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September 2001

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In this issue:    Thora Birchophilia!     Fun on a Budget!     Ricky Martin: Fact or Fiction?     PLUS: God Hates PULP! , Batturtle Reviews movies that don't exist! and The Attack of Coffin Joe!.
Slayer Hates Us All

Yeah, yeah, you and I both know the way this review is headed. First off, we engage in some lighthearted kidding over the charming title of the new Slayer album, God Hates Us All. Then, perhaps some tongue-in-cheek comparisons between the thrash-core pioneers and sixties folk icon Donovan, followed by a few deliciously sarcastic appraisals of the artistic merit of lyrics like 'I keep the Bible in a pool of blood so that none of its lies can affect me', after which we all have a good laugh at the expense of bands who just waste shelf space at HMV when there are plenty of Radiohead albums to sell. Well, you know what? Nuts to you. You're going to sit here while I talk about the album, and you're going to like it. Not the album, of course. God no, nobody could possibly like that wretched excuse for a CD. But you and I both are going to give it the respect it deserves, as an actual, bona fide work of art with as much artistic validity as any post-rock album or Fatboy Slim release. I'm sick to death of people sneering at the kind of music me and thousands of other anti-social, needlessly hostile white youth listen to just because it's not 'relevant', 'politically correct', or 'good', and it's time to put a stop to it. I mean, honestly, when it comes right down to it, what's the difference between some squinty little British guy whining about androids and a beefy wrestling fan playing an entire set of songs about satanic storm troopers? Aside from the obvious, I mean. While the content, style, and overall coolness level may be entirely different, I maintain that the level of artistic integrity remains the same. After all, even in metal bands, these people are artists, composing original music and lyrics to get their message across. Regardless of how ridiculously inappropriate that message may be, that seems to me to be a fairly good definition of the artistic process. Sure, Slayer may really only have one message both lyrically (they hate God) and musically (they like Black Sabbath) but who are we to judge the validity of their opinions? Granted, some may find a thirteen song CD, not to mention the 11 previous albums, dedicated to raging against all that can be considered good in the world a little 'juvenile', but I ask you, how many juveniles do you know that spend a large portion of their spare time nailing Bibles to upside down crosses? If the answer is more than one, I think the problem may lie in the crowd you associate with, and not the music I listen to. It just irritates me when people dismiss an entire genre of music merely because it doesn't meet their lofty, slightly stoned ideals about what 'true' music consists of. I mean, it's not like we're talking about rap here, these are real musicians using the medium to convey their thoughts and ideas to the masses. If it was some do-ragged moron showing off a surprisingly feminine amount of diamond jewelry while babbling incomprehensibly about Bentleys and marijuana abuse, I could understand the dismissal, but the sheer arrogance in ignoring an entire genre of music just because you don't like the message being conveyed or the image being portrayed is infuriating. To relegate the huge subset of metal to the realm of un-artistic pap inhabited by bubblegum pop, disco, folk and trance music just plain ignorant. Music is music, so long as it isn't reggae or the empty, soulless computer bleeps of techno, and each genre and category should be respected for what it brings to the rich tapestry that comprises the art form. I don't want to preach, but all I'm saying is that as long as we're not talking about laughably impotent grrl rock or irritatingly puerile R&B, all forms and styles of music should be tolerated and embraced. Except for that DJ crap, because quite frankly, putting albums on two different record players at once and calling it a remix is about as challenging as writing punk songs, but other than that, we should respect different musical genres, and above all keep an open mind about types of music we may not be familiar with. Unless it's house.

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