Friday, June 03, 2011

Metal Podcasts

I mentioned a while back that podcasts were an important element in my metallic education and my growth as a metalhead. They exposed me to a variety of different metal, and taught me genre differences. They still serve an important purpose for me, whether it be a label-run podcast to let me sample new releases, or another podcast to yield the hidden gem. And they still simply entertain.

Maybe I'm a dinosaur. I'm not sure if the young kids are still listening to these. But I like to be able to have it download and sync to my iPod automatically, to listen wherever I am.

Now, metal podcasts should be music-driven. I've tried some metal podcasts that were not, whether they were mostly metal news or simply talk radio with metalhead hosts. Usually, they'll play some music, but not entire songs. I'm not interested in that. If I want metal news, I will read it. If I wanted to hear metalheads talk to each other, I would get a friend.

So, here are a handful of metal podcasts, and my thoughts on them. If you want to listen, all you need to do is search in the iTunes store. They're free, so why not?

The Metalcast

The Metalcast was my first metal podcast, and it's still my favorite today. Many of their episodes sample broadly from all metal genres, including power metal, trad-metal, doom, black, and death. But my favorites are the themed episodes. These give a good view of whatever that theme is, be it a country-based special or a genre-based one. The format is perfect--song, commentary on the previous song, commentary on the next song, and another song, repeated until the end, so that you never get lost about which song they're talking about. The hosts are people you would like to meet, and are fully engaged if you comment on the site or their Facebook page. They often conduct interviews, including well-known bands like Agalloch. And for the last couple years, the format has been upgraded to show album art during the songs and allow you to skip something if you don't like it. Everyone should give this a shot.

Power Chord

Power Chord is a long-running two-hour radio show from Vancouver. It introduced me to a number of oddities and little-known bands, including Eryn Non Dae and Unleash the Archers. Most of the hosts are likeable old-timers, one of whom brings in his young children, and since it's a non-profit station they play a lot of local PSA's with their own quaint charm. But I stopped listening to this one recently because of a number of drawbacks. They play long blocks of music without any introduction, and the podcast is not formatted to let you know what you're listening to. (You have to take notes for five, six, or seven songs in a row to keep them straight. And can you imagine trying to search for Eryn Non Dae when you don't know how it's spelled?) I've also found that I am now much more knowledgeable about current music than they are. These guys didn't even know who Nachtmystium is, and had a hell of a time pronouncing the name.

The Metal Blade Podcast

Metal Blade runs a good podcast. Each episode focuses on a single artist, and includes an interview with the artist as well as a couple songs (usually, although there was one without). My favorite so far was with King Diamond. The hosts clearly have an existing rapport with the guests, and you actually want to hear the answers to their questions. The only real drawback is it's unreliable. They could go for months at a time without a new one, and there hasn't been a good new one in maybe half a year. Still, it's worth subscribing and checking out back episodes.

The Century Media Podcast

I haven't listened to this one in quite some time. I mentioned it before, and it wasn't pretty. The worst part of it was that the label apparently doesn't understand that their podcast is an advertisement, and is not something that should be supported by advertisements. The ads are painfully long, and they're for very non-metal things like Foot Locker,, and skateboards. You can't skip them, either, so you have to scan through. There's a segment with a guy named "Viking Phil" (or something similar) where he says, "I'm rockin', you're shoppin'", and tells us about all the new things in the store; so maybe they do understand it's an advertisement, but they don't do it with tact. The host is a douche, and, consistent with CM's catalog, only about a third of the music is worth listening to. It's awful.

The Relapse Records Podcast

Relapse's podcast has gotten off to a few rocky starts. It hasn't always been reliable. They had a podcast years ago hosted by some dude from Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, but he was annoying with his forced enthusiasm. It's tough or impossible to find those episodes now. When they resurrected the podcast, they got a new host, but he also had annoyingly forced enthusiasm. That is, up until the last couple of episodes, where the new host--a likeable guy--announced that the previous host had to be forcibly removed. I hope that's literally true. It now seems to be a regular monthly show, and the format is similar to the Metalcast, i.e., two songs at a time (sometimes up to four) interspersed with commentary, and usually including an interview. It's definitely worth getting the new episodes, which are always about upcoming and recent releases, but I don't recommend the old shows. It's too bad they haven't gotten an enhanced format.


  1. Thanks for this. I've never really bothered with metal podcasts as the ones I came across were full of emo and metalcore nonsense. I'll have to check out Metalcast and Relapse.

  2. You're very welcome. I found a lot of garbage ones too, before I winnowed the field down. There are also a handful of defunct podcasts that are worth listening to, but I didn't really want to get into those.

  3. I really like "Requium Metal Podcast" gets a little talky but they play alot of music. It's pretty informative too...sort of NPR for metalheads...