Thomas Hewitt Jones is a British composer mainly known for being an important figure in the realm of British sacred music. An organ scholar at the incredibly prestigious Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge before then branching off into composing for a plethora of styles that include, ballets, choirs and a notorious piece based on the few hummed notes performed by former British Prime Minister David Cameron as he resigned. Electro Cello is a new take on Neo-romanticism that seeks to focus on the joys of wonder and pensive contemplative.
For us Westerners, many forms Japanese non-traditional music carry an awkward, or even amusing air of exotism. When it comes to metal and punk, this sense of other-ness often stems from the way European-descended musical genres get filtered through a cultural lens largely alien to its original source. Even when it comes to obvious carbon-copy tribute acts, there’s always something strikingly goofy about Japanese metal/punk. Not surprisingly, this makes for a good marketing device because even if the bands suck (and to be frank, many of them do), they still sound “unique”. Relevant cases in point are just too ubiquitous to deserve mentioning. Let’s instead talk about something that does not suck. Like Japan’s premier hardcore punk act and much-overlooked crossover pioneers G.I.S.M. While definitely goofy, G.I.S.M. succeed where most Japanese metal- and punk-acts fail by forging a highly idiosyncratic expression that not only offers something new to the table, but also manage to resonate with the deeper spirit of both punk and metal.
Metallica’s mark on metal in both the mainstream and underground still continues to grow as every riff, drum fill,solo etc has been plagiarized. As Metallica progressed towards much tamer territories, the band did the opposite of what common sense dictated at the time. Instead of reneging their previous records, they embraced them and relished their mainstream status as kings of “The Big 4”. This allowed them to exist in a bizarre duality alternating between mainstream Radio Rock and furious Heavy metal depending on the fan. Through this duality many bands have taken from both periods to create a curious mix that resonates with with a wider audience. Demonpalm fall into this category but their music carries potential for something better in some of the brief glimpses shown here.
Formed in the heyday of the Norwegian Black metal movement and even rehearsing with one of main participants, Hellhammer. Mysticum never fell into the trap of copying the more popular bands and though the death of Euronymous and various issues had delayed the release of their first album, Mysticum are the first band to create what is referred to as “Industrial Black metal”. Being left out the narrative due to their late entry was probably a blessing in disguise as this removed any pressure for the band to copy their first album or to completely change style. Planet Satan takes off from where In the Streams of Inferno left off and develops further the cosmic psychedelic horror that the band started to experiment with other two decades ago.
Dark metal band Mefitis have finally released the album of the decade Emberdawn. The full review can be found here. According to the band, a physical release is planned for September for those who don’t care for digital purchases. Either way it is compulsory listening for all our readers.
Controversial war/black metal hybrid Sammath homebrewed a video for the first track from Across the Rhine is only death, “Ferocious Mortar Fire,” demonstrating the visual aesthetics of a form of ruthlessly inhuman music that sees the evil in humanity as a product of our stupidity, not religious symbolism.
Musical surprises come in various forms and sometimes even within the most cliched tropes, bands manage to escape mimicking their peers with creativity and the will to truly express themselves through pre-defined methods. Here we look at three songs outside the metal universe that attempt such concepts with varying degrees of success.
DMU song contest #3 winners Mefitis return with their glorious debut album Emberdawn. “Kolossos Pt II” which was featured in the song contest gave us a glimpse into some of the incredible ideas that this band has shown. Mefitis has existed for over twelve years and had been plagued by various problems before being put on hiatus for a few years until remaining members Vatha and Pendath who had always been the core duo behind the band managed to reform and eventually release the excellent Widdrim Hymn. A powerful bond marked by shared philosophy has allowed this duo to craft what can easily be referred to as this decade’s greatest metal album. Combining the twin guitar approach of early At the Gates with the melodic sense of Demigod and then layered in the Norwegian Black metal style. Where these approaches have produced a dead end and hordes of imitators, for Mefitis they have opened up new methods for their brand of Dark metal.
In the past, metal journalism used to function mainly as a filtering device; weeding out the bad so that the good stuff would rise to the top. Nowadays, it’s more likely the other way around. We’re now searching for potential in a seemingly endless flow of “interesting” or pleasant-sounding junk. This task often requires time and patience, because those rare and far between releases will often sound similar to their lesser peers on a surface level. One illuminating example would be the Pennsylvanian epic death/black metal act Polemicist and their debut album Zarathustrian Impressions. Their music may not appear spectacular on casual listen, but repeated and concentrated exposure reveal unexpected qualities.