Monday, October 3, 2011

The metal nerd's collection (BONUS INSTALLMENT)

Doing a little guest continuation on Noktorn's metal nerd entries, I've selected another five that really seem to bring on the hordes of obstinate cred-seekers that I've found myself surrounded on the 'net by. Enjoy:

1. Voivod - Undoubtedly the dorkiest band ever to enter the thrash arena, Voivod stands at a nerdy epicurean position between just-abstract-enough and a sci-fi premise that is more than enough to make every metal nerd make a wet spot on their carpet. The metal nerd can either like the early albums for being intelligent raw thrash or praise the Killing-onwards albums for "making all other thrash in the 80's seem amateurish." Of course, remembering a riff by Voivod isn't something that happens naturally, so the nerd can invent all kinds of reasons why they're so good. Favorite album: Rrröööaaarrr, just because the metal nerd loves umlauts.

2. The Chasm - This is like a twelve course meal for the metal nerd. Aztec mythology, a lengthy eight album career AND a progressive edge that constantly seems underappreciated?! Jesus, the metal nerd doesn't even know where to begin with this one. Only can an album like Deathcult for Eternity make the metal nerd feel like he's eating saffron butter poached lobster with truffle sauce at a royal banquet. This band is just exotic enough to inflate the music with all kinds of extra shit the nerd can over intellectualize. They're also a great example of a death metal band nerds show off to their metal - hating friends to show how it can be soooo MUSICAL and SOPHISTICATED. Favorite album: any of them, but some just love to debate about if the EP is in fact better than the albums.

3. Ved Buens Ende - If metal nerds were flies, this album is the pile of Triceratops shit in Jurassic Park. The music's not shit at all, but this album is still nerdier than Chris Owen in October Sky. Appearing at a time when the first wave of prog influences in metal were really starting to take hold, VBE's occult lounge rock (and Norwegian origin) fools the nerd into seeing this album as some transitional bridge from black metal into some kind of 'post-' whatever. Seemingly abstract and surreal in nature, Written in Waters has enough artsy ambiguousness to induce a nerd coma in the wrong ears. Note that in this case this is the only time the metal nerd will defend the 'post-' prefix, simply because it's from the 90's and not the 00's and they're from Norway. Go figure.

4. Root - Root never really seemed to know which style to settle on, so their career has really just been a big long mishmash of all kinds of shit. This gives the nerd a perfect reason to invest all kinds of energy into trying to pinpoint just what album could be 'the masterpiece transitional' or the 'incredible display of Root's maturity', and it's the perfect type of variety needed for the nerd to reminisce about how his taste could be more unique depending on which album he calls the best. It could from the early era so the nerd feels like he's listening to legit and underrated black metal, or the nerd may try to love the later era stuff more just to feel more open minded. Either way, the principle would the same. Favorite album: The Temple in the Underworld, since nerds love to defend controversial transition albums.

5. Worship - Certain funeral doom bands emit some kind of cult appeal that inspires certain nerds to latch on like they were Tom Cruise on the bullet train in M:I. Worship seems to be one of them, for reasons that I couldn't entirely explain, but I'll give it a shot. I guess Last ________ Before Doomsday has always been seen as a pedigree release in the FD scene that was always sort of like a third stringer yet also just solemn and depressing and artistic enough (consensus seems to say, not me) to make it perfect fodder for the nerd who wants to earn cool points be showing everyone the best band they've never heard of. I have no idea how Worship fits the template, but I have been surprised numerous times by the amount of times I hear a nerd arguing about Worship is the penultimate funeral doom band - often for all kinds of reasons that seem to have little to do with the music. Sounds like the nerds have found a new migration spot. Favorite album: oh maybe something that's not L_BD!?

Anyway, this series was fun. Whoever leaves the best hate comment will win my original copy of Obscura.


  1. Good call! i've definitely noted the nerd appeal of Root (as well as Master's Hammer)--it's eccentric, fairly cool music, but it was almost obsolete by the time it came out, and doesn't seem to stand out in any obvious way. I think that contrast is probably part of the reason nerds love that shit. My pick for best Czech black metal band is DEFINITELY Maniac Butcher (who I bet you like too). Plan on writing about them eventually.

    I think we should do one of these every 4 months or so just to keep the levels of hatred high.

  2. I really love Worship. Is that such a crime?

  3. nerd bands aren't necessarily bad, they're just susceptible to being made into A Statement About Taste by nerds (and many are also liked by non-nerds). i enjoy what I've heard of The Chasm, just not in a nerdy way.

  4. Learn what "penultimate" means.

    Sorry, best hate comment i could come up wih. And appropriately nerdy.

  5. I couldn't finish reading the post beyond #3 because I went into a nerd coma after thinking about Written in Waters. I went to the hospital and after trying to explain to them how awesome Ved Buens Ende was, they asked me about my diet. I quoted a VBE song and said "we devour the wing" and they told me to cut back on chicken and didn't understand how smart I was. Go figure.

    Anyways, I suggest Cynic if there is ever another bonus installment. Nothing really matches the power of the word "jazz" to bring out the nerdiest in metal. Hilarious post though.

  6. @Kaepeg: XD! I think that's one of the weirdest, funniest comments I've ever read on this blog. Although we've had some classic unintentional hilarity, especially from Anonymous Satanic Warmaster Fan.

  7. "nerd bands aren't necessarily bad, they're just susceptible to being made into A Statement About Taste by nerds"

    Cool. I was going to ask if these 'metal nerd' posts are meant to also be a criticism of the bands themselves, but you answered the question for me.

    These folks are definitely out there. They're basically the metal scene's own indigenous form of the hipster. Another key aspect of the metal nerd is to be observed when one of them makes a top 10 list. It's always full of completely safe stuff. Not safe in the sense that the music is safe (because much of it definitely is not), but safe in a social sense. Nobody is going to make fun of you for putting Nespithe as your favorite dm record, but you have to wonder how often these guys are actually jamming that stuff (not saying anything about the quality of Nespithe here; it's definitely good.) There are also "regional" differences between metal nerds, which largely consists in what bands are basically treated as sacrosanct in a particular community. ANUS has its Summoning, Ildjarn, Burzum, and Demilich. The forum that I hang around on has its Manilla Road, The Chasm, Burzum, and maaayybe Absu (pre-2009, of course). Insult one of these bands and be exposed as the tasteless poser that you are!

    Anyway, as your resident The Chasm fanboy, I'll just say that I will defend that band until I'm fucking blue in the face. And not for any metal nerd reasons. I just like them that much.

  8. thank you for repping The Chasm, I only really started listening to them because you mentioned them as "sprawling, Romantic black/death." my Sweden radar went off. It's maybe a little too mannered and non-aggressive to be my favorite thing ever, but I dig it and of course I love the atmospheres. Good stuff for reading.

  9. "The forum that I hang around on has its Manilla Road, The Chasm, Burzum, and maaayybe Absu (pre-2009, of course)."

    You hang around Ultimate Metal General Metal Discussion forum or what, homeslice?

    Anyways, as metal nerdish as it may be, I fucking love Cynic.

  10. "It's maybe a little too mannered and non-aggressive to be my favorite thing ever"

    I guess I can see that. Most people who don't like them seem to think that they're just kind of boring. I have a pretty high tolerance for "boring", though. I mean, I listen to and actually enjoy stuff like Lustmord, so...

    "You hang around Ultimate Metal General Metal Discussion forum or what, homeslice?"

    It's within the realm of possibility. I'll check into it for you.

  11. @ pavel: Haha, there's just something about Czech bands that is almost inherently nerdy. I've only heard "Barbarians" by Maniac Butcher, but it was a pretty neat album I recall. Barbarud's duct tape gauntlets on the cover of Černá Krev are just priceless too.

    @ TOAST: Don't worry, nerdy bands can be awesome, and this post is just a little bit facetious after all.

    @Chuck: Ha, yup, Merriam-Webster proved I'd been using it wrong all along. I guess you win.

    @Kaepeg: Cynic is nerdier than nerdy, but they also annoy the shit out of me to the point where even discussing them puts me in a bad mood.

    @ Supreme: I'll admit; I'm drunk enough to not want to read your whole post. I'll try again in the AM...

  12. Hahahaha, this post actually got me to check out Root in more detail. I've had a double CD thing of Hell Symphony and Kärgeräs for a while, but now that I've finally given it a good listen, I have to say that they're a pretty cool band. I could definitely see how their rather idiosyncratic and (as pavel pointed out) out-of-step-with-the-general-direction-of-black-metal sound would generate a massively annoying fanbase.

    Come to think of it, one of the worst kinds of metal nerds are these new first-wave-black-metal-only people that have been popping up recently. You know, the dorks who extoll Venom above everything and always complain about "that emotional Norwegian garbage." Losers.

  13. Love this topic. Also in the Ved Buens Ende vein I wanted to mention Joyless, I feel like Blue in the Face is/was often mentioned by the same people that like Written in Waters. Pink Floyd meets black metal.