March 20, 2009

Losing the Essentials

I want to comment on two instances where essential parts of a working body were cut off and why that irritates me to no end.

The Philadelphia Eagles

Recently, the Eagles have let one of their most important players, Brian Dawkins, go to another team. Additionally, several other veteran members of the team have moved on to other teams in the other three weeks. The veterans in new uniforms next year include Tra Thomas, Lito Sheppard, Correll Buckhalter, Greg Lewis, and Sean Considine. Also, two other key team members - Jon Runyan and L.J. Smith - remain on free agency with no information on possible deals currently known.

Dawkins and Buckhalter are now members of the Denver Broncos. Thomas and Considine have been signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sheppard is on the New York Jets. Lewis joins the New England Patriots.

The loss of Dawkins is not only a huge blow to the morale of the team and the fans, but is also a travesty on the part of the Eagles' front office. After 13 seasons with the team, Brian Dawkins has become one of the faces of the organization. His aggressive style of play and his dedication to the game are unparalleled, and the leadership he offers within the locker room and on the field are an integral part of the Eagles' defense. Dawkins expressed multiple times that he wanted to stay with the Eagles until the end of his career, and if he had, his number would have been hung from the rafters within five years of his retirement. The only other player in Eagles history to make such a strong impact on the team was Reggie White.

The parallels between White and Dawkins - especially in the way they left the team - are easily recognized. Both White and Dawkins were faces of the organization during their time with the team. Both players were selected to the Pro Bowl multiple times during their years with the team. Both players left the team as free agents despite the fact that the team had the ability and the reasons to re-sign them. And the comparisons will more than likely continue, because barring a serious injury, Dawkins will continue to be a prolific and outstanding defensive player for the Broncos, just as White was for the Green Bay Packers.

The loss of Dawkins, along with the other veteran members of the organization, shows the truth about what the front office is trying to do with this team. They are throwing in their chips and counting on Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook to lead the team to victory, despite the fact that the Eagles' defense is their most feared weapon and often has been the key to victory for them. Furthermore, it shows that they continue to value youth over experience in every area of the team except at the quarterback position. Jeffrey Lurie, Joe Banner, Andy Reid, and the team's executives ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Brian Dawkins, you will forever be an Eagle in my heart. Long live Weapon X.

Metal Bands Cutting Frontmen

Two of my favorite bands recently fired their lead singers for different reasons. The singers fired were basically the reason that each band rose to prominence and helped to make the band as popular as they were.

Scar Symmetry announced in 2008 that lead singer Christian Älvestam was leaving the band over "creative differences" and an inability to tour. However, common speculation is that Christian was kicked out of the band. Much of this speculation comes from the statement that the band released, which made it appear that Christian was at fault for the band's lack of touring. The band has since hired two new singers, Roberth Karlsson and Lars Palmqvist, to take over the vocal duties.

The fact that Scar Symmetry had to hire two singers to replace one should show you the caliber of vocalist that Christian was. He is, in my opinion, the best singer to come out of Sweden in the past 20 years. His vocal style is inimitable, and the dominance of his delivery is overpowering. While some speculate that his touring difficulties stem from an inabilty to recreate his singing style on stage, it still remains true that Scar Symmetry's recorded material is original, refreshing, and undeniably metal. I don't believe that kicking Christian out was the right decision at all. Their latest album, Holographic Universe, had them on the brink of breaking out in a huge way. If a compromise could have been reached on touring, the band could have become the new face of Swedish melodic death metal. Instead, they're stuck recreating themselves right now and have to wait even longer to tour. I don't know that Scar Symmetry will ever be the same for me without Christian.

On a similar note, Norther frontman Petri Lindroos was asked to leave the band because of his commitment to Ensiferum and his inability to equally divide his time between the bands. Norther currently does not have a frontman, and Ensiferum has recently been confirmed for the North American Summer Slaughter tour with Necrophagist, Suffocation, and many others.

Petri was one of the founding members of Norther, and his desire to be part of both bands is understood. However, Norther was wrong to kick him out of the band. First of all, there are no longer any founding members of the band left, which means that the name Norther no longer really applies to the band. Second, Petri's voice and guitar skills are two of the defining characteristics of the band, and finding a lead singer who can also play guitar as well as him will be next to impossible. Third, the band had no reason to kick him out because they don't tour regularly, unlike Ensiferum, and thus did not require as much of Petri's time. They should have tried to discuss dividing his time more evenly instead of just kicking him out unceremoniously.

Okay, that's it for this rant. Thank you for reading.

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