From Hell's Heart
"From Hell's Heart..." is an editorial column written by the Metal-Rules.com team. Every other month or so we
pick a metal-related topic and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas on it.
The Seven Deadly Sins In Metal (January 2003)The Seven Deadly Sins In Metal
Avarice, Sloth, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Pride, Wrath
7 Downward Slopes...
Avarice: An excessive or inordinate desire of gain; greediness after wealth; covetousness; cupidity.
In my opinion, Kiss is the band that totally fits this bill. Before the Kiss army comes looking for me, let me start by saying that I do like Kiss. I think the band has long ago lost sight of what is their real reason for existence - the music. How many farewell tours have their been or will there continue to be? How many silly products will they dream up? Some are acceptable like Kiss "action figures" - but Kiss credit cards? C'mon! When was the last time they had a new album anyway?
Sloth: Aversion to work or exertion; laziness; indolence.
In my opinion Slayer fit here. Again, before the Slaytanic Army comes rolling into town to have me shot, let me tell you that for a few years (late 80s until early 90s) Slayer were unquestionably my favorite band. I've read a lot of interviews where Kerry King has joked about how lazy they are and it's the reason why there is such long waits between studio albums especially since 1990. For example: SEASONS IN THE ABYSS (1990), - next studio album, DIVINE INTERVENTION is 4 years later! Four years after that is the next album with DIABOLUS IN MUSICA (1998). I don't count UNDISPUTED ATTITUDE as a "real" Slayer album since it was mostly all covers. Finally the wait between DIM and the latest (GOT HATES US ALL) was "just" 3 years. Still, three full years to write the worst album of their career?
Envy: A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.
Megadeth circa 1986. When Mustaine was booted from Metallica he was driven to put together his own band so he could "show them." Even though I think he's since gotten over this, it is a shadow that has and always will follow him around since long time fans still bring it up ALL THE TIME!
Lust: To have an intense or obsessive desire, especially one that is sexual.
Kiss fit here once again. Who remembers Gene Simmons on Opera bragging about banging over 2000 "women" (aka WHORES)?
Gluttony: Excess in eating or drinking.
Dream Theater are the "gluttons" of prog metal. Again, here is a band that I sorta like…well at least their IMAGES & WORDS album! A few months back I bought their SCENES FROM A MEMORY DVD and after 3 songs I was literally falling asleep. How much pointless noodleing do they have to do? I respect their talent and I know they are fine players, but they don't know when to stop do they? Anyway, I fell asleep about ½ way through the DVD, woke up near the end and shut it off. It's been on the shelf ever since. Too bad.
Pride: A sense of one's own proper dignity or value; self-respect. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association. Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.
Yngwie J. Malmsteen has over the years become known as someone who not only shows pride in his playing (which is not a sin in my books) but has often been arrogant about it by putting down other guitarists, people, etc. He does have a superior attitude and it's too bad actually, since he is one of my favorite guitarists and he does deserve the accolades. Yngwie need to start showing some humility, it's never too late to change.
"I' m from a different world. I'm from the world where you
actually do something; you think, use your brain, you create something."
Wrath: Forceful, often vindictive anger.
Originally I was going to pick Pantera but then I realized that this was about REAL hate and not something forced. Sure Phil seems to of been pissed off at one time but a lot of it now seems forced so he can live up to his reputation. But I can't read his mind, so perhaps he is full of hate? Many death and black metal bands fit here for their lyrics about hating religion, god, society, etc. but who does it best, who unleashes the purest form of lyrical and musical hate upon the world? Who does it and really means it, not as just a ploy to fit into a pre-determined mold? Who does it from the heart and is not acting? That is a question that is hard to answer and cannot be answered without looking into the hearts of those who seem so spiteful. Perhaps actions speak louder than any words or louder than any roaring death howl? If that is the case then a good candidate for this is Varg Vikernes - AKA Count Grishnacht (church burner, murderer, neo-nazi, etc.). Most know of him, even if they don't listen to his music, thanks to his actions which has landed him in jail.
Metal's "Seven Deadly Sins"
1. Avarice (An excessive or inordinate desire of gain; greediness after wealth; covetousness; cupidity.)
IN FLAMES. While pride could also be a justifiable charge, I believe the former pioneers of Gothenburg death have committed the sin of avarice, especially with their new album REROUTE TO REMAIN. Its limp structures, mallcore riffs and vocals and bleached-out ideas could only have been designed for commercial and financial gain. In Flames's courting of the baggy-panted crowd and their shameless abandonment of the style they once did so well can't be explained any other way. Greed for gold albums is what brought REROUTE TO REMAIN upon us, and that same greed will destroy In Flames, rightfully so.
2. Sloth (Aversion to work or exertion; laziness; indolence.)
IRON MAIDEN. They had all the momentum in the world. When Bruce rejoined in early 1999 and the band started cutting BRAVE NEW WORLD, the entire metal world was (briefly) united in its approbation. Now the tour is long over. What have the Maiden guys been doing since 2000? Playing golf? Having a couple of cold ones down at the pub? Washing their Lycra football jerseys? It's almost 2003. When is the new album coming out?
3. Envy (A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.)
DAVE MUSTAINE of MEGADETH. It seems like Mustaine's career was defined by envy of others. In 1983 when he was kicked out of Metallica he envied anyone with a viable band, so he formed Megadeth. In the late 1980s he envied Metallica's success in thrash metal, so he topped them with RUST IN PEACE. In the early 1990s he envied Metallica's slick, commercial sound and gold records, hence COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION. In 1994 he envied the success of alternative bands and metal with a more "alternative" sound; hence YOUTHANASIA. In 1999 he envied Metallica's abandonment of metal principles and shameless embrace of commercial pop rock, resulting in his worst sin, RISK. In 2001 he envied the other aging rockers who had hung up their axes and retreated into more quiet lives. Hence, no more Megadeth. We got some great metal out of Mustaine's envy, but like so many other practicioners of the deadly sins, his greatest strength was also his undoing.
4. Lust (To have an intense or obsessive desire, especially one that is sexual).
MANOWAR. Ironically one of the bands most often accused of being "gay"--largely because of their appearance on two album covers, INTO GLORY RIDE and the unauthorized ANTHOLOGY--from the HELL ON EARTH video you'd get the impression that all Manowar does when they're not playing music is to bang hot chicks. While I suspect the reality is much less exciting (at least some of the band members are married and have kids), the lusty hijinx continue on stage, on video and in the lyrics of priceless ditties like "Pleasure Slave" from the KINGS OF METAL album. Manowar's much-professed interest in the ladies gives even more fuel to the fire of those detractors who claim the Kings of Metal are more like the Kings of Cheese.
5. Gluttony (Excess in eating or drinking)
PHIL ANSELMO of PANTERA. I've seen Pantera several times. Until recently, each time I saw them, Phil was fatter, drunker and more slovenly. His voice was frequently ravaged by alcohol and on some occasions he was barely sober enough to stand up. His gluttony has a direct impact on the music: the already mostly-unintelligible lyrics of "Planet Caravan," for instance, are rendered an inscrutable, monoaural drone when Phil's had a few too many. Thankfully there was improvement on the REINVENTING THE STEEL tour.
6. Pride (A sense of one's own proper dignity or value; self-respect. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association. Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.)
AXL ROSE of GUNS N' ROSES. Certainly no one in the world of metal or hard rock suffers from pride as much as Axl Rose. The swelling of his head began in 1987 with the release of the groundbreaking APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION album; somehow he got it in his head that he was single-handedly responsible and that GN'R's success was attributable to him. Later he began a disturbing pattern of temper tantrums and rock-star attitude attacks--punching photographers, rioting in St. Louis, and then in the 1990s retreating into his mansion and making himself as scarce as Osama Bin Laden, as if depriving the world of his presence was some sort of punishment! Now in 2002 Axl claims to be back, this time with a tepid band of talentless yes-men who probably don't even know the words to "Welcome to the Jungle," and he's rioting, suing and pouting like the last ten years never happened. The difference is that today Axl Rose, and the Band Formerly Known as Guns N' Roses, are absolutely irrelevant. What killed them? Hubris, pure hubris. Axl belongs in a Greek tragedy.
7. Wrath (Forceful, often vindictive anger)
BURZUM (a/k/a Varg Vikernes). Varg was (and still is) an angry and twisted individual. Those qualities had him in good stead when he was channeling them through the eerie one-man black metal experience known as Burzum, but his all-consuming rage at Christianity, at Euronymous and basically at everyone who wasn't white, Nordic and fascist spelled the doom of not only one good band, but two (his own and Mayhem). Varg's ideological anger burned hot, literally, with the destruction of churches in Norway, and when he murdered Euronymous in 1993 the Scandinavian black metal scene, the inception of which he'd played a large role in, was already in decline due to its violent excesses. The problem with Varg, aside from the fact that he was a sick animal, was that he didn't know when to stop. Plenty of metal bands are angry at Christianity, but how did it help to go around torching churches? Varg's ideological and racial anger have been so strong that they've led him away from metal entirely, as he now denounces the genre from the jail cell where he's spent much of the last decade.
Let he who is without sin…buy beers for everyone else!
The Seven Sins In Metal
Picking bands to match sins is harder than it looks. I felt I had to justify my position so it does not seem like merely slagging a band. I also realize there are many misconceptions about bands and took a moment to help eliminate common misconceptions.
1. AVARICE. This one is almost too easy...everyone will think of KISS...and that is why the answer is METALLICA. Kiss are supposedly embodiment of shameless greed. Although Gene would argue (and I agree) greed in itself is not a sin. The fact that Kiss is donating part of the proceeds of their soon-to-be legendary live performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, to the victims of the recent terrorist bombing in Bali, proves that Kiss is not really inherently evil in their greed. They enjoy the fruits of their labors (physical and monetary) and others who fling accusations are merely jealous. However, during an interview Gene was once asked, what he would do differently, if anything. He answered he would have done more merchandising and marketing! Coming from a man who has his mug on everything from condoms to caskets, I find this comment amusing.
Metallica on the other hand basically decided to make records for a mainstream audience and what other motivation could there be for such a change? I once argued (in this very webzine, even) that Metallica did not sell-out but after many conversations and re-examining of facts, I would argue that Metallica got greedy. Their tenacious defense of anything remotely connected to the bands name would indicate excessive greed. Although I feel defense of one's own rights is critical, the way in which the band is reported to have pursued legal action many times indicates a sense of greed. I must add these statement. I do not know if the lawsuits brought forward by Metallica were merely cease and desist or punitive suites seeking compensation.
I'm sure the band members are quite generous personally as evidenced by the treatment of their fans, flying them places for supper etc...but will we ever know if the band or the label footed the bill for such things. I struggled with calling Metallica greedy but the re-issue of the Live: Shit DVD box-set just before Christmas cemented my feeling, even if it was just a label decision. So my qualified answer is "The Metallica machine."
2. SLOTH. My mind immediately leapt to Metallica often with many years between studio albums. But then I realized many other big bands who don't NEED to record and release albums consistently are in the same boat (AC/DC or Manowar anyone?) But then these bands tour extensively for a year at a time, which can hardly be called lazy. So I had to choose a truly inherently slothful band...Van Halen. Two studio albums in ten years and virtually no touring is unacceptable. Admittedly Eddie has had a divorce, cancer, surgery and lost his label, management which would take the wind out of anyone's sails, but all the more reason to get off your ass get in the studio, get on the road and conquer all those nay-sayers who accuse him of sitting at home drinking and surfing the net everyday.
3. ENVY. I almost considered Dave Mustaine. He has burned with an envy of Metallica for a long, long time and he still mentions it twenty years later! However, he seems to have recently buried that ghost. The answer is...Fozzy...hands down. A rich wrestler who never made it as a metal musician but now has the means to live out his childhood rock 'n' roll fantasy by pretending to be famous and claiming to have written many of the world's greatest metal tunes. It was funny once and admittedly the joke was well done but Jerichco's envy of a lifestyle he can never achieve, without buying it and copying others, is painfully obvious. I like Fozzy, but I see it for what it is.
4. LUST. I think any number of red hot blooded males could claim this crown. However, Gene Simmons publication of a vanity mag, autobiography, movies, dolls, and desktop book chronicling all his sexual conquests get him the award.
5. GLUTONY. An excess in eating or drinking...oh man...addiction issues aside we could look at Crowbar, Mammoth and many other heavy weight bands. I'd hate to point at the easy target of Ozzy or the Toxic Twins...
6. PRIDE. My guess is that many people will pick Yngwie J. Malmsteen, which is totally unjustified and unfair. People always forget he is a solo artist and a composer with a vision. Again jealousy makes people claim that Yngwie is vain or proud but ignore the fact that artists like Cooper, Lawless, Dio, Reale, Blackmore, Iommi, Diamond, Townsend and countless others, have all had numerous line-ups. Yet these artists seldom receive the amount negativity flung at poor ol' Yngwie. I might pick Rock 'n' Rolf Kasperak from Running Wild. It has been said he will fly to gigs and take a separate limo than his band of hired guns, or perhaps David Lee Roth. His exploits are legendary and perhaps he has a reason to be proud. however, the winner must be... THE GREAT KAT!!!!!
If you have ever read her liner notes you understand. If you have not let me summarize...a brief sample, taken from Beethoven on Speed liner notes in the "Special Praise to the Great Kat" section, written by none other than the The Great Kat herself. The fact that she wrote her own special praise in a special praise section takes the prize, even BEFORE reading what she had to say!
"The MOST BRILLAINT GENIUS in the ENTIRE
It goes on like this for several panels including the amusing Great Kat IQ test which in case you are wondering, I passed. Case Closed.
7. WRATH. I thought of King Fowley, Kerry King, Phil Anselmo, and several others but really who truly embodies anger in what is considered by some to be a very angry genre of music? I'm not fooled by the psuedo aggression of Slipknot who turn it on and off like a tap. I'm talking real hate here. Some of those racist, misanthropic, black metal dudes are constantly angry. I mean REALLY pissed off at the world especially to take the time to burn down a church! The question is when does it become self-parody and image and who are the ones who really mean it? I suppose the ones who have murdered people (often strangers) in cold blood with no motive are the most wrathful ones. Murder is not the exclusive realm of metal. Lots of hip-hop, rap, gang-banger types have often killed as an initiation or thrill-seeking. To me these crimes embody pity, and a desperate need for attention (to be cool and belong long to the club) more than pure hatred. So consequently I would argue that Eithun, Vikernes, Mobus, and Nodtveidt are metals embodiment of wrath.
Next months editorial will be who in metal embodies The Ten Commandments...just kidding...
The Seven Deadly Sins Applied to Heavy Metal
1. Avarice (an excessive or inordinate desire of gain; greediness after wealth; covetousness; cupidity.)
Metallica, obviously...complete and utter sellouts to the core. These guys shit on one of Heavy Metal's most loyal followings in pursuit of the almighty dollar. ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL just seems so ironic these days, does it not?
...the ultimate in vanity, exploiting their supremacy, I can't believe the things you say, I can't believe, I can't believe the price you pay, NOTHING CAN SAVE YOU!!!
2. Sloth (aversion to work or exertion; laziness; indolence.)
Heavy Metal knows no sloth!!! Most metal bands are a pretty hardworking lot. Keeping a metal band alive is an uphill battle, to be sure. Much appreciation goes out to the bands that remain true to themselves and toil in the name of Heavy fuckin' Metal!!!
3. Envy (feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.)
I choose Megadeth. However, in this case, envy turned out to be a rather good thing. Fueled by revenge instincts and unadulterated envy for his former band mates, Dave Mustaine assembled one of the most lethal bands in the history of metal...a band that, ultimately, surpassed Metallica in many ways (until RISK, that is).
4. Lust (to have an intense or obsessive desire, especially one that is sexual.)
Glam. To say glam metal bands were obsessed with sex is to state the obvious. "Sex Action," "I Want Action," "Ten Seconds to Love," these are just a few song titles via the decadent 1980's...and what a great decade it was!!!
5. Gluttony (excess in eating or drinking.)
Motley Crue. The Crue took substance abuse to new levels. In the case of Nikki Sixx, death was one of the "new levels" explored. Thankfully, Nikki chose to remain on the planet. Long live the Crue!!!
6. Pride (a sense of one's own proper dignity or value; self-respect. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association. Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.)
Classic White Lion album. Amazing guitar work, great melodies and killer riffs. Vito Bratta must be proud (of PRIDE).
7. Wrath (forceful, often vindictive anger.)
What the hell, here's a plug for Barbarian Wrath. I do believe you'll find some angry stuff at the following location: www.barbarianwrath.org
For more on the 7 Deadly Sins visit deadlysins.com and while you're at it rent the dark and twisted movie "7" starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Gwyneth Paltrow.