One thing we try to emphasize here at Heavy Blog on a regular basis is just how much we rely on and appreciate you, our readers, for our continued existence and whatever modicums of success we achieve. This isn’t just us trying to artificially flatter you all for cynical purposes. It comes from a truly genuine place. Though all of us here have our very distinct perspectives and viewpoints that guide the general direction and tone of the website, we are always keeping an ear to the ground and eyes on what’s going on around us to make sure we’re doing the best we can to keep giving you all reasons to stick around with us. And in a time when the fates of news and media sites large and small continue to be as precarious as they’ve ever been, it’s incredibly important that we continue to adapt to the new realities of media consumption. While it’s true that we don’t have the same financial pressures of many of our peers by virtue of the fact that we remain a completely independent, volunteer-run, not-for-profit institution, it also means that the margin separating us from continuing to exist and even grow what we’re doing and being unable to operate without losing a lot of money is incredibly thin.
Disclaimer: if, for some reason, you don’t want to read more ramblings from Eden on writing, the blog and life in general, here’s the tl;dr – we’ve got blog shirts! They were designed by the incomparable Caroline Harrison, printed and sold by the amazing A Thousand Arms, they’re a great way to support us and you can buy them right freaking here!
It’s important to have this context of metal as inherently transgressive so that we can talk about the current issue with “True Norwegian” black metal band Taake. Metal is no stranger as a genre to controversies involving Nazism and white supremacy, but as our society moves towards a place where people feel more comfortable voicing their objections to bigotry and hateful ideologies, the reactions are starting to become a little different. With the resurfacing of a performance in 2007 where Taake used a swastika in order to shock and provoke concertgoers and the rest of the world, outcry from many has essentially forced the cancellation of their upcoming United States tour with King Dude. Anti-fascist groups around the country (contrary to what seems to be a fairly common misconception, antifa groups are not a unified organization and there is no singular “Antifa”), have, naturally, taken issue with the use of fascist imagery and threatened to protest or shut down shows if the venue doesn’t cancel them first.
I would like to open this yearly review on a personal note: human understanding is incredibly limited in many ways. One of the most prominent ways is our perception of time; beyond any metaphysical assertions that might often “grace” metal lyrics, I’m not talking about any extra-dimensional ideas on the…
Lists. People love them and love to hate them. There is always going to be a bunch of things to criticize end-of-year lists about, and many of those criticisms will always have merit. Placing any sort of artificially-objective construct onto something that is as wholly subjective a thing as listening…
It’s non-trivial to compute a ranked list of best albums given the opinions of 31 different writers. We could go the lazy way and just have staff argue and editors decide what the AOTY is, but that’s unfair to everyone and is way too authoritarian. We could just have people pool votes, but that leads to way too many conflicts between albums with the same amount of votes (which editors need to resolve, which is unfair and upsets people), we could assign a particular value for each rank, have everyone rank their albums, and add up all the ranks. But that also has its own set of problems, and how do you set the values? As you can see, it’s non-trivial. Sure, you could just pick either of these schemes or anything else, but why do that when you can do something that is a lot more mathematically grounded? Since I’m essentially a statistician by trade (kind of), of course I’m going to try to do that. So here’s me explaining what I did, and sharing my code for anyone else interested in doing it the “””objectively correct””” way.
As a genre, stoner doom has some fairly definitive characteristics: slowed-down tempos, rumbling low-end bass and rhythm, a focus on mountainous, hypnotic riffs, and a certain intangible haze cast over it all, creating a psychedelic-glazed listening experience. But perhaps most importantly, stoner metal worships at the altar of marijuana. Proudly wearing its influence on its sleeve (and name), stoner metal varyingly employs marijuana as a muse, a political rallying cause, an artistic aesthetic, and generally as the raison d’etre for the (sub)genre as a whole. From the smoke-filled cough intro in Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” to Sleep’s epic journey to Jerusalem to Dopelord carrying the genre’s torch in one hand and a bong in the other, stoner doom is fundamentally and un-apologetically intertwined with marijuana. And yet, as firm of a grip as the green leaf has on the genre, there are contingents within the stoner doom scene that don’t embrace weed with the same fervor as their counterparts. Indeed, as counter-intuitive as it seems, examples abound of bands in the stoner doom realm that either explicitly or implicitly eschew the very association with marijuana that the scene largely views as a prerequisite.
The following article is a collaboration between editors Jonathan Adams and Scott Murphy. Before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear—we and Decibel (“America’s only monthly extreme music magazine”) agree that 2017 has been an exceptional year for death metal. Jonathan has highlighted countless fantastic death metal albums this…
There’s an inherent alchemy required to successfully combine two seemingly disparate forces into something new. Famous, enduring pairings can be volatile and even counter-intuitive at first glance, but when done properly the result can be something far greater than the sum of each part. Peanut butter and jelly are each perfectly enjoyable on their own, but when paired together they create one of the most well-known and universally enjoyed sandwiches in modern history. Likewise, Calvin is a perfectly funny — albeit bratty – cartoon character and, similarly, Hobbes is a charming and occasionally profound tiger. But it’s their pairing that creates something greater: a friendship that serves as a vehicle for an entire comic strip, a philosophical and temperamental foil for each character to bounce off, and the sheer intangible joy the strip provides readers by allowing us to live inside their friendship. By fusing two independently enjoyable ingredients, an effective pairing can not only allow for a greater appreciation of the pair’s individual components, it can simultaneously create something richer and more meaningful in the magic as well.
Let’s state facts: Clrvynt’s preface to “The Director of ‘Maryland Deathfest: The Movie’:’Metal is the Fucking Worst'” (this is literally how the post’s title was formatted by the way, I didn’t change it) is bullshit. Running an article filled with borderline/not-really-borderline-at-all misogyny, homophobia, and very palpable hatred for a huge swath of the community you’re part of is a terrible thing to do. However, if you’ve already decided to do that, don’t cop out by writing a six-line preface nominally denouncing the opinions contained therein. At least own the fact that you’re giving shitty opinions a stage and have some honesty.