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by Chuck Eddy

April 17, 2012

Top 15 Metal Albums, April 2012

by Chuck Eddy  |  April 17, 2012

So even more than usual, the handful of new Only Part-Metal and Only Sometimes Metal and Not as Metal as They Used to Be albums included in the Metal Roundup below (a third of the 15, at most) are more than balanced by a few that are So Metal That They're Not Even a "Kind" of Metal; i.e., they're Just Plain Metal, period. Which might be a trend in its own right -- who needs fancy subgenres anymore, anyway?

Hence, the title of one of the list's best albums: Long Live Heavy Metal, by 3 Inches of Blood, who are infinitely more likeable now than back when they were a trendy metalcore band. Which reminds me of an (uncredited, as far as I can tell) meme that's been floating around the worldwide spiderweb lately, which involves distinguishing metal subgenres thus: "POWER METAL -- The protagonist arrives riding a white unicorn, escapes from the dragon, saves the princess and makes love to her in an enchanted forest." "DOOM METAL -- The protagonist arrives, sees the size of the dragon and thinks he could never beat him, then he gets depressed and commits suicide. The dragon eats his body and the princess as dessert. That's the end of the sad story." "NU METAL -- The protagonist arrives in a rundown Honda Civic and attempts to fight the dragon, but he burns to death when his moronic baggy clothes catch fire." And so on. A few of the other style definitions contain language too vulgar for a family music-streaming service, and a couple are outright offensive in their violence to the princess herself. But Google if necessary.

Okay, here's one last one: "FOLK METAL -- The protagonist arrives with some friends playing accordions, violins, flutes and many more weird instruments; the dragon falls asleep (because of all the dancing). Then all leave ... without the princess." Which is worth bringing up in light of the new Eluveitie album tallied below, which didn't merely enter Billboard at No. 143 a few weeks back (unless Opeth count, has any folk metal outfit done better?), but was, at least briefly, the top Heatseeker album (i.e., previously uncharted artist breaking out in any genre -- not just metal) in the U.S. mountain region, and way up there in the Pacific zone as well. So apparently people out West enjoy banging heads to hurdy-gurdies! K-Pop, tribal guarachero -- no question why demographics would lead those musics to break westward first. But folk metal? Another mystery to ponder.

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