My goal with this blog is to start to build a knowledge base about heavy music, not just about culture but about the notes, how we play them and how we hear them. Too much scholarship on metal (and rock music more generally) avoids engaging with the sounds on recordings, the backbeats and fills, the soaring or screaming voices, the guitar solos and mosh breakdowns. Part of my efforts to fix this problem is by transcribing every song in its entirety before I write about it. Since almost every rock or metal song is copyrighted, I can only upload short bits of my full transcription — at most a single riff at a time. I given these short bits some context by also including a detailed chart of every song’s form with each post.
I also try to include a link to a music video or recording of each song when I can find one — for me listening is and always should be the first way of encountering music, and notation is just a way to tie something of what we hear down long enough to talk about it.
Nothing I post here is a finished product. Just as what I hear in music changes every year, what I think evolves and (hopefully) grows. Nothing I write is an exhaustive analysis, or the final word on what a song means or how to hear it. I encourage anyone who reads what I post here to quote what you like, add on to it, and make it your own. But do cite me, of course! 🙂
I also have to acknowledge my girlfriend and colleague Milena Schaller, who hears most of what I end up writing in conversation every day, and whose initial reactions and advice shape a lot of my research. She also is a second set of reading eyes when I need them in editing.