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!

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Riot Blah

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If you haven’t already figured it out, judging by the name of this blog, I am a huge riot grrrl fan, and I also identify as one. So it was clear that I couldn’t have a Fun-a-Day month of album-listening without some riot grrrl in it. I picked Bratmobile and Le Tigre because they’re bands that I already know and love but haven’t listened to all their albums. And I picked Julie Ruin because Kathleen Hanna is awesome. Unfortunately, the albums I picked didn’t reflect said awesomeness, to put it mildly. It was a terrific blow to my riot grrrl persona and I’ve never felt more disappointed in my choice of music.

Bratmobile-PottymouthDay 16:
Bratmobile – Pottymouth (3.5/5)
Back when I discovered riot grrrl, Bratmobile featured among my top bands along with Bikini Kill and L7. But back then, I just found a few of their songs on Limewire because HMV wasn’t selling any of their records. I listened to Pottymouth last Saturday expecting to hop around my living room to their fast beats, rough distortion and profane lyrics. But I didn’t. I mean, some of their songs sound like the same good old Bratmobile I know and love. But some of them just sound like grade-school playground teasing songs, with a profane twist. I’m pretty sure that this was exactly what Bratmobile was aiming for, judging by their name. But I think they could have done much better. A little more power, a little more spirit, and much more riot grrrl.

This_IslandDay 17:
Le Tigre – This Island (3.5/5)
I have Le Tigre’s self-titled album and I can honestly say that it is a completely different league than This Island. Le Tigre’s lyrics, vocals, distorted guitar and electro-pop sound effects are all so much better on their self-titled. Despite that, Kathleen Hanna’s vocals are as powerful as ever. But somehow, this record just didn’t do it for me. It needs to be said that TKO is an incredible song. I felt shivers up and down my spine when the verse flows into the chorus with a crescendo that multiplies by the guitars and the doubled vocals. If the entire record had been like that song, it would have been perfect. But with boring monotonous songs like “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo” and the title song, This Island is just bland.

Julie_Ruin_-_Julie_RuinDay 18:
Julie Ruin – Self-titled (2/5)
If Le Tigre and Bratmobile didn’t disappoint me enough, along comes Julie Ruin to finish the job. They sound just like Le Tigre, with less energy if that were even possible. I still love Kathleen Hanna’s vocals and a very few select songs are passable, but the music sucks. There is really no other way to say it. It sucks. There is no depth, no dimensions, no overwhelming sense of oh-my-god-I-can-feel-my-heart-swell. Where is the former brutality and rawness that is Bikini Kill? Julie fucking ruined it. I’m so disappointed and upset, I can’t get over it. Bikini Kill of the early 90’s is simply the best thing ever. No other riot grrrl projects can ever compare or even come close. Screw post-riot grrrl. So not for me.

What a stupid post to add on a riot grrrl fan site, seriously.

Fuck it, tomorrow I’m resuming my metal playlist with yet another CD of Kataklysm and then Astarte. Then some other metal bands I haven’t heard of before. I hope I will find some that will blow my face off like Winds of Plague did.

Peace, love and I miss growls.

Sleat My sKinney Throat

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SK_coversDay 7:
Sleater-Kinney – Self-Titled (5/5)

Back when I was just getting into riot grrrl, I was streaming songs off of the bands’ respective MySpace pages. MySpace was really the best resource to find bands that nobody knows.

Anyway, I heard and read a lot of great reviews about Sleater-Kinney. So I listened to one of their songs. But back then, for some reason, I found they weren’t aggressive enough for my tastes. I was looking for bands that sound exactly like or more aggressive and loud than Bikini Kill.

But maybe the Sleater-Kinney song I heard back then was one of their less extreme ones because when I listened to their first full album this weekend, I was BLOWN AWAY!

After the first couple of songs, I told my husband, “It’s cool. They’re totally riot grrrl, but not as extreme.” But soon thereafter came the shrieks and screams that is so common in the genre. With such throat-shredding screams, it’s no wonder that Sleater-Kinney wasted no time in rocketing to the top of my personal riot grrrl charts.

I can’t wait to listen to their later albums. I really hope they’re just as good because seriously, holy damn, I can’t believe I went through all these years without them!

Peace, love and Century Media bands coming soon!

 

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…

Band-Aid for My Bleeding Ears

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While I was walking around in Rome on a particularly rainy day, I kept thinking I should probably take my mp3 player out of the little pocket of my backpack and bury it somewhere deep inside backpack-proper to keep it from getting wet. But being lazy and thinking “meh, it’ll be fine,” I left it where it was and sure enough, it got soaked and broke.

Again.

The first time happened here. And then it happened again here.

So since I already got used to having my mp3 player break and replacing it every Monday and Thursday, I was surprisingly nonchalant this time around. However, I was on the train with my boyfriend on my way back to Be’er Sheva from the airport when I craved music again. I tried the broken mp3 player again, but it was still dead.

At first, I thought I could handle it. But then, some guy on the train found it appropriate to blast Middle Eastern music, and some kid wouldn’t stop screaming bloody murder. My poor ears were being ripped to shreds, and I started mourning Kathy, when finally my boyfriend took one look at my horrified expression, and lent me his player for a while.

“Here,” he said. “You need this more than me.”

I turned the player to Arafel, and when the riffs exploded through the earphones, I breathed a loud, heavy sigh of relief and sloped down on my seat.

At least that’s one good thing to come out from my boyfriend’s Smartphone, I thought about the useless digital maps on the device that led us nowhere back in Italy, and shuddered.

Once we were back in Jerusalem, my boyfriend gave me the iPod he no longer uses since he got that chip for his Smartphone with like a zigabite worth of space or something.

I spent a good amount of time deleting a bunch of bands I don’t really care for (mainly Tool, Dream Theater, Slipknot and a few others) and added a bunch that my boyfriend doesn’t really care for but that I do (stuff like Michael Jackson, Funset, Lunachicks, etc.). All those mixed in with the bands we both enjoy (Arch Enemy, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Deicide, Arafel, Nirvana, Amon Amarth, Death, Carcass and loads of others) makes for one mean Badass-friendly playlist.

I never thought the day would come, but here I am now, an owner of an iPod.

Me. With an iPod.

Me. Who loves typewriters, audio cassettes, and VCRs. And who hates modern technology as much as I hate Middle Eastern music.

Now became Me. Who owns an iPod.

I must admit though, I love it! The playlist is great, and sometimes surprising because it includes more songs than I’ve had before. So sometimes I fall on a song of Rammstein I’ve never heard before and realize that it’s totally awesome. Same goes for Disturbed, Amon Amarth and Slash. With a little over 1000 songs in my new player, I brace myself for a nice little auditory rollercoaster every time I plug in my earphones.

Peace, love and Music is definitely still the Pulse.

IZM – Day 26: Zine Event

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This activity was set for Day 27, while on Day 26 I was supposed to contribute something to a compilation zine. But since the second-hand sale party at Hataklit was set for July 26, I decided to table with my zines on Day 26, and leave the contribution for today, July 27.

DSC02459So! The event wasn’t exactly a zine event as there really aren’t any such events in Jerusalem. And if there were any, I’ve never heard of them. I did try to get in touch with some people before IZM started to see if organizing such an event might be possible, but it didn’t work out. So I’m happy that I managed to participate at this second-hand sale yesterday.

At first, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t really worry that no one was not going to buy anything. I was mostly worried that I would be completely ignored by the other people tabling there. But I wasn’t. They were nice and welcoming. Smiles were exchanged and I was relieved.

My boyfriend drove me there with all my stuff, and stayed there the entire time, met with his friends, who also came by and said hi, and attended a live punk show that took place right next door.

I set up my table as best as I could, and realized that I brought much more stuff than I could fit on it, but it still worked out nicely.

DSC02462I kept all the Crafts for a Cause items off to the left side of the table. All the rest of the items, mainly my PMS Zine and Fallopian Falafel, as well as a few Mistress Distress CDs, were all set more to the right. The only problem was that the event was a street sale and I had quite a bit of papers and flyers, so I had to find ways of keeping everything from flying off the table. I managed it alright as well. I set up a few flyers on the table but kept them bound in a rubber band to keep them from taking off.

A few people walked by, but before there were too many, I checked out the other tables. I bought a pair of really cool skull tights from one, and a really neat checkered shirt from another. I also bought a mango-vanilla cupcake from my friend who made them for the event.

Surprisingly, some people were really interested in my stuff, some even bought a couple of CDs and zines. There was this one girl who even traded her own zine for one of mine. This one guy was very interested in the Crafts for a Cause initiative. He didn’t want to buy any of the items, and instead donated 10 NIS to the cause, so I put a plastic cup with a Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center sticker in the middle of the table in case more people wished for that option.

There was also this one Australian woman who was so cool. She bought a zine from Crafts for a Cause, and bought a Mistress Distress CD. I gave her a free copy of Fallopian Falafel, and she bought me a drink from the bar!

DSC02464

My friend, Alison, also came for a visit and kept me company for a while. She remarked on how most of the time, wherever she goes around in Jerusalem, people stare at her because of her tattoos, but this time, everybody around the area of Hataklit were sporting tattoos and piercings and funky hair, and it was a refreshing change of scene.

There were, of course, those occasional assholes who said that feminism is no longer necessary, or those who just laughed uncomfortably when I said the dreaded f-word, and explained that all the items I’m selling are of that nature. But there weren’t enough of those people to make me unhappy. I actually enjoyed the sale a lot more than I expected. I met some nice people, including a girl from Tel Aviv who organizes a zine festival every six months or so. When she saw my zines, she looked at me with a confused expression and said “How come I never heard of you before?”

The event ended at 18:00. The punk show next door ended as well, and instead they started spinning some really annoying music. I’m not sure what it was exactly but my boyfriend said it’s probably “noise.” I packed up my stuff and we headed home, exhausted but very happy.

Peace, love and I ought to get started on my split zine! Hurray!

DIY Month – Day 20: Quickie Zine

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I spent this weekend at my parents’ house in Be’er Sheva again so I didn’t get a chance to post about any of the activities I did. So again, I’ll be writing three consecutive posts today.

On Thursday, I was planning on going to a punk show at the Thrash Hole. My boyfriend and I often go to metal shows, so a punk night seemed like a good change of scene. So the quickie zine I made really had to be a quick one. I finally wrote issue 2 of End of Words.

It’s 12 pages filled with complete and absolute nonsense. My boyfriend tried to read it and his brain nearly split into two trying to make sense of it. But that’s the point of the End of Words. The power of nonsense splitting your brain.

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of it. So that will be all for now. But soon, I’ll post it in the “zines” tab, under the End of Words.

A word about the punk night

There were three bands on the bill. We made it a little late and missed the first one who sounded like a pretty decent girl band, called Marmara Streisand. We got there just as they were playing the last song. They were cool, they had some violin incorporated in their punk tunes, and girl vocals always shred.

Then came a guy punk band and I had to get the fuck out of there because the moshing got really violent. The band is called something along the lines of “The Department of Choking Police Officers.” The music was good, though I had to enjoy it from the outside.

And after that, the night ended with a band that I think has no name. It was made up of girls again, and though I enjoyed the parts where there was some actual music, most of the show consisted of even more nonsense than I had written in my zine earlier that evening. All four girls were pissed drunk, forgot most of the melody and the lyrics to the songs, so  that none of the songs had any clear beginning nor end. And although careless unprofessionalism is what usually characterizes many of the really good punk shows, this was just stupid. At least, if you’re gonna be unprofessional, play some unprofessional music, don’t just stand around bragging about stuff that nobody understands.

Whatever.

Another thing is that many of the punk bands that come to Jerusalem come from Tel Aviv, and as a result, the scene is saturated with way too much extreme leftist propaganda and anti-Zionism than is healthy for me. But I think that being in the punk scene in Jerusalem is good every once in a while. I still enjoy the music to a certain extent.

Peace, love and nonsense.

Update (December 24, 2012)

You can now view the photos of the quickie zine I made. See issue 2 in End of Words.

Cover Page