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Thread: The Official Metal Thread

  1. The Official Metal Thread

    Because there seems to be a lot of interest in metal in TNL thesedays compared to the old days of just having 5 people actively interested in it, and a proliferation of metal related threads keep popping up in music discussion - lets make this a king all metal thread. Recommendations, debates, discussions all can go in here - everyone is welcome to participate.
    Commentaries and Opinions on Metal

  2. #2
    -_' be happy you made this. I was going to do it, and it wasn't going to be as pleasant.

    You big baby.

  3. Your actions forced me too, plus I think its a good idea - should be some good discussion here. Don't be a such a whiner.
    Commentaries and Opinions on Metal

  4. #4
    -_- anway. Some stuff I found

    11692118 is a pretty deep write up about Brazila and Metal.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  5. Interesting article, I read the first couple pages, saving it for later. Will respond when I'm finished.
    Commentaries and Opinions on Metal

  6. #6
    Authors: Reesman, Bryan
    Source: Billboard; 06/24/2000, Vol. 112 Issue 26, p34, 2p, 3bw

    Quote Originally Posted by THE GERMAN METAL RENAISSANCE.

    Hard Music Continues Its Reign Overseas

    Classic or "old school" metal may be viewed nostalgically by the American mainstream, but overseas it is alive and kickin'. Propelled by a late '90s power-metal resurgence, a burgeoning festival triage and a ravenous fan appetite, Germany has not only become the epicenter of the new European traditional-metal revolution, but it has spread the metal gospel to neighboring countries and provided a haven for American artists shunned by their homeland.

    Over the past decade, the role of German artists, and more particularly German labels, has steadily influenced outside markets. For years, Japan and Southeast Asia have provided havens for melodic German giants like Gamma Ray and Helloween and European bands like Stratovarius and Royal Hunt. Furthermore, German labels, with their vast reserve of talented European bands, have started influencing the American metal underground, which is itself potentially poised to make another mainstream breakthrough.

    An important factor in this metal renaissance has been the tenacity of the fans, who have embraced a wide range of styles including goth metal, death metal, progressive metal and, in particular, a classically influenced, speed-metal take on traditional headbanging music called power metal. This subgenre has enamored devoted disciples in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Japan. Because power metal's practitioners tend to remain true to their roots and sound, their fans have remained steadfast in their support.

    German influence began to seep into the American metal world even as grunge, alternative and hip-hop began to command the airwaves and album charts a decade ago.

    A year after it was founded, Century Media Records opened a Los Angeles office in 1990. Subsequently, other German labels founded in the early to mid-'80s began to quietly infiltrate America, including Noise Records in 1994 and Nuclear Blast Records in 1996. Younger prog label InsideOut Music and veteran company SPV eventually followed in 1999, the former now distributed through Century Media in North America and the latter, based in Vancouver, distributed through DNA (in the U.S.) and Distribution Fusion III (in Canada). Other American labels like Roadrunner, Spitfire and Relapse also now have German branches or partners.

    Looks like those obituary notices were premature after all. "In the late '80s, people said metal was finished, dead, [but] not for SPV," recalls SPV managing director and founder Manfred Schuetz. "Now the situation for metal is really good. We're on the album charts, and metal music is an important part of the German market and in [areas like] Spain and Scandinavia."


    German metal labels operating American divisions have found numerous benefits to such enterprises. They can sign American bands to worldwide deals and offer them a local office with which to conduct business. These days, a majority of Century Media's acts are signed through the U.S. office, while on the flipside, Metal Blade Records opened up German offices in 1996 after successfully licensing product to European companies for nearly 15 years. Metal Blade has been using its German office not only for European sales but to sign local talent, including Brainstorm and Sacred Steel, whose recent albums were released stateside.

    Both American and European artists have made sales and touring inroads by being signed on two continents. Talented but neglected American bands like Century Media's Iced Earth and Noise's Virgin Steele have found a home in countries like Germany and Greece. Meanwhile, German traditionalists like Nuclear Blast act Hammerfall and European rockers such as Century Media's Moonspell and The Gathering have been given the opportunity to tour America--something which would have been more difficult on a European-only label. Like their American brethren, these metal imports are receiving critical acclaim and reaching a new generation of listeners.

    Possessing North American distribution makes a German label more attractive to prospective artists. And for SPV, which is signing more metal bands worldwide via its 15-year-old metal imprint Steamhammer, it's a necessity. "If we sign a band worldwide, then we have to see what's going on in America," says Schuetz. "We don't think that we will have a million seller in the next 12 months, but with artists like Axel Rudi Pell--whose [type of] music is heard all over the world-- we have to bring them to America." Aside from the rock, pop, goth and electro it distributes, SPV has highly vested interests in metal. It distributes Century Media, Noise, Osmose, InsideOut and Metal Blade product in Germany and also recently licensed Sanctuary Records releases for Germany and CMC International releases for Europe.


    Part of metal's perennial appeal is the live experience, and Germany has a healthier concert market than the States. Established bands both large and small can make more money on tour there because of a more equitable pay scale. If placed on a good tour, a band that might take a loss touring the States can reportedly at least break even in Germany. And larger bands like Stratovarius--whose recent headlining tour with Rhapsody and Sonata Arctica averaged 1,500 to 2,000 people per night--can generate good income on the road.

    Furthermore, the Teutonic festival circuit has blossomed in the last few years, taking its lead from Holland's annual Dynamo festival, which, at its peak in the mid-'90s, attracted 120,000 people. "Even though Dynamo never had huge headliners, it proved that a good combination of interesting acts for a genre as extreme as metal could create a very nice gathering, a Woodstock feeling with a metal texture," notes Century Media founder and head of A&R Robert Kampf. With Full Force, Bang Your Head and, most notably, Wacken Open Air have become important summer festival stops for metal bands, and annually draw an average of 20,000 to 30,000 fans from Germany and neighboring countries.

    Smaller festivals can appear in the form of a mini-tour, such as the recent No Mercy Festival, which traveled to four countries and featured numerous Metal Blade acts. The extreme metal event--which featured Vomitory, Hate Eternal, Dark Funeral, Vader, Marduk, Cannibal Corpse, Immortal and Deicide--played to average crowds of 1,000 people every night.

    Modern heavy-rock acts have also made it to Germany, and while Sevendust, Korn and Kid Rock can play up to 2,000-seat venues, they are not sales dynamos there as they are at home. "Limp Bizkit is No. 1 in the States, while over here they didn't even reach the top-20," reports Michael Trengert, managing director of Metal Blade Records in Europe. "So that's definitely a big difference. But [Iron] Maiden will hit No. 1. And if they have a good record, Blind Guardian will probably hit No. 1 [with its next release]."


    Despite the popularity of power metal, albums of all styles--from extreme metal to melodic hard rock--regularly hit the top 100 German albums chart alongside pop giants; good examples are recent releases by Demons & Wizards (#13), Axel Rudi Pell (#37), Virgin Steele (#58), Axxis (#59), Transatlantic (#66), Destruction (#67), Sinner (#87) and Immortal (#95). German metal fans reflect this diversity. At a typical metal show, one might see lifestylers sporting black leather and long hair alongside more conservative looking business types. Unlike many American metalheads who grow up and mature out of the music, many German headbangers remain loyal to their favorite bands, even if they are not looking the part.

    "Sometimes they are working in really established jobs, and that's probably why they don't have long hair," observes Antje Lange, managing director of Noise Records. "But when they go out, they put on their leather jacket and return to their metal life. That's why you see metal handled like everything else in the chain stores. It's there because a lot of people buy it." Proof positive: major music chains and department stores feature metal or "hard 'n' heavy" sections which would make any true American headbanger green with envy.

    As in America, metal is not played much on German radio or TV. Print magazines carry the most influence, from established publications like Rock Hard, Metal Hammer and Heavy, Oder Was? to slick newcomers like Metal Heart. Some radio airplay exists on public channels (with continually changing schedules) or limited videoplay via a local access cable show, such as Berlin's "Hardline," which features concert clips from all over the country, proving that hundreds of people are attending shows by the likes of Therion, Iron Savior and Overkill. But very few bands are making videos anymore, as airplay on MTV and its German competitor Viva TV remains nearly impossible to obtain.

    The fact is, heavy metal fans are part of a community that, even in Germany, is not considered hip by the mainstream, but that has not deterred their numbers from growing. Accordingly, the Internet has become a unifying force for metalheads overseas. Noise reportedly receives 1.3 million hits per month on its Web site, and its e-mail club now boasts 15,000 members, with 1,500 more joining every month.

    Internet sales are also important for labels, because some past albums are not always easy to find. "More and more, the big chains are selling only chart material, and they don't offer a good back catalog of rock music," observes Schuetz. "We see the [positive] results we have with mail order companies and Internet companies." This is also important to Schuetz as SPV is actively looking to reissue back catalog albums from America that are unavailable in Europe.


    Despite the continued success of metal in Germany, overall record sales are down. Some industry insiders feel that expensive CD prices have encouraged an increased propagation of bootleg CD-Rs and digital downloads have cut into sales. Plus, competition for consumer dollars is obviously getting stronger with the current metal boom. "The kids only have a certain amount of money to buy records," notes Trengert. "And nowadays we have so many record companies that there are about 50 or 60 new [metal] records every month." On the positive side, such a wealth of music implies that the metal market is very healthy.

    European and global sales figures for some of these artists are more impressive. Noise headbangers Gamma Ray can achieve 300,000 units globally. Century Media rockers Tiamat have reached 200,000 worldwide, while extreme metal bands like Metal Blade acts Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under are achieving European sales of 40,000. One of SPV's first worldwide signings under its new distribution deal, "superduo" Demons & Wizards, has sold nearly 20,000 units in the States after doing 80,000 in Europe. SPV has also had strong European success with recent albums by veterans Motorhead (150,000 units) and Judas Priest (250,000 units).

    The potential for even greater North American sales for all these labels is readily apparent. "When I see what we are selling in the States with Gamma Ray and Stratovarius, things that are so European and so out-of-fashion, I'm amazed sometimes," remarks Lange. "Sometimes, Caroline Distribution does not pick [certain albums] up, so we're just selling them through the mom-and-pops alone. And just through that, we are achieving numbers like 5,000, 6,000 and 7,000. There is a market there."

    Given the current power-metal boom, the proliferation of new albums and small new labels, plus the number of tours every month, one has to wonder if the German metal market is becoming overly saturated. But the high quality of bands and albums is luring more fans into the scene. "Most of the people who are into it will be into it five or 10 years down the road, so the metal community is growing constantly," asserts Kampf. "There are younger and younger kids discovering it as well. I see 14-and 15-year-olds at concerts along with 40-year-old, long-haired guys banging to a brand new band, Sonata Arctica, and they all know the lyrics. [Sonata's] band members are between 16 and 19 years old. How much better can it get?"
    Last edited by Fe 26; 27 Feb 2005 at 11:01 PM.

  7. #7
    Title: Is America READY For POWER METAL?
    Authors: Reesman, Bryan
    Source: Billboard; 12/1/2001, Vol. 113 Issue 48, p30, 2p, 1bw


    Although Worldwide Sales Are On The Rise, This Melodic Subgenre Has Yet To Be Embraced By The States.

    Unleashing stampeding double-bass drums, monster riffs and grandiose neo-classical keyboard sounds, European power-metal bands have spearheaded a musical renaissance over the past few years. Taking cues from veteran rockers like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Helloween and the original incarnation of Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, this bombastic metal movement, which is focused in central Europe and, particularly, Germany, has sent shockwaves through the underground and produced hordes of new bands. While groups like Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and Stratovarius are not well-known in America, worldwide they can sell between 150,000 and 300,000 units per album, and they generate strong ticket sales when touring Europe and Japan.

    "Since Hammerfall's debut album [in 1997] and the huge success they had, power metal has been on a real upswing," reports Limb Schnoor, president of Limb Music Products & Publishing in Germany. "A lot of older bands, such as Saxon, Dio, Jag Panzer and Grave Digger, have had a lot of renewed success, [while] a new generation of bands has appeared and is very successful-bands like Nightwish, Edguy, Freedom, Call, Angra, Primal Fear, Sonata Arctica and Rhapsody."


    Such enthusiasm has begun filtering into the American metal underground, where shipping sales figures have been rising. They may not be at major-label levels, but the numbers indicate there is a growing audience hungry for epic melodic metal. Some of the genre's key bands include Iced Earth (60,000 shipped of its latest), Blind Guardian (22,000), Gamma Ray (16,000) and Hammerfall (15,000), while veteran act Manowar (30,000) may experience a new sales surge with its next opus. Beyond regular indie purveyors like Century Media, Nuclear Blast and Noise, other U.S. labels are power-metal hungry, including Koch (with Lost Horizon), Spitfire (with Dragon-lord) and InsideOut America (with Evergrey and Silent Force).

    Part of the struggle in breaking power metal in the U.S. is its perception as sounding retro. "The thing that always bothers me about non-power-metal fans is that, when they hear a new power-metal band, the common response is, OThat sounds so '80s,'" says Matt Bower, head of publicity for Century Media Records and director of North American operations for Noise Records. "No, that sounds like what would have happened if bands from the '80s were allowed to grow and develop. Anyone who really knows music cannot say that there was a band in the '80s that sounded like Blind Guardian."

    Another hurdle power metal has to overcome in the U.S. is the missing cultural factor that makes bands like Kamelot and Stratovarius so appealing to European youth. "I think a lot of it has to do with the imagery and the lyrical content, and the fact that a lot of time it's rooted in historical tradition," remarks Virgin Steele front man/composer David DeFeis. "I've been saying this for years: Power metal is the classical music of the 21st century. [Europeans] are more exposed to classical music, classical ideas and classical architecture, so I think it resonates more [there] than it does with American kids." Sword- and-sorcery sagas, for example, are more venerated there, while they are reverently lampooned over here by American acts like Tenacious D.

    "Europe has held on to a certain amount of idealism that's been stripped away from America and the U.K.," observes Jim Pitulski, managing director for InsideOut America. "We're into this reality thing-keepin' it real, keepin' it to the street." He notes that that attitude has spilled over from hip-hop to the rap-metal and nu-metal movements. "In Europe, they still hold on to those ideals that there is something bigger and better to aspire to," he adds. "As we get more and more tired of constantly hearing bad news and bleak reality, I think we're going to start turning toward more fantastic, bigger things in our entertainment."


    Schnoor points out, "Europeans have a very good press scene." Their print media carries more weight then it does in America. "There have always been a lot of big and very professional metal mags and fanzines," he says. "Metal fans-especially those in Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and France-go crazy for classy, melodic speed metal. It's been like that for decades. European metal fans are very loyal to their music tastes, almost to the point of being fanatics. Even older metal fans still listen to old faves and are interested in what newer bands are doing."

    The European audience is also more open to radical reinventions. Take Therion, a Swedish band that literally combines classical and metal musicians with a symphonic sound for modern times. There's also veteran New York act Virgin Steele, which has popularized the heavy-metal opera. DeFeis wrote music for two such operas, Klytaimnestra (released on an album as The House of Atreus) and The Rebels (adapted from the Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Invictus releases), both of which have been performed dozens of times since their original runs at the 500-seat Landes Theatre in Memingen in southern Germany. While acts like Avantasia and Ayreon have written their own operas, DeFeis is the only one to have translated it to the stage. The shows have garnered Virgin Steele press in major newsp apers and opera publications that would normally not cover metal.

    Despite the genre's strong Germanic presence, not every power-metal band is exclusively keyed into its Teutonic metal roots. "Musically, we are far more inspired by Queen, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant," reveals Blind Guardian front man Hansi Kursch, whose band is signed to Virgin worldwide outside the U.S. "Overall, we adore their seemingly unlimited abilities to do whatever they want to do without denying their roots. Whenever you listen to one of their songs, you immediately know it's one of their tunes, although it may be structured completely different or consist of atypical elements compared to what they have done before." In fact, it could be said that Queen-with its elaborate harmonies and larger-than-life sound-was the original power-metal band.

    Pitulski contends that power metal has yet to be properly defined. While many fans and critics would agree that the speed-laden, symphonic sound has become a prototype for new bands, artists like Blind Guardian, Brainstorm, Running Wild, Grave Digger and Iced Earth shirk keyboards and strive for a more brutal, but equally epic, sound. Then there is Nightwish, a Finnish group that combines operatic female vocals, classical keyboards and darkwave aesthetics into a beguiling mix.

    "I think the umbrella's going to keep opening wider to envelope more and more subgenres," Pitulski predicts, referring to the goth and progressive bands that are crossing over to the power-metal domain. "I've got a feeling you're going to see bands that are more in the middle borrowing from the darker side. I definitely think that's what Evergrey's done [with its latest album]."

    So, could power metal break through to a wider American fanbase? "If the music itself had a chance to breathe and be heard, then I think people would get into it," says DeFeis, observing how many young American bands share a musical bond with European power-metal groups. "Those traditional [metal] elements creep in [with] bands like Staind and Fuel. It's a different thing that they're doing, but it isn't so far removed from the tree."
    This is really weird, apparently Malaysia had a rise in Death Metal, and in return, put it down with drugs.

    I shit you not. Drugs.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  8. "The thing that always bothers me about non-power-metal fans is that, when they hear a new power-metal band, the common response is, OThat sounds so '80s,'" says Matt Bower
    Whoa, it's like he's in my head.

  9. Recently listened to:

    Helloween - Keepers of the Seven Keys part 1 -- Power metal definitely is not my thing, but not too bad.

    Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss -- This is quite good, better than Reign in Blood by virtue of having some distinct songs. Dead Skin Mask is the best, genuinely creepy.

    Ulver - Kveldssanger -- Pleasant, not metal.

    Iced Earth - Night of the Stormrider -- Definitely sounds a bit Metallica-ish, but don't like the singer and a bit monotonous. FIGHT ON, GRAB ON STORMRIDAH STORMRIDAH <-- I liked that part.

    Ephel Duath - The Painter's Palette -- Monotonous, awful singing.

    Death - Scream Bloody Gore -- Monotonous, yet nice screams. Embarrassing, slightly humorous lyrics. "Slabs of fat / Lay on the ground / Ram an axe / Into your mound"

    Cryptopsy - None So Vile -- So over the top it's hard to hate.

    Carcass - Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious -- Not as good as Heartwork, but also not bad.

    I'm not sure what to listen to next.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Punky Skunk
    I'm not sure what to listen to next.
    It's good to see that you're still being persistent. The metal genre encompasses such a vast spectrum of sounds that virtually anyone is bound to find something that he/she enjoys.

    My recommendations for the day are "Beneath the Remains" by Sepultura and the 2003 reissue of Sadus' "Death to Posers" demo.
    Last edited by jyoung; 28 Feb 2005 at 07:03 PM.

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