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Metal Monday: Metal Urban Legends

The metal world, historically, has been known mostly as an insiders-only club. People on the outside don’t usually get metal, and people on the inside can rarely communicate what exactly it is about metal that is so compelling. As Sam Dunn says in Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, “Ever since I was twelve years old I had to defend my love for heavy metal against those who say it’s a less valid form of music. My answer now is that you either feel it or you don’t. If metal doesn’t give that overwhelming surge of power that make the hair stand up at the back of your neck, you might never get it, and you know what? That’s okay, because judging by the 40,000 metalheads around me we’re doing just fine without you.”

Just because you don’t “feel it,” though, doesn’t mean that you have to go on misunderstanding things about the genre, the people who make metal music or the people who enjoy it. I’m here to dispel some pretty common rumors and misconceptions around the metal world. Perhaps you’re someone who might think some of these sentiments are true, or maybe you know someone who does; whatever the case, it’s time to learn a thing or two.

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Lollapalooza Line-Up Leaked

UPDATE: The lineup leaked below has been confirmed, including the previously questionable inclusion of Black Sabbath. Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell told Rolling Stone, ”They mean so much to me, and they mean so much to music in general, that I kind of feel like I’m dreaming to know that Black Sabbath is actually gonna perform at Lollapalooza.”
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The holiday weekend brought more than just Easter eggs for music festival fans. That’s because the entire 2012 Lollapalooza line-up has been leaked online, in the form of this picture:

Headliners for this year’s festival reportedly include the Black Keys, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Other big acts are Florence + The Machine, Sigur Ros, The Shins ans M83. And it seems that this list, unlike the other one that was released in February, is apparently legit. So what do you think of this year’s festival line-up?

Metal Monday: Bassists Are Important Too!

Before you say anything about the title of this post, hear me out. I know it’s weird to give that much credit to bassists, but they’re pretty important—and I’m not just talking about the Geddy Lees, Les Claypools and Cliff Burtons of the world, either. When a guitarist is off wandering around his fretboard during a solo, who do you think is holding down the fort? Yeah, okay, probably a rhythm guitarist too, but the answer I’m going with is the bassist. Many things go into being a really great bassist. Sometimes it’s an unprecedented technical proficiency with the bass (as illustrated by Stephan Fimmers on Necrophagist’s “Stabwound”), or the ability to sink a great feel into numerous different grooves (as evidenced by Geezer Butler in pretty much every Black Sabbath song ever written). Maybe you’re like Justin Chancellor or Paul D’Amour and help shape the very sound and identity of your band. Unfortunately, it’s not always so obvious when a bassist is really holding it down, but we’re here to help rectify the situation. We’ve collected eight really solid bass performances from the deepest reaches of the OurStage Metal Channel— you just have to listen along and maybe slappa da bass right along with them.

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What Is Ozzy Thinking?

Black Sabbath’s reunion tour was originally planned as a celebratory retrospective of the career of these heavy metal pioneers. However, it has recently been announced that Black Sabbath will not be honoring its legacy, instead touring under the name “Ozzy and Friends.”

Currently, one Black Sabbath concert will be happening under the original name (at Download Festival in June), with a lineup of Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Iommi, and Geezer Bulter. In total, there have been five gig cancellations under the “Ozzy and Friends” name, but the group has made up for their losses, booking performances at Norway’s Bergen Calling and Italy’s Gods of Metal festival. Evidently, these performances will include “friends” such as Zakk Wylde and Slash, however, there is still ongoing controversy regarding the name change.

 

Metal Monday: Looking Forward to 2012

Last week we covered the things we want most from the metal world in the coming year, some of which were things we already know are going to happen—we just hope it’s not for the worst (except Axl Rose, poor guy). Outside of the metal Christmas list, there are some happenings in the coming year that we’re especially amped for, and now we’re going to tell you all about them so you can be excited too!

First, the whale-loving Francophones Gojira will be releasing their follow-up to The Way Of All Flesh—one of our absolute favorite metal records of 2008. Over the last decade Gojira have steadily built a fanbase with their unique brand of rhythmic and forceful metal. The band really got their big break opening for Metallica a few years ago, and just recently signed to Roadrunner Records. If you didn’t already know who Gojira were, you certainly will now. There is a good chance this record will see itself in a lot of top album lists for 2012 if the band’s previous sucess is any indication of things to come.

Obviously, Gojira aren’t the only band releasing a highly-anticipated album in 2012. Perhaps the most anticipated metal album of 2012 is the upcoming Black Sabbath album. We briefly covered this in last week’s metal Christmas list, but let’s think a bit more about it.  Ozzy Osbourne released an album called Scream in 2010, which was okay. More importantly, Ozzy didn’t sound like total garbage on the recordings and this gives fans hope for the upcoming album. Now, can you remember the last album that the other 3/4 of Sabbath put out? Under the moniker Heaven & Hell, the Dio version of Black Sabbath released an album called The Devil You Know and it was fantastic. Who knows if they’ll be able to play well at live shows at this point, but there’s reason to believe that the album the band records will be at least “pretty good.”

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Metal Monday: 2011 Metal Christmas List

Christmas: a time in which little boys and girls ask ol’ Saint Nick to fulfill their wildest desires. Thankfully for Santa Claus, kids don’t really wish for that many outlandish things. Metalheads, however, have some pretty crazy wants. Even though Santa might not be real, we’re going to make ourselves a metal Christmas wish-list, just in case. Better safe than sorry, right?  Here’s what we want:

1. We want Wintersun to finally finish Time. Even if you’re not completely stoked about Wintersun, won’t it be nice to finally get rid of the “Wintersun never releasing Time” joke? We think so. Even if it turns out to be another Chinese Democracy, at least we’ll be done with it.

2. We want Metallica to just stop. We love the band and all, but they just aren’t what they used to be. St. Anger was an atrocity, Death Magnetic was better but not great, and Lulu was just painful (even if we sort of gave our thumbs up to them recording with Lou Reed). Just recently they released a B-sides EP from the Death Magnetic material, and it provides almost no hope.

Yeah, same guy who sang "Welcome To The Jungle"

3. We want Axl Rose to continue being a hilarious wreck. It’s sort of a cruel thing to wish for, but it’s just too entertaining seeing more and more clips of Axl Rose totally blowing it on stage. He’s probably still making bank, so what does he care?

4. We want Black Sabbath’s reunion to not suck. In the wake of Dio’s unfortunate passing (RIP), Ozzy and Sabbath have made plans to get back together and play some shows as well as record a new album. I know a lot of people are very cautiously optimistic about this. It’s no secret that Ozzy is a former shell of himself and the entire Sabbath crew is starting to really get up there in age… but it’s the original lineup! Count us in, since this is likely the last shot to see these legends play together. We just don’t want it to be really bad.

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The EditoriaList: 12 Bands That Continued On After Losing A Key Member

Bands are hard to keep together. People fight, quit, rejoin, remember, quit again, die and so forth. Sometimes that band member is so integral to the music that it’s pointless to go on—some bands realize this and pack it in. But often, the remaining members don’t want to give it up. Here is the good, the bad and the ‘meh’ of some big, post-departure acts.

 

THE GOOD:

The Rolling Stones

Thank you, Jeebus, that The Stones kept it going after the 1969 departure and subsequent death of band founder Brian Jones (but couldn’t they have stopped after 1981’s Tattoo You, oh mighty Jeebus?). Jones’ contributions to the band are not to be discounted, but by the time he left, he had been marginalized—for better or worse—by the Jagger-Richards power team (and by most accounts, by manager Andrew Loog Oldham, not to mention by booze and drugs). The Stones went on to produce some of their greatest work.

 

Pink Floyd

While some people swear by Syd Barrett-era Floyd, the mental unraveling and eventual canning of the former frontman heralded one of rock’s greatest and most unlikely metamorphoses. With Roger Waters taking the pole position (and with able assistance from Barrett’s replacement, David Gilmour), the band slowly shed their psych-pop identity in favor of spaced-out stadium rock.

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Metal Monday: Tips For Making A Solo Metal Record

Picture this: You’re a wildly-talented, successful musician in a wildly-successful, talented group, but you have more musical ideas than your band can record and release. What do you do? Well, you could just leave all that creativity dormant but who wants to do that? Any musician worth their salt will just decide to start a side project, and anyone who is really great will release a solo record (a popular trend these days). If you’re wondering how exactly you might go about releasing a solo record, here are some tips.

First, you need to make sure you have material that showcases you and your talents. After all, it is your side/solo project, right? You need to find a backing band to play the rest of the parts if you don’t want to be concerned with writing memorable parts for the other instruments. There’s a reason they’re the “other instruments” after all. If you’re feeling ambitious, however, can you tackle those parts yourself instead of hiring extra musicians.

Being as crazy as Devin Townsend is not a prerequisite for a solo project

Once you have the material, you need a name. This is probably the easiest part of the whole process. All you need to do is take your name, then add the word “project” to the end, and you’re done! Voilà! Worked for Devin Townsend (ex-Strapping Young Lad) and Francesco Artusato (of All Shall Perish), why not you too? If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can leave off the “project” part and go the Yngwie Malmsteen way.

 

What’s left to do after you have material, backing musicians, and a name? Well, you might need a label to release the album. This part is optional, especially if you have no issues recording it yourself. Touring? Well, that’s another issue. Same with promotion. If you’re famous enough, that will all take care of itself, or with a little do-it-yourself effort, can come together without many hitches.

Being a weird Englishman like Ozzy isn't a prerequisite, either

The last point you need to consider is whether or not your band is going to hate you by releasing your solo/side record and becoming more popular without them (we all know they’re holding you back). There are pros and cons to each situation, you just need to know how to leverage them. For instance, if your band still likes you, then perhaps you could work in material from both projects to a live show with either. If your band ends up hating you, then use that hatred to fuel a really brightly-burning PR fire and skyrocket to the top of all the music news blogs. Any PR is good PR, right?

 

Deciding to indulge on your own solo project is a pretty big undertaking, and it’s not for everyone. But, if you’re going to do it, at least do it right. Aspiring metal solo artists can take their cues from a litany of examples, such as the aforementioned Devin Townsend, Francesco Artusato, Yngwie Malmsteen, as well as people like Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), Evan Brewer (The Faceless, ex-Animosity), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah), ICS Vortex (ex-Dimmu Borgir) and perhaps the most obvious example of all, Ozzy (like I need to say, but, ex-Black Sabbath). If you think you can hang with these phenomenal acts, then by all means make a go at it. If you can’t, maybe you’re not ready for the big leagues.

 


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