Culture Matters: Nü- Metal

The double-edged knife of nü- metal strikes! Is it even metal in the first place? The debate forever continues and its frustration increases. Korn’s frontman, Jonathan Davis, rejects the label of nü- metal ever being metal, whilst Slipknot reject the entire label simply because they believe they are heavy metal instead. The groove, the funk, the addition of a DJ, and the rapping among many other things certainly waters down the supposed ‘heaviness’ of the genre.

Whilst nü-metal can be considered one of the only ‘metal’ genres that has more females involved (e.g. Kittie, Otep, Coal Chamber), there remains certain contradictions, which are present in typical nü-metal lyrics. Although lyrics tend to speak of subjects like depression and angst, at times such lyrics may oppress females and objectify them (e.g. calling women ‘bitches’). This is vividly present in a lot of Limp Bizkit’s lyrics, a band who is known for their destructive and controversial attitudes. Just look at how Woodstock ’99 ended after a Limp Bizkit performance of their song ‘Break Stuff’, perhaps too much teenage angst and rebellion flowing through the air? It definitely does not justify the catastrophe of the festival that ended in rape, violence, destruction of property, and stampeding.

So what happened to nü-metal? IS IT EVEN METAL?!

Listen To King Kofi’s eccentric mixtape ‘Just A Dude In Need Of A Chance’

Listen To King Kofi’s eccentric mixtape ‘Just A Dude In Need Of A Chance’

King Kofi’s mixtape ‘Just A Dude In Need Of A Chance’ is a follow up from his debut ‘All Hail’. This mixtape has got 10 tracks filled with melancholic, ambient, electronica, all along with hip-hop anthems and stunning poetic lyrics. The rapper hailing from North London successfully explores the genre creatively and boldly, by carefully implementing eccentric elements into this refreshing mixtape all with a lot of himself to top it off.

Press Image 2.jpgYou will find charismatic tracks that you can definitely see yourself dancing to, such as ‘Theme Song’, and particularly the song ‘JADINOAC’ that will remain in your head even after the song has ended with its deep-cutting lyrics, both are certainly songs that you could expect to hear on the radio and would end up falling in love with. Then you’ve got slower, more eccentric tracks like ‘Don’t Cry Over Me’ with its steady rhythm and melancholic lyrics. Also, ‘Empath Freestyle’ (ft. Joshua Igbo) with its beautiful piano instrumentals, rhythmic beats and vocals that generally bring a refreshing fusion into the entire mixtape making it more sensual and intimate. Meanwhile, ‘Pennies’ being a charismatic piece in terms of chorus work has got firm lyrics with raw emotion being communicated through each word. The song ‘Jabsterz’ is a gorgeous number that is hugely emotional to listen to following up the song ’24’ from Kofi’s debut ‘All Hail’, showing us how honest of an artist King Kofi is when it comes to his art. It is clear that the lyrics are what once again sink deep into your heart when listening to this song along with the light vocals, guitar strumming, and Kofi’s steady flow throughout. The sensational mellow track ‘Dreuw’ with its bouncing hip-hop tempo that compliments Kofi’s voice and words is probably one of the best songs on the mixtape along with ‘Jabsterz’, ‘JADINOAC’, and the fun and witty ‘Theme Song’.

The opening song ‘Waltz’ is another heavy and melancholic piece on the mixtape, with its dark electronica tune that creates depth in its overall melody, and the eerie overall chorus that lures you into the entire body of the song. It is certainly a great song to open this emotional, clever, and eccentric album with. Both ‘No Zone’ and ‘I’m So High’ are breathy, sensual and evidently melancholic pieces, something which King Kofi appears to pull off wisely throughout this mixtape, making the overall mixtape unique.

The creativity that goes into the whole mixtape makes it a pleasing and refreshing listen, however, Kofi should’ve gone all the way with this eccentric approach that he takes in a lot of his songs, because clearly he is able to pull it off. As listeners we are being fed so many emotions throughout this mixtape in such a raw manner. In a world where the music industry manipulates and the artists are their puppets, King Kofi remains as himself all the way, and that is what we need and hopefully that never goes away. This mixtape is a window into who King Kofi is, since it is a very confessional and intimate piece. Kofi is enabling us to step into his world throughout the entire mixtape, which is really how music should be. It is a cathartic journey full of confessional lyrics educating us on the hard knocks of life. You’ll be pleased to know that the mixtape has been solely released on the internet, which means that you can have a listen without any hassle at po.st/jadinoac.

Press Image 1.jpgYou can catch King Kofi on Soundcloud, Instagram and Twitter @myotherkingdom

 

 

Anvil: A Band That Never Gave Up

Anvil: A Band That Never Gave Up

To make it you have to be in the right place at the right time, that’s a given. However, this took decades for Anvil. It was only recently, well into their 50s, when the legendary heavy metal Canadian band have happened to stumble onto the right place at the right time. That’s not to mention their ridiculously notable influences on tremendous bands such as Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax! How did they slip under the radar so rapidly?

It all started with two teenage boys; Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner, who made a pact to rock’n’roll. This over the years lead to them rocking out with high profile rock bands, but their time didn’t seem to come for them. A number of factors could’ve contributed to this unfortunate fate, but it just goes out to show how cruel and ignorant the music industry generally can be. In the 2008 rockumentary ‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil’ you can clearly witness the band’s frustration as Lips dedicatedly distributes Anvil’s latest music deeply hoping on the chance of a major label noticing them. To much of Anvil’s demise they are still not taken on, but at the end of the rockumentary they get offered a place at a notorious Japanese rock festival, which is a big step for the band already.

Up to now Anvil have recorded up to fifteen albums, and yet they still work in day-to-day jobs supporting their families whilst dreaming of how else they will tackle that rock’n’roll dream to make it a reality. Perhaps over the decades this could’ve been due to the band’s lack of management, the fact that it is them doing it by themselves. This has come with the worse, they’ve not been paid the amount of money that they deserve for their genius and innovative art of music. These guys have gone on to influence HUGE bands, and yet you don’t know who the hell they are? In the rockumentary they humbly tell us whilst sitting in an ice-cream parlour about this great song about the Spanish inquisition ‘Thumb Hang’  that they’ve had in mind for decades but never really got to record properly. You can now find that same song on their 2012 album ‘This Is Thirteen’, it’s a hell of a song.

In the 2010’s the band’s popularity has risen up, and finally they’ve been selling out shows, like how they should’ve been doing for a while now. In fact, they’ve also been getting paid for their efforts, like how they should’ve been getting paid for decades now.You simply cannot dismiss their dedication, they have been at it ever since their teens up until now as middle-aged men, and we haven’t taken any notice! They’re the artists that clearly do not do it for the money, nor for the fame, they do it for the passion. The most satisfying thing to watch as a huge lover of music is Lips’ smiling face as he checks his emails to find that the band have a place at a high profile rock festival, all after having bursted at the seams with anger when disgustingly selfish club managers refuse to pay the band.

There’s a lesson that you can learn from the ‘underdogs’ who CLEARLY should be above all those bands that they have influenced over the years. They were first, they planted the ideas on this tree of rock’n’roll that continues to grow. Go listen to all of their albums, ALL of them (and there’s PLENTY of them), and let their own music speak for themselves. That’s where you can hear real dedicated musicians who have continued to believe in their dreams even when the world rejected them. Their song ‘666’ from their 1982 album ‘Metal on Metal’ is an absolute legend, it is smartly constructed both lyrically and instrumentally. That’s the album where you can see how Anvil might’ve influence heavy metal giants such as Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax. Thank you, Anvil, for never giving up!

Album Review: Blind Spot – Lush

This is the latest album review, which is of Lush’s recently released album ‘Blind Spot’. It’s the band’s first album release since their hiatus period in 1996. There were a number of things that sparked their ‘hiatus’ or break-up, among those was Chris Acland’s unfortunate suicide. It’s taken a while for the band to get past that and carry on creating such bewitching tunes that tend to lure its listeners in.

Their final moments as a band were personally not my favourite. Despite that their last album ‘Love Life’ is a marvellous and cheerful album that is exquisite in its own right, it was not what I loved the band for initially. In ‘Love Life’ you could see Lush leaning more onto Britpop than Shoegaze, however, they still tackled Britpop just as elegantly as they tackled Shoegaze, but I’ve always had a yearning for their Shoegaze period. Their album ‘Scar’ was amongst those albums that were filled with beautiful, melancholic and alluringly lustrous Shoegaze tunes, I’ve always yearned for them to get back to that period where they crafted tunes like ‘Baby Talk’ and ‘Thoughtforms’, which were bittersweet with a sprinkle of innocence that Emma Anderson and Miki Berenyi’s dreamy vocals provided.

Now that the band are BACK TOGETHER, they’ve gone back to that SHOEGAZE period, and I am absolutely THRILLED. It’s been a while, but we have certainly not forgotten their unique and splendid tunes. We just hope that they release even more music, because they have been missed.

Album Review: Welcome The Worms – Bleached

Bleached’s latest album ‘Welcome The Worms’ reminisces a fair bit on the 1990s pop-punk, pop-rock scene. It successfully includes elements of pop, but at the same time it  has the opportunity to be an alternative unique piece. Bleached hailing from California have previously released their album ‘Ride Your Heart’, an album which is harmoniously entertaining with its bits of rebellion in terms of how the actual songs are like.

In comparison to ‘Ride Your Heart’ this album is more mature and perhaps even darker. It has more of a direction. It’s great to see bands growing and shaping into something much stronger, and this is what Bleached seem to be doing. The band have been selling out gigs with this new album, so it’s clear that they are on their way to ultimate success.

Watch and find out more about ‘Welcome The Worms’ by Bleached.

Stuff That Matters: Cuba’s Underground Alternative Scene

In the last couple of weeks we saw the Rolling Stones make history by visiting Cuba and doing a free concert there. The Rolling Stones are known as one of the earlier figures of  Rock’n’Roll, alongside Chuck Berry.

Undeniably, the Rolling Stones were most importantly culprits for the start of the British Invasion with their clean haircuts, elegant suits, and their charming ways. They were also rebels. Rock’n’roll in its earlier days (even before the Rolling Stones) had the reputation of being somehow an anarchist and rebellious music genre, believe it or not, it was a taboo to rock out. Think about it, rock is the parent of punk and metal. These are sub-genres which are known for their dark and rebellious nature. The seeds of evil.

People in the earlier days of Rock’n’Roll feared the genre, because it made its listeners think outside of the box, eventually residing to some kind of anarchistic nature that youngsters over the centuries have been identified to be. It is true that many of us enjoy the sweet sound of Rock’n’Roll because it feeds our identities, ideas, and personalities. However, the sweet sound of Rock’n’Roll is banned by the Cuban authorities, it is illegal to rock out. Cuba is indeed a country ran by the idea of communism, or better yet known as ‘Castrismo’ (referencing Fidel Castro’s own unique approach to communism). It sticks to the basic principles that all communist nations stick to; everyone is equal.

Equality is a funny thing, because nobody is equal. Something as ‘taboo’ as Rock’n’Roll will eventually corrupt people from this ‘equality’ idea that Fidel Castro certainly has always had in mind. Freedom of speech is denied, unless you’re praising the Fidel Castro regime. That got me wondering, are there people around the Island who are anarchists? Surely there must be some resent towards this. Through research I found, Gorki Águila, a Cuban punk rocker. He recently gave an interview to The Guardian complaining about how despite the fact that the Cuban government is now allowing the nation to open its horizons a little by letting Barack Obama and the Rolling Stones visit the country, the local artists such as Gorki and his punk band ‘Porno Para Ricardo’ are still being rejected and thrown straight into prison for speaking against the government.

In many countries around the world, we have musicians insult their politicians and whatnot and not thrown into jail (unless they are physically a threat to these people). Freedom of speech, Cuba, you’ve got to get one of those.

Learn more about this unknown underground alternative scene that exists in Cuba. It is evidence that no matter how much freedom of speech you try taking away from people they will still blast back at you, and they will ROCK’N’ROLL!