My original idea for this post was to write a pithy little overview of the year in metal, but I made the egregious error of putting on 40 Watt Sun to keep me company, and lo and behold, ridiculously earnest self-reflection took hold. So, instead of what could have been a sterling piece of music reportage, you’re stuck with this, a wistful update to show my gratitude to a few deserving folk.
Feel free to skip this entire post if self-referential musings aren’t your thing—or if you think saying ‘thanks’ isn’t very fuckin’ metal. Don’t say you weren’t warned; it’s going to get awfully sentimental from here on in.
2011 was the year that I decided, after years of writing about a huge variety of music, to throw caution to the wind and concentrate (mainly) on metal. I figured it was about time, considering I’ve been a slavish fan of metal for over 25 years. I wanted to spend some time writing about metal from an Antipodean perspective, highlight how passionate we are about it down this end of the world, and talk about a few of the great metal bands that reside south of the equator.
There’s a feisty DIY spirit to metal coverage in New Zealand, and I had to borrow a fair swag of that attitude when I decided to get my work ‘out there’ this year. It really went against my introverted, hermit-like nature when I sent off some examples of my writing to Hellbound.ca, a Canadian metal website I had long admired. To my enormous surprise, they said they’d be happy for me to contribute. That was a nerve-racking proposition for me, because Hellbound has a raft of writers whose work I hold in high regard, but I decided to follow Rob Halford’s advice, figuring, “…I got nothing to lose at all.”
About this time I also got a new role as the music editor for Manual magazine, a skate publication I’ve been contributing to for a few years. Flushed with overconfidence, I then dropped PopMatters a line to see if they had space for another metal writer. They said yes too.
It’s been a great if somewhat surreal year for me, and I’m a firm believer in giving credit where it’s due. With that in mind, I want to thank the good folk at Hellbound for indulging a foreign correspondent, especially one who (shamefully) only owns four Voivod albums. To the team at Manual—who are all way hipper than I’ve ever been—cheers for ensuring I get to write about a whole bunch of non-metal music, and for letting me have free reign as commissioning editor. And a big thanks to the PopMatters editors for giving me a chance to just fucking wax prolific in the most verbose fashion imaginable.
Thanks also go to the horde of other writers whose work I follow religiously—they deserve a hearty cheers for their great writing this year as well; you should check ‘em all out, immediately. So, in no particular order, thank you; Kyle Antivenin, Rob Hughes, Adrien Begrand, Natalie Zed, Grim Kim, Brandon Stosuy, Dan Obstkrieg, Gruesome Greg, Ross Gnarly, Rae Amitay, Lars Gotrich, Jason Heller, Steff Metal, Dan Marsicano, Brice Ezell, Chris Colgan, Laina Dawes and Dane Prokofiev. You should all know that your writing is greatly appreciated, and extra special cheers to those of you who sent an encouraging word my way.
A lot of incredibly talented people are not on the list above. Hopefully I can scoop them all up by offering my thanks to the writers, editors and curators of those sites I routinely visit: Cvlt Nation, Deciblog, Lurker’s Path, Metal Review, Invisible Oranges, Requiem Metal Podcast, Heavymetal.about.com, Metal Insider and The Quietus. You all made life infinitely more tolerable and pleasurable in 2011.
I started sixnoises in late 2011 as an online portfolio. I had no ambitions aside from writing the occasional review of albums I enjoyed, or interviewing people I respected. My aim wasn’t to compete with the big kids, or to create the type of caustic blog that tears bands to shreds and/or criticizes other authors or commentators. I’m just here to talk about artists and individuals who I believe sustain and improve the metal scene. I’m not here to stroke my ego by belittling others. If that means sixnoises comes across as a bit milquetoast, fuck it, I can live with that.
It’s been fun tinkering with sixnoises this year. It’s still early days, and I’ve obviously got a lot to learn, but it’s a project I’m intending to keep going in 2012. My eternal thanks go out to everyone who graciously gave up their time to help me along the way, and I especially want to thank Natalie Zed and Profound Lore‘s Chris Bruni, who both provided insightful answers to my fumbling interview questions early on. That they agreed to be interviewed by a fledgling writer with zero reputation from half a world away was humbling.
To all the bands and labels that got in touch, thanks very much. Without you, sixnoises wouldn’t exist, and I consider myself extremely privileged to have found some magnificent promos in my inbox this year.
I write words about music, and sometimes people read those words. I find the whole process crushingly embarrassing, to be honest. I don’t believe my opinion counts any more than yours, and I don’t claim for one second to know any more about metal than you do. So, whether you’ve agreed with what I’ve written, thought I raised an interesting point, discovered a great new band via one of my reviews, or grown to hate seeing my name at the bottom of an article, I genuinely appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read my opinions. I’m always interested in hearing yours.
And finally, I can’t end without sending out a very special thank you message to the fine gentleman who took it upon himself to send me his thoughts on my Wayne Static review for PopMatters earlier this year. Of all the feedback I received in 2011, yours was without a doubt the most passionate. I applaud you and your fervor, and I promise that in 2012 I will try my best to do as you suggested and “stop being a stupid useless cunt who nos [sic] noting [sic] about metal,” although I do have to admit that I didn’t, “stick the review up [my] fucking as [sic].”
31st December, 2011.