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!

 

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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!

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!!!!!!!!

Metalheads Recommend

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While I was making my list of Fun-a-Day records, I ran into a block after Day 25 and couldn’t come up with any other bands I wanted to check out, so I posted a request to my metalhead friends on Facebook to recommend bands to me based on my musical preferences (I should have probably waited a little bit with that request because now I have albums and bands to check out running all the way through to February!). Here are the results.

SMBDay 26:
Screaming Mechanical Brain – Policy of Unilateral Hate (0/5)
I’m not even kidding with that score. When the first song came on, I was like “OK, clearly Nu Metal, sounds a bit like Iwrestledabearonce.” I was even willing to give them a chance because their vocalist has potential when he stops screaming and actually starts growling a bit. But at some point through their ridiculous electronic sound effects, they broke into the absolute most horrible clean vocals I have EVER heard. One would expect that in Nu Metal, but if your clean vocals sound more like boy band vocals than Backstreet Boys, then you know you suck the hairy one. I usually try to listen to a full record before rating it, but since I was in the middle of lunch while listening to this regurgitated steaming pile of batshit, and since every time the clean vocals kicked in, I quite literally felt my undigested lunch going through my throat the wrong way, I didn’t get past half of the second song. I feel bad for the garbage juice that has to share a trash can with this CD.

A note about clean vocals in metal: Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, other old school metal bands – clean vocals are their trademark. So that’s ok. King Diamond and Mercyful Fate – also their trademark. Some gothic black metal bands and folk metal – perfectly acceptable. HOWEVER! If your clean vocals sound like fucking Justin Bieber, you keep it out of your music, or you deserve to die!

einDay 27:
Einherjer – Odin Owns Ye All (2.5/5)
This band is clearly Viking Metal, but the only thing it has in common with Amon Amarth is the lyrics. The rest of the style is completely different. The vocals are clean (but still don’t sound like whiny boy bands, that’s a plus right there); the keyboards are very dominant; aside from the guitar and drums, there are a bunch of other instruments I can’t quite put my finger on that make the style lean more towards folk metal. They’re good. They sound like the kind of band that would open for bands like Tyr and Korpiklaani. But do I personally like it? I don’t know. They don’t have a sound that really sweeps me off my feet. They don’t have any special elements that make me say “Holy shit!” They’re far from boring, but they’re not the kind of band that I would keep listening to. Also, they sound a bit too power for my taste.

DypsDay 28:
Dypsomaniaxe – One Too Many (2.5/5)
This is not a metal band. It’s a punk band of the rocka/psychobilly variety. I am a huge fan of HorrorPops, so when the first song started, I thought I might actually like this because they sound somewhat similar. But it turns out that Dypsomaniaxe do not have the same crazy punkrock energy that HorrorPops have and all their songs sound alike. In fact, the entire record sounded like one big song with some breaks in the middle. They’re not a terrible band – they have a pretty good female vocalist, the lyrical content is nice and feminist at times – but their style and level of energy (or lack thereof) just didn’t speak to me.

WinterDay 29:
Winter of Sin – Violence Reigns Supreme (4/5)
Ah! Finally a great recommendation! I think what gave it away is that I had a bitch of a time finding a download link for this record and had to resort to streaming it from Bandcamp. Once again, if you are hard pressed to find a given band, chances are they kick ass. And Winter of Sin is no different. I love the melodic black metal style they adopted, and their vocalist is amazing. Just growls and black metal roars, no clean vocals. With all the raw and violent shredding riffs, beautiful catchy melodies wonderfully incorporated within the choruses and in between verses, unforgiving and unrelenting blast-beats, this band reminds me a bit of Astarte and Arafel. There were times where I found touches of Insomnium, which I didn’t really like, but there were very few, and the rest just blew my face clean off my skull. An absolute delight to the ears!

beDay 30:
Be’lakor – Stone’s Reach (1/5)
This band would have been excellent if the songs hadn’t been longer than the exile. The songs on this record last between just under six minutes and 10! The vocalist is incredible. The riffs and melodies are quite decent. But the length of every song is ridiculous. While listening to a song, I found myself checking back after a few minutes and thinking “Is this really the same song that started like seven minutes ago? Damn!” Actually, the shortest track is 2:48 minutes but it’s a boring and tedious instrumental piece – nothing more than an acoustic guitar. I decided to keep the shortest song and get rid of all the rest that my attention span is simply not willing to hear out.

PanteraDay 31:
Pantera – Cowboys from Hell (2/5)
This was a difficult score to deliver because the album itself is amazing. The songs, the riffs, the composition and arrangements, the tones that the vocalist reaches – this record is phenomenal on so many levels. The problem is that just the previous day, I saw a video recording of Phil Anselmo, former lead vocalist of Pantera (and on this record) giving a Nazi salute and yelling “White power” at the crowd. Also, as it turns out, this wasn’t the first time that Anselmo says and does something so disgustingly racist. After I saw that video, my husband (who suggested I add Pantera to my Fun-a-Day list) asked me if this will make me remove them from my list. I said no, but that it will most likely affect the way I feel about them. And it has. I mean, it wasn’t just a random wave to the crowd that was misinterpreted as the Ziegheil. It was straight-up Hitler. The way he looked, the expression on his face, the stomp of his foot coupled with the arm flying up in the air… it was a stab to the heart. As a Jew, I can’t help but let it affect me. On the other hand, I have a soft spot for the title track of this record since this was the song that opened the metal segment of our wedding. This was the track that cleared the dance floor for all our metalhead friends, and everyone went wild. So I’ll probably keep a few of the tracks on my iPod since Dimebag is still the shiznit. I just hope that my mental image of Anselmo’s version of American History X will slowly fade away over time.

Peace, love and even if Fun-a-Day is officially over, I got more albums coming up in February!

The Grrrl with the Most Cake

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EDSC03428very once in a while I get these bouts of inspiration to try out a new recipe. I know that I’m pretty good at cooking, but baking is something I’ve never mastered. My mom says it takes practice. But for me it also takes patience, inspiration, time, lack of sleepiness, lack of laziness and sheer boredom. It also takes ingredients that I most likely don’t have and will probably never use again after trying to make the baked good in question (and failing miserably, succeeding only in making a terrific mess in the kitchen).

I like having a cake or cookies in the house. This is what I usually have for breakfast. So I either get the leftovers from the cake my mom made for Shabbat, or just buy one from the grocery store. But I’m inspired to bake! So here’s an idea. I will not buy any cake, and instead practice my half-baked skills on every other Friday. On the other Fridays, I go to Be’er Sheva and get leftover cake from my mom. There is no turning that down. No way. Seriously, my mom can bake a brick and it’ll taste amazing.

We usually go grocery shopping on Fridays, so I can get all the ingredients in the morning (or leave a list for my husband, so that I can sleep in). Then I’ll make the cake/muffins/cookies/rolls/whatever. And then do Tai Chi while it’s baking.

The inspiration of this past month came from two trials of blueberry muffins – the first batch came out blue because I made the stupid mistake of stirring the frozen blueberries into the batter. For the second trial, I used a different recipe and instead of mixing in the berries, I just dropped them into the pre-filled cups. This batch was much better and proved to me that practice is really what it takes.

Today (it’s Friday) I got a recipe for chocolate chocolate-chip muffins to try out. I figured I love chocolate! How can I possibly mess this up, right?

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You’re danm right, bitch! I fucking rule!! My mom’s tips do really help, but if you want my tip, the secret to making the best and badassest muffins in the world is listening to death metal while making the batter and headbanging while it’s baking! Fueling a metal spirit in the house gives that extra special magical touch to the muffins. There’s nothing quite like it.

Peace, love and two muffins are sitting in an over. One muffin says “Boy, it’s hot in here!” The other muffin says “Whoa! A talking muffin!”