Boston’s newest riff-appliance, Summoner, just dropped their third album, Beyond the Realm of Light. On the Metal Archives, they are listed as “Stoner/Doom Metal”, though, this seems a far cry from the content on this album. Every song on this record uses mid-paced to fast tempos, plenty of melody, and tons of upbeat energy. The band’s DNA consists of all the usual trappings and song ideas of traditional metal and NWOBHM but the band avoids the “vest metal” label by having an aesthetic closer to Baroness and later-Mastodon than Black Sabbath or Judas Priest. Unfortunately, this shift away from the norm is about 5 years too late and not enough to save the album from moments of sameness.
With the return of Twin Peaks only hours away, I figure it’s the perfect time to go back and give attention to something that contributed just as much to the success of the show as any of the actors or lines of dialogue: the soundtrack. The score for the show written by composer Angelo Badalamenti is a character in its own right, playing throughout the series at nearly every turn to let you know which force in Twin Peaks is holding sway at any particular moment and worming its way into your brain. However, even without having ever seen the show, this…
When Sugar Ray released their breakthrough reggae-infused pop hit “Fly’’ in 1997, they were still very much a punk metal band for the most part. If you listen to any other song on Floored, then you’ll hear nothing else that resembles “Fly’’ in the slightest. The success of that single inspired the band to adopt the more mainstream approach they became known for after that, and while you could place all of their subsequent releases in the pop rock category, the truth is that no Sugar Ray album sounds the same. The beauty of Sugar Ray is that they were a band who just liked to make music, and even though their records catered for the masses during the height of their popularity, they were never without moments of unpredictability. However, before their rise to fame, they released Lemonade and Brownies in 1995, and it was pretty wild. A party-centric blend of funk metal, punk rock, soul and even a touch of country and western, with a front cover displaying a naked Nicole Eggert, the album is the very definition of mindless; however, it boasts such a carefree attitude and knack for memorable tunes that it’s pretty gosh darn irresistible as well.
For being as venerable and insanely talented as they are, I feel as though Immolation gets the shit-end of the death metal history stick. They have their following and they’re not exactly a band that’s languished in obscurity or would be considered anything near a “forgotten classic,” but they really deserve a lot more attention and respect than they get. Calling their discography gem-studded doesn’t do them justice; their almost 30-year history as a band has been almost entirely gems. Seriously, what other classic early-90’s death metal band is still putting out new albums and, more importantly, evolving their sound with pretty much no breaks? That’s impressive as fuck no matter how you slice it!
No, seriously, don’t. Anyway, I’m sick, Eden is tired, but we hold it together, maybe even more so than usual! We discuss some news. We have a discussion about mental health and how sad music affects us because of Chris Cornell’s passing. We discuss Textures breaking up, Morbid Angel refusing to play and David Vincent material, an awesome flamenco cover of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller”, then some new music. Pyrrhon, Dying Fetus, Arcadea, Decrepit Birth and Interloper. We also discuss some of our favorite drummers and some other random tidbits. We discuss video games, namely Prey, Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Surge and Dead Cells. We also discuss the new American Gods TV adaptation. We had a fun time, so enjoy!
The word “unearthing” means to dig up something hidden. “After dodging Nazis and snakes, archaeologists spent their time unearthing the Ark of the Covenant.” But perhaps the word should take on a new meaning, which is to “leave Earth.” As the name of the band suggests, Into Orbit want you to leave the planet on a journey. These guys want to unearth you with their recent release, Unearthing.
Let’s dive into our album this week: The Parable of Arable Land by experimental rock/psych band Red Krayola, made in collaboration with “The Familiar Ugly”—a group of the band’s friends. RK consisted of Texas art school students, and this “outsider” influence (i.e. not trained musicians) shows up in their music in the best way possible. Lo-fi? Check. Tons of tracks that sound like noise (referred to as “Freak-Outs”)? Double check. If you like your music psychedelic, experimental, and given to flights of all-out, Brötzmann-esque free jazz, this is your record.
The story of metal is not linear. We didn’t arrive at the mayhem lurking in our Spotify playlists through a measured progression of technique, style, and genre. Rather, the evolution came in leaps and bounds, with dead ends and bursts of growth and pockets of innovation. To continue the evolutionary metaphor: the Cambrian Explosion of metal shot off in the mid 1980’s, as subgenres and geniuses and success combined into a specimen closely resembling much of modern metal. But the growth, although frantic, wasn’t instantaneous; rather, it seemed to expand exponentially from a single source, a catalyst in a chain reaction. That incipient band, the patient zero of metal as we know it today, is Iron Maiden. More precisely, the stratospheric success of The Number of the Beast, with it’s intricate compositions, transgressive lyrics, and trailblazing progressivity, diverged metal from hard rock completely and legitimized metal as a commercial viability, heralding the eruption of metal in the years to follow.
It’s been a minute since our last Holy Roar Records File and even longer since I wrote one. It’s only appropriate that the post is dusted off and brought back for this. Somehow, I hadn’t covered Employed To Serve in this feature before but that HAD to change for one reason; The Warmth Of A Dying Sun releases today and is a bona fide game changer in hardcore and heavy music. You can throw Code Orange at me all you want, Employed To Serve are thee band at the forefront of genre smashing heavy music. As always, make your own damn mind up about but if you feel like you need convincing then read ahead. There will be bountiful amounts of hyperbole and fruity language – oh, and a track by track breakdown from EtS’s very own Justine Jones. Tight.
Mannheim, Germany (while an important industrial center) is not somewhere you’d expect to be given the “chic lettering” treatment but here we are. MNHM (who are not, in fact, from Mannheim) play a weird blend of math rock and post metal, perhaps somewhat hinting at the industrial prowess of their namesake. Their sound manages to be both bright and oppressive at the same time and, while their previous release featured plenty of progressive wheeling and dealing, Of Empires Past wastes no time on subtlety or too much nuance. Instead, the album leans heavily on its musical haunches, continuously battering the listener with its chromatic (in the aesthetic sense) styling. As a last effort to convey the sensation before we jump into the thick of it, imagine being pummeled over the head by And So I Watch You From Afar’s All Hail Bright Futures. Repeatedly. For about forty minutes. OK, now we’re ready to get started.
There’s no shortage of folk influence in the world of metal, but the vast majority of it is undeniably Eurocentric, which is to be expected, given England’s (and later Scandinavia’s) claim to its birth and subsequent rise. In the past decade however, we have been fortunate enough to see a rise in Eastern influences in metal, and one up and coming band leading the pack is Mongolia’s Tengger Cavalry. Their self-referred breed of “nomadic folk metal” has set them apart as a unique cultural force in metal, landing on the pages of mainstream news outlets CNN and The Huffington Post,…