bows*.

    We decided to camp in sector A, near the main entrance, put up our tents and left on a reconnaissance mission. While walking around we found another Bulgarian camp but its inhabitants obviously had the same mission as ours so only the national flag was waving at us. Later we found them and I met a friend there whom I haven't seen for six years.. Nice place for such events, over 2000 km away from home.

    We spent the rest of the day walking around the village. A beautiful one I must say, very tidy and stuff.. when there are no metalheads around. And at this time there were thousands of them walking and talking and shopping and drinking, and much more were still coming by cars and busses, and there were even more to come on the next day.

    In the evening some of us went to the metal disco and karaoke, and others like me decided to have some sleep. Impossible task. I could hear the music from the disco as if I were there myself, some guys nearby were playing something different, others were screaming "Spiderschwein!" and "Helga!", every now and then someone would trip on our tent's ropes so I kept wondering which of them would leave us homeless for the rest of the festival by falling over the tent. Anyway, nothing bad happened except that it was so damn cold that night..

    August 2nd, 2007
    Early wake up in the morning sun, quick breakfast and another tour through the village and to the supermarket.

    And finally at 5 PM it was time for the first band to play. It was Blitzkrieg on the Black Metal (BM) stage. Don't really remember much of them though, I was just way too excited at that time. Then we moved to the Party stage for some Narziss and Neaera impressions. Both of them were new to me but I liked them a lot. And during their performance I learned what "a wall of death" means.. And saw the largest circle pit ever. And kept hearing "Spiderschwein!" from all over the place, including from the bands on stage.

    Slowly moving to the WET stage (which was literally wet, most of it was a muddy puddle and a lot of the people stayed outside thus not being able to hear anything; I was one of those brave who ventured to wade through to find some good spot inside) we watched people stuck to their knees in the mud, struggling to get out, others lying on the straw like sardines, still others walking around dressed in any possible way one can imagine.. There was even this huge pink Easter bunny caring a large cross on his shoulders. Nice pictures everywhere you look.

    We got there right on time for TYR. Surprisingly, I quite liked their performance. And I say "surprisingly" (even though I like their music in general) just because I heard too many negative comments about them playing live that I started believing this would be a poor one as well. They stood well on stage, played with joy and the audience reacted in a respective way.

    Next came the greatest surprise for me - Letzte Instanz. I'll repeat myself by saying that I like their music from before and was eager to see them live. But what I saw exceeded all my expectations. Their songs sounded so lively, all band members too - none of them stood at one place for more than a minute, even the guy with the cello (which was also amazing in form).. I had so much fun during these 45 minutes, it was an incredible performance.

    After that I joined a friend for Hatesphere on the Party stage but couldn't get much of what they were playing - I was still enjoying the earlier experience in my head so didn't pay much attention to what was happening on this stage.

    August 3rd, 2007
    That night I slept like a baby. No drunk people tripping around were able to disturb me till about 7 AM when it was already too hot in the tent so I had to crawl out.

    At 11 SuidAkrA opened this day's performances on the BM stage. Haven't heard of them before (shame on me) but liked their style very much (I'm quite into this kind of music actually so that makes one more band to enter my playlist these days).

    And then there was fire. Literally. Some stupid careless kids lit the straw in front of the True Metal (TM) stage. From our position we could only see the thick smoke coming from that direction. Interesting thing was how calm everyone was. No screaming, no panic at all. At one point the people on the TM stage asked us to move in front of the BM stage so that we make room for the firefighters to come. Slowly the whole crowd gathered there, and soon it was all over. Only a very muddy area reminded of the fire that took place earlier.

    Right after they announced that Amorphis will play an hour later then scheduled I ran to the store for some refreshments because the sun was getting more and more aggressive that day and (as one of the guys in our group predicted) got back for Napalm Death's Scum. Good thing I didn't return earlier, I knew they aren't my cup of tea but live they are almost unbearable.

    When Amorphis got on stage they simply blew our heads out. It was all just awesome, no other words to describe it (I guess I should stop using all those superlatives but seriously doubt I can do so having in mind all the bands that were still to come).

    Good decision was to take places right in front of the screen between BM stage and TM stage so that we only had to turn a little to watch the next band playing. Which in this case was Therion. Another great show, with the corresponding costumes, theatrical sets and reading from sacred books.

    Then a quick jump to the Party stage let me relax a little with Volbeat - very nice band, I enjoyed them a lot. After them I got back to the TM stage to get a glimpse of Grave Digger who unfortunately couldn't make a great impression on me - they are too.. how to put it.. classically heavy for my taste. Dinosaurs of some sort, no offence meant. Falconer on the Party stage got my good mood back, and then it was time for a break..

    At 8 PM Lacuna Coil blew up the crowd in front of the BM Stage with a magnificent performance, as expected, followed by the headliners - Blind Guardian (which were the only band I watched live for the second time) on the TM stage. To be honest, I liked their Sofia gig way better although the sound in Wacken was beyond comparison. Even so, the Bard's Song crowd singing sounded much poorer on W:O:A than in Bulgaria. A major plus was that the set lists of the two gigs were different. Since they played almost one and same thing during their Europe tour in spring, it would've been a huge mistake not to change it. Also (not that it has any connection) I personally helped at least five crowdsurfers to make their way towards the stage.

    After that I again ran to the Party stage for the Schandmaul show. In the beginning I felt somewhat sad I had to miss Dimmu Borgir but during the second or third song this feeling disappeared completely. For this hour and 15 minutes of pure joy I would gladly miss quite a lot of other bands. In the pause between two songs they mentioned this "Spiderschwein" thing again but sadly it was still in German context.. So I decided it's high time that I ask someone. I chose this cute kid standing right in front of me and he readily explained this word's origin in such theatrical manner that I wished I had my camera on to record it. Hey kid, if you read this, I really want you to know how grateful I am to you for enlightening me on what I was wondering at during the last three days thus putting me out of my non-Simpsons-fan misery. ;) Not that I'm a Simpsons fan now but still.. Thanks again.

    That night I also wanted to see Die Apokalyptischen Reiter on the BM stage but unfortunately there were still Iced Earth to play before that and there was nothing better on the other stages. So I slowly made my way through the crowd in front of the TM stage to the screen in the middle. I still don't understand why there are always people that would try to push you back even though there is no way that I prevent them from seeing the stage - quite understandable since guys are usually taller than me. And I also always find a way around such people. I wonder if they'd try to push or hit someone bigger then them.

    Anyway, it took me about 15 minutes to get where I wanted to but since Iced Earth weren't doing any better live then on CD, I started freezing. Finally, after an hour and a half, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter came out but by that time I was so cold and tired that I only managed to watch three songs and left for the warmth of my sleeping bag. On the way I dropped at the WET stage for a Kampfar song but soon hurried back to our tent.

    And so the longest festival day was over at about 2:30 AM.

    August 4th, 2007
    I was the only one who managed to sleep till 11 despite the heat in the tent. I just had to get some rest because of what was to come from this afternoon on..

    At about 1 PM we left for the Moonspell gig on the BM stage. I was waiting to see them live for ages, they were among these bands that made me dream of going to Wacken in the first place. And here comes the only fault of the whole festival organization - how is it possible to place a band like Moonspell to play right after noon? Imagine listening to Fullmoon Madness under the melting sun.. This fact ruined it all for me, and as I hear and read - for quite a lot of others as well. I hope one day I'll get the chance to attend one of their gigs and get the real feeling of watching and listening to them live.

    I was feeling so badly because of the heat and the recent disappointment that I left the festival area right away. On my way out I heard a couple of songs by Stratovarius whose performance I decided to exchange for a long quiet walk to the supermarket. Later I got back to the camp and since most of the guys were already packing I started getting my own stuff ready for a quick leave that night.

    Then my 7-hour stay on the WET stage began with The Vision Bleak followed by Swallow the Sun. Both bands performed a lot better than I expected and quickly managed to make me forget about Moonspell and get back to enjoying the festival.

    When they finished, somewhere in the back a few guys started a mud fight. The crowd immediately gathered around them while they were throwing inflatable beer trays at each other and trying to get as dirty as possible. Fans started gathering around the stage at about the same time - fans with coloured faces and furry outfits so it was quite obvious whose turn it was to get on stage.. Turisas appeared with To Holmgard and Beyond in their usual costumes, all covered in blood and kept us screaming, and shouting, and dancing, and headbanging all the way to Miklagard Overture which put an end of this awesome show - one of my highlights of the whole festival. Heh, now I also know how headbanging while playing the accordion looks like..

    Next were Benedictum who I weren't familiar with but seeing them live didn't make me want to get to know them any better.. They got on stage a little late and played a little too long so at that moment the schedule on the WET stage started falling behind. I hoped that they would at least make the pauses shorter because I had some plans for seeing other bands outside a couple of hours later. Well they didn't, the delay was even getting longer by the hour.

    Anyway, I was waiting for Moonsorrow with interest since I quite like their recordings. To be honest, on stage they looked so funny that I couldn't really enjoy the way they played.. It seemed to me that they don't feel comfortable at all and are doing things exactly as rehearsed in front of the mirror. They kept doing one and the same reconfigurations and moves on the stage in regular intervals while trying to make scary faces (having so boyish faces appeared to be a major obstacle), not to mention that going out half-naked and covered in blood wasn't such a good idea after Turisas' show, especially when the rest of your outfit consists of some regular jeans.. All this comes to say that I expected much more from these guys in terms of stage performance.

    Then it was time for Municipal Waste whom I only stayed to watch because there was no time to go out, see some other band (e.g. Type-O-Negative who were playing at the same time) and get back. Not so bad decision since that way I kept my perfect spot near the stage and witnessed another circle pit, and yet another wall of death, both even more impressive than the first ones. The music wasn't easy to bear though but I focused on the crowd gone mad and later realized I actually did enjoy it.

    And finally it was time for Unheilig - another band I was impatient to check out live. And they didn't disappoint me at all. They played all my favourites, Der Graf's voice felt like crawling on my skin all the time and didn't let me take a breath till the very end.

    By that time we were already 40 minutes behind schedule so I had to run to the Party stage to see Haggard. But I couldn't run, I was way too exhausted by Unheilig so I only managed to hear the last song Haggard played (which was quite impressive, I'd love to see them again some other time), then immediately headed for the TM stage to watch the last band for this year's W:O:A - Subway to Sally. Lots of pyrotechnics, awesome music and stage performance.. This was a brilliant finish to a great festival.

    August 5th, 2007
    At 3 AM, right after Subway to Sally's gig, we hurried back to our camp, packed the rest of the tents and ran to catch the first shuttle-bus to Itzehoe. As far as the announcement went, there should have been six busses every half an hour starting at 3 AM. The first one came at 4.30 and by that time the bus stop was crowded - apparently a lot of others decided to leave early to avoid the heavy traffic in the morning. Somehow our whole group managed to get on the first bus. Inside it was even more crowded than on the day we arrived. Everyone was still screaming "Spiderschwein", at one point one of the guys started telling a story and after each sentence the others sang some tune to support him. Unfortunately my German can't be any poorer so I couldn't get even the slightest idea of what he was talking about but still it was real fun.

    When we reached the town in about half an hour, we immediately boarded the train to Hamburg and I managed to get a couple of hours sleep which I knew was all I'd get till the night train to Wien over 12 hours later. Already in Hamburg, we had some breakfast in the nearby McDonalds - my first and most probably last visit at this chain. Half an hour later we were hungry again. While walking along the river I noticed my tower somewhere in the distance and immediately got all my strength back, determined to get there that day despite all the skepticism radiating from the others. Slowly we moved in the right direction until we found a park and some of the guys decided to have a nap there. Those of us that were still hungry left to look for another McDonalds somewhere around because we had seen a sign on the way and had nothing better at hand but fortunately found a Burger King instead. Fortunately because the Burger King's stuff tasted much better and was able to satisfy our hunger for quite a while.

    Later when all the others got back to their feet we resumed our slow march towards the tower of my dreams. And we reached it in another couple of hours. I can honestly state this ordeal was worth it - it was even more beautiful than expected. After I spent some time enjoying the view from all sides and angles we left the place and moved towards the city-hall - another beautiful building in the city center. Then some perky swans tried to peck our hands, probably expecting to find food in them. Wrong assumption. And finally we left for the Central station to get the train back to the Altona station from where our Wien train was to leave. Late in the evening we were finally able to have some real sleep.

    August 6th, 2007
    I only woke up 15 minutes before arriving in the Austrian capital. We switched trains and most of us kept having naps every now and then all the way to Belgrade. And here comes one of the most stressful situations on this journey - the train was late and we only had 9 minutes to find the one to Sofia and get on it.. Surprisingly enough, not only did we manage to do so but we even found some places in the sleeping couch. We stuffed all our luggage at any empty space available and got to the beds.

    August 7th, 2007
    9 AM, Sofia Central train station. Home sweet home. The most exciting journey in my life so far was over. Our party dispersed right where it got together for the first time.

    I still have my W:O:A bracelet on though. Each look at it reminds me of all the emotions that overwhelmed me during this awesome week and makes me dream about the next one.

    Oh, I almost forgot.. Long live Spiderschwein! ;)

    Photo gallery

    7 aug 2007, 11:12 av Noisehat


    Crystal Castles
    i heard about this band when i was at nikkis club dancing to enter shikari i was trippin and suddenly URG crystal castle up your ass
    really great music to dance to

    Concrete Violin
    i like to listen to this band when im jamming some metallica

    a new artits from australia who stole my heart, also heard this at nikkis, shit is great for dancing new dance moves, for yall to check out and listen!!!

    Rolo Tomassi
    this band is a bit like the scooby doo soundtrack, which is a great cartoon from the oh so great hanna barbery company who made many more gems

    The Gerogerigegege
    music for wanking my imaginary gay boyfriend

    An Albatross
    shit band

    Cock E.S.P.

    The Smile Adventure
    false grind, which is fine with me aslong as long as it isnt death metal, a great band super speed!!!

    Fat Tulips
    twee band about the twee life

    DAT Politics
    when me and my friend get really stoned we like to dance to this this clumsy rainbow abortion of techno


    30 jul 2007, 20:59 av Noisehat

    ate bit
    has the best album name ever; stay home sick and play video games
    hardcore nofun bitpop

    my musical sex slave, also big part of the glitch city society horrible great music

    this band is so soft

    Bruno and Michel Are Smiling
    powerpop with a great sounds, absolutely fabulous

    The Rocking Dildos
    they sing the anthems of my life
    about jacking off at cinemas and the playground that is a girls asshole

    Loli Ripe
    great speedcore that influeced me to make some new ultratone

    Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer
    soundtrack for a psychedelic expierence in highschool

    amazing new talent from australia, party bus is all about dancing all night and day, some great shit for all you technoheads out there!

    Cutting Pink With Knives
    new album, with a more emotronic sound, they pull it off, perfect
    horrible gay band

    another upcoming artit from austrialia, pure glitch and broken melodies
    great for staying up all night and playing online shooters
  • Amon Amarth!

    28 jul 2007, 06:54 av ghoulicious

    WOOOOOOO. I'm seeing Amon Amarth in less than a week.
  • Изпит в различни жанрове на метъла

    15 jul 2007, 10:00 av shannarabg

    Tраш метъл: Студентът влиза залитайки в аудиторията, изяжда билета си, отговаря не по темата и си излиза.

    Хеви метъл: Студентът пристига, яхнал чопъра, кьоркютук пиян, при влизането допива бутилка бира, хвърля я на катедрата, изтегля си въпрос, оригва се звучно, отговаря и си излиза.

    Дет метъл: Студентът влиза, убива преподавателя и си излиза.

    Блек метъл: Изпитваният пристига късно вечерта, завързва преподавателката и я провесва от тавана, след което жестоко я измъчва, оцапвайки масата, върху която е нарисувал пентаграма с кръвта на младенец.

    Гор метъл: Влиза залитайки в аудиторията, изнасилва преподавателката, след това я убива, изнасилва я още веднъж, изкормва тялото и изяжда вътрешностите, размазва останките по цялата аудитория и отново я изнасилва.

    Дум метъл: Студентът си изтегля билет, но осъзнава, че никога няма да отговори на тези въпроси, изпада в депресия и се самоубива. Трупът му е изнасилен от всички присъстващи...
    Още : http://www.starlighter.info/br_10_2007/thins2.html
  • "Why don't you like... 'X'?" : The How and Why of "Good" and "Bad"

    9 jul 2007, 22:06 av RageofAnath

    After almost a year of silence on the journal-front, I return. I'm not one to write many last.fm journals, for I have a blog that fills this hole in my person quite fully, but I read this journal by my friend SpHaeR, and felt an unbearable need to expand upon it with a few personal thoughts. My last.fm page undeniably receives more traffic than my silly blog, and the members of last.fm would be inherently interested in the expansion anyway, seeing as how this is a... music site.

    Enough rambling introduction!

    Good vs. Bad music. Similar to the eternal God vs. Satan, cat vs. dog, green vs. black tea, splenda vs. equal vs. sweet and low debates, there really is no way to define what is "good" or "bad" musically. Everyone has their own preference, and music is a naturally neutral subject. This has already been established in many debates and countless journals including the journal of SpHaeR's. However, this fact alone does not stop people, whether self-proclaimed music connoisseurs, certified music critics with a degree, or 13 year old internet trolls from placing the "Good" and "Bad" labels on music.

    I propose that it is more interesting to discuss what aspects of the performance make a particular piece of music "Good" or "Bad", than whether the piece IS "Good" or "Bad". The point of this journal is not to define "Good" and "Bad", but rather define the means by which music is labeled "Good" or "Bad", and to get the reader to think more deeply about his or her own tastes, and be able to articulate the "Why".

    Disclaimer: For purposes of debate and clarity of point, I will use mainstream/common examples and stereotype to a degree. Please do not get caught up in WHO I am describing or critiquing, it is irrelevant. Each group or person here could be replaced by many others. Also keep in mind that I am using my own personal views and tastes as a focus for this journal, because I know my personal tastes and have more experience with my own genres, not because I'm being a "closed-minded elitist". Feel free to disagree, but keep in mind that if you leave flames as comments with something like "*insert artist here* suxx0rZ U hav no tast3 in musik all ur musik iz BAD, u elitist" or "You didn't mention *insert artist here*, whyyyy?", you are missing the point of this journal and will be ignored. That being said, on with the entry...

    How does one determine what music is "Good" and what is "Bad", anyway? Why does this person have charts that reflect all the music I dislike, and why does that person dislike every band on my charts? Generally speaking, it breaks down into only a few aspects of the composition.
    1. Lyrical/Ideological Content
    2. The place of the Instruments and Vocals in the Composition
    3. "Catchiness" and "Connection"
    4. Image
    5. Feel/Atmosphere

    SpHaeR covered Lyrical and Ideological content very well in his journal, as well as some key aspects of Image, so this journal will focus primarily on aspect number 2 -- The place of Instruments and Vocals in the Composition, number 3 -- "Catchiness" and "Connection", and 5 -- Feel/Atmosphere.

    Let's use some of the American Pop Scene juxtaposed with Metal to look at number 2.

    My mom is heavily into the television show American Idol. She has followed every season, and loyally follows the careers of her favorite Idols. Recently, Kelly Clarkson released a VERY popular single Since U Been Gone. My mom claims this song is "Good", I claim it is "Bad".

    I regularly play extreme metal in the car, lets use Vader's's Whisper and Dismember's Dismembered in this example, since both tracks have 30 second samples. My mom calls this "Bad" music, I call it "Good".

    Why do we differ?

    We have different preferences in placement and emphasis of instrumentation and vocals. Many of the current "popular" music emphasizes VOCALS. Listen closely to Since U Been Gone's sample, and pick out the instruments. Follow the Bass Guitar, follow the Drums, follow the Lead Guitar. Musically, this song is simple, and not particularly stimulating (for me at least). However, now follow the Vocal line. The vocal line IS the song! If you like to hear a talented vocalist, if you like to hear the lyrics, then you're more likely to enjoy a song in a style such as Since U Been Gone, where the vocals are clear and prominent in the mix. If you're more interested in the INSTRUMENTS or the overall level of talent you will not likely be impressed by Since U Been Gone, because let's face it, even I could play that drum line, and I don't play drums.

    Now when you look at the samples of Vader and Dismember I provided, you'll notice a vastly different mix (vocal style aside). The Vader track contains prominent vocals, BUT the guitar and drum is just as prominent as the vocals in the mix. Nothing is taken from the instruments and given to the vocalist. Instead of a vocal solo, it becomes synthesis where vocals are just another instrument. I like this, I consider this good, and balanced. The mainstream musical society places too much value on vocalists in my opinion. For example, think of several "big names" in the mainstream Pop scene (even if you don't like them): the obligatory Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Hillary Duff, Ashlee Simpson, Kelly Clarkson, etc. or even the boy bands Backstreet Boys, Hanson, NSYNC... You can say plenty about the vocalists, but what can you say about their background bands? Yes, some have better background bands than others, but most of you actually had to check to see what you thought.

    That is my take on where vocals should be in the music: along side a strong instrumental lineup, not as a solo. For me, "Good" music is able to maintain this balance and utilize the strength of ALL members, not just ride on the strength and talent of the front (wo)man. However, some people like their front (wo)man, and don't care if the band behind her/him/them is tearing up the stage, doing cartwheels, generally sucking, or even playing at all. That's fine for those listeners, but they must at least acknowledge that there is more to "music" than vocals!

    In addition to this, there are many people who like instrumental music and soundtracks, such as John Williams, Gustav Holst, Louis Armstrong, 20.SV, Sephiroth and similar dark ambient, where there are NO vocals. I've seen charts almost completely devoid of vocals! Music does not NEED vocals to be "Good", and there are countless examples of this... so my (rhetorical) question would be, why do we worship vocalists so much in this modern musical society?

    It is important to determine where you stand on the placement of vocals and instruments, and why. I prefer my balanced to bottom-heavy mix because I don't just listen to music, I analyze, study, and on occasion, create it. I find a balanced, intricate mix to be the most stimulating and interesting. Other people I know who consider themselves "musicians" or "music junkies" find themselves listening FOR something specific, be it guitar lines, drums, saxophones, keyboard, a specific type of dance beat, heavy bass, or even accordions. Even if you are listening FOR vocals or lyrics, then be able to define what you are listening for, and why. Everyone is listening for something, but surprisingly few people know what they are listening for.

    Now point number 3 -- "Catchiness" and "Connection".

    It is undeniable that many people enjoy listening to an artist simply because they "connect" with the band. This can hail back to the ideology debate, but that base has already been covered, so I speak on a purely audio-aesthetic level. Many songs I listen to and enjoy for no other reason than they stir up a part of me that likes to be stirred up. The same can be said perhaps of an acquaintance of mine from high school, who listened to certain music because the sound of the vocalist and the message she sings embody her current emotional state. She could empathize with the message and felt as though the song was written about her life (The song was Alanis Morissette's Ironic for those curious). Some people don't care about the technicalities of the music, just that for them, listening to "Good" music is similar to looking into a mirror. Again, I say, good for these people! But, instead of making up reasons or just saying "because I do", be consciously aware of the connection you have with the artist's compositions. That way, when someone asks you "why?", you actually CAN tell them why and not look like an idiot.

    The second bit of this, Catchiness, goes along with connection, since many people find themselves Connected to something that is Catchy (alliteration overload!). For example, many people like The Beatles without really knowing why, and one of those reasons they don't acknowledge is that the music is so catchy it should be illegal. Similarly, there are catchy choruses and guitar lines in all kinds of bands. Think of a few. Chances are, the ones that came to your mind were either things you classified as "Good" music, Happy Birthday, or Beatles because I just mentioned them. However, this is an aspect of music people need to acknowledge more when asked why they like something.

    There is no algorithm to determine how catchy a piece of music is, its all subjective. For example I had Necrophobic's album Hrimthursum stuck in my head for days, but I know people who could never get a metal track stuck in their head, regardless of the artist. The only way to determine how you value catchiness, and what you consider catchy is to think about it and define it for yourself. "Catchiness" is not negative, just another aspect of music. Know your views on this, and what you "Connect" with, and be able to communicate this in a way that does not belittle those who think otherwise. You don't have to have a deep, analytical reason for liking music if its due to one of these two factors.

    And the final point I will touch on is Feel/Atmosphere. The feel and atmosphere of a piece is closely connected to both the points mentioned above, especially synthesizing my closing point of #2; "Everyone is listening FOR something" and the aspect of connectedness. The genre of is a great example of a genre where the music itself based around creating atmosphere and feel, but Ambient is not an exclusive genre with a "Feel". Feel and Atmosphere are partially created by Style, though note that feel and atmosphere are not the same.

    I dislike , but that is partially because I do not enjoy the "feel" of the genre, and the style of guitar playing. However, I can revel in the soundscapes painted by raw minimalist atmospheric black metal, while the country fans dislike every second of it. As people enjoy different settings for vacation, they will enjoy different feels in their music. My mom likes the beach, I like the mountains. The question is, what type of feel do you find your home in?

    Another thing to note is that technicality of playing seems to be overvalued, and a band is commonly deemed "Good" if they are fast and technical. This does not mean I do not value technicality or skill in music, I value it very highly; but rather I dislike music based primarily on technicality for technicality's sake (look at how fast my fingers go on a Bb Concert Scale!!1!). My experience is that these bands do not do much in the way of Atmosphere. Yes, their music has a feel, but not an atmosphere. This is similar to the Kelly Clarkson/Pop example from earlier. An "atmosphere" is one step beyond a "feel", where the listener is completely immersed in audio imagery. The reason overly technical music and vocal solos tend to have less of an atmosphere is that they focus on relatively small aspects of the composition. Again, not that this is bad, music does not NEED an "atmosphere" to be labeled "good", some people just prefer it.

    However, to get a definition of atmosphere: imagine standing on a mountain with a sweeping panoramic view, full of vivid flora and fauna, perhaps with a majestic waterfall. You can see the glory of untouched nature for miles. The sky is nearly crystal clear, but it is not too bright, a few fluffy clouds break up the monotony of blue. Flying creatures play amidst them. Each second brings exhilaration. This is my image of a particular part of a piece of music, in this case an excerpt from Gustav Holst's Jupiter (just because that's what I'm listening to now :D). The entire piece (Jupiter) has an atmosphere. Now lets take the holistic piece and make it a technical trumpet solo. The other instruments fade away in the background, and the atmosphere is lessened. Suddenly instead of the full image I just described to you, we zoom in on the majestic waterfall. Closer and closer, until the water fall is all we can see. While magnificent in its' own right, a waterfall up close has significantly less Atmosphere than a full setting, verging on very little. While you CAN envision such things while listening to music based around technicality or strictly solos, atmosphere is more about the overall image, not one facet of it. This is why I do not like certain types of music, and why it is possible to say that certian types of music does not have "atmosphere". I much prefer my waterfall as a part of a larger setting.

    Again, look at the music you consider "Good". What types of Feels and Atmospheres do you prefer? Do you even value atmosphere at all? Its ok if you don't, just as long as you know you don't and can articulate it.

    In conclusion, I can tell you what I prefer, and why I label what I do as "Good" or "Bad". I am interested to see what others value in music and how they define "Good" and "Bad"... and the WHY. Not necessarily the WHO. (no pun intended) I'm tired of people being unable to define definitively why they do or don't like something.