Like metal, drone attempts to make beauty from ugliness, and with the metal-infused version of drone, the genre finally gets past the waiting room music stage by using the intense dynamics of distorted guitar, allowing it to mix darkness and light in a sonic tapestry that diffuses more than focuses attention.
We lost a giant among guitar players last Friday when Julian Bream passed on to the Other Side, where hopefully he is shredding still:
Bream was born in Battersea in 1933, the son of a father who played piano and jazz guitar – a self-built electric version – and taught Julian the rudiments of each instrument. Bream’s talent earned him a scholarship at the Royal College of Music, where he studied piano and cello. But he was largely self-taught on his primary instrument, the guitar. He played his first public guitar recital in Cheltenham in 1947, aged 13.
That year his father chanced upon a sailor walking through London carrying a lute and asked what it was. The sailor sold it to him and Bream began learning it, eventually helping to revive wider interest in the instrument and Elizabethan music.
Instigate sounds like later Suffocation with more classic heavy metal riffs embedded within, sort of like Adramelech working in the style of Deeds of Flesh, but within this framework, this band make compelling songs that are both familiar and alien at the same time.
Clearly enjoying both classic Swedish death metal and the music of Bolt Thrower, whom it covers with “Spear of Destiny,” Burial Remains seeks to make a simplified and melodic but omnivorous atmosphere out of basic verse chorus songs with a few interludes to develop mood and theme, but otherwise a high-speed, rigid attack.
Bringing the unrelenting pace of war metal to death metal, Ascendency make stripped-down death metal with melodic chorus riffs and confrontational chromatic rhythm verse riffing in the Scandinavian style. This results in a booming attack and soft upward drift toward organization emerging from chaos.
Riff-driven punk-based music that nonetheless focuses on instrumentals more than vocals, The Sacrifice might remind us of The Process of Weeding Out from Black Flag or later Carbonized releases, albeit more harmonically-pleasing and perhaps organized than either.
In art, no shame attaches to specificity, since that is better than trying to be everything to everyone and ending up as the same old thing since nothing pleases all parties. Ehlder make a type of atmosphere black metal based around stomp beats and droning guitars with angular riffs gilded with cryptic melody.
The fine line between “quirky” and eccentric proves hard to spot, but with this NWOBHM revival with added melodic punk touches and yet a very old school sense of melody, Dead Express makes itself eccentric in a way that the quirky hipsters probably cannot appreciate, but might discover some quality music if they did.
Punk rock came about to make rock without the cruft and convention that had clogged it, since labels and bands tend to accumulate a collection of whatever has worked in the past, meaning that by the 1970s rock had become a fruit salad of folk, progressive, disco, blues, and country tropes that had no relation to a whole idea.
Sounding a lot like a hybrid between South American metal and Chicago death metal, Bleedskin make old school death metal with lots of heavy metal and some speed metal influences, but keep a unique perspective through what could otherwise be pure riff salad.