Friday, December 18, 2009

Metal Head Cyclists and the Art of Shame

The other week while working at the bike shop I work at I met the first roadie who liked old metal and had long hair, other than myself, in about...well...ever.

Because my work shirt was at home and dirty I was wearing a sweet Slayer 'Live Undead' shirt with the various members of said band appearing as badly drawn skeletons. Except the drummer Dave Lombardo, who appears as a de-torsoed statue, still holding drum sticks. Despite all this they all have long hair and are able to hold guitars. But i digress.

So this competant looking cyclist came in, team kit and shaved legs looking fresh, and asked to pump up his tyres. I said sure. He then let out an excited gasp and proceeded to express his love for Slayer. I agreed with everything he said. He then inquired as to what else i was 'into'. Being wary of listing of lists i avoided the question. He persisted, however, and soon we were comparing the various highs and mostly lows of such bands as Morbid Angel, classic Obituary and Kreator.

Flushed with the excesses and geekiness of our conversation, i pointed out we were a rare breed of dorktastic fashion and life style choice, with a penchant for silly sports. He agreed, as he left the shop to rejoin his group. Mildly pleased with this encounter i returned to truing a taco shaped wheel.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Increased Readership: Further to Fall

Due to my opening my fat mouth or rather, attacking my keyboard, my self indulgent, badly spelt and edited blog has an increased readership of about three. By my calculations thats an increased readership of about 300%. Well done me.

In further news I have largely abandoned my metal tendencies for the past week, and have instead indulged in generation X grunge. This is awesome:



Nirvana as a four piece, with a long haired guitarist, always makes me laugh. You can still hear the metal influences and the punk in the air, before grunge had totally defined its sound.

As well as that I've been listening to some Mudhoney and some Pixies just to add to the basic indignity of my musical taste. The other day, on the train, i found myself listening to Sixpence None the Richer. I don't know how it happened, but it did...and furthermore, i didn't even notice until the song was over. Suffice to say that i blushed.

In other news, in the tradition of all metal fans I'v recently joined a band as a singer. If nothing else, it's sure to provide plenty of comedy relief becasue A. i can't sing, and B. death metal sounds terrible unless in the hands of professional toss pots.

Today i did a skid, and the tyre squeaked really loudly.

Apologies about the lack of structure or anything of any real value in this post. I became stressed when i discovered someone was actually reading it. I'll be back for more when i think of more insults about metal/cycling etc.

Here is a criminally underated band:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Defense of Anthrax: Ravings of a Madman

Thrash Metal is fairly popular, and has seen a resurgence in the past few years, myself one of the victims of this new popularity, no doubt due to the internet. Often in the same breath, the term 'The Big Four of Thrash' is often mentioned. These bands are Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax. The first three make perfect sense. Say what you will about Megadeth and Dave Mustaine, it's irrelevant. Some people seem to like him. Plus Tornado of Souls is a sweet song.

The real problem arises around Anthrax. This bunch of moronic New Yorkers rose to great heights within the metal scene in the eighties and even went on to further embarass themselves in the ninties by flirting with rap. It is often claimed that their best album was Among the Living, released in 1986. This is no doubt true, it certainly is there best record. However, based on their other recordings, specifically, I'm the Man, this is no great claim to fame. The best song off Among the Living is Caught in a Mosh, and that is pretty damn mediocre. I will also concede that the song Madhouse has a sweet video clip.

What gets me is the image. Portrayed as the fun guys, when compared to the sincerity of Metallica, the pseudo-satanism of Slayer, and the idiocy of Megadeth, Anthrax did outrageous things like wear board shorts and, later, track suits with mad bling:

























To me it strikes me as incredibly put on. Metallica is often accused of playing with image and scene for the sake of record sales. I would argue that Anthrax did so in a far more cynical way. Not to mention they released terrible music. I am liable to forgive Metallica for everything when i hear Shortest Straw...though perhaps not the song Frantic.

In any case, when we compare Anthrax with a band who did not make any ground, and were relegated to the credibility laden, but money bare underground, such as Morbid Saint:



We see just how bad Anthrax are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqClrI343Bg (please excuse lack of embed)

I would argue that the Public Enemy shirt is sweet.

I realise i am not saying anything fundamental here. Terrible bands 'make it', while excellent ones are relegated to the proverbial trash.

The only thing worse than Anthrax is James Hetfield's current voice, as well as anything written by Municipal Waste. Also, Armored Saint.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Philosophy and Metal: Nothing But Shame

Aside from riding a lot and listening to terrible music i also go to university. There I am doing philosophy. Naturally i find the topic both interesting and terribly hard.
So when two of my interests combine, I always pay attention (cycling and philosophy never go together because pros are too busy saying banal things like: "I gave it 110% but never pulled through with the goods", and amateur's are too busy emulating said pros).
I came across an article on http://www.anus.com/ regarding the 'Philosophy of Metal', which can be found here:
http://www.anus.com/metal/about/philosophy/

Aside from being over-blown, verbose, and largely wrong, it was a very interesting read. The idea that metal might have a philosophical back-bone, other than drunk men wanting to compose 'sweet riffs', was kind of encouraging. It makes metal seem more like an artistic movement, rather than an anthises to one.

I became discouraged however when i saw this picture:













Aside from being a terrible band, I am sure that Cannibal Corpse has no philosophical backing. The article pointed this out, quite rightly. I am sure that some bands do. Many bands have a pseudo philosophical approach, such as Morbid Angel, but they are about as comprehensible as CC vocals.

The idea that heavy metal started out as a reaction to the hippy music of the 1960's seems too easy an explanation, as it doesn't take into account the punk and hardcore that was so important for its development. There is also the issue that because metal is so broad it encompasses far too many views and espouses to many opinions for it to have a unified philosophy per se. To make claims that metal is the 'strong mans' music, and then relating to Nietzsche and his nihilism seems to miss the point. Metal, if anything, is often the bastion for those who crave belonging and find it in the metal sub-culture. These are the people who are 'metal heads' but clearly don't understand it beyond a superficial, horns in the air way. Beyond that, though it is common to equate metal with depression and despair, i have often found metal to be life affirming. Not simply in the way i listen to it, but also in what the music is trying to achieve. Thrash bands were politicallyy aware (at least for a time), black metal bands explored naturalism in both the human world and in nature, death metal was often not without a social voice, etc, etc.

I have no doubt that much of what the article says is correct in some ways, but to me it seemed overly simplistic, and missed some of metal's finer, more subtle points. Metal, if anything, is a cross section of both social consciousness and complete ignorance expressed in a musical form that is often unpallatable. I have always been convinced that the difference between a good and a bad metal band is the substance behind the music itself, whether it be through good or interesting lyrics, or their actions in life.

When all is said and done though, nothing describes the tingle down the spine when you hear a kick ass riff.



Maybe that is the true philosophy of metal: the animalisitc reaction we all get when we first hear it, before we have a chance to falsely intellectualise what it essentially so much noise.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hammering it Home: Why No One will Admit that Grindcore sounds terrible

I love grindcore. I love the bands:


















Look at these guys? Have you ever seen uglier men? Do they give a fuck? Hell NO! Two of them are wearing the same band tee.

I also love them for the songs:





Clearly it has a lot going for it. I love the way it attracts punks and metal fans alike. I like its left leaning anarchic politics. I like its lack of pretension that is so overbearing in death metal. When the mood is right grindcore is brilliant.


















But holy god it sounds bad sometimes. To make myself feel more metal, i occasionly listen to Scum, Napalm Death's first album. In between feeling prety metal and enjoying most of the tunes, i realise that this music sounds TERRIBLE! It sounds as if the local band, consisting of 14 year olds, has suddenly won a record deal, thought: "fuck it, let's not tune our instruments, or rehearse" and recorded an album. Carcass released god knows how many albums, none of which i can pronounce the title. Then they suddenly got soft and started playing mediocre death metal.

This is not to detract from grindcore's many benefits. It still is mercifully devoid of posers, it stands for good things, and it did a lot for metal. But holy god it sounds bad most of the time.

All that being said, when it's good, it's damn good. A case in point here is Terrorizer's first album.



Above is a case in point. One day there might be a good grind band that doesn't look like this:














That being said, they look much better than Napalm Death.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nobr Akes: The lies and blindness of the cool

Lately, i have experimented with brakeless fixed gear riding. To some extent, what they say about it is true. You are more aware, you do gain a wider appreciation for the road, and it can be really fun if your doing it right. If you can do it: right on, i admire you. If you can't, put a brake on.
I realise this has been done to death in fixed gear circles, and I am of the firm opinion it should be down to the discretion of the individual. However my concern stems from the habit of people riding brakeless simply becuase it is cool at the moment. Not to mention the myths that come out of it: it makes me safer becuase i am more aware, i ride faster becuase i haev to comit to the line i take, it's the only way to ride, etc. etc.
Of the times i have ridden brakeless in built up areas, i rode much slower than usual due my totally uncool tendency for self preservation. Being more aware is all very well, but that doesn't stop a mad taxi drived coming out of a side street directly in front of you and royally fuckign you over. Basically i was totally fucking terrified. And it definately did NOT make me faster or more commited to my line. It just made me nervous, slow, and incosistent. A fixed gear bike with a brake is, in my opinion, one of the fastest ways you can get around urban areas. You can crank your cadance up to the limit, and the use of a brake keeps your pedalling smooth and constant, with no need for elaborate skids.
All this being said, I'm quite keen to continue dabbling with no brakes simply becuase i do think it improves my riding and i do believe it is a good skill to have. What i don't believe is that it is better than riding with a brake in terms of safety. It sure is fun though.
All i want it for people to recognise their limits, recognise that it is a difficult skill to aquire, and that having a front brake is a GOOD thing. So in the event of a chain/cleat/clip/cog failure your not forced to gulp bravely, and plunge into an intersection taking out various innocent civilians with you.
In conclusion, if you are honestly skilled, go NOBR AKES. If you have doubts, pull your head in, and palp a brake. By all means dabble with both in controlled envrioments however. Just like these esteemed gentleman.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shaved Legs, Long Hair: A recipe for ridicule

As a cyclist who likes metal i have come across a problem about ten people around the globe suffer from (judging from the amount of readers of Cycling Inquisition).
I am of course referring to the phenomena of having long 'epic' hair, while shaving one's legs. Both, ironically, are seen as totally bizarre and out there by people not from aforementioned sub-groups. However both habits stem from some of the more conservative elements of both groups. Metal fans and cyclists all have a 'uniform' to which one is expected to conform.
The general indigntiy of it stems from when these worlds clash. Metal heads reel in horror when they see my baby smooth legs, while cyclists of a certain type loose my wheel in contempt at the sight of my hair.
Basically, the basic truth of someone who straddles two idiotic subcultures is bound to come off accepted by neither. Sometimes i wonder whether i should end the charade and do what this man is doing:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cycling Caps and Concerts: An Exercise in Dissapointment

Last night i went to see Slayer and Megadeth. Megadeth were pretty darn good, but failed to ultimately excite me. I was so looking forward to Slayer, but the mediocre nature of reality came rushing forward when Tom announced he had lost his voice. He then went on to invite mad fans to sing instead. Suffice to say i was totally shattered. Most of the people there, as a result, looked like this:

















Badly dressed, and incredibly sad, but unwilling to make a show of it. This was possibly the first gig that i was actually dissapointed by. Usually i come out of a concert overwhelmed with both sweat, body odour, and the sneaking feeling i made a wrong decision somewhere, but ultimately happy. Last night i just felt depressed. Hopefully they will come down again to make amends.

In cycling related thoughts, i have been giving some though toward cycling caps of this variety:












These caps make me simultaneously angry and happy at the same time. If someone similar to this gentleman is wearing one, it makes me happy. It's the people who wear Mapei hats, while simultanesouly not knowing who Mapei were, and making fun of guys in lycra on their expensive bikes. The fasion they they appropriate is straight from said people.
There's also the fact that these caps are so ridiculous. I really like them, and find it difficult to wear a helmet without one these days. But seriosuly. Look at them. It's just a piece of cloth with a bastardised cap. If i wanted to look like an idiot, I'd rollerblade. There is nothing more ridiculous than rocking up to a fixed gear 'event' to be inundated with young males in tight jeans and brand new caps, the origin of which they have no idea. This is not an attack, as i count myself amongst the prestigious folds of these gentleman. I just wish more people wore them like this:










Rather than this:

















That just makes me angry. You can be sure he never OD'd in a lonely hotel room, alone, with his career up in smoke.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The crash: the wheels didn't keep their Integrity

It was with some surprise on Tuesday that i found myself ploughed into the side of a car. Other than some minor damage to me, and the car, and some substantial damage to my bike's wheels, i came of very well, considering the speed and general dangerous nature of the crash. This is roughly what i looked like:
















The only difference was, lack of other cyclists, a car, a slightly different fall, and i was rocking a sweet sleeveless Exodus shirt. Also the bike was cheaper, and i wasn't wearing Time knicks, i was wearing jeans. This saved some skin.
What was really brought to bear though was the general indignity of crashing. All the cars watching you, either pitying or tut tuting you. The scew if nature of my ponytail. The ridiculous angle of my helmet. The blood on the Crumpler bag. The indignity went on and on. Luckily for me the driver was a decent man who was genuinely sorry and upset. That did not stop me from swearing and making an ass of my shaken and scared self.
What it does make one think about is a fact that one often forgets during the rigours of bike commuting: people on the road want to kill you. If they did, sure they would be upset, but they would most likely recover, but you would be dead, and your bike scrapped.
I don't say this to sound inexperienced. I've had my share of falls in packs, been doored, heckled, abused, had things thrown at me, done silly things which nearly ended badly. This i have done. What is interesting is that one forgets. Today i rode as if nothing had happened. I can't work out if this is a good or a bad thing. To ride with fear is dangerous. But am i being reckless? Is wearing an Exodus shirt overkill? (heh heh, the metal fans will see what i did there)
When all is said and done however, it makes me realise that, rather than riding fast in the city i should be doing this:















This gentleman clearly has the right idea. Not only is he rocking panniers, he is also wearing reflective and water resistant clothing. Urban, denim clad riders can suck it. I clearly did.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fixed Up, Cramped Up

Today i rode the Fix Up, Look Sharp Alleycat. The weather couldn't of been nicer, and a lot of people turned up which was great to see. My mistake, however, was going for a group ride on Beach Rd that morning.
To be frank, my legs were a bit sore from the start, and the alleycat course was not without its fair share of hills. Suffice to say i was fairly tired by the end.
My team mates Chaz and Jason did well. While Jason wasn't as fit as Chaz and I he bust a gut to keep up. Chaz got a puncture about a third of the way through but i used my sweet mechanic skills to fix that up fairly quickly.
We came in about ninthish, out of thirty two teams, which i was pleased by, given the flat tire and my tiredness on the day. Pip and his team, who we had been rididng with before the flat, got second, so perhaps next time we will have more luck.
All this aside it was a sweet day full of frolics and fun to be had by all. I was going to post some pics but none have been posted yet and clearly I'm too lazy too take my own.
Thanks to everyone who organised it. Also bad luck to the dude who bent his chainring IN HALF! Metal az.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Metal Concerts: An exercise in mediocrity

Last Wednesday i went to see Kreator, a famous German thrash band. They were, to say the least, totally fucking awesome. After crowd surfing and moshing me wee heart out, i came home, bleeding slightly and totally exhilarated. It also got me thinking of, now that i am somewhat of a veteran of concerts now, the things I have learnt to do and not do. Some of these are general bits of information that any metal fan can take into account. Others are more personal and reflect the basic indignity of my lifestyle: a metal head that enjoys cycling.

1. Dress appropriately for said concert. Keys in pocket are a no no dude to potential stabbing if you should fall in the pit. People who say wear sturdy shoes are idiots. Combat boots are slight overkill. All that being said, wear sturdy shoes, you don't want your volley's disappearing. And wear ear plugs. So when your fifty and you go see an 80 year old Metallica, you can hear them. Cut off denim jacket or flannel is crucial. Band tee of band you are seeing is sure sign of a fool. I made this faux pas at Slayer in 2007. I only just got away with it. But make sure the shirt you do wear is of a band of a similar type. Do not, for example, go to see Opeth, wearing a Slipknot tee shirt. Not only are the latter not metal all, it's ridiculous to have a populist rap metal band tee shirt to a folk death metal concert.

2. Do NOT ride to the concert. Unless your palping a sweet Harley, which is the only 'bike' a metal crowd will respect. No one is gonna give a fuck if you rock up on your sweet Look, and god forbid that you should rock up on your 'sweet fixie'. Metal heads despise hipsters. With a vehement passion. They are far to genuine to put up with showmanship tomfoolery. (The fact they like Municipal Waste is a delicious irony)

3. The average metal fan looks like this:
























For Gods sake, don't get him angry. We all know Blind Guardian are pompous, ridiculous German's who should have stopped before they named an album 'A Night At the Opera' featuring a fourteen minute song, but he's ignorant of this. Talk to him. Exchange views of all things metal. Discuss the nineties Iron Maiden line up, and just how much they SUCKED.

4. When the music actually begins (you can tell because the token Pantera fan, with cargo shorts and Vans, is breathing really loudly and soaking his face with beer) don't make a dick of yourself. There is a difference between moshing and fighting. Don't hit anyone in the face, unless they do first. If you crowd surf, be sure to return the favour to whoever lifted you up. And thank the bouncers! They are getting payed sure, but can you imagine how horrible it is to spend two hours lifting sweaty hairy metal heads, who haven't changed their Nike high tops since 1991?

5. DO yell things at the band. It makes them think they are still relevant and entertaining in a world that has forgotten metal and all it's pathetic fans such as myself.

6.If anyone falls over in the pit, rather than stomp on them as the Pantera fan is, help them up. It could be your face that is being crushed into the ground.

7. When you purchase beverages (you need these to overlook the place your spending time in, as well as to summon up courage to enter the pit) be nice to the people at the bar. While you are hearing sweet old school thrash from 'back in the day', they are hearing horrible distorted guitar with grating vocals, and smelling lots of smelly people. Some of them are actually quite attractive women. Don't fool yourself. They aren't impressed by your sweet Obituary back patch, but it can be pleasant looking at them regardless.

8. When the concert is over, DO fight tooth and nail for the generic pics the band will pass out. They will one day be worth slightly more than they are worth now.

9.When outside the venue, don't linger around with people you don't know or want to know talking about the 'sweet blast beats' and 'brutal vocals'. It was mediocre at best, admit it.

10. If your were stupid enough to ride your bike, DO NOT go collect it. There will almost certainly be a group gathered around it discussing 'faggot cyclists' and 'hipster cunts'. Join in the crowd and kick the bike a bit to cover your ass before you make for the train.

11. If you indulged in some sweet windmilling, your neck is gonna hurt like fuck for the next three days. No amount of pseudo massage will change this.

If you take these rules into account you might survive said gig, and even enjoy it. While metal is mostly totally ridiculous, it is certainly a passion of mine, and still never ceases to amaze me with its power to transcend the everyday. Be aware of its faults, but don't be elitist (unless they like Parkway Drive) or act superior because you see through some of metal's pitfalls. It is a great way to meet people you might not ordinarily meet (no braided hair at alley cats) and allows you to see some of the greatest bands the world has ever seen. All that said, Pantera suck. There i said it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dragon Lore: Why Power Metal will always be terrible

Power metal is terrible. It's truly awful. Nothing contrasts more than a good Grindcore band, and a shit power metal band.
Power metal is where the nerds of metal go. The one's who love Lord of the Rings, gaming, guitar hero and fucking horrible vocals. Power metal only plays harmonics and dual guitar harmonies. Not to mention the psuedo operatic vocals.
Power metal fans wear leather pants, huge shirt and Assics running shoes. They look like this:





















That is ManoWar. One of the most succesful power metal bands there is. Go figure. Power metal is very popular in Europe. The word 'epic' is bandied around a lot when describing a band's performance.
My objection to power metal isn't it's sound, or it's total lack of fashion sense. It's the total lack of irony, sarcasm or humour. Every band, when they look you in the eye and say, "THIS NEXT SONG IS ABOUT A DRAGON IN MY DREAMS, THAT FELL UPON THE EARTH TO SMITE THE EVIL WIZARD!", they mean every word.
Thrash, death and grindcore can be ironic. This is why you see it being adopted by hipster's. This is, i'll admit, annoying (hipster metal is a band like Municipal Waste. We get it, your wide brimmed hats and denim jackets are so 80's and stupid, making them cool). However metal that is ironic, or at least has its tongue firmly in cheek is so much more enjoyable.

Napalm Death, for example, were a great grindcore band. They released an awesome album called Scum. In it is the song 'You Suffer'.


Not only is that awesome, it's hilarious. Now compare with a deadly serious, 'epic' power metal song:



Things to note: What the fuck is with the album cover? Terrible music. Awful, generic vocals. Fucking god awful chorus with power metal 'epic' operatic singing. When i heard 'cry for freedom' i thought i'd die laughing.

The point is, power metal just takes itself far too seriously, without ANY hint of irony. The beauty of is it, however, is that hipsters will NEVER latch on to this. Though they will swollow their pride, don denim jackets lathered in patches, grow their hair ironically, and start ironic bands that just rip off 80s metal; they will never don leather pants, wear assics or sing high Iron Miaden vocals. For this we can be glad.

In some ways, one can't help but admire these power metal fans. So loyal are they to this music, they are totally oblivious to just how bad, similar sounding, generic and boring it is.

To prove my point, i leave you with this song. One habit power metal has is to write half their songs about metal and how awesome it is. This is a case in point:



Times like these i need to detox and listen to Death. God help me, i hate metal sometimes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Indignity of the Mane

One of the major incompatabilities with metal and cycling is hair. As a fan of metal, I do follow the cleche' of having long hair. I haven't cut my hair for five years. I like it, plus it makes for mad windmilling at concerts.
When riding, however, problems begin. When i first started growing it, before I could tie it back into a pony tail, it went everywhere. In my eyes, my ears, the back of my neck. Me helmet didn't sit right, and i looked plain weird. Now it's fine. It's down to the middle of my back (when wet) and is easily tied back and outta my way.
On the fixed gear bike, it's fine. No one cares and leaves me alone. However, once the lycra is donned, and your sitting in a pack of hard men with a fucking pony tail, cracks begin to appear in my otherwise cool facade. Despite my general conformity to the roadie 'look', (read: shaved legs, campag cap, expensive helmet, particular branded lycra) the dirty great bunch of hair segregates me from the group.
This isn't to say i care. I don't. But it irritates me that despite my good cycling and gneral normal appearance, my hair somehow sets me off as some sort of bizzarre hippy in the highly conservative road scene.
To be fair, it is a rare sight. A quick google search comes up with nothing referring to male cyclists with long hair. No doubt this is indicative of the general good taste of male cyclists. However i do get abit sick of the men gaping and the women sniggering.
I love road riding, and I love Beach Rd. But god damn, why are they so damn judgemental? Guess I'll just have to show 'em on the road. Hell Phil Anderson did it in the 80's. He rocked a mad pony tail. Unfortunately a search for Anderson's said look came up with this:



















Maybe it's still a fairly fringe idea...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do a Skid!

Due to a popular Australian forum, coupled with the current popularity of fixed gear bikes, it has become increasingly popular to yell "DO A SKID!" to fellow fixed gear riders in the street. This is quite a nice phenomenon for two reasons: it gives a feeling of 'underground' to a group which is fast becoming mainstream, and it's a great way to show off your skillz. It also means that almost everytime you SEE another fixed gear rider, they are doing this:

















To the uninitiated it just looks as if there are a bunch of guys and gals in tight jeans, forever re-adjusting themselves as it were. Then there is also the danger of the the group skid, people requesting skids simultaneously, as well as the n00b skid, which looks a bit like this:



But without the sountrack.

Now I'm all for this tradition. I think it keeps things interesting, funny, and a bit zany. I also love the rumour i heard that the cops yell it out so they can bust people for dangerous riding.

My one concern is that someone who hasn't ridden a bike since the heady days of their 1991 Huffy is going to get on a shitty ten speed equipped with suicide hub, no foot retention, their flimsy Campag cap flapping in the breeze, hear "DO A SKID", try and oblige, and...well...die.

And that will be the end of all the potential elephant trunk skids they could have busted out.

So this is a message to those who might not be 100% confident in skidding down busy intersections with ipod zombies, cars, trams, and cats. Just stay home and watch terrible Slayer videos. I promise you will feel better

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Aleters Of Madness: Why YOU should own this album


Alters of Madness is Morbid Angel's first album. It goes without saying that it is fucking awesome. I was going to talk about skids this post, but I have decided to save it for next time. Today, on the other hand, I am going to run through this album, song by song, and explain why it is so awesome.

Immortal Rites: If ever an album has started of better, I would very much like to hear it. From the opening twisted riff, to David Vincent's gutteral roar, this song is totally over powering. The uninitiated will run from this song, the blast beats mercilessly pounding them into submission. Suffice to say an excellent intro.

Suffocation: This particular song, despite some catchy riffing, has been assigned to the proverbial waste bin. This isn't to say it's a bad song. It simply doesn't compare to some of the great songs to come.

Visions From the Darkside: This is a song that starts generically, but once the weird guitar harmony starts, and Dave screams, "Speak my name!", you know you are, once again, in safe hands. This song runs along a simple chord, but is all the better for it. If there is one thing Morbid Angel never did it is fall into the technical death metal trap that countless, holier than thou bands did. Your album has 250 riffs? Really? Go jump off a cliff and make some simple, good music.

Maze of Torment: One of my favourite songs OF ALL TIME. The opeing riff to this song is beyond describing. It's simply brilliant. From said riff it leads into some of the most brutal blast beats to be heard, then continues on to a fast, furious, lyrically brilliant song. This is the song that deserves a video:



Forgive the dodgy sound quality. Just appriate Death Metal at it's finest.

Lord of all Fevers and Plague: The one song that I feel is meh worthy. It's fast and hard...but it made me feel nothing. Next please.

Chapel of Ghouls: Whatever cred the band had lost with the previous song is more than made up for in this one. When they played this live, i totally lost it. From memory I got punched in the face numerous times. I felt nothing. It was that good. The lyrics are brilliant too. "Ghouls attack the church/Crush the Holy priest/Turning the cross toward hell/Writhe in Satan's flames. Total bullshit, yes. Hella metal, absolutely.

Bleed for the Devil: This is a straight out pulveronic engulfment. No room for thought here. Bleed for the devil? I don't know what it means, but, hell, I'll do it!

Damnation: "Evil Minds grievious sins/Pagan lives have no place for law/Twisted worship exhume the dead/Minds unite for evil cause" FUCK YEH!

Blasphemy: The opening salvo of gun shots lead into a furious bombardment of drums, guitar, and vocals. Dave talks about the Holy Ghost a fair bit too. The guitar solo's in this song are particualry twisted.

Evil Spells: The last song. A slower number for those who wish a reprieve from the brutality (i hate the over use of that word in metal). Dave groans and seeths his way through the chorus. "Evvviilll speellllsss" indeed.

This album is not dynamic or progressive. It's forty odd minutes of total concentrated emotion. Though the next album would go on to mix the slow/fast dynamic, this album stands alone. Never has a band's first effort sounded so damn dangerous and outrightly confident. Lord only knows what it must have sounded like to those in the late eighties still listening to Metallica and a slower Slayer. A breath of fresh air to be sure. My only complaint is this: Why can't more bands do this?!?!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Apologies from the chef

It has come to my attention that the previous posts, whilst being highly humerous and witty, are badly edited. This is not due to my lack of grammar skills. When i write my posts it is generally in a fit of mad creativity. Imagine, if you will, a bearded philosopher frantically writing amongst mountains of paper, stopping only to dip his feather thing in his ink well. This is a good way to imagine me when i write. Obviously, mistakes creep in. Or in my case, break the proverbial door down and assault me within an inch of my life. So from here on i will endeavour to be a little more eloquent and will try and edit my stunning prose a little better. Unless i get really excited, in which case anything goes.
Next post i might address the phenomenon of "DO A SKID!", and how it has spiralled out of control in the Melbourne fixed gear scene, to the point where there are literally hundreds of young people on stupid bikes weaving dangerously across the road, in a desperate display of sweet skillz.
Post Scriptum: apologies for any typo's in this piece.

Black Metal: A love hate relationship

Black metal is, by and large, totally ridiculous. For those not in the know, Black Metal is a form of metal that emerged in the late 80's, early 90's following the extreme path that thrash had taken. Proto-black metal like early Sodom, Venom (in the theatrics) and the like, inspired seemingly hundreds of ugly, badly dressed European kids (mainly Norwegian) to wear a lot of face paint and produce terrible, terrible records. Bands like Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor laid some serious foundations. They then went on to kill each other and go to jail for crimes of extreme violence. One guy killed a gay guy. These people were not nice. They were, mainly, ignorant right wing kids who had sympathies in paganistic romanticism and some serious pride for their white skin. However, amongst the clutter of murky, badly produced albums, are some real gems. This is one of them:



Other than a stupid name, i cannot say enough good things about this song. In the Nightside Eclipse, the album from which this song comes from, is probably the best black metal album ever recorded. Listen to it. Really listen to it. Can you hear how many layers there are? It's incredible. It's more like an experimental noise album. One thing metal fans are guilty of, especially in Black metal, is branding a song as 'atmospheric'. Usually it's total bullshit. In this case it totally true. When i listen to this album, i can literally feel the snow of Norway falling on my head as the fir trees sway. Impressive.

Unfortunately, as with all metal, for one good thing, there are countless bad ones. The next clip comes from Immortal. I like this band, but this early song is truly awful. And the video clip is possibly the funniest thing i have ever seen. If they are being ironic, that's awesome. If they aren't, that's even better:



Where the hell did they get that wizards costume? And wouldn't it have been better to wait for the forest to be covered in snow to create the death like atmosphere? Rather than running through a forest, in corpse paint, that is literally bursting with spring life?

My main problem is the fact black metal has to be very under produced to be credible. Take this burzum song:



Metal elitists love burzum. Don't know why. To me he's (a one man band) a sad right winger who went to jail for murder and writes pseudo philosophy in regards to his pagan ancestors and his rights as a white man. It's elitist, flawed philosophically, and racism disguised as paganisitc pride. As well as that, his records sound like distorted noise. To the black metal elitist, this is a sign of its true character.

That is the world of black metal. Mainly bad, often objectionable, and always hilarious. Half the fun is finding those two or three brilliant records.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why tandems should be banned and Cervelo beaten to death with a lightweight carbon rod

Tandems should be banned. Along with recumbrants and any other kind of freak bike. I don't say this out of ignorance. I work at a bike shop that sells tandems. I assure you they are a pain, and attract the kind of person (or couple) that would normally make me run many kilometres in the opposite direction.
The shop i work in is small and poky. Tandems have a whel base only slightly shorter than a four wheel drive and the turning circle of a tank. And the people who comandeer them are twice as threatening.

Today at work i fixed a lot of bikes which was good. I also lost faith in Cervelo. Cable routing those inner routes is almost impossible. Especially when they don't fit brake cables and are forced to use gear cables for brakes. In what way is that clever or safe? What genius thought allowing a mere three hours to replace cables was a step forward?

My bike that i bought off Trackcvnt is comeing together nicely, and should look quite fetching when finished.

On a totally unrelated note...I had forgotten just how boring The Doors are. I went there, and there's only one way of taking it back...



yet another cyclist proving to all around him, that we are all violent, antisocial cunts. Well done to the camera man for intervening on this piece of outright assault.

I'll be back at some stage during the week with various musings in regards to black metal and its total retarded nature...but occasioanal epicness.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Metal and the unfortunate habit of most to honour the dead beyond what's necessary

Yesterday I went to Missing Link. For those not in the know (and why the hell not one is tempted to ask) Missing Link is one of the only independent record stores left in Melbourne. It's also damn good. As a metal fan, and a metal fan with silly preconceptions of old technology, my favourite section is the metal vinyl records. Some of the stuff I have found there is amazing. Yesterday i bought 'Human' by Death. Arguably their best album and, if it isnt, it's damn close to it. I'm yet to play it though, for fear of the wrath that will be brought down upon me by my parents. This was the closest thing resmebling a 'single' in the heady days of early 90's Florida death metal.



This is the song usually mentioned in the same breath as Death and legendary front man Chuck. That said, it's far from my favourite song. Compared to some of the stuff they had and would do, this song seems a little tame. But therein lies the fallacy of fanboyism (especially prevalent in Death fans becuase Chuck died of brain cancer in 2001)

I have always found it interesting how the death of an artist will instantly increase their reputation totally out of control. Legends like Hendrix, Cobain, Chuck, Dimebag, Cliff Burton, Lennon etc, etc are all amazing musicians. But one wonders if they would have remained as popular had they lived. Bob Dylan is remembered for nothing neyond the sixties and, had he died then, would have been a martyr for folk rock. Cobain, had he lived, would have almost certainly released a mediocre, horrible album, and watched his fame dwindle. Who knows what Hendrix would have done. And perhaps the most intriguing of all: Had all the members of Metallica died in that bus crash in '86 with Cliff, i don't think it would be unfair to say, they would have gone down as the greatest metal band of all time bar none. The only reason we all hate Metallica now is becuase of what happened after: namely the release of the good, but ultimate indicator of what was to come, ...And Justice For All, and the subsequent awful joke that was the Black Album. I won't even mention Load or Reload, and the person who utters the words St. Anger shall be swiftly executed. Though I have wandered slightly off topic, I'f like to draw your attention to the stark contrast of Metallica THEN, and Metallica NOW. Only becuase it's so amusing.

Things to note: hilarious pre-pubescant James Hetfield, fucking tiny crowd, Kirk's white shirt.



Things to note: more bouncers than fans, weak ass mosh pit, James' receding hairline...also the elephant in the room: THESE GUYS ARE WAY BEYOND IT! Jesus christ, Lars, please, just give up. I almost miss your snare sound from your previous album that shal go unnamed.



In contrast, this is Kreator in 2008: aged yes, slightly washed up yes (what the hell happened to Mille's voice?!?!), but still thrashy as hell



Ah, the indignity of metal...i love it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jazz and its problems

Last night, along with some people who run a music website i write for occasionly, i went to see some live jazz.
I don't know anything about jazz other than the real basics. In that it started as black music, and slowly entered white culture, etc, etc.
The venue was the typical fare: dim, out of the way, a touch grimy and full to capacity (ten people). During the gig i got to thinking about the nature of musical preference. I could certainly admire the musicianship of the people on stage. I could occasionly see glimmerings of why people like it. But for the most part it left me totally numb. I felt nothing. Which worried me. Metal has always succedded in giving me that utterly subrational, convulsive shiver down the spine. This muisc did nothing. It just made me bored.
Looking at the people around me, everyone seemed totally engaged with the music (even the ones that said they were't enjoying after it had finished). It reminded me a bit of technical death metal. Heaps of impressive playing...but no emotive factor in the music. So what seperated me from the others? What causes certain notes, strung together in a certain way, to cause some people to be totally transfixed, and others totally bored.
My question is essentially this:
Why listen to this? (and im not denying that its totally admirable in itself)



When you can listen to this? (totally cleched, but a total classic)



Obviosuly this is from my perspective. There are many, many people who would rather listen to the former. But, for me, the latter seems so much more alive and involved. The crowd seems to be far more enagaged. Though that might have something to do with them being loser Seattle teenagers with nothing to live for.

Food for thought regardless.

On another note, i was amused when i regarded the fact that metal fans pride themselves on being underground. Yet even the most obscure of metal bands will pull a crowd of at least a few hundred. The jazz band last night, who were apparantly some of the best players in Australia, pulled twenty five people, at the most. It seems the real underground music of Melbourne is elsewhere. There is the genius of metal though. It makes you feel underground, when it has one of the largest fan bases in all music. Hilarious.

On a last note, MAD SKILLZ! Better with a death metal track? No, not at all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Indignity of Blog Names

I just discovered the name of my blog is a movie from 2008
lame.

the Indiginity of bells

Today i rode to uni with slightly more caution than usual. I had heard that there would be some sort of ENORMOUS CYCLING CRACK DOWN by the fuzz, ensuring that cyclists, as the most vulnerable road users, were obeying the road rules. Outside the Arts Centre i was pulled over by three cops (why so many? i wasn't packing a weapon). They questioned why i didn't have a bell. I replied that it was silly becuase i had my voice. In the event of a taxi trying to run me down, I'm generally not tinkling away, I'm screaming away at the top of my lungs to make sure they know where i am.
The police offer replied with a question: "What if you have a cold?"
I wasn't even sure what she meant so i remained silent. She then explained that if i had a cold i wouldn't be able to yell. I felt like pointing out that if i was so ill i was unable to speak, i probably wouldn't be on my bike. But i didn't, out of what little respect for authority i had.
Next, the cop says she wasn't going to charge me, and pulled out an ENORMOUS chrome bell and gave it to me. She said she expected me to have it next time i passed. I assured her i would (it's chrome!) and rode off.
What is the point? My voice is so much more efficient than a bell. What's more, several cyclists without bells passed by as i was getting done, and the cops didn't bat an eyelid. One suspects that, rather than looking out for cyclists, they were looking out for YOUTH ON BIKES. In their eyes there is a distinct difference. The elderly man (who by the way ran the red a kilometre back) is most likley an experienced cyclist and doesn't need addressing. I, on the other hand, was riding with casual cloths and pretty fast (but perfectly safely) and so i am perceived as a threat. As i was given this warning by the cops, i was also given a Bike Victoria flyer from some volounteers from BV. It was this patronising statement about the importance of following road rules for the sake of all bike riders. I have never ran a red. I always wear a helmet. I follow these rules, not becuase some self important lobby goup tells me too, but becuase i feel it is the safe thing to do. By the same token, i think bells are fucking dumb.
But as i always say, when in doubt or frustrated, watch Morbid Angel videos and see that they were just as retarded in the last 80's as now.



I should probably point out...i fucking love Morbid Angel.

Monday, August 31, 2009




ALL YOU HIPSTERS SUCK MY BALLS!
theres only so many barspins you can do before you realise the futility of your life in practising tricks which these girls don't even bother with. Are they aliens? Are they lesbians? Ah! The mystery continues...




It might be the lack of leotards which make these guys so utterly pathetic in comparison to those two teenage girls...

The Beginning of the Death Race

First things first.
Bike Snob is king of bike blogs. Not only is he hilarious, he is spot on with his observations.

This blog is intended to be a personal thing. I'll include my three primary interests: Bikes, Metal, and Philosophy (beneath this hardened exterior beats the heart of a total fucking geek). A short introduction:
I'v loved metal for five years or so since i was about 15. What started out as a general interest in Nirvana and other 'heavy' bands has turned into a serious obsession with bands such as Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Death, Massacre, Slayer and countless other unoriginally named but totally awesome bands.
I'v liked bikes for about ten years on and off, but i got serious when i was about 15 when i bought a road bike. About two years ago the appeal of fixed gear bikes proved too much, and since then i'v mingled with the melbourne fixed gear 'subculture'. To be fair, however, there is nothing underground about hanging out with people with shitty 80's frames that were shit then and are even shitter now, that have been resprayed, and covered with as many Oury's as possible. But i choose to live like that and suck my proverbial balls.
I won't discuss philosophy much i don't think as it's complaicated and sure to bore the socks of my dedicated reader (myself?). I'm sure people would much prefer to hear of my recent exploits.
As an aside I'd like to add that i fucking hate blogs and i really do think they are pompous, badly edited, and boring as all fuck. With the exception of Bike Snob. And maybe xbrendanx. At least he keeps his posts short and too the point.
I make no promises to update this thing reguarly, but i would like to, if only to bring t bear my outstanding whit.