Happy frickkin’ new year

New Year’s Eve, and time to say goodbye to 2009. It has been a long, busy year. Frankly, it was a great year for metal; unfortunately, it was crappy year for just about everything else (the economy, the war in Afghanistan, the environment – you get the idea).

So let’s put this year to bed and send the sucker out with Scar Symmetry’s “Morphogenesis.” Yeah, this is the old Scar Symmetry, before they hired two new singers. I like the new S.S. … but this song is a real monster.

See ya in 2010.

Jmayse @ Noise Pollution

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Kentucky resident to make documentary about black metal. Uhh …. really?

I ripped this hot from the presses at Blabbermouth. I’ve read it, but I still don’t believe it. Read for yourself.

Kentucky Political Blogger To Produce Documentary About Black Metal – Dec. 29, 2009

Well-known Kentucky political blogger and musician William “Shack” Shackleford has announced plans to produce a documentary about black metal in America.

“Many kids have no idea what true black metal is all about,” said Shackleford. “Patriarchs like [BURZUM leader] Varg Vikernes and others in the movement are grossly misunderstood.

“I have been exchanging emails with Vikernes. Hopefully we can work it out so I can release these emails as a part of the upcoming documentary.”

Shackleford added, “I am a Christian but I understand how some disenfranchised youths in Europe and America view the secular church.

“I am not producing this documentary in a Christian-only point of view. It will include everyone’s point of view.

“I think it is important that metal fans young and old sit down and begin to understand today’s metal. It’s not all face paint and loud guitars; it is serious business in many parts of the world.

“I am a huge black metal fan and I am not producing this documentary to take a sh*t [profanity altered by Noise Pollution] on the genre either.”

Black Station Productions will produce and release the documentary sometime in 2010.

Shackleford’s blog, The Rural Democrat, is described as “one of the top Democratic-leaning blogs in America.” Shackleford is also the lead guitarist for Kentucky’s “premiere metal band” INCHAINED.

Now, I’m confused: If Shackleford is doing a documentary ab0ut black metal in the United States, why is he interviewing Varg Vikernes? Varg was important in the Norwegian black metal scene years ago, but he sat in the slammer for 15 years for offing Euronymous. Vikernes was only released from prison earlier this year. What exactly does Vikernes know about black metal in America?

If Shackleford wants to shoot a documentary about black metal in America, shouldn’t he focus on … oh, I dunno … American black metal bands? Any plans to interview the guys in Wolves in the Throne Room or Nachtmystium? What about Xasthur or Agalloch? 

I’d rather hear the perspective of people who are actually creating black metal in American than the opinion of someone like Vikernes.  

Other directors have already taken their stab (no pun intended there, Varg) at Norwegian black metal, so a rehash of ancient history isn’t necessary. So if Shackleford is really gonna try this, I’d be most interested to learn what motive or agenda drives the USBM scene. Sure, the Norwegians were a large musical influence, but why has the genre thrived here? How have the Yanks adapted black metal to comment on or attack American society? It is a reaction against Christianity? Is the scene driven by environmentalism? Do the USBM bands have the same motives as the Norwegians, or do the U.S. bands have a completely different agenda?

Maybe this will be great, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of final things that make Shackleford’s claims somewhat suspect. First, I have covered politics in Kentucky and have never heard of the “Rural Democrat” blog. Secondly, I’ve seen a lot of Kentucky metal bands play a lot of shows, but I have never heard mention of Inchained. It’s hard to be the “premier metal band” of Kentucky if people don’t know who you are, buddy.

Anyway, maybe this guy’s documentary will totally surprise me … but for now, I’m praying my black little heart out that the Norwegian black metal documentary “Until The Light Takes Us” finally makes its way to Louisville.

Congrats to this week’s “12 Days of Nuclear Blast Giveaways” winner!

I think this week’s contest was a little too obscure.

Although a lot of people tried, I had only one person correctly identify one of the pictures. So congratulations to Dale, who will receive CDs from Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky and Avantasia. The free stuff comes courtesy of the good folks at Nuclear Blast Records.

So who were those bands, anyway? Take a look.

Wolves in the Throne Room

And behind door number two, we have …

Agalloch

Sorry if this one was a little too obscure. But thanks everyone for playing. We’ll try it again soon.

The 2009 best/worst/weirdest heavy metal short lists

Well, 2009 was a great year for metal, with almost too many good albums and all kinds of weird and wacky news. Metal legends produced some fabulous new music, while new and/or obscure bands rose to the forefront with killer discs.     

So now it’s time to wrap the year up in a nice, trite little package with my 2009 short lists. Hey, two years of short lists in a row: That makes the list “annual.” So there. Let’s get rolling.       

Best Albums     

1. Blut Aus Nord: “Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars.” – I imagine a lot of “trve” black metallers – those who think the only black metal is the stuff created by Norwegians before, say, 1994 – hate Blut Aus Nord. Well, it’s their loss.     

In ’09, the Frenchmen’s “Memoria Vetusta II” was as bleak, scary and heart-wrenchingly beautiful as anything ever produced by early Emperor or Burzum. This is complex, transcendental music, from the opening keyboards of “Acceptance” to the final fade out of “Elevation.” Every song is an intricate work filled with equal parts cosmic wonder and deep-space indifference and cold. Brilliant.     

Continue reading

Congrats to this week’s “12 Days of Nuclear Blast Giveaways” winners

UPDATE, DEC. 23 – Hey, this contest is over, but why don’t you play Noise Pollution’s latest contest, which you can find right here.

Congratulations to Tanya and Danielle, the winners of this week’s contest. Both will receive a copy of Hammerfall’s new album, “No Sacrifice, No Glory.” Tanya will also receive a copy of Samael’s “Above” album, while Danielle gets a copy of Edguy’s “The Singles” disc.

Both Tanya and Danielle correctly identified the street urchin pictured below as an interviewee from the hilarious documentary “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” Check him out, yo.

If you want to see and hear the guy’s opinion of heavy metal, punk rock and even Madonna, click here. Be warned: It’s laced with profanity, so those with sensitive ears might be offended. Personally, I think it’s hysterical … I’ve never heard so many creative uses of the “f-bomb.”

Thanks to Charles and Loana at Nuclear Blast Records for providing the swag. I’ll do another contest next Monday and at least one more between Christmas and New Year’s, so check back later.

More Exodus live Webcasts tonight and Friday

If you missed last night’s Q&A Webcast with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, don’t lose heart.

Tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 15), you can catch a live Web session with band frontman Rob Dukes, at www.nuclearblastusa.com/exodus.

The Webcast begins at  8 p.m. Central, 9 p.m. Eastern (and 6 p.m. on the West Coast for both of my California readers). You can post questions for Rob in advance on the band’s Facebook  page, or make queries live during the session on the Nuclear Blast site.

Exodus guitarist Lee Altus will hold a live Q&A session Friday night, Dec. 18, same time, same channel. You can also watch a replay of Gary’s Web chat anytime at www.nuclearblastusa.com/exodus

Exodus’ Gary Holt holds live Q&A session

UPDATE, JUNE 21, 2010: Wanna read Noise Pollution’s latest interview with Gary Holt? Gary talks about “Exhibit B,” the influence of Paul Baloff and lots more. Click here

Tonight (Monday, Dec. 14), you’ll be able to ask questions of a metal legend, when Exodus guitarist Gary Holt holds a Q&A session online, at www.nuclearblastusa.com/exodus.

If you missed it, you can still catch the entire session at the Exodus Web site, so click the link above.

Gary and the Exodus boys are currently in the studio recording the long-anticipated “The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit B” with producer Andy Sneap. Also, the band has a live double DVD, “Shovel Headed Tour Machine: Live at Wacken and Other Assorted Atrocities” hitting stores next month.