Category Archives: Editorial Pieces

We Are Featured In This Week’s VC Reporter

The nice folks at VC Reporter did a killer write up on us and founder Max ‘ManJewky’ Wallis in their January 8th edition.  If you are local to Ventura County, California you can probably find a copy pretty easily. If not, see below for the digital version.

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“Metal music rose to prominence in the 1980s only to be eclipsed by Nirvana and the Seattle sound . . . or so the legend goes. The music fell out of the spotlight for years, with bands like Metallica representing close to the entirety of a culture to fans who didn’t know any better. But metal never died; it retreated underground where it spawned an infinite variety of subgenres, fusing influences from all across the musical spectrum into its core sound. Subgenres such as metalcore and deathcore developed from a strong hardcore punk influence to substantial success. Post-metal cast aside a verse-chorus-verse song format in favor of Black Sabbath-like riffing and cinematic atmosphere. All of these sounds had their moments before slowly going back underground. What has emerged since is a return to the core sound, a new wave of thrash and traditional metal. Internet radio station Kosher Metal wants to welcome you to the revolution.”

Read more at VC Reporter here

Science, Bitch: Your MP3 Collection Contains Only 9% Of The Original Music Data

A recent article posted by Mic.com has revealed something irrefutable (backed with science data) that might change the way you choose to listen to music, especially if you use Spotify. To put it simply, when original music data (the “master”) is compressed to the digital MP3 format it loses 91% of its original data, which gets replaced with algorithms. That’s right 91 PERCENT! What does this mean, exactly? Well…it means a few things. First off, you are guaranteed to have minimal emotional response to the music because listening to music in MP3 format can “fatigue” the ears. Secondly, you are not hearing the music the way the artist intended you to hear it. Hearing the music in a higher fidelity can potentially evoke emotional responses never present when listening to it in the compressed MP3 form. Consider a vinyl record to be the equivalent of 1080p HD and a CD is 720P HD….now consider an MP3 to be only 9% of that 1080p HD. Just let that sink in for a bit.

Now, read this excerpt from the article:

Bob Ludwig, a record mastering engineer, believes this [music in MP3 form] is one of the chief reasons people don’t engage with albums as deeply anymore. “When you’re through listening to a whole album of this highly compressed music, your ear is fatigued,” he told NPR. “You may have enjoyed the music but you don’t really feel like going back and listening to it again.”

Research shows that musical quality has a huge effect on emotional response. A recent study performed by audio researchers at DTS divided a group of listeners into two groups — one that watched a video accompanied by standard stereo 96-kbps sound (Spotify’s default audio setting) and the other group listened in 256-kbps audio format. The responses in the brains of the group listening with the 256-kbps audio were 14% more powerful on metrics measuring memory creation and 66% higher on pleasure responses. And this was just 96 to 256 kbps.

Vinyl records are estimated to play at a whopping 1000 kbps. Music might not just have lost its revenue when it switched to digital; it may have lost its emotional power too.

Granted, we here at Kosher Metal have to use MP3 files to broadcast our radio station….but in no way should our radio station be the only way you listen to music. Sure, it’s a 128kbps which is higher than Spotify’s default setting but we want you to seek out the music from the bands you like hearing in physical form…whether it’s CD or vinyl.

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(click image to enlarge, definitely worth a look. Image source Mic.com)

2014 Is The First Year With ZERO Platinum Selling Albums

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…and it’s all your fault.

But seriously this really, REALLY bums me out! Sean Parker and Spotify aren’t exactly helping, either. I mean, unless you are a stickler for audio quality like me or like having a physical product with artwork, it makes perfect sense to just stream the album for free instead of paying for it. But on the flip-side, the money you save is more money taken away from the artist because the content creators get paid far less than they would selling that album to the listeners, not to mention the ongoing piracy issue. I commend Tool (and all the other artists) for not having anything up on Spotify. Good music has value, and those artists know it. I guess it’s a good thing that Spotify’s business model hasn’t proven to be sustainable.

Sure, many people say that they use Spotify to check out an artist before buying. Realistically, I’m betting that 99.99% of the people who say that are full of shit and have no desire to pay for any music. They may go to shows, but that’s not what this post is about.

I get albums sent to me for free digitally because of the radio station and yet I still purchase the vinyl if I like it and it’s available. Am I an idiot for spending hundreds of dollars on music in the past year? NO! Because I’m willing to take an active role in helping the artist succeed. I can’t go to every show so at least I’m buying something.

There may come a time when the artists you love just stop putting out new albums all together and just release a single now and then. If that happens, would all the money saved be worth it? Sure…you didn’t have to pay for any music but I bet you’d be pretty bummed if your favorite bands stopped putting out albums. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everybody. If you purchase music albeit vinyl, CD, or Digital then I’m obviously not directing this at you…I actually salute you.

In the end, pirateers and music freeloaders will do what they want but let me just leave you with this comment left by a friend of mind who shall remain anonymous (unless they ask to be revealed):

“You see… the older bands I dig actually came up in a time when fans would not only BUY the album, but they’d also PAY for their tickets to a show. AND when they got to the show, they would BUY merch too! It wasn’t a matter of “Well, let me steal the album and TRY to get into the show for free via guest list from a shitty local opener or just sneak in… THEN maybe buy a shirt if I have enough money left over after I buy all my weed and/or cigs and/or beer.” There was no theft of music, and no justification of “Well I’m poor/broke and can’t afford every new album that comes out.” We supported our favorite bands so that they could still be around, and continuing to put out new music.

Proof positive that when you actually SUPPORT artists with your WALLET instead of facebook likes and ridiculous “promotion” via illegal torrents and blogspots, they will actually still be around 20 – 30 years later…”

-Max ‘ManJewky’ Wallis

The Record Doctor V: For Vinyl Lovers Only

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I recently acquired a Record Doctor V and I must say that it is a game changer in the realm of record cleaning machines (commonly referred to as RCMs). Basically, it’s a manual powered VPI in the sense that you turn the record manually instead of there being a motor to turn it for you, and it’s the elimination of this motor that makes it the most affordable vacuum powered record cleaning machine on the market. At an affordable (and even lower than before) price point of $199.99 it is a must have for serious vinyl enthusiasts / audiophiles. I am never looking back after using this thing, everything is getting cleaned on it. If you want one too, you can get it direct from the source via Audio Advisor at this location. Below is a video demonstrating its use.

Whether you get the RDV or not, you should know that ALL records come dirty from the pressing plant, you just can’t see it. Basically, there is a residue from an agent/compound they use to prevent the records from sticking together when they’re pressing them. The unfortunate side effect is left over residue, which degrades the sound of the record. I can personally verify that records which appeared clean and played clean before using the RDV sound much better after cleaning them, there is more depth to the music. It really is a jaw dropping experience. So, needless to say you should have some type of way to deep clean your records effectively. Also, you should know that there can sometimes be tiny vinyl fragments within the grooves and once the needle/stylus hits it blows a hole in the sidewall of the groove and then you will have a permanent “pop” in that spot, this obviously only applies to brand new records because used records usually have been played at least once.

-Max ‘ManJewky’ Wallis
KM Co-Founder / Blog Editor

Everything You Need To Know About Metallica’s Blackened Recordings’ Vinyl Reissues

It’s been a few since I’ve posted on here, mainly because I have developed an obsession for music on vinyl and have been getting lost in the world of Analog. But I am here to give all of you who care some much needed info regarding the upcoming Metallica vinyl reissues.

A couple of days ago it was announced that Metallica will be releasing a series of vinyl reissues via their own label Blackened Recordings, with the first wave of releases to come out on August 25th, 2014 and the second wave to be released on September 16th, 2014.

I have done all the necessary research to provide you with all the info you should need to make an informed decision.

First off, these Blackened vinyl reissues will be the same as the Warner vinyl reissues (that came out in 2008/2011) in terms of the source and mastering. Just like with the Warner reissues, they are all from the original masters and the first three albums are done at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs with the remaining done by Bernie Grundman. All are being pressed at Furnace and will be on standard gram vinyl. However, it should be noted that the Warner/Grundman reissues were pressed at either Pallas in Germany or RTI (both are top notch pressing plants). So, on the surface it appears that the only difference between the Blackened and Warner reissues is where they are pressed.

Secondly, for those unaware, the first three albums that were done at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (MoFi) have the reputation for sounding less than great with what is described as an obscene amount of treble (at least on the Warner issues). It is recommended by many that vinyl audiophiles seek out the original pressings of Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, and Master Of Puppets. You can’t really fault MoFi on that one though, because you have to consider the source. The reason why the MoFi releases sound so “bad” is because the recording quality of the masters weren’t the greatest. So, the MoFi remasters just bring out the bad production quality more while the original pressings don’t highlight those qualities as much.

Of course, these are all guidelines and it’s really up to an individual’s ears and sonic preferences. I have a 7-band EQ so I just might get the Blackened reissue of “Master Of Puppets” and mess with the EQ a bit if the treble is really as bad as people say, who knows…it might just sound killer with just a little bit of tweaking. If you know people who have either a Warner reissue or original pressing then definitely listen to their copy first and see what you think before buying. If you like the sound of the Warner reissues of a certain title (45 RPM series doesn’t count), then chances are that you will dig the Blackened reissue of the same title. Most people claim that the Grundman mastered ones sound fantastic (having better quality recordings to work with helped as well, I’m sure).

August 25th releases:
Master Of Puppets
Metallica” (self-titled ‘black album’) (2xLP)
Load” (2xLP)
Reload” (2xLP)
St. Anger
S&M” (3xLP)
Garage, Inc.” (3xLP)

September 16th releases:
Kill ‘Em All”
Ride The Lightning
…And Justice For All” (2xLP)
Death Magnetic” (2xLP)

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-Max ‘ManJewky’ Wallis

How To Stop Tagged Posts From Showing In The News Feeds Of Facebook Friends

Are you a musician, artist, promoter, or other business owner? Do you find yourself tagging promotional posts with people on your Facebook friends list because it will display in the news feed of their friends? Well, stop it!

“Promo-tags” are one of the lowest forms of promotion. Not only that, but it’s extremely annoying to the people that you tag because they will get a notification every time a comment on the post is made.

If you still feel like you have to tag people in order to get them to see a post, then tag them in the comments section of the post and not the post itself, leave it up to your “friends” to decide if they want to share it with their network of people.

If you find yourself the subject of “promo-tagging” there are two things you can do. The first thing is to turn on tagging approval in your settings, this will make it so you have to approve posts you are tagged in before they appear on your timeline (they will still show in your friends’ news feeds, though). Second step (if you want to go this far) is to prevent tagged posts from showing in the news feeds of your friends. To do this, make it so that your friends are not added to the audience of tagged posts and only you can see them. This can be done in the “Timeline and Tagging” section in your settings. You can refer to the image below to see where they are in the settings, click on the image to make it bigger.

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-Max ‘ManJewky’ Wallis
KM Co-Founder and Blog Editor

SWEET SAVAGE: The Band Metallica Tried To Sound Like

Unless you are familiar with the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, then you probably have no clue about the band Sweet Savage.

Well, let me just get this out in the open and say that it’s quite obvious (to me) that Metallica frontman James Hetfield tried as hard as possible to mirror the vocal styling of Sweet Savage frontman Ray Haller (at least in the beginning). Metallica also  covered the Sweet Savage song ‘Killing Time’ as a b-side to “The Unforgiven” single.

Listen to this track from Sweet Savage called ‘Eye Of The Storm’ that appeared on the NWOBHM ’79 Revisited Double CD compilation  that was co-curated by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. If you weren’t told otherwise, you’d probably think it was early Metallica.

 

Side note: Sweet Savage also featured guitarist Vivian Campbell (Dio, Def Leppard) until 1983.