A headbanger's blog!

Posts tagged “Progressive Metal

Drawing Lines – The Self-Defeating Division and Derision in the Metal Community

You may remember me writing a different article on prejudice and bias in the metal community a while back. Consider this a companion piece to that one, as I’m taking on the same basic issue from a slightly different angle. Enjoy!

Image courtesy of  Last.fm

Image courtesy of Last.fm

I had an interesting talk with a co-worker the other day.

This co-worker of mine is big into the punk scene. He’s very much like me in his approach to punk in that he believes all forms have bands with merit. He doesn’t discriminate between pop-punk bands like Gob, hardcore like Black Flag, proto-punk like The Stooges, etc. He feels that there is quality music to be found in every portion of that genre. He feels that for punks to put themselves in even smaller boxes is ultimately self-defeating.

I couldn’t agree with him more. As someone who likes glam metal, death metal, NWOBHM, tech-thrash, and a whole host of other styles, I feel that for a metal fan to deny ones self exposure to new music based purely on some kind of prejudice against a certain scene or time frame is the definition of narrow minded.

For example, I’ve met my share of progressive metal fans in my travels. These are guys who like the high-minded, technical side of traditional and power metal. They like their music to be intelligent and ever-changing. I too think that progressive bands are incredibly interesting and would call myself a fan of several. But many prog fans deride glam metal as some kind of lower form of entertainment for less evolved beings. I don’t think that those fans, in all honesty, are being fair to themselves. Sure, there are many bands in that genre that could be considered simple pop music with hard rock guitars thrown in. But for every Poison or Bon Jovi, there’s a Mötley Crüe or Ratt.

That may make a lot of you chuckle, because they aren’t a technically gifted outfit, but think about it the breadth of their material. Throughout the course of their career, Crüe has never made the same album twice. Their sound has always fluctuated and changed and they now have one of the most musically diverse catalogues of music in heavy metal. Just through their first four albums they have glam rock/glam punk (Too Fast for Love), traditional heavy metal (Shout at the Devil), Sleaze Metal/Hard Rock (Theatre of Pain) and straight-up rock ‘n roll (Girls, Girls, Girls). That’s four different styles of music, each presented within the band’s own identity. Has Dream Theater ever been as diverse from album to album?

If you’re a prog fan who’s in it for the technicality and musicianship more than the variety and evolution, you might appreciate Ratt, who’s simple radio-friendly structures hide supremely talented and technical players. Just listen to the chops on “You’re In Trouble” from their first album.

Courtesy of KonigNick

To go for another example, I’ve met many people who claim to be massive fans of Pantera. I ask them if they’ve ever heard any of the stuff off of Power Metal, Projects In the Jungle, Metal Magic or I Am The Night; the band’s early, glam metal albums. More often than not they just stare at me looking perplexed. This is largely because that band, as awesome and awe-inspiring as they would become, completely abandoned and ignored their older material. I understand the reasons behind that decision, but I still feel it’s a shame that they felt the need to do that. There’s a ton of great songs, like “Out For Blood“, “Right on the Edge“, and “Death Trap“, that many Pantera fans have simply missed because, at the time, the band felt their only way to survive was to completely shed not only their old image, but their old material as well. To this day, many fans don’t know of that fantastic old-school material with Dimebag (Then known as “Diamond”) Darrell’s always stellar guitar work. That is down to the total derision of an entire section of the metal community in the 90s.

So don’t just ignore whole sub-genres based on your own prejudices or preconceptions. Give every band a fair chance to win you over, even if you’re not particularly fond of their image. You may find interesting material in places that you wouldn’t have thought to look.


So… Maiden England tour… (Spoiler Alert!)

I just saw Iron Maiden‘s setlist from last night in Charlotte post on Metal Hammer‘s website. Needless to say, it’s pretty sick! Here’s a breakdown of what can expect to see this here in Ottawa on the 7th! Get ready Metalheads! \m/

Intro: Doctor Doctor (UFO song)

1 – Moonchild*

2 – Can I Play With Madness*

3 – The Prisoner**
(First time played live since September 21, 1991)

4 – 2 Minutes to Midnight***

5 – Afraid to Shoot Strangers****
(First time played live since December 12, 1998)

6 – The Trooper*****

7 – The Number of the Beast**

8 – Phantom of the Opera******

9 – Run to the Hills**

10 – Wasted Years*******

11 – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son*
(First time played live since December 12, 1988)

12 – The Clairvoyant*

13 – Fear of the Dark****

14 – Iron Maiden******

Encore

15 – Aces High***

16 – The Evil That Men Do*

17 – Running Free******

Outro: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python song)

* – From Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
** – From The Number of the Beast (1982)
*** – From Powerslave (1984)
**** – From Fear of the Dark (1992)
***** – From Piece of Mind (1983)
****** – From Iron Maiden (1980)
******* – From Somewhere in Time (1986)

So there you have it. Not a perfect setlist but, when it comes to a band like Maiden, perfect would require 3-4 hours worth of material. As things are, let me tell you, I’m absolutely pumped for my personal third Maiden experience. If you’re in or around Ottawa, check out OttawaBluesfest.ca. If you’re else, check out the Tour Dates page on the band’s official website.

Oh and P.S.: Multiple Eddies!

Super pumped? You’re welcome! Up the Irons!


A Metallic Rebirth for Queensrÿche?

So the news came down yesterday that Crimson Glory‘s Todd La Torre has officially replaced Geoff Tate in Seattle Progressive Metal institution Queensrÿche. I’m a massive Geoff Tate fan, and my first reaction, I’ll admit, was dissappointment. Geoff has one of the most unique, entertaining and skillful voices in not just the Metal world, but the Rock world as well. He has always been among my favourite singers and it’s a shame that the drama that had been brewing around QR for months has finally culminated with him being sacked.

After a moment or two I was able to take a step back and think about the situation. I realized that that, as unfortunate as the loss of Geoff at the helm of QR is, it’s also, quite possibly, a great thing for people like me who feel most passionately for the band’s early works. It’s no secret that it was largely Geoff that drove the band in a more straight-ahead Rock direction. His being replaced by Todd, current singer for another undeniably progressive and technical Metal band, definitely points to a desire on the part of the rest of Queensrÿche to return to heavier music.

There are so many positives that can come from this. Most obviously and as noted above, a return to Warning/Rage/Mindcrime/Empire style heaviness. This will also, with any luck, result in greater exposure of the perennially unsung Crimson Glory, a band loved by those who know them but who’ve never quite achieved the audiences they deserve. Todd La Torre has said in a statement released after the news broke yesterday that he is not leaving Crimson Glory, but that he will be involved with both bands. As such, Queensrÿche fans will undoubedtly, finally, be brought into the Crimson Glory camp as well. Outside of this even, we may finally see a follow-up to Geoff Tate’s interesting 2002 solo effort. Couple this with the fact that Geoff has stated that his solo material this time out is in a very Hard Rock type of direction and the potential is their for a very solid album.

So it seems that, for enduring a change of vocalist that may be something of a culture shock, we get a lot in return. Two excellent, interesting acts, two phenomenol vocalists, renewed attention toward a two progressive institutions, and Heavy friggin’ Metal. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pumped to see what not only Queensrÿche, but also what Geoff Tate and Crimson Glory have in store.

video courtesy of SavoiaPhotography