New Stuff


  • Axl Rosenberg

It’s been a long time since I was a college freshman, a fact which struck me this week as I engaged in my annual tradition of sitting in Washington Square Park and watching the new crop of NYU kids move into their dorms. I love the look of simultaneous excitement and complete fucking terror as a bunch of young men and women between the ages of seventeen and eighteen get away from home for the first time; for many of them, I imagine moving to the big city only adds to the sheer “HOLY FUCKING SHIT!”ness of it all. But this was really the first year when they all looked really young to me, and I suddenly felt very aware of the age gap. Kids starting college this week won’t remember rotary phones or pagers, maybe won’t remember a time without cell phones or DVDs, and only kinda faintly maybe remember the annoying sounds your AOL used to emit as it tried to make its connection. They were being born right around the time “Wherever I May Roam” was making Metallica rich, and they’ve never jerked off to the morning weather girl ’cause internet porn wasn’t readily available.

Do they remember a time without autotune? I know my kids won’t. And I hate to sound like such a grumpy old bastard, but I worry about the long-term effects of such a state of being. If bullshit is the norm, can you have any appreciation for  non-bullshit — e.g., a time when if you couldn’t sing, you either joined a cool punk band or got a job as a bank teller? Lack of skill is no longer impedes artistic success, as anyone can be made to sound as though he can sing, audiences can be distracted from terrible storytelling by an abundance of CGI spectacle, and a woman who has never read Dracula gets away with publishing the most successful vampire books in the history of ever.

This ain’t good.

The thing that I appreciated about “For We Are Many,” the new track All That Remains released a couple of weeks back, was that, some fucktarded vocoder shit aside, there were no clean vocals. I’m not against clean vocals when your singer can, like, sing and stuff, but as I’ve said many, many times before, it’s been my personal experience from seeing All That Remains live on three or four occasions (and their vocalist fill-in on the last Killswitch Engage tour) that Phil LaBonte cannot sing. But I guess “sticking to what we do best” isn’t gonna be the theme for ATR’s latest, ’cause now they’ve released another new song, “Hold On,” and it sounds like the vocals are done by that chick who narrates the beginning of Escape from New York.

Seriously, if the vocals on this song aren’t autotuned to within an inch of their life, than producer Adam D. has just out-slicked himself and gone out of his way to ensure that Liv Kristine has bigger balls than this song.

But I don’t think that’s the case. I think this song the vocals on this song have been infected with modern studio chicanery. Just speculating.

And the truth is, I don’t know if any number of great vocalists could have saved the track. It’s generic pop metal, and I don’t even think it succeeds on those terms, but which I mean, I don’t even think the hook is that catchy. Ronnie James Dio singing over the thing might have made it tolerable, but a lousy song is lousy song, y’know?

Here it is.


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