Welcome to the month of April! For those of you who nearly panicked last Sunday after reading the uncharacteristic weekend post by UG, it looks like Metallica didn't break up after all. Twas all a grand April Fools joke, and I happen to know who wrote the fictitious article. Care to know who it was?
YES! HAHA, I definitely got (some of) you guys there; in fact, due to the overwhelming response to the article, I figure I should just abandon the usual tongue-in-cheek essay format of this blog series and just resort to shameless trolling and making sh-t up. Let's see...so yeah, Metallica is overratedliking Nickleback automatically makes me think less of you, the Foo Fighters are extremely average, and Slash, believe it or not, actually enjoys drinking his own piss.
But nay, I'm joking of course. I can't be that shameless because I don't want to be the guitar community's equivalent to Perez Hilton. But I must say, I was very pleased (and surprised) to see the reaction to the article and how quickly it spread, being mentioned on Yahoo! Answers, Petrucci Forum, and the Sevenstring.org forum. Word of the article even spread outside of the Internet. This past Sunday, The Human Abstract dudes and I went to Hollywood to catch the Protest The Hero/Periphery show, and apparently (I hadn't arrived yet) during Protest's set, they mentioned the article on stage because a few of the band members actually fell for it! Good times. Glad you all had a good laugh.
Testament guitarist, Alex Skolnick, even quoted the article on his Twitter. The bright man that he is, Skolnick made a very intriguing point about the article in a series of tweets. I'll paraphrase: After enjoying the joke, he mentioned that because people actually believed the story was real, it confirms how easily people can be fooled. Obviously, the text of the article had several hints that suggested it was all in jest, but some people actually seemed to believe it, failing to read between the lines. Skolnick then suggested the importance in closely reading everything you see; don't jump to conclusions too fast or else you may get taken advantage of (banks, advertisers, social media, political groups all do this). His conclusion: "The moral of the story is: read everything carefully, critically & with a proverbial grain of salt especially on April 1st!"
This is a great point. There's a lot of crap floating around the Internet. It's up to you as a reader to notice when said crap is thrown your way. Plus, I greatly admire Skolnick; not only is he a very talented guitarist, but he's also clearly a well-rounded and intelligent guy. The dude reads, he writes an intriguing blog, he makes astute observations about human naturemy kind of mind. So Mr. Skolnick, thanks for quoting the article and I tip my black beanie to you.
Anyway, getting into the good stuff. My month of April really started off with a musical bang; my roommates and I found some time to actually sit down and give a close listen to the new album from Meshuggah, "Koloss."
Some green and beer showed up to our metal listening party. Essentially, the reaction to the album went along the lines of emphatic laughter over how brutal the music was, our heads bobbing forward in unison like hairy metronomes, and even a few WTF is going on??' moments went down. Great metal times.
Not to get into a specific review of the record, but if you're a Meshuggah fan, you need to check it out! The entire album kicks some serious bootay and it's an overall fantastic record! Songs like "The Demon's Name is Surveillance," "Swarm" and "Marrow" are just relentless; there's plenty of groove to the record and the band's performances are top-notch. Honestly though, I can't think of a band that sounds heavier than Meshuggah. It's the music that gets played over hell's PA system and apparently Satan even tried to form a Meshuggah cover band, but he had trouble executing precise 16th note triplets on his drum set. The hoofs get in the way I guess.
It's pretty incredible that a record THIS heavy and THIS inaccessible to mainstream tastes cracked the U.S. Billboard Top 200 and sold 18,000 units first week. Not bad for music this absolutely slamming.
What is Heavy?
So going on the savage brutality that is "Koloss," I'd like to ask you guys a few open-ended questions. What do you consider the heaviest music you've ever heard, and what do you think contributes more to heaviness? Is it the production or the music itself?
Some people find Slayer to be extremely heavy. Some people (somehow) find Nickleback heavy. Hell, The Beatles had some heavy tracks ("I Want YouShe's So Heavy," "Helter Skelter"). But in an era where music production can make any band sound heavy with relative ease, it seems that other factors set apart bands that are truly heavy versus bands let the production give them that larger-than-life sound. I'd argue that heaviness is apparent in many forms of music, even classical. Factors like rhythmic qualities and lighter parts contrasting with aggressive parts put the heaviness into context.
Basically, if any piece of music makes you move your head forward and back to the beat (as opposed to those pleasant head-goes-side-to-side songs) then that's a good indicator of heaviness.
For an example of some classical heaviness, check out the "Egmont Overture" by Beethoven. In this piece, it's really the buildup that makes the "heavy" parts have a visceral effect by comparison.
The opening of this is pretty damn heavy, but check out around the 3:15 mark. Beethoven was pretty metal. Actually, now I just got an idea for a future UG list Top 10 Heaviest Songs That Aren't Metal. Let's hear some suggestions.
But anyway my ears hurt, so let's get away from heaviness and move onto something ridiculous.
Everything Needs a Sh-tty Sequel
Most likely, you've heard of all the hoopla around the possibility of the sons of The Beatles James McCartney, Dhani Harrison, Sean Lennon, and Zak Starkey forming a "next generation" version of the Beatles.
Uhhh.Beavis? This sucks.
Although James McCartney revealed that he was pretty much thinking out loud and wasn't too serious about the prospect, the attention surrounding this story kind of makes me both lose faith in humanity and understand why people crave crap all the time.
In my opinion, no matter what, even if these Beatle progeny got together and recorded an album, it would get direct comparison to their fathers' work. Essentially, it would be a novelty act. The expectation is too great. Most likely, it'd be passable; it'd make a lot of money because there's certainly an audience for it; critics would inevitably find positive things to say about it, complementing some sonic similarities to The Beatles; but ultimately, it would fall short of pretty much every Beatles record and people would mostly check it out for the gimmick.
Maybe people are just attracted to updates. Much like movie franchises that manage to tarnish the names of decent films, such as Terminator, Halloween, and Rocky, the need to redo and update existing releases might operate under the whole "wouldn't it be cool if" question. "Wouldn't it be cool if they make another Terminator movie with improved special effects?" In theory, probably, but history shows that sequels of that sort rarely live up to the original's standard. "Wouldn't it be cool if there was a sequel to the Beatles?" Nojustno.
Honestly, the prospect of the sons of the Beatles teaming together sounds pretty damn terrible. Simply uttering The Beatles - Next Generation' seems blasphemous. Honestly, why ruin a good thing?
And now I'm getting really opinionated. I must be cranky. ARGH! Time for MESHUGGAH RAGE!
On the Next It's The End Of The Week As We Know It:
Labels on Slayer's new "Reign in Blood" wine suggest that the earthy, oaky flavors will go well with the finest pork tenderloin, and if you feel so bold, caviar. GLUG!
The new "guitar pee" urinal that "plays" one's urine stream is an instant hit; the company quickly comes up with a guitar "vomitfier" for those drunken nights when you want to hear your vomit rock out through a Marshall stack. (R.I.P. Jim Marshall).
Metallica's children begin rehearsals for their "Metallica Next Generation" album, set for a release date in 2029.
By Zach Pino