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A month's worth of reasons to vote for Helsinki in 2017, part 7 
7th-Jun-2015 07:00 pm
I'm posting a Finnish heavy metal video every day in June in support of the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid. Longer explanation here.

Today's video comes from Red Moon Architect, a relatively new melodic death doom band that released their second album a couple of months ago.

For those not initiated into the complexities of heavy metal subgenera, "melodic death doom" might not mean a lot. Here is a quick and dirty and not entirely accurate guide to heavy metal subgenera:
death = has Cookie Monster vocals (more properly known as "death growls")
doom = is played slowly
funeral doom = is played really really slowly
melodic = has keyboards
symphonic = has keyboards *and* strings
black = has Satan, shrieking, and tremolo-picked guitars
folk = has violin, flute, and/or hurdy-gurdy
tech = has really complicated guitar solos
stoner = is made to be listened to while smoking weed
thrash = sounds like early Metallica
gothic = is made by people who never gave up their Sisters of Mercy albums
progressive = employs song structures more complex than verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus.
-core = suffix applied to indicate incorporation of elements from hardcore. Often sneered at by metal purists.

Of course, I'm leaving out stuff like djent, math metal (always an eternal disappointment to me because it is not metal songs about differential equations), and a host of others. But if you are a newbie and you bump into someone who wants to tell you all about this great progressive symphonic death metal band, this will get you into the right ballpark in terms of imagining what they are talking about.

Be wary of using this guide to try to classify bands yourself - music out there in the real world is complicated and draws from many influences, and arguing about precisely what subgenre most accurately describes a band is a favorite sport and ritual for establishing social dominance among metal heads. If you ever get yourself into trouble because you've described some band as tech thrash when your interlocutor feels they are clearly melodic deathcore, just cross your arms and say, "Well, of course, I was speaking about their early unreleased demos, but I know most people haven't heard those." They might not have the guts to call your bluff.

Anyway, enough of that. Here is "Betrayed" by Red Moon Architect.

8th-Jun-2015 06:01 am (UTC)
That's a fascinatingly detailed lexicon! So what is math metal, then?
8th-Jun-2015 03:27 pm (UTC)
Math metal usually refers to a type of metalcore or metallic hardcore that uses complex time signatures, polyrhythms, and the like. Many people I respect hold it in high esteem - I've always found it sadly unlistenable.
8th-Jun-2015 03:34 pm (UTC)
Ah, that somewhat makes sense as a name, indeed. And as why one might find it unlistenable.
8th-Jun-2015 06:50 am (UTC)
I see you didn't mention power metal, though admittedly it's kind of off on its own.

My (crude) gauge for power metal is that it's either referencing an actual fantasy novel/rpg or expresses some form of narrative that's derivative of fantasy & rpg tropes. Though I guess it also includes SF, horror, and dystopias; see Amaranthe's & Within Temptation's recent work.

You're pretty spot-on re: prog/progressive, but in my experience it also has a tendency to produce really long songs involving either guitar wankery or other forms of musical self-indulgence.
8th-Jun-2015 06:55 am (UTC)
(Then, of course, there's Speed metal, which mostly gets ignored outside of the context of Dragonforce and maybe Children of Bodom. And can bleed into progressive a bit, due to the technical guitar wankery component of the subgenre.)
8th-Jun-2015 03:48 pm (UTC)
Argh, I knew I was going to forget at least one significant subgenre. If I had included it, my flippant definition would probably have been "is perfect for the soundtrack to your D&D game," so I think we're in agreement on what constitutes power metal. Although it is kind of interesting that it seems so much easier to define power metal by lyrical themes rather than by musical characteristics, although it certainly does tend to have a common set of musical characteristics.

Speed metal as a label is very confusing, because when I was a little baby metalhead, it usually referred to people playing thrash metal very fast. Which isn't usually what it refers to now.
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