Metal was born of the fusion of heavy rock, horror music, progressive rock and the nascent proto-punk movement. The history of rock is the history of rebellion and rule-breaking: from Friedrich Liszt making his strings break live at key moments on purpose, to Jerry Lee Lewis lighting the piano on fire, to the Beatles with their hairstyles and jackets which were radical for the time, to the Doors being suggestive on the Ed Sullivan show, through Hendrix burning his guitar, to Kiss being super-sexual and painting their faces, to Black Sabbath who sang about Satan and magic, to Metallica who combined neoclassical with thrash and had a hard-partying image, to Slayer’s seemingly outright Satanism. Metal is about taking things one step further, breaking the rules and being unique. Not about following them.
Good music aims for a grade of “A” by experimenting and breaking the rules, but in doing so, takes the chance that it will get an “F.” Think of good music as Icarus: he flies toward the Heavens (or in the case of metal: towards hell) aware he is taking a big chance. He may well crash and burn to the ground in pursuit of his musical ideals. It’s a risk Icarus is willing to take.
Today we have way, way too many bands following all the rules of their genre, and not enough acts pressing ahead. When I look at my local scene it is clear that the bands who have stayed together a long while, while following the rules of their genre, are the bands who have been most successful. Most of these bands have decent music and are listenable. But its not stuff I want to listen to more than once, or see live more than once. This is the curse of local bands: competent, good at following trends, but not so good that they break out and become emblematic of those trends.
Tags: average, black sabbath, conformity, Heavy Metal, idiocracy, trends
Darkthrone announced that the title and cover of their upcoming album, Arctic Thunder, shares a similar name with many breath mint brands and 1980s ski bro flicks. Hopefully this album is not phoned-in retro-heavy metal more disposable than an Altoids tin like The Underground Resistance was.
Tags: Arctic Thunder, Black Metal, darkthrone, Heavy Metal, upcoming release
This band has been around for two decades. I recently found out about them and recommend the album Ruined from 2014.
If you would enjoy a fusion of Cynic and Satyricon, you should enjoy this. Some of the tracks are less effective than others because the band is experimenting with different song arrangements and techniques. The core of this band is killer chord progressions which are very melodic and form a basis for adding riffs to a song without randomness. The bass guitar playing is most excellent throughout. The vocals are simply effective in context with nice rhythmic placement but fairly generic texture. I give Ruined an A-. I had to deduct a point because there was one track I disliked, “Prey.”
- “Not Competent”: Drummer has some unusual time signatures like early Cynic. This is a great mix on this recording. I like how you can hear the bass guitar. The feel of the double kick drums lacks a bit of groove. There is a great amount of variety in the guitar parts and some nice melodies. The leads early on sound like a Satriani jam slowed down or something. The vocals don’t add much to the recording, but they do not harm it either. And he does a great job of singing in the right spots and not over-doing it. It’s a bit mellow and understated for a black death band, and that actually makes it more relaxing and pleasant to listen to. The riff changes are pretty smooth. However, they lead to surprising places. And the songs suck you in and then end before you are ready for them to. Which keeps me listening to the next track.
- “Redacted”: Here’s more of a tight blast beat type intro with a mellow Killing Joke styled guitar riff over it. Now we finally start hearing some thrash and it rules, but then we get stuck in some doom mire before thrashing again. Around the three minute mark we start to get into some utterly awesome late 80s thrash guitar riffage, but with death metal highs. Then a sudden surprising uptick into a blast-beat outro.
- “Ruined”: An alternate time-signature intro which doesn’t seem to fit in well. Followed by A Perfect Circle Type Riff and then back to the intro again, and then soloing. Not so sure about this tune. Skip.
- “Prey”: A mysterious sounding intro riff which is very enticing. Followed by a double kick groove with a really unusually beautiful sounding chord progression with some nice bass touches also. This song has a very nice riff progression overall and it takes you deeper and deeper into its reality.
- “Wasting Games”: Horror film score-like catchy grinding intro riff rules. Killer slow groovy, heavy riff with some Danzig styled vocals. Nice! Followed by a blast beat. WTF?! This is F’ing weird progression and it conquers. This song should have been like first on the album ha. More hard rock, but different riff (plus blues solo) after that. Oh yeah mama!
- “Orthodoxy”: Grainy whiskey inducing into. Starts to get kind of apocalyptic with a dreary tempo. This song is kinda chill. It’s smooth with a charcoal flavor and its on the rocks. Not sure about going straight into the blast though after that. Oh well. Its a cool riff though at least. Picks up into insane blasting and jazzy chords. Thinking this track would have been better split into two separate shorter tracks. I dig them individually, except for the 6/8 time riff because I hate A Perfect Circle and stuff like that. But that’s over quick and we get a radical sounding simple riff which triumphs. This song is very interesting overall.
- “Downturn”: This song starts with a Gothic sounding blasted riff which is neat. The second riff has a Swedish death metal beat and it rules. I am now wishing they had used that beat way more on the recording because it rules. Around the 1:25 mark there is an extremely nice epic black metal riff which is simply unusually Gothic and melodic sounding. Nicely done. I am confused to why they ruin that mood by putting the technical jazzy stuff afterwards. But then back into black metal riff with Swedish beat again, and at that moment I am loving it.
Tags: Black Metal, death metal, exhausted prayer, los angeles, post-metal
Innsmouth play primitive blackened death metal in the vein of Darkthrone‘s A Blaze in the Northern Sky with the addition of several other metal riffing styles to the three chord hardcore Hellhammerisms. Consumed by the Elder Sign attempts to build an atmosphere resembling the terror and corruption of Lovecraftian Elder Gods through atmosphere, production, and samples that often come across as comically charming rather than haunting; cries of hatching star spawn sound like baby dinosaurs from Jurassic Park.
Tags: Australia, Black Metal, Consumed by the Elder Sign, death metal, Heavy Metal, Innsmouth, review
Article by David Rosales.
Perfection is in the balance and in the details! These works possess neither balance nor detail.
Tags: Abigail, boring, crypto-indie, glam metal, sadistic metal reviews, stoner rock, The Final Damnation
Master are embarking upon an American tour to promote their recent Epiphany of Hate album. Hopefully the Portland show will have a bigger turnout as the last major metal show there, Profanatica, had a very poor turnout due to social justice warrior fanaticism.
Tags: death metal, master, paul speckmann, upcoming tours, US tour
A short history lesson is in order. Pilsner Urquell is the famous original pale lager. A “Czech Pilsner” is not actually a beer style given that the word pilsner itself is a demonym indicating the beer’s origin in Plzeň. The Czechs do not define their native brews by styles such as lager, India Pale Ale, porter/stout1, and so on but by color and degrees Plato with stronger beers of the same color not simply being the weaker beer “scaled up” but separate styles2. The Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery was founded in the 19th century to brew Bavarian-style lagers – then mostly dark at the time – but with pale malts pioneered in England and relatively highly-hopped compared to the common Dunkel. Pale lager became the type of beer that was copied around the world, was cost-reduced with adjuncts, and eventually made into the mixed beer and carbonated water soft drink that is Miller Lite with its “Great Pilsner Taste”. Unlike most beers, Pilsner Urquell continued being fermented and lagered in giant wooden vats and barrels into the 1990s when it was privatized and sold to conglamerate SABMiller. The international piss brewers “modernized” the brewery, replaced the wooden vessels with stainless steel tanks, slashed the lagering time to a third, and replaced most of the whole cone hops with hop oils. This review is of the filtered and pasteurized export variety which is a pale imitation of the rare unfiltered and cask versions usually unavailable in the US.
Pilsner Urquell pours a dark shade of gold with a frothy head. Not uric gold but a rich, vaguely ambery shade of gold. The beer smells vaguely of fresh bread and slightly floral, grassy hops. The taste is biscuits and bread interspersed with hints of butterscotch, caramel, and a mildly spicy hop bitterness. Pilsner Urquell is balanced, unlike many of the hop bomb, onions and cat piss craft IPAs best suited to keep teenagers away from drinking in the same way that putting hot sauce on your food will keep the dog from trying to steal it. The beer may be dumbed down by accountants and many of the flavors typical but it’s well made, tastes great, isn’t sour, doesn’t resemble animal piss, and you can easily down a six pack in a couple hours like I did.
1Porter and stout are interchangeable. Despite stout formerly indicating a stronger porter – a “stout porter” -, many breweries that brew beers called by both terms make a porter stronger than their stout.
2Read Ronald Pattinson’s excellent rundown of Czech beer styles on his Shut Up About Barclay Perkins blog. A more comprehensive detailing may be found on his European Beer Guide website.
Tags: beer, lager, pilsner, pilsner urquell, plzeňský prazdroj, sabmiller
Article by Johan P.
The Final Damnation could be Abigail’s most worthwhile release since their sleazy blackened speed metal debut Intercourse and Lust twenty years ago. After tons of insipid punk/speed metal releases, more vicious black metal elements have once again made their way into Abigail’s repertoire.
Tags: 2016, Abigail, beer metal, Black Metal, Heavy Metal, Japan, review, Speed Metal, The Final Damnation
I, Voidhanger Records premiered the first songs off of Serpent Ascending‘s upcoming Ananku on SoundCloud and shill blog No Clean Singing today. “Entrance” lyrics feature stanzas from William Blake’s poem “The Earth’s Answer”.
Tags: ananku, Aṇaṅku, Black Metal, death metal, i voidhanger records, Jarno Nurmi, new song, Serpent Ascending, upcoming release