Friday, June 24, 2011
The metal nerd's collection (Part 3 of 3)
Well, here we are at the final installation of the metal nerd's collection. I hope you've enjoyed this jaunt into the mind of an irredeemable asshole and have narrowed your musical horizons as a result. I know I have on both counts.
1. Skyclad - I almost feel bad about this one because it's not like they're bad, but still, Skyclad is an incredibly nerdy band to like. Perhaps the first folk metal band, Skyclad allows the metal nerd to listen to a folk metal group that not only predates the bulk wave of folk metal but doesn't particularly sound like the rest of it either. Along with this is a huge discography precisely two people have heard the entirety of. A totally arbitrary favorite album can be chosen from the million they've released and it's completely legitimate because no one can contest your claim. This is one of the cases where the metal nerd wouldn't claim to LOVE the band in question, just to "appreciate their influence." Favorite album: inconsequential, but perhaps "A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol," which is still out of print.
2. Enslaved - This is a perfect band for the metal nerd because there's so many different directions they can take it. Early Enslaved is formative but still unusual black metal, influential without being completely obvious. Mid-era Enslaved is a total mess of different ideas and influences, and any album can be chosen for an appropriate identity to be sculpted around it. Then there's the new material, which verges on hipster due to its very obvious prog rock influence by way of Pink Floyd, but could be a neat reverse gambit for the metal nerd. Enslaved is a totally open field to be a douche about; the only thing missing is the right nerd to fill the niche. Favorite album: debatable, but I'd go with "Isa" simply because I can see a nerd describing it as "a great fusion of Enslaved's propulsive, bouncing songwriting and their intelligent use of prog."
3. Asphyx - Similar to Incantation in that they're a doomy, oldschool death metal band (note: to the nerd, anything slower than Brain Drill "bears traces of doom heritage") with a long history and a wishy-washy comeback. Still, Asphyx are a challenging nerd pick because there's really only one album to hang their hat on, being of course "The Rack." Using this as a mark of musical taste has to go beyond namedrop and into deep pretense when dealing with a well-versed metalhead, so nerds out there should use discretion when attempting to talk up Asphyx: you're in for a lot of work beyond many of the other bands listed in this series. Favorite album: "The Rack," simply because, what, do you think someone's ACTUALLY going to believe that you think "Last One on Earth" is their best? Please.
4. At the Gates - No, not the later material of course: I'm talking about "The Red in the Sky is Ours." A strange sort of polyglot album at the beginning of a band's career that was both influential and a departure from similar artists and doesn't really mark the direction the band would go in later? Sign the nerd right up. At the Gates' first has just enough esoteric elements and just small enough a listening base to be practically designed for nerd-worship, whether they actually like it or not. Favorite album: as mentioned, but be sure to mention a soft spot for "Slaughter of the Soul." It's become an amazing reverse gambit as of late to have an unnecessarily positive opinion of it.
5. Bone Awl - Cheating a bit simply because they're more obscure than the others, but I think they still deserve a place. Bone Awl has a sprawling discography, boring, samey music, and a mock-DIY aesthetic, all of which place this squarely in the nerd's fiefdom. Their intelligent lyrics mixed with the brackish, simplistic instrumentation suggests a non-existent depth that the nerd can pick apart forever if he wants and the punk influence is a great way to feel tougher than he actually is. Favorite album: could be anything, really, but I'd go with "At the Ellipse's Arc" simply so the nerd can talk about the band's "challenging use of third reich symbolism" in the cover art.
And that's a wrap. Music is gay.