You’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind and metal. A journey into a wondrous ‘cast whose boundaries are that of imagination (and modern technology and licensing laws). That’s a (chaos) signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!
Reviews: Enslaved – RIITIIR, Sylosis – Monolith, The HAARP Machine – Disclosure, Pig Destroyer – Book Burner, The Sword – Apocryphon
The HAARP Machine – Disclosure
I as well disagree with Nick on the vocals on Riitiir. Are the vocals my favorite scream/growl? No. But by no means do they don’t bother me and I think they add quite well to the color and contrast of this album and can’t imagine a different vocalist (or vocal style) that would fit better on Riitiir.
I also disagree with Nick on the ability of a band to reproduce their music live. We live in an age of technology and if you can use that technology to make your music, your art, or your product better, then by all means you should do so. I want my favorite band or musician to use any tools at their disposal to create the best music that they possibly can. I don’t think there should be limits on what someone’s music can be based on technology or the ability to recreate that music live. I realize that this can be a struggle for some bands between creating a layered and complex studio recording and then trying to recreate that on stage. But the way I see it is that I might see a band play that music once live in person. The studio recording is what I listen to over and over again and what I feel represents the artist’s true statement.
Mastodon is one recent example of a band that crafted a masterpiece in the studio with Crack the Skye and then struggled to recreate that album live on stage only to go back into the studio for their next album and say to themselves that they will write songs and record that next album in a way that is easy to play live. But for the fan, which is the better album? To me it is the album that the band pushed themselves to their limits of both technical ability and studio wizardry. This is why The Hunter feels like a bit of a letdown after Crack the Skye: they took the easy way out and just created an album that they could play live.
Gotta disagree with you there! There is a HUGE difference between taking the easy way out for the sake of being able to pull it off live and writing something complex and challenging that CAN be played live. Example: Machine Head. In an interview Rob said that the opening track of the Blackening had something insane like 32 layered tracks. Clearly, they cannot do that note for note live. They play the acoustic part from a backing track. However the members of the band have crafted the most important parts to work well live and be both complex and interesting. They use the backing tracks to add flavor to the awesomeness that they are playing on stage.
The issue that I take with the HAARP Machine is that 95% of every song has clearly separated and harmonizing guitar riffs. Every lead bit on the entire album is off set and juxtaposed by a dueling line. A huge difference between using technology to bolster your creative idea and relying far to heavily on layering and studio magic to make yourself sound impressive.
I have a problem with live shows that rely too heavily on backing tracks to make their music work. If you need to have dueling guitar lines on every song the answer is simple: hire another guitar player. You don’t have to put him in the band and give him credit in the liner notes, but it sure makes the show far more interesting to watch. ….ask Green Day, it’s been working out pretty well for them.
Additionally, when a band relies on “non-present” members to that degree it takes me so out of the show that it, in some cases, can ruin a band for me. Most recent example that comes to mind would be Paradise Lost. As we talked about on a previous episode, they have a very heavy hand use of synth in almost everything they play. There are passages where that is the only instrument “playing.” To not have someone on stage playing that, even if they’re just a hired hand, makes me feel like the band is no different than a well choreographed karaoke group.
Bottom line: there is a big difference between sweetening the live show with the use of resources available to you and needing programmed tracks in order to play a gig. Ask Milli Vanilli…..I think they’d agree.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that when my favorite bands go into the studio to record their music, I don’t want them to worry about how they are going to play that music live. I want them to record the best music they possibly can, using any means at their disposal (such as overdubbing, effects, layering, etc.). Don’t limit yourself as a musician to recording only something that can be pulled off live. If you nail a guitar solo in the studio that took 132 takes to pull off and you’ll never be able to recreate that again then so be it. Everyone will be able to experience that perfect solo through the wonders of recorded music even if it can never be reproduced live.