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!!!!!!!!

I Like to Move It

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At long last, Elad and I finally moved into our new place. It was supposed to happen in January (if you remember this post), but kept getting postponed for reasons beyond our control (if you remember the last paragraph of this post).

We spent all of Friday and Saturday settling in. So now, instead of having a single bedroom, a tiny living room, a tiny dining room, a minuscule and claustrophobic computer room, a small bathroom with a stand-up shower and a laundry corner, we now have one big bedroom, one guestroom which doubles as a work room for me and my zines, a rather large computer room (which fits all of mine and Elad’s guitars, all our amps, a double-tower of CDs, the computer and all its equipment, including a sound system and an effects box), an enormous living room with a nearby dining room, the cutest most adorable kitchen you’ll ever see, and a nice little laundry space. Plus our bathroom, though still pretty small, has an actual bathtub! Showering is so much more fun and I no longer hit my elbows and knees on walls and shower doors when I shower. All that, with the added bonus of a boidem. We have a STORAGE SPACE dudes! So necessary for hoarders like ourselves.

All we need now is a bigass closet (which we already ordered and are supposed to have it delivered on Wednesday), a decent desk for my work room and matching chair, and a bigass bookshelf for all of my Stephen King books (all 50+ of them!) and all my feminist literature and other random fiction. Then we can put the finishing touches (i.e. our posters, art and photos) and we’ll be as snug as a bug.

My favorite things about our new place:

  1. We have had a record player forever but never used it because we didn’t exactly have much space for it and also didn’t really know how to plug it. But in our new place, we put the record player in our ginormous living room and Elad, being the tech wiz that he is, plugged it into his elaborate sound system, and we listened to old records during all of Friday while organizing the house.
  2. Our kitchen has just doubled in size. We got much more work space available, a bunch of spacious cupboards, and a window. WE HAVE A FUCKING WINDOW IN OUR KITCHEN! We NEVER had that in our other one! I love the hell out of it.
  3. Our bathtub is the shiznit. Bathtubs kick ass and after moving all the stuff and sweating my ass off and getting dust all over me, I took the best shower ever.
  4. My work room features the Riot Grrrl bookshelf I found a while back and I spent all of yesterday and this morning setting it up with all of my zines, all of other people’s traded zines, all of my High School agendas, notebooks and diaries, and all of my folders with bills and statements and other boring stuff.
  5. Our windows are much bigger, or at least seem so because the house is so well-lit, so much better lit than our previous place. We also have light switches and lamps all over the place so even at night, we bathe in bright lights.

The actual move may have been a hassle (and wasn’t without its mishaps, to put it mildly) but the best thing about it was finding things that we thought were lost forever and actually managing to put our hoarding aside for a while to get rid of shit that we really don’t need. Like, I own not one but two broken laptops. I kept them for years for God knows what reason. On Friday I told Elad “Fuck it. Just toss them.” It feels so good to get rid of shit!! Oh my God!

Our dog, Diamond, is a little disoriented. On the day of the move, she kept trying to go out the door and go to the old apartment (which happens to be right across the hall from us).

“This is home now, Diamond,” I tried to explain. “Here is your bed and your food bowl.”

And yes, this is our home now. We’ll have a housewarming party, invite friends, install mezuzot, blast our record player, and look forward to much happiness in our beautiful new crib.

Peace, love and home supersweet home.

Verdammt!

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You already know what I’m gonna say, right? I wanna make so many zines that there will not be any space for more paper cuts on my hands. I wanna produce lots of collages that my tiny apartment cannot contain. I wanna play guitar until the tips of my fingers get all bloody and peel-y.

Alas, this inspiration will most likely fade away the minute I get home. I seriously need to finally admit to myself that I am not a night person and that I produce my best work in the morning hours before going to work. So maybe next week, I’ll start my day bright and early to get some shit done. Damn you, pillow!

Also, I recently started reorganizing all the music on my iPod (damn you, iTunes!). I came across songs that are titled wrong, artists that are named “Best of Jimi Hendrix” (instead of Jimi Hendrix) and “Ronzi Wykonawcy” (who the fuck??), and albums that are titled “[14]the_ramones_now_i_wanna_sniff_some_glue_live_1986_(remastered)_FLAC_mp3” and so on until my player explodes.

Also, a player that fails to include songs like “Judas Rising” (Judas Priest), “Holy Diver” (Dio) and “Guilt Within Your Head” (The Gits) does not deserve to exist. So organizing all this shit for all eternity, it is!

Aside from that, thanks to the Zine Santa event and to all my wonderful regular zine traders, I am now the proud owner of 41664654617667 zines. I am not complaining, really, I love reading zines almost as much as I love making them. What I AM complaining about is the lack of space in my apartment to store my collection. I was supposed to move to a bigger place at the end of January, but the move got postponed to the end of February. So here I am, trying to make do with the 40 meters I call home, and trying to remember if this apartment ever had an actual floor. Seriously, the other day I fell flat on my face trying to work my way around the amps, heaters, guitar cables and wires sprawled all over the floor in our living room. With a floor that would best be described as storage space, my house became a fucking minefield.

DAMN YOU, POSTPONED MOVE DATE!

Peace, love and Wollt ihr das Haus in Flammen sehen? Jaaa!

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!

King of Metal

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Mercyful Fate and King Diamond are my second favorite metal band of all time. However, there are a couple of records I didn’t really get into at the beginning. No particular reason. I just had my MF/KD songs and I was happy enough with them. But now that it’s Fun-a-Day, I think it’s time. And I’m so glad I did!!

KDDay 24:
King Diamond – Fatal Portrait (5/5)
As I was listening to the songs, one better than the previous and only getting better, I was like “Really? It took me this long to listen to this pure gold?” My husband says that Fatal Portrait features the best bassist that King Diamond ever had, but I would say that all the musicians are as best as they come. The shredding riffs and solos that are undeniable in practically all of MF/KD’s tunes are just as dominant and mind-blowing in this album as they are in the others. The King’s vocals are nothing short of musical genius. He does the work of five different vocalists, if not more, including varying tones and background vocals, growls, clean, shrieks, all at once. He’s the only vocalist who can pull his trademark BeeGees-like falsetto and still sound completely badass. And the MUSIC, oh my goddess! I was laughing with delirium really trying to figure out what took me so long. Is there anyone more deserving of this title than King Diamond?

MFDay 25:
Mercyful Fate – 9 (5/5)
I find the main difference between King Diamond and Mercyful Fate is that KD is somewhat more “gothic” and dark, whereas MF is heavier and more intense. This album is no different from the MF I am used to. If anything I found it even heavier and so perfectly evil. The song “Insane” is so fast and angry, it didn’t even sound like MF anymore. I loved the holy hell out of it. The songs are catchy and the music is phenomenal as always. Just like King Diamond, Mercyful Fate can never disappoint. There aren’t many metal bands that can claim to stay true to their sound and style as Mercyful Fate has. On 9, every intro made me lick my lips with anticipation because I knew that what would come next would be pure musical deliciousness, and I was not disappointed. Not by a long shot. King Diamond’s vocals are incredible, and it never fails to amaze me how he manages to shift between intonations and pitches so swiftly and perfectly. Just like there is no one more deserving of this title than King Diamond, no one is more deserving of a perfect score than Mercyful Fate.

Peace, love and ugh, screw the rest of Fun-a-Day’s albums, I’ll just keep listening to Mercyful Fate