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Reign in Fake Blood

Metal isn't back. And it isn't new (nu?). And it was never meant to be happy or poppy or goofy or heartfelt or bubble-gummy like half the digestible metal acts the music industry is packing into kids' lunches each day. But somehow, metal has become ironic, and its apocalyptic and once-evil sounds have become bouncy fodder for teen movie soundtracks and iPod ads. Metal no longer makes you want to bang your head and howl YAAARRRGH. Now it makes you want to tap your toes and say, "They're right! My parents don't get me!" Let's take a look at what's coming to South Florida.

The masked idiots in Slipknot stumble into the Sound Advice Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach) on Wednesday, March 31, and become Clear Channel's bitches on the Jägermeister tour. They look like nine transvestite Muppets on too much blow, and they could possibly have their own cartoon on Saturday mornings. They could even do PSAs for the kids. And it would be pretty appropriate, since Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, the member who wears a pig mask, ran a red light in Iowa in his Porsche last summer and crashed into another car, and Des Moines police confiscated pot, coke, and two syringes. Yep, music that good doesn't come from natural talent, kids. Their 2001 album, Iowa, is sugar-coated, tantrum-throwing satanica gleaned straight from the mind of a 14-year-old boy who sucks on markers and yells at his mom for going in his room. A sample lyric from Iowa: "Kill them, motherfucker, everybody has to die/Kill them, motherfucker, everybody has to die/People equal shit! They recently had a song on the Scream 3 and Freddy vs. Jason soundtracks. Rad!

Then there are bands like Linkin Park and all its yawn-inducing clones (Staind, Godsmack, Godstain, Trapt, Godtrapt, etc.). They are metal-lite -- carb-free metal. Your parents might actually like it, especially if you're over 30 and still live with them. C'mon, metal songs are not supposed to have piano solos, dudes! You'll probably hear an elevator-music version of a Linkin Park song while you browse the produce section at Publix in a few years. The band will play at the Office Depot Center on August 14.

And remember Pantera? Singer Phil Anselmo delivered one of the best metal screams to date on the song "Fucking Hostile" from 1992's Vulgar Display of Power. But then, Anselmo had a near-death experience twice, found God, smoked tons of weed, and formed Superjoint Ritual, a sludge-rock kick in the pants that comes to the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) on Sunday, March 28. The band could deliver an unhealthy dose of pissed power metal if it only uh... remembered where they, uh... put it.

Maybe there's hope for this younger school of metal. It might go under the name "hardcore metal" or "metalcore." One such group is Bleeding Through, a California-based six-piece that comes to the Factory (2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) on Friday, March 26. A recent show by the band in Austin, Texas, delivered a pit full of arms, legs, and no fewer than three bloody faces. But the packed house in attendance at the South by Southwest showcase was there for one reason: to lose its collective shit. And Bleeding Through was down for the cause.

The band's debut album, This Is Love, This Is Murderous, is a stark, suicide-obsessed album that has a firm grasp on the mind-blowing speed factor of good metal. But the lyrics, well, they just make you want to sit the band down like a concerned mother and ask if everything's OK. On "Revenge I Seek," singer Brandan Schiepatti growls, "I think of you every fucking day/Why the fuck did I let you into my heart/Now where do I begin? Schiepatti explains: "It's kind of like a constant battle of emotions. It's a Romeo and Juliet-type fantasy about loving someone so much, you make the ultimate sacrifice and take each other's lives. And I never thought I'd be in a band where kids sang the lyrics back to me. The kids at our show are positive. I thank them for coming. We're all from the hardcore scene, and our band's about diversity. But most of our influences are metal bands, I won't lie: At the Gates, Dimmu Borgir, Slayer."

And speaking of Slayer, Reign in Blood, probably the best thrash-metal album ever with, quite possibly, the fastest song ever ("Angel of Death"), was, as lamented in last week's Short Cuts (March 18), left off Rolling Stone's "Top 500 Albums of All Time." Not that Rolling Stone knows jack about decent music, but doesn't anybody channel the devil through his axes anymore? You won't be able to see Slayer in South Florida until September, when the group headlines the annual "I don't-want-to-go-but-Black Sabbath-might-reunite-again" car wreck known as Ozzfest. In the meantime, though, keep an eye out for the heavy-metal double-header of the reunited Gene Loves Jezebel and Gorky Park at the Factory next month, and the Stryper tribute band Born Again Fistin' at the Culture Room.

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Audra Schroeder
Contact: Audra Schroeder

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