Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Metal All the Way Down

So... I'm a member of Last.fm, which is a great place to search out new music of the kind you like.  You can set it up on an iphone or Droid phone to stream music based upon what you've chosen, or based upon recommendations based upon your library or playlists.  Very cool if you want to discover new music in your favorite genre.

Of course, for me these days there's only one genre.  Metal.  Symphonic, European Power, and Progressive metal, to be precise.  I prefer female fronted stuff, but there are some very nice male vocals out there.  As long as it isn't Death or Black metal or what they call "Screamo."  Please.

My favorite male vocalist?  Mathias Blad from Falconer.  This guy fucking rocks.  I'm also fond of Roy Khan from the (American) European Power Metal band Kamelot.  The former singer from Thunderstone was pretty damn good too, but he's replaced on the new album by one of the singers from Tarot--which isn't as bad as it sounds.
It's getting to the point I prefer male vocals in the lower registers.  I don't mind if they can GO high, but they shouldn't stay there.  Exceptions, of course, being the stuff I grew up listening to.  But newer metal?  If I want to hear that stuff, there are plenty of bands from back in the day where that's common.  Give me Blad's "Clarion Call" or Khan's "March of Mephisto" any day.

And my taste for female vocals is all over the map.  I like Tarja Turanen, Simone Simons, Floor Jansen, Cristina Scabbia (Yes, I KNOW there's no 'H' in Cristina... NOW).  Though my issue with Scabbia is that I'm still not a huge fan of Lacuna coil.  I prefer the vocals to overlay the music, not the other way around.  Her voice is too often half drowned and hidden within the coils of the music, and her fellow vocalist's voice is just grating.

My top 3 bands as of this moment are Epica, Edenbridge, and Gwyllion, though following close behind are Delain and Stream of Passion.  I'm also very interested to hear what Amy Lee has up her sleeve, and how it'll compete with former bandmates' new band, We Are The Fallen.  Yeah--that's definitely the way to do it.  Snatch up one of the better female runners-up on American Idol and make a run for the charts with her.  She's got some talent, that's for certain.

Suffice to say I don't really care for modern hard rock all that much.  Certainly not the American brand.  One exception is Shinedown, but I've been a fan of theirs since I first heard .45 on some obscure radio program.  That dude has a serious set of pipes.  Their rendition of Skynyrd's Simple Man is boggling.  But the rest of 'em?  Who's who again?  American rock needs a good kick in the balls.  American metal needs a singing lesson.

Having two Evanescences might actually kick start more female fronted metal.  It doesn't all have to be symphonic.  But ixnay on the ethmetalday, eh?  No room for "Angry Dog Rock" in these ear-holes.

I've been a metal head the first time a friend dropped a needle on an old Sabbath album and played me "Iron Man" and "War Pigs."  I was blessed to hear the first stirrings of Queensryche before they forayed out into the world.  And was left in despair when bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, Def Leppard and Poison became the nation's "heavy metal" heartthrobs.  Puhleeze.  Back then we had Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Fates Warning, Metal Church, and Savatage. We knew real metal when we heard it.

Still do.  It has to have power, sure.  But it also has to have majesty.  All the fucking way down.

Oh, and I'd also like to recommend you check out reverbnation.com.  Why?  Because they have charts of local, national, and global acts that often offer free downloads to fans.  You might discover some really terrific music just around the corner.  Or discover some really nice people making music you like half a world away.