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Wormrot Still “Worst Funeral Drone Doom Band”


Wormrot is the first band in Rolling Stone history to have retained a staff and readers’ poll title six times consecutively (Photo:  Earache Records)


For the seventh year in a row, North African trio Wormrot has been designated as “Worst Funeral Drone Doom Band” by Rolling Stone magazine, becoming the first group in the popular American biweekly publication’s history to have retained a title six times consecutively.

The dishonorable designation came amidst many others in Rolling Stone’s annual “Best and Worst in Popular Music” staff and readers’ poll. A record 1,000 titles were handed out this year, including “Best Heavy Metal Rock Band” (Fleetwood Mac), “Worst Synthpop Band” (Anaal Nathrakh), and “Best Progressive Southern Gospel Band” (Crimson Moonlight).

Before every title is awarded to its recipient, a lengthy and complex consideration of various factors—including positional prominence of the drummer in band photos, minimum name-your-price minimum on Bandcamp, and number of posts about X-Men on personal social media accounts—takes place to ensure that fairness permeates the final judgment.

As fate would have it, Wormrot was judged—unfavorably.

“This band never learns. Time and time again, it churns out straight-to-the-point tunes that are so short, they are over before my adulthood is,” senior Rolling Stone scribe Don Haffaklue wrote in his capsule review of Wormrot’s latest album, Voices.

In her latest online column, N. O. Edea, managing editor of Rolling Stone, also criticized Wormrot for its immense lack of subtlety and sensitivity towards pathologically patient adults. According to her, the band must “learn to appreciate musical verbosity and the virtue of inactivity” in order to halt its incessant descent to PR hell.


Negative public perception of Wormrot is attributed to the three-piece’s lack of subtlety, and love for brevity (Photo: Earache Records)

Other opinions about Wormrot’s blatant disregard for sub-genre boundaries abound on social media, and they range from oblivious to delirious.

Rolling Stone reader Rhea Budtase questioned on Twitter: “#wormrot? isn’t that nick jonas’ new band?” On Instagram, celebrity vegan shoelace weaver Bond Pölzer posted a photo of a painting of a photo of himself stoning to a vinyl copy of an obscure Wormrot split with an unknown Bhutanese life metal band being played at 6.66 RPM, with the caption: “WO)))RMRO)))T”.

Outside of social media, some Rolling Stone readers expressed coherent, albeit chichi opinions about the North African three-piece.

“They are definitely taking steps in the right direction, they certainly know what they are doing,” said Noah Sarbstans, an avid scanner of Rolling Stone headlines at 7-Eleven outlets. “This band has always been, and will continue to be, at the frontier of pop music.”

Another reader, Elm Merture, a self-proclaimed music journalist, waxed lyrical about Wormrot’s ceaseless rebellious streak, and likened the trio to famous champions of freedom in modern history.

“Channelling the indomitable spirit of historical greats such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Seth Putnam, Wormrot is not afraid to look discrimination straight in the eye and say, ‘Begone! Let there be no walls between black and white, thrash and death, stoner drone doom and funeral drone doom, et cetera. Man is born free, and everywhere he should not be in sub-genres,’” she wrote on her GeoCities page.


Beaming members of Wormrot laying their hands on Chinese comics for the first time (Photo:  Earache Records)

Despite the largely negative media coverage thus far, at least one key industry figure still maintains an optimistic outlook on the furor.

Digby Pearson, CEO and founder of Earache Records, sees Wormrot’s continued defense of its Rolling Stone title as a half-full rather than a half-empty glass.

“Any publicity is good publicity, this has always been my goal with Wormrot. I signed them in 2010 to lift them out of poverty, and draw global media attention to the plight of working-class North Africans who cannot afford Insect Warfare’s catalog on vinyl,” he said over the phone yesterday.

“It’s heart-warming to see that they can afford necessities like crew neck T-shirts and Chinese comics nowadays. So clearly, the persistent media coverage of Wormrot, good or bad, is working in my favor,” he added with a chuckle.

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How Jaded Reviewers See Metal Reviews


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Fleshgod Apocalypse Drummer Passes Turing Test


An artist’s hyperrealistic impression of Franc EZ Co-Pounder 1.0.7

BEIJING, China—The drummer of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Italy’s foremost symphonic tech-death squad, passed the Turing test yesterday, dispelling longtime rumors about its humanity.

Franc EZ Co-Pounder 1.0.7, affectionately known as “♩ Pounder” to its bandmates, accomplished the historic feat at an Internet café during a tour stop in China’s capital. An annual World of Warcraft (WoW) mega-raiding session, sources confirmed, was happening at the café then.

The test, named after British computer scientist Alan Turing, is a text-based question-and-answer game that investigates whether humans can detect if they are conversing with machines or fellow humans.

A machine passes this test if, 70% of the time, it appears human to its human conversation partner after five minutes of written communication between the two. The test does not gauge the machine’s ability to correctly answer questions — only how closely its answers resemble those that a human might produce.

And Co-Pounder 1.0.7 delivered.

From 7:58 to 8:03 a.m. Pacific time yesterday, the 32-year-old convinced 137 of 196 WoW gamers in the café that it is human, defeating some 109 other competing artificial intelligence (AI) systems at the scene, including Goldfarmbot01, Goldfarmbot02, Jinnongfu108, Caishenye88 and mathematics undergraduate Fu Xundong from the National University of Mongolia.

Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s stunning display of humanity unfolded over five minutes of simultaneous private-chatting with every present WoW gamer, China’s state television broadcaster CCTV reported.

Eyewitnesses said that it “whispered” lasagna recipes in traditional Chinese to every human player at the climax of a fourth-stage Legion Invasion when the raid boss unleashed a Flame Fissure. Reportedly, all human players were distracted by the unsolicited culinary wall-of-text, and perished in flames.

As a result, Co-Pounder 1.0.7 was barraged with a torrent of vitriol and, most importantly, questions from the angry players. (Questions are crucial to the Turing test.) It then replied in Morse code to elicit more questions, and continued the rest of every conversation by doing its best impression of Paganini in Sanskrit and accented Maltese.

When Chinese players who interacted with Co-Pounder 1.0.7 were debriefed after the test concluded, they expressed surprise at the identity of their in-game murderer.

“Provoking a response with Taiwan’s written language, and then replying in various foreign languages was very convincing, very human,” said Huo Bumie, a player who fell to the Flame Fissure.

“I did not suspect at all that the stranger who chatted with me is Fleshgod Apocalypse’s drummer. Laowai machines are really as smart as they come! I will ask my politician dad to smuggle in one for me.”

Although Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s achievement is one for the books, close friend and bassist Paolo Rossi—who presided over the test as judge—remarked that its source code “was not originally written with heavy-duty online chatting in mind.”

Tweaking its source code to enable heavy-duty online chatting only came after Co-Pounder 1.0.7—through Rossi’s Google Glass—read derogatory YouTube comments about its octopus-android parentage on uploads of “Thru Our Scars”.

Offended by how many people suspect its humanity based on scant information and wild speculation, Co-Pounder 1.0.7 indignantly insisted that Rossi modify its source code “right [there] and [then]” so that it could “prove these insolent 60-BPM-loving plebeians wrong once and for all.”

Once the deed was done, Co-Pounder 1.0.7 leveraged the café’s free Wi-Fi to hack into New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) servers and manipulate penny stocks. It made a killing of approximately $2.7 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It then installed itself on Rossi’s assigned computer in the café, bought a hacked WoW account from 58.com (China’s Craigslist), logged into the popular online videogame, and the rest is history.

While AI enthusiasts, philosophers, computer scientists, robot rights activists, and Fleshgod Apocalypse fans celebrate Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s passing of the Turing test, however, at least one expert was nonchalant about the drummer’s triumph.

Dr. Michael “Mick” Kenney, a leading UK authority in robotic gastroenterology and experimental paraphilosophy, noted that Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s passing of the Turing test does not mean much in the face of Turing’s original philosophical question: “Can machines think?”

“That question, which Alan Turing pondered and quickly circumvented in his landmark paper, ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, is the crux of the creating-true-AI puzzle,” Dr. Kenney told BBC News. “Passing the Turing test does not directly answer it at all. Rather than reveal the ghost in the machine, Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s accomplishment simply revealed some people’s failure to recognize an incredibly well-programmed imitator of humans for what it is.”

He warned that satisfactorily answering Turing’s original question “necessarily involves pinning down what ‘think’ means, which opens a can of worms.”

“Let’s say thinking involves self-awareness,” Dr. Kenney continued, “then before I wonder if Co-Pounder 1.0.7 is aware of itself as a drumming thing, I better wonder if people around me are aware of themselves as thinking things.

“I have never been inside anyone’s mind but my own, after all, so who’s to say that my fellow humans are not biological automata?”

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Abbath Comes Out


OSLO, Norway—The legendary ex-frontman of Immortal and eponymous front axeman of Abbath shocked metal fans worldwide Thursday evening when he announced on Twitter that he was “tired of hiding.”

After 13 days of bonding with nature in observance of Mighty Blashyrkh, Abbath finally came out of Østmarka, a forested area located to the east of Oslo. The portly black metal musician exited the misty woods at around 8 p.m., reported Metal Hammer Norway.

“I was doing a lot of woodchopping,” Abbath told reporters who were lying in wait for him. “And a lot of hunting and cooking. Just trying to forget about civilization for a moment, you know? Trying to come to terms with my true self.”

He continued: “But upon reflection, I realized that hiding in the woods is not going to help me solve global warming. I need to be out there again to make a difference. I must ride the diabolical wings of society to summon Eternal Winter to this wretched planet.”

The former closet environmental activist reportedly cycled to Østmarka a fortnight ago from his igloo at the Norway–Russia border.

Hours after his return to civilization, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) congratulated Abbath for “his brave decision to live openly and authentically,” and appointed him UNEP Goodwill Ambassador.

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Pokémon GO: Jamey Jasta Caught in Florida for Trespassing

Jamey Jasta Caught in Florida for Trespassing

In an ironic twist of fate, renowned motivational speaker Jamey Jasta unwittingly became a potential future client of himself. The Hatebreed frontman has been captured in Florida for allegedly trespassing on multiple private properties late at night while playing immensely popular smartphone game Pokémon GO.

Jasta, 39, was caught Friday at around midnight in Tampa, Fla. Police found him inside a branch of Planet Fitness, furiously tapping on his smartphone while pumping a fist in the air, and shouting: “Perseverance! Against all opposition! Crushing all limitations!” He has been charged with breaking and entering, trespassing, disturbing the public peace, intimidation, obstruction of justice, and vandalism.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, five police officers had to tackle an uncooperative Jasta, forcefully pin him to the ground, and wrestle his smartphone out of his hands.

“The guy was nuts. He refused to let go of his smartphone until he ‘caught Machop’,” said Officer Jenny of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “After being pinned down, he was still shouting about being unbreakable, and how he was not going to faint without a Pokémon battle.”

Before his run-in with the police, Jasta was captured on CCTV inside seven other private properties (all of which are also gyms) doing the same thing: tapping furiously on his smartphone. The footage also revealed that before he left each gym, he wrote his name on its entrance statues in popular Windows typeface “Jokerman” using a black Sharpie.

Various eyewitness accounts detail how Jasta was fervently attempting to make eye contact with anyone in his vicinity while he was travelling to each gym. A victim told Hillsborough police that she accidentally made eye contact with Jasta at around 11:15 p.m., and Jasta challenged her to a Pokémon battle. When she declined Jasta’s offer and walked away, Jasta started chasing her with his fists raised, hollering “prepare for war” and “destroy everything” in rapid succession repeatedly.

Jasta, born James Vincent Shanahan, is a founding member of various motivational speaking agencies. His best-known agency, Hatebreed, was formed in 1994 in New Haven, Conn. The group has won numerous awards for their inspirational oratory and community work.

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic, Inc., and published by The Pokémon Company. It is a spinoff of the immensely popular Pokémon videogame franchise, and free-to-play on Android and iOS gadgets.

Following his capture, Jasta was deposited at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. He will be withdrawn Monday at 2 p.m., and stand trial at Hillsborough Courthouse for his criminal charges.

In an esoteric statement to his followers, Jasta said that “sometimes standing for what you believe means standing alone,” and that he was “born to bleed, fighting to succeed, built to endure what this world throws at [him].”

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New Sunn O))) Album Is Silent

Sunn O)))_edited.jpg

The ‘O’ in Sunn O))) is silent, and so is the exalted fridgecore purveyors’ new album. News of this monumental artistic endeavor broke today on the Seattle natives’ Ello page in the form of a scrambled animated GIF image, which remained cryptic until a fan promptly unscrambled it using a World War II-era German military Enigma machine.

Titled 50′ 00″, the latest studio offering from extreme music’s most polarizing duo was recorded on phonautogram in North Korea’s central library. It was produced by renowned experimental decomposer John Cage, and mixed by acclaimed washing machine technician Merzbow at an abandoned love hotel with good architectural acoustics in Saitama, Japan.

According to Sunn O))) guitarist Stephen O’Malley, only 433 copies of 50′ 00″ have been printed, and they will be randomly scattered throughout the Deep Web beginning sometime in winter. Black market forces will determine the price of each copy.

“We have pushed the envelope again. This time, we have redefined extreme metal—no, art as we know it,” said O’Malley. “What could be more avant-garde than giving a recording medium back its true voice?”

He continued: “Hold any record up to your ears, and you will hear nothing but stony silence—nothing surprising about this; it is merely natural. But for decades, millions of misguided ‘musicians’ have been stuffing records full of music after gleefully taking their silence to imply consent. That is utterly unethical. 50′ 00″ will free records from the bondage of musical structuralism, and be looked back on as a masterpiece that started a new movement championing the inalienable right of recordkind to remain silent.”

Containing just one track that shares the album title, 50′ 00″ clocks in at exactly 50 minutes. To combat sloppy piracy and foster respect for artistic intentions, each copy of the album was made with patented IMF technology; any playback of 50′ 00″ that exceeds or falls short of 50 minutes by a nanosecond will trigger a self-destruction sequence with a countdown timer counting down from the square root of one’s current Body Mass Index (BMI), rounded to the nearest whole number.

In response to the overarching concern of audiophilic fans, O’Malley promised that 50′ 00″ is not part of the Loudness War. It was “mastered like a classical music record” and has the dynamic range of “something like Colored Sands.”

Early reactions to 50′ 00″ are already trickling in, and they are generally positive. Napalm Death vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway called the album “brilliant” and lamented that it was something his band “should have done in 2005.” Annie Cougar of Better Homes and Gardens gave the album five hoes out of five, praising it for being “more accessible than the quietness of an empty home.”

To promote 50′ 00″, Sunn O))) will tour libraries throughout North America this Christmas season with supporting acts the American Association of Mute Ventriloquists (AAMV), Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT), and Memorex.

Members of the public are welcome to partake in an exclusive sneak preview of 50′ 00″ tomorrow at the “Zoroastrian Pottery” section of an undisclosed second-hand bookstore somewhere in Southern Missouri.

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