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MetalAges.com - Heavy Metal reviews, interviews, band advice and random thoughts

I love when labels are smart enough to do this, free full album streaming prior to the release date.

The latest album to join the ranks of free full album streaming is Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime II” which I am listening to right now. I will reserve judgement until the end of course…

Here’s the link for those wishing to join me in listening: Click here to listen

Where are the classics?

March 21st, 2006

I was listening to the local Classic Rock station the other day and it made me wonder, what are today’s Metal/Hard Rock classics? Every now and then the station will play songs like RATT “Round and Round,” Billy Idol “Rebel Yell,” Whitesnake “Still of the Night” or Bon Jovi “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Man it’s so hard remembering these tunes came out twenty years ago! Talk about feeling old (I’m 35 this month)!

I’m not saying the song(s) would have to play on the radio to be a “classic” either, don’t get me wrong. For example I consider Metallica “Master of Puppets,” Queensryche “I Don’t Believe in Love,” Crimson Glory “Lady of Winter” and Dream Theater “Pull Me Under” to be classics in their own right. If you want to get more obscure I could pull tunes from albums by Fifth Angel, Sword or Malice as well!

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The Sticky Factor - STOP

March 17th, 2006

Catchy title isn’t it? Let me explain…

In the web development world there’s a term called the “sticky factor” or “stickiness.” Simply put, it means keeping visitors on your web site (sticky, stuck, not going anywhere). Any decent web site statistics package out there can actually track how long a visitor stays on your web site. You may want to log in to your web hosting control panel and check out your stats package to see how long visitors are hanging around on your web site.

As with most of the posts so far in the “Band Biz” section, I encountered another “no-no” (a pet peeve of mine) on a band web site that was the inspiration for this post.

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Band first, pleasures later

March 15th, 2006

I saw this posted on Blabbermouth today and just had to post about it here, it’s too funny to pass up! On the other hand, there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Minnesota based metal band SI6KS were holding a CD release party/show and apparently their guitarist had been celebrating way too much (translation: drunk!). Here is the video of the drummer coming to his breaking point:

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Mailing List Etiquette

March 15th, 2006

We went through forum etiquette with the previous post, now let’s talk about mailing list etiquette. The reason I decided to make this the next subject for the MetalAges blog is because I am currently dealing with a knucklehead band and am trying to get off of their mailing list.

Attention all bands. I, and many other site owners/people/labels etc., can appreciate the fact that you are trying to promote yourselves via any and all ways. However, there comes a time when you cross the line and your band falls into the category known as “annoying rumps.” I’ll use this current band as my example and explain. Note, I will not give their name as I don’t want to give them any extra publicity, so from this point forward they are known as The Annoying Rumps.

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Forum etiquette

March 13th, 2006

First impressions are lasting impressions, wouldn’t you say?

Bands, if you agree, then please read this blog entry carefully. There’s no other sure fire way to shoot your band in the foot than to register on a new forum and start spamming about your band.

“Check out our new MP3 it’s ripping METAL!”
“We’re playing so and so festival check out our site for news and audio!”
“We have a new MySpace page up please stop by and leave a comment, add us as your friend!”

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Whenever I listen to an album from a band that I really like, and end up not liking it, I have a personal rule to revisit that album at some point down the road and give it a second chance (sometimes even a third or fourth). I find I also do this with albums from bands that I see hyped and raved about from other music fans, but that I just don’t “get.”
Well, this week’s revisited album was Lost Horizon - A Flame to the Ground Beneath. I must say, I do like this album. Way back when I first listened to it I literally could not even make it through the entire thing. That’s right! I had to turn it off it was so bad! This week’s listen is probably the third or fourth try for me, and probably would have been the final chance before I gave it the eternal thumbs down. Prior to this, I recall listening to it when Matt Smith of Theocracy raved about how much he liked it.

So, what makes this listen the golden one? Who knows! I think most of the problem I had with it before was that I loved their debut album “Awakening the World” so freakin’ much. I consider “Awakening the World” one of the greatest metal albums ever, right up there with Judas Priest’s “Painkiller.” Since it has been a couple years that this second album has been out I think the comparison issue has finally passed for me. That happens quite often to me as I am sure it does with many of you as well. It happened most notably with Queensryche’s “Promised Land” album. I think that one took about four or five listens before I could finally appreciate it on its own.

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For those that don’t already know, in addition to running MetalAges.com I also run UltimateMetal.com. I bought the site from a good friend of mine (and now business partner!) about two years ago. Even prior to owning the site, I would always refer bands to him to sign up for a forum (it costs $60/year, or $40/year if you’re an indie with no albums or a self release). Why? Simple, exposure.

“But a forum is a forum is a forum right?” Uh, no. Not by a long shot. Sure, anyone can install and run their own forum for their band, it’s not too hard (for some people anyways!). However it does take time not only to install and customize, but to administer it on a day to day or week to week basis and you’ll want to pull your hair out dealing with trolls.
But one key element that you cannot install, purchase, or hope materializes out of thin air is TRAFFIC. Traffic = people = potential purchasers of your product, visitors to your site, subscribers to your mailing list, etc. Sure, your band could generate 500 users on your own forum who post regularly, some bands get more, some less. Where are those visitors coming from though? More than likely they were specifically looking for your band on google or yahoo and that’s how they found you, or they already have your CD and followed the web address from the liner notes.

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Band Promotion - Example

March 8th, 2006

I’ve been noticing more and more lately how the traditional side of Metal is really lacking when it comes to proper band promoting/branding. What do I mean by this? Let me show you a positive example of a band doing it right (whether you like this band or not is irrelevant):

Band: Hawthorne Heights
Album: If Only You Were Lonely
Label: Victory Records

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Wow, I never saw the day that the band Disturbed would be the topic of my first music related post here at MetalAges. However, it is very relevant to what just happened to me this week…I bought my first digital album from iTunes!

I had purchased tracks here and there before, but had always said that I would never buy a full digital album. I’m one of those guys who likes to have that physical piece of plastic and paper in my hands when I get a new album. However, lately I find myself more and more sitting at the computer and looking to quickly (and easily) access the album I want to listen to, and at a moments notice. I have a lot of my collection ripped to my computer and my CDs are mostly sitting upstairs collecting dust.

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