Michael Nelson

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Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless

Heartless landed in my inbox on the 16th of December, in the late afternoon. This was five days before the winter solstice -- the shortest…
Michael Nelson | March 23, 2017 - 10:27 am

Weezer – “Feels Like Summer”

At this point, I think it's pretty safe to say Weezer are never gonna give us another Pinkerton, and if you want to hear an…
Michael Nelson | March 16, 2017 - 9:06 am

Body Count – “No Lives Matter”

There aren't too many metal bands whose voices seem especially relevant at this particular moment in history -- I talked about this late last year,…
Michael Nelson | February 17, 2017 - 2:11 pm

Worst Presidency By A Duo Or Group: All The Political Statements Made At The 2017 Grammys

The Grammys' long-dubious cultural relevance shrivels further with each passing year, and in 2017, the awards ceremony seems hilariously unfit to wear its own self-proclaimed…
Michael Nelson | February 12, 2017 - 8:48 pm


AFI – “Get Hurt”

The career of California death-punk quartet AFI can be broken into two pretty distinct chapters. There's the AFI that existed from 1995-2002, during which time…
Michael Nelson | January 12, 2017 - 11:00 am

Stream Krallice Prelapsarian

Brooklyn's Krallice are one of the most unique and uncompromising bands in metal today. They're heavy as hell. They're insanely technically adept. Their compositional structures…
Michael Nelson | December 21, 2016 - 9:49 am

Kreator – “Earth Under The Sword” & “Satan Is Real”

There's a hot metric shit-ton of vile gunk clogging the drain of metal right now, but I'm unreasonably excited about the genre in 2017 for…
Michael Nelson | December 16, 2016 - 11:05 am

2016 In Review

The 40 Best Metal Albums Of 2016

Let's just put this out there: Metal had a pretty bad 2016. Maybe this is specific to my country, America, which also had a pretty…
Michael Nelson | December 14, 2016 - 10:20 am

Krallice – “Hate Power”

It's not easy to keep up with the stylistic changes made by Brooklyn-based avant-garde quartet Krallice, partly because their album releases don't temporally line up…
Michael Nelson | December 7, 2016 - 11:57 am

Metallica – “Atlas, Rise!”

In last month's Black Market, I went kinda long on "Moth Into Flame," the second single released off Metallica's upcoming Hardwired...To Self-Destruct. As I explained…
Michael Nelson | October 31, 2016 - 3:12 pm

Martyrdöd – “Harmagedon”

I remember seeing Martyrdöd at Maryland Deathfest 2015 -- this was my second time seeing them; I also caught them at the Acheron in Brooklyn…
Michael Nelson | October 28, 2016 - 4:41 pm

Spotify Reportedly In “Advanced Talks” To Buy SoundCloud

SoundCloud has had a rough go of its move toward monetization, but it's still the most important and influential service on the planet for unsigned…
Michael Nelson | September 28, 2016 - 5:32 pm

But Who's Buying?

No Wave: Is This The End Of Tidal? And If So … Then What?

On June 30, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was in talks to acquire Tidal, the on-demand music-streaming service launched by Jay Z (and…
Michael Nelson | September 27, 2016 - 10:07 am

Metallica – “Moth Into Flame” Video

Look, I'm not gonna say anything about the new Metallica album, Hardwired...To Self-Destruct, till I actually hear it, because my feelings about Metallica are way…
Michael Nelson | September 26, 2016 - 11:09 am


Planes Mistaken For Stars – “Riot Season”

When Colorado-via-Illinois' Planes Mistaken For Stars released their debut album, 2001's Fuck With Fire, they appeared to be a better-than-average screamo band lost in a…
Michael Nelson | September 15, 2016 - 11:59 am

Comments from Michael Nelson

Grioir: I'm not gonna identify the band in question for a bunch of reasons that I'm just too exhausted to outline here. If we cover them in any capacity going forward (I'd vote no, but I'm not the only person who gets a vote), we'll include some of that context, I promise. I'll give you one example of the shit I used to deal with covering the metal community. I had a publicist pitch me a song premiere of a band I'd covered positively in the past, but for whom some very ugly allegations had recently arisen. I told the publucist I'd take the premiere on the condition that I'd explain the allegations before talking about the music. He said OK. Then, a few weeks later (before we'd published anything), he backtracked and asked if we could move the allegations to the bottom of the story. I said I didn't like that arrangement, because it felt like we were helping the band hide something in which we'd had no involvement. So he followed that up by asking if I could just not include any mention of the allegations at all -- just leave it to the readers to find that stuff for themselves if they were interested. I walked away from the premiere entirely. It was a really gross, unsettling exchange, and here's the thing: It was very much like an identical conversation I'd had with that same publicist about six months earlier. (I didn't do that premiere either.) I'm being purposefully vague about identity here because I don't want to "out" anybody, but this stuff happened to me a lot, and it wore on me, and after the election, I didn't see how I could possibly have any interaction with any of these people anymore. I dunno if this helps explain anything but it's the best I can do for ya right now. Sorry. I appreciate you guys reading this stuff, I really do, and I started to feel deeply guilty for using my forum to share the worldviews of artists that I find genuinely repugnant and cancerous.
+1 |
March 27, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
wg: I'm gonna apologize because I think I mighta misread your intent, and if so that's my fault, and I'm sorry. I have a lot of personal and intimate experience with Libertarians and members of the far right -- dating back beyond the advent of sites like Salon and Breitbart -- and I'm pretty distrustful of those people today. And if I mistakenly conflated you with them, that's on me, and I'm genuinely sorry. I'm not saying this to win back yr readership but because I realize I was in error, and it would be fucked up and immature of me not to own that. I shoulda listened before jumping on you. I hope you'll stay and enjoy the lawn, if you choose to do so.
+1 |
March 27, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
You're a fucking troll dude and I'm just waiting to see how long it takes you to leave these comments and go back to Breitbart. You gone now? Good riddance.
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March 25, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Btw if yr "pretty sure" that Libertarianism has nothing to do with the alt-right, then you don't know shit about either one so you should shut the fuck up because you look like a damn idiot. Or a liar. You pick.
+1 |
March 25, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Man, gtfo with your bullshit. Take it to Breitbart or Lambgoat or wherever they accept this Libertarian trash. For old time's sake I wrote one thing about one band and didn't bring politics into it till YOU brought it up. But thanks for reminding me why I stopped writing about metal: people like you.
+1 |
March 25, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Also if you're "not sure" what Libertarianism has to do with the alt-right then you probably don't really wanna know, but if you change yr mind and feel like learning something beyond what they teach you in thrash songs, these are good starting points: http://www.salon.com/2016/12/08/how-the-alt-right-became-racist-a-short-history-of-hate-part-1/ ................. http://www.salon.com/2016/12/09/how-the-alt-right-became-racist-part-2-long-before-trump-white-nationalists-flocked-to-ron-paul/
+1 |
March 25, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Haha yeah of course it's personal. You asked ME why I am not paying attention to your stupid fuckin' Libertarian band, and I responded by saying, "It's not just this one shitty band I'm ignoring, I am personally disgusted by the whole metal culture, as embodied by the alt-right garbage people are hyping upthread, which is why I'm not part of it anymore." Jfc. I too hope to find peace, but that's not where we're at right now dude.
+1 |
March 25, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
We're so far into this thread that I doubt anybody will see this comment, but since you asked a question, I'll answer it. I have no idea what Havok is. As soon as I stopped contributing to Black Market I got the fuck off Metal Twitter forever. It's a cesspool full of actual human shit. I have pretty much no interaction with the metal "community" and I prefer it that way. Now I personally would not be interested in paying attention to a band espousing Freedom Caucus Randism in this political climate, but that's me. I promise you those morons at MetalSucks do not care what kind of random-ass hate-garbage they promote to their troll readership. If it's got a link, they'll cover it, so you might try them. But this is precisely why I stopped doing Black Market: this, like, "It would be a real shame if you ignored these sweet riffs just because this band is a disgusting fucking societal cancer" attitude about music. I just don't agree, period. Man, one of the bands people are all stoked on upthread (not naming names but it's not some huge secret) is fronted by an ACTUAL WHITE SUPREMACIST who thinks everyone here is a bunch of cucks, libtards, and snowflakes. He's said as much publicly. He's a proud and serious alt-right bigot. Now I'm not here to be the nazi police, so if you guys wanna give your time, attention, and money to that kinda scum, I won't stop you. But I am not fucking with it personally.
+2 |
March 24, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Leaving aside the difference of opinion, I definitely didn't intend for my review to make any "promise of big hooky anthems," so I apologize if I misled you there.
0 |
March 24, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
I'm pretty conflicted about Baroness and I genuinely love a lot of the last two albums -- the first single off Purple is the best song they've recorded to date IMO -- but that was just brutal honesty on my part: When I heard Yellow & Green, I thought, "This is not as good as Red or Blue, and based on the direction they're headed here, I don't think they'll make another album better than Red or Blue." And Purple didn't change the way I felt. I'm not bailing on them, and I'm sure they'll do plenty more stuff in the future that I love, but my expectations today are lower than they were after Blue. It kills me to say that btw. That said, even if you agreed with my feelings about Baroness (or I agreed with yours), I'd still encourage you to judge for yourself on Pallbearer as opposed to just reading my review and NOT forming your own opinion. I'm not The Official Final Word On Music over here. Pallbearer did all the work, I'm just shouting about how much I love it.
+2 |
March 24, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
I LOVE Wolverine Blues now, but when it came out, it was not exactly what any Entombed fans wanted from Entombed. It seemed real goofy and like it was trying way too hard to be something different and kinda dumb. But honestly at this point I probably like it just as much or more than the first two.
+4 |
March 23, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Yeah I'm thinking it's a combination of a bunch of those things. His voice is fucking ridiculous all the time, but he's almost on some Mike Patton shit on this album, and I think maybe all those crazy shifts are throwing you or something. I dunno, man. I hope you connect with it, though!
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March 23, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Actually I guess "Cruel Road" has a chorus, too, technically speaking, and certain motifs are threaded into certain songs in different ways, but when you listen you'll maybe get a better idea of what I mean about the structures. If you diagrammed out these songs they'd look like city maps or something.
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March 23, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Man, I don't have that reaction to the vocals at all. Maybe it's because he's doing so many different things with his voice (texturally speaking + multilayering, etc.) and it's all going through different processors or something? I honestly think the production on this album is pretty close to perfect, and the vocals absolutely blow me away. This is easily the best he's ever sounded to my ears, so maybe it's just a taste thing? But his vocals are always my favorite element of their sound, so I sincerely don't know why it sounds that way to you.
+4 |
March 23, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
Nah, you're right, which is why I threw in qualifiers like Krallice and Sunn O))). I could have explored this more thoroughly in the review, but I was singling it out here because I think it's pretty striking in the context of this particular music, which is very melodic and seems like it should adhere to traditional structures. And typically, it would. Doom in particular (and post-metal, too, and even some "atmospheric" black metal) is really riff-based or rhythm-based, so even if there's not a "chorus," per se, the songs are deeply rooted in repetitive themes that give them a sort of hammering or droning hypnotic quality. But this album doesn't do that at all. The songs are constantly moving forward and changing shapes, doing something totally different than they were a minute earlier, but they still feel like *songs*. This one track, "Dancing In Madness," is almost 12 minutes long, but it takes so many unexpected compositional turns that I find myself hanging on every second of the thing, and then it's over in a span of time that feels to me like a lot less than 12 minutes. I might not have done a great job of making it sound unusual, but I can honestly say there aren't too many other bands who do what Pallbearer are doing here.
+5 |
March 23, 2017 on Premature Evaluation: Pallbearer Heartless
I think you might be applying the transitive property a bit too liberally here. I'm saying: "Weezer's recent work has been good enough for me to give them the benefit of the doubt and accept this mediocre song, partly because if nothing else it appears Rivers Cuomo can still at least write hooks and sing pretty well." I am NOT saying: "I'm happy to see Weezer producing mediocre work in this particular vein because I'm secretly a fan of similar-sounding mediocre bands." (To be fair, I don't know 21 Pilots well enough to call them mediocre. I do know they are INSANELY popular, and I also know that I haven't liked what little I've heard from them.)
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March 16, 2017 on Weezer – “Feels Like Summer”
This coding error should now be amended, so your comments will no longer be italicized and will, sadly, make no sense to future generations of Stereogum readers. To those readers, I say: There was a coding error, and it was amended. Thanks to the above commenters for the heads up(s)!
+11 |
March 13, 2017 on Song To Song Is Disappointing As Both A Musical And Personal Drama
See, this is exactly why they shouldn't have released these "singles" and should have just dropped the album. Like, the scale is totally off. Dan, I wouldn't begin to try to "tell you" what you're hearing (or not hearing), but I suspect your reaction is, in part, because of the songs' structures: Nothing repeats. Most songs are verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus, right? Something like that anyway. That's why they stick, the repetition. But for the most part, that's not how THESE songs are built: they're not circular, they're linear. That makes perfect sense -- and works perfectly -- over the course of the album (that's what I was trying to get at with that Kubrick thing I mentioned in my little review), but it leaves decontextualized songs sounding a little unnatural and maybe incomplete, even if you're not sure why. I'm not promising you'll love the album -- it's a truly singular and uncompromising work of art, and that means it probably won't appeal to everyone's tastes -- but I will promise that when you hear it in full, these little units will make more sense. FWIW, I was a big fan of the first two albums (LP1 better than LP2, agreed), but I can't imagine going back to them now, unless it was for the sake of nostalgia or trying to find the building blocks that led them to this place. Pallbearer used to be a really good doom band -- a great example of the genre -- but they've blown way beyond that. Of course YMMV, that's just my 2 cents -- on which I will expand whenever I write a PE (which, I should tell you, will probably include some of what's written in this comment, perhaps verbatim).
+6 |
March 10, 2017 on The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
He tweeted this AFTER I posted my comment here, I swear. Check the timestamps! https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/839882912002682880
+4 |
March 9, 2017 on The Notorious B.I.G. Died 20 Years Ago Today