Category Archives: Metal

Black metal band’s album cover stirs controversy

While music is always about personal expression, there’s a level of humanity that can still be found in the darkest of music genres.

The album cover for post-black-metal band Numenorean is of a young dead girl who appears to have been brutally murdered.

That’s shocking enough, but the album has also received positive reviews from at least two music sites, one of which is not exclusively about metal (that site failed to post an image of the album cover, which makes perfect sense now.) Another site I found does call attention to how the image overpowers the music — good for them. I’m not going to post the image here, or links to Numenorean’s album, because I just don’t think I should. I’m including the band name because without that, this post would be completely irrelevant.

Every music site out there has its guidelines and rules for what they will or won’t cover, and that’s perfectly within their right. I don’t know if any soul-searching had to be done at those sites when it came to this album, but it certainly got me thinking.

If you read the band’s description of the album (which you can easily google), they explain how the only way people can experience a child’s innocence again is through death, and how listeners will eventually come to realize that as they keep looking at the picture of the dead girl.

I’ve heard the EP and thought the music was intriguing, but couldn’t get past the cover. The image of the girl, with what looks like a faint smile on her face, to me speaks 100 times louder than the music. It’s horrific and it’s terrifying. All I wanted to know was: Who is she? How and when did she die? How was this band allowed to use this picture? Where is the girl’s family and what do they think?

I had more questions about the picture than about the music: Was the entire band in agreement that this was OK? Did they consider how this might personally affect listeners? It was no longer about the music; it was disturbing to the core. This one crosses the line.

A few screenshots of comments about the album show a brief cross-section of what is giving some pause.

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(So far I’ve only been able to turn up this with regards to who the child might be.)

Another music site contained positive and negative feedback:

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Some apparently thought the image was Photoshopped:

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More conversation, with a mention that if the band had the copyright to the image then it’s fair game:

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Again, every music site has its own goals and guidelines as to what’s OK to publish, and that’s what the internet is all about — freedom to say and post what we feel. As a journalist I try to be as unbiased as possible. Maybe I’m taking things too seriously, maybe I’m soft, maybe I’m making a big thing out of nothing. But I think it’s important to note how much music and imagery can happily coexist and to remember those rare times that combination can send the wrong message.

 

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Filed under Album covers, Commentary, Metal, Uncategorized

Open Windows 2: Nice dreams, coathangers and shoegaze/metal fire

Atlanta garage punk group The Coathangers paid a visit to Paste’s studios recently. The band members all have stage names ending in Coathanger — Rusty Coathanger, Crook Kid Coathanger and Minnie Coathanger. They’re already seasoned punk veterans, with their fifth album, Nosebleed Weekend, out April 15 on Suicide Squeeze Records.

With the constant tick-ticking of the rim and two acoustic guitars, the three of them play a stripped-down version of their song “Make It Right” for Paste, but to hear them in their full punk-rock glory, watch them do the cutting in their video for “Hurricane” from 2011:

 

The debut from Boston-based thrash-metal-shoegaze group Astronoid is out June 10 on Blood Music, and Metal Injection has posted the lyric video for “Up and Atom.” One listen to that song will hook you– their vocal harmonies simply float in the heavens, while waves of guitars perform their own shredded masterpiece below. Their debut is going to be huge.

 

Almost everyone’s reviewing Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, including an 8-year-old who’s broken the songs down in very simple terms. Radiohead’s music is extremely dense and layered with different meanings, so it’s refreshing to see a child tackle the album, track by track. And to be honest, every music critic has to start somewhere, and my early reviews started like this, so kudos to him for getting an early jump.

Read it for yourself:

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Jazz/classical/synth and sonic mastermind Floating Points (Sam Shepherd) has released the studio version of an 18-minute song called “Kuiper,” part of his upcoming Kuiper EP out July 22 on Luaka Bop/PLUTO. Shepherd had earlier released the live version on video. His instrumental works are pieces of electronic art. Kuiper will be available to download May 20.

Actor and MC Daveed Diggs can rap 19 words in 3 seconds — the fastest rapper on Broadway. While there’s not many rappers on Broadway, that’s pretty damn impressive. Diggs shows off his skills in the song “Guns and Ships” which he performs on the massive Broadway hit “Hamilton.”

Don’t blink as he slams a few verses from his hip-hop group, clipping., on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon:

 

EL VY, a project created by The National’s Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of Menomena, have mixed and released Wye Oak’s song “Need A Friend.”

Wye Oak’s Andy Stack said this about the remix:

I spent the last quarter of 2015 playing drums on tour with EL VY. “Need a Friend” was consistently our closer, and arguably the most high-energy song of the set. By contrast, when I went to remix it, I imagined it as a Sade-style slow jam (complete with horn solo), a genuine reading of the angst, “love” and “heartbreak” which the original presents as more tongue-in-cheek. 

Wye Oak has been hinting at new music and will head out on tour this summer.

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Filed under Electronic, Garage Punk, Hardcore punk, Instrumental, Jazz, Metal, Noise Punk, Open Windows New Music, Rap, Shoegaze, Synth, Thrash, Uncategorized