Metalhorns With Baby Fingers

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Juggling being an active zinester artist with being a mother is tricky. But juggling being an active metalhead with being a mother is damn near impossible.

Whereas I can easily use my free mornings for zine-production every once in a while, the metalhead life is mostly a nightly deal. But my nights are packed to the rim with maternal duties.

Joy to the Jerusalemite Metalheads, Blaze Bar has reopened and is once again reinstating the occasional Sunday Metal Nights. But just like before, the problem for me is finding a suitable arrangement for my daughter. She doesn’t like strangers, so I can’t get a random babysitter to drop by and look after her. And also, she doesn’t fall asleep in a place or a room that isn’t her own, so I can’t drop her off at my mother-in-law while I go off to my headbanging life.

I can’t believe I’m actually considering taking her with me to the metal bar, but I’m fucking desperate. I miss my metal nights and I miss the guys. And I would really like to introduce her to the metal scene a bit more. She seems to like heavy music. Nirvana is her favorite, and she took to Arch Enemy almost immediately (she calls them Angela, of course she does, since the Arch Enemy of Angela is the real Arch Enemy).

But then, there is a slew of other issues to consider. For one, and the most problematic one, is the cigarette smoke that is prevalent in the whole place. Toxic, dangerous, smelly as fuck, and doesn’t ever leave your hair, your clothes, your skin… You go to bed smelling worse than your own child’s diaper after a bean-soup dinner. So exposing my daughter to that is just really bad parenting.

Then, there is the loud music. At home, she listens to Nirvana and Arch Enemy at a normal volume and happily headbangs to it. But at the bar, she would most likely need headphones, and even if I do manage to find a pair made for babies, could I be completely sure that she would even agree to wear them at all times? Hell fucking no. I’d be lucky if she agrees to keep a hat on her head. Which brings me to the next problem.

It’s October. Jerusalem nights have become cold. Very very cold. Even if I were to bundle my kid up in a heavy winter coat and a tuque and a scarf, I would still be worried about her catching a cold. This is the time of year when viruses become ravenous, and the young make easy prey. Exposing her to this fucking freezing air is bad parenting yet again.

Finally, Metal Night starts around 9:00 p.m. and gets really good around 10:00. My kid’s bedtime is 8:30 p.m. After that, she becomes cranky and miserable. If she goes to sleep too late, she has trouble waking up the next day, so we have to wake her up which means she will be cranky and miserable for the rest of the day. It’s her routine, and anyone disturbing it will ultimately know her unabated wrath.

But I miss my metal night. I miss my nightlife. And I miss Blaze, for fuck’s sake.

Peace, love and my neck needs a break, literally.

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Blaze of Gory

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When I moved to Jerusalem about 11 years ago, I went out of my way to find the metal community (among other things like the feminist community, the riot grrrl community, and the everlastingly non-existant zine community).

I found small-scale metal shows and metal nights in bars like Uganda, Scream, and Yellow Submarine, and went to them often in an attempt to find the extreme metal underground community – the people who you could always count on to make an appearance at such events.

It wasn’t until I met my husband, seven years ago, that I discovered the elusive nucleus of the Jerusalem metal community. The bar we frequented on a regular basis was Blaze – a rock bar in a narrow alleyway off a sidestreet crossing Shamai, a street in downtown Jerusalem. I would have never found it if it weren’t for my husband. It was that remote.

Before I conceived my daughter, we became regulars at the bar, as part of the nucleus. Over the past seven years, we went to countless metal nights and metal shows, continuing the ritual that was Sunday Metal Night, delightfully headbanging to tunes ranging from the relatively clean tones of old school metal to the brutality of gore metal.

The metalheads who were a permanent fixture in said bar automatically became our mutual friends. They threw a surprise engagement party for us after we got engaged, and we set up a special extra big table for them at our wedding. We even invited them over to our place on Independence Day a couple of years ago, for a BBQ and of course, lots of face-melting metal tunes. We drove in groups to metal shows in Tel Aviv whenever a popular international metal band came to perform, displaying a powerful presence of the Jerusalem metalheads.

Our place of worship was Blaze. Our Congregation of Desecration.

And now, woe onto us metalheads, this bar is two weeks away from its closing day. Blaze Bar closes on October 1. That’s right. My goddamn birthday. The only decent metal bar in Jerusalem closing its doors is a wonderful birthday gift for a Jerusalem metal girl, is it not?

Last night, the final Sunday Metal Night took place. Despite having a hard time finding a babysitter on every metal night since my daughter was born, I was sure I’d have no problem for it this time because as part of the nucleus, parent or no-parent, attendance was mandatory for last night. At least it was for me. I didn’t want to let the final call for metal go to waste.

Alas, my mother-in-law was indisposed. Even after we managed to convince her to watch our daughter after the baby falls asleep, of course she didn’t fall asleep (she never does when she is in a place that is not her room). Plus, our dog had resumed her regular bouts of seizures, which just served to stress us out even more.

I was forced to remove my metal gear and tend to my maternal duties. I told my husband he should go without me and apologize to our friends for my being a flake. He did, and the rest of the evening went by uneventfully. Back in her own crib, in her own bedroom, my daughter promptly fell asleep. I watched a couple of episodes of Wentworth season 6, and crashed.

The end to a depressing fucking night.

Followed by another seizure c/o my dog at 3 a.m.

Fuck this shit. I’m going back to Stephen King. Still the best way for me to forget about shit that depresses me.

Peace, love and Insomnia

Face-Melting Zine

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Metal flyer8

Other than filling pages and pages with endless piles of words, laying out a zine used to be one of my favorite pastimes before I became a mother. This is the most creative part of zine-production, requires little to no concentration, and can be done with loud-ass music playing.

I also used to travel a lot back then (it’s actually one of the things that I’m glad I’m not doing as much anymore because, I mean, airports. Am I right?). And whatever country I went to, I always made sure to visit places to satisfy my inner freak – metal fests, metal concerts, alternative clothing stores, metal bars, piercings/tattoos shops… These places always had the neatest flyers lying around. I collected a whole bunch and used them as backgrounds for any zine I made.

International Zine Month 2018 zine is soon to be laid out and I am in dire need of said flyers. But now that I am not traveling, and such freak locations and events are hard to find, I need to resort to the wonderful world wide web and search “metal flyers” or “punk rock flyers” to be used as backgrounds for my current zine.

I came across the most twisted and vile creations ever.

AND I FUCKING LOVE IT!

The logos and names of the bands written in font that nobody can read surrounded by skulls and skeletons, piles of decapitated corpses, zombies buried up to their hips in rivers of rotting flesh, blood gushing everywhere, not to mention the Goat of Mendes making its obligatory cameo appearance – this is the stuff that my perfect zine backgrounds are made of.

One of them also had “Death Metal till Death” written on it and I pulled my evil laugh with glee.

When I just started listening to metal, this was one of the aspects of the music that appealed to me and that really pulled me in – the gore, the insane amounts of grotesque imagery infesting the lyrics and the artwork of any respective metal band. Why did it appeal to me? Fuck if I know, and damned if I care.

We’re metalheads. We love our music loud and violent. And Satan help you if it’s not swarming with maggots.

I believe zines deserve to be just as wholesomely bloody.

Peace, love and visions of gore and death

 

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!!!!!!!!

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.