Name: Mark McKenna
Email address: mark (at) metal-observer.com
Functions: Reviews, Interviews and Live Reviews
Compatible styles: Grind, Black, Death, Avantgarde, some Thrash, some Power/Prog
Incompatible styles: Most Power/Prog, Alt-Rock, Rap, R&B, etc...
Thoughts on the main Metal genres:
Black Metal: My favorite genre, the more I explore the underground, the more I discover that there are a wealth of amazing bands to be heard. It's a shame that so many people feel the need to poke fun at the genre when they clearly know next to nothing about it.
Death Metal: Alongside Grindcore (why was that genre omitted, it seems pretty important to me), my favorite after Black. I enjoy all of the sub genres of Death, although I find Melodic Death has become extremely tired and lifeless.
Thrash Metal: Probably the genre I'm most ignorant of overall, I do enjoy a fair bit of what I know, but for some reason I rarely take the chance to explore it in depth.
Power Metal: My least favorite genre by far, the listening experience is more often than not ruined by the vocalist. There are a few exceptions, but they are few and far between.
Progressive Metal: Very hit and miss, I prefer bands that play down the talent slightly and concentrate on interesting songs. Like Power Metal, the vocalists can often be a problem.
Doom Metal: In keeping with things, I prefer the heavier side of Doom, such as Funeral Doom and Death Doom. I recently started listening to more Traditional Doom like CANDLEMASS and I'm not sure what to make of it.
Gothic Metal: The genre that, at my Metal infancy, I valued above all. I don't like the genre quite as much as I used to, and when I do listen to a band of this genre, I tend to prefer a female fronted Rock-ish Metal band ala ARTROSIS, MOONLIGHT and LACUNA COIL.
Melodic/Heavy Metal: See Power Metal
Nicknames: Silent Screams, Cruelty's Embrace
Time at TMO: August 2002
How came at TMO: Through Wes
The best thing as a TMO writer: Having the opportunity to do something more than be a casual Metal fan
The worst thing as a TMO writer: Quotas, they're not bad, everything else is just better
Live reviews 20
Reviewing methods: I write.
Birthday: September 15th 1982
Birth town: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Present location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Job: Student/Manager of a Law Firm
Languages: English and French
Hobbies: Photography and writing
Pet peeves: Ignorance
I, about myself: I enjoy photography and writing.
Describe yourself in 5 words: I am myself, nothing more.
Funny childhood story: I would refer to my kindergarten class as "We, the children…"
How I came into Heavy Metal: When I was six years old, my dad played me different albums he had by BLACK SABBATH and JUDAS PRIEST, but it wasn’t until later when I Norwegian pen pal sent me TRISTANIA "Widow’s Weed”, that I got into more underground Metal.
First Metal CD ever bought: I don’t remember
Most embarrassing CD in your collection: Two - Voyeurs
First Metal concert: Opeth/Nevermore/Angel Dust/God Forbid
What did Metal teach me about life: Nothing.
Favourite music listening place and why? I have no preference.
Most prized Metal possession? I can't choose only one.
Band & previous band experiences:
Instrumental talents: The Bassoon
Favourite bands: Blut Aus Nord, Katatonia, Pig Destroyer, Today Is The Day, Krieg, Xasthur, Leviathan, more...
Least favourite bands: Too many to name...
Sound you'd like to have banned: Car alarms, they go off all the time, and no one ever cares, they seem pretty pointless
Most overrated bands: Most bands out there don’t deserve the recognition they get.
Most underrated bands: Theory In Practice, Origin, Cephalic Carnage, Misery Index, Valley's Eve, Spiral Architect, Agalloch, Mastodon, etc...
Most influential band: None.
Favourite musician: Ihsahn
Favourite album cover: Opeth "Blackwater Park", Katatonia "Tonight's Decision", Emperor "IX Equilibrium"
10 favourite albums:
Bethlehem – Dictius Te Necare
Perhaps the quintessential Suicidal Black Metal Album, DTN possesses some of the most terrifying vocals ever.
Blut Aus Nord – The Work That Transforms God
An album that has deep personal meaning for me, TWTTG will always be a personal favorite of mine
Burzum – Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
Despite all the controversy surrounding BURZUM, the music was still genre defining.
Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk
For the longest time this was my all time favorite album, it still just might be…
Judas Iscariot – Thy Dying Light
This album came to me early in my Black Metal development, and was a gateway of sorts to me.
Katatonia – Tonight’s Decision
In my opinion, definitely KATATONIA's finest. Jonas' vocals have so much emotion behind them that I can't help but be transported into his world of depression. Every song on this album is beautiful.
Opeth – Morningrise
Pig Destroyer – Prowler In The Yard
My favorite album lyrically, PITY is also one of the most terrifying releases I’ve ever heard along with:
Today Is The Day – Sadness Will Prevail
One of the most difficult listens you’ll ever encounter, two discs filled to the brim with horrific, tortured music. Essential!
Xasthur – Telepathic With The Deceased
Picking just one of the XASTHUR albums was tough, but this one won out, much like the BLUT AUS NORD, because of the very personal meaning associated with it.
Favourite films: Requiem For a Dream, Memento, Se7en
Favourite books: European History Books, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, other philisophical books...
Favourite food: Ethiopian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian…
Favourite drink: Milk, Pepsi Twist, Orange Crush
Favourite smokes: None
Which song should be played at your funeral: My Dying Bride "The Dreadful Hours"
Person you'd like to meet: Christy, Roger and Jason.
Catchphrase: Ya damn skippy! (Don't know what it means or why I use it...but yeah...)
Biggest thrill in life (so far): Going on an month long trip through Europe.
Goal in life: To own a successful Record Label
Secret: I'm Wes and Gabe's love child.
5 favourite links: