You know, I remember when I really used to enjoy moshpits. And then, something happened. No, it was not me growing up, it was the importing of fucking hardcore dancing. Must have been two, maybe three years ago now that, in the south at least, the tide definitively turned. Where once you had had what I would basically describe as a unified releasing of violent energies, the moshpit at most recent gigs I've been to has basically been retards in hoodies and bandanas across their mouths punching the floor, doing ridiculous 'karate' kicks, windmilling and punching people. Newsflash. Moshing is not about punching people. Man, I remember when I learnt to mosh, and the first things I learned where stuff like, basically, moshing is not punching people in the fucking head, and also that moshing involves a certain amount of decorum, basically vis a vis picking people up when they fall over and not wearing jewellery covered in three inch spikes or holding lit cigarettes whilst you did it. This is out. The twisted hyper-macho culture of modern hardcore, it seems, is definitely in, and what a shame. Last time I moshed was at Wacken Open Air, when I saw Finntroll. It was brutal, but not dangerous. I knew I could count on someone to haul me to my feet if I got knocked over, I knew that someone would haul me or surf me out if I looked in a bad way, I knew that I'd do the same for someone else. I don't get that feeling at mosh-pits in the UK anymore. I wonder how far we are from the truly idiotic excesses of the American mosh pit? (One recalls tales of leather jackets with razorblades sewn sharp end out, of key-chains detached and used as weapons, of pits used as cover to administer brutal beatings, of goodness knows what else.)
Now, you know, I'm sure some people would basically think that I'm a pussy for saying this sort of stuff, that moshing should be 'no limits', or whatever, but that just ain't so. I mean, for a start, a lot of people go to a gig not wanting to mosh. When you've got what I consider a classic mosh-pit, which is basically based on slamming in to each other and pushing and whatnot, you can easily navigate your way around the pit, and survive quite happily on the edges without getting involved. Try that with 20 16 year olds in too-tight jeans windmilling like the air conditioning broke and someone's chain-smoking cheap cigars. Hell, try doing anything. I tend to stand off to one side with a beer and wait for someone to break their nose. The whole point of moshing should be that its controlled. You can be violent and shove people about and whatnot, but you're probably not going to suffer the consequences of a real fight, like being punched to the floor and having your head kicked by four other guys. Yeah, well, you just can't guarantee that ain't going to happen anymore. I link it to the general lack of cameraderie that exists amongst certain elements of this whole new hardcore/deathcore/whateverthefuckcore scene.
Yeah, of course, there's partying and sleeping on floors and all that shit that goes with any music scene, but I've also seen a girl actually try to claw another girls face off because she stole her [i]myspace friends[/i]. If I meet a metalhead in the pub, we'll probably get chatting and a few hours later we'll be buying each other drinks and queuing up Maiden on the jukebox. Two hardcore kids meet and there's as much chance they'll have an argument about Bella Kiss and end up stealing each others girlfriends. Yeah, I know I'm generalising, and that the metal scene is full of complete cocks too (and oh it most certainly is), but it has got something, what Manowar would call 'The brotherhood of metal', that just brings people together. I see less and less of that every time I go to a gig here. I don't go to gigs to be the only one headbanging. As (I think it was the frontman of The Inbreds once said) "Come on you bastards! You didn't grow your hair long for the girls, did ya?" Maybe it's why I go to so few gigs now (that and the fact that seriously there is never anything fucking on in Bournemouth).
Well, anyway, I got to rant every now and then about complete crap, clear the system you know?
As an aside, I am finding it hellaciously difficult to compile my end of year list this year. It's not necessarily that this years been bad in music, its that I've been so involved in listening to older stuff and buying vinyl and expanding my movie collection and whatnot that I've barely caught anything that was actually released this year. My rough outline for the top 10 looks as follows:
1. Current 93 - Black Ships Ate the Sky
2. Agalloch - Ashes Against the Grain
3. Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death
4. Countess - Holocaust of the God Believers
5. Korpiklaani - Tales Along This Road
6. Amon Amarth - With Oden on Our Side
7. Placebo - Meds
8. Drudkh - Blood in Our Wells
9. Devin Townsend Band- Synchestra
10. Kalmah - The Black Waltz
But I'm completely unsure about the order, or whether I really want all those on there. It will take a lot more listening (I mean, seriously, how do you do a quality comparison between Placebo and Drudkh, that is hard shit). Writing stuff may also turn out to be hard: I only really consider the first four of those albums to be truly great, and even then in some cases I don't have my opinion down in stone. And there's a lot of stuff I really need to listen to before I can be happy with this list: I mean, as shamed as I am to say it, I have not heard the new Napalm Death, the new Laibach, or the new Bal-Sagoth, all three of which I'm sure I will love the shit out of, nor have I heard the new Katatonia, Throbbing Gristle, Entombed, Oomph!, Queensryche, Danzig, Seabound, Strapping Young Lad, Clan of Xymox, Bob Dylan, Eisbrecher, Blind Guardian, Motorhead or Killing Joke (though I do have the 7"), most of which I am bound to like to a lesser or greater degree and could easily be used to expand my list up to maybe even the hallowed top 25. And that's just the releases I haven't heard that I've heard about. Goodness knows what incredible things are rotting away on unknown internet labels I've never heard of. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, the blank truth is I have only listened to 14 new things this year. 11 of them were albums (the other one was Thornography). The other three were Death in June's 'Free Tibet' (which to be fair I wouldn't but on anything as it marks, if anything, the nadir of their career so far), Ewigkeit's 'Return to the Land of Fog' re-release and an free Agitated Radio Pilot EP that I've formed no solid opinion on yet.
So, yeah, might not even bother doing a proper top-list this year. Kind of sucks I know. I might just do a list of the twenty best albums I discovered this year. That might be more interesting.