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Friday, 20 May 2011

Being heavy

No, not as in "being a fatty".

I was having a chat with my mate Si-KO this week about heaviness. Not personal heaviness, as that would be odd. I am of course referring to musical heaviness.

In my not-even-slightly-humble opinion, 'heavy' isn't just about insane speed and indecipherable lyrics. If someone asked me to define heavy music I'd probably play them Slayer's Raining Blood and Sabbath's Iron Man. Neil Young's Hey Hey My My is another tune that, despite being thoroughly un-metal, is made indisputably heavy by a distorted, chugging guitar riff and dark as balls vocals.

This isn't to say that deathcore, the very much maligned and misunderstood bastard child of death metal and metalcore, isn't ridiculously heavy; it's just a different sort of heavy. I'm very aware I'm straying dangerously close to the "it's not metulz" line here...

The thing is, it ain't just metal that's heavy. Without sounding like a pretentious arsemonkey, O Fortuna from the opera Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (you all know it) is one of the heaviest, darkest pieces of music I've ever come across. I'd even suggest that The Prodigy's No Good and Voodoo People are pretty fucking heavy tunes, especially bearing in mind the odd videos. Drum and bass also has it's heavy moments outside of Slipknot's Eyeless; the 1999 self-titled album from D&B chappy Aphrodite contains some pretty weighty music.

In a nutshell, heaviness is all around us; it must be embraced.



Biodagar said...

Ja. A friend left me with something to chew over the other day. Metalcore, he contends, is maligned because it's produced by kids who grew up listening to death metal. The original death metallers grew up listening to rock, hard rock, thrash, glam, etc. So their roots are very different. And the latter have greater scope in what they produce. ;)

Sorry, that was totally off topic. I just wanted to throw my two cents in haha

Dad At Home said...

I think the 'heavy' tag is pretty much based on the listener's perception. I'd consider 'New Dawn Fades' by Joy Division to be a seriously heavy piece of music...

MADman said...

@Biodagar - I don't know if I totally agree. Is he suggesting that people don't listen to things that pre-date their era? Or have I completely misunderstood the point? It has been know to happen...

@Dad At Home - I concur, although I doubt anyone would listen to Megadeth and think it's not heavy!