Tag Archives: Metal

River’s Edge (1986 dir. Tim Hunter)

24 Jul

Long-haired Matrix Christ comes to terms with sex, murder and heavy metal in lumberjack town.

2/5

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Mechanical Animals’ (1998) by Marilyn Manson

12 Feb

By Slick Nick

During the 90s, if you bought even one copy of Kerrang! magazine, you couldn’t help but be exposed to the monstrosity that was Marilyn Manson, who came to represent everything that could possibly go wrong when a bunch of lads entered a recording studio. They were everywhere, and the release of each new album was treated, ironically given their Satanist leanings, like the second coming of Christ himself by the press.

Manson, real name Brian Warner, was the very definition of style-over-substance, where looking like a dick and saying silly things in interviews could generate a shit ton of record sales even if the music on those records was as bad as that of ‘Mechanical Animals’, his third album.

With a lead singer that relied almost solely on image, and a group of cohorts all named after serial killers, it just screamed of childish attention seeking from the get-go, as if they knew they were never going to write any music that was worth listening to but couldn’t bare the thought of making the coffee in an office for the rest of their lives.

Growing up, a few things puzzled me about this band. Obviously the music had zero merit; it wasn’t particularly heavy, and there certainly wasn’t any melodies to remember . There was no sex appeal unless you happened to have a fetish for very ugly, under fed men. The instrumentation was basic and would never be admired by proggy muso types in the same way that something like Tool would have been. Yet the group’s army of misguided fans kept growing. Despite all their controversy, musically they had more in common with T Rex than Slayer, and the only shocking effect they had on the impressionable youth of the day was postponing their discovery of decent music for a few years. For myself, that band/act was Rod Stewart, but I digress slightly.

‘Mechanical Animals’ is an hour of inconsistent, incoherent balls. Every song starts and ends with noise, and inbetween fails to satisfy in every way. The vocals are the same monotonous, crap-sounding dirge, underpinned by sometimes glam/sometimes industrial but always dull nothingness. It’s so fucking slow and drawn-out as well, with each song about two minutes longer than necessary. Lead single ‘Dope Show’ is a particularly big offender; less music, more torture.

There are fleeting moments of listenable guitar work but these are over quickly to make way for more rubbish. It must have been frustrating having to make this album as a guitarist with someone as up themselves as Manson at the helm of the operation. I’m sure they consoled themselves with the buckets of money they made though.

Finally, the genre-skipping really winds me up. This can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to wank over David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust material or be featured in a straight to DVD film in a scene where a load of douchebag characters enter an ‘alternative’ nightclub for the first time in their lives. If you’re going to dip into every genre found on allmusic.com then before you do so, you’d better make sure you’re some kind of fucking musical prodigy like Brian Wilson or Will.I.Am first, lest you end up with a piece of shit like ‘Mechanical Animals’ on your CV.

 

We’re all slaves in the… crap music show.

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Adema’ (2001) by Adema

5 Feb

By Slick Nick

Adema – a word I never thought I’d see again. Still, that’s what this feature is about in a way – digging up long-forgotten shit from the past. And believe me, this is shit.

I suppose in hindsight, Adema serve a small purpose in 2011. People often disagree with me when I suggest that the noughties were generally the worst decade for music since the 1940s. They will claim metal in general, bands like Against Me! and Gaslight Anthem breaking big and the charts never looking better as reasons to cherish the past decade’s recorded output. Next time that happens, I can calmly sit down, load up Spotify and type ‘Adema’ in the search bar. “Come, my friend. Have a seat,” I’ll tell them. “I don’t feel the need to offer this debate anything more than for twelve tracks.”

It would be a feat of inhuman ability for Adema to have been even worse than they were on this self-titled debut, probably only released given the singer was the half brother of Jonathan Davies, vocalist of fellow Californian highschool bully victims Korn. Whilst that latter band had some nice ideas, occasionally effective riffing and rare hooks, Adema had precisely nothing to offer rock music in the slightest, save for a cute frontman. It’s worth noting that the brothers were as equally annoying to listen to on record though.

The Adema song-writing process was a straight forward one – you lay down some terrible guitar parts, execute a couple of forgettable verses and choruses and then go into a middle eight perpetuated by an array of silly effects pedals. The lyrics in particular, after some brief analysis, are dreadful to the point of being a near parody of shitty radio rock. This nugget of poetry from the song ‘Close Friend’ illustrates my point: ‘And now I know because you’ve done everything possible to me / Made me so upset.’ Upset? On a so-called alternative rock album? Even a monumental pussy like Bruno Mars would never write anything so pathetic.

The singing from Mark Chavez is appalling. Frankie Valli he ain’t. If your band can’t nail any semblance of a passable guitar riff, you’d better be sure as fuck that you have an arsenal of immaculately-executed hook-ridden melodies to bestow upon the record-buying public to compensate. Instead, almost every song uses the same tuneless melody, whined by a singer doing a mediocre Korn impression. Combining these factors with the clumsy lyrics and ‘Adema’ makes for one hell of a punishing listening experience.

There are clips on YouTube of the band performing these crap songs live and unplugged. This was an interesting idea – if the songs and singing are awful on record, even with all the modern studio effects and trickery, what on earth was there to gain in filming even more poorly executed versions of these godforsaken tracks? It was just one in a catalogue of poor decisions made in Adema’s career, a catalogue that began with the decision to give them a fucking record deal in the first place.

There were two singles from this piece of dog shit – ‘Giving In’ and ‘The Way You Like It’. In closing, the video for the latter made the least sense. This album is full to bursting point with lunk-headed self pity and despair. Then along comes a video showing the lead singer dancing with a decent bit of skirt at one of Adema’s very own shows. Apart from the obvious self-indulgence, two very different demographics of American teenagers appear to be targetted in the band’s marketing strategy. On the one hand, the clean-cut douchebag, and on the other, unpopular grunge rocker types. This just doesn’t work. Until kids ‘find’ themselves, there are firm boundaries in a social sense that teens stick to, and that music marketing should adhere to. You’re either a confident sportsman that gets to fuck cheerleaders at keg parties, or you listen to Marilyn Manson and cut yourself. The two should not be blurred or combined within music. Ever.

 

Nowadays no one remembers when they were young and made shit music

 

The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Trapt’ (2002) by Trapt

22 Jan

By Slick Nick

Trapt’s mainstream musical career was launched in 2002 with the laughably bad single ‘Headstrong’. Three albums later and they’re still in much the same place as they were when they started – a band that is just there, with few people giving a shit.

Coming in at the arse end of nu metal’s popularity peak, this self-titled debut was an interesting beast, which encompassed most of the things that made that genre terrible (muddy production, lazy guitar riffing, similar beats) whilst injecting some fairly neat ideas that took the crapness to the next level.

The songs flit between watered down butt rock and wimpy One Tree Hill-esque self-pitious musings over clean guitars. When things get heavy, Trapt can barely motivate themelves to use riffs of more than two chords at a time. As for the lyrics – pitiful, as in they evoke genuine pity that grown adult males from a developed country could conceive such childish, derivative shite. It’s all about taking people on and breaking down etc. but you don’t win battles with watered down heavy metal music, as far as I’m aware.

The album runs out of ideas very early on. Every song has near identical execution, with clean verses and ‘heavy’ choruses. A couple of fucking breakdowns occassionally would have been welcome, to be honest, but would never have saved this from being another stain in the underpants of alternative rock.

Occasionally the drum timings veer slightly off the tried and tested 4/4 beat. Someone in this band must have been desperate to prove to their disappointed parents that all the money they’d blown on music lessons for their son hadn’t gone to waste. Unfortunately, they had.

Finally, the album cover annoys me. It’s hardly the symbol of cliched teen angst and radio rock superstardom that Trapt were aiming for. Maybe they ended up blowing all their marketing budget on effects pedals for their guitars rather than concept artists?

Headstrong to take up shelf space in charity shops since 2003.

 

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