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Heavy Metal Music, Culture and Philosophy FAQ (Metal as Physical Objects)


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Archive-name: heavy-metal/metal-as-physical-objects
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Last-Modified: 27-Sep-01

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
III. Metal as Physical Manifestation

      3.1 Concerts

         Concerts can be a rewarding experience of metallic
         sub-culture observation, if the experience is conducted
         properly. Beware the haphazard, as those are the fools who
         are full of excuses when someone gets stabbed or hurt.

         3.1.1 Information

            Index of guides to tour and concert information:

            3.1.1.1 List of tour date sites

               http://www.tourdates.com/
                  Tour dates from the ASCAP machine.

               http://www.pollstar.com/
                  An easy way to track who's on tour

               http://www.moshking.com/
                  Southern California metal shows

            3.1.1.2 Band homepage finder

               http://www.metal-links.com/
                  A giant metal links forest.

               http://www.anus.com/metal/links.html
                  The FAQ maintainer's maintained links list.

               http://www.iki.fi/~mega/
                  A massive metal page with tons of links.

            3.1.1.3 Venues by city

               Los Angeles
                  Whisky A Go Go
                     (310) 652-4202
                     8901 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90069

                  Al's Bar
                     305 S. Hewitt St.
                     Downtown L.A., CA
                     (213)687-3558

                  Gabah's (Formerly the Anti-Club):
                     4658 Melrose Avenue
                     Los Angeles, CA 90029
                     (213) 661-3913

                  San Fernando Valley:
                     The Cobalt
                        22047 Sherman Way
                        Canoga Park, CA
                        (818)348-3789

                  East and West Los Angeles:
                     The Showcase Theatre
                        683 S. Main St.
                        Corona, CA
                        (909)340-0988

                  Pasadena:
                     Pleasures
                        3570 E Foothill Blvd
                        Pasadena, CA 91107
                        (626) 795-1259

                  San Bernardino (#1!):
                     Masterdome
                        137 S. G St.
                        San Bernandino, CA
                        (909)276-7770

               Detroit
                  Harpos
                     (313) 824-1700
                     14238 Harper

                  I-Rock Nightclub
                     46350 Harper
                     (313) 881-7625

                  The Old Miami
                     3930 Cass Ave.
                     Detroit, MI 48201
                     (313)831-3830

         3.1.2 Attendance

            With some attential to logic, concert attendance is
            graceful and enjoyable.

            3.1.2.1 Ear protection

               Amplified systems within clubs sometimes go over 120 dB
               in terms of effect on the listener, so it is wise to
               purchase intelligent ear plugs (either the silicon
               blobs or the compressible sponge probes). Anyone who
               scorns you for doing this is probably deaf already, so
               don't bother replying.

            3.1.2.2 Social interaction

               If you walk with respect for self, others, and world,
               and do not interfere with the needs and spaces of
               others, you will almost universally be fine. You may
               witness violent cultures such as skinheads, cholos, or
               deranged Hessians on speed and the best way to handle
               it is gently. Provocative behavior usually will result
               in violence.

               Should your intelligence save you from destruction, you
               will wish to display prominently the t-shirt obtained
               by wearing it:
                  (Preferred) As your sole garment except black pants
                  all day on the following day.
                  (Acceptable) Underneath your uniform of slavery the
                  next working or school day, hopefully wearing some
                  mark of violence/evil as well.
                  (Degraded) As your sole garment all day for the next
                  three days.

            3.1.2.3 Rules of evidence

               It is wisest to keep all "evidence" (things that are
               likely to be confiscated) on one's person in soft
               objects, rather than cases. One is often frisked at
               the door and all strange hard objects explored to see
               if they are weapons; keeping the stuff on one's self
               reduces the task of one's car being impounded and sold
               by the cops.

               Moving joints into concerts has always been easy for
               me; I avoid socks, as they often frisk there, and
               prefer to either sling the baggie under the scrotum or
               in the wallet, where although it is flat, it will
               rarely be disturbed (but be careful whipping out your
               wallet!). Smoking joints is easy; you want no flame to
               be visible near the scent of marijuana, so you curl
               your hand around the joint and cup it to your mouth
               like you are holding your chin. Always pass it to
               partners below the line of sight, e.g. waist level, and
               blow smoke toward the floor.

               As far as I can tell, the only way to smuggle alcohol
               in to a show is to have a woman with you, as often they
               don't frisk those.

         3.1.3 Merchandise
            3.1.3.1 Shirts and prices

               T-shirts are usually sold in XL and other sizes and are
               $20 for short sleeves, $25 for longer sleeves, with the
               bigger shows charging even more.

            3.1.3.2 CD's

               Usually bands will sell their CD's for $12-15 at
               concerts or clubs. Quite often more of the profit goes
               to the band instead of the distributor and possibly
               more than the label, so this author enjoys buying CD's
               before the encore.

            3.1.3.3 Royalties breakdown

               When buying t-shirts and CD's from the bands themselves
               at this venue, one is directing a much larger chunk of
               profit toward the band than thru a record store or mail
               order from the label. Forget not that record stores
               buy major releases for $7, and then sell for $12-17;
               that extra money in the CD cost goes somewhere and when
               there's no store, label, or venue involved, it's the
               band. Order of preference for buying objects:

               1) Band
               2) Band at show
               3) Label
               4) Underground Mail Order
               5) Specialty record stores
               6) Chain record stores

      3.2 Recordings

         Purchasing metal recordings can be very sensible and
         efficient if you know what you're looking for.

         3.2.1 Audio

            Audio is any recorded sound, whether live (bootleg or live
            album) or studio (recorded with intent for release).

            3.2.1.1 Live

               Live sound is either a live album released by one of
               the band's labels, or a bootleg recording which is
               released by a fan or scammer.

               3.2.1.1.1 Acquisition

                  Please visit the metal links page at
                  http://www.evilmusic.com/metal/links/

               3.2.1.1.2 Resources

                  Please visit the metal links page at
                  http://www.evilmusic.com/metal/links/

            3.2.1.2 Studio

               Studio music is produced by agreement between band and
               label as pushed as the regular "product" containing the
               music of the band.

               3.2.1.2.1 Acquisition

                  Please visit the metal links page at
                  http://www.evilmusic.com/metal/links/

               3.2.1.2.2 Resources

                  Please visit the metal links page at
                  http://www.evilmusic.com/metal/links/

         3.2.2 Video

            Video is any recorded motion picture imagery, whether live
            (bootleg or official concert performance) or studio
            (recorded with intent for release as a separate
            production).

            3.2.2.1 Live

                  Please visit the metal links page at
                  http://www.evilmusic.com/metal/links/

            3.2.2.2 Studio

                  Please visit the metal links page at
                  http://www.evilmusic.com/metal/links/

      3.3 Production

         Production is how technology is used to make something sound
         like the artist wishes it to, and includes a number of
         acoustic and electrical disciplines.

         3.3.1 Techniques

            Methods of production that produce a consistent effect, as
            requested.

            3.3.1.1 Swedish distortion

               See section I, subsection 1.5.1.

            3.3.1.2 Distortion mini-FAQ

               This section to be completed in the future.

            3.3.1.3 Vocal effects

               This section to be completed in the future.

         3.3.2 Studios

            Some classic studio names are mentioned often in the
            annals of metal history and so are worth knowing, for that
            bored day when you're wondering what the difference
            between Tampa Gutteral American Death Metal production and
            Norsk Arisk Frozen Tempest production.

            3.3.2.1 Morrisound
               http://www.morrisound.com/

               Home to many famous productions, mostly from the
               Florida scene of Amerikan metal: Death, Malevolent
               Creation, Monstrosity, Deicide, Resurrection.

            3.3.2.2 Grieghallen
               Home to many famous productions from the Norse scene,
               including Immortal, Enslaved, Burzum, and Gorgoroth.

            3.3.2.3 Sunlight
               sunlightstudio@telia.com

               Home to many famous productions from the Swedish death
               metal scene, including Carnage, Entombed, Dismember,
               Seance.

         3.3.3 Producers

            These people are known for their various styles, some of
            which empowered musical advancements in metal to be heard
            by the masses.

            3.3.3.1 Harris Johns

               Producer who engineered records for Kreator, Voi Vod,
               Coroner, Tankard and other bands during the middle to
               late 1980s, was a madman.

            3.3.3.2 Tomas Skogsberg

               When the first school of Swedish death metal appeared,
               it utilized a new form of blisteringly destruction
               distortion, requiring a producer who could tame that
               sound into coherence. Sunlight Studios and Thomas
               Skogsberg forever will be remembered for that
               utilization.

            3.3.3.3 Pytten

               Produces most of the Scandinavian school of blackmetal
               at Grieghallen. First name Eirik, unknown if he is
               related to the person by that name who played bass on
               the first Immortal LP.

            3.3.3.4 Tom Morris

               The "Morrisound sound" can be either a curse or
               blessing, depending on your intended audience.
               Although it is mocked often for its consistency, the
               Morrisound folks were the first to figure out how to
               consistently preserve bass AND tone in metal music.
               Some say toward the end of the American death metal
               period, Morrisound was producing almost
               mechanical-sounding boosted recordings that destroyed
               the texture of sound.

            3.3.3.5 Scott Burns

               Known mainly for being the guy in the "NO MOSH - NO
               CORE - NO FUN - NO TRENDS" circle on old mayhem
               records, Scott Burns cranked out an amazing number of
               death metal albums as producer and engineer. Some say
               his work sucks, and at least a lot of it sucks, but
               he's done some reasonably adept productions as well.
               Also, metal bands/grindcore bands are rarely working
               with matched sets of current equipment. Of late has
               worked predominantly out of Morrisound Studios.

      3.4 Objects

         The various assorted physical objects one can get in addition
         to recordings can contribute to a sense of groundedness in
         the genre, but could also be a waste of time. Tshirts
         however serve the useful social function of spreading
         information; the band name and logo are shouted at every
         occasion by intense visuals.

         3.4.1 Gear

            The soft goods of the metal scene.

            3.4.1.1 Clothing

               T-shirts: should be $15 for short sleeves, $20-25 for
               longsleeves

               Hooded sweats: should be $25

            3.4.1.2 Patches

               Generally $1-$5, these are band logos in (manly)
               embroidered patches.

            3.4.1.3 Armor

               Many Hessians choose to make their own armor. However,
               many mailorder places will sell Armor and Weapons.

            3.4.1.4 Weapons

               Many Hessians choose to make their own weapons, but
               these too are sold through the mail. Mostly this
               involves midevalism and other forms of classicism, but
               often there are Hessians making nuclear weapons for
               Satanic annihilation of life in the most normal
               neighborhoods.

         3.4.2 Distribution

            Metal uses an internal network of underground
            distributors, activists, and content architects in order
            to ensure the distribution of ideas. It is a remarkably
            efficient chaotic machine.

            3.4.2.1 labels

               For an updated list, see the Dark Legions archive
               labels database at:

               http://www.anus.com/metal/labels.html

            3.4.2.2 mail order

               For an updated list, see Dark Legions archive mailorder
               list at:

               http://www.anus.com/metal/labels.html

            3.4.2.3 net sales

               Net sales are common as they allow the seller to
               receive  $6-12 for a CD otherwise returning $2-4 at a
               record store or $0.50-2 at a corporate music outlet.
               Most transactions occur through a posted ad in USENET
               and an email agreement, then check or cash or money
               order transfer followed by shipping.

               Yes, this runs on the honor system, but what doesn't?

               If you get ripped off by a merchant, you _could_ sue --
               if you had ten thousand dollars and several years to
               wait.

               Remember that how you treat others influences the
               likelihood of how you will be treated.

               When selling, post a list of CD's, prices, and terms
               and conditions (postage, quality of merchandise, time
               required) with a Subject: line beginning with CDSALE:
               and you will get the most response by convention. When
               buying, ask conditions and consider asking for a bulk
               discount if purchasing many items.

               Always keep contact information for the seller, because
               if the package doesn't arrive, you want to ask before
               slinging accusations. However, if something goes wrong
               and the person with whom you're dealing does nothing
               for a couple of months, post a message to the metal
               groups explaining your experience and asking for
               advice.

               Usually the seller will either wake up and give you
               straight answers or the underground will boycott the
               person who has so dishonored themselves.

               At the Dark Legions Archive, there is a list of links
               to current cautions/"bad" trader list:

-              http://www.evilmusic.com/metal/links/traders.html

            3.4.2.4 tape trading

               Some consider tape trading "illegal" and "immoral," but
               such things make no difference to a busy metalhead,
               especially when tape trading is the background of
               diversity in metal.

               Finding new bands is difficult, especially with catalog
               descriptions like "Necro-fuck carnal excretory metal"
               and "Trollish folkloric sado-metal," so often people
               will spend time and effort making custom sampler tapes
               for friends in exchange for a similar offering. This
               allows metalheads worldwide to hear a much broader
               range of music than if they were confined to hearing
               only what they could afford, and spreads different
               kinds of music to the different groups of people who
               appreciate each kind.

               Not only does it benefit the fans and the bands, but by
               extension the labels, who in exchange for hosting the
               capital that funds each new release take most of the
               profits for their own satiation. For this reason, it
               is the opinion of this writer that it is best to keep
               tape trading as a metal institution.

               On the newsgroups or via IRC or via personal web pages
               you can make contact with other individuals wishing to
               tape trade, and then arrange for the trade in email or
               by phone.

               Most IRC clients will allow you to have a DCC file
               server from which you can dish out your "for
               sale/trade" list, as you can post it to USENET or other
               open forums.

               Spread everything you can, especially demo bands, who
               self produce their tapes and sell them through local or
               metal-specialty record stores.

               "Unauthorized duplication of this release is not only
               permitted but encouraged, make a tape of the shit and
               give it to a friend. This is the underground, support
               it. If we were in it for the money we would have quit
               long ago."  - Skinless

            3.4.2.5 used sales

               Record stores often make more money on used CD's - for
               which they pay $2-$5 and sell for $6-$10 - than
               shrink-wrapped brand new versions. Hence most of them
               now have some form of used music display.

               Netwise buyers sell mostly used merchandise at often
               better prices, if you're chary enough to buy bulk, and
               transfer more of the money taken in toward buying more
               metal, on the whole. Support yourself and the
               underground with a person to person transaction.

               A newer breed of record stores exist which specialize
               in bulk resale, e.g. they have a ton of stock in a
               warehouse environment. These often will sell you two
               decades of metal for $25 or thereabouts.

      3.5 Playing

         Part of the Hessian experience is to get involved in music
         making, which instigates a respect for the beauty things
         create in one's mind even when the things themselves are
         fully deconstructed. The "aesthetic barrier" is what
         restricts most people from understanding music; they
         understand it as a whole, usually based on its production
         values or choices of coloring within the pieces. To be a
         musician is to transcend the aesthetic barrier or to forever
         be a slave to the translation factor of pushing music through
         one's instrument.

         3.5.1 Guitar

            http://www.pst.informatik.uni-muenchen.de/~dranidis/Music/
               Learning Guitar through Music Theory is an excellent
               resource.

            For a "metal" sound, it is recommended that you get a
            guitar with deep tone and if possible double humbucker
            pickups for extra crunch. Of all the picks commercially
            available, the "Tortex" last the longest compared to
            normal planned obselence plastic erases. Many metal
            musicians swear by thicker-than-normal strings, also.

            Most of the fast strumming techniques seem to be centered
            around holding the guitar at a radical angle nearly over
            the shoulder, and cutting diagonally across the bottom
            three strings often in a circular wrist motion.

         3.5.2 Drums

            I have found some tricks that will allow great speed with
            minimal effort. On Monday I saw a recent edition of Modern
            Drummer has published a technical section by Virgil Donati
            who I consider to be the master of double bass drumming.

            I only got a quick glance but I know it goes through his
            concepts of playing doubles on each foot. This generally
            allows you greater speed and endurance than if you were
            just to play singles all the time.

            I used to listen to Virgil practice in a room just next to
            me as I was waiting for my drum lessons and the stuff he
            can do with his feet are amazing.

            Unfortunately, it takes a long time to develop the
            strength and accuracy of doubles on the left foot so that
            it matches the right foot.

            As I have continued to work on my left foot doubles, I
            have found that I can utilise the speed of my right foot
            to get to faster tempos without worrying the left foot too
            much.

            Instead of doing straight singles or doubles, I use a
            mixture of the two. Doubles on my right foot and singles
            on my left. This means I have groups of three notes
            happening on my feet faster than I can play them with
            normal singles.

            The way to practice this is simply to play them as
            triplets.

            Left-right-right-left-right-right- etc. With the
            quarter-notes in capitals it looks like this:

            L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r

            Once you get to the stage where all notes sound even you
            can then make this stream of notes into anything. To play
            them as sixteenth notes your feet do this:

            L r r l R r l r R l r r L r r l R r l r R l r r

            This can feel a little weird at first because the pattern
            your feet are playing resolves after 1.5 or 3 bars but
            most music is in four bar phrasing so it sometimes can
            seem strange to get in and out of.

            Trust me though, once you practice this for a couple of
            days you should be gaining in speed immediately.

            I like to use this technique a bit but it is only a
            passing thing until I get to using doubles on both feet.
                  -- Richard Beechey, richard_beechey@hotmail.com

            Well, I started out as a death metal drummer so heres my
            .308
            1.Don't sit low(preferably so that when you sit on your
            drum throne your arse is higher than your knees) .I find
            it a lot easier to play doubles faster and for much longer
            periods of time when I sit a little higher
            2.Buy a metronome,and a book with the basic drum rudiments
            3.Practise the above with legs,feet,both starting out slow
            and gradually increasing speed when you feel comfortable
            with the slower tempos.
            Also practise playing triplets,quads,quintuplets etc. to a
            steady 4/4 rock beat and "four on the floor" 8th,16th and
            32nd note rolls with hands,feet,combined,slowly at first
            and also learn the associated rests ie. This is all about
            learning to walk before learning to run.
            4.I normally play a set with the snare and ride at more or
            less the same height(sitting down,a little lower than
            elbow height) the hihat a little higher.Toms placed a
            little higher than the snare at a small angle.Crashes and
            china at about shoulder height and the splashes halfway
            between the tom rims and crashes.This makes it easier to
            play fast and otherwise because the movement needed is
            basically minimal.
            5.Listen and play along to Gene Hoglan,Sean Reinert,Tomas
            Haake,Tim Alexander,Pete Sandoval,Dean Castronovo,Vinnie
            Paul,Arcturus and Mayhem :)
            6.Try your pedals at  medium tension and the drumhead a
            little tighter. More rebound and a quicker response
            7.Use ankle weights and practise rudiments with big ass
            drumsticks.
            ...A little help I suppose
            8.when practising donīt tense up,when you feel like your
            arms are starting to tense up, slow down to a comfortable
            speed.
            9.Stretch out before you start to play, pay attention to
            the hands.
            Warm up a little.Ignoring  points 8 and 9 can lead to
            serious problems in the future ( I know).Stretch out after
            you finish  playing.
            A little help I hope
                  -Pyry, kaisa.lukkariniemi@inet.fi

         3.5.3 Bass

            I use a lot of chords in my playing. I mostly play metal
            genres though which is a different situation than you are
            in. I think my use of chords (2,3, and 4 note) stems from
            my days playing in one-guitar groups where the need to
            fill things in during solo sections drove me to cover for
            the lack of a rhythm guitar. Now I play in a 5-piece with
            two guitars so there's not as much room but I still find
            places to let loose some excessive bass frequencies.
                     - Brian (Ion Vein)

            For metal playing generally, look for a low action - a
            little  fret buzz is okay - and  a basic sound that has
            plenty of top and bottom. That it's generally a good bass
            with a good setup, that you're comfortable playing, is
            more important than the particular brand.
                     - David Hodges

         3.5.4 Vocals

            When performing death metal, grindcore, or black metal
            vocals, it is important to remember that believe it or
            not, one is still singing. The harsh sounds in the throat
            are produced by the aggravated resonance of the vocal
            cords, but the cords themselves will be damaged unless
            given amplification by a whole lot of wind from below.
            This brings in the diaphragm, a beltlike muscle around the
            base of the lungs which allows for external pressure to
            work the dual sacs as a billows. Contracting that muscle
            is as easy as deep breathing; once you've memorized that
            feeling enough to reproduce it, you can control this
            muscle to shove more air across your vocal cords and thus
            to pre-amplify your sound.

            "Gorgoroth is heavy, but not the heaviest. They play a lot
            in mid-tempo, and my main point of critisism is the
            vocals. The singer sounds like a duck being castrated."
                  - Sybren, S.J.Hettinga@lr.tudelft.nl

(c) Copyright 1994-2002 Hessian Studies Center
http://www.anus.com/hsc/


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