music / Columns

Sunday Morning Coming Down News Report 08.15.10

August 15, 2010 | Posted by Michael Melchor

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

It won’t begin until you make it end. Until you know the how, the where, and the when. With a new face, you might surprise yourself. Hey there kids and welcome back to what’s become 411’s official hangover report.

Okay, folks, let’s throw this out there now: this could be a short week for me. Got a ton of stuff in front of me, including a huge project that should turn out very well. Not only that but, as you read this, I’m getting ready to go watch SummerSlam. It’s been a minute since I got to hang out with Great Scott; should be a blast. And congrats on the promotion, big man.

Not only that, but a problem arises when I only write about stuff I care about, and that’s when there’s not much of it out there. Sure, I could talk about the Kim Kardashian/Justin Beiber photo shoot, or Kanye West returning to the scene of the crime, or even Fantasia’s apparent suicide attempt, but either I’ve already talked about it this week or I don’t give enough of a rat’s ass to say that much. So there.

Oh, You Were Finished! Well, Allow Me To Retort!

On last week’s screed in re: the reasons why A7X’s Nightmare could have topped Billboard, our own Adam Hill of The 411 Music 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 against 1, fi-fi–five, five, five against one 5 & 1 inserted a reason of his own:

I’ve not really listened to metal for years now, no real reason I’ve just not been inclined to, but that A7X album is immense.

It wasn’t the history or morbid curiosity that drew me in either, it was Titan’s review, right here on 411 (thumbs up). That and the comments it generated.

People talking about it with such passion and respect made me want to check it out and hear for myself what the fuss was about.

I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar wasn’t the case for a lot of other lapsed metal fans like me. Word of mouth still carries a lot of weight, especially if it’s someone’s opinion that you respect doing the telling.

Maybe that was what led Nightmare to the top of the chart?

I’ll be honest…I would love for that explanation to be true. if that’s why Nightmare hit #1 was because of positive word-of-mouth, then this would be a great example of what’s right with the world. My problem is, I’m way too cynical to completely buy that. I might be wrong, but I don’t think strong word-of-mouth is what sold this one 100%.

Do I think it had a good part in it? Sure. I could see metal fans going, “wow, you know…for all the shit we’ve given these guys, they’re actually pretty damn good.” (And bank on that – they are.) I simply don’t think that was the sole reason they made top spot. Hell, I don’t know if there is a “sole reason” they made it. But I’m glad to see it happen for them, though.

Okay, This Is Boring – What Else Is There To Read?

Steve Cook’s Rasslin Report kicks ass. And I don’t say that just because i was in it for a minute this week – I say that because he’s consistently a good read with not-the-usual point of view.

I also have to give my fellow Weekend Warrior J-Mod recognition for a hell of a piece on Jerry Garcia. Still looking forward to the Les Claypool/Primus bits, too.

Hook up with us on Facebook! You can even find me on there if you feel so inclined…

…and don’t forget Twitter!
The whole damn site!
…and, oh yeah, me again!

Been busy. I’m all over the place this week. Go read ‘em.

All The News That’s Fit To Post

  • You know it’s a sad week when I have to lead off with news (from us) that the U2 Spider Man musical…is set to premiere…in December.

    Our man in Amsterdam, Grimmy Acosta, confirms that U2 is using their e-mailing list to promote ticket sales to this. He only made one comment to go with it:

    What kind of shit?

    In response to that is where I said my peace:

    Aw, crikey…they’re using their e-mail list to pimp THAT horseshit? I can’t believe the damn thing is even gonna run…

    Really it should read, “Get your tickets now for what might be the ONLY time this festering turd hits Broadway…”

    Or, to quote the lone comment on the news bit itself:

    I love Spider-Man. I love U2. But this is going to be a $50 million turdburger.


    THIS is what happened the last time somsone had the bright to make a super-hero musical. Do we really need a repeat of this?

  • Meanwhile, courtesy of us again by way of Mitch “Da Man” is news that Primus is offering up a free EP download of some of their rehearsals from a couple months ago. Of course, I done went and got mine.

    Primus have kept a steady pace the past few years but I haven’t heard a lot of it. Now I get a chance to. And if Les Claypool says something like, “I haven’t rehearsed a band this hard since Frog Brigade decided to perform Pink Floyd’s epic Animals album,” then I’m damned-sure interested in hearing it.

  • Blah-Blah-Blah-bbermouth hooks up the audio samples of Tarja Turunen’s new record, What Lies Beneath, set to be out on August 31. I’ll be reviewing it for the site at the end of the month. You know, after I’ve actually heard it.

    I can give you the (US) cover and the tracklisting, for the time being:

    01. Anteroom Of Death (feat. Van Canto)
    02. Until My Last Breath
    03. Dark Star (feat. Phil Labonte)
    04. Underneath
    05. Little Lies
    06. Rivers Of Lust
    07. In For A Kill
    08. Montañas de Silencio (exclusive U.S. track)
    09. Falling Awake (feat. Joe Satriani)
    10. The Archive Of Lost Dreams
    11. Crimson Deep

    Disc 2:

    01. We Are
    02. Naiad
    03. Still Of The Night (WHITESNAKE cover)

    Phil Labonte and Joe Satriani…interesting. Will Calhoun of Living Colour is on this record somewhere, too, although I dunno quite where. Should be an interesting–

    Waitaminute. I just noticed…run that last part by me again?

    03. Still Of The Night (WHITESNAKE cover)

    Whoa, really…?

    Whoa. Really.

    Fascinating. On one hand, I’m glad to see Tarja not abandon her metal background. granted, she hasn’t done that since her and Nightwish went their separate ways, but she’s went more the way of Sarah Brightman – still plays around in pop, but her Classical training/upbringing is definitely much more prominent than before. Tarja’s taken a similar path since she parted ways with Nightwish; the classical style is featured a little more (Hear the high note at 4:06? Right.), but she ain’t afraid to rock out.

    At the same time, this isn’t a track that really suits her. She’s sexy in her own way; more of a classic beauty that lets that shine through. But Whitesnake? That calls for dirty. And she ain’t it. Still, she’s having a great time with it, and I can’t fault that. Besides, if she had actually sang the line, “Ooooohh…mama”…that would have been just comical.

    I would love to go on a bit about Nightwish and Tarja…where they’ve been, where they’re going, all that…but I don’t have the space here. BUT – I’ve got it later on. Good. We’ll get back to this in a bit, then…

  • Again from Slobbermouth comes something that stinks like a fermenting turd.

    An interview with Bullet For My Valentine’s frontman, Matt Tuck. In which he drops this gem:

    I Heart Guitar: In a time when you can hear metal riffs on ads for breakfast cereal, it seems like metal’s just become part of the fabric of the global consciousness.

    Tuck: Yeah! I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve opened a lot of doors for the world of metal, you know what I mean? There are some people that like the band or whatever, and there are some people that fucking totally hate us because of what we do, but at the same time, what we’re doing for the genre as a whole is a good thing. We’re bringing it to a whole mass of people who wouldn’t have given a shit before we came along, and that sounds maybe a little bit arrogant, I know, but it’s a fact! We’ve opened the door for this genre to become more of a mainstream, everyday life music. And that’s cool as fuck. We could be as heavy as we want, but we want to be more than that. We want to write songs that will stand the test of time.

    Shut the Tuck up.

    Are you honestly going to tell me that if it weren’t for Bullet For My Valentine, that metal wouldn’t be as accepted as it is now? That if it weren’t for this Atreyu knock-off (and that’s not saying a lot at all, let’s be honest), that metal would be some seedy genre stuck in the toilets of news pages blamed for causing for yet another suicide rather than selling out arenas?

    Umm, yeah. Metallica just called, jackhole – they’d like a word with you about what you claim to have done for metal.

    You know, I really liked these guys, at one point. I dug what they were doing, I dug their sound…I thought they were on their way. As it turns out, I was right. Now, I understand how so very derivative they are. Not such a bad thing, especially if it’s done well.

    But don’t yeh fuckin dare take that success – that came from furthering a niche genre and kicking open a door that another, (barely) more talented band already opened – and claim that you’re the genre’s saviour. Ignorant-ass statements like that truly takes some fucking gall, which I could abide by if they had the talent, originality, and flat-out facts to back it up. But they don’t. It’s that simple.

    Those 2 go together almost too well…

  • Let’s move on to a band that does have talent and originality.

    Blahbbamouf is kind enough to inform us that Neurosis is making an appearance next May to headline the Maryland Deathfest. Not an event I plan on attending, but it’s almost a shame I’m not because seeing Neurosis in person has to be…interesting.

    Yes, it’s metal. But not the fast, pounding, sound of a bulldozer at full throttle with melody that you associate it with. It’s slow. Rather slow. It’s been called “atmospheric hardcore, “post-metal”…quite a few things. None of them, “easy to digest” or “light”.

    In fact, aside from Mr. Bungle or John Zorn’s stuff, I can’t think of very much that’s harder to penetrate than the Neurosis catalog. But, that’s not a bad thing. It’s certainly not for everyone, but if you can get past how easy it isn’t to digest and take in the effort and talent it takes to pull this off…it’s worth it.

  • And finally this week (see what I mean?), I…kinda…got an answer from Irving Azoff on Twitter.

    It wasn’t addressed directly to me. I still don’t think he had the wherewithal to even read my question, much less answer me personally. But I think enough people called him out on his bullshit that I happened to check his feed and saw these:

    Not trying to upset anyone. Just pointing out that artists have to make a living too. Ticket prices and fees on way down too!

    How about subscription if u could get all the music you want without the hassle?

    Okay, one at a time starting with the first.

    Dude, absolutely no one begrudges the fact that artists have to make a living, too. That’s just–I–DUH. The problem is, people like Azoff hide behind that stance when they try and perpetrate robbery. And Azoff’s history should show that he’s totally guilty of that. I am glad to hear that ticket prices are coming down, and I’m sure a lot of other people will be glad to hear that, too. Spending a month or two’s grocery bill just to see someone play music (and that’s before parking, food, gas, merchandise, etc.) is a little ridiculous.

    Secondly, I’d be totally behind an unlimited, “hassle-free” subscription service. If one could ever exist. I don’t think the labels, the RIAA, and other greedy asses (like Azoff) would let it fly because there’s some way, I’m sure, they would feel like they’re not getting enough money out of the deal.

    I Like It, I Love It

    Now then. Back to Nightwish.

    They got started in the first place because Tarja’s old pal Tuomas Holopainen was starting an acoustic project and wanted her in it. Problem was, Tarja’s voice was too strong for an acoustic project – so Holopainen went the other way and turned the volume way up.

    For anybody who’d heard them, the rest is history.

    Hell, I wish the entire Andrew Lloyd Webber musical would be recorded in this vein. Not all of them, though; I can’t really see this working for Cats.

    Goth metal was around before them, sure. Female singers were certainly nothing new. But Nightwish injected the combination in the ass with a dose of ‘roids that Hulk Hogan would give a thumbs up to and put their particular brand on the map. They rode high all over the world with precision musicianship, mood, ambiance, and a singer with a voice that could sit alongside almost any in the world and certainly more powerful than any in the genre.

    Then, they got rid of her. Not only in in public, but very loudly. Tarja responded with shock and sadness, having no idea what they were claiming. The (actual) story was never made very clear as to why she was fired. Holopainen wrote the letter of her dismissal, claiming she had become so much of a diva that she was unrecognizable from the person the rest of the band knew. Tarja was crushed by the claim. With a standing Non-Disclosure Agreement in place, the real story may never be known.

    Now, it is almost a moot point. Nightwish have brought on new frontwoman Anette Olzon. Whereas Holopainen wrote specifically for Turunen before, he now does so for Olzon, resulting in the familiar sound still standing, but with a completely different vibe altogether.

    Meanwhile, Turunen has, of course, gone solo as discussed quite a few paragraphs ago.

    Sure, there are variations of what came before but it sounds like, for whatever reason, both moved on but neither ever really moved on. Which, for what they do and how they sound…together or separate…is perfectly fine.

    Happy Trails

    Maybe it’s just as well that this one was a little shorter. So be it; I’ll be right back here in seven days with probably more.

    L8. Thanks again for reading.

    For more interesting reading, click here. And/or here, for that matter.

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