Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Flight - Flight


Let's talk a moment about downloading. Is it really technically "illegal"? In my opinion it's just good marketing to get the music out there and in the hands of consumers who if they like what they hear will purchase physical merchandise such as CDs, vinyl, tee shirts and live concert support. As long as the bands are not offended and/or they endorse the downloading, I'm okay with it. Today's article demonstrates the power of the free download/stream. The band I'm featuring here today came my way via the infamous download site Getmetal, which is essentially a blog forum spreading download links to a plethora of awesome albums with a wide range of styles in what I’d like to think is an effort to spread the word of music. They really do have decent taste and seem to cater towards the underground crowd featuring many bands I've never heard of including Flight.

Flight was linked up by an online friend of mine and judging by the albums cover, band name and tags of "hard rock" I went out on a limb to listen and holy moly was I impressed. Opening number and title track "Flight" immediately had me hooked with an almost gothic punk vocal delivery reminding me of early Misfits era punky heavy metal with somewhat of a modern occult retro vibe similar to Witchcraft. As the track takes flight it begins to drift into more of a metallic groove. The chorus holds true with a punk chant and then eventually erupts into what sets the bar for the entire album that is the almighty guitar solo at around the midway mark of the song. Dueling guitars chase each other through a lightning storm of riffs before arriving into a delicate plume of molten clouds.

I was hooked deep by the time Flight landed safely. What I wasn't quite prepped for was how far from over the actual flight was. High and Dry era Def Leppard guitar tones pierce the airwaves combining with the muscular blues chops of prime time Deep Purple and brute strength of Judas Priest.

“Lions Den” slows down the pace slightly bringing more of that classic Leppard guitar crunch of the late 70's early 80's. Lyrically, Flight scream heavy metal all the way to the bank, nothing too serious or thought provoking, just fantasy laced stories of evil women and mythical lore which leave the shredding guitars and pounding rhythm to do most the talking.

It was clear 3 songs in that the album was going in for a repeat listen. The hooks ring loud, the vocals soar melodically, and the solos burst violent with groove. The way the choppy riffs glide the stage reminds me of why I've always been attracted to metal. The primal chords hone a metallic edge, slicing like an air guitar hero hopped up on smoke and whiskey. Each and every song breaks away from the day to day verse chorus verse for a trip across the Thin Lizzy highway riding on the back of Iron Maiden. It’s hard to pick a favorite track as Flight spirals smoothly through the 8 track epic.

In closing, if it weren't for Getmetal other blogs and online friendships this album, as well as many others, would likely have flown right under the radar into enemy territory possibly crashing and burning, void of passengers. I truly believe the download offer has already convinced many of us purveyors of the heavy rock n’ roll to climb aboard the Norwegian flight and sail into the clouds of retro metal. I'm inviting you all to take the plunge and ride the metallic skies. Now do as I have done; listen for free, then go support by purchasing digital via Bandcamp or physical (vinyl, CD) via Bad Omen Records or book a flight to Norway to see Flight in the flesh. How cool would that be? Almost as cool as this shredding album sounds. I pre-ordered my limited white vinyl while I sit here listening to my free online download. Call me a criminal if you’d like but I’d wager that the band and even the label sides with fans like me. The free download or stream is only helping the bands get heard. Of course the music has to be good, and in this case it’s a total win. 

-The Huntsman



3 comments:

Jonathan Higgs said...

I really enjoy the Ripple Music blog but I felt compelled to comment on how much I disagree with the opinion expressed here about downloading. Your position is best summarised in the opening lines of the review:

"Let's talk a moment about downloading. Is it really technically "illegal"? In my opinion it's just good marketing to get the music out there and in the hands of consumers who if they like what they hear will purchase physical merchandise such as CDs, vinyl, tee shirts and live concert support."

First of all, to respond to "is it really technically illegal": yes, it is. Not technically; actually, objectively, factually. In most of the world the copyright laws are fairly consistent that copying and distributing a copyright work by any means without authorisation of the owner is against the law. The only exemption is copying for personal use; i.e. when people used to use a cassette tape to copy a record for regular listening or in the car or whatever. Making a digital copy of a CD or vinyl rip for yourself for personal use is likewise perfectly acceptable.

Sites like Getmetal are not good for music or artists trying to make a living. They promote stealing. It is true that a very small proportion of people might like what they hear and support the band downstream but it seems self evident (due to the collapse of record sales) that most do not. I speak only from logic and personal experience. I used to be a download-like-my-life-depended-on-it scumbag. It was so easy to come across these sites (Metalchesh was the one I often used to go to) and then feel entitled to get anything and everything you might conceivably want, both bands you know and new ones you just read about.

Once in a while you might come across something so great that you really want the CD or LP to support the artist and read along with the lyrics or study the artwork, but that is an exception to the rule.

Having an online presence for marketing purposes is absolutely essential for most bands and I agree you have to have some level of availability and easy access to your music so people can hear it. Usually a You Tube or Bandcamp link from a review or blog comment is all you need. That is what "spreads the word" just like you are doing for Flight. You did not need to post a link to an illegal site to download the whole album for free.

So, streaming per se, with the consent of the copyright owner, is absolutely great because it satisfies all those benefits you mentioned about finding bands and then going to see them live etc. A forum like You Tube has a robust mechanism for complaints so unauthorised material can be taken down but, even if material should not have been put there, the listener is not getting a downloadable set of nicely packaged mp3s (or even HD files these days). If you can be bothered ripping the stream then good luck to you.

Subscription streaming services that enable an on demand/permanent copy of an album to be obtained are far less great. While all the middle men have been cut out, which would understandably reduce the overall cost to the consumer, the artist is not getting a fair share.

There are so many facets to the overall "problem" of illegal downloading that I better stop here. But my main point is this: don't kid yourself that no harm has been or is being done to people as a consequence of these new technologies. Taking music or film without the consent of the copyright holder is "against the law". If you disagree with the law then come up with a good argument why it should be changed.

The Ripple Effect said...

Hey man,

First, thanks for your kind comments and thanks for taking the time to respond. Yes, illegal downloading is a difficult subject, with varying opinions, and very little to protect copyrights of the artists. The official position of The Ripple Effect has always been that we don't condone or host illegal downloads. We've never hosted or "given away" any music from any band that hasn't given us permission first. (and by the way Flight have shared our post and used it as promotion for their album.)

But I felt that The Huntsman's article brought up some good points on one side of the debate and therefore, his article was worth publishing. The link to the "illegal site" has been removed, so the only link remaining (which was there from the beginning) is the band's bandamp link.

Your response was thoughtful and eloquently sounded another side of the debate. And it is a problem when a band loses control over their own music. Unfortunately, the problem is too widespread and now too ingrained to go away. International copyright makes it nearly impossible to take down all the illegal downloads and many are ambivalent to the problem. So the question becomes, in this day of rampant illegal downloading, what can the bands and labels do about it? I think The Huntsman's thesis was that since it can't simply be stopped, bands and labels need to come up with a way to use it to their advantage and try to gain as much publicity from the download as possible.

Is that a real solution? I think you and I would both agree the answer is no. But it does spark a conversation, one that needs to extend beyond the reach of this site to a world-wide scale. One that involves governments and a thought change in the general public.

We should keep this conversation going.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful response and thanks for your support. We'll keep bringing you the best news and reviews we can on music that needs a larger audience, and we'll keep trying to push buttons now and then to get the conversation going.

Peace,

by the way, thanks to the Huntsman's article, I'm listening to Flight right now, and it is damn good. I'll be buying the vinyl :)

Jonathan Higgs said...

Thanks for the equally well thought-out reply!

The Ripple Effect plays by the rules and, in fact, I think it is crazy NOT to post reviews with a link (youtube/bandcamp) to the music like you do. I peruse various blogs and am amazed that some bloggers fail to recognise the importance of that.

I think the part of the Huntsman's piece that made me really spit out my morning coffee was the line "in my opinion it's just good marketing to get the music out there", and specifically use of the word "just", because it trivialises the collapse of an industry. I proceeded to fly off the handle and post a comment. I then flew even further off the handle and wrote a whole blog piece about it:

http://www.supermetal.net/2015/that-old-chestnut-views-on-modern-entertainment-distribution/

Obviously, as someone in a band (which you guys have covered before), this subject is touchy.

The irony is that it is probable no one at all would hear my band if it weren't for the internet because maybe we wouldn't have been good or motivated enough to break out of a small local scene back in the day when a band had a fighting chance at selling a decent amount of records and making a living.

The double irony is that I think metal is in a fairly robust state at the moment in terms of quality. I mean, I don't like some of the poor production choices that are made but there are a titanic number of great bands out there (too many actually but that is just the green eyed monster talking). Thus one could argue that the collapse of the record industry has actually improved quality because there is more hunger for creativity and an artist can't sit back on their laurels. They have to work hard and spawn record after record of great material like Sabbath or Zeppelin at the early stages of their career.

Personally, I have a well paid day job and can afford to record albums regardless of whether they sell (I have a garage full of CDs and a few hundred LPs that is a testament to the fact they don't - partly a problem of distribution) but other bands don't have that luxury. They pour their heart and soul into it for as long as they can until they get demoralised and fade away.

My position is simply in support of those people.

Cheers
Jon





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