Monday, 18 June 2007

Playing Games to Make Music to Play Games to

The gaming community has always been associated with Heavy Metal. I can recally an edition of White Dwarf back in the nineties which included a plastic disc of a particularly execrable death metal track by a band called Bolt Thrower. If you look at the boardgamegeek music microbages there's a predominance of metal and rock fan badges. I don't know why it should be so, but it is.

I used to be a bit of a metalhead, a long long time ago, but my musical tastes have broadened significantly since then. While metal can be fun and is good for many things I'm not entirely sure it's much good for playing games to - it's loud, demanding and energetic and tends toward the theatrical instead of the genuinely atmospheric. Sadly for me, the guy who hosts most of our game nights has a nice line in sixties psychedelia and I've spent more game nights listening to the likes of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Pink Floyd than I care to remember. Great artists all, but it's music that needs to be sat and listened to rather than played in the background.

So, having been rebuked on last weeks' column for becoming far too speculative and serious, I thought I'd devote this slot to looking at a few musical styles that I favour as backdrops to Ameritrash gaming nights.

Rap

Semi-autos roar in the building hall
Symptoms of bloodsport, the slugs are still in wall


I used to really hate Rap music until I discovered one day that, like most musical styles, the stuff that gets the most airplay on the TV and the radio are usually the most useless examples of any given genre. I still think a lot of Rap albums are full of filler material but the stuff that stands out is so good that they're worth a spin in any case.

What really surprises me about Rap is that it's pretty much the only kind of music that I find can really generate a latent feeling of threat. Metal tries but it's just pantomime violence - it's so over the top that it's hard to take it seriously. Rap artists on the other hand tend to sound not only like they mean it, but that they've done it before and seen the consequences and the lyrical threat is intensified by the stripped down, sparse nature of the backing music. The past-masters of this are the Wu-Tang Clan who have an ability to sound deadly serious once you've got past the enourmous drag factor the rather comical name. My opening quote on this sector is from a track called Let my Niggas Live from the album The W, is possible the most dense, strangling track I've ever heard in my life. Another track from the same album Careful (Click, Click) manages the same feat. The Wu debut album, 39 Chambers features a number of between-track skits including one where clan members sit around discussing aspects of torture in an off-hand fashion. Next time you have a horror-themed game night, put together a collection of tracks like this for the background instead of the metal and see if it freaks you out as much as it does me.

The natural match up for Rap music in terms of game style though is, of course, gangster games like Blood Feud in New York. For these sorts of games there's plenty of rappers who don't take themselves terribly seriously who can help set the mood. Try something by Cypress Hill for instance with their nice line in cartoon violence which occasionally veers over into genuinely scary stuff, with the shock coming from the sudden contrast. Or, particularly for Blood Feud, check out the Fun Lovin' Criminals and their brand of smug, often highly comical rapping.

A final heads up here is that a number of rap artists have an abiding obsession with Kung-Fu films and the more overt efforts in this genre are great for backing up games with an eastern flavour. Probably my favourite rap album ever belongs in this category - the fantastic Liquid Swords by Wu-Tang member GZA. It contains no filler whatsoever and is packed to the brim with great rapping and memorable kung-fu samples. So good it might even enliven Samurai to the point where it's bearable to play.

Folk

Now they have taken out his heart and stuck it on a spear
They took it to the house of Mar and gave it to his dear


Read that quote again - it's from Sir James the Rose by Steeleye Span - and tell me how it's not 100% Ameritrash? It's got medieval weapons, violence and taunting of the vanquished all packaged neatly in one rhyming couplet. There's vast archives of European folk music that are just like this - filled with history, fighting and supernatural themes. It's just the ticket for fantasy game nights.

For fantasy lovers, it's the overt inclusion of ghosts, monsters, goblins and such that really sells it. The fact that the music was largely written by people who still believed that such things were real lends it a particularly effective edge. There's ever flavour of fantasy you could want here. For a more grisly atmosphere how about the ghostly, ghastly Famous Flower of Serving Men or the murderous protagonist of Long Lankin. Elves (and not the sort of elves Tolkien wrote about) get a number of mentions in songs like Seven Hundred Elves and Thomas the Rhymer. If want more hideous monsters try out the horrible haunt in King Henryor the vile witch Alison Gross.

I also wonder why folk music isn't more popular amongst wargamers given it's strong link to historical material in which battles feature strongly. There are evocative accounts of a huge number of battles from the bloody affair that was the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 all the way up to songs from the First and Second World Wars.

Electronica

Electronic music covers a very broad variety of musical forms, many of which are far too high energy or far too low energy to use as theme music for a game night. However, the lack of lyrics (hence no quote to begin this section) means it makes great background music and the modernist nature of making it means it's eminently suitable to accompany sci-fi games.

I can remember hearing a compilation album called Trance Europe Express which was just taylor made for this kind of experience. A glance at some of the track names - Black Hole, Gravity Pull, The Colour of the Sun - will confirm this. It's a hard album to track down now, but well worth the effort. Another compilation to check out in the same vein is Earthjuice with the 1984-inspired Soma Holiday and the spaced out Universal Message.

Some artists working in this field have released concept albums with a powerful sci-fi theme. Although it's rather on the ambient side, Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld by The Orb is a great example - it makes a great partner with Twilight Imperium since the game is engaging enough to keep you awake through the music and the album (a double) is long enough to accompany the games' vast play time. Check out Earth (Gaia) on disc 1, with its Flash Gordon sample for a particularly evocative effort.

*****

I hope that's given you a few ideas for music for your next game night. I'll end with a bonus question - kudos to anyone who can identify the album title that inspired the title for this post - a great album by one of my favourite artists.

89 comments:

Thaadd said...

Couple other suggestions:
Folk
Garmarna
This is Swedish 'Neo-Medieval' folk, which has amped instruments along with more trad stuff. I think it's only called folk because there is not another good catagory for 12th century songs about werewolves played with homebuilt electric violins. It's great moody background music, because it's sung in mostly Swedish, it's not too distracting.

Techno
The Sound of Warhammer 40000 (Vol 1)
This is a strange mix of techno designed to go along with Warhammer. Geeky bands each wrote an assigned theme/race song. That's an Itunes link - Happy hunting if you can find a physical copy, it was a small run.
Pendulum Hold your Color Is a great fast paced album. Got slow players? Kick'm in the butt with this stuff.

Industrial
For longer games, I mix up a bunch of ipod industrial, stuff like Das Ich's album Antichrist, LeƦther Strip's instrumental Serenade for the dead.

My big thing with gaming music is it should not be overly loud, shouldn't be distracting, and should not have big genre switches. I think non-english music tends to fade into the background a bit better, while still fighting back chatter.

andy m said...

i'll tend to stick on some ambient electronica, something that is either droney or twinkly. or maybe some nice instrumental post rock. anything that'll sound good in the background without distracting me.

my girlfriend hates most of my music so when we play games i'll put on some classical piano or string quartet vinyl. always makes me feel far more intelligent than i actually am.

Jack Hill said...

We don't play at my house. I would probably just turn on the XM channel Special X and be done with it.

Kind of a freakshow of a radio station.

If I HAD to go back to my collection it would be all Ska and Surf Music. Especially horror surf.

Michael Barnes said...

Das Ich? Good grief, never thought I'd hear from those guys again...that whole electro thing pretty much crashed for me after Apoptygma Berzerk and VNV Nation almost simultaneously released the worst albums of their respective career. You want industrial? Round up SPK's "Auto De Fe" or "Leichenschrei". Top it off with a little Portion Control if you want something more poppy. That being said, SPK's "Zamia Lehmanni: Songs of Byzantine Flowers" is a nice background for gaming.

Thrower, something your article plainly misses is that gamers- particularly in America- are much too whitebread to listen to hip hop, even the good hip hop that largely goes ignored by the mainstream. But hey, hats off to ya for putting it out there. I really like what you said here:

What really surprises me about Rap is that it's pretty much the only kind of music that I find can really generate a latent feeling of threat.

I have to tell you, that growing up in suburban America in the mid-late 1980s, which is to say right between the rise of American-style hardcore (Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, et. al.) and the complete collapse of popular music engendered by, well, pretty much everything on the radio 1991 and afterward there wasn't ANYTHING as threatening and malicious in the minds of suburban white people like Public Enemy or N.W.A.. I remember buying "Straight Outta Compton" and it having this aura of violence, dissatisfaction, and rebellion that was probably similar to picking up a Sex Pistols record in 1977. It made white people _scared_, it made parents _scared_, and it made the government _scared_. Those are things we may have taken for granted back then, because music (and rebellion) are so commodified now that it's tough to do something really threatening like that.

Good hip hop? Yeah. Public Enemy, N.W.A., Eric B. and Rakim, Dalek, Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon, Death Comet Crew, Techno Animal, Antipop Consortium...some of that Grime stuff from the UK is really interesting. And of course, the old school NYC stuff like Afrika Bambatta, Treacherous Three, Mantronix, and Grandmaster Flash is every bit as vital and exciting as it was nearly 30 years ago.

Folk. Almost completely lost on me, but any of the various occult folk groups like Current 93 or Sol Invictus ought to have some gamer appeal. Very atmospheric, some really interesting stuff.

A good one if you're playing any of the Tolkein games is Summoning...they're a black metal band that has lyrics almost exclusively from Tolkien. Yeah, they sing about shit in the SILMARILLION. It's good background stuff, 15 minute long "epic" songs with symphonic, bombastic elements. Their first couple are the best ("Lugburz" and "Minas Morgul") but they're more buzzy, necro-sounding black metal. The later ones are more orchestral.

I like nerd movie soundtracks during gaming...ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and TRON in particular. "Tron Scherzo" is one of the great pieces of late 20th century music.

I find that we actually sing a lot during gaming, usually really awful MOR songs from the 1970s and 80s. Last week, Billy Motion and I did a duet of "The Coward of the County" during TIDE OF IRON...we do a KILLER harmony on "Wanted: Dead or Alive" as well. I've heard my fellow gamers break out in "Carribean Queen", "Just an Old Fashioned Love Song", "Escape: The Pina Colada Song", and my favorite "Total Eclipse of the Heart".

Pat H said...

Sorry but the only Folks I know are mine and I don't listen to much of what they do.

Ice Cube is still putting out plenty of great tunes - all under the radar. Great for poker night and other games. There is plenty of great hip hop that doesn't hit the mainstream and I like it that way. Great for ambiance.

For electronica - get some Steve Lawler - some of the live sets not the sort of shite they sell in the record stores. You know how to get this stuff. It's dark and menacing without losing it's melody. Old trance really does evoke images of...well...transcendence.

Metal isn't the greatest to listen to while gaming unless everyone is into it - and those days ended soon after highschool. Although not much can top some Bolt Thrower just as you are about to commence a back breaking assault.

Listeneing to metal with non-metal gamers does tend to throw them off – if winning is all you desire, however don’t expect them to play again.

Oh - Pink Floyd doesn't cut it in elimination/conflict games. I was playing Car Wars with a couple of guys years ago playing the Midville shootem'up while listening to "Wish You Were Here", and that really put things in the wrong perspective.

Thaadd said...

Current 93 as Folk!? Uh. Well, Um. I guess. I have no idea what genre I would put Mr. '666 makes me sick sick sick' but Folk is not the first option I would think of. Satanic new wave?

I think me not understanding German makes me like Das Ich more. A visting onlinegamer friend visiting inflicted vast amounts of german Industrial on me, and when I hear something I like, (such as Das Ich) I narrow in on it. I'll have to check his music stash for SPK. I keep the cd's at work, where I get to play whatever music I like. Upside of having a tiny office filled to the brim with plastic, is there is no room for other humans! My armys of Hell Knights and Elite American Infantry don't complain.

Shellhead said...

I was a teenage metalhead, but turned my back on metal during the hair band phase, and got into college radio/alternative music. The transition was easy when there
were great bands like Living Colour, the Pixies and Jane's Addiction playing great weird stuff loud.

Truthfully, I believe that prog rock is a better match with AmeriTrash, because they both emphasize narrative, drama, and theme. The songs tend to be longer than normal, too, like the longer AmeriTrash games. On the other hand, there wasn't a lot of great prog rock. There was Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Alan Parsons Project, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I do think that Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and Alan Parson's Tales of Mystery & Imagination make pretty good background music for boardgames with a certain amount of downtime.

My gaming group isn't into rap, but I inflict some on them anyway, especially local hero Slug from Atmosphere and the amazing soundtrack to Ghost Dog: the Way of the Samurai, a RZA project. In general, rap has the same advantages and disadvantages as metal when it comes to background music for gaming. But I'm glad Barnes mentioned Kool Keith... my gamers hate him, so I keep that funky weirdness to myself.

There are certain games where I go for a certain sound. Like when we are playing either one of my Slasher games, I like to play 80's music, even the hairbands. For Arkham Horror, I load the soundtrack to my Call of Cthulhu campaign, which is heavy on old jazz, old blues, and for the weirdness factor, Tangerine Dream. Once, we played The Hills Rise Wild while listening to the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? But that didn't actually work well, because the bluegrass music was so pleasant while the game was so brutal. Try listening to Sade while watching heavyweight boxing, to get the same odd effect.

In general, my usual gaming background music consists of two disparate elements: trip hop music and anything upbeat. The trip hop has got a lot of interesting stuff going on in the background, while clear vocals and a steady beat drive the song. Upbeat music reinforces that we are having fun.

Come to think of it, I guess I have an alterior motive to playing upbeat music. When I worked at the Mall of America, I learned that retailers like to play upbeat music with beat, because it keeps shoppers happy, and it keeps them moving towards the register with products, instead of indecisively clogging the aisle. So my theory is that upbeat music decreases analysis paralysis, which is the enemy of fun.

Fly Hawaii, by Luke Vivert & B.J. Cole is a current fav with our group, being both trip hop and upbeat, and also making it seem like we are at a very cool luau. Other popular fare: Kruder & Dorfmeister, various hits from Queen, Chris Joss, Morcheeba, and Massive Attack.

Michael Barnes said...

RE: Current 93- Listen to "Thunder Perfect Mind" or "Hitler as Kalki"...pure folk. Pretty good too. They did some pretty decent industrial music as well, "Dogs Blood Rising" for example. Fun side note- I heard Andrew WK is playing with those guys now. THAT's weird.

Shell- Ha! Massive Attack, how ironic...Billy Motion was doing the dub to "Angel" the other day (during that same game of Tide of Iron) and we got into this big fight...he kept trying to say that the song was off the album "Maxinquaye", which anyone worth their trip hop salt knows is the title of Tricky's seminal 1998 record. "Mezzanine" was the _correct_ answer.

I've never been into prog...but no doubt, there's a gamer connection just as much as there's a band geek connection.

If I'm listening to prog, it's gonna be Goblin.

ubarose said...

I have nothing to contribute to any discussion of music. I have CAPD, which is to hearing what being color blind is to seeing. I can't hear some sounds that others can hear. I also hear some sounds very clearly, that other people filter out. Additionally, I have a limited sound memory. I usually can't even recognize the voices of my friends and family. The plus side is that I have to hear a song many times before I recognize that I have heard it before, so I get to re-discover music over and over again. I don't know what music I like, because I can't remember it. I've been told that I like Blues, Jazz, Reggae and Bluegrass.

When gaming, I leave the music selection to others. If it doesn't feel like needles being stuck in my head, I'm okay with it.

Shellhead said...

Barnes,

Your Billy Motion must have been a big fan of the album Protection, because I think that's the only Massive Attack album that Tricky worked on. Maxinquaye is definitely a Tricky album, probably the best. Mezzanine is definitely the Massive Attack album that Angel is from, and I hear it all the time because it's my girlfriend's favorite trip hop album.

And... I have to fess up to your band geek charge regarding prog rock. Most of my prog rock-loving D&D group from high school days also played in the school band.

Ken B. said...

Yeah, not too big on prog rock.

Usually the best stuff for gaming tends to be orchestral movie scores. These are usually written to add ambience with emphatic punches during key scenes, so they lend ambience without interference. It's just a matter of choosing the right soundtrack for the game. Usually you're fine just picking a soundtrack that's similar in theme to what you're playing.

Other good ones are video game soundtracks. Metroid Prime 2 makes some nice ambience for Twilight Imperium.

Matt Thrower said...

I'm glad a couple of people mentioned Dr. Octagon. Great artist, I just couldn't quite find anywhere to fit him in the article - largely because much of his stuff is too off-the-wall to fit in with a game style!

Michael Barnes said...

I don't know man, "Spankmaster" is pretty straightforward.

Shellhead said...

Kool Keith (aka Dr. Octagon, aka Dr. Dooom) has at least one other song that would work well with a game of RoboRally: "I'm Seein' Robots" It's got a nice staccato and mechanical beat, although the song is actually about bimbos and not robots.

Michael Barnes said...

Wow, never thought I'd see discussion of Kool Keith, let alone hip hop, on any kind of gaming site...I think we've probably broken some kind of record here. F:AT on the vanguard once again...

Keith's nerdiest rhyme- "Dark Vader, watching DVDs on my new beta, may the force be with you". That's "dark", not "Darth".

I'm still waiting for Mr. Skeletor to pop up and brand us all pussies for not listening to the He-Man soundtrack during game sessions.

Mr Skeletor said...

I haven't heard 90% of the stuff mentioned on here, but I'm sure it's all crap.

Dan Casey said...

Michael Barnes said:
"If I'm listening to prog, it's gonna be Goblin."

Hey, Barnes, do yourself a favor and make an honest effort to check out Porcupine Tree. I've seen some of the music you like, and I have a hunch that Porcupine Tree is the one crossover band that might connect with you. Start with "Fear Of A Blank Planet" (their new album) and work backwards.

Good luck, and happy listening!

DC

Dan Casey said...

Whoops, forgot to leave a link:

http://www.thesyn.com/porcupinetree/video/

DC

Johnnyrobo said...

Speaking of soundtracks:

http://www.italianhorror.blogspot.com/

Muzza said...

I've never had the time to tailor soundscapes to suit my gaming preferences so generally just whack on my iTunes faves. But have enjoyed other's efforts.

Played War of the Ring against 'UniversalHead' from the Geek. He had the soundtracks from the films playing. I even managed to time the Rohan attack on Orthanc to the Rohan charge theme (it didn't help me but it sounded good). It added a lot of atmosphere to the game and wasn't too distracting.

Another effort that I applauded was that by another geek,'Saucybuggr', who downloaded and compiled hours of WWII music and political speeches for a game of Europe Engulfed. I didn't play that game but the soundscape was impressive, although I suspect at times it may have been a bit distracting.

I'd like to find the Braveheart soundtrack before i next play Hammer of the Scots.

I can't let a discussion of Rap slide by without pointing out some great stuff being done downunder. The Hilltop Hoods are one of the best bands going around and The Herd are also very good. Check em out. I don't think I'd choose Rap/Hip-Hop for gaming night though unless the game was set in a modern urban environment.

Michael Barnes said...

Heard good things about Porcupine Tree...thanks for the link.

One of the most embarassingly lame game sessions I've ever experienced was playing Ticket to Ride at this guy's house and he played Duke Ellington over and over again. Now, I love Duke Ellington, but playing a children's train game with 30-40 year old pudgy men and "Take the A Train" in the background really reminded me of how far I had come from listening to Slayer while playing Axis and Allies.

Right now all I want to listen to whilst gaming or otherwise is the first couple of Clock DVA records ("White Souls in Black Suits", "Thirst", and "Advantage") and Bauhaus...I tell you what for a "goth" band Bauhaus had some very serious funk happening..."Kick in the Eye" and "In Fear of Fear" are about as funky as white folks can possibly get- and pasty English white folks at that. I also can't think of another goth rock act that played so freely with reggae and dub. One of my favorite bands for going on 20 years.

One of the best game/music matchups- Fields of the Nephilim and a round of GUNSLINGER...keep talkin'.

Matt Thrower said...

Kool Keith (aka Dr. Octagon, aka Dr. Dooom)

I'm only familiar with this guys' output as Dr. Octagon, which would explain my ignorance of his other releases. Time to track down a few CDs, methinks.

I was listening to OK Computer this morning which I have to say is an outstanding album. It struck me that Exit Music and Climbing Up the Walls are possibly the closest things rock has ever produced to a scary moment. Add them to your list for the next horror session.

I'm surprised that, as a self-confessed musical snob, Mr. Barnes hasn't attempted to identify the mystery album from my post title ...

Mijjy said...

Soundtracks make the best listening music for games, anything else is usually too intrusive. Some examples....

Anything by Basil Poledouris but especially Conan & Starship Troopers

Joseph LoDuca (he made the Xena & Hercules soundtracks)

Trevor Mann (Last Of The Mohicans)


Nice to see someone mention Das Ich. Some of the remixes are excellent (in particular VNV Nation's take on "Destillat"). Good live act too, well worth watching if you get the chance.

Michael Barnes said...

I'm surprised that, as a self-confessed musical snob, Mr. Barnes hasn't attempted to identify the mystery album from my post title

Because I'm stumped and embarassed.

On Radiohead...I honestly don't get the excitement and interest over them. Decent songwriting, some inventive production, but nothing that Neu! or Can weren't doing 30 years ago. "OK Computer" is a pretty good record overall, "Kid A" was an OK imitation of Krautrock...but "Pablo Honey", "The Bends", everything else? Yech.

If we ever get around to putting on this convention we've been working on, don't expect to come and sit quietly with a bunch of shrewish fatties scuttling VP markers around. We're going to have a live DJ blasting Daft Punk and AC/DC the whole time, sometimes simultaneously. I don't get this "music is distracting" thing myself unless it's just so loud you can't talk without screaming or it's something irritatingly useless like Rush.

Pat H said...

If it's too loud, you're too old.

Oldstench said...

1) Yes, wow, I fucked up and got one 'M' album title confused with another one - neither of which I have listened to in years. I do think I was the one who started humming 'Angel' btw...so feck off :)

2) I love these 'I was a metalhead, but my musical taste evolved/got better/changed as I became more mature' comments. I especially love the OP's comment that metal '...tends toward the theatrical instead of the genuinely atmospheric...'.

Sir, I call bullshit.

Obviously you have never heard (of) Vinterriket, Gernotshagen, Borknagar (up to Quintessence), Devin Townsend (Ocean Machine FTW),
the glorious Ildjarn/Nidhogg collaberations, Paysage d'Hiver, Summoning, etc.

Just because the extent of your metal knowledge begins at Sabbath and ends at Pantera does not mean that there isn't other stuff out there that is of great value. The metal genre is overcrowded with
far too much cookie-cutter sound-alike crap (much like any musical genre). You have to search to find quality. You wouldn't expect to go to www.lasercd.com or www.warprecords.com and just purchase anything and expect it to be a masterpiece, would you?

You can do the above with the CMI catalog, however. :)

Michael Barnes said...

Not true Billy...CMI turned out quite a few clunkers...buy any Mental Destruction record for example. The last couple of Brighter Death Now records weren't nearly as good as the first ones. The Memorandum album they did is fucking balls-out great though...and MZ.412...In Slaughter Natives...

But Billy and I are hand-in-hand in terms of the supposed "immaturity" of metal...metal, particularly a lot of the more obscure stuff out there, is every bit as sophisticated, musically rich, and atmospheric as any thing else. I defy you to listen to the aforementioned Paysage D'hiver material and not feel physically _cold_. The problem is that most folks' view of metal is colored by this idiotic/ironic Beavis and Butthead/Metalocalypse thing where it's supposedly impossible to actually like and appreciate the music without a snarky sense of being too "cool" for it by acknowledging some of its absurdities by "hilariously" throwing up the devil horns and mock-headbanging. Sure, I laugh my ass off when I see those Immortal record covers and I don't think anyone can really take all the devil/death/hatred stuff seriously, but that doesn't foreclose on great music, great atmosphere, and maturity.

Metal is, more than any other genre, something where you find the truly great material almost completely hidden from view. Some of the best metal records I've ever heard are things with almost nonexistent distribution and anything but general release on unbelievably poor quality cassettes mastered in some guy's bedroom.

Ken B. said...

WTF?

Metal musical snobbery...?


Dude, my knowledge of metal did extend beyond Pantera and Sabbath. And yeah, 90% is pretty much the stereotype of its "niche" of metal. Shock metal, gore metal, speed metal, whatever...it's pretty much stuck in a rut.

The reason is that there's only so much you can do to a double-kick beat. The genre is straightjacketed by its definitions. Get too experimental, "hey, this ain't metal."


That's not to say that all music doesn't suffer from this...you could say 90% of any genre is like this, and you'd be right.


But "purism"..."Dude, that stuff you like ain't the REAL DEAL..."


I call bullshit on that, because I've heard it for nearly twenty years now.

Things become greater because YOU like them. We all delude ourselves that WE have the inside track, that WE know what's best, what YOU like is inferior to what I like...it's stupid. Just as stupid as when a Eurofan turns his nose up at a game with dice in it because "his" games are better.

That's not to say there isn't good metal. There's tons of it. But to throw the idea that there's some sort of "cultured" metal out there is pretty silly. It's own genre limits what it can do.

Michael Barnes said...

Whoa Ken, easy there chief...first off, I'm not advocating any kind of "cultured" metal at all...I'm advocating a heathen, barbarian type of metal. Cultured metal is shit like Dream Theater and Savatage. Right?

I think it's kind of silly when folks- even metal folks- start with the assumption that metal is anti-intellectual or "dumb". It's just like how people criticized The Ramones for being "dumb" musically yet they wrote some of the most efficiently stripped down and brilliant pop songs of the 1970s in an era when "pop" usually meant MOR crap or post-hippie folk nonsense.

I used to think _exactly_ like you about metal- that there's only so far you can go before it's not really metal any more...yet there's a lot of stuff out there that really violates that notion. Listen to Darkthrone's "Transylvanian Hunger"...it's total heavy metal, it has all the genre trappings, and in a lot of ways it's completely regressive and more uncultured than anything else out there. Yet it's an amazing piece of minimalist drone that has more in common with Steve Reich than Judas Priest. There's a lot of really exciting metal out there right now that's taking the concepts of extremity and brutality in some very interesting directions. Take a listen to the Sunn o))) (yeah, that's their name) record "Black One"...is it really heavy metal? I think it is. But it doesn't even have percussion...it's like Black Sabbath broken down into abstraction and reassembled into something more bleak and oppressive than any given track off the first BS record. Check out bands like Negura Bunget (from Transylvania!), Furze, Leviathan, and Weakling to see how metal can venture into new territories not usually visited by most artists and still remain very metal.

I'm not saying that these obscure bands are better by virtue of being obscure or by having some kind of Michael Barnes stamp of approval at all...I'm not into that whole "kvlt" thing. Good music is good music, no matter who makes it, who likes it, or where it's from. I love mainstream metal acts like Anthrax, Priest, and Slayer just like any right-thinking metal fan. I even like ABBA for chrissakes.

What you point out though Ken, is really one of the big failings of any kind of non-mainstream cultural identity- that the things we like are somehow "better" because we have some sort of privilged access to them not afforded the mainstream through their own ignorance or through the object's absence in normal commercial circles. I think SCRABBLE is a better game than 90% of what's out there right now, including all these obscure, esoteric games that maybe 8 people in the US have ever even heard of...esotericism is, in and of itself, no barometer of value or worth.

Ken B. said...

Yeah man, that came out stronger than I meant. But it wasn't directed at you, it was the poster before you who ripped into the blog post itself.

"You think that metal is more theatrical than emotional? Piffle. You sir, just haven't heard the right metal."


It's like we had "Professor Metal" on here for a second.

Pat H said...

Holy shit - all of this talk is very un-metal. Think about it.

If you can't trace anything back to Lemmy then it fucking sucks.

Very un-metal.

Michael Barnes said...

Well, it is Billy Motion we're talking about...he really doesn't like anything, he just hates some things to a lesser degree.

And FYI- Billy pretty much is Professor Metal. As much useless musical knowledge I have, I bow before his amazing wisdom in what makes great metal great. He's mentored me quite a bit in finding some really amazing music out there that I might have otherwise either overlooked or never had the opportunity to hear.

But he also professed a love for Huey Lewis & the News the other day, so HE MAY NOT BE "TRUE"!

Michael Barnes said...

If you can't trace anything back to Lemmy then it fucking sucks.

Ha ha! Now that's a statement we should ALL be able to rally around, right there!

The first time I saw Motorhead I almost peed my pants...I was like 15, I was thrilled to pieces, and out on a school night. They came out and Lemmy went up to the mic and said "We are Motorhead" and immediately began the bass riff to "Ace of Spades". They played it _twice_.

Ken B. said...

Ah. My apologies to Billy, then.


Lemmy kicks ass, man. We've got this running joke that the wrestler HHH has Lemmy and Scott Nicholson locked in his basement; he drags out Lemmy for his personal theme music for big wrasslin' events, and he enjoys Scott's vidcast so much he kidnapped him and forces him to do the show for his own amusement.

Scott and Lemmy are often forced to play cards..."THE DEAD MAN'S HAND AGAIN!" screams Lemmy, and Scott says, "Lemmy, I'm starting to think you're cheating."

Yes, this is a stupidly elaborate running joke.

Lemmy is so unapologetically metal he would slaughter us all for talking about what is and ain't "real" music, then he'd toss back a few beers before drifting off to sleep.

Michael Barnes said...

Ironically enough, Motorhead is sharing the bill with Sunn O))) (and the Jesus and Mary Chain, Melanie, Devo, and others) at a festival happening right now, curated by...Jarvis Cocker.

Ken B. said...

Cocker? I barely know her!

Michael Barnes said...

You think that'd stop Lemmy?

"If you squeeze my lizard/I'll put the snake on you"

Pat H said...

I saw Motorhead on the Orgasmatron tour when I was 15 for the first time.

I got drunk with Lemmy after missing one of their shows ('94) . Some asswipe at the door told me they were on next (showed up late due to snowstorm). I walk in and quaff back a few pints and the lights dim...on comes Black Sabbath (Tony Martin on vocals). I was pissed, go to the local Metal Bar (was quite the place - underground cave) and commence drinking and complaining to one of my favorite barmaids.

After half an hour I look to my right and Lemmy is standing there. We begin to drink straight whisky from a beer cups and discuss WW1 until 4 am. I explain to him what happened and he tells me I'm going to Toronto with them. Too bad I was married at the time as I showed up at 6 am and received an earload anyways.

Last time in town (2005) Lemmy said:

"I'm going to play Montreal until I die!"

Rock and Roll

Michael Barnes said...

We begin to drink straight whisky from a beer cups and discuss WW1 until 4 am.

That had to be one of those moments where everything in the world was just right.

Ken B. said...

Yeah, definitely worth catching hell from the wife over.

Pat H said...

That was definitely a great night. As for the wife - she isn't around anymore, just didn't get it.

Gladly my current wife of ten years is more understanding. I brought her to see Arch Enemy & Cradle Of Filth (her first real metal show), and we conceived our latest daughter that night...go figure.

Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, I don't understand going to see Cradle of Filth at all...total mystery.

Pat H said...

I went to see Arch Enemy - when you get a night off from the kids you take it.

Thaadd said...

My first big name metal show...not counting GWAR (who I have seen 9 times, woot) was Morbid Angel. I was 17.

I got my nose broken. Not a fight. Just fate tossing a guy way farther than any person should have been ejected from a pit. Turned, saw Mr. Guy flying superhero style toward me. Turned away just in time to catch him across the shoulders and faceplant into some steps. Random women in the bathroom set my nose for me.

I've been punched at a GWAR show, by a dipshit who took issue with me telling him to piss off when he told me that girls did not belong in the pit. I got hit, but he missed the whole show after the bouncers showed up :)

Now I mostly go to industrial shows - CombiChrist comes just after GenCon, and I just saw VnV and And One, and to the stompy club. :) Music that is too hyper to game too...

Mr Skeletor said...

You fucking tell 'em oldstench! Keep it real!

The reason is that there's only so much you can do to a double-kick beat. The genre is straightjacketed by its definitions. Get too experimental, "hey, this ain't metal."

Yeah, cause Hip Hop is soooo inovative.

Ken B. said...

Hey, what I said applies to almost every genre out there. Once you apply a definition of a genre, things that veer out of that essentially leave the genre. The best, most creative stuff challenges those genre boundaries and defies description, and those are rare instances indeed.

You forget I'm a metalhead too. I just don't have any illusions of deep meaning to be found there. I loathe rap. Can't tolerate much in the way of country. So don't burn me at the stake.

Thaadd, you were at a Morbid Angel show? That rocks. I love those guys, that's as close to "art" metal as I've ever heard.

lemmy said...

I'm chuffed you bastards are into Motorhead. Who wants to play some Paths of Glory?

Pat H said...

Eh' Lemmy , I'm still lookin...

Ken you're right, I had my "Ride the Lighting" autographed when I was twelve prior to a Metallica -WASP-Armored Saint triple bill and Metallica was way underground and cool. We all know what happened to them. I met Lars at the same metal bar I mentioned before several years later (Black Album) and we had to toss his ass for being such a prick. It happens all the time - wait until you’re "Metal Du Jour" makes enough cash and then get the fuck out of the way.
Metal is as much a lifestyle as a music genre and some are too over the top to survive.

Just ask Cronos what he's up to these days,

Rock & Roll.

I have plans to see King Diamond and Kreator in April 2008, after I check out some David Morales.

Nuff Said..

Clarissimus said...

Our group really enjoyed listening to Glen Gould play Bach's complete Well-Tempered Clavier during our 5-hour game of Attack!

*looks around*

What?

Pat H said...

Tchaikovsky makes me want to attack.

Michael Barnes said...

Metallica is music for rednecks and people in prison.

It didn't used to be like that, I still think "Kill 'Em All" is a nice mix of Bay Area thrash with NWOBHM trappings and "Ride the Lightning" has some nice Discharge-y stuff in there to give it a harder edge...but after they remade "Lightning" track-for-track as "Master of Puppets" it was all downhill from there...I remember watching the premiere of the "One" video and thinking "well, that's the end of Metallica."

They're a band with practically zero integrity..."We'll never make a video". Video. "We grew up trading tapes to get to listen to all these bands we'd never otherwise hear". Lars has Napster shut down. It wasn't about the haircuts, it was about them having no integrity. Guess it got crushed by the same bus that toppled onto ol' Cliff...

Michael Barnes said...

Oh, and I still think the drum production on "And Justice for All" sounds like Lars is beating the shit out of pancakes.

Anonymous said...

Really interesting article Mat. Good to see Steeleye Span get a mention!

Panzer-Attack

Oldstench said...

ken b. said...

'I just don't have any illusions of deep meaning to be found there.'

and

'"You think that metal is more theatrical than emotional? Piffle. You sir, just haven't heard the right metal."'

Well, you take what you want out of the music you like. Hell, a good friend of mine had an emotional breakdown at a Beastie Boys concert we went to...

I think you misrepresented what I said. The OP and many others jumped on the 'all metal is theatrics' which I happen to completely disagree with. There are many bands out there who don't fall for all the tr00-kvlt-blacker-than-thou look of all the fourth-wave bm look-a-sound-a-likes. They actually believe what they say, and aim to let others know through the music they produce.

In regards specifically to the comment 'I just don't have any illusions of deep meaning to be found there..' let's take for example the great (infortunately lost) Death. Looking at their amazing triumverate of albums Human, Symbolic, and Human Thought Patterns, you will find philisophical musings, criticisims on group-think, intelligent (read: non-gore) discussion on the morality of assisted-suicide, non pandering and non throw-yo-horns-in-da-air screeds on personal integrity and growth.

In response to this comment: 'We all delude ourselves that WE have the inside track, that WE know what's best, what YOU like is inferior to what I like...it's stupid.'

I disagree. What you like is inferior to what I like because I do have the inside track. Every genre, sub-genre, and sub-sub-sun-genre of music that you enjoy I have enjoyed longer, harder, and faster. :)

Oldstench said...

As a compromise, can we all agree on zombies being awesome? I really am on a zombie kick recently (come to Urban Dead and try to off me - Bracken Millwod awaits you..).

Ken B. said...

Yah Billy, I was being a thread Nazi, I apologize for taking what you were saying the wrong way.

But Death? DEATH?


I had Scream Bloody Gore, man. That thing was unintentionally hilarious.


SLICING THROUGH YOUR FAT
AWAITING GORE ATTACK
MANIPULATING LIES
IS YOUR WAY OF LIFE
RIDING ON CHEAP GLORY
YOUR LIFE IS GETTING GO-RY.


(yeah, that was from memory).


By the time they did more albums, they were just...another death metal band. Their odes to gore tossed aside, they were indistinguishable from countless other metal bands of that era.

If I remember correctly, they did have one really great song on the album cover with the preacher on it, but I can't remember the name of the song now.

Shock metal was always the most hilarious. I remember listening to Deicide for the first time and opening the album cover to see the band in an "evil" pose...comedy GOLD, Jerry!

Ken B. said...

Well, I had to do some fact checking. It wasn't the preacher album (I bought that thing and looking at the tracklist, I remember now how terrible it was) but "Human". That wasn't a bad album at all but most of it was cookie cutter.

The song I dug off that was "Lack of Comprehension." That was some good stuff. I had a CD player then but a cassette player in the car so that track would frequently make my CD mix-tapes for drivin'.

Also shocking (to me): They kept making records until 1998?! They must have had a radical shift in sound because as I said they had become so "metal vanilla" that I didn't see how anyone would prefer them to any of the other countless bands like them.

I thought "Best of" was it (I remember us making fun of that when it was at Camelot Records, we were like..."What is this, an EP?")

Ken B. said...

Speaking of "theatrically obsessed" metal artists, the best concert I can remember was seeing Danzig in 1993.

Yeah, Glenn is way over the top and is all theatrics. But they played this smaller club in Nashville called 328 Performance Hall. Just a plain stage, they came out and kicked ass for two hours straight, minimal talking to the crowd, just ramping through their catalog, hitting some misfits stuff too.

This was the Danzig III era, they still had their killer lineup that for whatever reason Glenn dumped the entire band.


I'll give credit to him...he could create music that busted genres. The Misfits stuff was so great because it was all this sing-song stuff but the lyrics were about cutting off heads, going on killing sprees, you name it. But...you just wanted to sing along to all this horrific shit...

"I want your skuuuulllll...
I neeed your skuulllllll!
Demon I am and face I feel
Seen skin turned inside out 'cause
Gotta have you on my wall
Gotta have you on my wall"

Michael Barnes said...

Well, anybody that knows me knows what a tremendous Misfits fan I am...I practically grew up listening to them, from reading about them in Thrasher Magazine sometime around '86-'86 up through now. One of my happiest geek moments was when I met Jerry Only and asked him I could play his bass. He said "Sure!", strapped that bastard on me (which weighed about 4x a normal bass), threw his arm around me and started singing "Hound Dog".

Ah...memories of youth...sitting at the bus stop listening to a beat-up ass cassette of "Walk Among Us", clutching a Steve Caballero deck, a bunch of RPG books in my book bag...

Of course, it stands to follow that I love Samhain and Danzig as well...the Samhain reunion show a couple of years ago was _phenomenal_...shirtless, devillocked, and bloody. It's too bad that he just completely crapped out after Danzig III, part of it does have to do with getting rid of that amazing line up (John Christ, Chuck Biscuits...come on, you don't fire guys like that!).

But how about Glenn Danzig and the Power & Fury Orchestra? They were right after Samhain, but before Danzig. They did one song, the title song for "Less Than Zero". It's awesome, a late-late period Elvis worship rockabilly ballad with female backup singers and the great line- "how can we bring back the dead and tell them that we're sorry?"

Michael Barnes said...

BTW: Five Best Misfits Tracks by MB-

1) Astro Zombies
2) Horror Hotel
3) Skulls
4) Night of the Living Dead
5) Where Eagles Dare

Runner up- Teenagers from Mars/Children in Heat (the full version).

Oldstench said...

But Death? DEATH?

Yes Death, DEATH!

No sir, they are not cookie cutter at all. Right up there with Cynic and Atheist as best-of-breed progressive Florida death metal buddy.

Oldstench said...

As a matter of fact, how can a band that helped create the sound in question be considered cookie-cutter? Others followed them.... :)

Pat H said...

R.I.P. Chuck

Shellhead said...

Thaadd,

I've never given GWAR a try, partly because a friend once described them as the heavy metal version of H.R. Pufnstuf, which was a grotesque and awful children's show that I dimly recall from my early childhood.

Ken B,

My girlfriend and I will be celebrating our fourth anniversary soon, despite my insane idea to take her to a punk rock show for our first date. The Misfits headlined, but without Glenn Danzig. We showed up after the first two bands were done, but did see Agnostic Front (ok), the Dickies (hilarious), the Damned (good), and the Misfits (not good).

Me: Um, Amy, I think we're standing at ground zero for the mosh pit.

Amy: I'm okay. It'll be fun. Besides, isn't the mosh pit up front at the stage?

Me: Not at a punk rock... oh, shit!
[music starts and mayhem ensues]

I got her out of there before she got seriously trampled, and she even laughed when the guy in the wheelchair tipped over. But when the Misfits butchered an old Ramones song, she got pissed and left. The chorus was supposed to be "The KKK took my baby away" but it sounded like they were just chanting "KKK KKK KKK KKK."

Ken B. said...

Chuck is dead?


We'll just disagree, Billy ol' buddy. I'll take Morbid Angel or Show No Mercy-Reign in Blood Slayer to Death any day of the week. Besides that, was Death really first? Now I gotta go check that. When was Napalm Death making the rounds? I was pretty sure they were one of THE big inspirations for the parade of Death metal bands to follow.

I had several of their CDs, I promise, so I'm not just shooting the shit here. That was my take. We did laugh our heads off at Scream Bloody Gore, that was just great. If they'd stayed with that, that would've been great, though they'd probably have run out of material quickly.


My Five Misfits Songs:


1.) Skulls
2.) 20 Eyes
3.) Where Eagles Dare
4.) Hollywood Babylon
5.) She



As for Chuck Biscuits....

"Wheaties? WHEATIES?!? Let me tell you something...all breakfast cereals...ALL BREAKFAST CEREALS should have sugar! And lots of it! This...don't got it, don't get it!"


Chuck was completely oblivious to the fact that he was a member of a gloom n' doom devil-worshipin' bluesy metal band. And that's what made him so awesome.

Oldstench said...

Now, don't go thinking that I am denying the power that is Morbid Angel.

And yes - Napalm Death were technically before Death by one year - however, ND were a hardcore band until Scum - which, I might add, is grindcore, not death metal. Later of course, ND moved to DM, then to crappy groove-metal shit, then back to grind.

Death formed in '83 as Mantas, then became influenced by Possessed (the OG DM band - starring Larry Lalonde - yes, that Larry Lalonde) and changed their name to Death.

So...yeah. Morbid Angel kicks ass -

Angel of Disease - one who shuns the light!

Shub-Niggurath, Goat with One Thousand Young!!

Michael Barnes said...

Whoa there buddy...Napalm Death and Florida Death metal are WORLDS apart...

Napalm Death was around in the early 1980s doing a sort of early D-beat thing and having some peripheral involvement in the peace punk scene, even doing a track on Crass' brilliantly titled "Bullshit Detector 3" compilation. The UK hardcore scene was always very metal-oriented (see The Exploited, GBH, and of course Discharge) but ND took everything to ridiculous levels of extremity...that being said, they were pretty seriously influenced by a couple of US bands like Siege and Deep Wound that were sort of developing along similar lines. Napalm Death pretty much laid out the plans for grindcore, which is markedly very different than death metal.

I'd say that the Florida stuff is a lot closer to "traditional" heavy metal in a lot of ways, more influenced by NWOBHM and European metal (Sodom, Kreator, Destruction, etc)...it's not as avant garde or experimental as some of the better grindcore. If you're looking for a US progenitor of death metal, then it's going to have to be Possessed. So really, we're talking different lineages.

There's a pretty decent book out there called _Choosing Death_ that gets more into all this, check it out.

Shifting gears...I did see the Misfits a few times during that reunion stint...the first time was absolutely magical, not in the least because some kid punched Michael Graves (who does, in fact, suck BTW...Jerry Only and Doyle went over, pulled the kid on stage and beat his ass...but did not stop playing the song! The other few times I saw them I could tell that the initial excitement of playing out again was wearing off and they were getting overexposed, what with all that wrestling stuff...then that "Jerry Only and the Legends of American Punk Rock" thing, which is what Shell saw, was a disaster...

Michael Barnes said...

And I just want to add that "Scum" and "From Enslavement to Obliteration" are two of the most uncompromising pieces of music released in the last thirty years. Pretty much all other Napalm Death ranges from terrible to pedestrian.

Pat H said...

I've seen open mic jam nights with more lineup continuity than Napalm Death.

Mr Skeletor said...

Does Franklincob have any Metal Cred left? Not knowing Chuck died is like claiming Monopoly represents modern boardgame design.

Shit, I never liked Death yet even I know how influential they were.

Ken B. said...

Yeah man, I'm a total spaz for not keeping up with an artist I was peripherally interested in and from a a genre I don't keep up with the way I did in High School.

Thanks for the insights, Mike and Billy. Good info, nice read.

J de said...

Excellent post Matt,

I’ve been thinking along this line for some time. I’d liked to have brought this as a “Sound of Ameritrash” thing, and although this is a little different, it still sparked my comments:

Albums which I always liked for atmosphere are:

In the rap department I second GZA and Wu Tang for effect (and NWA because they still fucking rock, beats and lyrics). I further suggest Paris because of the dark atmosphere he creates in songs like The Devil Made Me… Awesome.

Led Zeppelin IV: bit of a folky, fantasy mood with Battle for Evermore and Stairway to Heaven standing out, but When the Levy Breaks also good.

The The: Mind Bomb. The record I listened to whilst reading Lord of the Rings. Totally fits that bill for me and I still find the LOTR soundtrack a missed chance to do away with the old fashioned Carmina Burana/Planets type of fantasy soundtracks. But Mind Bomb has all the creeping unease in Armageddon Days and Good Morning Beautiful, and the wet despair of Kingdom of Rain (with Sinead o’Connor on vocals – brilliant). Johnny Marr on guitars!

Kula Shaker: K. I listened a lot to this while playing a campaign of Werewolf. “ Somebody shoot the dog!” was right on the spot there.

David Lynch: soundtracks of Twin Peaks, Fire: Walk with Me, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. For weirdness and spookiness, few can match Lynch soundtracks (and his ‘industrial sounds’ which often feature in the low fi background of his movies). Lynch can even make jazz sound spooky. And fuck your brain…

But the real Sound of Ameritrash is Monster Magnet! Known as a spacerock outfit first, these guys came from the stoner scene, which is actually excellent for gaming background (stoned or not). I like Superjudge and Dopes to Infinity best, because they are less polished an more drawn out, which is better for this purpose. But lines like “I talk to planets, baby!”, “ Cashing Satan’s check with my dick in my hand” and “Cut off my legs, I won’t need them where I’m gonna go” are just so totally Ameritrash… and just a few pickings.

Ps of course the ultimate Ameritrash band is Kiss. But then again, it’s the ultimate band of a few other things as well.

Mr Skeletor said...

KISS?!?!?!
If kiss are the ultimate Ameritrash then send me back to the Euros!

Michael Barnes said...

J De, I gotta give you credit for including The The, who I adore, and Angelo Badalamenti...but Monster Magnet? Come on!

KULA SHAKER? Good grief man, does your CD collection also include Menswear, Mansun, and Gay Dad? Oh, those third rate Britpop bands...

If there's one band that is the living heart and soul of Ameritrash...it's MANOWAR, plain and simple.

Pat H said...

Manowar - Ha! When I read that I farted!

Ken B. said...

I do want to say that this thread has been very enlightening for me.

You see, in the case of Death, I didn't discover them until 1989. By that time, I'd heard a lot of speed and death metal, so they were unique to me in terms of over-the-top gore content and so I bought the album (that album cover to Scream Bloody Gore is great).

I picked up their next few albums too as they came out and felt they had really gotten watered down from their original sound, and all the great gore content was gone.

What I didn't know is that they had been making music since 1983 (!), so what I thought of as derivative was actually some of the stuff that came first and was then copied by other groups.

(Yay, internets, for making research so easy).


It's like when the LOTR movies came out and people said the story was ripping off elements from other movies/stories...it's like, "um...Tolkien came first, dude."


I bow to the wisdom presented in this thread.

Ken B. said...

DEFEND THEM~!

Mr Skeletor said...

I still strap my balls to my leg when I put a manowar album on.

Oldstench said...

My balls almost get ripped off by the phantom motorcycle that suddenly appears 'neath me when I throw on some Manowar.

Manowar, manowar livin' on the road!

When we're in town, speakers explode!

Michael Barnes said...

"Born to live, forever more"

J de said...

Kula Shaker, my favourite band it ain't but it really has a decadent cyberpunk feel to it. Which is what it is all about: atmosphere.

Well, and for the comparison of Monster Magnet to Manowar, I can only say that I never cared a bit for Manowar and you're welcome to it.

Just like Skeletor can go happily play with his Euro's. Kiss = theme, bits, fun, in your face and extended drum solo's = the musical equivalent of Ameritrash. Some might argue that the same goes for Def Leppard or Motley Crue, but they happen to be really crappy, which is a misunderstanding of what Ameritrash stand for.

Citadel said...

I'm ten years too young and ten years too old to contribute on your metal discussion.

My experience with music and games is that pretty much everything just becomes forgettable background musak when you are playing games. The only exceptions seem to be more instrumental stuff. All the recent sessions that I can remember what was being played fall into that catergory.

Blood Bowl listening to Lightning Bolt - Hypermagic Mountain
Call of Cthulhu listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor - Lift your Skinny Fists...
Necromunda listening to Sunn O))) - White 2

I don't know if it is due to the more atmospheric nature of these albums or that you can just crank them that little bit louder without them being distracting.

Mr Skeletor said...

KISS probably would be Ameritrash. With the emphasis on the Trash. How I hate that band.
Paul Stanley was in Australia a month or so ago, and I was reading an Interview with him where he was complaining about about people stealing his music, and what right did other people have to tell him he's made enough money, yadda yadda yadda. Then he declared that downloading was the greatest tragedy of the last century. What a douche.

J de said...

your fault for taking seriously what Paul Stanley says. Just because somebody makes great music doesn't mean their opinion has any value or that they are morally elevated people. I'd say Phil SPector is a fine example.

The more amazing thing is how Kiss got away with Christine Sixteen without the whole American conservative establishment rising in furor. I'd say it rivals the Skeletor avatar in fueling a ruckus.

"I normally don't say this to girls of your age, but when I saw you coming out of school that day
That day I knew
I gotta have you, I gotta have you!"

Brilliant!

Mr Skeletor said...

"Brilliant" and "KISS" should never be seen on the same page. The only bigger Joke than Stanley is Gene "She's not my partner just the woman I have chosen to pro-create with" Simmons.

I bet that guy prays ever night for Ace or Peter to finally carc it, so then KISS can undertake the only money grubbing scheme they have yet to do - the tribute tour.

alan polak said...

Don't think anyone has mentioned Iron Maiden. Early stuff like Powerslave and Number of the Beast has that epic, rime of the ancient mariner feel to it, that and "the rime of the ancient mariner" of course.

I prefer some Nine Inch Nails overall though. Dark enough to be good for Arkham or some other horror game. Then angry and fast for the Blood Bowl/Doom types.

Pat H said...

Maiden rocks.

Oldstench said...

Citadel - good choices for atmosphere. You might really enjoy a lot of the stuff on Raster-Noton and 12k/Line records. Awesome minimal/ambient/micro/glitch stuff.

Definites:

Viroon & Insen by Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto
Status by Bretschneider and Steinbruchel
Frame by Shuttle358

Um...everything else on the labels :)

Wargamer66 said...

Blue Oyster Cult. Pwned.