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Armaetus

Iron Maiden files trademark suit against Ion Maiden

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4 hours ago, kb1 said:

Because of this, a band like Dream Theater survived solely based on word-of-mouth of their raw talent. I put the "dinosaurs" in this category as well, including Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (they did get a limited boost in the MTV era with the occasional video, before MTV dropped the ball).

 

To this day, new and old Metal is still surviving, due to their talent being discussed by the fans. What's left of the music industry still doesn't get it.

 

 

Well said. But that wasn't actually my point, what I was questioning is that to this day it's Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath who are being put on a pedestal as the "masters of Metal", often conveniently ignoring all the other bands that were experimenting and pushing the boundaries.

 

 

58 minutes ago, ketmar said:

meh, there is nothing new in music at all: it still rely on that ancient concept of mixing harmonical sounds. ;-)

 

but i miss good metal bands. without much experiments and such. just solid metal, with good vocals. like Helloween of Kiske times, Blind Guardian of "Imaginations" times, and so on. there is still alot to say there, i think. but usually when a band gains enough expirience to say something new, it moves in some direction i don't like, because "classic metal is so boring (and we won't sell much playing it ;-)".

 

Most definitely. Occasionally some new band comes along but if they are successful it's mostly inevitable that they get assimilated by the "boring mainstream".

A good example for this would be Nightwish. To this day "Oceanborn" is one of my favorite albums, but instead of capitalizing on it and its style they drifted away into mainstream more and more with each new album - and the last one was just an overproduced and boring mess.

 

1 hour ago, GoatLord said:

Metal is stagnant right now because everyone is brick walling their production

 

This is also something that has rendered many bands' output worthless. I have lost count of how many musically interesting albums I ultimately ditched because the wall of sound was just too overbearing.

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4 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

Most definitely. Occasionally some new band comes along but if they are successful it's mostly inevitable that they get assimilated by the "boring mainstream".

A good example for this would be Nightwish. To this day "Oceanborn" is one of my favorite albums, but instead of capitalizing on it and its style they drifted away into mainstream more and more with each new album - and the last one was just an overproduced and boring mess.

 

Dimmu Borgir: Hold my beer.

 

If we speak about selling out or becoming more and more mainstream and/or tame, I gotta mention them since they're the best example. Yeah, I get the fact that artists want to evolve and expand in new directions and I admire that, but that's in no way an excuse to turn into trash and shit on your own legacy. They hit the wall way back in the mid 2000s with DCA, didn't capitalize on its style afterwards, and the band's musicianship had only gotten worse since. There's no more passion, no more soul, and no more skill involved, just increasingly more mediocre outputs.

 

There's bands in the genre that achieved mainstream success without selling out - how come Emperor and Immortal are still great? Well, okay, Emperor no longer makes music, they're just touring now, but the fact that they knew when to stop is still commendable. In the words of a founding member of Centinex whem they first split up, what's the point of pushing forward when you know you have nothing else to offer? It's better to just split up while you still have some respect than losing it and eventually splitting up when no one cares anymore.

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54 minutes ago, ketmar said:

tbh, i think that this is true for any good art.

It is. But unlike most other art, there's a structure in place that allows music to go straight to the top so fast it blindsides the bands. All the music industry has ever seen is "how do we make a quick buck?". If they acted more long-term, and more reasonable, they could be making all the bucks, and promoting great music of all genres. Of course, the internet came crashing through their plans like a bull in a china shop, and they still don't know how to handle it. And, for some reason, "do shit better" is never an option for those guys.

 

54 minutes ago, ketmar said:

meh, there is nothing new in music at all: it still rely on that ancient concept of mixing harmonical sounds. ;-)

At least for western music, there's only 12 fundamental notes. But, within that there's:

  • multiple simultaneous notes (harmony/chords)
  • timbre (different instruments, different methods to produce notes:
    • hard/soft picking, hammer-on/pull-off, legato, harmonics, mutes/scrapes, feedback, whammy, etc
    • volume changes: air pressure,pick pressure and angle, finger-picking, foot pedals, key pressure, bow techniques, drumstick speed and contact position
  • overall tempo (number of beats per minute)
  • notes per beat
  • rhythm (simplest definition: this is what motivates the listener to tap their foot, or make a move while dancing)
  • melody (single, multiple, overlapping)

So, true, there's nothing "new". But the number of ways music can be composed, arranged is truly infinite. And, honestly, I don't want Metal to change too much. Sure, I want new songs, and I want them to not sound like they copied someone else's song. Also, I must admit that I tend to prefer an older Metal style.

 

I feel that, in a lot of newer Metal, the goal is to "out-Satan" everyone. Don't get me wrong: In moderation, I won't discount much of anything, and, most anything can be cool in moderation. In a nutshell, this is what I'm tired of hearing:

  • Singers with poor dynamic range, or non-stop full on melody-less growls and grunts. I want singers that sing.
  • 10 minutes of heroin-induced double-bass drums.
  • Disregard for diatonic scales: Minor-seconds, augmented 4th, diminished 5ths.
  • Drop-D tuning, all-string de-tuning until the strings rattle, replacing the bass player with a detuned 8-string guitar.
  • Lack of amplitude change, lack of distortion level change
  • There's more, but you get it

All of these things are cool to have as techniques that are pulled out at the right moments to compliment and enhance a portion of a song. But when they become your band's only sound...boring!

 

 

54 minutes ago, ketmar said:

 

but i miss good metal bands. without much experiments and such. just solid metal, with good vocals. like Helloween of Kiske times, Blind Guardian of "Imaginations" times, and so on. there is still alot to say there, i think. but usually when a band gains enough expirience to say something new, it moves in some direction i don't like, because "classic metal is so boring (and we won't sell much playing it ;-)".

I know what you mean. Classic Metal isn't boring...*boring* is boring. The money model has become very fucked up, which means that bands can't "make it" like they used to, unless they have some "gimmick" that's "promote-able". So, you end up with these great bar bands that never make it out of the bar.

 

I think calling Metal "old sounding" as if that was a bad thing, is usually pretty ridiculous. I'll call New Metal "Metal" if it sounds like Metal. And, I don't mean that it sounds "old", I mean that it sounds good: Vocals I can understand and sing to. Multiple guitar, or guitar/keyboard harmonies. Funky, great rhythm-holding bass lines. Powerful drums that are as powerful when silent as they are hammering away. Blazingly-fast melodic leads. Acoustic finger picking. Fast and slow passages. Some soul and emotion (and not just anger). Music is supposed to move you, and not just towards one place.

 

Helloween rocks, by the way! Ever hear "Symphony"? Check out the album "The Odyssey" by "Symphony".

 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, kb1 said:

Ever hear "Symphony"? Check out the album "The Odyssey" by "Symphony".

this one? thank you, will try!

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Sorry, dbl post. Double post seemed to make sense here, in light of the cross-post.

 

35 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

Well said. But that wasn't actually my point, what I was questioning is that to this day it's Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath who are being put on a pedestal as the "masters of Metal", often conveniently ignoring all the other bands that were experimenting and pushing the boundaries.

Ok, that may be true. But don't say it like those bands suck - they don't. The "pedestal" is, again, put there by the music industry - they are always the people building the categories, and sticking bands within them. It's the music industry that uses those categories to sort the bands, to try to figure out who the promote, so they can make the most quick money out of them, before sucking them dry. They try to tell the bands how to look, how to talk and act, and even what to play.


On the other hand, fans just have two big-ass categories: "Songs I Like", and "Songs that Suck", heh.

 

The "masters" copied from their predecessors, and everyone copied from them. That's how it's always been, and always will be. (Hopefully, they only copy technique, and then use that knowledge to make original songs). And, I think if you've been playing for 20 years or more, you're good, no matter who you are. It's how you compose and arrange your songs that sets you apart. You also have to sound fresh and new at the time. Those bands did, and I think they're still at it. They have nothing to prove at this point, so it's a labor of love, which is where your mind should be when writing music, I believe.

 

35 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

Most definitely. Occasionally some new band comes along but if they are successful it's mostly inevitable that they get assimilated by the "boring mainstream".

A good example for this would be Nightwish. To this day "Oceanborn" is one of my favorite albums, but instead of capitalizing on it and its style they drifted away into mainstream more and more with each new album - and the last one was just an overproduced and boring mess.

Yeah, they are called "sellouts". It's the age-old question: "Do you cash-in and live well for life?" or "Do you stick to your principles and pray that the fans find you, somehow, and actually buy your albums?"

 

35 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

This is also something that has rendered many bands' output worthless. I have lost count of how many musically interesting albums I ultimately ditched because the wall of sound was just too overbearing.

Agree. You know, they've actually started over-driving the master copies in an attempt to make the song sound "louder" for a given volume level at the radio stations. They actually over-drive to the point of clipping (distorting) the original master recording. And when they've taken that technique too far, they then use compressor/limiters to bring the low-volume passages all the way up to the maximum level as well. This, of course, amplifies any noise, singer breath sounds, guitar string fret change finger slides, and every other undesirable side noise, until everything is recorded as near to a full-amplitude square wave as possible.

 

I have also stopped listening to these garbage albums. It even occurs on "remastered" re-releases of old music. I have always enjoyed loud music. But, I cannot listen to this mess, even at low levels - it hurts my ears. Even the re-releases...I can't listen to them at any volume. WTF are they thinking?

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5 minutes ago, ketmar said:

this one? thank you, will try!

Yes!

 

Also these albums:

Paradise Lost, The Divine Wings of Tragedy, Twilight in Olympus... They're probably all great. I haven't gotten them all yet.

 

Give each song a few listens. If you're like me, I need a couple of listens to fully absorb music of this depth.

 

Also, check out the guitarist's solo stuff, like Michael Romeo - Black This is awesome! Enjoy!

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19 minutes ago, kb1 said:

Give each song a few listens. If you're like me, I need a couple of listens to fully absorb music of this depth.

yeah, i usually need to listen something several times. first time is "quick hear" to check if i am interesting at all, and then i can really listen to it. ;-)

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44 minutes ago, kb1 said:



 

I have also stopped listening to these garbage albums. It even occurs on "remastered" re-releases of old music. I have always enjoyed loud music. But, I cannot listen to this mess, even at low levels - it hurts my ears. Even the re-releases...I can't listen to them at any volume. WTF are they thinking? 

 

I can't shake off the feeling that it's the technicians having drunk too much of their own kool-aid and having become resistant to criticism and negative feedback, instead telling everybody else how wrong they are and their way is the only way to go forward. And since everybody depends on these hacks to get stuff done...

 

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This discussion puts me in mind of a question my girlfriend asked me after we'd watched the Kiss farewell tour last week. They're great performers, as are Iron Maiden (I'm also looking forward to Ozzy Osbourne with Judas Priest in support in February), and their music falls far enough into the accessible end of the Rock/Hard Rock/Metal continuum that they can (and indeed, did) fill up a stadium/arena. Who is going to replace them?

 

I've seen a few bands from the 90s and beyond filling stadiums, including Nickelback and Five Finger Death Punch (both often accused of being sellouts), but as much as I enjoyed both shows, the showmanship of those 70s bands is on another level. Rammstein, with their pyrotechnics would probably be the main competitors... If I'd seen them. Most other rock and metal acts I've watched of any age simply can't do a venue that large in the UK. I do wonder if the constant lack of mainstream break through and steadily expanding pool of sub genres and niche bands means that it won't be a thing in the future... Perhaps these old "masters" continue to reign so long because there isn't that accessibility in newer bands and there won't be as many notable replacements?

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1 hour ago, ketmar said:

yeah, i usually need to listen something several times. first time is "quick hear" to check if i am interesting at all, and then i can really listen to it. ;-)

Yep. I need a few more times just to comprehend the really complex stuff.

 

1 hour ago, Graf Zahl said:

I can't shake off the feeling that it's the technicians having drunk too much of their own kool-aid and having become resistant to criticism and negative feedback, instead telling everybody else how wrong they are and their way is the only way to go forward. And since everybody depends on these hacks to get stuff done...

Heh. I think their ears are shot, partially from listening to their colleague's sloppy over-driven albums. They must no longer be able to hear it...what other reason could it be?

 

11 minutes ago, Phobus said:

This discussion puts me in mind of a question my girlfriend asked me after we'd watched the Kiss farewell tour last week. They're great performers, as are Iron Maiden (I'm also looking forward to Ozzy Osbourne with Judas Priest in support in February), and their music falls far enough into the accessible end of the Rock/Hard Rock/Metal continuum that they can (and indeed, did) fill up a stadium/arena. Who is going to replace them?

 

I've seen a few bands from the 90s and beyond filling stadiums, including Nickelback and Five Finger Death Punch (both often accused of being sellouts), but as much as I enjoyed both shows, the showmanship of those 70s bands is on another level. Rammstein, with their pyrotechnics would probably be the main competitors... If I'd seen them. Most other rock and metal acts I've watched of any age simply can't do a venue that large in the UK. I do wonder if the constant lack of mainstream break through and steadily expanding pool of sub genres and niche bands means that it won't be a thing in the future... Perhaps these old "masters" continue to reign so long because there isn't that accessibility in newer bands and there won't be as many notable replacements?

You've got a point, there. Internet piracy really turned the music industry on their heads. As much as I hated the music industry making the money they made, screwing over all the young bands, and controlling album sales, things are much worse now. Bands just don't pull in the same kind of money, except for concerts.

 

The young folks were always the people buying albums...and it was a big deal to pay that much for an album, because young people tend to be broke. Now the kids just snag it. That's the first way you know the music industry couldn't care less about music (WTF do they listen to, anyway?) It's just not on the same scale anymore. And, the music industry is STILL not promoting Metal, unless it's one of the giants. Fuckers. They're always looking for something "new and fresh and different", which tends to be my least favorite thing to hear.

 

Anymore, any album I buy is based on word-of-mouth, or the occasional YouTube video, found via word-of-mouth. I used to go to the music store (what's that??!!), and buy an album if it had an evil-looking skull on it, or a scary, bloody looking font, or a name like ShitHead, DemonSluts, The Sweaty Nutsacks, or something equally messed up :) That used to be semi-reliable...not anymore - nowadays it's a prerequisite.

 

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3 minutes ago, kb1 said:

You've got a point, there. Internet piracy really turned the music industry on their heads. As much as I hated the music industry making the money they made, screwing over all the young bands, and controlling album sales, things are much worse now. Bands just don't pull in the same kind of money, except for concerts.

 

I can't pity the music industry. They have always been a backwards looking obstructionist bunch of profit fetishists that tried to milk the established marketing model to their best advantage and every time something new came along tried to block it or hinder its full potential. And every single time they utterly failed. So now they are at the receiving end and can no longer dictate what people get to hear. Places like Youtube make that very much impossible.

How can they develop new "stars", if those have to compete with all the existing stuff from the past and present? Present a sub-par new performer and every potential listener will get a multitude of recommendations presented right along, giving that new performer no real chance, unless they are really good.

 

Yes, it will surely make it harder for new artists to get registered but I guess the entire business first needs to be garbage collected before it can get better - then hopefully with more power to the artists themselves - the main reason those record companies got big and powerful no longer really exists after all. As long as they controlled the distribution channels there was no hope of things getting better.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, kb1 said:

and it was a big deal to pay that much for an album, because young people tend to be broke. Now the kids just snag it.

now, i don't have any use of physical media anymore. and i want to buy flacs (because i want to convert them to opus), preferably in one click, and with bitcoins. creating such stores is not a big deal for music industry, they just don't want to do it. at max, they want to sell me fucked up mp3s, and insist of me having a bank account. ok, so you don't want my money then, but i want some music. hello, torrents, i'm coming!

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Why Bitcoin? No trust in banks or what? Well, with that attitude you are out of luck because normal people pay with credit cards or money transfers out of their bank account (or PayPal), but surely not with something like Bitcoin.

 

Also, unless things have changed, iTunes has always been offering uncompressed formats of the songs they sell.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

Why Bitcoin? No trust in banks or what?

that too. i don't have a bank account, nor i am planning to get one. for many different reasons. (which blocks me from creating something like patreon for k8vavoom too, but eh... this is so offtopic that even talking about beauty bloggers will prolly be less offtopic ;-)

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3 hours ago, kb1 said:

Yeah, they are called "sellouts". It's the age-old question: "Do you cash-in and live well for life?" or "Do you stick to your principles and pray that the fans find you, somehow, and actually buy your albums?"

 

I think that people are starting to expect seeing the latter more (it does seem to be the case with non-"casual" listeners at least. Also sorry if that sounds elitist or something - fuck so-called "elitists" farts and "elitism"), but it depends I guess.

 

Back when I was a kid I, for one, couldn't care less about the vision behind the music as long as it just sounded "good" to me. Nowadays it's basically the reverse, I can say I do care about the musicians not compromising their integrity, values, ideas and so on just to make a quick buck and eventually completely sell out (regardless of whether I agree with their views or not, if I dig the stuff I'm likely going to support them - good luck finding a band that shares most if not all your ideas).

 

I believe it's entirely possible to make a decent living from music and still stay true to yourself, even various extreme metal acts have demonstrated this for instance (Satanic Warmaster is both a good and simple example of this - and you don't get over 300K likes on Facebook if you're absolute garbage and without a solid history, not in this genre anyway). If you know how to do it right, people and record labels eventually discover your craft and spread it.

 

2 hours ago, kb1 said:

Now the kids just snag it.

 

But the people who support the artists will buy their works anyway :) .

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, seed said:

 

Dimmu Borgir: Hold my beer.

 

If we speak about selling out or becoming more and more mainstream and/or tame, I gotta mention them since they're the best example. Yeah, I get the fact that artists want to evolve and expand in new directions and I admire that, but that's in no way an excuse to turn into trash and shit on your own legacy. They hit the wall way back in the mid 2000s with DCA, didn't capitalize on its style afterwards, and the band's musicianship had only gotten worse since. There's no more passion, no more soul, and no more skill involved, just increasingly more mediocre outputs.

 

There's bands in the genre that achieved mainstream success without selling out - how come Emperor and Immortal are still great? Well, okay, Emperor no longer makes music, they're just touring now, but the fact that they knew when to stop is still commendable. In the words of a founding member of Centinex whem they first split up, what's the point of pushing forward when you know you have nothing else to offer? It's better to just split up while you still have some respect than losing it and eventually splitting up when no one cares anymore.

 

There's no better example of a band selling out than when Celtic Frost put out Cold Lake. Tom G Warrior has vehemently denounced it many times and admits that he wrote it purely to attain mainstream success. It tried really hard to ride the coattails of glam rock and failed miserably.

Edited by Ajora

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11 hours ago, Graf Zahl said:

This is also something that has rendered many bands' output worthless. I have lost count of how many musically interesting albums I ultimately ditched because the wall of sound was just too overbearing.

That's why old Sabbath albums still sound incredibly loud and heavy; there's actual dynamics between the instruments. Softer moments emphasize the louder ones.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Ajora said:

There's no better example of a band selling out than when Celtic Frost put out Cold Lake. Tom G Warrior has vehemently denounced it many times and admits that he wrote it purely to attain mainstream success. It tried really hard to ride the coattails of glam rock and failed miserably.

 

He did?

 

The information I got seems to contradict this, saying that the record label was the one to force Tom & co. into making that album, the reason why he has vehemently denounced it and begged people not to consider it a Celtic Frost release ever since.

 

Even if that's the case, that's not the album/release (or releases) that elevated Celtic Frost to godhood (to say so), anyway. They're worshipped (and rightfully so imo) for their early outputs (Morbid Tales, To Mega Therion, and Into the Pandemonium. Vanity seems to depend on who you ask. And of course, the previous musical act Hellhammer and their opus, Apocalyptic Raids). At least Tom ended CF on a high note, Monotheist is awesome, and Triptykon basically continues where CF left off, so in my book CF never really came to an end, but changed form and evolved.

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12 minutes ago, seed said:

 

He did?

 

The information I got seems to contradict this, saying that the record label was the one to force Tom & co. into making that album, the reason why he has vehemently denounced it and begged people not to consider it a Celtic Frost release ever since.

 

Even if that's the case, that's not the album/release (or releases) that elevated Celtic Frost to godhood (to say so), anyway. They're worshipped (and rightfully so imo) for their early outputs (Morbid Tales, To Mega Therion, and Into the Pandemonium. Vanity seems to depend on who you ask. And of course, the previous musical act Hellhammer and their opus, Apocalyptic Raids). At least Tom ended CF on a high note, Monotheist is awesome, and Triptykon basically continues where CF left off, so in my book CF never really came to an end, but changed form and evolved.

 

Skimming through a handful of interviews, Tom G Warrior has repeatedly stated that he was solely responsible for the album's artistic direction, and in one interview he referred to it as "the worst album ever created in heavy music". I don't see anything about Noise Records pressuring the band to take on a different direction. 

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8 minutes ago, Ajora said:

Skimming through a handful of interviews, Tom G Warrior has repeatedly stated that he was solely responsible for the album's artistic direction, and in one interview he referred to it as "the worst album ever created in heavy music". I don't see anything about Noise Records pressuring the band to take on a different direction. 

 

Interesting.

 

Websites like Metal-Archives seem to present contradictory information:

 

"Cold Lake is largely different from anything else they have ever recorded. The band has repeatedly disowned this release and attribute the shocking change in style to pressure from the record company."

 

Tom also claimed in various interviews that Noise Records is trash, where the truth lies, I don't know honestly. They were also going to release a neat remaster of some albums but Tom turned down the offer after Noise refused to include a booklet exploring his relation with the label (which was obviously criticized in parts). I remember reading something to the effect of Tom not even having many, if any rights, over CF's outputs, so they don't have much power over what the label decides to do with them. Or so he claims anyway.

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14 hours ago, GoatLord said:

Metal is stagnant right now because everyone is brick walling their production and relying on a compositional template that hasn't introduced any new permutations since djent's introduction in the mid 90s.

No one has brickwalled albums since Youtube became the way most people look up music.  Its auto gain reduction makes heavily compressed albums sound awful, and doesn't make them any louder.

 

Also, this thread has done an amazing job at making a whole lot of people look really stupid.  "Iron Maiden shudn't protecc there traedmark cuz I liek teh vidya gaem hurr durr."  Congrats, morons!

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7 minutes ago, Cynical said:

No one has brickwalled albums since Youtube became the way most people look up music.  Its auto gain reduction makes heavily compressed albums sound awful, and doesn't make them any louder. 

 

 

Uh, Loudness War, anyone? I have lost count of CDs which pushed dynamics over the limit and had serious clipping issues at high amplitudes.

Heavy compression goes hand in hand with brickwalled sound and yes, it sounds awful, and with automatic gain adjustment shows its true colors quite clearly.

 

 

 

 

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Get with the times -- the loudness wars ended about a decade ago, with the rise of digital streaming over terrestrial radio as people's primary method of music consumption.

 

People who don't have actual music production experience are invariably terrible at recognizing compression, and just yell "LOUDNESS WARS!" at everything without realizing what the real things they're hearing are that they don't like.  Here's a hint -- those Black Sabbath albums that were namedropped as great examples of dynamics?  Less dynamic range than almost anything released in the last seven or eight years.  Vinyl records literally have to be compressed like hell, or the needle jumps out of the groove.  Compression that comes from constantly slamming the input of a tape recorder is still compression.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Cynical said:

No one has brickwalled albums since Youtube became the way most people look up music.  Its auto gain reduction makes heavily compressed albums sound awful, and doesn't make them any louder.

I'm not sure you understand precisely what brick-walled production is. This occurs when a mixing/mastering engineer turns up all the signals of a track very high, which can exceed the ceiling of what the software/hardware can process before causing distortion. This is dealt with by either compressing individual tracks, the master track, or both. Compressors help maintain constancy of a signal, and when abused is visible by merely opening a song in Audacity and inspecting the wave form.

 

What you'll see in a lot of older recordings is that the wave form will have a lot of peaks and valleys throughout, while a lot of modern music tends to square the waves off throughout the track, in order for the decibel level to remain consistently high. It has actually been scientifically proven that, per decade, we see approximately a one decibel increase in the average signal of a music track. While platforms such as Bandcamp will reduce uploads to -6db, it will still maintain the squared-off waves, just at a lower volume. This is typically done either because A) record labels and producers are competing with venues that might play their music, and don't want to risk sounding too "soft", or b) record labels and producers who focus on music intended to be very loud--such as heavy metal--believe that making the entire song loud at all times is the most efficient way to maintain the subjective aggression of a song's production.

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Posted (edited)

I'm perfectly familiar with what brickwalling is and what look-ahead mastering limiters do.  I've recorded and mixed albums.

 

The use of compression has trended down since 2009.  There's a few different reasons for this, but the main one is that there's no point anymore; if you master an album louder, most digital music services will turn it down until the average (not peak!  this is important!) volume is at a certain target level, which has the effect of actually making you quieter if you try to bring up the volume with your mastering limiter too much.

 

What most people think is compression is actually a few different effects:

1.  Gating.  This is the big one -- it's actually the opposite of compression, but the aggressive use of noise gates is what creates the ultra-aggressive transients that define modern recordings.  It has the additional advantage that it lets you turn the master fader up louder and still keep your average volume below the magic level where YouTube or Spotify will turn you down.

2.  Fleischer-Munson.  Producers (and even musicians) are much more aware of this than they were 40 years ago, and are focusing their guitars (or synth and vocals in the case of pop or soft-rock bands) hard in that 3.5khz region to make them sound much louder than they really are.

3.  Time alignment.  Most big-budget albums these days time align everything in mixing.  This, of course, creates more unnatural transients.

4.  Increased usage of close mic-ing, less usage of room-mics, and less use of reverb.  Nowadays recording prioritize clarity over space, which means a lot of very direct microphone placement, and very little reverb in the mix.  A hard rock or metal recording from the 80s would typically mic guitars with one direct mic and four or five room mics, at about equal gain; nowadays, two direct mics and no room mic is the norm.  In the old days, an entire drum kit would be recorded with two mics directly on the kit and two mics in the room; nowadays, every element gets its own mic, and the OHs are kept low in the final mix, with EQing to try to get them to pick up only cymbals, not snare, toms, or kick.  In the old days, everything would go through huge-ass tank reverbs; nowadays, you might get a slight plate reverb on the snare and vocals, everything else is kept dry.

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Oooh, another one I forgot to mention -- different speakers in the guitar cabs everyone is using.  In the 80s and early 90s, everyone used either G12-T75s or Greenbacks; now, everyone uses Vintage 30s.  V30s are used because they sit in the gap between instruments much better (and guitarists now are more aware of what they need to do to jump to the front of a band mix and how that differs from when they're playing on their own), and much more focused in the upper midrange than T75s or Greenbacks (see Fleischer-Munson).  The flipside to this is you get less destructive interference in the low-end (meaning bass and kick drum are clearer), and also V30s distort much less than most other guitar speakers at a given volume, which means running more pre-amp distortion and having less speaker distortion, which means the guitar distortion takes a bit of a different texture.

 

There's also the difference of cascaded pre-amp gain vs. slamming fewer stages (and probably your phase inverter) harder, although there are still super-modern bands running Marshall-style amps (Meshuggah comes to mind) and older bands running amps with cascaded pre-amps (Metallica starting on Master of Puppets).

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Don't forget all of the straight-to-computer recording via Fractal/Line6 etc interfaces. Amps are becoming a thing of the past. No need for a separate, tone-sucking EQ pedal or rackmount when you can record direct to the interface (allowing for a hotter sound) and get that sweet sweet Fleischer-Munson curve with your software's built-in 20-band EQ. 

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19 hours ago, Graf Zahl said:

A good example for this would be Nightwish. To this day "Oceanborn" is one of my favorite albums, but instead of capitalizing on it and its style they drifted away into mainstream more and more with each new album - and the last one was just an overproduced and boring mess.

 

I'm not convinced Nightwish really count as "going mainstream". They've definitely changed since those early albums as Holopainen clearly prefers chuggy riffs and orchestral overtones to the more simplistic power metal of the earlier albums, but they not gone "poppier" exactly, just slower and heavier. 

 

I mean, their latest album ends with three minutes of whale song. If anything I'd say they were less accessible now than when they started, because Holopainen has gotten a bit, well, up himself with his song writing.

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11 hours ago, Cynical said:

Get with the times -- the loudness wars ended about a decade ago, with the rise of digital streaming over terrestrial radio as people's primary method of music consumption.

 

So why is it then that so many Metal albums still sound like garbage, with the song's overall amplitude pushed to the physical limit of the 16 bit wave format with absolutely no dynamics visible anywhere in the waveform?

 

Looking at those sounds in a wave editor they look - well - like a brick wall. Throughout the entire song the amplitude rarely dips below the technical maximum.

Music mixed like this has zero headroom for sections that are supposed to be a bit louder than the rest.

 

When looking at some of my oldest CDs I do not see this. These older CDs do not have a calculated replay gain of -10/-12 but -6 and a waveform that doesn't look maxed out when looking at it in a waveform editor set to display the entire song. These older CDs mostly sound a lot better, provided that they offer a good production.

 

 

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