Metalheads Recommend

0

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!

Advertisements

Your Roots Are Showing

0

I just saw a post about why a white person having a mohawk is offensive to First Nations. One of the reasons was that appropriating a traditional Iroquois haircut is another form of theft committed by white nations and can be considered racist. I think that’s a pretty reasonable argument.

But then I thought about white people sporting dreadlocks which is a traditional Rastafarian hairdo. Is that also a form of culture theft or racism? And what about white people sporting Afros, originally an African do? Some Jews have them too. We call them Jewfros. Are we racist? And what about white people braiding their hair in all the funky ways that African-Americans do? Is that also culture theft? And what about white people who clean shave their heads? Are they guilty of stealing the traditional Tibetan monk haircut? And what if one day, wearing sidelocks became the next haircut fad? Should I feel offended that white people have appropriated the haircut of my fellow religious Jewish people? Should I accuse them all of antisemitism?

What if the situation was reversed? What about African women who get a perm? Can they be blamed for stealing the traditional do of white people, straight hair?

And what about clothes? Can white people be guilty of culture theft if they wear a poncho? Or a kaftan? Or a kimono? Also, what about food? Are all my friends really anti-Japan because they all happen to love Sushi?

What about other cultural stuff? Musical styles, musical instruments, languages and dialects, body art and body modifications? Am I racist because I have tattoos, which originated among African tribes? Really?

Where do we draw the line for culture theft? Where do we draw the line for racism?

Peace, love and roots are made to be broken

Racism & Me

0

Israel is advanced in many ways. Scientifically and technologically, it’s probably one of the most developed countries in the world. On the other hand, I feel Israeli society is rather backward in many ways. I think it’s mostly the religious community that keeps Israeli society from complete liberation. Although it’s the only democratic country in the midst of the chaoticoracy currently controlling the Middle East, same-sex couples are not recognized, there are no same-sex marriages, the equal rights that people of all religions and nationalities are entitled to remain theoretical, women issues are discarded and their rights are suppressed from every angle.

Recently, there are also reports of severe racism sprouting up like springtime ragweed. Aside from the African refugees infiltrating the country from Egypt and Jordan, the Ethiopian community is also feeling the heat.

When I was little, living in Beit Shean, I learned about tolerance and respect for minorities. Being a Jew in Montreal later on, I was also considered a minority, even a visible one, because people could always tell I was from somewhere in the Mediterranean region – Israeli, Jordanian, Lebanese, even Spanish. So I never considered myself racist.

But a few years ago, I discovered that while speaking Hebrew, I’ve been referring to black people as niggers, all this time. Ever since I was little, black people were always referred to as “kooshim.” Nobody told me that was derogatory. Our family never calls a chocolate cake by the main ingredient. Ever since I was little, it was called “uga kooshit” – nigger cake.

Even today, out on the streets, and even on TV, it’s completely PC to call a black person a nigger in Hebrew. That’s how we were brought up. And supposedly, it doesn’t make us racist.

But I feel it still makes us ignorant. I was ignorant before I found out that “kooshi” means nigger. But now that I did, I want to change that. I wouldn’t want people calling me a “kike” just because that’s how they were brought up. Being brought up one way or another does not justify prejudice and bigotry. And if an adult, who has reached a level of intelligence and freedom of expression, still uses the pejorative vocabulary they learned early in life, that makes this person a racist. Plain and simple.

At times, I still find myself using the word “kooshi” in Hebrew. Even more disturbing is when I catch myself asking my mom to make a nigger cake.

Just as I have enough self-discipline to say “black person” or “Ethiopian” or “African-American” in English, I should do the same in Hebrew. The first step is to acknowledge that I have been a racist all this time – ignorant or not is irrelevant. Whether or not my family continues to use derogatory words should not affect my efforts to break this ignorant vocabulary.

Deep down, I know I am not racist and I want my vocabulary to reflect that.

Peace, love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.