Apparently country, metal, and hardcore shows can all be lumped into one large group of live shows that perpetuates a “War On Women. We now all know that the people who go to see Stick To Your Guns also go to see Carrie Underwood. Who would have thought?!?!
I strongly doubt our friend Amy Mccarthy has actually been to a hardcore or metal show, but it didn’t stop her from slandering the scene and equating the “dangers” there to something resembling the Congo. She mentioned posers in her article, and if there is one in the room, its not any of us. If her writing is any indication, she’s never been to the Warped Tour, to SXSW, Mayhem, Riot Fest, Chaos, ect.
This still doesn’t stop her from equating metal/hardcore shows with country and others to the point that she never bothers to really distinguish between them. It’s not incidental, its deliberate so that her article appears to encompass as many genres as possible. All shows are lumped into the “evil” category via guilt by association. Obviously, she has been to a country show, but she dishonestly tries to pretend that hardcore/metal shows present similar “dangers” of which will be covered soon in this piece.
Well, the “War On Women” now spreads its grimy manly tentacles into our scene – and Amy Mccarthy is downright appalled. How do we know this? You can read her entire, “Punched, groped, beer thrown in my face: Being a woman at a concert can be terrifying“, at the vestige of powerful, fair, and unbiased journalism that is Salon. Wow, I didn’t know only women could be terrified at shows, but who cares when the other gender gets hurt, right? Also, until Amy Mccarthy told us, I didnt know that girls who attend shows are fragile, scared, helpless, and frightened creatures who can’t think for themselves whatsoever. I’m glad I know this now though.
Before I forget, shame on AltPress for promoting this hit-piece.
She talks a big game, but lets look at some of the points she makes about metal and hardcore. She’s one of us – not a poser, groupie, ect – right?
“Most women who frequently attend live shows will tell you that they have been harassed, groped or assaulted as they listen to their favorite bands. A standing-room-only show, when you’re wedged into a massive crowd fueled by beer and testosterone, is particularly scary. There seems to be a spectrum of violence that women experience at live shows, ranging from misogynist verbal harassment to sexual assault.”
Notice her claim about “most women”. Well, if we want to accept her bizarre anecdotal claims, ask girls you know who go to live shows how often they have been harassed, groped, or assaulted. No, having your butt touched when crowd surfing doesn’t count. Neither does it when you are jumping up and down, moshing, that OTEP incident, or trying to get a better spot closer to the front. You will hear some stories, but they are exceedingly rare – you know like false rape claims.
“A standing room-only show.”
How many metal/hardcore shows have you been to where it has not been standing room only? Yea, that’s what I thought. Maybe she is referring to other genres, but she doesn’t bother to make that distinction. Accident or assassination? Our reputation lies in tatters. (Only exception I’ve experienced to this was Summerfest in Milwaukee when August Burns Red and The Devil Wears Prada played in which the stands cut down on much of the area available to stand and mosh.)
“Most important, though, the dangerous and unpredictable nature of concert culture means that it is often entirely unsafe to be a woman in a dark, crowded music venue.”
Anyone else get the idea that she hasn’t been to any metal/hardcore shows in a dark, crowded scary horror movie-like music venue? How many stories has ANYONE heard about someone actually being sexually assaulted – real sexual assault that is – or being raped at a show?
“Even when the violence doesn’t escalate to the level of rape, unsolicited touching and aggressive come-ons from drunk musicians and fans alike is all too common.”
This isn’t at all subjective. Unsolicited touching. Consider when A Day To Remember played The Rave up in Milwaukee and it sold out. It was so damn packed that in no way could you not touch someone. But yea, I suppose there were thousands of incidents of unsolicited touching that happened there.
Drunk musicians and fans? That is very specific to certain festivals and shows. Most smaller shows don’t have that many people drinking, and for some its not even available. I.E, how many people actually drink at the Warped Tour? Consider the price of beer and if they are even of age and its pretty damn slim.
“Venues can implement a number of procedures to make shows safer for women, like adding barricades to mosh pits and increasing security presence in the crowds, but it’s still difficult to control what happens in the middle of a frenzied show.”
“Adding barricades to moshpits.”
How exactly is that even possible – considering how, when, and where moshpits actually break out at show? You would think she’s never even see a pit before. Neither has she considered the fact that putting barricades around a pit would end up hurting people pushed out of the pit… This in particular flabbergasts me. Add “Fun Police” and moshpit killer to Amy Mccarthy’s resume.
Consider what happens when “security” is added to pits. They usually attempt to break them up, fights occur between moshers and security guards, and the show is often then usually stopped. Give it a few weeks, and you fight that yet another venue will no longer hold shows.
“In fact, they should be using their positions to outwardly do everything they can to ensure that these shows are safe for female concertgoers.”
The point of hardcore shows is that they are not safe specifically for anyone – including women. The aggression and danger is part of the reason people go. It’s not a Blake Shelton concert environment, and we shouldn’t pretend that it is. You can’t demand that the shows become made “safe” for a specific group and then get mad when people call them posers, because lets face it then; they wouldn’t actually want the same treatment as the rest of the “group” gets. If you go to a show to see The Acacia Strain and you get near the pit, people aren’t going to stop moshing or suddenly restrain themselves because you have to decided to enter the area – man, woman, or otherkin.
Well, you heard it from her. We need to show special care, treatment, and deference toward women at shows – because they might get hurt. I think Amy has a strong developed sense of female narcissism. Toss out that equality concept. Perhaps she should go to a Terror show and tell them how it needs to be a safer environment. I can’t help thinking, does she actually care about the safety of all concert-goer, or just women?
I’m five foot seven and I have to carefully consider what pits I go into and I have to be very aware of who is moshing to ensure I don’t take a punch to the face. Apparently, my safety doesn’t matter – unless I’m a woman. Then again, if I go to a show, I don’t expect the atmosphere and environment of the show to change just for me. You would think that Amy Mccarthy believes women are these weak creatures to be entirely helpless and completely unable to protect themselves. (Equality right?)
“As for the fans, well, it’s probably unrealistic to ask that they keep their hands to themselves and quietly enjoy the music. Ultimately, it is the artists who have the most responsibility and the greatest ability to ensure that the environment their music cultivates is not inherently aggressive toward women.”
Yes, its VERY unrealistic to ask fans not to mosh and to “keep their hands to themselves.” Any metal/hardcore artists that ensure an environment that is not aggressive isn’t going to be around very long.
Notice though that the aggression is fine, as long as its not toward women. Earlier, she quotes Lorena Cupcakes complaint, “Our motives are cast as disingenuous; we’re called groupies, posers, and hangers-on. Male dominance is established by questioning our right to be there at all.”
Well, this is why your motives are being questioned. You want to be there, but you don’t want to participate equally in the aggressive nature of the shows? You want the shows to be specifically made safe for you, but your not a “hanger-on?”
Amy mentioned earlier in the article that, “Depending on the genre you enjoy, male fans who share your interests might call you a “poser,” or insinuate that you’re not as punk or metal or hip-hop (or as whatever) as you claim to be.” Labeling an environment like a hardcore show as being aggressive toward women, makes it easier to call women “posers” who participate, because instead of being treated the same as any other guy, you show them special treatment.
The irony is that shows are filled with men who literally white-knight for women all around. Plenty are nice of enough to stand in front of them and shield them from the pit, taking those windmills to the face because equality. Or helping them to safety when the pit really starts to get going during a The Acacia Strain set. Girls will tell you tons of stories like this. Oh wait, I forgot. Women are weak, helpless, can’t think for themselves, or even enjoy a show!
Personally, I’m a bit more of an asshole and a true equality feminist. Unless I know a girl, and she gets near the pit, I’m not shielding her body with mine – cause equality. She’s not a poser, she can take – just like me or any other guy – right. On the flip-side, guys usually care if they hurt a girl in the pit. They don’t however if you are a guy – your size doesn’t matter.
“Other times it involves being forcefully shoved across a raging mosh pit by someone three times your size, or being touched inappropriately as you try to crowd-surf. These may seem like harmless little interactions, something that should just be expected in a rowdy crowd.”
For once, know your pits. This applies to literally everyone at the show, regardless of whatever Tumblr gender identity you have that day. I’m a smaller guy, so I have to pick when and where I go in, especially when the breakdown hits. I doubt she has ever experienced one. For two, “women being pushed into moshpits”. If you are standing near to where a pit suddenly breaks out – that could be anywhere, especially at larger shows – everyone gets either pushed into the new pit or pushed back out of it, something she isn’t aware of. I smell a rat Scoob.
Notice how she talked about crowd surfing. It’s pretty damn near impossible not to have your butt touched as you are getting passed toward the stage – or getting your wallet stolen if its in your back pocket.
Surprisingly, Amy actually talks to an “expert” that gets it:
“Metal expert and weekend editor of VICE’s Noisey, Kim Kelly, is particularly used to being banged up at the end of a show. “If I’m at a death metal show or a DIY thrash show in a basement, I know things are gonna get crazy, bottles are gonna fly, and I’m probably going to come home with a few bruises,” she says. “I’ve always been able to hold my own, but women who are smaller or less brash than I am might absolutely feel intimidated by the testosterone-fueled violence. In my experience, if you don’t want to get hurt, you stand in the back or on the side, and keep your guard up.”
I find it humorous that someone – girls specifically – are going to feel intimidated by testosterone-fueled violence. Consider the amount of places left that you can actually let out your aggression and feel the testosterone coursing through your veins is pretty slim. Metal/hardcore shows are about all that’s left.
Hardcore shows are probably the only place where its part of the show. It should be obvious, but feminists types like Amy want to curb our outbursts of toxic masculinity at our last remaining refuges where they aren’t shunned, but are actually embraced – a sense of community if you will.
When we get upset and speak out about the nonsense, outright lies, falsehoods, and the tripe she spews, we are then of course proving exactly her point – that metal/hardcore aren’t safe spaces and places for women and that we are all terrible misogynists. Yea, well fuck her. Maybe eventually, she will name one of these many survivors who has ever been “raped” in this epidemic at the Warped tour. Or Chaos. Or SXSW. Or Mayhem. Or any of the hundreds of others.
“It doesn’t seem like too much to ask that the women who are just as much a part of these respective scenes — we buy just as many records, concert tickets, and band T-shirts as men, and are equally supportive of our favorite acts – not feel physically intimidated when they’re out at shows. In New York’s hardcore scene, bands like the recently reunited Kill Your Idols make it a point to cultivate “positive mental attitude” at their shows and address inequities in their scene, proving that it is possible for these safe spaces to exist without compromising the rowdy vibe that is expected of hardcore punk.”
At hardcore shows…
In New York’s hardcore scene…
Yea, she just said that. Based on everything she has said in this article, she doesn’t want to just kill off the rowdy vibe, she wants to salt the earth after she’s buried the corpse. She wants to eliminate it and replace it with a safe space that doesn’t wreak of sweaty testosterone misogynistic fueled aggression. Mccarthy believes that women are too fragile to be exposed to anything that involves… testosterone.
You would think she would know this, but the entire point of a hardcore show – especially in Boston, LA, and New York is to let yourself go in the pit and at the show. Don’t expect “special” and “safe” treatment. If you want to roll with the guys, expect to be treated like anyone else in the show – especially if you go into the pit.
“Until we address the systemic issues that drive this violence, though, like rape culture and the nonsensical idea that women have to somehow “earn” their place as legitimate music fans, it is likely that even that wouldn’t be enough to make live music a safe and positive experience for women. Still, hearty encouragement from the acts onstage and the venues that host them would be a really helpful start”
What was that about posers? Groupies? Disingenuous?
Oh, that’s what safe-space demanding Amy Mccarthy thinks women are. In fact, if we created safe spaces and destroyed New York’s Hardcore scene by turning those triggering mosh-pits into seats filled with male zombies gazing unmoving and silent at the stage, it still wouldn’t be enough.
Don’t give into people like Amy Mccarthy. If they are unhappy with their scene, they will go after yours, and attempt to kill it if they can’t be as happy as anyone else. This is the worse form of narcissism – the take-no prisoners kind. You know why people hate feminism? It’s because of women like Amy who demand that everything revolves around them and hell with everyone else.
Oh and just in case you actually like Country and think she might be over blowing things, a commenter on Salon called out at least two of the examples which weren’t exactly true – if not outright lies:
While not attempting to minimize or dismiss any of the legitimate complaints of women who have been assaulted or otherwise abused, at least two of the examples provided are flat out false:
1) Tim McGraw was not grabbed “on the leg” — he was grabbed *on the crotch* and rightfully and justifiably responded by hitting the woman who sexually assaulted him. Had the sexes been reversed, would you offer that up as an example of mistreatment? I doubt it.
2) The “rape” at the Keith Urban gig at Great Woods was not a rape. The charges were dropped because it was a consensual act. The claim of the young woman was not that it was not consensual, but that she didn’t really want to have done it — and that’s a distinction worth making. Its the difference between things happening without your consent, and things happening with your consent that you wish you hadn’t agreed to do. Huge difference, with massive implications for the other person involved, and definitely needs to be paid attention do.
Oh, also Amy Mccarthy: Don’t talk shit about metal and hardcore shows, until you’ve been to plenty of them.
Apparently, Warped Tour 2014 – and previous warped tours – has a women problem. That is in a women problem in terms of the amount of women involved in the bands who make up Warped Tour.
Now right away, this observation should be made: This one of the the usual “divide and conquer” approaches that people employ when talking about this subject wreaks of to motivate women and/or men to endorse a particular ideology to create ” specific issues” and win them votes. As my friend Katie has said, and I’m paraphrasing, they are trying to divided us and get us at each others throats the day we are born, and she is right. Think for yourself.
Ms. Megan Seling over at WonderingSound has put out a rather thoughtful piece on the lack of female “involved” bands at the Warped Tour. When “female” bands is mentioned in this post it includes both bands with female members in their ranks and female fronted ones as well. Instead of deliberately misrepresenting what she has to say, I’ll quote this lovely piece:
“As a woman and a fan of punk rock, I’m angry and disheartened. I grew up listening to hardcore and pop-punk and I know what a boys’ club it can be. I’m used to being in the minority at shows, having to deal with guys who think they need to protect me in the mosh pit. But that was 15 years ago, and still the culture has not evolved. Part of that could be because Kevin Lyman, founder and producer of the Warped Tour, doesn’t think there’s a problem.”
Quick, but important poin a.k.a rant: Has Seling been in a “hardcore” pit in the last 10 years? You know, where the wild things dwell and the Boston hardcore scene gives no f*cks at the shows. You aren’t moving! Windmill to the face, stage dive to your head, ect. There is a REAL reason – part of it being physical – that some girls don’t go to actual hardcore shows. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t bring my 13 year old cousin to one if I was actually thinking of her safety. Hold on, I’m taking my sip of patriarchal kool-aide right now.
Well, how many “female” bands are their actually on the warped tour this year? A commentor on www.absolutepunk.net by the name of TylerDrumming compiled what appears to be a list of women – I’m assuming they are women!
The Summer Set
Beebs And Her Money Makers
Courage My Love
Icon For Hire
Shot in the Dark
We Are The In Crowd
Aim Your Arrows (Playing 7/8)
Amber Stowell (Playing 7/8)
Blackbird (Playing 7/6-7/10 and 7/12)
Blair La Rose (Playing 6/26)
Blameshift (Playing 7/9-7/12)
Candy Hearts (Playing 7/6-7/9)
Death of Paris (Playing 7/9)
Go Betty Go (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Go Big (Playing 7/6)
Hunter Valentine (Playing 7/6-7/12)
Jackknife Stiletto (Playing 7/9)
Jenni Spiro (Playing 7/11)
June Divided (Playing 7/11)
Justina (Playing 7/6-7/9)
Kaleido (Playing 7/11)
Kiirstin Marilyn (Playing 7/12)
Light Up the Eyes (Playing 6/20 and 6/25)
Melanie Lynx (Playing 7/10)
Miracle Dolls (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Mourning Lilith (Playing 6/21)
Queen Caveat (Playing 6/20 and 6/22)
Romance Mechanics (Playing 6/21-6/25)
Romantic Rock Fashion Show (Playing 6/25)
Sara Laketa (Playing 7/10)
Sharkmuffin (Playing 7/6 and 7/11-7/12)
Shiragirl (Playing 6/20-6/26 and 7/6-7/12)
Stop the Presses (Playing 6/25-6/26)
Survival Guide (Playing 6/21 and 6/26)
The Swank Masters (Playing 6/26)
The Turbulent Hearts (Playing 6/20-6/22 and 6/26)
Varna (Playing 6/21-6/22)
Wasi (Playing 6/21 and 6/25)
You Only Live Once (Playing 6/20 and 6/25-6/26)
Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, points out that it’s okay for one out of the six bands on average on the tour tend to be “female” involved and/or fronted and he said it was “absolutely okay” for there to be “such a one-sided ratio”, but Seling yet again disagrees:
“But it’s not. It’s not OK for Warped or the Fest, and it’s not OK that Alternative Press, a monthly music magazine that sponsors the Warped Tour, has only put a woman on its cover five times in the last three years — and twice it was Hayley Williams from Paramore.”
This acknowledgment and “defense” obviously leads to the logical and sane conclusion that, “… as long as Warped Tour continues to boast such an insulting male-to-female artist ratio, those 500,000 fans are learning that loud music is played by dudes, and women belong in the crowd (which, according to Lyman, is 53 percent female).” Yes. That is ABSOLUTELY what these fans are learning who can’t obviously f*ucking think for themselves. No faith in humanity right? Apparently, neither can any of the female fans and artists there either, according to Ms. Seling, They are in fact so incapable of excelling by themselves and against the current, that they need divine male intervention in the form of Lyman rectifying the gender music gap in punk.
Seriously, I had no idea these female bands needed so much help from men! No, don’t give me the, “There is sexism in the music industry creating significant barriers for women so they need special help!” That’s not equality and if you are trying to balance things out by creating such a concept of “equality” by using unequal specific preferential treatment, your logic is seriously flawed. Just like affirmative action, the ends don’t justify the means. (No, “white privilege” wont work here. Genocide bitches – I win in the oppression Olympics.)
Lyman goes on to “defend” himself and points out that the Warped Tour has an “all girls” stage for 11 of the tour dates this year… HOLD ON for a second. Can you imagine if there was an “all male” celebration day and special privileges for said males to rectify the gender gap in teaching at the local elementary school to make the bare 5% on average of male teachers in public school? People would flip shit and you can bet your ass the NFL wouldn’t come up with a masculine color for the month to commemorate the male struggle in the school system.
Unfortunately, Lyman has been turned into an object for wrath for a problem he didn’t cause. I as well as every other person who has the slightest idea of Kevin’s character know he has never passed on a band just because they had a “female” in the band. Simple supply and demand is the problem here, if you want to call it an actual problem. Bands that play, especially the main stage, are brought onto the tour because of their fans and following. Kevin, the opportunist closet misogynist that he is, has already tried an all girls spin off tour which FAILED. But apparently this is because women have an uninviting environment created for them in punk music and are held up to unrealistic standards.
Newsflash: There is a reason Katie Perry and Paramore draw than every punk, metal, hardcore band in general – much to my disdain – let alone if there is a woman in their ranks or not. The demand and audience has to BE there. There is a reason there is a higher demand for One Direction then Selena Gomez – simple demographics.
It’s not Kevins fault or his lack of promotion for “female” bands that teenage boys want to mosh to metal-core breakdowns or screaming teenage girls want to drool over Sleep With Sirens’s lead male singer whose high pitched tenor voice disturbs me. On that note, how many girls on the Warped Tour this year would rather see Kellen Quinn from SWS singing than Emily Whitehurst, Warped tour veteran and former frontwoman of Tsunami Bomb and Action Design that Seling quotes alot in her article? Cool, now I sound like a Kevin Lyman fanboy. Negative downvotes for that.
This had me scratching my head:
“Now that I’m not really involved in punk rock as much, I’m finding that most shows I play have other women on the bill,” says Whitehurst. “It’s possible that there truly are less women playing in heavier bands, but it’s also possible that people who like heavier bands assume that women aren’t very good at it. I never hear it anymore, but being in Tsunami Bomb, I can’t even count how many times a dude would come up to me after a show and say ‘You guys were really good! I don’t usually like girls in bands!’
Really, can you make that assumption? Ask almost any metal head and you would find it pretty rare that they would just assume a girl couldn’t play well in a metal band specifically because of their gender – even on Metalsucks. I personally love specific kinds of female vocalists, but can it really be blamed on Kevin Lyman that a huge percentage of Warped’s Audience – emphasis on girls here – would rather see Sleeping With Sirens because of Kellen Quinn then see some female fronted local punk band?
Two “female” friends – using that word makes me feel like some sort of analytical researcher lacking humanity – however had some points to make about a facebook post/objection to the above quote of Whitehurst. My friend Katie – a very smart homeschooled girl, so you know shes good – had this to point out:
“In the article she used personal examples of men making thus exact assumption. There’s really no reason for a poll when the evidence is everywhere. For every guy who enjoys female vocalists there is one who considers a strong female group a to be as rare and mystical as a unicorn, and another who flat out refuses female vocals”
I still however wonder, can one really make those assumptions? I’m not so sure I see evidence for it everywhere or its just that certain activists have told us there is evidence for it EVERYWHERE. My friend Mary make’s this point – and note she was in a metal band and yes, it was genuine with plenty of screaming.
In my opinion it’s a little of both. Or perhaps that in media women are so stereotyped that people’s initial reaction is that bands with females wont be as heavy or as intense. In a lot of cases this turn out to be true, but I don’t think its because of a lack of ability, I think females lack confidence to get out there and realize what they can do.
I still think its bullshit to call Lyman out for something he has actually tried and for getting angry that he points out that the bands on the tour are determined by fans, support, and following. If we want to get more women into bands on the tour – specifically heavier ones – its going to take a hell of alot more than just giving them a stage or promoting the hell out of female bands to attract an actual fan base and following. Don’t people realize how hard it is for almost any music that isn’t pop, hip-hop-, or country to compete with drawing a female fan base – specifically from a younger demographic – when punk, hardcore, metal, ect is the music in question? That right there is one of the reasons why there is so few female “involved” bands, let alone good ones that attract alot of worthy attention.
Just my rants and thoughts, but feel free to leave me any death-threats.
Say what you want about Sworn In, but never have I seen a band in our scene blow up this quick and this fast. It was probably the tours and those fests that played a major part, but to give at least some credit where credit is due, there is not much out there that sounds like Sworn In. They have nailed the “I’m really pissed and angry,” sound like no one else I’ve heard.
I’ve been following Sworn In since the day they released their Cartharis EP. Out of the musical ilk that was Buried By The Ocean, came one of the most surprising EPs I had ever heard from a local band. It’s been a few years and their sound has certainly changed, but as their most recent music video has made evident, people certainly like it.
Whether you love or hate Sworn In, the fact that they released this music video on August 15th and it already has 190k+ views is pretty damn incredible. I didn’t see any band from our scene ever getting this kind of exposure, but I’m glad I was wrong. The people arguing back and forth on the youtube comments are something that every local band in the scene only wishes it had. All publicity is good publicity – or is at least publicity for that matter – which is hard to get in today’s over saturated music scene.
To enjoy Sworn In, you must appreciate this album and specifically this band for what they are, not what your preferred metal, hardcore, whatever tastes. Their music is obvious and straightforward; it’s heavy and there to smash your face in. The Death Card doesn’t wreak of technical riffs, catchy choruses, and ambient melodies because that is not who Sworn in is. If you are looking for something that sounds Between the Buried and Me, Born Of Osiris, or whomever go listen to them instead.
What about Sworn In themselves? Did Sworn In overreact when The Death Card leaked? Yes. That leak gave them invaluable and FREE exposure to amp up the release of The Death Card that much more. In fact, they have gotten plenty of negative feedback from people in our scene, myself included, but for once let’s support a band from our scene that is living their dream. I personally abhor the lyrics of Sworn In because of the negativity and the worldview, but if I want uplifting lyrics there are plenty of bands to choose from.
So when you listen to Sworn In, put all expectations aside and listen to them for what they are. Forget that you hate Tyler, preferred Gene’s vocals, or that Chris is a really nice guy and just listen to the music; no more and no less. Stay metal?
I like surprises. They keep life interesting and smack you with a dash of of the unexpected. For anyone who likes metal, whatever that actually constitutes these days, I’ve been rather pleasantly surprised with the new We Came As Roman’s album Tracing Back Roots. In fact, I was somewhat blown away since my expectations were so low.
Now before the metal elitists jump on the fact that I just dropped WCAR’s name and metal in the same sentence, let me remind you that Slayer hasn’t released a good album in 20 years, Gwar still sucks, and Megadeath is getting up there in years. The newest wave of metal is “somewhat” here so get used to it.
To you Deathcore/Beatdown advocates, perhaps bands have finally started to realize that vocalists who sound like a garbage disposal sucking down silverware with their “brootal” unintelligible screams doesn’t make the band sound bad ass. In fact it makes you look like you are still in high-school doing black metal poses and throwing in pig squeals for supposed good measure. No, adding base drops to it doesn’t make it any better or heavier.
WCAR has improved on all fronts. Yea, I’m still shocked. Dave’s screaming is legible but still badass , the bass can actually be heard, and Kyle has finally learned to sing inside his range. The band has somehow managed to put alot clean singing into Tracing Back Roots while still accenting it perfectly with plenty of screaming to give it that right handed K.O. power they’ve always possessed. Songs like Present, Past, and Future, Ghosts, and I Am Free are still surprising me.
Kyle’s improved vocals are of note here. Luckily he didn’t go down the I See Stars path where the tenor is so high that only dogs can hear it and there is not even the slightest hint of the Kellin Quinn voice that plagues my ears with unmanly pitches.
The lyrics on this album just aren’t inspiring, they are also quite catchy to scream/sing along to. In particular these few lines really grabbed my attention:
Change the way you act, not just the way you think
Change the way you live, live the way you claim
Words are just words, until they’re put to work
And it will be actions, not words, that change this earth.
I see myself playing this album quite a few times as there might not actually be a bad song on this album and that’s something I can’t say about alot of albums. Did I mention how they actually sounded GOOD live at Warped Tour this year? I didn’t expect that easier. To all upcoming music releases for this year; keep surprising me. It feels good.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a night owl. When I was 10 my penultimate achievement was convincing my parents that a 10:45 bed time was a tremendous idea. From that point on, I never looked back.
Sleeping? What is that? Even when I was told to go to bed, I managed to find ways to stay up, both observed and un-observed by my parents. I refined the art of sneaking, silence, and warning systems a.k.a loud doors to ensure my nocturnal activities. If I had access to light from door being open ajar, I would stay up and pour through my books about military history for the 5th or 6th time. Despite my dad defining the concept of a light sleeper, I fashioned clay into a pot for about a week straight, all my work occurring during my supposed bed-time hours. Building a Lego city and possible empire also peaked my creative interests as I would swing down down from my bunk-style bed to put my imagination into action while remaining absolutely stealthy.
A few years later, I acquired a game-boy and it was all downhill from there into the late night escapades of video-gaming. At that same time, I also memorized the Dish cable channels like the back of my hand and proceeded to stay up to midnight watching Gargoyles, Rocket Power, Hey Arnold, and all the late night Toonami re-runs on Cartoon Network.
Once I obtained my first laptop when I started College, I truly became a creature of the night and my voluntary sleep deprivation began. I watched all 7 seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer twice in my first year of College. That was on top of staying up till at least 2 am every night and getting up at 5;30. That soon escalated to 1 am walks with a piece of paper in one hand, a pen in the other, a stogie in my mouth, and headphones that played nonstop amounts of The National. Probably most of my poetry idea’s came from this – very depressing poetry that it is. It’s amazing to think what can happen when you have too much time on your hands.
It was during those roaming night adventures in my neighborhood that I learned that walking around people’s houses, backyards, and streets in the middle of the night makes me look very suspicious to the Fox Lake police. What can I say? I’m good at lurking. Did I fear for my safety? Not really, but I’m sure my parents did. I’ve always restorted to the good olde, “Run very fast for short distances” tactic in the face of trouble. No, I can’t fight so resorting to that is a necessity.
The night owl in me still hasn’t gone away. Back in 2011-2012 I worked 3rd shift for a year. It was awesome at first listening to my Ipod for 8 hours a night, but then the lack of human contact gets to you. I only like watching shows involving vampires, not becoming one. Even after abandoning the night shift for brighter waters, I still manage to find any excuse to stay up.
What can I say? I’m a night owl.
Lately, I’ve seen some rather mixed reviews of This Or The Apocalypse‘s new album, Dead Years. Some of them have been over-the-top. To be honest, I can understand where both the negative and positive reflections about the album are coming from. No, I’m not a fanboy, but I really have dug this band for three main reasons: (1) Their live performance, (2) Haunt What’s Left, (3) the devotion they have to what they do. It’s a real shame that it’s almost impossible nowadays to maintain a living from making and playing music, but that’s a sacrifice TOTA seem willing to make.
First off, there is something that I’ll throw out there; Haunt What’s Left is one of my favorite albums of all time, for various reasons. So that leads me to ask this question, “How do you really follow an album like that?”
I’m not sure that TOTA can necessarily “follow” Haunt What”s Left, and it appears that they realized that. Dead Years is that realization. Before we start ripping apart the album and critiquing every last detail our ears can pick up and our eyes can see, lets reflect on this thought; “We should enjoy an album for what it is, not what we wanted it to be or what it “should” be.”
Dead Years didn’t fulfill every last craving, aspiration, or expectation I had for it. (Albums rarely do that.) There were some shortcomings, but there were also some successes. In fact, this album is a lot stronger then some of our rather snobbish members of the metal-community give it credit it for. I’m sorry but Veil Of Maya is that way, Born Of Osiris is the other way, and I’m not quite sure as to which way Killswitch Engage is. Remember, what I said about enjoying an album for what it is? Oh, Metalsucks isway down that way. This is overall a very good album.
Of course, I do have some “complaints.” The cleans in Dead Years seemed to have degraded a bit with the exception of Gaunt And Fierce which has probably the strongest chorus, both in catchiness and execution, that TOTA has ever made. Two songs in particular that are on the subpar side with cleans are You Own No One But You and In Wolves, which is a shame considering how good the songs are. The songs also seem to have a bit less of a well-executed technical nature that Haunt What’s Left and Monuments were filled with. (Note that I don’t really know what I’m talking about in comparison to someone who actually plays music. I know this for a fact, so let me just throw out my fallibility there.) They are however still there in enough abundance in songs like Hell Praiser, Americans, and Hate The Ones You Love being evidence of TOTA’s bottomless technical talent.
Let me expound on that “technical talent” for a short bit. TOTA, in my mind, distinguish themselves with their technical riffage specifically because of where it is placed in their songs, how is is composed, and that fact that you can’t specifically see those riffs coming. I love that. Being techincal just because you can bores me; I’d prefer for technical “riffage” to have an actual purpose, but I digress. Dead Years throws out riffs that match up with something The Human Abstract would produce on a regular basis. Monuments has proven this aspect of their technical ability to the fullest, so a lack of technical ability would be a damnable lie.
I mention this because I don’t want TOTA to be labeled as one of those “chug bass-drop and break-down bands” mixed with some metal riffs style band that seem to dominate most metal today associated musically with anything “core.” There are certainly more breakdowns and bass-drops on this album, but this actually reflects the general lyrical theme of the album instead of said breakdowns and bass-drops just being thrown in there so that kids have an easier time in knowing when to do spin-kicks in the pit. In fact the element TOTA seem to have added to this album is the kind of “bounce” feel that Texas In July so successfully brings to the table.
Notice this album is well… a lot angrier than their previous two. Not only did the more “chuggy” nature of the album reflect that, but the grittiness of the screaming in this album manages to perfectly demonstrate that. Is it impressive when vocals actually relay the meaning and feelings of a particular lyric? I won’t lie, I’ve always been a big fan of Ricky’s particular vocal style, because let’s be honest; screaming has alot more of an impact when you can actually understand some of it. (Though I’m still very partial toward Matt Heafy’s screaming in Ascendancy. It is just so raw and powerful.) The grittiness of his vocals in particular coincide well with the overall theme of the album; frustration with lack of attention and care for the problems plaguing society. It is actually nice to see an album with lyrics about something other then breakups, bitches, killing people, and all the other entertaining possible lyrical choices out there. In fact, I am thoroughly enjoying the albums content about the societal problems that exist and the struggles people face. To make things even better, TOTA doesn’t pull a Greenday where they advocate us to be progressive statists or encourage anti-government sentiment depending on if the current president fits their ideological stances.
Anyone notice there were actually a few Fbombs thrown in to some of these songs to further emphasize the frustrations TOTA is presenting? I should admit right now that swearing in music usually seems to degrade my enjoyment of it. Now, I’m not some 23 year old Christian miser with an Uncle Jimbo attitude of “You damn kids!” when it comes to swearing. I’m just keen on two factors regarding swearing; context and appropriate timing. Meet those two factors and then by all means; swear away! Again all I would suggest is that swearing in any context have an appropriate and emphatic purpose rather then just a commonly used adjective that makes all the older people around grimace at the younger generation. This surprises even me, but I think TOTA may have made perfect usage of profanity to emphasize the lyrics of this album. (We’ve obviously seen the other extreme end of swearing in bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Asking Alexandria. *Shudder*)
One last thing I’d like to point out about Dead Years is the last song on the album; Hard Branch To Snap. It was a perfect song to conclude the album and falls in line with the excellent concluding song, Revenant, on Haunt What’s Left. So, remember don’t hate TOTA; appreciate the incredible strength of the vocals that make this band stand out in an overcrowded metal scene. Give this album a chance, no matter if you’ve heard TOTA before or are a long time fan; it will grow on you with each listen.
I won’t provide a download link for the album out of respect for This Or The Apocalypse. I would encourage all those who enjoy what they hear to support the band directly through their merch store.
For a change, Warped Tour in Milwaukee was not scalding hot with horrible humid temperatures. We caught a break. 12 hours later it didn’t matter much as I was soaked in sweat of which a majority wasn’t my own. I threw down. I threw down hard. For at least two days after August 1st, I recall having had extremely sore muscles, specifically in my neck and back. (I mentioned I threw down hard?) This being my third time at Warped, I made the wise choice of bringing an actual backpack to store stuff in, though it proceeded to come unzipped with the contents flying out several times during The Ghost Inside’s set.
Well, one thing that should certainly stand out about Warped Tour at Milwaukee this year was the rather compact nature of the layout this year – in comparison to last few years; everything including the stages was much closer together. Apparently less walking distance between everything = winning. Later I found out that this meant that they had sacrificed the main stage this year at Milwaukee combining into two stages in the amphitheater itself. I, or more specifically the video’s recorded by my android there now weep for the sound quality that emanated from that stage in comparison to the outdoor ones.
Warped, of course, had it all; tents galore. Every kind of social cause, or at least most of the trending ones were there. I’ve never felt so loved by “To write love on her arms.” For the teenager who was thinking of “doing things” there was a Trojan Condoms tent giving away plenty of free condoms to the apparent delighted stares of the parents who had decided to come to Warped to “monitor” the behavior of their teenage daughters. That actually is a tough job when you consider what those parents were going to have to go through when they tagged along to see All Time Low, Sleeping With Sirens (Very manly voice), ect. The savage pits, dangerous jumps, and shrill screams whenever Kellen (OMG!) appeared were sure to make it a valuable observation of teen behavior. To make the parent’s cringe even more, Buddy from Senses Fail made sure to remind all of those males in the audience to trim themselves down there. (Buddy for president? Yea, I saw those shirts.) Speaking of parents, there was actually a “Reverse day-care” where kids could “drop” their parents off so that the kids could act the way they normally do when their paretns aren’t around. (Shudder) Now that I think about it, I don’t recall seeing the reverse day care last year. Our society these days, but I digress.
There was a tent for the robe dressed practicing white Caucasian Hindus bowing and uttering “Hari Krishnas” with random kids while tour goers walked past with puzzled looks. (Definitely different.) Apparently absolute atheism still has yet to rid the unenlightened rednecks from their stupor as this is just yet another indication that we have been and still are perusing various spiritual worldviews since the selfish decade known as the 60s. (Remember, the only absolute is that you ignorant.) Unfortunately I only got a picture of them packing up their transcendence meditation medium on poles.
Even the PETA people had a tent of their own with the “I Heart Hunting Accidents” shirt available for only 20$ to the meat haters, vegans, and other individuals who prefer to be as “different” from the norm of us animal holocaust transgressors and deviants as possible. This marks an additional approach beside their pestering outside the gates in attempts to prey upon kids and turn them into possible juggernauts/supporters for legislative action to punish all of us meat eaters.
Now that I’ve mentioned meat, I should mention the high cost of these obviously low prices, or as some people have put it, “highway robbery.” To make matters even worse, beer was $6.50 a bottle. Let me repeat that, $6.50. This wasn’t the price of agood beer, a fabulous and delicious import, or even one of our better cheaper beers like Rolling Rock; this was the price of a Miller Lite, Coors, ect. I actually considered getting one, but I figured it would be a poor idea considering the amount of moshing I planned on doing. (As WELL as spending it on merch to support the bands.)
There were plenty of bands that stood out. Memphis May Fire actually surprised me. I wasn’t planning on seeing their set, but I decided last minute to see them and I was rewarded for my wise decision. One thing has to be said for them; they sound better live, especially vocally, then on any of their albums. That’s always a step in the right direction.
Every Time I Die was solid, as they always have been. They actually mentioned during their set that they played their first Warped Tour on a stage with about 10 people in the audience. Give or take 10 years later and that seems to have changed. What can I say, Every Time I Die deserve the success they’ve gotten. I was impressed with the way the set sounded in general.
For Today tore it up live, something they seem to do consistently. They actually still manage to surprise me when it comes to live shows, and no, I’m not talking about Mattie’s preaching. Mattie has a sick scream live, in fact it’s probably gotten better since the last time I heard them which was about two years ago. I noticed this because I’ve noticed alot of screamers and vocalists who can’t scream well live. Cough “Caleb Shomo” cough. I can’t recall the exact song set they played, but the songs were primarily from Breaker and Immortal, with at least 3 songs from Immortal if I recall correctly.
I personally fought invisible ninjas at least 3 times during the day, primarily during The Ghost Inside and Vanna’s sets. How can you not hardcore dance when this breakdown hits? My only gripe regarding The Ghost Inside’s set was that the rhythm guitar was too loud in comparison to everything else, but it wasn’t enough to subtract from the set. The songs I remember them playing were: Faith & Forgiveness, Outlive, Between The Lines, Chrono, and Slipping Away, not in that order. I noticed Vigil seemed to have worn the same shirt that day that he had in all of the live videos of previous Tour Dates. That thing must of have smelled awful.
My day led off with Four Year Strong at the main stage. I decided to be stupid and get on the floor level that was boxed in by the metal gates, which was of course a big mistake when the pits opened up and I and the others in front of me were pressed into the metal gate behind me for the entire set. I had my backpack on me at the time, but was unable to get my phone out to take any photos or video because I literally couldn’t move my arms. FYS started off with “What the hell is a gigawatt?” which I actually called. Their set was distinctly devoid of any of the songs of their new album with just one exception, though I can’t recall which new song it was. Final note about FYS; damn, can he scream live.
Sense Fail was incredible live, despite being on the “Main Stage”. For all you Senses Fail fans, they played 3 songs from Let It Enfold You. They also played the song , Warpaint, which is a new song of the Best Of album they just released recently. That was the first time I’ve heard that song and its probably one of the heaviest songs they’ve ever made, which means that they are still willing to be unique and not sell out. “Cough, Rise Against, cough.” Taking Back Sunday was probably the best live band of that day, specifically sound wise. The guest vocalists they had didn’t hurt either, hello Thursday and ETID. That was the first time I had gotten to see them, and they didn’t disappoint. As the picture implicates, I didn’t repeat the mistake of going to floor level, rather I sat/stood in the stands and deprived myself sweat and moshing at the main stage.
Some of the stages, specifically the Kevin Says stage and the Ernie Ball stage had bad sound quality. Seriously, it was bad. I’ve never heard After The Burial or Born Of Osiris sound so bad. Apparently that new French “metal” sensation, Captain No Captain Chunk, was the exception to the sound quality at the Ernie Ball stage. I must admit, I thought they were going to suck. (I may have let others opinions influence my initial opinion of them before hearing them live.)
I decided, or rather made sure not to stick around for Sleeping With Sirens. I prefer men to actually sound like men when they sing. Singing at a tenor so high that only dogs can hear it makes me queasy and downright uncomfortable, though apparently the teenage girls REALLY like Kellen’s voice. Shudder. One other highlight of late in the day was recalling rapper T Mills, who I thought might have been too big to be on Warped, call out in kind of whiny voice; “Is der any white gurls here today?” Rhetorical question at its finest with the audience in front of him was nothing but “white” girls screaming and jumping. (I had thought of staying around just to hear, but in my friends circle, I’m apparently already running low on those every sought after “man-cards”)
If you werent at Warped This year, know that you were deprived of proper culture, excellent music, (Well, that’s up for debate.) screaming highschool girls, the shade of friendly tents, insane amounts of merch, and the stench and feel of other peoples sweat – like this very happy security guard.
The set for that day:
Alot of Chiodos fan’s and listener’s feared that Chiodos was most likely done, and would do nothing but go downhill after the departure of Craig Owens and the talent that he offered the band with his whiny vocals and high pitched shrieks. To all the doubters, haters, and nay sayers this album through its incredible nature loudly proclaims: “**** you!”
Even I wont diminish the effect that the departure of a vocalist (of any sort) has upon a band. Usually, a band will go downhill, occasionally at rollercoaster speeds. Examples of this would include:
- Casey Calvert from Hawthorne Heights (Even for you haters, admit it, their first two albums weren’t bad)
- Kevin from Four Letter Lie, now a member of A Day To Remember. Four Letter Lie absolutely sucks now, both live and studio wise. They are yet another band that tried to change style to accommodate for Kevin’s departure and miserably failed at it.
- Attack Attack! I know there are plenty of Austin Carylile haters out there, but let’s face it, Attack Attack was much better when he was with them, both studio and live wise. His replacement has a bad live scream and is one reason why their new album just doesn’t come close.
To make matters worse the departure of Derrick Frost back in May 2010 due to his inability to get along with Owens made things look even bleaker. Many considered Frost an essential part of the band and many worried that the band would lose it’s unique sound with both his and Owen’s departure.
Lucky for us, Frost’s replacement, Tanner Wayne, (Formerly of Underminded and Scary Kids Scaring Kids) has proven himself capable with this new album just as Owen’s replacement Brandon Bolmer (Yesterdays Rising) has.
Let me throw this out there; the replacement of Craig Owens by Bolmer was the best thing that could have ever happened to Chiodos. Don’t believe me? Listen to All’s Well That End’s Well and Bone Palace Ballet and then listen to Illuminaudio. The difference should be fairly obvious, as well as the musical improvement.
Gone are the whiny vocals of Owen which have been replaced with the still higher pitched, but excellent sounding vocals of Bolmer. While Owens screams weren’t horrible necessarily, Bolmer’s screaming in this album is outstanding.
Imagine yourself as a child who has been finally convinced that monster’s don’t exist, but suddenly has a face-to-face encounter with:
Brian Peppers Barbarra Streisand Henry Waxman
|Yes, he actually looks like this.|
Then imagine them screaming like Bolmer in songs such as Modern Hair Wolf, Stratovolcano Mouth, and Those Who Slay Together Stay Together. Just sit back, listen to the songs, and imagine the effect. Yea, that’s right. Simply put; his screams are bloody intense. Unfortunately Owens never had anything like that in his arsenal.
This album has one of the best “complete flows” I’ve ever heard. It not only keeps the crazy time signatures and style which has made Chiodos unique but contains a melodic flow to almost every song as well as a catchy feel. It has everything you’ve loved about Chiodos, except much more.
Scream placement in this album is very note worthy. They seem to be placed in parts of songs where they will have the most impact, and I really mean that. (Brandon’s style of screaming is one reason for the screams having the impact they do.) The breakdowns in this album are very very well done and fit perfectly where they are placed, something that can’t necessarily be said of past Chiodos work.
If you love Chiodos, get this album. If you hate Chiodos, check this album out nevertheless. You won’t be disappointed. Simply put, this album is a masterpiece.
You can listen to Chiodos new album, Illuminaudio which is still streaming in it’s entire from their myspace. You can download Illuminaudio through Mediafire courtesy of ILYBD.
Questions? Comments? Death Threats? Your feedback is encouraged and most welcome.