Raunchy – A Discord Electric (Lifeforce, 2010)

I don’t know what the hell to make of Raunchy.  Granted, I’m a little late to the party.  This Danish sextet has been putting out albums since 2001.  However, I never had an excuse to really listen to them until Lifeforce Records sent me an actual goddamn physical copy of their latest album, A Discord Electric (all the way from dear old Deutchland!).

I like well-crafted pop music.  But, I’m not so sure how I feel about pop metal.  It feels like the musical equivalent of “crossing the streams”.  Granted, pop music and heavy metal have crossed paths in the past, resulting in such unfortunate incidents as Nelson, Winger and Bret Michaels’ entire career.  But the thought of pop being crossbred with more extreme forms of metal is even more difficult to comprehend than the popularity of “Unskinny Bop”.

Raunchy is most certainly a pop band.  They just happen to you use some of extreme metal’s key elements (distorted, down-tuned guitars, double bass drumming, etc.) to get their point across.  On one hand, they’ve got vocal melodies, harmonies and hooks that Justin Timberlake would kill for.  On the other, the album’s got one of those ultra-dense, compressed and glossy production schemes that screams modern metal.  It isn’t nu metal… it’s something like the aforementioned Mr. Timberlake tearing the club up with Natural Born Chaos-era Soilwork.  There are synths and electronic elements that could’ve come from Timbaland or Kanye, causing a vague urge to shake your ass (but, watch yourself!).  The beats themselves aren’t particularly danceable (which is unfortunate), but this still just might be the album to put on for your new girlfriend that doesn’t like metal in an effort to spark a night of bad romance.  That said, my wife would probably hate Raunchy.  She likes Death, Megadeth and Impaled to name a few.  Then again, she did download that Katy Perry single from iTunes… dammit, that shit is catchy.

Listening to A Discord Electric begs a question: How has Raunchy not managed to sell out?  This is the type of band those slimy trend-hoppers over at Roadrunner could have a field day with.  If the major labels had any sense at all, one of them would’ve snapped up Raunchy, made them ditch the faux-harsh vox and double bass, cut their songs down to 3:30 or less, thrown in a collab with Lady Gaga and had a fucking hit on their hands.  Then again, I’m not sure that any modern record executives could point out Denmark on a map, let alone sign a band from there.

I’m not saying that Raunchy has won me over by any means or that even I like their music.  A Discord Electric is too long, the songs themselves are too long.  They need to flat-out ditch some of the remaining extreme vestiges and go with their strengths.  Less metal, more melody, more catchiness, more rump shaking.  I do applaud their honesty though.  A lot of the so-called modern metal bands out there try to hide their pop sensibilities.  Raunchy wear them on their fucking sleeves.  They are a metal band that really, truly wants to be a pop band.  It only takes a few spins of A Discord Electric to figure out what side their bread is buttered on.

——————————–|

Some of you are probably wondering why I’m posting about this album.  I wrote this and spent time with the album because I think it opens up a bigger discussion.  Can metal and pop music peacefully co-exist?  If they can, does it mean they should?  Should this stuff even be remotely considered metal?  Other underground types of music such as gangsta rap and hip hop  have been fully absorbed by the mainstream, so why not extreme metal?  What does the existence of a band like Raunchy say about the state of metal?  What do the self appointed “guardians of the underground” (I know you’re out there) think of this stuff?  Am I just over-thinking this?  I don’t have any answers, but I’m curious to hear your opinions.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Raunchy – A Discord Electric (Lifeforce, 2010)

  1. @Josh
    A Discord Electric is their poppy-est album by far. Wasteland Discotheque was more metal than poppy. It featured a lot of screaming choruses while A Discord Electric has only two songs with screaming. In my opinion, A Discord Electric is a mix of Wasteland Discotheque and Death Pop Romance. Here’s a good way to put it, Wasteland Disc. and Death Pop had a baby and named it A Discord Electric. It features really loud and poppy choruses while maintaining heaviness in the verses and pre-choruses. This is by far the best Raunchy album so far and I can’t wait to see what else they can create.

    Like

  2. @Stephen – Although I think there are some things that Raunchy could improve on, they are definitely more compelling than anything bands like Soilwork or In Flames have done lately. They just need to get with a label that has a proven track record of breaking bands to the mainstream (again, I’m looking at you, Roadrunner). Nuclear Blast might be a big label too, but they don’t have a Nickelback or a Slipknot on their roster, they still cater strictly to the metal audience.

    @Emir – There is an old cliche that says “any publicity is good publicity”, which I am sure you’re familiar with. The reason Lifeforce sends Raunchy promos to sites like this one is because they hope that we will write about them good or bad, which will in turn cause discussions like the one we are having, generating interest and excitement about the record. From that, hopefully people will buy it.

    I would agree that the metal underground has a very narrow set of parameters. Even bands that are considered “progressive” can only progress so far or in a certain way before they are no longer considered “metal” or are the victims of fan backlash. As I mentioned in the piece, I like metal and I like pop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like the two combined. That is just personal preference, as I listen to say, Celtic Frost and Depeche Mode for very different reasons and get different things from them. I didn’t write this piece to hate on Raunchy, I wouldn’t write anything at all if they didn’t interest me in some way. I think they have a lot of good qualities and I would like I explore their back catalogue a bit, but I also think that like most bands, they have room for improvement.

    Like

  3. I won’t hide my bias – Raunchy is probably my favorite band. I find them musically bold, very talented, and lots of fun. But they find themselves in a difficult place. They are neither embraced by the metal crowd nor accepted as mainstream pop. Thus, they find themselves in what I would consider the “true underground,” a very small and selective community. I wish there was a label bold enough to market the band to people like me who enjoy the tension of metal as well as the melody of pop. There are more of us out here than you think! No offense to your website, but like many other online review sites, I don’t know why Lifeforce Records even bothered to send “A Discord Electric” to you – it’s just not meant for the extreme metal crowd. The existence of a band like Raunchy says something very important about the state of metal. If the lines are so defined that a band like Raunchy doesn’t fit, then someone needs to draw separate new ones. If artists are expanding the way they play and the original audience isn’t listening, they need to move on and find the people who will listen.

    Like

  4. In my opinion this is the album of the year. I have never had an album take over my life as much as this one has. And to add my two cents I think bands like raunchy SHOULD be absorbed into the mainstream. I would love to turn on the radio and hear bands like raunchy getting radio play. Also I completely agree that this band could be as big as Soilwork or In Flames with the right label. Nuclear blast needs to swoop this band back up before they miss out.

    Like

  5. Cheers.

    They were actually signed with Nuclear Blast for their first two albums, but were dropped due to “lack of sales” more or less.

    Their poppiest album is probably Wasteland Discotheque. The most metal album is their debut Velvet Noise (heavily influenced by Fear Factory/Strapping Young Lad) but their best album is definitely Confusion Bay. Here is a link to one of the tracks of Confusion Bay (Insane): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9d8p3gIEJ8

    Like

  6. Oh yeah…and for the Raunchy fans out there, this album is a vast improvement over Wasteland Discotheque. It’s actually less poppy, and a bit more metal focused — a mix of Confusion Bay and Death Pop Romance.

    Like

  7. You probably should start from the start with their debut album Velvet Noise (2001) then to their best album Confusion Bay (2004) then move on to Death Pop Romance (2006) and then Wasteland Discotheque (2008). After listening to each album, even just once, you will understand what Raunchy are all about. This is METAL; with unashamed pop sensibilities that breaks down every metal cliche possible. In fact, they are a more convincing version of modern In Flames. Compare this album to A Sense of Purpose — A Discord Electric shits all over it, and is performed with far more conviction, skill and integrity. The fact that they are still a largely low-profile metal band 5 albums into their career is proof enough that this sort of stuff in no way appeals to the pop music crowd.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s