We all know about heavy metal or at least we all should, you know that the metal music genre started out in 1968 with Black Sabbath kicking it all off in the industrial city of Birmingham, not only did they kick off the heavy metal sound properly but coincidentally through their dark and gloomy lyrics they delivered Doom Metal.
How is it that such a powerful and monstrous music genre has been the most global sound with over 100 countries being represented by it and yet no one has looked in beyond the lyrics, ok so now you're going to say 'what do you mean by that, come one we sing to them and we already know what they mean you idiot!', question is do the lyrics understand you? Consider that a juxtapose to the original hidden question of whether we can actually decipher a song's lyrics to find it's true meaning and or can we actually learn from metal music?
Global Metal Apocalypse examines a couple of carefully selected metal bands across the globe of whose prominence in either the international scene, local or underground scene has exceeded their own expectations and ideally bands whose lyrics focus on a specific theme or set of themes and not just the human emotions; anyone can sing about happiness, sadness, anger and other emotions including hyper sexual activity aka orgasmic happiness.
So where do we start? Simple. England...
Eastern Front. An English Black Metal of whose sub-genre is dubbed 'War Torn Black Metal' specifically focuses their lyrics on exactly that, the Eastern Front in the Second World War. So consider them as a band teaching history that was never taught in your school, with songs like 'Unleash The Panzer Division' and 'Dvenadtzat Kilometrov Ot Moskvy' leading the front line, some have called this band NSBM and naturally they refute this claim, in fact GMA cannot work out how they are anything related to NSBM!. However, referring back to the educational note, catch one of their live sets and their theatrics set the stage remarkably through the use of search lights, barbed war and other props and make-up pertaining to the darkened times of the Eastern Front. Forward March!
Oh how the Finnish love their metal, they were practically born out of the womb with an instrument attached, it runs in their veins and so does the cold harsh winters. Sure Lordi may have nabbed Eurovision through their emphatic 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' but Wintersun capture the true feeling of the Finnish environment and climate through their spine-chilling mix of Power Metal-cross-Melodic Death Metal composition, so in retrospect of their lyrics what you can decipher is the feeling of being in a cold and bitter land and amusingly entering the brain of Jari Mäenpää as the lyrics also tend to expand into space and time, but retaining that distinctive icy feel to their music, Wintersun are not just a Finnish Metal band, they are the pioneers of the umbrella genre 'Winter Metal'.
Heading into Asia, you can't exactly blame ChthoniC for paying attention to bands being connected to their own country because as far as Taiwan's most successful metal export is concerned there is a message everyone should know, that being Taiwan has had a dark and disturbing past. For example take their album 'Mirror Of Retribution' and read the inset, it explains the terrible battles the Taiwanese folk were involved in against the Chinese of whom still lay claim to Taiwan and yet the rest of the world see Taiwan as an independent country (GMA steers clear of politics). But the fact being ChthoniC incorporate traditional Taiwanese music into the foundation of metal and through that they use the Er-hu, a Chinese violin (called the hiân-á in Taiwanese), so effectively distinguishing them as the masters of Oriental metal (a term that covers most bands in Asia and North Africa of whom utilize traditional instruments for a more oriental sound, this sound differs evidently as when you compare ChthoniC to the likes of Myrath, Orphand Land and Melechesh the sounds are totally different).
By GMA's Gibraltar correspondent Nathan Colombo
Recently Gibraltar has been on the end of a beating stick by what could be described as “Un-European” at the hands of Spain. Massive border queues spanning for hours and hours have been brought into effect by the Spanish government at the border of Gibraltar and the Spanish town of La Linea De La Concepción.
Unlike what many Spaniards have been saying, these border queues have affected not only Gibraltarians but Spaniards also. With queues lasting up to FOUR HOURS (and more at a time) it makes it almost impossible for Spaniards who work in Gibraltar to get to work (or vice versa). Now sometimes the queues are not as bad in the morning, but they get rather bad during the evenings, usually around the time people are leaving work to go home, and you may have guessed this also affect their citizens also.
You could imagine those poor workers who have finished a hard day’s work and are now forced to sit in a border queue for hours on end just to get home to their families. One problem that has been created because of these border queues is its effect on the local music scenes of both Gibraltar and Spain. It would seem that some Spanish bands have been put off from wanting to play in Gibraltar, not for political reasons but because of the massive border queues and I see their problem.
Imagine having to play a gig on a Friday in a town only around I don’t know 45 minutes away (that would most likely be around the town of Estepona) but having to be in a queue for around four hours just to get into Gibraltar and then there the whole hassle of setting up, doing the sound check, etc (which can be a while if it’s your first time at a new venue and you are not using your own set up), only to then after your gig go back at whatever time it finishes and you and your band decides to go home only to go into another massive queue just to get home? Now I know what a lot of you guys are thinking...“Go early then?” and I get it bands will always try to find a way but in some cases they can’t.
These are normally underground bands / musicians, which means they do not make a living from their music... most of them have day jobs. When they finish their usual 9-5 routine they would make their way down to Gibraltar and do what they do best. In these cases I see how these bands may suffer and it’s not only them who are suffering. Local bands are suffering also with all that is happening as they are going through the EXACT same thing with the only difference being that instead of them having hassle to play in Gibraltar the hassle is going into Spain. On a lighter note, some locals have seen this in a positive light as now they believe local musicians have their “time to shine”. With more dates open in venues they believe local musicians can now play as much as they want as get some decent exposure.
Now not to s**t on your parade here but you're wrong! In some sense you're right considering locals can get out there locally but that is the problem it’s only locally. Gibraltar is small and a band can only do so much in such a small area and having Spain right next to us helps these local musicians get more exposure and grow a bigger fan base which is what musicians want! These musicians are amazingly competent and work hard to do what they do. They want to grow and play different venues it is only natural. Do you want to see them same bands over and over the same week? NO you don’t! The same thing goes for the bands.... They want to see different crowds, see different places. No musician can really be happy playing the same one or two venues for years and years and it is understandable.
I really hope these border issues can be resolved soon and the musician scenes in both Gibraltar and Spain can continue to work together in these increasingly difficult times.
Moldova, a country situated in Eastern Europe bordering Romania has a long, secretive and unknown history, but as you read through this article there is some hope for it's flickering metal and rock scene. In 1991, Moldova gained independence from the USSR and as a result left it free to roam and trade willingly, furthermore it's glistening capital Chisinau reflects the relics of the post Soviet Union era and the remnants of the intense cold war.
So in regards to the Moldovan music scene, I spoke to one musician, Mr. Alex Glavnenco of the Melodic / Alternative Metal band Alive about how the music scene in Moldova is facing issues regarding selling CD's, it would seem that the digital age is causing this trend to happen and yet most would agree this is happening on a global scale. But for a country that once was under control by the USSR and for just over 20 years independence has much changed in the wake of the digital age onset?
Alex acknowledges that his band only prints a couple of physical copes for each release usually just to have it in it's physical presence, so naturally you would instantly slap 'rare' on each release as it would obviously seem that each copy was numbered. He goes on to say that even though they release a certain number of physical copies, no one in Moldova buys them and so reverting back to the statement of printing a certain number of copies.
Furthermore the claim that the music scene is dogged by pop and folk songs and that metal in particular rarely gets a look in. Given that there are only a handful of bands that play decent music, even still certain bands usually just play covers at weddings and in advertising to generate income. So this is quite interesting in that bands look for other innovative ways to generate income due to the lack of CD sales, yet in the West we're always harping on about people should buy CD's to support the bands but in Moldova it seems to be the complete opposite!
With such a small scene and what seems to be a completely deflated level of support, there seems to be bleak hope for the Moldovan metal scene, what with around five or so metal bands in current existence and who are limited to play at small clubs from which Alex states that they have at maximum between 50-100 capacity (even this turn out he says is very rare), yet our average venue in the UK as around 2 to 4 times that! So there seems to be a massive contrast to what Western Europe experiences to what Eastern Europe dreams of. Regarding the metal bands, they usually end up going to play in nearby nations like Russia, Romania and The Ukraine and it's all down to the band's persistent enthusiasm that gets the Moldovan metal music out there.
The saddening fact is that there is such a weak rock and metal scene out in Moldova, according to Alex "average people listen to schlager and folk music. Nobody pays for CD's and doesn't need them as they will download the music, as I said previously, metal and rock is all enthusiastic. We invest money and don't even think to get anything back. If we play some shows and get a hundreds dollars or so its great, but these shows are really rare", here again it seems that here in the UK we take most things for granted yet over in Moldova it's harder to get anything out of something.
After the USSR dissolved, Alex comments that "the situation got better just because Moldova became more open and free of Soviet propaganda. Everybody plays what they want, there are many bands, but they are all garage. Talented musicians have day-to-day jobs because they just cant earn money by their music. It sucks, so the situation in rock music is FAR from anything you would experience in other parts of Europe or the USA. Nobody says you can become a rock-star in a week in the USA, but there are possibilities at least. There is completely no way here for this to happen yet".
As for the more international bands, they do come to play but on a rare basis and that is mainly rock and metal music, as for pop music and DJ's (especially Russian) they are more common in playing here, however on a better note the old guard of rock bands which were popular amongst civilians back in the day were expensive to get to play in the country but now they are decreasingly becoming more and more cheaper as Alex stated and he feels that this is good for the Moldova music scene.
He goes on to say that in spring 2013 he had the utmost pleasure in working with Boney-M and in the year gone he worked with DJ Tiesto and Nazareth of whom altogether Alex admits was pleasurable working with and in one year he is ecstatic at the outcome.
Referring back to the Moldovan music scene itself, bands like Infected Rain, Alive, Abnormyndeffect, Aeon of Death, The Ward, Advent Fog, Sepsys, Caligo, Lethal Outcome and Neuromist are all worth checking out and there is a plethora of genres there ranging from Death Metal to Alternative Metal and from Black Metal to Nu Metal. It certainly seems a small scene, but Global Metal Apocalypse supports this scene in it's entirety.
Currently one of the leading Moldovan Metal bands is Infected Rain whose aggressive style of Nu Metal features both clean melodic-like and gritty screams by Lena, hard and cutting edge riffs with a Teutonic dose of emphatic drums and samples, creating something you could say wafts in influences from bands like Exilia, Korn and bands under the modern metal tagline. Mixing musical elements from prog metal, industrial metal, nu metal, melodic metal, symphonic metal and alternative metal, Infected Rain are a band hard to pigeon hole in one genre.
For more info on the history of rock 'n' roll in Moldova, visit:
For Moldovan bands check out:
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