Mar 26 2012

Dead Trends: Easycore


Metalcore as a genre has evolved a lot in the past 25 years. The first wave of the genre has it’s roots in late 80s to early 90s, and the controversy for those bands from the start was unfathomable, stretching from both the hardcore scene and the metal scene for their metal/hardcore crossover nothing like what had been done before. In the late 90s melodic metalcore came along, with bands like Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying and Atreyu all listening to melodic death metal and incorporating breakdowns and influence from early metalcore. And then the parallel sub-genre of the second wave formed was mathcore. It started with Converge changing from first wave to mathcore by being musically more technical than most can bare. Mathcore is simply put metalcore with spastic and obscure time signatures and uses very unconventional song structures which is extraordinarily noisy, especially given the production budget these bands get.

Killswitch Engages Alive or Just Breathing (Left), Converges Jane Doe (Right)

With melodic metalcore being the more accessible derivative it was bound to consume the mainstream marketability of the genre. And with this people started to experiment with what was laid before them by the pioneers of the style. This third wave can be seen as splintering off into several different directions. The first part of the third wave started with deathcore, bands fusing elements of death metal and metalcore. Making Suicide Silence, Job For A Cowboy, The Black Dahlia Murder and The Red Chord became pioneers of a style as brutal as it was violent. And then there is Attack Attack, I See Stars and Enter Shikari who all started electronicore, a fusion of ideas from melodic metalcore, post-hardcore and electronica (basically any electronic genre they felt like).

But then arguably there was other movements that occurred when bands looked at metalcore of the 2000s and tried to incorporate other ideas. In this case I’m talking about easycore. It’s a strange movement to talk about because a lot of people rejected the idea because of the silly name. Easycore is basically the fusion of pop-punk and melodic metalcore, but it does take other influences into account. It started in the mid 2000s with the bands A Day To Remember and Four Year Strong. Both take Blink 182 and New Found Glory and add something a little different.

(from top left to right) Homesick, Enemy Of The World, Something For Nothing, Trust In Few.

A Day To Remember:

A Day To Remember are in the most direct adoption of the idea taking As I Lay Dying riffs and adding pop-punk to various effects. I will admit these guys have stolen riffs from metal bands, take the intro from ADTR’s “If Looks Could Kill…” and compare it to “Revolution Begins” by Arch Enemy or “I Heard It’s The Softest Thing Ever” to “I Never Wanted” by As I Lay Dying. But the people they preach to directly aren’t the people who would really notice this. Not like it matters, fact is what they fuse together is arguably quite unique and has the potential to become some artistically challenging, if they stayed on track. The issue with this band is that after Homesick, their third album and the pinnacle of the movement they released a fourth album which is written for two purposes, to sell records and to sound good to moshers. Two horrible reasons to write a record, its like they were jealous of Emmure or something ridiculous.

Four Year Strong:

Four Year Strong add the kind of melodic hardcore influence, bands like CIV and Gorilla Biscuits and putting some Not Without A Fight era-NFG in. Their first album, didn’t materialise the ideas that would shape their reputation on their second and third album. The second album was edging very close to the ideas of easycore but honestly sounded like a heavier version of old, underground Fall Out Boy with bouncy synths. The third album, Enemy Of The World (pictured) highlighted exactly what their approach to this movement is. It’s fast, energetic, fun and heavy, delivering breakdowns and screams that makes an unarguably good album. The fourth however, attempted to shred the pretences they felt were given by the movement. Dumping their synth player because he didn’t write any of the music and taking a lot of the breakdowns out the album had quite a polarised reaction from fans and critics.

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!:

This French band has made waves beyond what people could imagine. It’s always difficult for us Europeans in the music industry, If we play something seen as too Americanised its an embarrassment in this continent. Europeans hate it because it feel culturally stagnant and just dependant on what happens in America. But C!NCC! are just too ahead of the game. They play what ADTR better than what A Day To Remember. The kind of mad, fast, heavy and fun energy that Four Year Strong and A Day To Remember have. I do think these guys have some serious potential to take the reigns of the whole scene, Just hope the second album, when ever it is released has enough metalcore influence to make them just that diverse.

Other examples:

We Are Defiance (final picture) are a easycore band from the United States who have a lot of potential, The vocals are good, but the writing on this album was so dull it had no real offering to people bar two or three tracks, but expanding on the good points and developing themselves can lead to something a lot better in the future. To a lesser effect there is Set Your Goals earlier work is very reminiscent of the heaviest NFG albums, hell even their band is named after the scene controversial CIV album. They definitely come under the Four Year Strong brand of easycore. British ska-pop-punk band Kids Can’t Fly fuse the break downs you’d find in most easycore work with a touch of screaming (though at the rarest of points). There’s other bands to know about if you’re infatuated with the movement: Can’t Bear This Party, another French easycore band, I’ve never listened to but check them out. And Close Your Eyes, they are a fusion of ADTR and Funeral For A Friend but personally I didn’t think they could write anything interesting.

What does this all lead to? Well sadly a trend that died as quickly as it birthed. Between 2007 and 2010 a massive collection of five piece bands appeared across the United States offering various watered down and uninspired variations of easycore but stopped out of lack of attention. What this movement really needs honestly is some bands that are willing to take the ideas behind it and artistically offer something quite unique. Maybe C!NCC! Is that band? Perhaps ADTR tried something different on their fourth album but have much bigger, better plans for the fifth. I guess all that is left is for the up and coming bands to focus on their writing. As the words by prolific producer and the go-to figure in melodic death metal; Fredrik Nordstrom once said: “It just takes a few good bands to like it and do it.”

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Mar 24 2012

It’s all so very slow this week


So this last week for me in terms of the blog hasn’t been too great. The Tuesday post about my friends studio project was abrupt and didn’t lead to much as they both had commitments outside of the project to attend to. And then there’s Thursdays post, about Kony and the LRA, it was a lot shorter than expected because the post ended up being more informative than critical. The main issues is not trying to be a full time journalist I just whether I have the time to pay more attention to writing better stories for the blog.

But this will all change, I’ve got some more theoretical posts coming up, some are more political focusing on ideas the British government should think about. But some have a sociological aspect an is looking at things you hear pieces of but never pieced together. Hopefully It won’t make me sound too much like a conspiracy theorist as you read it but it seemed to interesting not to do. Musically the same logic, I have got some reviews to do but I also want to look at some scenes and movements, possibilities of sub-sub genres and all those fun future prospects.

So take a guess at what I have done recently?

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Mar 22 2012

British government’s opinion on Kony2012


This is a screen capped copy of the letter.

Many people by now know about the KONY2012 campaign that swept the internet on a viral crusade, it is simply put, the attempt to apply the fame of a celebrity from the western world to a warlord in central Africa; Jospeh Kony. Kony has devastated the Ugandan people through brutal skirmishes across the 90s and the 00s, converting male children into child soldiers and the placing the females children in sex trafficking. However, in the last few years, he has become much less of a problem for Ugandan, outstretching his operation into the Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan and elements of Central African Republic. And with Kony’s rise in notability in popular knowledge the UK government has created a memo all members of parliament.

The memo is titled: ‘Letter to MPs and Peers – Lord Resistance Army and Jospeh Kony’. It was distributed to all mps & lords in the surfacing of the recent KONY2012 campaign. But because of the Freedom of Information act it’s technically accessible to all people who just ask their local members of parliament. If you wish to download a PDF copy of the letter click here.

I have to admit amongst all the things our current government has done, putting emphasis on the United Nations and the African Union is probably one of the best decisions in dealing with the LRA. The African minister already acknowledges that their are various social and infrastructural reforms and initiatives started by the Ugandan government to help the recovery process in the country, the north especially. The fact is that the African Union is the best people to aid in combating the LRA, not a western country. The best way to tackle these issues is by proxy from a western perspective with all the negative pretences over British and Americans.

A small aspect about the KONY2012 plan that makes you think: Is the fact that the KONY2012 campaign is promoting American presence in Uganda a good thing? ‘Invisible Children’ created a viral video makes us think that once America increases the number of advisers they have in Uganda the situation will improve. In history, non-UN mandated presences in a nation always have space for ulterior motive: A countries hunt for natural resources, or perhaps even to use it as a local base to other targets, like countries. That is why I’d much rather see UN or AU dominated operations. Because if a state were donate troops or resources to one of these two they obey their rules of engagement and follow their orders.

What do you think about the British response of actively doing nothing and aiding the African Union on a promotional standpoint?

Related Posts:

A letter from Julian Lewis

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Mar 19 2012

Locus of Control studio project week 2


X playing guitar

This is a more abrupt post than the previous Locus of Control studio update due to the fact the guys had three hours less in the studio, basically meaning we only had two hours in there. This was because the person that typically is in the building to supervise was leaving after those two and we weren’t allowed to stay in after this point. They basically used the two hours to stretch their legs in the studio, with ‘X’ flying through the old guitar sections as practice while ‘Y’ was just looking through what was already produced and seeing how to improve it.

After giving last weeks recorded work a listen they decided that they should record the entire thing again. The original idea of recording the guitars clean then added distortion failed as the first recording had some form of distortion running through it, meaning they couldn’t add an effect. They mutually agreed the recordings needed less base. Also based on how well X was playing the riffs this week they felt that doing the next recording would be much better and less disjointed, hoping they can make the riffs coherently flow. There was a point towards the end where X went into creative overdrive and started creating stuff as he went along and it sounded incredible, just a shame the two lost any motivation to record, let alone write any of it down.

Related Posts:

Locus of Control studio project week 1

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← Previous Post: A letter from Julian Lewis

Mar 15 2012

A letter from Julian Lewis


This letter has been censored.

I sent a template message to Julian Lewis, my local MP about the Health and Social care bill. The health and social care bill is piece of legislation created by the Conservative government that may change the NHS as we know it. It is primarily designed to privatise 49% of hospital beds that could be used by private patients; companies like Circle and A4E will own parts of that percentage. Of course the main issue is that Circle and A4E are not companies to trust, you can search and find that these companies have committed fraud in the past, so even from the start this isn’t a good bill. But I will go more into the issues with the bill as this letter from Julian Lewis is read out.

There have been massive repercussions before the bill has even been passed. A petition was also held on the e-petition site, gaining 175,000 petition signers and is still able to be signed until May 16. There is even within Lib Dem voters already before its actual vote in parliament, over 1000 people have e-mailed and sworn to the Liberal Democrats that they’ll never vote for them again, which completely discredits them.

To start with his first paragraph is the way he says ‘cumbersome bureaucracy’. The Conservatives almost liberal use of the word ‘bureaucracy’ to throw people off and do what they like is just insulting. The same happened at the start of the coalition government’s term where they were going to re-assess health and safety legislation and to boil down ‘bureaucracy’ in the police service in order to obtain “common-sense policing” and that front-line police won’t be harmed. But, what David Cameron failed to mention was that 70% of the home office is classified as ‘front-line’ and that ‘bureaucracy ‘ is there to make sure people aren’t institutionally neglected. (i.e. police brutality) And bringing it back to the NHS, that bureaucracy is things like projected waiting times for hospitals to try and help a hospital’s efficiency. Tragically this kind of vague language has made people think there are benefits to this privatisation.

How can you trust companies like Circle and A4E with the future of our country’s health and public trust in government? Circle Health has confirmed that care will suffer under them and this is just seen as a part of a business plan, not an honourable venture. And then A4E’s former chairmen, Emma Harrison is a close associate David Cameron, and despite no longer associating with him publicly and standing down from her position she still owns 87% of the company in shares. These reports create a sketchy picture and radiate corruption. So what I can tell from Julian Lewis’ letter is that he can’t trust Primary car trust or NHS trust but trusts companies with sketchy histories and illusive plans for the National Health Service. But why? Nobody elected them and they are not verifiable or accountable like a government.

After reading the entire third paragraph and trying to research it I’ve found that it is all fabricated. The bill does not help people who are constantly relayed between different services; it will in fact harm them. With 49% of the NHS being privatised you will not just have patients; you will have clients, people with prioritisation a lot like how a bank rewards its stock holders. Having ordinary people with no influence, and no significance in the privatised sectors’ eyes who just need the care they deserve will be put low down the list.

I will close the annotation of this letter by saying that Julian Lewis doesn’t deserve all the blame for this, his stand point on most of the things in this letter like the keeping of mental health beds, maintaining community hospitals, opposition to student fees tripling and opposing public selling of the New Forest is admirable. But the government is doing something that has nothing but down sides to the public, and the worst bit is the public doesn’t know about what is happening. The mentality of the British people is that what is happening is irreparable and we should accept it, but I refuse to. The final insult from this government is the technicalities from the privatisation. Since it’s only 49% of the NHS’ hospital beds are going to companies it doesn’t class as full privatisation, basically over 50%.

The issue when I said massive repercussions it still isn’t getting enough acknowledgement. 175,000 petition signers is hardly enough, it’s never too late for the people, or one person to stand up and rise above the government’s harsh plans. So… What can we do? First of all you can do what I did and send an automated template message to your local MP, simply by copying the template message below and finding your local MP by using the program in the middle of the blog. Or, alternatively, if you have twitter you can tweet directly to one of the 53 Liberal Democrat MPs, but if you’re raring to do something don’t hesitate to tweet to all 53. You can also use the link for this link to sign the e-petition to help gain acknowledgement for what’s happening.

Re-blog, raise awareness about the Bill, sign the petition or write to a local member of parliament.

Do what you can to not let this system become a reality.

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