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wshaffer
Two brief CD reviews 
14th-Mar-2013 12:39 pm
calm, metal
So far, I've had the chance to properly listen to two of the ten CDs from the grab bag I got earlier this week. Wow, what a contrast.

Rotting Christ's Sanctus Diabolos is so far the surprise hit of this bunch. Slow chugging guitar riffs are backed by droning atmospheric keyboards; odd bits of Gregorian chant, spoken word sections (in English and Greek), and the occasional weird sampled sound effect add additional atmosphere. It's like the soundtrack to an occult horror movie, in the best possible way. Pity about the band name, but it could be worse. (Oh, it could be so much worse.)

Vampires Everywhere!'s Kiss the Sun Goodbye is, musically, reasonably well-executed uptempo punk-inflected metal, with plenty of fist-in-the-air group choruses. Despite the band-name, the lyrical obsession with love and death, and the cover art, it's surprisingly un-gothy, except for the odd melodramatic keyboard flourish. What really kills this for me are the vocals: shrieky screaming alternating with auto-tuned clean vocals. WTF AUTO-TUNE IN HEAVY METAL??? WHY?? I'm clearly not the target audience for this, but I think I might actually find it reasonably pleasant background listening were it not for the constant use of auto-tune.

Interesting thing I've noticed about the way I evaluate heavy metal bands: if I love a band, it's probably because of the guitarist(s), but if I hate a band, it's probably because of the vocalist.
Comments 
14th-Mar-2013 08:05 pm (UTC)
Curious what you think of the likes of Blood Stain Child - IIRC, they use auto-tune in a couple of the songs off Episilon, but it seems to be primarily for the alien audio effect, rather than because their clean vocalist can't hold a pitch.
14th-Mar-2013 11:28 pm (UTC)
I had not heard Blood Stain Child before, but I listened to the song you linked, and then fired up spotify and listened to the whole Epsilon album. It's almost infinitely more my kind of thing that the Vampires Everywhere! album, but what specifically strikes me about the use of auto-tune is:
* It's used much more sparingly by BSC, and, as you say, used for specific effect. (Actually, I'd say that VE! are using it for effect as well, albeit a less well-thought out one. As far as I can tell, the rationale is "Auto-tuned choruses are ubiquitous in current pop music, so let's do one.")

* Either because the degree of auto-tuning is less extreme, or because the singer of BSC has a better voice to begin with, the BSC vocals come out of the auto-tuning process with more character and expressiveness than the VE! vocals.

So, I guess auto-tuning is not really the problem. Having a vocalist who isn't really up to much is a problem.
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