Classic Album Review :: Kittie — Oracle

I don’t know why I got this album in my head. I was wheeling through my kitchen humming the chorus for What I Always Wanted when my wife, being rather concerned, asked what was wrong with me. The awkward thing is that song is not the only one on the album with singing, but has the least interesting pattern to get stuck in your head.

For being from London, Ontario, this album still scratches an itch that only a few bands can. I hesitate to call it Nu Metal, but it did come out around right around Untouchables by Korn (predating it by a year). Really, a better comparison is The End of All Things to Come by Mudvayne with less “David Bottrill” in the whole sound area.

Very simple guitar and bass. Almost too much (in a good way) drums. Vocals that pierce every inch of your soul. Beautiful singing. To be honest, that is why I have gone this long with never bringing this band up before. I love them, the first 3 albums anyway, but that is literally all I have to say about them.

If you just want something heavy, yet beautiful (in a broken way), you can do MUCH worse. They do the early ’90s sound yet still remain relevant. I mean, Mudvayne and Korn are my only (halfway) decent comparisons, and they really don’t describe this band at all.

Oracle is amazing. Spit and Until the End are good, but a bit more particular. They have one more album, but I hated it.

Personal note: don’t y’all enjoy how I am like “BYE SEE YOU NEXT YEAR” and then publish a review in the same week? I am going to not be doing blog stuff, and I am only going to be writing about music you should check out. I say that not expecting anything fascinating to happen in any other regards this year. I might be wrong.

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Found Footage

Filmed by
Allastair Keddy

The bass player in this footage came over today. I have seen him once since I got out of hospital, and that was two years ago. It was nice to see him. He filled me in that this exists. Minus the sound quality, it is actually decent footage of this show.

The premiss was that we had to cover a band that influence us. I was never a huge Underoath fan, especially no the album these songs are from, but I was concede the fact that they were a huge musical influence on what we did.

The last song was original.

I hope you enjoy!

Halloween: why it matters

I’m going to start this article by saying that “A Nightmare Before Christmas” is overrated. I think the movie itself is perfectly fine, but I can barely calculate how many of my peers seem to think that it is the perfect example of a Halloween movie. IT’S A CHRISTMAS MOVIE.

Anyway.

I am not vocal enough about holidays. I worked retail for far too long and now I hate most, if not all, important days of the year. I do have a soft-spot for Halloween, however. Even if, by definition, it is not a holiday.

I consider it a far better marker for the season. To me, a perfect fall day is met with pumpkins and candle light. To slot those into one day seems petty, but I fully understand why it happens.

To have pumpkin shit available all year would cheapen the experience. The charm of late-October being inundated by Jack-O-Lanterns is quite novel. As far as the rest of the “Spooky” stuff, I never understood why it was given its own day. Skeletons and spiders and demons are a daily occurrence in the metal/punk scene, and to designate a day where it becomes “mainstream” seems counter-counterculture.

With the prior rant out of the way, I want to state that I have nothing against Halloween. I think that it’s perfectly fine and, fine. I don’t understand the fan-fare, but whatever.

Why Metal?

I was faced by that question lately. I was initially threatened by the concept from a standpoint of being afraid of being limited, but I found the opposite to be true the further I thought about it.

To be completely honest, it’s the genre you can do literally anything with and get away with it. Compare “Blood Brothers” to “Invent, Animate” and you clearly see what I mean. The former is chaotic, hyper, and almost desperate. The latter is methodical, depressed, and revels in being beautiful. I am NOT saying that “Blood Brothers” is not beautiful, but I (being a huge fan) acknowledge that calling them beautiful as a descriptor is a bit misleading.

When I was younger, I was initially upset by the local music hole dropping the metal section and just putting Tool in the same section as Iron & Wine. Now that I have listened to more and developed my pallet a bit farther, I realize the monumental task of having to justify I Wrestled a Bear Once being in the same specific category as In Flames.

Sure, we still have Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, and Killswitch Engage. If every band performed music like that, it would be silly easy to label things as ‘Metal’ and call it a day. Now, however, we have bands pushing genre’s and sounds. Dillinger Escape Plan and Cephalic Carnage exist in a world along side Periphery, and other than time changes and a way of doing some vocals there is little to compare them.

When someone speaks of classic metal, I have an issue relating them in my mind. I love Black Sabbath, but to categorize them in the same way as Kittie seems like a misstep. What compounds the confusion are bands like Refused and Alexisonfire. It used to be metal made after the nineties had screaming. Full stop. Then those two bands emerged* and everything changed: now punk and basically anything with thrashing could have screaming.

*Yes, Refused are from the ’90s. There was other punk with screaming before Refused, but that is a decent benchmark.

Even electronica and pop started to take parts from metal. With Throbbing Gristle and Skinny Puppy came the whole industrial movement, where bands would use fake drums and keyboards to create sounds only previously found in horror movies. On the pop side, Sleigh Bells were started by a member of a metal band. He adapted many metal tropes into the music that was written.

I need to stop, but I was thinking about this today. If you want me to deconstruct any other musical genres or whatever, leave me a comment somewhere and I’ll see what I can do.

Also, I feel like I need to add that this is far from definitive, complete, or probably right. There has been many attempts to categorize and catalogue the metal scene, and I feel like they ignore entire parts of metal, much as I have. There are even a couple of points I made that I don’t fully agree with, but would have to type pages to make one point. Metal is a vast term, and it has many different forms. I didn’t even touch on most of the -cores, post-‘s, or any specific genres like death, black, and chamber metal. If there is a call to arms, I will put a better list. Even if I spend days on doing so, I won’t agree with some of my classifications, and I will miss so many labels.

…and people wonder why I listen to metal…

Classic Album Review :: The End — Within Dividia

Well, I am highlighting a metal album! This should have no bearing on metrics, at all!

(He says, facetious.)

In all seriousness, this album is very much not fair. Unlike their cohorts in The Dillinger Escape Plan, this album contains no punk influence. That limits the scope of possible fans, but makes it a better listen when you just need to express unbridaled anger.

I do mean anger. Often, metal and depression go more hand-in-hand in my mind, but this album is just intense all the way through. It is a constant barage of hits and accents punctuated by moments of constant auditory oppression. Now, couple that with instrumentation that is entirley not fair and vocals that could have been written by a very talented pissed off cat, and you get one of the most intense albums you will ever come across.

The transition this band took on the next album caused whiplash. They went from a Dillinger-Calculating Infinity-esqe slaughter to more of a Tool mixed with Dillinger sound. The vocalist got “prettier” and they focused more on waves of rhythm, as opposed to shots of chaos. The next album was a fantastic addition to their repitior, but Within Dividia is still where my heart lies. I honestly feel that this album will stand alone for all time as one of the greatest albums in it’s genre to come out of Canada.

Very much for fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Buried Inside.

~PATREON SUPPORTER TALE :: Joey Hartman

Joey: you have been a fantastic support in the last month. I feel bad because we had a very uneventful friendship. Especially how we got talking.

To explain to everyone, Joey was that guy who went to the occasional local show. I liked his hair, but we never really talked. Not for any sort of negative reasons, we just traveled in different circles.

Then: he became that guy dating my ex girlfriend. Then, soon moved to that guy dating my ex-girlfriend AND living with my other ex. There was never any bad blood, he was always super friendly when we ran into each other.

No, I was the douche ho.ding onto resentment secretly, for a little bit anyway. I got over it quickly. I don’t even have a good excuse why I was ever so uncomfortable. I think it was just me being a teenager/young man.

Due to me being silly, Joey and I didn’t share in many ‘coming-of-age’ tales. There was about two years where we were both in metal bands and shared the stage a few times. He was a vocalist, and quite a good one at that.

Anyway, that ex-girlfriend of mine he was dating? Yeah, they got married a couple of years ago. Now they have a beautiful baby daughter. I have nothing but respect for the two of them, and I wish them the best of luck.

Thank you, Joey. You are one of the good ones.

PATREON UPDATE: I added a few new tiers. I am always looking for new ideas, and would love to hear everyone out. Also, my update for Sunday gives more details and, frankly, better details. I just wrote it, so I am not going to put it all down again. Keep posted for that update Sunday at Eight AM.

One thing I forgot to mention: there have been some that have not actually selected a tier. As you can tell by my rampant explanation of my past over and over again, it does not affect me directly. It does, unfortunately, effect the algorithms around the visibility of the site PLEASE make sure to select a tier. There are options if you do not want anything other than praise (because who does not want praise?).

Have You Not HEARD? Metal Edition

I pretty much started writing this as soon as the last was posted. I am no fool: I know metal is not everyones cup-of-tea, but it contains some of the best musicianship you will ever hear. Some of these albums have warped my mind for years, and those I just found “recently” will warp my mind for many to come.

I will warn you: some of these albums are very-much not metal. The main intent of this list is to point to albums that, I think, should be acknowledge by the community.

Invent, Animate :: Everchanger
An example of one I found recently, this band blows my mind every time I listen to them. Aggressive, beautiful, fast and complicated. If you do not have this album, rectify that instantly. NOTE TO DRUMMERS: The fuck…? People can do that?
The link in the band name is the first track on the album Everchanger called Sol. It is a song that gets in my head, and stays there for days.

Structures :: All of the Above [EP]
You may notice a trend in the metal albums I recommend: they all have ridiculous drumming and general song structure. This EP is no different. I will confess, I have not listened to their full length that came out a few years ago. The vocals are a bit trying, but any musician can appreciate what they do on this.

Straight Reads the Line :: The Author
What does this album do differently than most? It has amazing lyrics and incredible dynamics. I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with these boys many times, I must say they NEVER disappoint.

Sleigh Bells :: Treats
I can almost hear the cries of disbelief. Yes, I put a pop band on this list, but SERIOUSLY: listen to this album. It is the guitar player from Poison the Well and is so barely pop. The only thing that keeps it in that category is the use of a drum machine and the style of vocals.

Melt-Banana :: Bambi’s Dillema
The best way to describe this album is “What?” quickly followed by smashing someone’s head into a concrete wall. This album is the definition of ridiculous.

Hail The Sun :: Wake
Shown to me by the beautiful Stephen Correa, this album hurts me in all the right ways. Think Circa Survive, but more complicated. Seriously, the drums on this album are damned near impossible to follow, yet make perfect sense.
BONUS POINTS! The drummer is the lead singer! You can find some live videos online.

Buried Inside :: Chronoclast: Selected Essays On Times Reckoning and Auto-Cannabalism
Seriously, with a name that unnecessary, you know the album will be amazing.
This album is unfair with how fast it is at points. From Canada, this band broke up in 2010. I cannot decide if it is too bad they broke up because they could have done amazing things for metal or fantastic because now this album will not be corrupted. With that said, I do have their other two albums. They are good, but not this good. Seriously: how do people’s minds work this fast?

Counterparts :: Prophets
I can hear eyes rolling from friends of mine. I played with this band several times back around the release of this album in 2010. It’s fast, angry, and beautiful. I personally loved the guys in this band, and felt that they always put on a fantastic live show. This band contained, at one time, one of my favourite drummers in the punk/metal/hardcore scene in Ontario.

The Contortionist :: Language
Funny story: I discovered this band about two years before writing this. I had only heard this album up until a month ago. I only like their sound on this album. That is NOT to say that I don’t hear the talent on their prior recordings, but I am a huge fan of the band Tool: this album shares a lot with Tool’s Lateralus album, which was my favourite album up until a couple of years ago. Combine that with my inability to comprehend some of the writing behind the progressions and you have a recipe for me to love every minute of this album.

The End :: Within Dividia
I harp to my friends about this album all of the time. Not prior to this recording, nor after, have I found something more complicated. More visceral. More amazing.
Definitely for fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan, but much less punk. The drummer is nothing shy of a beast. I got the pleasure of seeing this band on a tour for the album after this one, which was much different, but the event was more like a religious experience as opposed to a concert.

Well, that was fun! My attention has been less on metal as of late, so nothing here is very new. I hope you found something new that you love.

~Update

Starting the first of July, You’re Not Dead will use this as its main page.

I will be doing updates gradually over the next couple of weeks to facilitate this transition. I hope it will go as smoothly as possible.

On that note, I have sold 95 copies: completely independently! Thank you so much for your continued support. I have written about 75% of the next book, and I hope to have more information about that to you very soon!