There are a great deal of things I have to talk about today, which include our our new direction as well as how current politics could change or even remove our spot on the internet entirely. As you may know, The Grim Tower is and has always been controversial. We’ve butted heads with sites like Metal Sucks and I’ve got a very bad reputation with Toilet Ov Hell, which was started over of all things, some social media disputes. I would like to thank all of the blogs, zines and journalists out there who haven’t gone the route of these brands. This is also why I’m moving into the gaming scene, particularly when it comes to adult games, as well as anime and other topics that have been tried and true markers for us. I’m now paying a bit of money to run all of this every month. Gone are the old days where my editor would flit the bill as I have had the entire site transferred to me and am now the sole proprietor of it. The Grim Tower is now truly my brand and I’m going to build it up into something great.
Though before I can do that, I have to talk about how we’ve struggled. The site began in earnest as a music review site, primarily heavy metal. Though it was also a place for personal blogs, which were originally on my author’s page back when I was writing books. For years, I spent countless hours of my life hammering out reviews and covering ridiculous numbers of bands throughout the world. I also interviewed hundreds of musicians over the past decade, which are experiences that I cherished and do not take lightly. However, in hindsight these were not doing as well as I would have liked them to. Some interviews, like the Soen and Arch Enemy review seemed to have garnered a lot of hits, though others did not do so well. The same can be said for album reviews, with our top review being one of Napalm Death’s many releases over the past few years. They were a blast to see live.
WordPress comes with an app called Jetpack, which allows us to see how many people are viewing what topics and for how long. Remarkably, reviews for adult Japanese games and even what I’d consider to be piss-poor reviews of anime were getting more hits than I expected, as well as familiar current tower fare articles related to sex bots and incels. I have more of those coming, they’re already typed – but I’m holding off on them for now. As it stands, I already have an alt-media channel where I talk about that kind of stuff in the form of several videos and I’ve been even asked to stream. Well, as soon as Elon Musk’s Starlink internet rolls out of beta and I can get high speed internet anywhere in the world, even here – then I very well may just start doing that.
The fact of the matter is that the landscape is changing. In my twenties, burning CD’s was the thing. We bought them and we’d burn them or we’d borrow CD’s and we’d burn them. Then you could just download the records and put them on CD’s. Then you moved onto MP3 players, where you no longer needed the CD. Then you moved onto smartphones where you no longer needed the MP3 player, bit rates were better and you could even play in lossless format if you wanted to. When you were a broke teenager or a young man making minimum wage, these were pretty much the only channels you had to obtaining the music you love. Obviously, there was a point where I started reviewing the music I downloaded from various places on the internet, later rolling into my inbox which filled up with more promos than I could ever listen to in my entire life. After about nine or ten years of that, things in my life started to change. First of all, I started getting old. I’m thirty-five now. Secondly, there wasn’t really any big perk to getting albums early, because they would just leak the next day on sites like Kingdom Leaks, which just announced that it would be permanently shutting down on December 31st. Although I didn’t really discover the site until just a year or so ago, I noticed that not only people from the industry were there, but musicians were personally leaking and commenting on their leaks. This is primarily because they finally realized the fact that people just aren’t buying music like they used to.
Then it hit. On the front page of the website was enclosed a link to an article written by the website’s administrator called “A Rational Argument For Switching To Spotify.” In the post were several reasons that the author denoted were worth paying a hundred and twenty dollars a month for this service. Heck, even other pirates said that they were listening to spotify now more than anything else. You heard it here first, the pirates are switching from what could be considered illegal downloads to legal streams of their favorite records. It sounded like something I might want to try, so I gave it a look. Last night I searched for Sinocence’s “No Gods, No Masters” from their third EP on my phone’s list, but didn’t have the folder on my device for some reason. Noting this, I said, “let me see if the song is on Spotify and if it’ll let me play it.” So I Googled “Sinocence No Gods, No Masters” and was immediately hit with a result. I wasn’t sure that they would even have a result for a band this obscure, but lo and behold, they did. Immediately, my app popped up and the record I was looking for did as well. It is worth noting that only that Sinocence record was up there and not Vol.1 which has “Occam’s Razors” so that is a bit of a drag, but it immediately started playing the first song from the disc and I merely switched over to track I was looking to jam. Then it started playing and that was it – I knew that Spotify had all the music I wanted to jam without me having to put it on my cellphone. Now there are probably some things it won’t have, like a lot of the Japanese and Korean artists I could only find on sites like Kingdom Leaks, but just noting that it had Sinocence means that it’ll probably have the entire Wasp discography or just whatever I’m in the mood for. Maybe I want to hear “The Black Heart” from Crown Of Thorns or “When You’re Evil” from Aurelio Voltaire. Both songs might be on there and all I have to do is just search for them. I can even search for the new albums when they come out and they’re right there. So if I want to jam the new Megadeth, it’ll be there. Alice Cooper is also coming out with a new one, so I could probably listen to it there as well. Even all the super obscure bands out there may be found on Spotify. Heck, we’re there and we’ve had ten thousand plays. It would be wonderful if we got more than fragments of a penny, so they need to work that out – but this is a pretty good alternative to piracy and maybe it will even eliminate the need for exclusive bonus tracks, which are an archaic remnant of a business model that needs to die. As it stands, most people end up either downloading bonus tracks from some pirate site or just listening to them on YouTube. When System Of A Down released a special one off EP this year, I was shocked at how fast both tracks were dumped on YouTube.
And let’s face it – if you look at any music group these days on social media (aside from vinyl lovers, which I can respect, though will admit that it is not my thing) you will see that the kids (the zoomers and the Gen A’s) are listening to their music on spotify. That’s just how they do it. Even at work, the guys listen to their music on spotify. When my bosses play music in the back room, they put on a spotify radio station. This is just how people get their music now and that’s not going to change. We live in an age of streaming. You pay a monthly fee to watch or listen to whatever in the heck you want. They even did this with games, but the Google Stadia proved that the tech is just not there yet for game streaming and perhaps it may be many years yet before people stream their games.
Also, I have to add that my affiliates in Metal Trenches are definitely doing great things. What once was a one man site has now become a two man wrecking machine that is a part of the new video review trend on YouTube. I was also shocked when writer Chris Dahlberg joined the owner there, as Dahlberg has always been a force to be reckoned with in this industry. The man has written reviews that are so on-point and in depth, that they’ve put mine to shame. Not only that, these guys are finally doing what I wanted people to do in this industry for several years now – COVER THE DAMN BANDCAMP BANDS! This is where indie lives after all and it is a shame that pretty much every single metal and rock music rag barely even talks about them, assuring that their fate lies in the dustbin of history. We will not miss these mainstream metal rags who promoted Metallica, Slipknot, BabyMetal and other acts day in and day out. I will not miss hearing about what size shit Corey Taylor took and how it smelled, as well as the sound it made when it hit the water. I will not miss hearing about Ghost and I like Ghost. I will not miss hearing about bands that everyone knows, and I definitely will not miss seeing politics presented over musicians and their art. Yes, I get it – music is political. But let’s not make that the whole of music. Let’s not cover a musician because of their thoughts on a political leader.
Speaking of politics, I may as well go and state it. I did vote for the orange man and most people in my state did. We were overwhelmingly red. However, let’s talk about why I did that. First of all, it isn’t what you think. A lot of white nationalists and other types of people did use his presidency as a way to promote their heinous and unfounded beliefs. I have no issue with pride in one’s country, culture or heritage – however, the buck stops when you want to be seen better than another person because of these things. I already discussed in a prior article about how dumb these kinds of people are. The reason why I voted for orange man bad is simple – he is an egotistical narcissist that fought big tech giants over the right to say what he wanted to on their platforms. Thus giving other people with controversial opinions like The Quartering, Styxhexenhammer 666, Rekieta Law, Raging Golden Eagle and The Rageaholic a right to say what they wanted to. And hey, some of those guys are metalheads. So folks, these were metalheads with the kind of controversial opinions that metal is supposed to have being censored by big tech. That to me is worse than anything else in the world. Stifling my right to speak is something I’ve said many times in my lyrics, in my articles and on my videos. I am a free speech independent and I believe in the power of free speech in my country. With orange man going after these companies, his administration is holding them up to a standard that his predecessor will not. In fact, I think that Joe Biden will kiss the asses of the media and let big tech do as they please, censoring everything as they create online harassment squads to round people up who they consider dissidents for having a different opinion. And if that happens, I will be going to a country where the only things I couldn’t say would deal with the monarchy. I can live with that.
Aside from that, this predecessor is beginning to wage war by criticizing policies in Hungary and Poland, two countries that the US has left alone for a number of decades. I worked with several bands in Poland and would prefer not to see those musicians dropping their instruments for combat fatigues and machine guns, in which they would be fighting our people. I would really prefer not to see that. I also have a friend and former staffer who is Iranian and of course Biden is trying to muscle his way back in there once again. He might even get Kim Jong Un back on his shit again, seeing as orange man is no longer there to keep his silliness at bay. I mean sure, we’ll have less racism. Most of it will just go back underground. People will be given a lot of money for doing nothing and I’ll pocket it just the same. Big tech will censor the media to the point that people won’t even want to go onto the internet. They’ll simply spend time enjoying old media that they may have missed out on.
So what does that say for this site? Well, we were planning on covering adult games because of the fact that Monster Girl Quest still has an ungodly amount of views. But if the new administration cracks down on that sort of thing in the US, what would be the point? All the money I spent to keep this site running would be for naught, as my host would be forced to remove me. I simply couldn’t promote this content nor even my affiliates in the ad banner. So we’re definitely playing it by ear. It would not be worth fighting with blocked payment processors and getting DDOS attacks as well as getting the site pulled altogether. I would simply just live a life with very little time on the internet. If the voices like those I mentioned go down and then we have h-game enthusiasts/promoters like Projekt Melody and Nux Taku go down, you will then see us going down very quickly. It sucks, but hey – I have a lot of things to keep me busy. I’m sure that you do as well.
Now all of this doom and gloom may not be in the cards just yet, but if it does happen, you can be rest assured that myself and my affiliates will be swiftly removed from the internet altogether. I’ll just cancel the site, my payments and everything else. The Grim Tower will have been a great memory.
That being said, I’m going to play this by ear. None of the things I’ve mentioned have happened YET. So this will be going up rather early (it is not 2021 yet and we’re definitely not trying to pull an EA sportsball thing with this) as I test the waters with reviews from these great eroge games. I will admit though, that my phone had a recent update, so all of the transparent images that I had been using in my video thumbnails are no longer coming up transparent due to a weird Google bug. Due to this, I’m not really going to be able to make the funny thumbnails that I had originally planned for many of my articles. I apologize for this and you’ll have to blame Google.
All things considered, that is certainly the least of our problems right now. Forgive me for being a pessimist, but reality certainly does bite and can if the things I have noted do come to pass. When the day comes that I get an email telling me that my content is abusive and I must start removing pages, I can definitely say that this will be the end of The Grim Tower and I thank you for letting me serve you for so many years.
– The Grim Lord