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ZZalgern0n
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Helsinki, Finland
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:22 am 
 

Just curious how others are digesting metal.

I've noticed that in general there tends to be two types of music listeners -- those that are listening for melodies (also within vocals). And those that are listening to lyrics at the forefront of the music.

I'm very bad at listening to lyrics in any kind of music, just the melodies. I can usually emulate how song vocals go tonally but rarely with real lyrics. Karaoke becomes a shocking experience of "oh, wtf... that's what they're talking about?"

Since extreme metal lyrics are obviously more garbled, how do you digest them? Do you read them afterwards? Do you pay attention? Do they affect your appreciation of the music?

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Horus666
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:20 pm
Posts: 578
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:35 am 
 

I can only speak for myself, but my attention is usually directed towards what I feel are the strengths of x band I'm listening to. If the lyrics are great, and they jump out at me. Then they'll be a big part of the total experience. If they're crap or mediocre then I'll turn my attention towards riffing, drumming, whatever etc.

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ZZalgern0n
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Helsinki, Finland
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:39 am 
 

Does it matter if they're ultra-garbled? Like if there were some Orwellian DM or grind lyrics, is it likely that you'd be able to notice their brilliance?

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MalignantThrone
Vanished in the Cosmic Futility

Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 1:24 am
Posts: 2785
Location: A step closer to home
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:40 am 
 

I personally don't really care about the lyrics in my music on a critical scale. I like to know the lyrics, even for black/death metal bands, because the tone of the lyrics should fit with how the musical passage sounds at the time. (For example, early Waking the Cadaver - the vocals are incomprehensible slurry, but they fit with whatever the guitars are doing at the time and it works.) But I don't think I'd ever criticize a band simply because of their sub-par lyrics. I believe it has just as much to do with how certain syllables sound as it has to do with poetic value, which is why we can often find lyrics beautiful even if they're written in languages we don't understand.
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Shalk
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:09 am
Posts: 420
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:49 am 
 

I'm the kind of guy who think that a song is a concept, built by the music itself and the lyrics, so I pay attention to them and are a plus when lyrics are good. I couldn't imagine Empyrium's music with awful lyrics.

Bad lyrics also detracts the overall experience. Woods of Ypres is a good example. The music is mediocre, uninspired but I wouldn't hate it as much as I do if the lyrics weren't that horrible. Korpiklaani singing about Tequila or Happy Little Boozers don't help me to take their music seriously.

I don't mind satantic, antichristian, gore/murder lyrics in black, death and grindcore since those topics fit well with the music, but they should be written in a decent way. It's not the same CC Barnes' era lyrics than Waking the Cadaver bullshit.
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Horus666
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:20 pm
Posts: 578
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:56 am 
 

Cryptopsy is another good example. I love the music of Whisper Supremacy, but the lyrics pale in comparison to those by Worm. The fact that you can make them out due to Mike's vocal style only emphasizes that fact, and is a big minus.

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ZZalgern0n
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Helsinki, Finland
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:32 pm 
 

Shalk wrote:
Korpiklaani singing about Tequila or Happy Little Boozers don't help me to take their music seriously.


Well... the only thing about Korpiklaani is that they're doing an adaptation of a Finnish style. There is a large folk history around and musical catalog of bubbly and melancholy Finnish drinking songs, so it's more a celebration of that than anything... Several of their songs are folk covers as well...

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u_sir_r_a_faggot
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:50 am
Posts: 467
Location: Bangladesh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:18 pm 
 

I do read the lyrics when I'm listening to a song for the first time. But I quickly lose interest if its boring which is the case with most metal bands. But bands with great lyrics certainly help me to love their songs more. Some of the examples would be Agalloch, Insomnium, Darkane etc. I wouldn't love them as much as I do if I didn't understand their lyrics.
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PhilosophicalFrog
The Hypercube

Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 7:08 pm
Posts: 5905
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:32 pm 
 

Pretty much what faggot said. Most metal bands have fucking awful lyrics (go to any thread in this place about "Best Metal Lyrics" and everything save like 5 posts have the worst goddamn lyrics) but the ones that are fantastic (Lord Worm, JR Hayes, Dax Riggs, Peter Steele) are definitely a huge part of it.
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The_Minstrel51
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:06 am
Posts: 608
Location: Kor-Avul-Thaa
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:53 pm 
 

I try to listen to/understand the lyrics whenever possible. That being said, I listen to a lot of bestial/war metal where most bands have such similar lyrical themes and song titles that it just gets hard to pay attention after awhile; they're pretty much all saying the same thing. I also agree with the above poster who said Woods of Ypres' terrible lyrics (and song titles) detract from the music.

Bal-Sagoth are one of my favorite bands, and I think Lord Byron's lyrics (and vocal delivery) are rather awesome, albeit somewhat clichéd. Obviously that band is not everyone's cup of tea, but his writing skill is undeniable IMO.

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CrustAsFuckExistence
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:44 pm
Posts: 979
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:10 pm 
 

I generally don't pay attention, usually only look them up if I like the song title or it's a band who's ideology I'm down with. The music itself is much more important- I don't really give a shit about what the lyrics are, as long as the music moves me. That's why I can listen to Peste Noire and Akitsa and love it, I guess...
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hij
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:16 pm
Posts: 424
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:13 pm 
 

Back in the days of vinyl sitting there reading the lyrics (if they were included) and over analyzing the cover. Looking at the inside of the album was part of the experience. It's just not the same doing that with a CD.

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Necroticism174
Kite String Popper

Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:46 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:55 pm 
 

PhilosophicalFrog wrote:
Pretty much what faggot said. Most metal bands have fucking awful lyrics (go to any thread in this place about "Best Metal Lyrics" and everything save like 5 posts have the worst goddamn lyrics) but the ones that are fantastic (Lord Worm, JR Hayes, Dax Riggs, Peter Steele) are definitely a huge part of it.

This. And you basically named all my favourite lyricists :p
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SharpAndSlender
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:49 am
Posts: 2260
Location: Bradenton, Florida
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:22 pm 
 

If a metal band has particularly excellent lyrics, I'll read and enjoy them. If not, I'll just ignore them since extreme metal lyrics are unintelligible anyway. When I write music, I pay a lot of attention to the lyrics, but it doesn't particularly bother me if they're half-assed.

Now when it comes to hip-hop, I care a lot about the lyrics for obvious reasons.
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ZZalgern0n
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Helsinki, Finland
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:55 pm 
 

Pretty surprised actually that so many people care for lyrics. Pretty cool to find out.

I think Agalloch is the only metal band whose lyrics have actually stood out and grabbed me.

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HamburgerBoy
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 6:40 am
Posts: 1536
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:12 pm 
 

Sometimes. If it's a band I really love despite not caring for or really understanding the lyrics, I'll read as I listen anyways just to help get into the song (see: post-Arch Fates Warning). If the lyrics are well written and have an excellent delivery, I'll also read along (see: Sabbat and Holy Terror). Otherwise, I don't really care that much.

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Dave_o_rama
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:54 am
Posts: 544
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:44 pm 
 

SharpAndSlender wrote:
If a metal band has particularly excellent lyrics, I'll read and enjoy them. If not, I'll just ignore them since extreme metal lyrics are unintelligible anyway.

This.
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TheExodusAttack
Metalhead

Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 4:16 am
Posts: 1749
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:18 pm 
 

When I listen to metal I rarely pay attention to the lyrics (except for a few certain songwriters like the ones PhilosophicalFrog pointed out). This habit has spilled over into pretty much all genres I listen to now as well, so I don't pay much attention to lyrics in any progressive/psychedelic rock, electronic music, hip hop or what have you. Well I spose I pay a fair bit of attention to hip hop lyrics but still not as much as most. Sometimes this makes me sad and I wish I was more interested in the lyrics, but when you get down to it, it's usually the actual music/beat that makes the song for me.
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dreadmeat
emere vendere cambire

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
Posts: 5628
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:49 pm 
 

i couldn't care less what they are saying
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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:55 pm 
 

I don't care about lyrics, usually. My philosophy is this:

Good lyrics are a bonus. Bad lyrics are ignored.
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dreadmeat
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Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
Posts: 5628
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:20 pm 
 

i used to pore over lyrics while listening to cannibal corpse and deicide etc way back when i started listening to death metal
honestly i can't even make out most cleanly sung music like queen, the police and u2 ha ha not sure why
all this is 'within reason' of course.
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Mike_235
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:43 am
Posts: 101
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:25 pm 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
I don't care about lyrics, usually. My philosophy is this:

Good lyrics are a bonus. Bad lyrics are ignored.


This is more or less the way I think too. I certainly appreciate good lyrics, but Instrumentation and the sound of the vocals are more important to me.

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Hastein45
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:56 pm
Posts: 198
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:40 pm 
 

I think it adds to the experience. Part of the reason I listen to metal is the fact that a lot of the lyrical content is based on subjects not touched on by mainstream artists.

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dreadmeat
emere vendere cambire

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:59 pm 
 

Hastein45 wrote:
I think it adds to the experience. Part of the reason I listen to metal is the fact that a lot of the lyrical content is based on subjects not touched on by mainstream artists.
like war, death, satan, religion, politics, tv etc? :-D :-P
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Metallic Shock
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 407
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:30 pm 
 

I do pay attention to lyrics even when they aren't that good. I look for all aspects of music when I'm listening, so if I notice good lyrics the band does get more points though it's not as big a deciding factor as the songwriting.

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Funsize999
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:15 pm
Posts: 95
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:44 pm 
 

When I listen to music, I imagine the vocalist is telling me a story, or even trying to teach me something. So lyrics are important, not only the subject but also how the lyrics pertain to that particular subject. Even "poorly written" lyrics can be enjoyable as long as you can see the underlying meaning (if it exists). Also, figuring out what the lyrics mean is perhaps my favourite aspect of the music.

The greatest thing about the lyrics though is what they could mean. "Dreamer/Deceiver" to some people is about waking up to the silliness of free love and hippy crap, and I wouldn't call in to question that Judas Priest had this in mind when they wrote it, but to me it's about drugs, but even in a different context it's the same message - we're only fooling ourselves.

So yeah, good lyrics = very metal. And metaphors. Metaphors are cool.

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MetalFRO
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:30 am
Posts: 249
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:02 pm 
 

I am someone who considers the whole package when listening to music. I enjoy all aspects, and as a vocalist myself, lyrics play an important role. That said, I can deal w/ bands that sing about stuff I disagree with when it comes to extreme metal because it's easier to ignore those unless they're totally decipherable, and even then sometimes that can even be fine. Cheesy lyrics don't bother me unless they're REALLY cheesy, and even then sometimes they're forgivable. But overall, I do appreciate thoughtful lyrics that are well written, well-delivered, and actually say something. Nothing wrong w/ good party lyrics, as long as they're not so sleazy that you have to change your pants after listening to them, but my favorite lyrics are those that either tell a story, make me think about something, give me a new perspective on something, or just engage me in some fashion.
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Deathshred66609
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:20 am
Posts: 84
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:47 pm 
 

When I was a kid I used to read along with every album I purchased. Just made the album that much better...

Now its more of if I really like something I will follow along...

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Erisgaroth
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:18 am
Posts: 1542
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:38 am 
 

I focus my attention more in the music than in the lyrics, but i don't ignore them completely. In some songs, like ballads for example, i specially put attention in the lyrics. I want them to be well written, but in those cases when the lyrics are bad... well, the music at least it's the only hope to recover the song :grin:

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p0wnn00b
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:40 pm
Posts: 914
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:02 am 
 

I want to read more, but usually I only read lyrics when a song really connects with me.

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Ina_Dingir_Xul
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 8:44 am
Posts: 382
Location: Singapore
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:36 am 
 

I used to pay more attention to lyrics, but as of late I've been more focused on the general feel of the music. I do occasionally read the lyrics, but not as much as before.

Since extreme metal vocals aren't very decipherable anyway, I don't bother to listen carefully. Unless it's a song I already know the lyrics for, then deciphering the vocals becomes easy, with the exception of a few bands. I still check some lyrics out though, just to get a better feel of the song and what the artist is trying to put across (unless they are just for entertainment like Cannibal Corpse). It does make for a better enjoyment if you get the music and lyrics, especially if the lyrics are good and fit the atmosphere of the song.

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OneRodeToAsaBay
The Doll With the Hideous Spirit

Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:49 pm
Posts: 2087
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:05 am 
 

I read lyrics while hearing an album regularly, especially with new-to-me records. It's part of the experience and presentation of a given work--why wouldn't I enjoy it? If the lyrics are clever or well-written, it's a cool bonus, but even if they're dumb rock'n'roll lyrics about booze and motorcycles I don't care because I'll probably be singing along anyway.

And maybe the extreme metal I listen to tends to have vocalists that enunciate very well but I rarely if ever have trouble understanding the lyrics without the words before me--often it's quite intelligible without looking at the lyrics at all. Example of this is Master--neat lyrics and quite easy to understand.

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elf48687789
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
Posts: 1632
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:36 am 
 

Hastein45 wrote:
I think it adds to the experience. Part of the reason I listen to metal is the fact that a lot of the lyrical content is based on subjects not touched on by mainstream artists.
Definitely enhances the experience if the lyrics are good and well thought out, interesting rhymes, etc.

With atmospheric black metal I can barely make out a few words, if any. Having a title is cool in those cases.

But having a stupid title degrades the song, like Spinal Tap's "Lick My Love Pump", the infamous neo-classical piece. Of course it's funny because it's a joke band, but a lot of other joke bands are just plain stupid.

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Hastein45
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:56 pm
Posts: 198
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:10 am 
 

dreadmeat wrote:
Hastein45 wrote:
I think it adds to the experience. Part of the reason I listen to metal is the fact that a lot of the lyrical content is based on subjects not touched on by mainstream artists.
like war, death, satan, religion, politics, tv etc? :-D :-P

Spot on. Lol. The world isn`t a romance filled pop song, ya know? Lol.

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Dooders
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:00 am
Posts: 427
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:03 am 
 

For metal in particular I am not as easily motivated to learn the lyrics like I am with other bands/artists I listen to, maybe because of how unintelligible they are at times and also because of how immersed I become in the music itself. The music definitely has the primary role, but if they are lyrics which are easily comprehended (ex. Type O Negative), they can add a lot right off the bat. It is not that I don't care about the lyrics in metal, it's just I seem to pick out the albums I care deeply for and decide to become that much more invested (by discovering and looking into the lyrics). Like someone mentioned earlier, with great bands who sing about simpler things like booze and good times, I will find myself singing along and just simply riding with it. Kudos to the bands that put substantial effort into their lyrics that complement the music and really sink you deeper into it.

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TheNiceNightmare
Veteran

Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:11 pm
Posts: 2992
Location: Sweden
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:29 am 
 

Since I shout/scream/growl/sing along to most of the stuff I listen to, to at least some degree, and like to both write and read myself, lyrics are incredibly important to me - poor (note the difference between average/generic and downright poor) lyrics can directly impact a song negatively, to the degree where I'm hesitant to listen to something with decent instrumentation if I'm aware the lyrics are so hideously, painfully shitty that I feel uncomfortable singing them. This is also why I hesitate to listen to blatantly Christian/racist/etc material, because I don't enjoy singing on/about things I oppose myself to. It's one reason I despise the latest Hibria album so much, for example; the instrumentation, while somewhat forgettable and definitely inferior to the previous two albums, wasn't that bad - it was the fucked up titles and bizarre lyrics that turned me off, ("The Shelter's on Fire"? "Tough is the Way"? What the hell??) and I desperately hope that Marco Panichi starts on something new, because if he was as responsible for Hibria's previous material as it would sound from the two earlier albums... man's a goddamn genius.

(Waits for some twat to point out that my favourite band is Hammerfall :P)
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bladesOFawesomeness
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:06 am
Posts: 58
Location: India
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:24 am 
 

well, lyrics, for me, are very important. Of course, okay, let me put it like this.
Very good music + very good lyrics = win. Period.
Good music + mediocre lyrics (and vice versa) = just listenable
VG music + bad lyrics = listenable. This means that even if beautiful music is being made, but the lyrics are really sleazy/cheesy I'll find it really hard that such music's lyricist is an....idiot.
VG music + SICK lyrics = nope.

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Aquarius
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:17 am
Posts: 589
Location: Czech Republic
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:25 am 
 

I must admit that I do not follow lyrics every time. It mostly depends on subject the song deals with.
The thing is that I have no more care about certain topics and moreover I am too lazy guy to read lyrics of all songs I listen to.
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DemonHellSpawn
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:06 am
Posts: 595
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:05 am 
 

I like to know what Death Metal bands are actually saying, because that's part of the experience.
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Louie CK
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:29 am
Posts: 59
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:35 am 
 

well, for bands with clean vocals, yes
bands with harsh vocals, sometimes but really depends on how much I like them
and bands with grunts/shrieks etc; I usually give them a few listens before I read the lyrics because I've found that if cadance of the lyrics are off from the actual music it bothers me until I forget them

EDIT: and I never bother with lyrics for bands that do gutterals

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