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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shakespeare And Metal: Part I

I recently went to a kick-ass lecture delivered by Sir Christopher Ricks, and it blew my mind.  He's a freaking KNIGHT. And have you seen his credentials? This is an exerpt from the memorandum:

Christopher Ricks is the co-director of the Editorial Institute and the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professorof the Humanities at Boston University, having formerly been professor of English at Bristol and at Cambridge. He is a member of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, of which he was president (2007-2008). He has edited and also teaches in the Core Curriculum. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 2004, and is known both for his critical studies and for his editorial work.

He's a total badass, right? So I made him sign my denim jacket right below Abysmal Dawn's autographs. That was pretty sick. Anyway, so much for introductions. Here's the stoner epiphanies I had that (k)night.

The entire high-octane hellride started out with a monologue from Othello, wherein the titular character eloquates thus:

Soft you; a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know't,
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say, besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and turban'd Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
and smote him- thus.

The lecture was not just on Shakespeare, but on T.S Elliot's criticism thereof. To quote Elliot from the essay Shakespeare And The Stoicism Of Seneca, "He is endeavouring to escape reality... Othello succeeds in turning himself into a pathetic figure, by adopting an aesthetic rather than moral attitude, dramatising himself against his environment." This critique was similar to my musings on the psychological aspects of mosh pits. Sometimes the only way to feel better about your situation is to exaggerate it to the point of melodrama.

Such exaggerations may reflect realities that would otherwise remain concealed. For instance, after losing a close friend to cancer, I realized that mosh pits were my only true catharsis. If such a purgation was not a "constructive outlet", it was at least close enough. Similarly, Othello had suffered a loss, and repaired the damage by indulging in a different kind of pain. It's like a spiritual version of "hair of the dog". You take what hurts you and remedy it with a controlled dose. Such is the act of self-dramatization.

At any rate, I appear to be rambling. I adore Sir Christopher Ricks and his brilliant observations, but I don't want to just parrot him.  
I fear plagiarism laws, and I also know that knights tend to be armed to the teeth.

Huh. So that's how knights work.
... Wait, is that how Sabaton really got their name?!

Ahem. Stay tuned for Part II.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy 4/20

Long story short, I'm dressed in drag trying to look like Toki Wartooth. Don't ask how things got to this level. Even as I type, innocent passerby are gawking at me in my altered state. I am little more to these people than an amusing anecdote that they will describe to their sober friends in the near future.

By the way, the teddy bear isn't in any way unusual. I always have Antar with me, as evidenced by the creepy/lame facebook profile I made for him.

Actually, there is a reason I'm doing this nonsense. Tonight is the Drag Ball at my stupid school (St. John's College), so I put minimal effort and dressed normally but with an eyeliner 'stache. But for those of us who have better things to do, there's this:

I'm all about the local scene, but sometimes that just becomes tunnel vision and I forget that every town has a local scene of it's own. So for once, I'm gonna shut up about Santa Fe and Albuqurque and talk about other New Mexico shows. This one is in Gallup. The fact that there's a band called "Orale!" makes me so happy that I can not possibly articulate my ecstasy. And when I saw the price of admission, I started laughing like Beavis and Butthead.

So that was my token flyer for a show that takes more than an hour driving time. Enough of that nonsense. Albuqurque's own Malarky's bar will be hosting a Metal show with... Uh, those guys in the picture, I guess. And it's not just on 4/20, but on the recovery day as well. NO COVER?! Being a cheap ass, I love this concert already. Too bad I'm 20 years young.

 Launchpad fucking rules. This is the only venue that I've ever seen host an all-ages battle of the bands. There's also a bar adjacent to the concert room. There's grime and glitter all over the damn place. And they've proved their worth for all-ages shows yet again with this magnificent freaking line up. Laughing Dog is old school Death Metal, who have become notorious in the local music scene thanks to their amazing performance at Bloody Ear Fest '09. Echoes Of Fallen are genuine, unrefined metal who blew me away at The Gathering Of The Sick a few years back. Torture Victim has hit the stage with the likes of Toxic Holocaust, Eulogies Of The Forgotten, and even punk bands such as Domestic Violence. I don't recognize any of those other bands, but I would sell my soul just to see the bands that I know. They rock that hard.

I already told you mongrels about this show. Eve Of An End were the worthy winners of a recent Battle Of The Bands, so you might want to check them out. Futilitarian is atmospheric, heavy fucking metal. They used to have vocals, but they rule so much that their transition to Instru-Metal was virtually seamless. Savage Wizdom is like NWOBHM: Traditional metal saturated with power chords and Halford vocals. Bodies Of Evidence are pretty damn killer too.

You may notice that I started this post around 4:20, and it is now 6:14. On a normal day, this would have taken me like 45 minutes. Happy 4/20 everyone.  :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Edgefest 2012

I bitch a lot about the local scene, yet somehow I rarely mention radio stations. 104.1 The Edge is the premier alternative rock station in the Albuqurque/Santa Fe area. So think of watered down Metal, Hard Rock and Punk for those of us who tire of the same 10 songs played on the pop stations, or who are sick of hearing AC/DC a dozen times a day on the otherwise decent Classic Rock stations. The Edge isn't much better. Nu Metal is a guilty pleasure, as is Pop Punk, so I can dig 104.1 most of the time. On the other hand, my pet peeve is a good Metal jam, that they dubbed over the screams with clean vocals. (Seriously, Killswitch Engage? Why would you even MAKE a version of Numbered Days like that?!)

Anyway, my point is, when you're sick of Metal that is too caustic but you still hate Katy Perry, this is a pretty damn good station. I can't really listen to Muse otherwise. And, on top of that, they also interact with the local scene in a meaningful way, albeit a seeming afterthought for a corporation that is obviously focused on keeping  listeners hooked. The most recent contribution to the underground artists is the annual Edgefest. The bigger bands playing this gig include Anberlin, Incubus, Cage The Elephant, and four other bands that I never heard of. See what I mean? Sugar-coated rock for the unwashed masses. That doesn't mean I don't want to go.

Anyway, they are also hosting a contest for the underground artists. Six lucky winners will play the Local Stage, and one REALLY lucky winnner will open for the mainstage. If you want to have a say in who this will be, vote here for your favorites. Cow holy, that's a ton of bands. Most of them have bandcamp profiles, or, at the very least, facebook. Sample their tunes so you know who is worthy of your votes. Best of luck to all of them. Rock on, my angels.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Metal Mafia Nationwide (The New Mexico Connection)

As much shit that I talk about Facebook, it's really a blessing in disguise. That's how I found The Living Doorway, how I get a taste of bands that would otherwise remain unknown, and how I keep track of important events. And as far as events are concerned, Facebook is worth it just for the excellent promotion skills of Metal Mafia Nationwide. This is an internet based network of underground bands, venues, and promoters who can post flyers and other media for their upcoming concerts.

I like to think I do a pretty decent job of giving local shows the exposure that they deserve. However, since the Metal Mafia allows the bands and venues to post their stuff directly, it eliminates the need for a middle-man such as myself. Then again, it sucks to scroll through a page and a half of posts quoting Avenged Sevenfold lyrics, just to get a hold of some decent info. I guess you do need me after all.

Anyway, to give you the best of both worlds, I'll direct you to the New Mexico Connection of the Metal Mafia, and show you some of the flyers for upcoming shows that I didn't mention last time. And for those of you (un)fortunate enough to live outside of this state, they have profiles for other regions too.

I thought that said Hunter S. Thompson for a second there. I've never heard of any of these bands, but I don't care. My favorite shows are the adventerous ones when you don't know what to expect. More often than not, I am pleasantly surprised.

Gorilla Music is kind of sketchy, but they know how to put on a hell of a show. I don't know any of these bands except for Soul To Rest, who are amazing. Like I said, I like the risky concerts best, so check this out.

Metal for a cause. You'd be pretty stupid to miss this.

This is a great flyer, for a great show. Thanks again, Joe Angel!

 This isn't really pertinent for underground or local bands, but it would be blasphemous to withold information of such gravity. Fucking CARNIFEX, you guys!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Upcoming Shows

I'm still recovering from the aftershock of the most recent concerts, and already bracing myself for the next. If I'm not back within a week, avenge my death.

Meanwhile, Futilitarian is looking at a busy week. 3 shows in 8 days is pretty intense. First they'll be hitting Hooligans Nightclub in Albuqurque, along with 5 other Metal bands. Distances is fucking amazing, and like the Instru-Metal style of Futilitarian, they are trippy and ambient. Night Of Revenge is some kick ass Metalcore. Think what Bullet For My Valentine would sound like if they were more badass.  Manias is crazy ass Death Metal from hell. Just talking about them makes me want to scream "WAKE THE FUCK UP." I don't know anything about the other 2 bands, and I guess I never will, because I'm a year too young to go to stupid bars. Oh yeah, by the way, this show is for 21+.  It's $5 at the door, show starts at 7 PM, and it's all happening this Saturday. By the way, this whole shindig is to celebrate Futilitarian guitarist Aaron's 23rd birthday. Hell yeah!

Next up, for all you college kids out there, you know how hard it is to study without any background noise. Join Futilitarian at the University Of New Mexico (UNM) campus on the 18th for a full hour of Heavy Metal. This is a free event for all ages, and it's happening at noon outside the Student Union Building. There's not a flyer, per se, but here's a combination of words and pics that say the basics in a nutshell.

Last thing on the to-do list will take place on that most sacrosanct of Holy Days, 4/20. Futilitarian will share the stage with Attackhead from California, plus New Mexico's own  Eve of an End, Savage Wizdom, and Bodies of Evidence. This show is at Hooligans Nightclub, so again it's for the 21+ crowd. I can't find the cover price anywwhere, but I assume it won't be much over the usual $5. I can't find the time the doors open either, but being a Metal show, they tend to be around 7 PM. So yeah, blaze one for the nation and then get your stoner ass to a Metal show. The Gods must be smiling on us, because they granted us a 4/20 that falls on a Friday. Divine providence rules!

Spill some blood in the mosh pit as due sacrifice. May these libations please my lords. Amen.

Well, that's enough about Futilitarian. For those of us who can't/shouldn't drink, there's an all-ages show on the 14th at Amped performance space. My homies from Destroy To Recreate are celebrating their 2 year anniversary, along with 5 other amazing Metal bands. Amped is kind of like Albuqurque's version of Warehouse 21, so don't bring stupid stuff like alcohol or drugs to the venue. The show starts at 6 PM, and
it's $5 at the door.  Smash some skulls and bang your head. Metal health will drive you mad.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Metal Alliance 2012

Well, fuck. It's been a rowdy ass weekend frought with mayhem and debauchery. Warehouse 21 hosted yet another Metal show on Saturday, but more about that later. Today, I'm going to focus on the craziness that was the Metal Alliance tour. First of all, it came to my neck of the woods on Easter Sunday. The Holy Day is a pretty weird time to do anything, let alone have a freaking Death Metal Concert. And on Zombie Jesus day, too?! Thankfully, I gave up Christianity for Lent, so I wasn't too worried.

Unfortunately, the tour manager was kind of a bitchy diva, so the local bands had tiny sets. Seriously, I  missed half of Fields Of Elysium's set just by blinking. They only played two songs, both of them recently composed, and both of which are available on the new CD. Last I heard, it only costs $7, and it has some killer cover art to boot.

Whoah, trippy.

 The other local band was From Sacrifice To Survival, who even in their 30 minutes (if that) pretty much upstaged the headliners. You don't have to take my word for it though. They too have an EP, available to download for free. Heavy, intense, and insane.

The only other extaordinary band was 3 Inches Of Blood. Don't get me wrong, the line up was truer than truth itself, but I couldn't tell one band from the next, awesome though they were. 3 Inches Of Blood, however, stood out as a paragon of modernized Traditional Heavy Metal. Think the high-pitched hooks of Judas Priest juxtaposed with contemporary screams and riffs. It was amazing.

Like I said, I love all the other acts to death. That doesn't mean I can differentiate them from each other. For the record, though, it was Wretched, The Faceless, Dying Fetus, Job For A Cowboy, and Devildriver. The lattermost band was the headliner, and boast one of the largest Circle Pits in history.

Speaking of mosh pits... I took a beating or two that night. I can usually fend for myself in a slamdance, but this time things got all crazy. I'm not complaining, mind you. It was cathartic as hell. Plus, I look like a badass now. I even have photographic evidence of how cool I am.

Fuckin' owwww.

This might just be the brain damage talking, but I give it five stars outta five.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Losfer Words

Writers block sucks. At least it's a full moon tonight; maybe the werewolf vibes will make me cool by sunset. After an all-nighter analyzing Wagner's Tristan Und Isolde, I'm pretty sure that love itself is nocturnal. Anyway, there's a show at W21 tomorrow, featuring Santa Fe metal bands Grinkai (funky death metal) and Savage Wizdom (heavy power metal), as well as Albuqurque rockers Until Chaos and Mono Stereo. All ages, Five Bucks, show starts at 7, no drugs or violence. 

Easter Sunday gives us another leviathan of a show, courtesy of Joe Angel Productions. Keep in mind, this isn't just any ol' gig; This is the damn Metal Alliance Tour 2012. That's pretty badass, even for JAP standards. Devildriver is just plain epic, a modern gem of contemporary Metal. Job For A Cowboy has a weird name, but brutality to die for. Impending Doom has cool vids, but I've never seen them in concert. Wretched has a melodic style, almost emulating the great Classical artists, and a virtuosity that is rarely seen in most Metal acts. I stil don't know what I should think of The Faceless, they remain an enigma to me.  3 Inches Of Blood features righteous, shreddy guitars and screaming vocals, reminds me of old Armored Saint. If you're on my blog and don't know about Dying Fetus, I don't know what to tell you. They're fucking intense, and you're not worthy.  Local bands include From Sacrifice To Survival and Fields Of Elysium... The former is relentless and chaotic, the latter is painstakingly technical. They're both amazing, despite, or even due to, these different musical styles.

...Shit, so far this looks like a carbon copy of my previous post. I guess I'll jazz things up by reminding everyone that The Devastated were recently signed onto Century Media Records, now amongst the ranks of Heavy Metal titans such as Iced Earth, Arch Enemy, and In Flames. They deserve some mad props for this milestone, so show some support and check their tour dates. Or at least buy a fucking T-shirt.

Cheryl is still lost for words. I'll post again when my brain is more functional.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Upcoming Shows

As usual, I've been incapacitated due to a lethal combination of booze, skating, and schooling, but my writing sucks anyway so no-one minds. Anyway, Warehouse 21 still has a monopoly on all-ages Metal in Santa Fe, so let's see what's on the agenda...

...Oh right, Savage Wizdom and Grinkai, AKA two of the most talented bands in the whole freaking state. Savage Wizdom is a flashback to good ol' NWOBHM. Their style of Power-Metal is beefy, catchy, and occasionally theatrical. (Just don't knock someone out cold in the mosh pit this time, you guys. Damn barbarians...)

Grinkai is a little less crowd pleasing, but they still have funky melodies that get stuck in your head. Think Pantera-esque riffs with modern Death Metal vocals. They recently released their first CD, aptly titled "'Bout Fucking Time." Hopefully, they will perform their new number, which is called (also aptly) "Stupid Death Metal." Yes, stupid Death Metal indeed.

I can't find much about Until Chaos that's not on the infernal digital cesspool known as Facebook, so I guess we'll all be content to know the very basics. They're a Rock n' Roll band from Albuqurque. That is literally all I, or anyone else, has to say. I hope their music is better than their profile gives them credit for. The photos look promising, so let's see what they got.

What the hell is a Mono-Stereo? I think my older brother had one of those in the early 90's, and he would crank it while doing drugs with those creeps from Logical Nonsense. Ah, good times. But apparently the band is indie-rock, though. What the hell is indie-rock? Like, independent? I don't get it. Cheryl fears/loathes anything different from her norm, but I'll give this "indie-rock" a chance and see what happens. Don't be surprised if I bail to get my fix of Metal, which always and forever will be my comfort zone.

The show is this Friday, April 7th. Like most  W21 shows, doors open at 7 PM and the cost at the door is $5. It's an all ages show, so leave the booze at home and drink yourself to sleep when it's over.

And on Easter Sunday, we have this. The line-up is so cherry that it hurts. However, Fields Of Elysium are in some band drama, so let's see if they're up for this. Devildriver is pretty cool, even if their songs all sound alike. Dying Fetus is amazing, and this will be the first time I see them in concert. I know approximately diddly-squat about Job For A Cowboy, but at least I know they're famous. 3 Inches Of Blood is a pretty generic name, but the music kicks ass. Impending Doom, Wretched, and some other third band are also playing. Tix are $23, and you can purchase them from the bands or from the Concrete Jungle smokeshop. Then again, this gig is probably sold out by now, but don't say I didn't tell ya.