This Sunday, Wrestlemania 29 emanates from the MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey. I remember the days when I used to get pumped for this event every year; the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, the clash of the spandex clad titans. Starting with the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View, which traditionally kicks off the “road to Wrestlemania” by determining who will challenge for the heavyweight title in April, the anticipation would build across weekly installments of Raw and Smackdown, as the storylines progressed to a fever pitch, with the performers putting everything they had into whatever feud they were embroiled in so that their inevitable collision at the showcase of the immortals would be an emotionally charged explosion of hard-hitting action.
I hate power metal. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. My hatred for the genre burns with the fire of a thousand suns going nova. Ah, that’s more like it. Anyway, it’s been years since I subjected myself to the genre due to extreme disdain, but then along came this beyond fucking hysterical review of Stratovarius’ latest flaming unicorn ride and I just couldn’t help myself. The review was so engaging that it was one of those things where I knew the album would make me cringe, but at the same time, I just had to know…
The YouTube video above is of Suffocation guitarist Guy Marchais buying his band’s recently released seventh album, Pinnacle of Bedlam, at his local FYE. I myself attempted to do the same thing last night, except FYE didn’t have it and even though Best Buy‘s website said they had it in stock, it was nowhere to be found when I got there, and none of the employees wanted to help me (I saw the clerk I approached for assistance say “fuck” under his breath as I walked towards him; your customer service technique leaves a lot to be desired there, Poindexter); I probably won’t be going back there for anything, ever (sadly these are the only two options for buying metal in Des Moines, the one independent record store we have doesn’t know what the fuck heavy metal is). On top of this, Nuclear Blast for whatever reason isn’t down to supply THKD with promos in spite of my best efforts to work with them (the Fleshgod Apocalypse interview HERE and a Lock Up interview that was never returned). So, in spite of this being what I consider to be a pretty major new metal release that should be available everywhere, it looks like I’ll be Amazon-ing it up to get my Suffo-fix.
Technical death metal, brutal death metal, slam death metal… it’s all sort of one big subgenre mish-mash to me; bands classified as one of these often have elements of one or both of the other two in their sound. It’s not a type of death metal I listen to often; I nearly tech deathed and brutal deathed myself to uh, death during college (did they even have slam death metal back then?), when I was knee-deep in bands like Atheist, Anata, Gorguts, Suffocation, Psycroptic, Necrophagist, Aborted, Devourment, etc, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate simplicity and primitivism over flashy guitar-work and five-million-mile-per-hour blast beats (which is probably why I listen to way more black metal than death metal these days). But every so often I can’t help but get a hankering for this crazy shit, so I have little choice but to dive in headfirst and see what the fuck the kidz are listening to these days…
Roughly 5 months ago, Brandon Duncan (whom you may know from The Sequence of Prime) contacted me with an idea; let’s start a new online metal zine. Typically I prefer to work alone, but Brandon’s enthusiasm is contagious and I’m proud to call him my friend, so there was absolutely no way I could refuse. Brandon gathered an ace design team while I hand-picked some of my favorite writers from internet metal land with the express purpose of creating something new and unique, to drag the old school metal zine into the future, come Hell or high water with an emphasis on good old-fashioned writing and design.
After 5 months of hard work, I’m proud to present to all of you the fruits of our labors in the form of Backlit #0; fifteen pages of mind-melting music, art and literature.
Backlit / 0
Now available at backlitzine.com
Cover Art by Dan Harding
Raping Angels in America #1 / Joshua Haun
Angry Old Men / Jordan Campbell
Helpless Child / Dan Obstkrieg
Fucking The Future / Joshua Haun
Libations in the Labyrinth Vol. 1 / Dan Obstkrieg
Words That Wound / Dan Obstkrieg
Doomsday Device / Joshua Haun
Interview With Jester King Brewery / The Dragon of M87
Interview With Ashencult / Jordan Campbell
Art & Fiction:
Succubus in the Attic / Nikki Guerlain
Dan Harding: The Fine Art of Horror / Brandon Duncan
The Dragon of M87
I hope that you will all enjoy reading the first issue of Backlit as much as we enjoyed crafting it. This is only the beginning!
A few weeks ago, I was sitting on my couch watching the Bad Religion episode of Guitar Center Sessions. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the show, it consists of the band playing their “hits” in an intimate setting interspersed with interview segments. As I watched Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz and Co. rip through “Generator” and “21st Century Digital Boy,” all I could think is “goddamn they look old.” The same thing occurred to me when I watched Animal Underworld, Henry Rollins’ new show on Nat Geo (which is fucking awesome, by the way). Sure, Rollins looks like he could still kick the living shit out of just about any mere mortal, but his hair is mostly grey and his face is showing the kinds of craggy lines that only come with advancing age. He definitely doesn’t look the same as when I started going apeshit over Rollins Band videos on MTV in junior high, or even when I saw him speak at my college.
This past Monday, WWE celebrated the 1,000th episode of its flagship show, Monday Night Raw. Although pro wrestling isn’t what it used to be, I’m still a fan and was looking forward to seeing whether or not the company would be able to live up to the gargantuan amount of hype they had generated over the past several months. Part of me was hoping that Vince McMahon would go into evil genius mode and pull out all the stops, producing something on par with the classic episodes of the “Attitude Era” or at the very least giving us one five-star match. Knowing that many stars of the past would be on hand for the three-hour epic in the making, I found myself hopping aboard the hype machine against my better judgement.
When I was in college, it seemed like I had all the time in the world to just sit and listen to music. I would lay on the futon in my microscopic dorm room, blaring a wide array of metal, rock, hip hop, punk and classic country for seemingly hours on end. Sure, I was going to classes and working multiple jobs, but there was always at least a day or two where I could stay up until the wee hours listening, or find a long break between classes to relax with an album or two. I’d stare at the artwork, read the lyrics, the liner notes and sometimes even the thank yous while the music washed over me out of big-ass speakers, or pumped directly into my ears via headphones (until I accidentally crushed them in a drunken incident that needn’t be recounted here). I could lose myself totally in the worlds my favorite artists created, whether it was the mean streets and dope beats of Ice Cube’s The Predator or the reverbed-to-Hell midnight treble-scapes of Darkthrone’s Under a Funeral Moon.
I have no interest in reviewing Lou Reed and Metallica’s Lulu. As far as I’m concerned, the definitive takes on it have already been written by Chuck Klosterman and Alee Karim, so there’s no need for me to try and analyze it further or attempt to offer any clever insight. However, I do have a few things I’d like to get off my chest now that this turd record has been officially committed to plastic and unleashed upon the masses.
I recently had a brief exchange w/ Revolver Magazine editor Brandon Geist via twitter in which I chided him for being excited at the prospect of a new Cobalt record after he had publicly praised the new Staind album approximately one month ago (give or take). Obviously I don’t know Mr. Geist personally, but given the nature of 99% of the bands that are covered by his magazine, I just couldn’t resist flipping the guy some shit over this, as it’s in my nature to give folks a hard time every so often (keep in mind, there’s a fine line between a little good-natured ball breaking between dudes and being a fucking obnoxious troll, I was going for the former). I was surprised when he actually responded to my teasing, and our conversation quickly turned into a brief discussion of the merits of certain nu metal albums. I said I should write a piece on nu metal for THKD and bum out my readers. I was only half serious about that last bit, but the exchange did get me thinking about the ridiculous concept of “guilty pleasures”.
You see, I’ve always hated the term “guilty pleasure”. Why should someone be made to feel guilty for liking something? Because other people don’t like it, or don’t have the balls to admit to liking it in public? Well, fuck other people. I like what I like and I make no apologies for any of it. Wouldn’t all of our lives be better if we could be free to enjoy things w/o worrying about whether or not others are going to piss on our parade?
If you looked at my CD rack right now, you’d find Darkthrone’s entire discography. You’d find everything Glenn Danzig has ever put to tape. You’d find albums by Celtic Frost, Voivod and Napalm Death. You’d also find Static-X’s Wisconsin Death Trip and (hed)PE’s Broke. If these aren’t instant underground metal cred-killers, then I don’t know what is. Yes, I like those Static-X and (hed)PE albums, and I’m not ashamed. I don’t hide them under the bed or lock them away somewhere where they won’t contaminate my “real metal” albums. Something about Static-X’s ultra-crunchy-club-banger-disco nu metal and (hed)PE’s dunder-headed-yet-catchier-than-herpes rap-metal swagger rubs me the right way (on those specific albums, at least) and makes me want to shake my ass (but, watch myself) and I don’t give a flying fuck who knows it. You got a problem with that?!
But in all seriousness, what are people so afraid of? Are you really that concerned about how other people are going to judge you based on your tastes? No one should be deciding what is “good” or dictating your tastes but you. I admit there might have been a time when I cared what other people thought, but at thirty-one years, “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit” to quote Roger Murtaugh. If people are going to pass judgement on you based on what music you listen to, what movies you like, what books you read, etc, chances are they’re petty, pretentious, not to mention all-around shitty human beings who aren’t worthy of your time to begin with. Why waste your time hanging around a bunch of pricks that are going to call you a “pussy” for blasting The Very Best of Prince? Crank up “Little Red Corvette” and tell ‘em to get bent.
Here’s the conversation between Geist and myself in full, in case you wanted to read it.