Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Ten Bands I Should Like More (But Don't)

Welcome to my new list. It's been awhile since I've done one concerning bands. This topic struck me a few days ago while I was surfing on YouTube. I was looking at a song by The Rolling Stones someone else mentioned on a forum in the darkest corners of the internet. I didn't know the song or the album. So I looked it up and as I was doing so I thought about how many bands I say I like, but don't really know. I also thought about how many bands I like, but would like even more if they'd just stop fucking around with pointless experimenting in their later days. And I then thought about bands that seem like everything I should love on paper, but just pushed me away after hearing them.

There are a lot of reasons to not like a band, but these are bands I should like more but don't. Or maybe can't. Other people may (and do) love these bands. I'm not knocking that. I'm merely trying to explain why I don't like them more than I do now. In some cases I already like them to begin with in certain aspects, but not in others. In other cases I don't like them to begin with despite them having the ingredients I normally look for in music that should appeal to me.

So let's get to it:

10. Death - I cannot stand the sound of Chuck Schuldiner's voice. God bless the man. He passed away in 2001 after a battle with brain cancer. He was a fucking fantastic guitarist and helped pioneer "death metal." Yet his vocals, which are the very definition of death metal vocals, grind on me. And this is strange since I like plenty of extreme metal bands and have listened to quite a few that have a similar vocal delivery, but something just puts me off about Schuldiner's singing. My loss, I suppose.

09. Danzig - I like the Misfits and love some tunes from Danzig's catalog, but for some reason I just don't own a single one of his albums. I haven't listened to a single album. I suppose I shouldn't let a man's personality affect his music, but Danzig always comes off as a bit douchey to me. So maybe that's it. But for whatever reason I just can't seem to find time for Danzig. In world of instant streaming this seems like a thin excuse, but there is only so much time out there one can spend listening to new (at least for the respective listener) stuff. 

08. Black Label Society - Zakk Wylde plays a mean guitar. No doubt about that. Yet his songwriting is so terribly vanilla. Not terrible, but just vanilla. It's like he's writing just to sound metal and not actually be metal. His soloing, especially post-Ozzy, lacks any depth of feeling. It's all pentatonic rambling. There's certainly nothing wrong with technical skill, but it's a lot like being an author: It's cool to know big and complicated words, but the dictionary is one of the most boring books in existence and reading it page after page is tedious bullshit. That's what listening to a Zakk Wylde solo is sometimes like. He's talented and always has been, but he doesn't always know when to just... not play a million notes in a song and play a passage that actually sounds like music and not a scale. Dumbing it down isn't always a bad thing. That time spent on ridiculous soloing could be spent on writing better lyrics.

07. Tool - They are an oddity. They take longer breaks between albums than Metallica. They create songs that are so complex that even the guys at Dream Theater are casting jealous glances their way. Tool's album artwork is always something interesting and inspires something of a mysticism on its own akin to Zeppelin. I should like them. I should love them. But, while I've heard one of their albums and enjoyed it, I just couldn't say, "Hey, this band is the best thing in fucking ever!" They are okay, but maybe not worth the ten year waits between albums. If I was a huge fan of theirs I'd probably be stabbing pins into my Maynard James Keenan voodoo doll at this point. 

06. Blackmore's Night - Rainbow overstayed its welcome by a few too many singers and album and I think even Blackmore knew that. So when he formed his new band he was looking for something different. Thus Blackmore's Night came into being. But little did the unsuspecting world know that his new gig would be strictly renaissance music. Blackmore's love for flair should not have been a surprise to anyone. But a band that seems to be at home covering a Sonny and Cher song? I don't know. I've listened to a few songs and have come away with mixed opinions. Night has a beautiful voice and Blackmore still has the chops, but I think it's just a bit of a bridge too far for me. I cannot listen to them on a regular basis. 

05. Def Leppard - On Through the Night and High N Dry are underrated and had some serious choice cuts. Pyromania is a damn good album. Hysteria was a bit too syrupy, but listenable and almost as good as Pyromania is certain respects. I haven't listened to Adrenalize, but the song Let's Get Rocked is decent enough. But everything I tried to touch after that faded into the furniture. Yeah, I suppose they were more closely associated to the glam scene when compared to the N.W.O.B.H.M., but Leppard always had at least just enough bite to survive my own "glam metal" phase. I still enjoy their old stuff. Their new stuff... eh, not so much. 

04. Aerosmith - I love early Aerosmith. Almost everything up to and including 1989's Pump. After that, I just don't care. Their best album since then was 2004's Honkin' on Bobo, for God's sake. Honkin' on Bobo happens to be their last good album, too. I don't know what happened. But they don't have too many hard-rocking tracks to their name in my lifetime. It's just sucky ballad after ballad after ballad. I hate using the term "sold out" because I think it's used way too much by snobby fans that get way too clingy, but Aerosmith really did sell their souls to a few corporate devils at some point. Honestly, I think all of the outside writers ruined this band.

03. Thin Lizzy - I hear a few of their songs all the time on classic rock radio, but I don't really know who they are. Haven't really listened to them that much. They seem like a good band (judging from their Lynott days), but I just haven't done any in depth listening on them yet. Although my favorite song by them could very well be the lesser known Angel of Death. I stumbled on that song by clicking on a Vader cover of it on YouTube, thinking that Vader was covering a song of the same name by Slayer. But nope, it was a Thin Lizzy song. Go figure. 

02. The Rolling Stones - I really don't have any criticism of The Rolling Stones. I've liked most of the songs I've listened to. I just haven't pursued them. I don't know why, either. Like seriously. I don't. Paint It Black is awesome. 19th Nervous Breakdown is awesome. Start Me Up is awesome. So what's stopping me from going to Amazon and just buying a shit-ton of The Rolling Stones? Well, I just don't know. Maybe I don't know where to begin. Maybe there's just so much stuff out there by them and I have no idea where to begin. 

01. Anvil - I'm not sure if I'd say there's a lot of "hype" around this band because when your most recent effort only sales 800 copies during its first week there probably isn't a lot of hype. However, the documentary that made them, if not famous, then at least more well known made them seem like heavy metal's biggest secret. They have a few decent songs. Metal on Metal? Not bad at all. Juggernaut of Justice? That's pretty good, too. I also admire that they've kept at it for so long despite many setbacks. That's truly a metal mentality. 

But what stops me in my tracks with Anvil is their dreadful lyrics and song titles. I mean, normally I don't care if lyrics stop short of containing Rush-like complexities. AC/DC may certainly write the same song over and over again, but at least they do so with some wit. Anvil's lyrics are... just awful. Toe Jam? Just google those lyrics and ask yourself if you're looking at thrash at its finest or something that couldn't even make it onto a Poison record. The riffs are there most of the time. Maybe not iconic riffs, but there's a listenability there to an extent. Where Anvil just fails at being anything close to good is in the lyrical department. There's no symbolism. No depth. Just blandness at best and garbage at worst. Butter-Bust Jerky just doesn't have the same vibe as, say, any Slayer or Overkill song. It doesn't make me want to mosh. It makes me want to shake my head and wonder why anyone would say this band is better than they are when they are not.

But people, at least 800 of them, like Anvil. For some reason. Metallica said they liked them. Slayer, too. I don't get it. I'd like to like them, but I just... cannot. A different lyricist really could do wonders. Just as long as they don't get Zakk Wylde to do it. 


  1. Aerosmith - They should change their name to Aerosuck. Just do covers or give it up.

    The Rolling Stones - Bands have hot streaks in their career where they have a stretch of 3 or 4 albums where they can do no wrong (some hot streaks are only 1 or 2 albums :) ). The Stones have one of the great hot streaks ever from 1968 -1972. Four albums that you will find on most top albums of all time list, Beggar Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky fingers and Exile. Also during this stretch they released 2 singles, Honky Tonk Women and Jumpin Jack Flash, released a great live album and released one of the best greatest hits albums ever, Hot Rocks. So if you want to start, start there. My favorite is Sticky Fingers, the slowest of the four but also the sleaziest. For a great deep cut, check out "Sway."

    Eric Clapton - I love his early work up through the Layla album. He played balls to the wall After his drug fueled retreat following that album, he was never the same. He has a lot of scattered songs I like through the years but he never has seemed to have the fire he did up until 1971. He could still show some fire live after that but his studio albums were tame (and maybe lame sometimes). He had a dreadful stretch in the 80s (who didn't) being produced by Phil Collins. For some strange reason on many of his later solo albums, he would have another guitarist playing lead (WTF).

    1. Clapton is an odd duck. One of the more skilled guitarists from his time, but he'd rather others play lead. It worked for Derek and the Dominoes because they had Duane Allman, too. Maybe the whole "Clapton is God" thing just got too much for him. I don't know.