Why does “EXTREME RAGTIME METAL” exist?
Asking life’s big questions.
When I was a child I would exploit any chance I was afforded to shoehorn in a subject that interested me. School presentation with an open topic? Guess what, fellow students? You’re about to be bored to shit and back with a rambling talk about guitar effects pedals. Creative writing assignment? My dear, underpaid teacher, get ready for a regurgitation of the plot to the Final Fantasy 7 demo disc. Mercifully, neither the internet nor fan fiction were much of A Thing in my childhood or the boards would have been choked with my short stories about Jonathan Davis and Fred Durst engaging in fierce samurai showdowns. Thankfully, I grew out of my childish ways and blossomed into an adult that makes dozens of dollars each month insinuating that Tim Allen is a dog rapist under the guise of discussing heavy metal.
But there is no shortage of precocious children-turned-adults that cannot resist the urge to demonstrate their knowledge of an arcane interest to anyone that will listen. Sometimes these people are exceptionally talented and creative, they just cannot resist this terrible adolescent impulse that leaves an audience baffled. Which brings us to Divine Insanity.
When did you first encounter ragtime? Unless you’re Seymour, it was discussed for five minutes once in an underfunded music program classroom and literally never again. You got into rock and/or roll and eventually metal and then your brain refused to ever function in a normal way again. For Chicago’s Divine Insanity, something stuck out about this predominantly African American musical style that had its heyday more than 100 years ago. For the band’s latest album, Akka, they’ve taken a fairly unassuming keyboard-heavy symphonic metal record and shoehorned in ragtime. Listen to it and tell me if you can make any sense of it.
I’m not on this earth to tell anyone what they can or cannot like but damn y’all. This is really pushing it. Uber processed metal combined with a jaunty piano rag just sounds wrong on a fundamental level. Scott Joplin is helicoptering ferociously in his grave. It’s fine to do one thing while enjoying another thing separately. Some things just don’t need to be combined. It’s OK to enjoy trap music and white belt emo on their own – you don’t need to make crunkcore. No one will look at you funny if you enjoy Lawrence Welk polkas and heavy metal on their own merits – you don’t need to create Korpiklaani. Not every combination can be peanut butter + chocolate. Sometimes you just get toothpaste and dog shit.
But maybe I’m being too harsh. What do you think of EXTREME RAGTIME METAL?