Greetings ladies and gentleman! I am Alex K., your beloved reviewer/interviewer with the best metal website in existence: Imhotep! I am now going to share a portion of my brain with you in my column simply entitled “Planet X” where I will tackle topics that make our world go spinning round and round.
Yes, I will approach key issues in life with intelligence, humor, skepticism and yes, with our wacky, magical touch. Whether it be the music industry, religion, politics, Marijuana, pornography, bands I hate, love, genres of music we hate, love, the pope, perverted priests, strippers, hookers, sluts, your pet dog, you name it, I want to make a difference in this wonderful world known as planet earth, however Alex K. is taking over, so I am going to say this: The world is my frigging oyster and as of now and for the rest of eternity planet earth is going to turn into PLANET X!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH BABY…………………….
Topic # 1 “Record Labels And Those Damn Digital Promos And Promo CD’s With Voiceovers”
First off as a reviewer of music there is nothing like receiving a traditional, “physical” CD that is nothing more than an actual compact disc that is in a jewel case or slip case and yes, you take it out of the case, place it in your CD player, and whammo, you are listening to a CD that plays music. Now most reviewers, critics, writers, journalists or whatever the heck you want to call people like me or the rest of the staff of Imhotep, we work very hard in our free time writing reviews for promos that invade the mailbox of our editor at a rapid rate. Yes, it’s an honor to write and critique promos releases from the record labels, especially when you are a music junkie that lives, shits and breathes music 24 hours/7 days a week. We music journalists have a very strong passion for our craft and yes, some of us do not get paid money for what we do. Now whether you are a music journalist/writer who gets paid or doesn’t, there is nothing more rewarding then being able to keep that CD that you passionately just wrote a review for. Yes, the promo CD’s, not to mention the honor of seeing your journalism work published are the two motivating factors that drive you to want to write more and more reviews.
Now there is a new trend that is beginning…..it’s an itsy bitsy problematic. What is it? Well, since I guess since the Spring of 2007 suddenly it seemed that certain record labels were beginning to send out promo CD’s that featured “Voiceovers” to webzines and magazines for review. Now before I go into my rant about “digital promos” which is even more evil and vile, let me first point out my issues with promo CD’s that feature “voiceovers”.
(It says: "WARNING: All songs on this promo CD are voice-over protected to avoid any piracy and illegal file uploading on the internet before the release date, except (*))
Well, one day I received a promo CD from a record label that happens to feature one of my favorite death metal bands on its roster. My hands were wet anticipation and I could not wait to drop this CD into my stereo and review the fuck out of this album. Suddenly 2 minutes into the first track an annoying, monotone voice enters the mix as the music fades out and this evil voice says “you are listening to the property of Massacre Records”. Ok, it wasn’t a tragedy, however now I am listening to track 2 and about midway through the song I am listening to a wicked double bass blast beat and boom…, the blast beat fades and that evil voice that sounds like Arnold Schwaranegger on valiums chimes in and says: ”you are listening to the property of Nuclear Blast”. Ok, now I am beginning to get a tiny bit annoyed, however the optimistic side of my brain says “Don’t worry Alex, I am sure that’s the last voiceover”. Ok, now all is forgiven and I am trying to regain my concentration as I review this CD. Good, concentration is back on track, I am listening to the third track and just as the song is “about” to end that haunting voice suddenly chimes in AGAIN and says “you are listening to the property of….” Holy shit! What were the executives at this label thinking? I understand record labels want to avoid such problems as unlawful reproduction of their releases and all, but give me a break, assfart records can’t create if they must, one voiceover that begins at the very beginning of the CD and one at the very end…but no, they must include twenty something voiceovers which unfortunately ruin the listening experience and here is a message for record labels that offer way to many voiceovers on their CD promos: Yes, we get the point we are listening to the property of your label, you don’t have to remind me 50 times while I slave away listening to your CD and taking my free time to write a review for your new tax write off.
I am just making a point by stating it is highly distracting to hear a voiceover chime in twenty something times not even between songs but in the middle of a damn song. Yep, it becomes sooo distracting that I am sure most music writers can’t even focus on the music and all they are thinking is “Damn, when is that voice going to strike again”. Simply put, Alex K. says please stop the madness and just do away with the voiceovers altogether. Record labels survived for many years without them on their promos and if you are going to have a damn voiceover, make sure it’s not twenty times in a song and at least provide the voice of a sexy sounding woman who is comparable to a phone sex operator. Nuff said.
Now there is a plague that is even more vile and blasphemous then the voiceover. Yes….it’s known as the “digital promo”.
Well, back in the late spring of 2008 I noticed that a certain metal label suddenly stopped shipping out promo CDs altogether and one day I receive a email from my editor that states “Earache Records wants you to check out their website where with an access code known as lickvagina 69 you can access the promo release on your computer! Sorry, it can only be listened to through your computer speakers and it cannot be downloaded”.
Alright, you got to be kidding me! This record label, Earache Records, is now only releasing their promos as mp3 files and yup, after working long and hard on that album review, the music journalist cannot even keep a actual physical CD copy as a reward for his hardwork, not even a fucking CD with voiceovers. I am laughing sooo hard I am ready to piss my pants. Now, I have never reviewed a digital promo and yes… I never will, but how inconvenient, the writer cannot now listen to his promo CD for review while driving in his car, while visiting a relative or through his favorite stereo at home, yes, he must sit at his computer listening to a streaming mp3 file where it will be a bit difficult to hear the mix quite properly because yes, you have now entered the world of the mp3. Again, you’ve got to be kidding me. This is without a doubt, a cheapskate tactic imposed upon by this record label who by the way, have not only an office in New York City but an office in London, England and they don’t have any extra finances or resources to suddenly afford to print up extra “promo cds”. Yeah right, that’s just as believable as let’s say Osama Bin Laden is employed as a part time transvestite stripper in the suburbs of Pakistan.
Ahem.. (cough, cough) I must admit I think the staff at Earache Records must have been smoking some really powerful drugs when they said “Hey, let’s do away with those promo CD’s because we are struggling financially and let’s hire an internet rocket scientist that can create these awesome mp3 files, I am sure every journalist will get wet between the legs when they find out they can get their very own access code and hook up a pair of headphones to their computer speaker”
Ahem… (cough, cough) simply put, Alex K. is going to lay forth the smack down here and state that gee…..little tiny indie labels that are being run out of some dude’s apartment in the middle of Florida can afford to somehow distribute promo CDs for magazines and webzines, but c’mon, a label that’s been in business for 20 years or so with offices in New York City and London cannot afford to create even one promo CD for let’s say Kerrang magazine? Now that’s pathetic. The mp3 digital promo is nothing more than an insult to any music writer/critic who has been otherwise reviewing actual CD’s for sometime. Not only is the mp3 digital promo of poor sound quality and just soo damn cold, it’s a smack in the face and it makes me feel as if Earache Records does not appreciate and care much for your opinion… yes I am talking to you my fellow brothers and sisters… the hardworking music writers, journalists and critics.
Seriously, let’s all hope and pray that more labels do not start this digital promo trend. In fact, if any other writers and editors out there find this to be just as annoying as me, let’s make a difference and protest!!!
Yes, all we have to do is simply refuse to review any promo that is a “digital promo”. If we continue to review digital promos we are going to support the idea and concept of labels who do this, and the only way this plague is going to stop is if we protest!!!
WE MUST IMMEDIATELY STOP REVIEWING ALL DIGITAL PROMOS NOW OR MORE AND MORE RECORD LABELS WILL JUMP ON THIS EVIL BANDWAGON.
I must admit I have nothing but love, respect and honor for the record labels who continue to provide magazines and webzines the good old promo CD!! Keep up the great work. As for the labels who think the mp3 digital promo is the best invention since sliced bread; wake up and smell the coffee!! Stop the madness!!!
(It says: shortened between 30 - 40s ) (meaning, that the tracks are cut between 30 and 40 seconds. However, I have tested this, and sometimes the tracks are cut like 2 minutes on this AFM promos)
That’s all for now in my first column…Next time I will touch upon a topic that effects the general masses and not just music writers, journalists, critics and editors. Till next time…remember, keep one foot in the gutter and fist in the gold…whatever…Ha!
Note from the editor: Imhotep will from now on not review promos with voice-overs or downloading promos. The reason can be read above in Alex K.’s Planet X. This means there will be lesser and lesser reviews, in contradiction to today’s two reviews a day scheme. When all labels have chosen the downloading or voiceover, or whatever, promo, we will not review albums at all. We will rather focus on interviews, articles and other interesting aspects of writing that we can and will publish!
These days we receive voice-over promo / downloading promos from Earache Records, Nuclear Blast, Frontiers Records, Lion Records and probably more that we don’t remember at the moment.