Thursday, June 23, 2011
The metal nerd's collection (Part 1 of 3)
Over the past few years, a certain breed in the metal scene has risen up to overwhelm forums, blogs, and indeed even some shows: the metal nerd. Not to be confused with the metal geek, with his honest and unashamed love of Helloween and D&D, the metal nerd is more concerned with establishing his credibility in the metal scene and setting himself apart as an individual than defining his own actual taste. The metal nerd is an obsessive contrarian, but not one of the traditional sort, opposed to everything popular. The metal nerd is only opposed to the most distinct appearance of popularity. If you've ever seen someone say that "Hell Awaits" is Slayer's only good album, you've almost certainly run into a metal nerd.
Below is a quick list of bands that metal nerds particularly enjoy. Note that not all of these bands are bad- some are quite fantastic, actually. Still, there's something in every single one that makes them perfect for the metal nerd to establish his credibility with. If you enjoy more than 2/3s of this list, chances are you're a metal nerd and suicide is the only option.
1. Immolation - THE arch-metal-nerd band. Perhaps the most defining band of the metal nerd, Immolation comes at a perfect crossroads between technical/progressive modern death metal and abstract, oldschool death metal. Immolation's lengthy discography allows the metal nerd to take a completely random stance on any one of their releases and be praised as an intellectual simply because only intellectuals listen to Immolation. Album of choice: "Close to a World Below," but "Failures for Gods" is probably an even nerdier option due to its bad production and lack of popularity compared to its younger cousin.
2. Ulver - A black metal band that turned into an electronic/ambient project? God, what could be better for a nerd than to show an appreciation for two esoteric styles of music at once! Really though, the metal nerd is more concerned with the band's early work, which manages to marry fairly straightforward, accessible songwriting with a degraded and harsh production style which tricks many into thinking they're listening to more extreme music than they actually are. Album of choice: "Kveldssanger" just to appear interesting when in actuality they listen to "Nattens Madrigal" more.
3. Megadeth - Of the big 4 it was a difficult sell between Megadeth and Metallica- the former has some hint of underdog status and a classic thrash vibe sure to attract someone seeking credibility, but Metallica's overt popularity and accessibility makes it a phenomenal reverse gambit for the metal nerd. Still, Megadeth's lack of immediacy and obnoxious main personality makes it win this round. Of the big 4, they're really the only option: Anthrax is too silly, Slayer is too actually awesome, Metallica is too difficult to pull off pretending to like, but Megadeth is just right. Favorite album: something arbitrary from the later career such as "Youthanasia."
4. Overkill - Following the thrash trope, what's a better thrash band to profess a love of (or the hidden quality of) than almost completely forgotten band Overkill, whose total lack of recognition now is only matched by their total lack of recognition throughout their career. Another, similar bad thrash band that might be supported would be Testament, but Overkill's perpetual underdog status lets them win. Overkill's discography is massive and no one has actually heard any Overkill release, so it's very easy to completely manufacture details about them and never be called on it. Favorite album: I cannot actually remember the name of an Overkill album and looking one up would be far too much time spent on Overkill.
5. Angelcorpse - With a war metal image and basically amorphous music, Angelcorpse is a blank canvas for the metal nerd to impress his personality on. Angelcorpse lacks personality, which is perfect for the metal nerd, as it allows him the opportunity to make of them whatever he likes. Does he like it because of the riffs? The lyrics and imagery? Maybe the blasting, but MAYBE it's the slow sections! Who knows! It could be anything and nothing; when you like Angelcorpse, you don't actually have to justify anything about the band. Favorite album: "Lucifer and Lightning;" a benighted comeback album is a great opportunity to Make A Statement about one's taste.
Come back tomorrow and the day after for parts 2 and 3 of our exciting exposé!