The Man Talks Loudness War Sep23

The Man Talks Loudness War

Portuguese based Versus Magazine has just released an interview with Dan “The Man” Swanö entitled “Loudness War,” where Dan discusses why overly loud masters sound atrocious and what he has been doing about it. The interview also mentions our own “Taking the Swanö Challenge” article, which provided a few talking points for Dan to delve further into the technical aspects of dynamic range and why it’s so important to metal. What I found most fascinating is that Dan thinks that maybe one day CDs will be re-released like they are on vinyl, i.e. “in their full, unfucked glory”, once the format...

Lightning Headphones – Probably A Bad Idea Sep16

Lightning Headphones – Probably A Bad Idea

There were a number of questions surrounding Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats Audio regarding what exactly Apple had planned for the headphone powerhouse. Most thought Apple’s main desire was to get a stronger foothold in the streaming market through Beats Music, and that’s probably true, but there are plenty of other streaming services that Apple could’ve purchased. Being in control of not just a headphone company but pretty much the headphone company also brings with it another advantage, and while it’s not something Apple seems to be trying to push with the iPhone 6, (or likely whatever next year’s iPhone 6S will be) further down the...

Meshuggah – I (Special Edition) Sep05

Meshuggah – I (Special Edition)

Believe it or not, the origin of this EP can be traced all the way back to 2002, when then Mushroomhead frontman Jason Popson befriended the members of Meshuggah while both were on tour for Ozzfest. The story goes that during a backstage conversation, Popson throws out the idea of starting his own distribution company in order to help Meshuggah release a highly experimental record that the band wants to do but knows their label, Nuclear Blast, wouldn’t be so keen on supporting. Meshuggah seizes this opportunity and asks Nuclear Blast for permission to release this one off side project outside their current contract through...

Stam1na – SLK Sep03

Stam1na – SLK

If you’ve never heard of Stam1na, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Though the Finnish progressive metallers have been around since 1996 and released their sixth full length earlier this year, they’ve never been able to gain much traction outside of their native land, despite considerable success on the Finnish charts. The reason I suspect may be due to the language barrier. All of the band’s lyrics are in Finnish, and despite the fact that metal lyrics are often completely unintelligible regardless of language, it can put some people off. Then again, non-English lyrics have never stopped Vintersorg, or Rammstein for that matter, so who knows....

Emptiness – Nothing but the Whole Aug29

Emptiness – Nothing but the Whole

I first stumbled upon Emptiness’ strange concept of blackened death back in 2012, after I read a review of their third full length, Error, describing it simply as “Belgium’s Portal.” But on deeper inspection that assessment proved to be somewhat gratuitous, as though Error certainly dabbles in noise based experimentation, the fact is the album was much more rooted in terrestrial riffs than the otherworldly sounds of those pesky hooded Aussies. Regardless, Error still proved to be a fascinating, albeit horrifying journey, and one that left an indelible mark on me. Two years later, they are back with Nothing but the...

The Guardian Vs. High-Res Aug27

The Guardian Vs. High-Res

In an article written back in April by Charles Arthur, the UK’s Guardian newspaper basically savaged both Pono and the idea of high resolution audio in general as “boys and their toys.” Arthur’s conclusion followed the usual technical approach – a 44.1kHz sample rate covers the entire spectrum of human hearing likely with some room to spare at the top end, while the 65,636 possible gradations of volume within a theoretical maximum of 96dB of dynamic range is plenty for any commercial recording. Crucially though he doesn’t do any actual legwork before concluding that Pono is a complete waste of time and money. Perhaps in an attempt to...