Venom and Diamonds

Observations on the properties of metal, pt III

12:17 June 25th '04

One release that I was very excited to hear about earlier in the year was the new Fear Factory album, Archetype. Considering how much their '95 album Demanufacture has influenced me, I was happy to hear they were back together after last year's breakup and recording again.

To a lot of people, Archetype then seemed to fulfill their expectations and return FF to their prior top form. I like the album too, but maybe I've grown out of the FF genre, because it just didn't give me the same atmosphere and imagination as Demanufacture did way back when.

One reason for my disappointment may be that at the time of Archetype's release I was exposed to another band for the first time. And these guys took me back to long before 1995, way back to my dear Metallica/Megadeth/Sepultura days when Black, Countdown and Chaos were the only metal I owned.

Apparently billed as the greatest and first Finnish-language thrash band with the release of their third album, Kurimus, last year, Mokoma came out with an amazing follow-up in April that booted Archetype swiftly from my CD player. T?m?n Maailman Ruhtinaan Hovi pays homage to all the greatest metal of the past twenty years while still managing to sound original. I was laughing all the way through my first listen of it, partly because of the blatant thrash clich?s, but mostly simply because they made them sound so good.

Sorry Fear Factory, but you've just been beaten by the oldest tricks in the book.

My request has been heard. Sort of.

19:58 June 15th '04

So, Slipknot are coming back to Finland to play an indoor gig.

Except they're playing warmup again! This time it's for Slayer, which should at least combine with the closed setting to provide a bit more mayhem. 'Knot seem to be quite the kings of tagging along with the big boys, don't they? Now, I need to go and get up to speed on my Slayer. Do excuse me...

Observations on the properties of metal, pt II

20:13 June 13th '04

Playing warmup to that great Metallica gig were Slipknot, and I was more than excited to see if they'd live up to the fury of their albums. Unfortunately an open-air gig in front of thousands of steadfast oldschool metal fans isn't going to work up much of an atmosphere.. not to mention the fact that of course the PA wasn't going to be as loud as the headliner's. They did put out a lot of energy though, and it did give me enough of a taste: if they come back this way and have their own gig indoors, I think I'll have to get myself down the front row of that one.

Another thing that didn't help was that their latest album, Vol.3 (The Subliminal Verses), had only had three days on the shelves by that point. Which is a shame, considering it's an amazing piece of work, and fully deserving of all my anticipation.

Just like my comment after hearing the track 'Pulse of the Maggots' for the first time, now again I have to say that I was confused after the first listen. But yet again the more I listen, the more I think this must be the way Slipknot always were supposed to sound.

So whatever the concert might have been like, I think there's a good chance that ten years from now I'll be grateful to have caught both the old and new legends in one evening on one stage.

Observations on the properties of metal, pt I

19:56 June 6th '04

Considering the fact that I wrote several posts earlier in the year proclaiming my enthusiasm for forthcoming metal albums and concerts, it'd be a bit lax of me not to say a few things about them now that some have come around! I'll spread my comments out a bit, so that we get back to something like regular posting again, and you don't have to sit through three pages of me ranting about music in one go. First up:

Metallica are as good live now as they were eleven years ago. Of course, back then they were my first taste of live rock goodness, but the magic still works no matter how many times you've heard the songs. I do think, however, that it's time to acknowledge that you've released one too many live albums when the crowd starts singing back the live versions of your songs, even though you don't play them that way anymore. A very weird bit of feedback, that. Works great as ever on Creeping Death, though.

I remember being in total awe the first time I experienced that song live. There's something utterly sinister about the way four guys with a song (and a bit of amplification) can get 40k+ people chanting 'die, die, die'.

This time around it struck me again, since now the crowd started chanting it without a single prompt from the band. Telling a crowd that size to chant something and them doing it is one thing, having a crowd that size do something like that simultaneously of their own accord is something different again. No wonder the guys were standing on the stage grinning like kids let loose in a candy store... which in turn fed back to the audience. Now that's a good kind of feedback.

shall we drink a toast to / absent-minded friends