The rebel, I make more noise than heavy metal
I don’t think male metal fans understand how privileged there are. Let me explain. Conjure up a mental picture of your average common-or-garden I AM SO FUCKIN’ METAL female listener. Now, if we ignore the Avril nail varnish job, the Baby-Spice-in-97 platform heels and that weird shit they do where they seemingly take the inner tubing from washing machines, dye them purple, and weave them into their hair. If you ignore that, on the wholeal broads are usually pretty hot pieces of ass.
Now, the males, on the other hand, are the schlubbiest motherfuckers on the planet. I should know, for reasons explained later I recently spent four hours at a metal gig, and the male populace there looked like a Discworld convention gone feral. As a result, any male metal fan (henceforth referred to as “MMF”) who makes the slightest bit of effort suddenly becomes a dapper, Cary Grant-esque figure to the metal community. Washing your hair, cutting your nails, wearing a Kreator t-shirt that has less than four nacho cheese stains on it: this shit is peacocking to the metal community, and if you do this you will have crazy ladies in corset tops begging you to tie them up and rub a Ginsu across their cunnylips. There was a guy at this gig last night who was wearing a “khaki t-shirt and black tie” combo, a look last deemed acceptable to polite society back when Chad Hugo briefly achieved abdominal definition circa the release of “Lapdance”. They were around him like kohl-eyed flies around shit.
Anyway, metal. Long-time readers of ILB will recall some brief comments a few months back that we’d failed to lock down a female metal fan, despite the fact that said girl’s previous partner looked like Seth Rogen with progeria. However, you should also be hella aware that we stay representing for Duckies worldwide, so when the girl in question proffered up the chance to accompany her to a metal gig (Death Angel supported by Kataklysm and Keep of Kalessin), I threw on that mustard yellow jacket, quiffed up my hair, put “If You Leave” by OMD on my iPod, and made waves.
Before we get any further: yes I am aware that the “I have no sphere of reference for this cultural artefact, yet I am going to review it anyway” is the lowest form of criticism and one that shouldn’t really exist outside of freshman student newspaper features but… I dunno. I felt like 50% Bruce Parry, 50% Studs Terkel for the evening, which is a pretty good balance on the whole. Plus I know I could throw some cheap-ass zings at you people on here afterwards.
The main discovery of the evening is that, whereas I’ve spent the past decade of my life just assuming that all live sound engineers are incompetent, it’s just that they really don’t care about any form of music I listen to. Any of you who’ve struggled through a rap gig where the artistes appeared to be performing under eight feet of mud, or indie shows were the band sounded as if they were in another postcode district, would be stunned at the audio-cleanness of a live metal show, and without even 20 minutes of “Yeah, can we get this one turned down a bit… no, not that far” chat from the stage at all.
As for the music itself? It’s hard for me to judge, because I don’t have the faculties to earnestly tell the difference between various metal strands, which is probably why I found it hilarious to spend the build up to the gig going “So these guys will sound like Adema/Cold/Grand Theft Audio, right?” Anyway, Keep of Kalessin play black metal which is that “chugga chugga” stuff that sounds like the generic entrance music for minor WWE wrestlers. This led to me spending the first five minutes of the gig stoked up for the eventual appearance of Tommy Dreamer. He never came.
The band don’t really do much to help this confusion though, being as they are actually dressed like American independent circuit wrestlers circa 2001, swathes of limp blonde hair, sweat and pleather. Also, distractions are held heavily by the fact that their lead singer is apparently Annika Sorenstam with a hangover, and the way he decided that the best way to hold his pleather trousers up this evening would be to wear a belt from H&M’s S/S 05 range (like an ornate weightlifting belt with hella chintz on it. Remember when bitches were rocking those in Yates’ nationwide four summers back? Crazy, crazy times).
Gok Wanning aside, KoK get some vague ILB credit for, if not playing music we enjoy, at least music we can tolerate. To the untrained ear, the only way of enjoying this kind of met seems, to wank-hat wearing me, to treat it as a soundscape, like a kind of dubstep with 20,000 hammer-ons. Music that’s meant to wash over you rather than exhort you to jump around.
Which is basically why Kataklysm are a load of bullshit. Kataklysm are quite clearly a deeply insecure and scared band. Nobody really minds the occasional “ARE YOU READY TO TEAR THE ROOF OFF THIS PLACE” yell between tracks, but when one, and sometimes two or three, such screams bookend every single track played, the whole thing less resembles a clarion call for rocking out and more a girlfriend repeatedly asking you if the skirt length she opted for that day makes her look slutty. Their lead singer, who has the same haircut as fattey from Lost, should probably take notes from legendary PDC master of ceremonies Phil “Let’s… play… DARTS!” Jones to learn the correct way to gee a crowd up.
Death Angel are fronted by a guy who looks how, to me, metal musicians should look: cokey motherfuckers who resemble Daryl Palumbo if he took the wrong path on every single life decision. They then go on to play thrash metal and I briefly think about whether I classify as a thrash expert because my favourite Hold Steady song is the one that mentions The Locust. I’m probably not.
Look, I went into all of this with the openness of intentions, but the only possible summation of the whole evening is “lol white people”. I’m like 90% sure we can forget all about reparations if white people just agree to ban slamdancing from this planet. The guys doing it seem to be the sorts of kids who got beaten up at school enough anyway, why revisit it in later life? Or, alternately, wash their hair and get the metal girls from the second paragraph to live out their Suicide Girl fantasies with a switch and paddle. Everyone’s a winner…