Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

Most people who know me know that my favorite style of music is heavy metal. Lots of people who listen to metal do so for its therapeutic value; it’s loud, brash, and angry, and listening to it can help you deflate your own similar feelings. For example, who doesn’t feel better after driving around cranking some Testament.

My favorite genres of metal, though are power and progressive metal. Testament is definitely not in those categories. I like them a lot and have a bunch of their CDs, but my overall top preference is for bands that have a significant amount of clear vocals, lots of melodies, and even orchestral components … like Nightwish.

I also love bands that have intricate musical arrangements.

In other words, a lot of the heavy metal I like the most is not made to sound angry – it’s made by people who might have grown up listening to Judas Priest and Journey, and decided to blend the heavy and melodic elements.

So it’s pretty strange that my other favorite type of metal has been “doom metal”. This style is slow and deep, and designed to bring out your feelings of despair.

The progenitors of doom metal are said to be Black Sabbath, who laced most of their music with this (new at the time) style.

Also out there in heavy metal land is “death metal”; this is the style that features what are called cookie monster vocals. I have never become totally accustomed to that style, and I am very hit or miss in terms of which bands in that genre I enjoy. I think that in order for me to like it, the vocals need to still have relatively good enunciation even while being growled … like this:

As that song shows, there is a lot of overlap between the genres of death and doom metal, and there is even a subgenre called (you guessed it) death-doom. If you take the slow and dirgy style of doom metal and lay over it the deep growlies of death metal, you have death-doom. And … odds are I won’t like any one particular offering of it. But here’s where it gets strange: there is yet another subgenre called “funeral doom”, which takes the deep, hellish feel of doom metal and really goes all in. Imagine a slow-paced New Orleans funeral dirge with the band replaced by doom metal, and you have funeral doom. This style is most often accompanied by vocals growled (or better yet, regurgitated) in the deepest death style. You’d think that this is so far away from my usual favorite types of metal that I would abhor it, but the opposite is true! I had dabbled in listening to it in the past, and it never clicked, but recently during a Spotify encounter with a band called Mournful Congregation, something happened and it felt “right” to me. I even found the slowly-brewing growled vocals to be almost comforting.

I think I know why this happened. Outside of metal, I have always loved to use electronic new age music as background ambience while reading or working. Reading a fantasy novel and listening to Tangerine Dream go hand in hand.

The musical components of Tangerine Dream and funeral doom are nothing alike, but I’ve found that the mood I get out of them are very much the same. I’ve discovered another style of ambience that goes well with reading, or even driving, and that makes time go by faster. And since funeral doom mixes slow, tidal music a la Tangerine Dream (especially early spacey / noisey Tangerine Dream like Zeit) with the brutal heaviness of metal – even though the vocals are usually growled – it’s the best of both worlds!

I don’t know what made the original purveyors of funeral doom (supposedly Thergothon and Skepticism) do what they did, maybe they were just have really bad days, but I now have a whole other subgenre to explore that’s at the totally opposite end of the spectrum than what’s been my go-to music for so long.

Along with funeral doom, I’ve found “drone metal” in the band Sunn O))), which is heavy music with no real melodic structure to it, just intense ambient heavy mood – I’d love to go to a Sunn O))) concert and just literally feel the music for two hours.

Now pardon me while I go list more comics to sell on ebay so that I have money to spend on more funeral doom metal like Pantheist and Shape of Despair!

Outside the Ropes: ACW at Rust Belt Rebellion, 2019-08-17

Well, it’s been almost 4 months since I wrote one of these things. For most of the shows I’ve been to recently, I’ve carted along recording gear to prepare delayed audio coverage for broadcast on WVLP (*). But this ACW show was outdoors, and plus, they have their own commentary crew who don’t need me setting up mics of my own.

(*) For example, also this weekend, I went to the RCW show “Storm Zero” in Mishawaka – that coverage will air Sunday Aug 18 on the Northwest Indiana Wrestling Action Program NWIWRAP at about 9:10pm Central on WVLP, and then will find its way to the NWIWRAP YouTube channel a couple of days later. But back to ACW!

The Rust Belt Rebellion is an annual outdoor car show (and fun family event) that takes place in someone’s LARGE back yard property in Shelby IN. There are a couple of open fields where people bring in their well kept old cars, a small playground for kids, food & craft vendors, and this year a home-made ice cream stand! And then there is a field where ACW sets up their wrestling ring (the curtain and announce table are to my right in this picture).

The first match was Jeremy Hadley vs. Kujo. As usual, Hadley came out with mouth a’firin’, and he must have done his job really well, because after the match, some dude was trying to push his way back through the curtain to (I guess) beat Jeremy up for some mean thing Jeremy said to his wife. This must have been his first wrestling show. Look, if the “bad guy” gets you to have a genuine emotional reaction to something he says (which is his job!), you should go up to him later and congratulate him on a job well done, not try to track him down because your feelings got hurt. While the true outcome was Hadley 1 – Guy In Crowd 0, the match score was Kujo 1 – Hadley 0.

The second match was TK Zero vs. Sabotage, which TK Zero won with a reverse DDT looking thing I don’t know the name of – picture a TK Zero giving Sabotage a DDT, except instead of being face down, Sabotage is face up, and TK has his forehead bent backwards with a forearm squeeze (like the Gu-Lock on 205 Live) … then TK Zero drops Sabotage down on his head. Sabotage was counted out by the ref for being unresponsive after that move. Jeez, I thought he killed the poor guy, it looked really good.

TK Zero must have made a good impression on the crowd at last year’s Rust Belt Rebellion show, because some kids clearly recognized him when he came out, and one of the loud guys near me who had too much beer shouted, “You said that last year!” to one of TK’s barbs at the crowd.

Next, Drex Odell took on Young Money (with Thomas Keith, his partner in High Society, at ringside). One picture below tells the story of the match – Drex clearly has Young Money discombobulated on the ropes behind him, but Thomas Keith is on the ring apron distracting Drex – and this allowed Young Money to gather himself and get the pinfall on Odell. In the other picture, Young Money gets some serious elevation from the corner.

The fourth match was awesome, but I missed the best parts of it because most of the outside-the-ring action took place on the side opposite me, and I was too lazy to get up and walk around. (No, actually, I blame my chair – my folding lawn chair was broken, and so to get up, I had to move very carefully and delicately not to collapse it entirely … it wasn’t my laziness, it was my carefulness!). This fourth match was X Caliber vs Jared Kripke for the ACW Intercontinental Championship, held by Kripke. It was a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match announced with a one hour time limit! It did not go that long, but two tables got destroyed – on the opposite side from me. During one crash through the tables, Jared Kripke gashed open his knee – and being the trooper he is, he went to the sound table to get a roll of duct tape to tape together his leg (see pic) … I imagine taking that tape off later would hurt more than the original injury, which (from info on Facebook later) took 10 stitches to close. Ouch! X Caliber won the match, and so is the new ACW Intercontinental Champ! And so now you can tell that the picture of Kripke on top of the ladder, holding his belt while smiling, was taken before the match started.

There was a short intermission while all the carnage from the IC match was cleaned up, and then the show restarted with Billy the Kid challenging Rick Raid for Raid’s Tough Man Championship. Raid beat Billy recently to gain the Tough Man Title, and here, Billy the Kid regained the title.

I don’t write this often, but Ref Zoran got one wrong! In the sixth match, Arun took on Brentley Alexander Dawson (BAD). At the end of the match, BAD took a foreign object out of his coat that was hanging on a ring post, and tried to hit Arun with it. He missed, and Arun capitalized to get the pin. But during the pin, BAD managed to slip the object into Arun’s waistband. When Arun stood up after the pin, Ref Zoran saw the object and reversed his decision, awarding the match to BAD. Booooo.

I do not have a picture from the final match because I was on my way out, but Crimson Dynamo is your new ACW Heavyweight Champion, having defeated The Flawless One, Dave Allen! Congratulations to Crimson Dynamo!


If you’ve read this far, you might like wrestling?  So maybe, check out the Northwest Indiana Wrestling Action Program (NWIWRAP) broadcast Sunday night right after Mostly Metal on WVLP 103.1FM in Valparaiso, IN. The Mostly Metal / NWIWRAP block runs from 8:00 – 10:00pm Central Time, and the time of the switch from music to wrestling depends on how much wrestlnig there is to talk about! If you’re not in Valpo, catch it streaming on http://www.wvlp.org and the Tune In Radio app. Rebroadcasts happen Wednesdays 10pm – midnight, and NWIWRAP is archived on YouTube, just search for NWIWRAP.