Auditory Assault

“I’m running. You’re standing still.”
— From Still Remains’ “Recovery.”

Intro …

Today’s column is being brought to you courtesy of the latest Alexisonfire disc (“Watch Out!”) and Anthrax’s “The Greater of Two Evils.”

So, the Grammy nominations were recently announced, so I felt the need to vent about the metal category (really, did you expect anything less?). But first…

It seems that year after year, in an attempt to seem relevant, the Grammy committee not only tries to encompass a wide array of genres into specific categories (ruining award after award in the process), but tries too hard to seem cool or relevant and, in turn, ludicrous nominees are on the list year after year.

In this case, I’ll just focus on the metal category even though I would like to at least point out, in general, I dislike awards shows for one basic reason: when you take something as diverse as music (or even movies), and attempt to force various nominees from a variety of genres into one award, it NEVER works. Why should rap, rock, pop and country albums vie for “Album of the Year.” What does that prove? What makes a rap album better than any other rock album? How can a drama be better than any other comedy? I just don’t see any objective way for these awards to be decided, and thus dislike all of them.

Anyway, onto my specific point. The metal category was created in 1988, a year that saw Jethro Tull take home the award. Jethro Tull?! A band that admits itself, that it is not metal: “All you can say about us really is that we’re sort of a rock band. With mandolins and flutes. Certainly not a Heavy Metal band.” (This quote was taken from this site and the interview is actually a pretty good read.

Tull was up against AC/DC, Metallica, Jane’s Addiction and Iggy Pop (WTF?) that year. The crowd literally booed Tull following the announcement.

Here’s what the rest of the years looked like:

1989: “One,” Metallica (obviously making up for the previous year)

1990: “Stone Cold Crazy,” Metallica (See above. Except, this was a b-side. The band won for a b-side!)

1991: Metallica, Metallica (From song to album. We get the point, you’re sorry.)

1992: “Wish,” Nine Inch Nails (Finally, something different. Still, I’d hardly call this the best metal song of the year.)

1993: “I Don’t Want to Change the World,” Ozzy Osbourne (Fine, though I’d rather see this in the rock category to be honest. Might have been nicer to see White Zombie here.)

1994: “Spoonman,” Soundgarden (to appease the grunge situation, which was almost over at this point. Bandwagon anyone?)

1995: “Happiness Is Slavery,” Nine Inch Nails (Was this even released off the album? Arbitrary nomination.)

1996: “Tire Me,” Rage Against the Machine (I’ll support this if for no other reason than at least they were taking a chance on this one. )

1997: “AEnima,” Tool (Again, I don’t have a problem with this, per say.)

1998: “Better Than You,” Metallica (What!? Just because we needed something from Metallica? This beat out Rage, Judas Priest and Rammstein, the band that should have won.)

1999: “Iron Man,” Black Sabbath (The only reason this happened is to acknowledge Sabbath years after the fact but, to be honest, there wasn’t anything better nominated – Moterhead with Zebrahead, Rob Zombie, Ministry and NIN.)

2000: “Elite,” Deftones (Ugh! This beat out not only Pantera (too little, too late), but Slipknot as well. I don’t think Slipknot deserved it either, but they deserved it over the Deftones.)

2001: “Schism,” Tool (If we’re throwing awards around to acknowledge bands, there’s no way Tool beats out Slayer. Come on!)

2002: “Here to Stay,” Korn (At this point, Korn was way past its prime.)

2003: “St. Anger,” Metallica (We got the point before. I’m one of the few that doesn’t mind “St. Anger,” but even I know the production on this disc was shoddy. I’m thinking this belonged to Spineshank.)

The Grammy nomination comittee collectively have their heads up their asses when it comes to the Metal Category. No sign of bands like Slayer, Fear Factory, Obituary, anything from the European metal scene, Pantera (in its prime), etc., etc…

Let’s look at this year: Slipknot has a song nominated in both the Rock and Metal category. Is the pool from which to pull possible winners from so small? (Note: Slipknot is one of my favorite bands, but even I know better stuff has come out.)

So, let’s look at this year’s nominees:

Motorhead — when was the last time this band was relevant? And just how good is this album selling?

Cradle of Filth — right here. This is a prime example of jumping on the bandwagon trying to look hip. This will probably win.

Hatebreed — It’s fun to nominate something that came out BEFORE the last awards ceremony. Year late people.

Killswitch Engage — The only nomination I actually agree with.

So, where’s Machine Head? Where’s Mastodon? Where’s Atreyu? Lamb of God? Christ, The Haunted? Anything?

All that, and on top of it all, the award will be given out before the show and anyone interested will have to sit around for hours waiting for a mention right before commercial break.

So screw the Grammys.

Still Remains rocks…

So, I just wanted to pimp one of the newest additions to the Roadrunner Records roster for a moment. Still Remains independently released an EP earlier this year that has completely blown me away. The vocals are strong, the music is a massive blend of metal, hardcore and alternative influences. The song I kicked off with this week (“Recover”) sways from growls to singing (much like Killswitch Engage), but then slowly devolves into death metal groans as well. The band has a keyboardist that, for the most part, was little more than a subtle influence on the overall sounds (except for the final, instrumental track which was essentially only piano).

From the band’s official Web site: The debut record “Of Love and Lunacy,” will be coming out on Roadrunner Records tentatively March 22nd of 2005, however that date will probably change 3 times between now and then. We will be headed into the studio on the 8th of November w/ Garth Richardson (From Autumn to Ashes, Beloved, W.A.S.P., Atreyu, etc.) tracking everything and we will return to the studio the first two weeks of January to mix and master. Be on the lookout for new material because we will be posting a new track as soon as we can! I really recommend hunting down “If Love Was Born to Die” A.S.A.P.

In brief …

..:..Want some shoes?!..:.. This is actually a pretty cool piece: it seems a pair of Anthrax “skate” sneakers are currently available on eBay. This is the only pair that has been made at the moment and bidding was above $200 last I checked. Still, these look like the limited edition Slayer shoes released earlier this year. I won’t pay that much for shoes, but I can dream, can’t I?

..:..Your top metal albums?..:.. A bunch of famous musicians have offered up their choices for the five best metal albums of all time over at Live 4 Metal. I might elaborate on this next week, but for now you can check out the list here. Of note, Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil picked Faith No More (“Angel Dust”), Type O Negative (“October Rust”), Paradise Lost (“Draconian Times”), Metallica (“Metallica”) and Tiamat (“Clouds”).

..:..Tour news..:.. Two notable tours are taking place for the beginning of next year. American Head Charge (a band I love) will hit the road with Otep, The Autumn Offering and Candiria; exact dates will be finalized soon. American Head Charge’s next album, “The Feeding,” should hit shelves Feb. 15. Meanwhile, Slipknot will be touring in March with Lamb of God and Shadows Fall on The Subliminal Verses Tour. Again, dates to be determined later. Sounds sweet …

..:..Cliff Burton lives on..:.. Burton, former bassist of Metallica (he died while the band was on tour) apparently had a lot more material to offer up the band. According to a story over at, a friend of Burton’s came to own a slew of tapes after the death. Talk is, there’s plenty of material on there to be of interest to music collectors. Yet, this “friend” apparently wants to “give” the tapes to someone (a bassist) that shows the same promise as Burton … for inspiration. Well, that’s actually a nice gesture. Interested? Check out the story here.

..:..Catching up with the Crue..:.. Motley Crue have set “Red, White and Crue” as the title of its next greatest hits package. Jeez, that like the fifth or sixth collection, no? This one will cover the whole career and include three new tracks recorded earlier this year: “If I Die Tomorrow,” “Street Fighting Man” and “Sick Love Song.” Tracii Guns (Nikki Sixx’s partner in crime from “Brides of Destruction”) got himself “banned from the Crue Web-site after referring to one of the new tracks as “sucking ass” (to paraphrase). When asked for comment, Sixx reportedly said “I’m not in Brides.” Whatever! For some tour dates and a complete tracklisting, go here.

You (and I) need to hear this…

Here’s some CDs I want, recently picked up or already have that I haven’t listened to nearly enough (you should check them out too):

Still Remains: “If Love Was Born to Die”

Killswitch Engage: “Killswitch Engage”
Chimaira: “Pass Out of Existence”
Lamb of God: “New American Gospel”
In Flames: “Reroute to Remain”

In closing…

So, where was I last week?

Sorry to miss the column (I do take pride in getting pieces to you, the reader, on a regular basis.) Let’s just say I suffered a medical emergency and leave it at that. At least I was able to get the “Inside Pulse on … Pearl Jam” piece done.

While you’re checking that out, there’s a couple of other things that really caught my eye lately:
Gloomchen has made the switch from personal anecdotes to news-filled columns nicely. And, while I don’t necessarily entirely agree with her review of the new Anthrax CD, I think she makes some good points. Personally, I didn’t miss the older material. I much prefer Bush on vocals, but I did think the disc started to drag after a while.

Also, check out Inside Pulse’s newest music column courtesy Michael Chadwick.

And of course, everything else.

And that’s that. As always, drop me a line. Until next time, I’ll be here at Inside Pulse making sure no metal news falls through the cracks.

Take it easy…