Crazy Ozzy

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Ozzy Osbourne performed in Israel last night as part of his farewell tour. The 70-year-old rocker kicked all fucking ass, and I was blown away by just how hard a 70-year-old dude can rock. He started off with Bark at the Moon which got me going right from the start.

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Before he came on, there was a performance by Orphaned Land which I had absolutely no interest in. Since they started incorporating Middle Eastern instrumentation and vocals in their songs, I was interested in them even less.

I was not surprised by the crowd, but it was still a great feeling to see that most of it was made up of old people. Many of the concerts we go to, I find myself surrounded by kids, adolescent kids, pre-army or fresh out of the army, and it makes me feel old. But last night, at the Ozzy show, gray hair was all around.

The Prince of Fucking Darkness kept encouraging the crowd to scream louder and louder, so losing my voice was inevitable, especially as I had spent the past couple of days coughing my lungs out for god knows what reason. And songs like Crazy Train, War Pigs, and Fairies Wear Boots got me headbanging till my neck felt like a limp noodle. The last song, Paranoid, even got me jumping around.

Due to my coughing fits of the last two days, I also didn’t get any sleep, and I was tired as fuck when we got to the park where the show took place. But Ozzy was so phenomenal that I forgot all about my exhaustion and proceeded to “going fucking crazy” as Ozzy is wont to say.

Also the light show that accompanied every song got me all woozy. At some point, I actually wished for a toke. I can only imagine what the light show coupled with the amazing music would have done to me if I was high.

The only thing I didn’t like about the show was the guitar. More specifically, the guitarist, Zakk Wylde. I mean, fine, he’s talented, we got that. But goddamnit, this was an OZZY  show, not a Zakk Wylde one and not a Black Label Society one. And his solos just drilled into my brain and I was getting bored and restless. Suddenly, I started wishing for Slash to go onstage and replace him. Slash played with Ozzy when we saw him at Hellfest in 2012 and that was amazing. Slash plays in a way that makes you say “WHOA” without him shredding the fucking strings and without using his teeth and WITHOUT TAKING OVER THE SHOW THAT BELONGS TO OZZY! Zakk Wylde, take note.

But besides that, the show owns.

I got home all sweaty, with the humid Rishon air still stuck to my skin. Said humid air also did a number on my hair and the headbanging just added to that number. I don’t know how anybody can live in the Center, seriously.

I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough so that I could bring her with me to concerts and show her what good music really is.

Peace, love and ALL ABOARD!!!!!!!!

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Ink and Blood Are One

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Manson1For almost all of last week, I’ve been hardcore reminiscing. It was triggered by my plans to organize my DIY bookshelf full of my old diaries and high school agendas. As I was organizing, I found myself looking through some of them, skimming, reading, admiring the elaborate collages and drawings filling the pages top to bottom, left and right.

I kept on reminiscing as I was writing about it on my blog and in my zine and as I was reading my old posts. And it reached its peak on Thursday when Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Sweet Dreams” came blasting through my earphones. I flashed back to my confused wayward adolescence remembering how the freaky artist, the god of goth, the worst nightmare for parents worldwide became my ultimate salvation.

I was terrified and thoroughly disturbed the first time I saw the video for “Sweet Dreams”. The trashy smudged makeup, the different color eyes topped by no eyebrows, the crumbling run-down spot they chose to shoot the video, the close up of Manson’s scarred and slashed abdomen, all these elements scared me to the core, but I couldn’t turn away.

Manson6I tried to convince myself that this is something I should hate and ought to avoid. I tried. I really did. I drew Manson several times with the tagline “Check out that freak!” I watched his 1997 performance at the MTV Video Music Awards with my friend telling her “look at this freak. Who listens to that music anyway?” But when she switched the channel saying “Okay enough of this crap,” I regretted it. I wanted to keep watching but didn’t know why. If I hate it so much, why do I love it so much?

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Soon thereafter, I couldn’t avoid it anymore. I had fallen for the fallen angel. My list of favorite artists changed. Manson had vanquished the top spot and Michael Jackson was relegated to the very bottom with a resounding crash. The posters in my room had turned dark and morbid. I plastered the walls with Manson’s trademark eyes and lack of eyebrows. Every visit to HMV or Music World left me with one more Manson record in my repertoire.  First was Remix and Repent, then Mechanical Animals, then Antichrist Superstar, shortly followed by all the others. I squirmed with delight with every “I AM THE GOD OF FUCK”.

My parents were mortified.

Everything I created, all my art, my writings, my poetry also turned dark and morbid. Manson’s influence was undeniable.

This past week, as I was looking at my drawings and read my poems of ages past, I thought how sad it is that I can’t draw as easily and as perfectly as I once did. I lamented my lack of time to write anything of substance and depth as I once did. My mind, fueled by Stephen King’s On Writing, which I read recently, frantically searched for ways to make time and set up an environment for me where I could reclaim my long-lost sense of creativity and my flawless prose. Back then, all I needed to do to write something brilliant was close the bedroom door and let it all out – no rules and no limits. I could even do it during some boring class. Bury myself within myself and sprinkle the page with magic.

But now, I’m filled with inspiration with no means for release and no way to use it to my advantage to fight the motherfucking end of words. The end of words which was my biggest fear, even worse than death itself, has grabbed me by the neck and I simply cannot wriggle myself out of its grip.

Fuck. This just made me cry.

I need to fucking write. I can’t take this. Even if my prose sucks. Let it suck, I don’t care.  End of words be damned, let go of my fucking neck. I need my oxygen, my ink blood, my life force.

What the fuck am I gonna do?

Writing for five minutes a day is far from satisfactory.

Peace, love and suffocation.

Hannukrap

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Since becoming a mother, I realized I’ve become quite ambivalent about holidays. On one hand, I like them because, well, they’re holidays. On the other, I really do not like them because they often involve spending a lot of time with family, which means having to travel to the south, which in turn means having a very upset baby for the next couple of days seeing as her sleeping and eating patterns become all screwy.

So Hannukah was no different. And just like on the September/October holidays, my poor baby got sick, although this was not as a result of traveling to the south but rather as a side effect of the shot she got the previous week.

So the first three days of Hannukah were spent lighting candles, eating doughnuts and shoving suppositories up my kid’s bum. The fever was finally defeated by Friday evening, and the next day, my husband and I had a very nice Shabbat. We took my baby and my dog out to the dog park as it was nice and sunny. On the way back home, my baby fell asleep. My husband chopped up some fresh veggies and we sat to watch TV. The rest of the day went by uneventfully, thank Goddess.

On Monday, my family planned a birthday party for my grandmother. It took place in a Karaoke place in Be’er Sheva. My husband and I absolutely DESPISE Karaoke. Seriously, Karaoke was the reason earplugs were invented. Karaoke killed the hippy with the unplugged acoustic guitar and his coombaya circle. Karaoke was created solely for people who can’t sing but who think they can.

But everybody was going to be there, including my cousin from Belgium. I spent most of that evening going back and forth between the room where my family was, with the awful sounds of Karaoke and the cigarette-smoke-saturated air, and the next room which had neither. My baby, being attacked by my family she doesn’t know and sounds she didn’t particularly care for, failed to fall asleep that night, as she is wont to do whenever she is anywhere that is not her bedroom.

A word about Karaoke:

Back in Montreal, I went to a drag queen club (Cabaret Mado) on an evening of Karaoke. The people who went up to sing were actually quite talented, so I wasn’t suffering much if at all. A couple of years ago, my friend from Sweden came to visit me in Israel and after she insisted endlessly, I joined her for another Karaoke night. She got up on stage and pretty much wiped the floor with any other wannabe singer who came up after her. So that was also ok.

But my family… no. Just no. I bring earplugs to most of my family’s dinner parties and holidays events because I know there is bound to be singing. And my family is made up of loud Moroccans who don’t need any electronic device to make them sound like they’re singing through a goddamn bullhorn. Earplugs have been my salvation in all my family events. But I forgot to bring them this time around.

Plus, the songs they choose in Karaoke are mostly Middle Eastern tunes. Anybody who knows me, even as a passing acquaintance, knows just how I feel about that music. Bleeding ears is not even the word.

So when my dad came to see me and my husband sitting in the other room, he said that he doesn’t understand why loud singing Moroccans torture us so much considering all the loud metal concerts we go to. The mere fact that he even compared the two was baffling to me. But I explained that the music we listen to involves extremely talented musicians playing their instruments like sheer gods, and talented vocalists tearing up their microphones, whereas the auditory abomination known as Karaoke coming from the next room has neither talented vocals nor talented musical instrumentation.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my family. So it was still nice to see them and to show off my daughter. But I’m glad that going to the south is not something we do too often, and I’m glad that Karaoke is not something that my family does too much either. But sometimes I wish these machines had Rammstein songs included in their repertoire. Because if they do, the next time my family decides to torture me with a Karaoke night, I will see to it that I will torture them back with some badass industrial German tunes.

Peace, love and also, seriously you guys have to stop smoking already.

The Metalhead Life

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What people tell me when they find out I like metal:

But you’re so quiet, how can you listen to a bunch of noise?
The reason I listen to your so-called “bunch of noise” is the very reason why I’m so quiet. The music does all the screaming for me. And besides, it’s NOT just random noises. It’s music created by some of the most talented musicians the world has to offer. The perfection of the riffs, the percussion, the bass, the synchronization of all these instruments and the intricacy of the melodies appeal to the trained ear in a way that no other music can.

But you’re so sweet, how can you listen to such violent music?
Again, this so-called “violent” music allows me to soothe my anger without the need to physically or vocally expressing it. And violence is not the only theme of metal. Much of it is about empowerment, taking back control, speaking out, standing out, being yourself, standing up against oppression, being united for a just cause… there is a lot of positivity to be found in metal.

But I thought you were Jewish, so like what, you worship Satan?
Yes, I am Jewish. No, I do not worship Satan. Just because the theme of the satanism does appear in certain genres of metal does not mean I suddenly follow the occult. Kindly destupidify yourself.

How can you even understand what they say?
Yes, there are bands, mostly gore metal bands like Decapitated and Cattle Decapitation among others, where it is really impossible to understand what they say. However, personally, I always found that the music is more important than the lyrics. So I really don’t care much if I don’t understand what they say. But there are a ton of other metal bands where the lyrics are perfectly enunciated. Melodic Death metal bands like Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy for example. Also, you can always find the lyrics online. So whatever.

So you want to kill yourself or something?
No. I want to keep on living for as long as I can so that I can keep on listening to awesome shredding music, and hoping to not have to listen to assholes like you.

And you subject your kid to that noise? What kind of mother are you?
I am the kind of mother who will show my daughter that there are other genres of music out there besides Mizrachit, and that diversifying your playlist is not a bad thing. Being a metalhead does not mean that you are loud, violent, worship Satan, are incoherent, and suicidal, and it certainly does not make you a bad mother. In fact, the metalhead community is made up of amazing people, warm, kind and inviting, and if you are lucky enough to count yourself among these awesome people, you will discover a wonderful culture that encourages and supports individuality, respect, self-esteem, empowerment and pure fucking metal. These are the kind of values I want my kid to have.

Peace, love and headbang bang bang!

 

Living Carcass

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Last night, Carcass performed live in Tel Aviv. It was their first time in Israel in 25 years or something. The first time I saw them live was at Wacken in 2014 and if you were following my previous posts or read it in my zine, you would know that I wasn’t entirely blown away by their performance at the festival. So I rather expected their Israeli show to at least be slightly better. I don’t know what it is, maybe I’m getting old, but no, I wasn’t blown away by their Israeli performance either.

Don’t get me wrong. Carcass is amazing! They’re an epic band with a sound like no other. I absolutely love their songs. My husband and my metalhead friends loved the fuck out of their show. So after the show was over, I was trying to figure out why I didn’t.

We drove to Tel Aviv that evening after Shabbat came out. I didn’t wear as many layers as I usually do in this time of year because I expected it to be much warmer in Tel Aviv. It usually is, but this time it wasn’t. Fucking freezing weather and I curse thee winter. Asshole season, seriously.

The first band on the bill was Shredhead. I expected my ears to bleed seeing as I was told they were metalcore. But the band didn’t suck as much. I was just happy to be at a metal concert again.

After Shredhead was done tearing up the stage, and before Carcass was set to come up and (hopefully) pulverize it, the soundguy, for some godforsaken reason, decided to play a medley of ACDC songs.

Now, I’m sure I will make me some sworn enemies coming to my house with torches, but I. CANNOT. STAND. ACDC. A bunch of untalented cock-rock musicians, fronted by a guy who sounds like a dying cat choking on a frog. And all their songs sound the fucking same!

Anyway, when that shit was over, Carcass finally came up. A lot of their opening songs were from Heartwork and Surgical Steel. Two amazing records. The live songs were pretty good, except that I really like singing along to songs played live but Jeff Walker wasn’t singing exactly as he does on the record, so I had a bit of a hard time with that.

I also expected them to play at least one song off of Swansong. In fact, they played one and a half. That’s right, one and a half. They played the intro to Black Star, which is my favorite Carcass song ever. I screamed and started headbanging myself crazy, but then right before the beginning of the first verse, they suddenly switched gears and started playing Keep On Rotting. And I was like standing there going “What the fuck? Why would you do that?!”

A fucking tease is all it was. It may seem like a minor infraction but I think this is what killed it for me. I was livid. If you’re gonna start playing a song, play it to the bitter end. I told my husband after the show that I really think Carcass hate their own record. They probably think that Swansong is a piece of shit and refuse to play it live and think they can’t possibly destroy these songs any more than they already are so playing an intro to a song and then flick the switch and move on to another is perfectly acceptable.

It isn’t.

The rest of the songs were mostly from their older records, none of which I know. I found it irritating that they didn’t always hold for applause before playing the next song so at some point it just made it sound like a single longass endless song. They also played a couple of songs from their latest, Surgical Steel, which is also pretty good. And the last song was Heartwork, which I would have loved if I wasn’t so disappointed by the non-existence of Black Star.

Besides that, Jeff sometimes joked with the crowd, but his heavy British accent made it impossible for me to understand him. The rest of the crowd did, which is amazing assuming that they’re all Israelis with English as a second language, and I’m a Canadian with much better English than them, but I still failed to understand what the hell Jeff was saying. I think it’s like the French French who can’t for the life of them understand the French Canadians. Give me the old osti d’criss and be done with it.

I think another reason I didn’t enjoy the show as much as I should have is because earlier that day, my daughter had been either teething or experiencing some pain from the shots she got last week and was whining quite a lot. I felt bad leaving her in that state and going to a different city and coming home so late. I left her in the care of my mother-in-law who is great with her, but still. It wasn’t me. I felt as if I was abandoning her when she is in pain. In fact, my mother-in-law told me she didn’t fall asleep until 12:15 a.m. So how was I supposed to enjoy anything knowing that my daughter is in another city suffering and needing her mother?

Anyway, I’m still glad I got to go. I guess. Tonight, we have Sunday metal night. I plan on adding Black Star to the playlist and listen to it in all its full-length glory. And may the Goddess have mercy on anyone who dares to cut it short.

Peace, love and Carcass, keep on rotting yourself.

The Good, the Bad and the Metal

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When War Eternal was released and I was dumbstruck by just how crappy Arch Enemy had become, I thought, or rather hoped, it was a momentary lapse in judgment from the band or the producers. But now, out comes Will to Power to shatter any shred of hope for a better future for the band.

It’s official. Arch Enemy has sold out. And all of us United Enemies are in mourning.

I recently posted a link on Facebook to the album review written by a dude who calls himself Angry Metal Guy. He describes pretty accurately what I feared Arch Enemy would become if they continued down the path that War Eternal laid for them. Power metal, with lots of electronics, and the occasional clean vocals that have absolutely no place in death metal, no matter how melodic the band’s style may be. Basically, Will to Power is to Arch Enemy what St. Anger was to Metallica. A regurgitated dump.

Today, on the way to work, my player was on shuffle and “The Last Enemy” came up.

This, I thought, this is what death metal sounds like. This is Arch Enemy at its finest.

Seriously, War Eternal and Will to Power were written by a completely different band. I’m sorry, but I refuse to recognize these piles of horseshit masquerading as metal albums as having been written and recorded by a band that used to be so brutal and so brilliant.

carcass_flyer_12Onto brighter news, after Amon Amarth graced Israel by its presence and played a kickass show in Tel Aviv, up next on the bill is Carcass. They will be playing a show in Israel on December 9. My husband already bought the tickets, and we are currently looking for a babysitter.

Like Amon Amarth, we already saw Carcass at Wacken. The difference is that Amon Amarth’s show at Wacken was beyond spectacular, whereas Carcass’s show was not. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as we had hoped it would be. At the festival, they did not play a single track from Swansong, and not enough tracks from Heartwork. Also, back then, their latest record had just been released and we weren’t as familiar with the songs as we are now.  So we now hope that their show in Israel, which is not a festival, and which they are headlining, and in which they will most likely play a longer set, will kick as much ass as a Carcass show should.

Back to Arch Enemy, it should be emphasized that they still hold the number one spot in my list of favorite bands. That’s the Arch Enemy that recorded such masterpieces as Rise of the Tyrant, Wages of Sin, Doomsday Machine, Anthems of Rebellion, Root of All Evil and Khaos Legions.

Here’s to hoping for better days and better records.

Peace, love and Metal be thy name.

Amon Amazing

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Well, WordPress sucks dick. I just wrote a whole review of the show and it didn’t save my draft. So here it is again.

Aside from having a blast with IZM, I was set to have another blast with the Amon Amarth show in Israel.

On July 27, my husband removed the baby car seat from the back of the car, we picked up three of our Jerusalem metalhead friends, and dived into the so-humid-it’s-virtually-a-pool weather of Tel Aviv. The venue was small for the likes of Amon Amarth, but was bigger than I expected. The size of the stage and the way the crowd piled up all the way to the edge of it indicated that there would likely be no pyro-techs.

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In a previous post, I wrote that there is no way that the band could reproduce the awesomemess of their Wacken performance, and I was right. But I also wrote that they would still deliver a kickass show, and I was right about that too.

The two performances cannot be compared – we’re talking about a gigantic stage in the open air with tens of thousands of German metalheads thrashing around, versus a small scale show, a small stage in a closed venue, with around 1100 people crammed inside, drenched in sweat.

But it’s Amon Amarth we’re talking about and they deliver. Johan’s vocals are second to none, the guitars and the melodies reproduced EXACTLY as they are in the records, with no stupid alterations of the solos as many artists tend to do in their live shows, no useless longass speeches between songs – only blasts of song after song after song, that kept me headbanging till my neck went limp, and screaming till my throat became all bloody.

I was delirious with joy. Every once in a while, when a song ended or began, I found myself laughing hysterically out of sheer pleasure. I was screaming, pumping fists, throwing up metal horns, and headbanging myself silly. I noticed a girl standing in front of me, looking back at me every once in a while with an expression that said “what the fuck are you doing?”

Well, to answer your question, I AM HEADBANGING MY BRAINS OUT, BITACH! How is it that you’re NOT?! Are you hearing this?!

So yes, Amon Amarth has that effect on me. And no lack of fireworks, or presence of a roof, or so much sweat on my face that my hair stuck to it, could ever change that.

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The best thing about it, as my husband said, was the fact that after such a long time of being out of the metal scene, we were finally back in. With my pregnancy and the birth of our daughter, we couldn’t afford to have a night of good old sweaty screamy thrashy metal show like we’re used to. We attempted to go to metal shows and metal nights when I was pregnant, but I kept being paranoid about the cigarette smoke and the loud music that could harm my baby. And we simply could not enjoy the show. And now we’re back, and we went back into it with a live version Pursuit of the Vikings. Fucking A!

Peace, love and metalheads forever!