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.

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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!

Vikings Take Over the Holy Land

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FB_IMG_1490283784349Amon Amarth is coming to Israel.

Read it again.

AMON AMARTH IS COMING TO ISRAEL!!

When I got the Facebook invite to the show, I thought it was yet another group that WANTS Amon Amarth to come. Just like there is a Rammstein one and plenty of others I’m sure. But then I saw a time and place and thought it must be a tribute. But no one would come to a tribute concert of Amon Amarth. Tributes are usually for bands that would draw a bigass crowd like Death, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Slayer, Motorhead…

So when it finally hit me that this is for real – the real band, an actual show, in my country – I nearly cried. My husband was sleeping, my daughter was dozing on my lap, so I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted to do which was to jump to my feet and scream.

I bought the tickets right then and there. On July 27, Amon Amarth tears the holy fuck out of the Israeli stage.

I try to keep my expectations low because a. a confirmed show does not necessarily mean a confirmed show. Cancellations abound in Israel. And b. there is no way that this show will be better or even remotely as good as the Amon Amarth show I saw at Wacken. The atmosphere of a metal festival, tens of thousands of amazing metalheads, a giant stage in the open air – all of this will be lacking in the Israeli show. From what I understand, the venue they chose is one that holds no more than a thousand people. The Israeli metalhead crowd is cool but there won’t be many. And finally, an Amon Amarth show that is not in the open air will undoubtedly diminish the ultimate experience of an Amon Amarth show. I hope that at least the stage will be big enough to accommodate the usual decor – the front of a Viking ship, wooden dragons blowing smoke, etc. I also hope explosions and pyrotechs will be possible in such a venue and such a stage, because when Johan will scream “FIRE!” on the chorus of Asator, it just wouldn’t be the same without simultaneous pillars of fire exploding from the stage.

So I keep my expectations low. I don’t want a repeat of the Arch Enemy show in Israel. Although it was a killer show, it was nowhere near as good as when I saw them live in Montreal. I think that the first time you see a band live is always the best time. I think it’s also because of the excitement of seeing one of your favorite bands live for the first time ever. So any second, third or fourth time you see them live pales in comparison.

I’m still excited for the show though. Just like I know that it wouldn’t be as amazing as their Wacken performance, I also know that they will still deliver a killer show. Amon Amarth can’t do it any other way.

Aside from that, I still fantasize about an Industrial fest in Israel, featuring my three favorite industrial rock bands, Disturbed, Rammstein and Marilyn Manson. Not that it’ll ever happen, but a girl can still dream. Wouldn’t it be totally fucking awesome? I’ve never seen any of these bands live, so I can only imagine how I would react if it actually did happen. I’d be like:

“Disturbed? Oh my god!”
“Rammstein? HOLY SHIT!!”
“Marilyn Manson??” *gasp* *faint*

But yeah, that’s definitely a long shot.

But dude, AMON AMARTH IS COMING TO ISRAEL!

Peace, love and ODIN!!!!!!!!

Grrrl Flop

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Last night, I went to a punk show at a local bar. The first band on the bill was a girl punk band from Russia. So I thought, like, “Pussy Riot”, fuck yeah! Or at least some form of riot grrrl band.

I sampled their music via YouTube and found a song of theirs that was rather interesting and sounded a bit like it was inspired by Bikini Kill.

I got really excited for the prospect of seeing a live riot grrrl band in Jerusalem, which very rarely or never happens. So I wore my Bikini Kill t-shirt and sort of fantasized about the Russian band going onstage, playing some of their original material, and then spotting me with my shirt and saying “This next song is dedicated to the badass chick with the Bikini Kill tee,” and break into a cover of “New Radio” or “Rebel Girl.”

But that didn’t happen. Not even close. The first song they played was the one I sampled from YouTube, and it was their only acceptable, slightly riot grrrl-y song. The rest of their show was made of a medley of muddied-down songs that sounded nothing like punk, or even music for that matter. The organizers may have referred to it as punk, but I refer to it as WTF?!

My husband was suffering and said “Punk is not complicated. Verse, chorus, verse. You don’t even need much technical talent. Hell, WE were better than that!” He was referring to our Mistress Distress project back in 2012. And yes, compared to last night’s show, we weren’t half bad.

Needless to say, I was utterly disappointed, considering my fantasy of earlier that day. I mean, they didn’t even have to cover a Bikini Kill song. They could have just played a few more songs that sounded more like their first one. That would have been good enough.

I’m still looking for a riot grrrl scene in Jerusalem, so when a band like that comes to town, it’s only natural that I get my hopes up way too fucking high.

Peace, love and sigh…

Life Is Good. Death Is Better!

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20141001_194934Yesterday was my 32nd goyishe birthday. For the occasion, my boyfriend’s parents and family ordered pizza and a chocolate cake, and I got a few new shirts, a pair of pants and some birthday songs. My boyfriend already got me a Stephen King book from my Amazon wishlist, which I should get only towards the end of this month, plus a nice night of romance which I got last night.

Also, I got a free salad from my favorite salad place in downtown Jerusalem. I must say that I don’t recall ever getting a birthday wish or free stuff from any company or shop in Montreal whenever my birthday rolled around. But in Israel, I got a text and an e-card from my medical insurance company, a text from Hasalatia informing me of a free salad, and even my salary slip at work has a little note wishing me a happy birthday. My coworker says it’s probably the companies’ way of reminding me that they exist, as some kind of publicity, but I still thought it’s sweet, and made me smile.

Aside from all that, I also got a letter from my new penpal from Salem, Massachusetts, and the zine I ordered from Sweet Candy Distro!

So I was sitting at the post office branch in downtown Jerusalem, waiting to take care of some errands for my work, while reading my penpal letter and leafing through the awesome zine. A girl sitting next to me was sifting through a whole stack of bills she has to pay. This made me think of how much happier I am to find colorful envelopes in my mailbox and how snail mail can be so much more awesome when the packages you get are not just boring old bills and stupid flyers for shit you don’t need.

I can’t wait to write my Salem penpal back and maybe even send my recent Purple Myrtle Squeegy zine issue to Sweet Candy Distro for consideration!

Also, tonight there is a tribute for the awesome band Death in Tel Aviv. A couple of years ago we went to another Death tribute they had at Sublime, also in Tel Aviv. I recall it was fucking rad! Death is not an easy band to cover. Their musicians are as good as they come and their vocals are second to none. But that tribute was surprisingly good, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t know how good this year’s tribute will be. My boyfriend says that the place where they will play (Barbi Bar) has terrible acoustics. However, this year they got musicians from several bands, including Magor who we saw at Wacken in August and at Festikassach last week, plus a drummer from Cradle of Filth. So that should be interesting.

I like birthday season. When the Zodiac turns to Libra, the stars tend to line up and all is well in the universe. I am really looking forward to fasting this Sabbath (Yom Kippur) and also to the full moon on my Jewish birthday (Succot).

Peace, love and health to all

Congregate to Desecrate

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I’ve been going to metal nights at Idrabar every Sunday for the past few weeks. Metal nights in Jerusalem is not a usual occurrence, so whenever it does happen, I try to be there and support the scene.

Last night, there was another metal night. This time, it took place at Uganda. There were two live gigs aside from the metal that was spinning before, in between and after the shows. It was nice to see familiar faces. The scene is pretty small, so the people who show up are always the same and always know each other.

Jerusalem is not the kind of city you would expect there to be a metal night, so when you find yourself walking within the walls of the holy city and happen to catch the deep dark tones of heavy guitar and guttural growls emanating from some small venue that may very well feature the sign “abandon all hope ye who enter here” posted on the door, it pretty much blows you away.

However, simply stumbling upon a bar that just happens to feature some metal music on a particular night rarely ever happens in Jerusalem. So if it does happen, consider yourself lucky.

Personally, it took me quite a few years to find the small nucleus of the metal community in Jerusalem. At first, I was pretty sure it didn’t even exist. But then there was Scream bar, which I found out about through Facebook. I went there once or twice before they closed. Then I signed up to the Yellow Submarine mailing list hoping to catch one of their metal fests featuring local bands. That was until my email got phished and couldn’t be accessed anymore. And anyway, most of the people who attended these metal nights at the Submarine were Tel Avivians and my search for the elusive Jerusalemite metal community continued.

As luck would have it, I became involved with Jerusalem guys from the scene who I met online. The first introduced me to many of the metal bands I listen to today. The second, who is actually my boyfriend, introduced me to the Jerusalem metal community he was lucky enough to find. He also introduced me to bars that feature the most face-melting metal you can hope to find within the confines of this city. He also took me to European metal festivals, some of which I had heard of but never dared to so much as dream about going to. So yes, it took some time and required some special effort, but it was worth it.

For now, I have yet to find a riot grrrl community in Jerusalem, but as time goes on, it becomes less and less promising. And since the metal community contains an overwhelming majority of the testosterone variety, I feel the need to drag my current girlfriends to metal nights whether they like it or not. Yes it is a bit selfish, but being the only girl in a crowd full of dudes, makes me feel small and shoved to the sidelines.

So last night, I got my German friend to join me. I had a great time, and I think that she did too. The only problems were those that cannot be remedied on any metal night I go to:

1) The volume was beyond ear-perforating, so I had to scream during a conversation and lose my voice in the process.

2) There are two equally irritating sitting options: Option A is sitting outside the bar, feeling the frosty air of the Jerusalemite winter night penetrate deep into your bones; and option B is sitting inside and go back home smelling like an ashtray.

3) If you’re going to get smashed but don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount of cheddar to a sketchy taxi driver to drive you back home, make sure you leave the bar before the busses stop running; this means setting yourself a Cinderella curfew before the clock strikes midnight. Just don’t lose your shoes!

However, sacrificing your hearing, vocal chords, wonderful soapy aroma, and your chance for a state of inebriation is a small price to pay for those truly dedicated to the metal scene. So wherever they choose to stick us, as long as we have a place to congregate and enjoy wholesome extreme metal, we’ll be just fine and dandy.

Peace, love and \m/

Daughter of Thunder

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I woke up to a cold and dreary morning. Gray skies, non-stop rain, winds blowing through the edges of the door and windows, making a loud and annoying whistling sound to scare the wits out of the dead.

Every year, I dread this time and pray that it will stop raining around me and instead rain only where it’s really needed (like in the Kinneret or on crops or whatever…)

I never deluded myself thinking I’m a typical Israeli or anything. I moved to Israel still not liking falafel, hummus, tehini or schwarma. And I never liked the cold. I never liked rain. I’ve liked snow only when I’ve never seen it, and once I did, I hated it every single time it reared its ugly white flaky head. I love heat. I love sweating. I try my best to stay as warm as possible. Rarely do I ever turn on the AC during the summer. And the heater is always on during winter. In winter, I never wear less than two layers of socks, two layers of pants, four layers of shirts, plus a sweater and a winter coat, with all the rest of my winter gear. And of course, I go on a healthy diet of teas and soups.

But besides all that, if there is one thing that can help me survive this horrible time of the year, it’s music. Music is my savior. The sky can be as gray as a corpse and the rain can be pounding down like hammers on an anvil, and none of it matters as long as my eardrums are vibrating to the sounds of my iPod. My inner child completely tunes out to the terrifying reality of winter, and imagines she’s in a huge crowd, watching the respective band or artist onstage. No matter how unrealistic or how impossible it may be. Jim Morrison may be dead, but she sees him live onstage. Same goes for Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, Mia Zapata, all of them come to life in her world, and they all fill it with sunshine, blue skies, blooming flowers, and steaming hot temperatures.

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And since my iPod is one of the only things keeping me from spiraling down into utter depression, I need to keep it safe as well. So before going out, I put my player in its pouch, put it in a plastic bag, wrap it up tight, put it in my backpack and cover it with other objects to keep it dry. I take it out only once I’m on the bus and go on to drown in my fantasy world of endless live shows.

Speaking of live shows, some of those aren’t so far fetched. Eluveitie, Arafel, Funset, Habanot Nechama, Aviv Geffen, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Rob Zombie, HaShlooliyot, and others have all been realities. Arch Enemy and King Diamond have also been realities and will be once more in August at Wacken. Amon Amarth will eventually become a reality also at Wacken. Amon Amarth is so cool. I’m still psyched over the hoodie I got. It’s currently my favorite item of clothing, and it also helps to keep me warm. Wrapped in the arms of wholesome, heart-warming viking metal, both in fabric and auditory form.

Ah, that’s the life!

Peace, love and swing that hammer Thor!