Monday, May 13, 2013

adult contemporary metal: In the Silence; Pretty Maids

adult contemporary
Adult contemporary metal is mellow, singing-driven, unoffending, uncontroversial music that could be played at the suit-and-tie office, or in the background at a restaurant. People would go, “Ah, that’s a nice song, who is that? Is it Journey? Boston? Trans-Siberian Orchestra?” The guitar work is melodic, not “shredding.” Other characteristics of adult contemporary metal are: it is not music you’d be embarrassed if young children heard it; it is not x-rated music; the likelihood that there is a curse word is very low; no gimmicks, no image, no cartoonish, no anti/religious things. It is just catchy songs. If someone told these bands that they are not “real” metal, they would smile, and say nothing because that would be a boring discussion for them. Rock? Metal? Hard rock? Heavy rock? Melodic heavy metal rock? That’s not something with which these musicians concern themselves much.
In The Silence (U.S.): “A Fair Dream Gone Mad”
Pretty Maids (Denmark): “Motherland”
In The Silence exudes talent and professionalism: a clean, clear production, great singing, and skillful instrumentation. In The Silence specializes in melancholic, moody, a bit proggy songs (in places, a bit similar in feel to latter-day Katatonia). Only the first song, “Ever Closer,” sounds like a “normal” song, in the sense of an easily comprehensible metal number, for purposes of getting the attention of the listener. However, after that, it is required to listen to the complete work to get a good idea of the overall interpretation of the music. Personally, it took a day of listening to the album to understand it. I would say that two things stand out the most. First, the melodic singing (no growling, no tough-guy shouting, no air-raid siren screaming, etc.) gives the band an intelligent vibe. It is a nice change of pace from the constant pig-squeals, blasting and growling in this zine. Second, the mood: these songs require patience, have to let them go into moments of slow, mellow, wandering segments, get a little proggy, and find a way to wrap things up. You can listen to this by itself, or have it in the background while reading a book, but it’s probably a very bad idea for the gym when you “want to rock out.”
If radio and television played the song “Wasted” by Pretty Maids, then it would become a massive, international hit song with soccer moms, with middle-age people, and would be playing on the radio every hour. Men and teenage boys would claim that they don’t like it, but they would secretly sing along in the car, when no one is with them. “Wasted” is not the only song like that, “Sad to See You Suffer” is just as, if not more, memorable and ear-friendly. The album is uptempo, happy rockers (but not too much rocking, this is adult contemporary, after all) and midpace sing-along big-chorus tracks. Warning to the knowledgeable listener: If you want the Pretty Maids of the classic heavy metal thunder of the “Future World” album (1987), you should know that this is not that type of band anymore. They are older, less angry, more mellowed out and less speedy. Be that as it may, these songs are well-arranged ear candy, something the band has always done, regardless of time period.

1 comment:

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