If for some reason you are not aware of these yearly articles, that is okay. After all, the last one we did on The Grim Tower blog, which we have no intention of moving back to. In any case, let’s get started.
The State Of Metal
Honestly, I’ve grown a bit tired of the modern scene. Having joined several popular metal social media groups, I’m starting to see a terribly painted picture of the new scene that rubs me wrong in so many ways. First of all, somehow or another heavy metal became politically correct. I’m seeing a lot of rhetoric based in modern social justice culture being thrown about in a style of music that at it’s roots, has been anything but. Our music has been written by murderers and people who have taken their own lives. Some of them have very extreme views, and that’s to be expected as this kind of music was never made for the squeamish. That’s what separates it from a lot of the other more accessible forms of music out there. Commonalities like headbanging, identifiying oneself as a metalhead and even moshing have become somewhat dehumanizing to the modern scene. What’s more, is I was actually in a discussion where the much younger metal listener (because I can’t call him a metalhead anymore, apparently) claimed that today’s modern metal bands are of a much higher caliber of quality than the legends, which he held to a much lower standard. Though it isn’t just him that feels this way, a lot of people in this “unpopular opinions group” seem to hold these values. In metal’s social media circuit, you see two types of groups – those who value the popular bands like Metallica, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, Pantera, Ghost and god forbid Five Finger Death Punch; and then you have these people who do seem to listen to less accessible types of music but seem to feel that the rest of that scene is “cringey.” I suppose that some of the videos they have seen of metalheads online have served to hurt their fragile little egos and they’ve decided not to associate with the culture in general. Regardless, we now have these separate factions and are pretty much stuck with them. As I stated before, much of the social justice rhetoric populated by sites like Metal Sucks have formed a lot of the topics there and a few months ago NSBM was being torn apart by the group. As we may have expected. I’ve also noticed a sort of worship of modern technical death metal among these types of people, a genre that I once loved but am growing tired of hearing so much about. Even technical death metal acts that I loved in the past are beginning to interest me much less because of these kids and their opinions. The main two albums that they seemed to speak about most were Archspire’s Relentless Mutation and Ne Obliviscaris’s Urn which was praised beyond recognition. As the months passed, their AOTY started to change quite a bit, but I’ll never forget the number of people who felt that the new Ne Obliviscaris may as well have been the second coming. Having listened to both, I have mixed opinions but mainly would consider Urn this generation’s Blackwater Park. One social media group doesn’t dictate the whole of metal, but the fact that there are a lot of people who feel similar does seem to pique my curiosity regarding the whole scene.
Furthermore, we are now in the age of hip hop. That has been established, as the latest Neilsen report will illustrate. Hip hop in the US is the most popular form of music in the country right now, leaving rock far behind. What is worse, is that we’re losing so many great rock musicians with no one to replace them, at least not on the caliber that they were. It might not even be too out of character to say that rock and metal have reached their peak and are on a downhill slide. It’s quite easy for a million Lil’s to form and create haphazardly terrible mumble rap, by which the next generation populates their spotify squarelists with every week. Yes, apparently these kids chew up albums like never before seen, thanks to the simplicity of the internet. Many don’t even buy the albums, except for collectible purposes. But why do you need to, when Spotify has everything that the underground metal scene has had to offer for the last forty years? In any case, there are about thirty of these posted a week and sometimes several a day. They’re listening to music so quickly that it may not even have the time to fully register in their brains. Especially when I notice classic albums that probably weren’t listened to ten times in a row, as some claim. Their need to classify albums is also insane, almost as insane as the terms they’re using. I believe I heard “cricket vocals” used one time and had no idea what in the blue fuck they were talking about. Then we have aliencore, trapcore and who knows what else. There’s so much core that it’ll drive you mad. It’s quite simple to state that I’m growing further from this scene as it is becoming some type of monstrosity that I no longer recognize. As does with time. I started this work when I was twenty-five years old and I’m now thirty-two, which means that I’ve almost been doing this for a full decade. Not as much as some of my peers, but I’ll admit that I may have jumped in a little too late. I never saw all of this coming, and when it did come – I hardly expected it to come with this much force.
Yet something happened, that I did not expect. A friend and golden-age of metal reviewer contacted me about a promising reviewer by the name of Jake Butler. He wanted me to take him on, but I looked at his work and decided that he was doing a great job by himself. I also noticed that he and Metal Purgatory Media were heavily interested in the modern technical hodgepodge of albums where every album seems to look like a bizarre alien topographical landscape. I highly recommend that you get in touch with him, as he is on the cutting edge of this scene and it’s new technological fronts and I myself am becoming a dinosaur. I’m still open to any submissions you might have and my (5-8 sentence) paragraph reviews will still occur along with interviews, but I won’t be focusing as much on music as I used to and I’m going to mention that in a separate section. I fully recommend Jake’s work, as he clearly is more in touch with the modern scene than I am and will definitely get what I am not able to as my hair begins to grey and I work towards having a great magical…walking stick. He loves that crazy technical brutal stuff, so send it his way.
The State Of The Grim Tower
“Time to face the strange” as Bowie put it. We’re making some ch-ch-changes that will affect the future of this site a great deal. First of all, we’re going to do less music reviews (although I will try to cover all personal submissions) and focus more on geek culture. But let me finish. We’re not going to be just another geek culture site like Nerdist, Geek Tyrant or CBR. Rather, my goal is to mix the music that I love with the geek culture that I also love. This might result in some changes to the homepage or no real changes at all. We may still keep music reviews on top and everything else below that section, as music is what we were built on to begin with. But I want to cover more games, more movies, more television and anime, more comics and novels. I also want to conduct interviews and ask your favorite musicians about their geeky interests. There’s no age limit on what we’ll be covering as Central Scrutinizer showed you all just a few days ago with his out of the blue review of a forties noir film. In addition, I’d like to hire a few more writers to take a crack at this, so we’ll be getting a bunch of different opinions on media past and present. I can’t quite pay yet, as our site has barely any reach thanks to the clickbait model; but we are working on it. I want to show that a place for opinions without intrusive pop-up ads can exist in this modern age of the internet and hope you’ll find some interesting insights about the pieces we cover. I’m not claiming to be the best at it, or to create the only site that does it, but I will say that we do things our own way. The money to keep the lights on over here comes out of my pocket and we have to pay up around October. So that leaves us an entire year to show the world what we’ve got to offer. If you’ve sent CD’s and interview replies, I’m here to let you know that you have not been abandoned nor forgotten. I just needed to take a small break from everything in order to gather my thoughts for the coming year and get this site rolling on full gears. I’m even considering asking former staff members to jump back on if they wish, so you may see some old names like Bleak Bill, Spynal and The Grim Princess.
The end of the year brought about some interesting revelations, but I also learned that I need to move on from some of these relevations entirely as it may be the best. I need to focus on what matters and I feel that I need a team that can help me in achieving my ambitions for this place. I also plan to finish up my current novel and get another one rolling out of the gate. It’s ambitious, but I’d like to get serious. I’ve already got media items coming out of my ears, so the amount of pieces that I’ll be covering the next few weeks might be staggering, given my dayjob. My new phone and unlimited data plan make updating a ridiculously simple breeze. So I’ll be able to update frequently. No more excuses!
I need to add that there was also a job offer in which the gentleman was willing to pay ten dollars for LP reviews and five for EPs. Yes, this is unheard of in our circuit and I would have jumped on it a few years ago. Though I feel that after doing this work for about seven years now, I haven’t really received anything in return for it. I was “the machine” as far as pumping out reviews went, but I don’t really have a dollar to my name and eventually had to start another dayjob, this time at Walmart. Going back into that mentality might equal out to a bit more money in my pocket, but it wouldn’t have been as loose as this site offers and it wouldn’t leave me much time outside of work to have a proper life. I do enjoy life, after all. Much of the things that I like to cover are done at my leisure, so I like having the time to do those things. Makes sense, right?
The State Of Net Neutrality
Staff member Central Scrutinizer has some thoughts on the Net Neutrality ordeal, which could change things but may not do any real harm to us. He doesn’t feel it will be an issue and could be beneficial in all actuality. I myself am not sure and I’ve read a bit from both parties regarding the issue. If the repeal brings about massive site affecting changes, you will know about them immediately. If in a worse case scenario, the internet becomes so mangled that we can no longer operate, then we will leave as a nice archive and I will live out my days in a much different manner than I’d expected. Time will tell.
This is not the end of The Grim Tower. In fact, we’re giving this at least two or three years to see how much traction it gets. If it takes off, we’ll keep rolling on indefinitely. I’ll be an old man still doing this shit. If not, then we’ll just bow out and consider what we’ve done a good run. We had fun, right? Iun any case, that’s exactly what we plan to do. We want to provide honest opinons on media throughout the gamut, melding the music that we like along with geek culture in a way that you’ve never thoight possible. This is my crazy idea, but I have a gut feeling that it would be ultimately best for the place. So give us some time to fully unravel that for you. Great things are coming… We hope.
– The Grim Lord