Angry Metal Guy’s Stupid Metal Trends: “Atmospheric” Nature Soundscapes

Angry Metal LisaYou know what’s a stupid metal trend? The 3.5 minute interlude with stupid soundscapes. These days, the trend always involves the forging of iron or the anger of trolls in a forest somewhere. I don’t know where this started, so I’m going to blame Ulver. Yes, we all agree (especially Agalloch) that Bergtatt was a great record. It was unique and groundbreaking and it became an album to imitate and emulate over time. The stupid soundscape interlude? Let’s call it the weakest part. It was just some guy running on crushed boxes.1 Vintersorg contributed to this stupid trend by interrupting one of the songs on Ödemarkens Son with a soundscape of a trickling stream because nothing screams metal like a TRICKLING FOREST STREAM! Similarly, Agalloch’s well-loved The Mantle features a man running over crushed boxes; a wink to the audience to let them know that, yes, they know that we know they’re just ripping off Ulver. In any case, these examples are annoying, but they aren’t the worst. It’s just a soundscape slipped into one or two places. One could easily get through them without problem. Just skip forward a bit, no biggy… right?

Well, the idiocy hit its zenith with Finntroll’s very “interesting,” but immensely annoying, use of 4 minute interlude tracks which were apparently of people eating beans around a fire on Visor om slutet. What. The. Fuck? Seriously, what an incredible waste of fucking space, plastic and my time. It is obvious that the band had only 25 minutes worth of acoustic material to record, but instead of just putting out a cute little EP where Finntroll goes “folk” or whatever, they decided to make it… I dunno… annoying? No wait, I guess it’s “atmospheric,” but ultimately: annoying. The annoyance that I had with Visor om slutet, was fortunately tracked—that is, I can skip the crap. On the other hand Ásmegin upped the ante by putting a fucking crying baby throughout the whole second half of their otherwise AMAZING album Hin Vordende Sod & Sø. Given that I don’t know the context of the baby or the reason for letting the crying spawn of some Norwegian sully the back half of an album that should be lauded for its deep originality, it is difficult to simply accept it without getting annoyed. Even, one might suggest, angry.2

This whole rant comes stems from the fact that I’ve been listening to Crimfall’s newest record, and it’s good. But seriously, I’ve heard so many atmospheric nature interludes before that they make me want to scream. Since when did it become necessary and/or OK to put these stupid interlude tracks in everywhere? Sure, the album intro with the over-the-top orchestra or some stupid gore movie quote is now apparently obligatory, which means, I guess, that it’s not going anywhere. But can we stop with the “gazing into the past” sounds created in the studio in order to give your record some “atmosphere” that doesn’t match your over-produced orchestrations? Pretty please? But, if you’re going to include this stupidity for no apparent reason at all, then FOR THE LOVE OF THE METAL GODS: TRACK IT! Make it different tracks so that I can skip your efforts to take yourselves seriously as artists. Stop it. Stop. Stop. Stopstopstopstopstop. STOP! STAAAAAAHP!

I urge Steven Colbert to put these people on notice. And I openly condemn this stupid metal trend.

Show 2 footnotes

  1. OK, maybe it was supposed to sound like snow, but it was definitely crushed boxes.
  2. Very post-hoc note: honestly, don’t put crying people on your albums. It never adds atmosphere and it always kills the music. – AMG from the Future
« »