Once again the Rock(jock) left us hanging high and dry so you Brian joined Nick in his “studio” to bring you this episode. The two perfect-attendance-holders take you on journey of albums ranging from the minimalistic electronics of Trent Reznor’s newest output to the blistering Death Metal madness of Gorguts, making a few stylistic twist and turns in the middle. And there are new tunes for most of these albums for you to enjoy…or skip, but either way they are there.
Reviews: Gorguts – Colored Sands (Season of Mist); Infanticide – Misconception of Hope (Willowtip); Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks (Capital); The Safety Fire – Mouth of Swords (Inside Out)
When I was a kid, my father used to take me to see WWF wrestling at the New Haven Coliseum. There would be at least 6 or 7 matches in a night, and usually the second or third match would be deliberately scripted to take at least 25 to 30 minutes. In those matches, the crowd would start out being into the action, but inevitably after about 15 minutes the crowd would start chanting, “BORE-RING! BORE-RING!” That’s exactly how I feel about Hesitation Marks by Nine Inch Nails. I’m into it and it holds my attention for a few songs, but then my ears tune it out and it becomes background music even when I try to pay attention.
As a long time NIN fan, I completely agree with Nick’s assessment of the band’s catalog. I first heard NIN not too long after Broken came out. I was completely blown away by how heavy that EP sounded. Even though I had listened to lots of mainstream metal at that time (but not death metal or grindcore or black metal), Broken was then and still is to me one of the heaviest albums ever. That buzzsaw, industrial guitar tone just rips you apart. And Trent’s raw, visceral, honest emotion and anger pour through the vocals like few others ever have.
But after Broken, their albums were a downward spiral that slips all the way to the bottom (see what I did there?). That doesn’t mean that all the albums after Broken are bad, it just means that I enjoyed each one slightly less than the last until I stopped caring about the band after The Slip. Even though Hesitation Marks isn’t as bad as The Slip, saying it is slightly better than The Slip still isn’t saying much.
I also totally agree that NIN is late fall/early winter music. I first encountered their music at that time of the year and the emotions of those early albums continue to resonate with me at the time of year when daylight is at its shortest.
-So Nick, you asked how Brian could not have noticed how poor the bass tone was on Misconception by Infanticide? I can tell you why: Brian didn’t notice the bass tone because he’s not a bass player. I listened to Metallica’s And Justice For All for years without noticing that Jason Newstead’s bass is buried in the mix to the point of non-existence. The only reason I ever noticed that fact was because someone pointed it out to me. Only a bass player would notice the bass tone.
-I suspect that you won’t get much response regarding grindcore albums because I’m convinced that no one actually likes grindcore. Grindcore exists because it is a logical progression of hardcore punk’s short intense song structures, not because anyone actually likes it. The history of music is littered with examples of composers taking music to its logical extreme, from Arnold Schoenberg using atonality to John Cage’s 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. Most people don’t actually enjoy Schoenberg or Cage, but do recognize their importance in the history of music as they expanded what music could be. Napalm Death wrote 2 second songs not because it makes for enjoyable music, but rather because someone had to do it as a logical progression of where music was going at the time.
-That “string-y symphonic thing” in the middle of Colored Sands by Gorguts? It’s called a string quartet. It is both a form (referring to the structure of the composition) and the instruments in the ensemble: 2 violins, a viola, and a cello. The guy from Gorguts studied classical composition and wanted to show off his compositional chops on the album so he wrote a string quartet.
– I don’t know if ONLY bass players will notice bass tone, but I do agree that Nick being a bass player definitely makes him gravitate toward it. I this case, even after he pointed it out to me it didn’t bother me because I think it fits with the rest of the music.
– I think you have a point as to where Grindcore came from, but, while your comment is humorous, I do think people actually like it, especially the Napalm Deaths and Pig Destroyers of the world…and some of the Nasums, which Infacticide is. Bands like these bring a little more to the table. The Goregrind bands that try to go for more shock than substance, they are trying to keep the original feel of that evolution alive, but it just doesn’t work as well. You have Brutal Death Metal bands doing the same type of thing, top being just stupid heavy and graphic, but lacking actual substance in their music. And while those band rarely get to a punt of noticeable popularity, some of them do have followings.
– Yes, we are not good with these things called “words.” We know this. And I don’t care if a member of Gorguts composes symphonies on the side…leave it out of the album. It doesn’t fit. Or, as they somewhat did, work that compositional style into the Death Metal you are known for and leave it at that.