Although adopting the new design might have diminished site traffic a significant bit, I believe the site started to get more and more unpopular two or three years ago already. And it will probably go on this way.
And the motive for the redesign was that the site was already losing money. The community is gutted. Can a scrobbling site be profitable? It seems to me that scrobbling should have been a part of some bigger service, like Google or Facebook. And I have so many scrobbles that trying to transfer them made Libre.fm choke. :P
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as long as Metalcore is real Metalcore and Nu Metal is real Nu Metal, I don't see the point in debating whether it's Metal or not. Besides, Metal is like Punk in the sense that the bands generally regarded as not "true" are usually superior to the real thing. Exceptions exist, but it's typically a good rule of thumb.
In regards to your statement "if Led Zeppelin can't be considered a folk band because they have too few folk songs?" Yes, they aren't commonly classified as a Folk band for that reason. Likewise, Nu Metal bands can't be considered Rap Rock or Alt. Rock because they have one or two ballads or Hip-Hop collaborations per album. Of course there are other influences throughout, but music is not an exact science so judging the ratio of Metal influences to non-metal influences accurately is virtually impossible. However, if you look at the ratio of pure Hip-Hop tracks/ballads to the heavier songs in "Lost and Found", "Life Is Peachy" or "Vol. 3 The Subliminal Verses" etc. there are more heavier, groove orientated songs.
I made an argument in the Lifelover shoutbox - that they were more Post-Punk than Black Metal [url=http://i.imgur.com/xtLsq92.jpg]here[/url] is the screen grab of my arguments. Lifelover are just as much a Rock band as most Nu Metal bands.
Yeah, kind of pointless argument since Metal is not clearly defined. That's not the point though. Nu Metal gets a lot of stick for not being Metal enough when plenty of bands that are commonly classified as Metal can be seen as Rock "as a whole." Lifelover, Theatre of Tragedy (later), (early) Lacuna Coil etc. The rhythm playing in Nu Metal bands were much closer to Metal than those bands I mentioned, although employed slightly differently. Typical metal playing is solos and shredding, but Nu Metal bands did utilize these ideas and used them more for rhythmic playing. For example, Wes Borland is known for his hammer on tapping, and two handed tapping techniques (e.g on "Sour"). The technique would work well in solos, but Borland prefers using them more for rhythmic playing and also for ambient/drone effect by using the idea of drone notes. Also, Borland jumps 4-5 strings to give the effect of a solo (e.g he jumps 5 strings on "My Way") without sticking to typical Metal arpeggio solos
"Most nu bands don't sound like Sepultura, Otep or DD, they sound like P.O.D., Linkin Park, or Papa Roach. Why should such a tiny representation of nu metal w/ actual metal roots allow every other rock-sounding band in the genre to also be called metal " >>> I never said all the bands that media classified as Nu Metal is Metal. I'm sitting on the fence by saying that some Nu Metal is Metal and some isn't. I feel a lot of the 2nd wave of bands that were (loosely) classified of Nu Metal was a cash grab by record labels, that were looking to sign bands who had a fresh sound but still had a Rap-heavy Rock sound. These bands are not Metal, but a lot of the early bands were, in my view. [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRiPPpbuw2c]Staind's "Tolerate"[/url] had some raw, groovy Black Sabbath type riffs for example.
"I'd also make a case that Motorhead were punkish." It's true. However (and I think you've already implied this) early UK hardcore movement was partly (sometimes) influenced by early British heavy metal (Motorhead as the main source of course), especially bands like Discharge. You could find some very d-beat-like structures in some early NWOBHM, take a look [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TtuOoPutCg]here[/url] for example. So it's really hard to determine what was more important, and maybe impossible since everything was interconnected from the beginning..
"The heaviness of course was already laid down by Black Sabbath's traditional Doom style but the heavy rhythms didn't come into until Metal crossed over with Punk" Regarding rhythms, maybe so.. I simply rarely think about 'heaviness' out of touch with actual guitar effects. I'd like to remind that we started this conversation by comparing earlier Slayer releases, and I simply argue why there's no significant difference between them in this regard for me subjectively. Actually SNM is my favourite album out of their discography, I believe "Evil has no boundaries" and "Show No Mercy" are more frenetic songs than anything they put on HA or RIB.
"but it seems you are contradicting yourself here since." Not really, I just tried to get up on your point of view for a while, otherwise we have too different perception what defines 'heaviness' and ultimately are not able to discuss anything.
Damn, 1000 characters is way too little. Anyway... Simply put, I'm saying that the minority shouldn't be so defining. Whatever wave you would prefer represents nu, it's undeniable that the genre has become much softer and otherwise different since Sepultura and the likes were the only thing around. The "newer" bands have next to nothing to do with metal, a lot of them fall close to post-grunge, industrial rock, or even rapcore. And it's pretty much universally accepted that those bands represent the genre, too. There are so many more bands belonging to that type of nu than there is of the kind you're referring to.
"In regards to calling Nu Metal Alt. Rock, it's like calling Led Zeppelin a Folk band and not a Hard Rock because they have a few Folk songs." I know you're just trying to drive your point home, but no. It's not like that at all. I'm not going to pretend like I've heard every Led Zeppelin song, because I've never been a big fan and so I've never bothered, but I know what you're getting at; and it's an extremely bold comparison. You're putting one band's discography up against an entire genre where the majority of the bands would actually be the equivalents to Zep's folk-ish songs. Most nu bands don't sound like Sepultura, Otep or DD, they sound like P.O.D., Linkin Park, or Papa Roach. Why should such a tiny representation of nu metal w/ actual metal roots allow every other rock-sounding band in the genre to also be called metal - if Led Zeppelin can't be considered a folk band because they have too few folk songs?
"To be honest, the softer bands I'd label alt-rock, the heavier bands with more metal elements I'd probaby call alt-metal. I don't consider alt-metal to be a metal sub-genre either, but at least it has more in common with metal generally than nu does. Classic heaviness with less outside influence, basically." >>> I partially agree with this. I'm not saying ALL Nu Metal is Metal but a lot of is very close. In regards to calling Nu Metal Alt. Rock, it's like calling Led Zeppelin a Folk band and not a Hard Rock because they have a few Folk songs. No one calls Led Zeppelin Folk but everyone mentions the Rap or Alt. Rock ballads done by Nu Metal bands. The heavier bands also are usually Groove Metal with Hardcore or traditional Brazilian sounds (Soulfly, Ektomorf, mid era Sepultura, early DevilDriver, early Chimaira etc.) Those bands are not Alternative Metal at all.
I would argue that Slipknot and Linkin Park, for instance, don't have more in common than Insomnium and Helloween, even though they belong to the same genre. >>> Not all would agree, myself included, that LP are Nu Metal. LP are 2nd wave Nu Metal which was a wave of much more commercialized Nu Metal that included bands who were very loosely Nu Metal (Disturbed, Papa Roach, LP etc.) The 2nd wave removed the heavy grooves laid down by Sepultura and the California trio of early Deftones, Coal Chamber and Korn, and added more mellow soundscapes, DJing, pop song structures and clean vocals and rapping. Nu Metal can be traced back to Mr. Bungle - early Slipknot (Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat), Korn and even Incubus all had Mr. Bungle chords throughout. Mr. bungle chords also use tritones, which ties them loosly with Black Sabbath riffs. That fact, combined with some Groove Metal (melodic Pantera, Suicidal Tendencies riffing) found in Nu Metal is why some would argue Nu Metal is Metal.
And don't forget about doom metal that took nothing from punk, but actually was the main source of real "heaviness" in my opinion. >>> Depends how we are going to define "really heavy" as I originally stated. The heaviness of course was already laid down by Black Sabbath's traditional Doom style but the heavy rhythms didn't come into until Metal crossed over with Punk. You have Hellhammer's alternation of kick snare beneath cymbals, which gives a very punkish feel. Think Discharge, and even back to Motorhead. There are some incredibly heavy albums which rely on the extremes of Punk - Napalm Death's "Scum", Dark Angel's "Darkness Descends", Bathory's debut etc.
I'd also make a case that Motorhead were punkish. Sure Motorhead had chromatic bass riffs and characteristics that made them Motorhead Metal, but they were Punkish too in that the chords crashed into each other, and the breaks in the music were driven by the bass, rather than expanding harmonies like a lot of Metal bass players do. Motorhead were raw but don't forget they came up in the golden era of Punk - the late 1970s - and that raw sound you describe can be found in bands such as The Exploited.
Back in the 80s USPM and raw speed metal existed, that refined Motorhead, JP, Saxon, Angel Witch, IM influences into thickier and more aggressive sound that developed simultaneously with thrash and could compete easily with thrash metal sometimes. There were some really fast, frentic and even quite chaotic NWOBHM/heavy metal bands as well. >>> Maybe you are right (I do not care much for old school Metal) but it seems you are contradicting yourself here since. Earlier you mentioned that later Slayer was "less melodic, more punkish and raw, yes. But I'd never say "heavier". Yet, here you essentially argue "raw Speed Metal" competes with Thrash in terms of heaviness.
"BM bands do not put the emphasis on the heavy distortion overload, so I would not describe them as "heavy" or "not heavy" at all." >>> Black Metal, and Metal in general, does not only really on volume of distortion for heaviness but also reverb and echo. Xasthur and similar bands are a good example of a lot of reverb. These kind of sonic effects expand the power of the sound and help create a wall of sound. In fact, reverb is a major part of Metal's thick and heavy sound, Black Sabbath defiantly utilized it and I think Judas Priest did as well.
There's some features derived from early bands like Korn, Deftones, Coal Chamber, that a lot of nu metal bands have in common anyway. I think Trash73 gave a good discription in nu metal or alternative metal shoutbox.. Even if it's too broad, it still makes sense regarding a lot of "core" bands of this genre. Black metal has similar fate actually, it does not exist as a real genre already. But all these bands (as diverse as black ambient, dsbm, blackgaze or early 90s raw black) have something in common (general aesthetics, textures, atmosphere), thus "black metal" remains relevant to describe music.
"I don't think a heavier version of Alt. Rock is a good description of Nu Metal anyway. How would you differ it from Alternative Metal, if that was definition were accurate?" To be honest, the softer bands I'd label alt-rock, the heavier bands with more metal elements I'd probaby call alt-metal. I don't consider alt-metal to be a metal sub-genre either, but at least it has more in common with metal generally than nu does. Classic heaviness with less outside influence, basically.
Thrash is easily defined and is one of the leading sub-genres of heavy metal, nu is more diverse and a relatively fresh genre with no truly defining sound. I would argue that Slipknot and Linkin Park, for instance, don't have more in common than Insomnium and Helloween, even though they belong to the same genre. Heaviness (subjective as that may be) isn't everything, but when most nu bands draw as much inspiration from anything else (be it reggae, funk, electronica, etc.), I genuinely don't see why you would squeeze them under the same label as most of the other bands on this tag. I realize and appreciate that metal is incredibly diverse, but rock is moreso and that's why it makes sense to me to call it a rock sub-genre instead. I'm not trying to get you to "get it" or anything, that's just my stand.