Friday, September 12, 2008

The Metallica Thumbs Session

  • Thumb up for two songs on from "Death Magnetic" : "That Was Just Your Life" and "My Apocalypse". Old school Thrash Metal, something that has been missing from the Metallica catalogue for many years. Overall the album deserves 6 out of 10 which is a big improvement compared to "Load", "Reload" and "St. Anger".
  • Thumb down for Lars Ulrich for  imagining that people expect Metallica to save Metal. Gimme a break:) A) Metal is alive and kicking wildlier than ever, so thinking that it needs being saved is simply arrogant. B) A whole bunch of fresh new bands are carrying the flag forward with exceptional vigour - and first on my list would be Decrepit Birth. C) Old timers are doing an excellent job of sticking to their guns and delivering quality Metal without the large scale marketing Metallica benefits from : hail to Kreator, Iron Maiden, Cynic, Sodom, Slayer, Obituary and the list could go on.
  • Thumb up for the marketing campaign for "Death Magnetic" centered around creating the buzz and steadily building up to the grand finale. Internet was perfectly used for what it best serves at, propagating information.
  • Thumb down again for Lars Ulrich for having stated in the "Some Kind of Monster" documentary that classic Metal soloing is outdated. What better proof that he's fundamentally worong than Kirk Hammet delivering some of his best solos on "Death Magnetic" in the 3 songs I already mentioned. Simply pathetic.
  • Thumb up of for me making peace with Metallica. I would have been really sad if they went down with "St. Anger", instead I'm comfortable with having two or three fresh Metallica tunes I can headbang on. I flash them the devil horns for that. Maybe that's their secret, driving the expectations sow low that any new song with fast riffing where James doesn't try to sing and Kirk's solos have a decent space sounds great. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Dawn of an Era of Bullshit

You might say that it's quite pretentious for a title and you might be right. The thing is that studies like this one are supposed to be revelatory for the wider public, while for me they are a confirmation of a multitude of observations which I still consider biased until they are not backed by enough scientific proof. In spite of that I consider myself on the right track while trying to keep as much rational distance I am capable of. So, science dipped again it's fingers into the Metalheads phenomenon - quite unintentionally I guess - and it came up with the following:

Unlikely as it may seem, fans of heavy metal and classical music have much more in common than most people would imagine, according to a new study. Researchers found fans of the music styles shared "virtually identical" personality traits, such as being creative and at ease with themselves.

The finding was revealed in a major study into the link between people's musical tastes and their personalities. Professor Adrian North, of Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University, said the survey of more than 36,000 people from all over the world is by far the biggest study of its kind ever undertaken.

"I was struck by how similar fans of heavy metal and classical music really are," he said. "Apart from the age differences, they were virtually identical. Both were more creative than other people, both were not terribly outgoing and they were also quite at ease."

He speculated that both types of music have a sense of theatricality about them which may appeal to similar types of people.

I will let the scientists question the method and the interpretation of the study and I would be very interested by such a debate of course. But let's focus on the layman interpretation. I'm not that much into the comparison between fans of Heavy Metal and of Classical music. I don't find it very convincing and too relevant at this stage. What I find really interesting are exactly the personality traits outlined by the study : creativity, "not terribly outgoing" and at ease with themselves. That's where they hit the right spot. So I guess I won't go out tonight on a killing spree on the soundtrack of the latest Slipknot album, I'm not that outgoing tonight. And I'm so at ease with myself that I'll stick to Raining Blood from my speakers:)

This being said, I wish you all an excellent in-between time after the morning coffee and before the teeth brushing or vice versa.