Madhouse. If there’s one word I could choose to describe the past month that would be my first choice. But a pleasant madhouse. The flow of promo material was thus great recently that we can offer you more than 250 new reviews this month, which also means that the interview section also is pretty much stuffed this month. Furthermore the Dutch club season is on steam again, so we visited a lot of cool shows last October. In the coming month lots of awesome bands will hit the Dutch stages also, but for me personally the absolute apotheosis will take place December 15th and 16th at the an-nual Metal Christmas bash at the Effenaar in Eindhoven, more commonly known as the Eindhoven Metal Meeting.
The other day I received a mail from our colleague Bart, in which he expressed his intentions to quit his activities for Lords Of Metal. As you might imagine the loss of an esteemed colleague always sucks, especially when you have worked together very well for quite some time. On the other hand it doesn’t make much sense to whine about it. Change within an organization is nothing more than natu-ral, and Lords Of Metal isn’t an exception to the rule. I mean, since I founded this magazine back in 1999 no less than 131 men and women came and went (and some stayed), and I do not have the illusion the coming and going of co-workers will end any time soon. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, it is cool to have a steady core of co-workers at your disposal who work their asses of every month to feed the hungry metal mob, and so preserve the necessary continuity. However, the great thing about adding fresh blood to the team regularly is that new people bring new ideas. Ideas you would never have thought of yourself, or stuff you lack time for to do it yourself. People who with-out any strings attached ease your burden or are willing to organize and execute great plans themselves, just to ensure the continuing growth of Lords Of Metal as a whole. Which in the end all will benefit you, the metal fan.
Now usually most of our crew who intend to seize their activities for whatever reason do so quietly, but Bart is a different cookie and does his thing somewhat different than others. Just like in his articles in which he, regardless the subject, exactly wrote how he felt about things. Praise were it was earned, harsh criticism were it was justified. Walking out of the door without a last statement clearly isn’t his style, and since I’m not the meanest pickle in the jar I gladly make room for his latest personal view on the wonderful world of metal. We will miss you dude!
After these words I hand in my title. No more Lord Of Metal. Away with the pen that is mightier than the sword – even in metal. Away with the authority with which I for the last of couple of years passed my righteous judgment over all the stuff chief editor Horst send me. But why would one hand in such a title? Not because Horst is a terrible chief to work for. I mean, if you ever doubt if a job as reviewer for Lords Of Metal is up your alley I can tell you that there is no dude in the business that’s more relaxed and pleasant to work with than him. But besides that, to review other people’s art is of course tricky business. After years of working and re-working a band presents a piece of music, and the reviewer listens to it for a while and then plays God: “This is my verdict”.
Now usually we don’t really meddle in the divine here. Nope, we do the judging ourselves, saves us a lot of hassle. But still websites like ours are taken quite seriously. Though there’s only one way to take a website (or magazine for that matter) seriously: just bear in mind we’re not an authority in any way. It’s more like a collection bin, an archive, an almost inexhaustible source of references to possible musical delicacies. And yes, you might encounter some reviewers more than often, so might learn what to expect from them while reading their stuff. Maybe they are able to give you e nudge in the right direction. Listen to this! Check that song out! Be sure to play the whole album! The whole idea is that you are going to discover more than you would without Lords Of Metal. And you know what else is great? The same goes for the reviewers. I mean, you receive a (digital) package in the mail with some information and from that you’re on your own. Presents every month. Got any questions? Ask the art-ist! Easy peasy. And don’t forget to ask those questions more listeners would like to hear an answer on.
And there’s more. Going to shows on a press accreditation, what’s not to like? With a little bit of luck, good planning and a co-operating management you even can do an interview before or after the show, and your evening is complete. A show with extra added value. And of course the chance to tell everybody what exactly you thought was important with this particular gig. Like I regularly complained about the absurd loud volume at shows. And I stick to that. Come on, if more than half the audience is wearing earplugs you can’t help wonder what the fuck are we doing. I mean, turn it down a bit and it still sounds fine you know. Better yet: if you turn down the volume just a tat it all sounds simply better. More dynamic. More detailed. More room to breathe. You know, every now and then I read about bands that one time during a tour lower the volume, but change nothing about their set further. Noth-ing but praise from the reviewer then about the quality of the show thanks to the volume. But instead drawing the obvious conclusion (in the future everything with this volume!) the reviewer most likely would say something like “go and see ‘m live”. Like this show was just a one-off that can’t be re-run. A plus B people, A plus B. Though I am glad to see there are some that do have healthy ideas when it comes to the volume at live shows. Like the golden rule in smaller venues: one takes the instrument with the loudest volume (that means you drummer!), leave that one unamplified and match the rest with that. Bob’s your uncle. I really experienced some of my best shows in just such a setting.
Volume: a simple analysis, as far as I am concerned that is. A lot more difficult however is analysing why you like or dislike something. Sure, you can always pretend be as neutral as possible when judg-ing if something sounds decent or not, in the end your own personal “click” will prove to be leading, one way or the other. It happened more than once that I in hindsight though like: “Hmmm, was I not too positive about that record?” But on the moment I was writing the actual review it apparently did something to me. But it also happens the other way around. Writing some negative stuff I later regret-ted. Though you can’t really take it back, for it has been published already. That is why it is good to bear this in mind: most musicians are people like you and me, who toiled for years to come up with something cool. So let us treat each other with some respect. It’s just like social media you know, where it too often happens that we throw stuff at each other of which we would be very ashamed if we said it to each other in real life face to face. Just don’t do it. Try to give every record constructive criti-cism. You don’t like it? Why then exactly.
So why still calling it a day at Lords Of Metal? Well, sometimes you just have to admit to yourself that it’s time for something else. More time for other music, for other writing, for other ways to pass the time and other deadlines. For make no mistake: it keeps on flowing here at Lords Of Metal. And I sincerely hope this will go one for years to come. So if you think you spend too much time in front of the telly and want to do something useful with your time, cease the opportunity! My seat is yours.
So much for our state of the union this time, I’m sure you will find your way through this edition of LoM on your own. Remarks, comments, criticism, tips, information, offers, insults and applications are wel-come at the familiar addresses as usual. Lords Of Metal edition 185 will be unleashed around Decem-ber 1st. Until then.
IF YOU AIN'T A METALHEAD, YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD!