AMA is Heavy Blog’s monthly community Q&A column, where readers ask questions across the gamut, and we are legally required by the universal laws of “AMA” to answer them! These are edited and excerpted transcripts. To see full transcripts and participate in future conversations, join the Heavy Blog Facebook Community Group!
We conducted our latest AMA session right before Halloween, so it was predictably S P O O K Y from the jump before diving into plenty of other fascinating topics. Just a quick little bit of pettiness before diving in. I realize that Facebook’s general business mantra is to take a germ of a good idea, make it popular, and then make it worse while monetizing it at the point that people already rely on it and won’t give it up. It appears their latest target is their groups feature, which was one of the few remaining vestiges of decency on the platform. It’s becoming harder and harder to make sure group members actually see the things we post, and it’s truly unfortunate.
That said, the community group is still an incredibly vibrant and supportive place. If you have not yet given it a chance, I really advise you to check it out and at least lurk a bit. We’re also trying to be better at setting up more opportunities for community interaction through places like our Discord server. If there is anything else you think we could or should be doing to engage with all of you, please don’t hesitate to let us know either in the comments here or by messaging us on Facebook. And with that, questions! And answers!
Kevin asks: In the spirit (pun intended) of it being Halloween soon; What are some of your favourite horror films? And if you’re not a horror fan, favourite movies to watch for Halloween?
Jordan Jerabek: For me, it’s not Halloween without The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Eden Kupermintz: I’ve actually only really started to get into horror a few years ago, since Ronnie is such a big fan. It’s not my preferred genre except when something is very haunting and fucked up. Examples include Hereditary or Sunshine. The other alternative is politically charged stuff like Peele’s Get Out or Us. I also really liked Cam, which once again channels that psychological vibe rather than jump scares, zombies, or whatever. Make it weird and make it haunting.
Oh, randomly adding Apostle because that movie is super underrated.
Noroi: The Curse
The Grudge (1-2/us-jp)
The Haunting of Hill House
As Above So Below
Kinda horror but not fully: Cure, Unsane
Eden Kupermintz: I love Cube as well. Also going to add Event Horizon, that movie fucked me UP as a kid.
Ryan Castrati: Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness
Scott Murphy: The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of my favorite movies in general. Considering the budget and filming circumstances, it’s incredible that they managed to create such a genuinely unsettling movie. While not scary in the same way as contemporary horror, it’s still disturbing in all the right ways. Also, while I think the movies range from “classic kitsch” to “oh God please stop,” I absolutely love the Friday the 13th series because Jason is my favorite classic horror villain. Also, he and Freddy beating the shit out of each other in Freddy vs Jason is one of the funniest sequences in horror.
Jimmy Rowe: I’m not a massive horror fan but A24 is obviously a safe bet.
Josh Bulleid: Anyone who read our last Cool People Column will realise I’m a big fan of the Hellraiser franchise, so the original Hellraiser has to be my favourite straight-up horror movie. Evil Dead 2 and Cabin in the Woods are other meta-horror/comedy-horror favourites, and The Witch is a recent highlight. I’ve been too busy to watch anything this month but I’m thinking about doing a “Shockvember” thing next month to make-up for it, so I might write up some of those for next month’s CPC as well.
Danny asks: For Eden specifically – Goofiest power metal bands and why?
Noyan: nothing can top this
the bulge is real
Eden Kupermintz: Simon just showed me this (it’s actually good but very goofy)
There’s a track on this called “The Death Cleric”, enough said (it’s also actually good)
Great album about becoming immortal and killing god
Danny: But what about a band (THATS NOT MANOWAR) that you find too cheesy and dislike, Eden?
Eden Kupermintz: Easy, Sonata Arctica. I love Sammet in Edguy but in Arctica… Too much
Danny: Oh yeah. Oh no. Do you like Avantasia?
Eden Kupermintz: I don’t like Avantasia either, no. Just give me Edguy.
Danny asks: For everyone – what 5 metal albums would you give to someone in their late 50s/60s for them to try to appreciate the genre? I’m specifically looking for ways to get my Dad (63) to come to appreciate extreme metal
Eden Kupermintz: I just did this with my dad! Here’s what I chose:
Trivium – The Sin & The Sentence
Devin Townsend – Deconstruct
Metallica – Ride the Lightning
Opeth – Ghost Reveries
Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun
Simon Handmaker: showed my mom Russian Circles and Baroness and she really appreciates both of those bands. she also like a bit of Spirit Adrift‘s stuff and Sumerlands
Noyan: Protest the Hero’s Scurrilous album specifically has worked well for me. It feels like really aggressive jazz rock to a new listener.
Josh Bulleid: Assuming he has a basis in classic hard rock/heavy metal already and you’re trying to ease him into more modern stuff: Judas Priest – Firepower, Parkway Drive – Reverence, Mastodon – Once More ‘round the Sun, Killer be Killed – Killer be Killed and Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name.
Ian asks: What are some of your favorite musical trends in metal that you wish would make a comeback? (I would say nu metal would be a great example but that’s already back and thriving)
Trent Bos: Guitar solos in metalcore
As far as nu-metal revival goes, there’s still a lack of funk influence, and disc scratching
Eden Kupermintz: Double lead guitars! First introduced by Wishbone Ash and made glorious by Iron Maiden. Bands still do it but a lot less today, I just love how it allows bands to change up tones for leads and complement each other.
Noyan: brees in deathcore instead of this vocal style that every band does
Scott Murphy: I miss that specific niche of tongue-in-cheek, goofy mathgrind, like An Albatross, Iwrestledabearonce, See You Next Tuesday, etc. I’ve found stuff in the vein of the stuff I loved in high school, but not much that hits that hyper-energetic, over the top, don’t give a fuck vibe.
Josh Bulleid: David Lee Roth-style ad libs and innuendo-filled talking sections.
Milena asks: Do you have a site-related writing project you’ve been meaning to finish for a while but keep putting it off, and if so, can you hint what it is?
Eden Kupermintz: I have two things I’ve been wanting to write for a while:
1) The second part to my Fight Fire with Fire deep dive into black metal and consumerism (in which I finally reveal why it’s called Fight Fire with fire 😛). I’m actually close to wrapping that up, might even post it when we do the drop in November.
2) The massive prognotes for Ayreon‘s Forever Saga. I did the first album but then the sheer magnitude of it overwhelmed me. But I want to go back to it for sure and get it going again.
Nick Cusworth: Haaaaaaaaaa
Um, I’m currently 17k words deep into a 5-part essay series on the evolution of American post-rock/metal in the 2010s that I expect to be between 25 and 30k words ultimately. Been working on it on and off for a year now.
Milena: this is why I love HB – academic paper quality stuff
Trent Bos: I have a potentially long “Love Letter” article I’ve been mulling over that’s Very Canadian to the extent that I question its value for people outside of Canada ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Scott Murphy: Much to the future chagrin of everyone, I’ve had an “In Defense Of” post simmering on the back burner for a while now. It’s a much-maligned album in the metal world that I simply don’t think is as bad as everyone makes it out to be, or at least, the criticisms it’s received range aren’y totally sound. Plus the backstory and potential of the project is really fascinating. Next year is the 10-year anniversary…so I think I’ll finally make it happen.
Josh Bulleid: Ha, following on from question 1, I’ve been trying to write something about the weird relationship between heavy metal and Hellraiser III to coincide with Halloween for years. Too busy again this time, but maybe next year, or if they officially announce a remake or something (well shit, better get on it)
Chris asks: Worst vocals on the (otherwise) best band? Best vocals on the (otherwise) worst band?
Eden Kupermintz: I’m going to cheat a bit but: I really don’t like Blaze’s vocals on Iron Maiden‘s three albums with him (he’s otherwise good by the way, I don’t know what the fuck happened there) but I love the musical approach on them. If I could get a Dickinson rendition of The X Factor, I would be very happy. Full disclosure: I hold the heretical opinion that The X Factor is a good album. It just would have been great with Dickinson instead of Blaze on it.
Best vocals on an otherwise terrible band…this one’s harder, I don’t really know. Bands who are terrible usually have terrible vocals as well 😛
Scott Murphy: I don’t think he’s a truly bad vocalist, but the dude from Psycroptic is both the weakest link in the band and doesn’t compare well to other vocalists in modern tech death. I guess his vocals “fit” the band’s music, but his lower register in general just doesn’t check the boxes I look for in death growls.
I actually think David Draiman is a solid vocalist, if not fully deserving of the massive hype that followed their “Sound of Silence” cover. As far as radio rock, he’s a genuinely talented singer that just happens to be the frontman for one of this generation’s most formulaic rock bands.
Josh Bulleid: Code Orange’s Underneath is probably going to be my album of the year, but I really don’t think Reba Meyers is a strong vocalist, which their “Unplugged” set really showed. On the other hand, Jason Butler is so much better than Fever333, although it seems like he’s mostly to blame for that, so I don’t know.
Ian asks: What’s your guys take on the ethics of doing ultra limited drops of vinyl records and not limiting it to 1 per order so people buy several copies with the intent to flip them for an absurd profit? This is obviously about a very particular record label that’s fairly notorious for this
Eden Kupermintz: I think instead of talking about specific labels who do this, we need to talk about manufactured scarcity in general. Like, it’s pretty obvious that there’s profit to be made in vinyl but a lot of that profit is from the elitist and collector nature of the product. So instead of more factories opening up, we get this crazy backlog which balloons prices. That, more than anything, is what’s creating these stupid practices.
Jimmy Rowe: It’s incredibly frustrating that some labels choose to intentionally limit items that sell out immediately. Who does this help? Certainly not the band; you would think that a band and label would want to sell the most copies possible and meet demand instead of fueling price gouging on eBay and discogs.
I’m fine with ultra limited variants for rabid fans, collectors, and early buyers as it encourages items to sell fast but offering a more common variant is the way to go. I WANT TO BUY YOUR ALBUM. LET ME.