Welcome to a new feature on Heavy Blog, “The Anatomy Of”. Taken from the Between The Buried And Me album of the same name — in which the band pays tribute to artists/bands that they feel have most inspired their songwriting — it’s a feature in which we hand off the metaphorical microphone to bands so they can talk about their influences.
In our inaugural article for this section, we’ve got two members of the post-metal band MAKE. Their recent album, The Golden Veil (review here), mixes up typical post-metal stylings with unusually aggressive heaviness and a fantastic focus on dynamics. It’s an album that falls far from the typical genre tree, and after reading about their influences as a band, it’s easy to see why.
Scott Endres (vocals/guitar): I saw Lungfish open for Fugazi shortly after Sound in Time came out. I was 17 and it was the craziest fucking thing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t wrap my stupid head around it. Why is everybody but the singer playing with closed eyes? Why are they playing the same riffs over and over? Why does the singer look like Dostoevsky found a fucking time machine and woke up hungover in a tattoo parlour? And why is he making a vagina with his hands and giving birth to himself on stage? It took two more years before it finally clicked…but when it did it completely changed my view of music, composition and the philosophy of repetition. Asa Osborne is easily still one of my favorite guitarists of all time.
Spencer Lee (vocals/bass): I had never heard of this band before playing in MAKE, but Scott made sure to change that right off the bat. I thank him for that, big time. This record is a visionary combination of psychedelia, weight, and meditative repetition that is maybe the strongest single informer of MAKE’s style. Daniel Higgs’ lyrics here have always fascinated me too.
Spencer: The way Justin Broadrick combines his iconically brutal, minimalistic, almost staggering-sounding style of riffing with beautiful, complex melodies on this record (at times even hinting at what was to come with Jesu) creates a power within the music that’s virtually indescribable. What’s more, despite the music’s minimalism and seemingly bare-bones sound, there’s a ton of somewhat hidden production and synth/electronics work that really gives the album an incredible, dark atmosphere. The strange but amazing sound swells during Bigot that almost sound like phase issues or the bottom of a stage rattling from intense low-end, the minimal electronics (and that absolutely CRUSHING riff) in the chorus of Body Dome Light, the marriage of that sort of vision with some of the best doom metal out there really lifts this record into another dimension.
Scott: This album stands atop the giant mountain that is Godflesh and has guided me through philosophies of composition since I was 16.
Scott: I remember first hearing Branca’s guitar orchestras and thinking like “Wait…that’s legal?” It was such a mindfuck. Modern classical/avant garde composition was nothing new to me but it’d not occurred to me (hey, I was young) that you could just take a bunch of guitarists and create this kind of beautiful cacaphony. Branca is now my go-to reference when I want to do something layered and dissonant (eg. The end of ‘Chimera’ or ‘The Absurdist’). “Hey I think I’m gonna try to Branca this part up a little!”
Spencer: Ever have one of those moments where you’re looking really hard for something and exactly that thing falls into your lap? That happened to me with Glenn Branca recently. I’m blown away by his presentations of rhythm and spaciousness in music.
Scott: So, speaking a little bit on behalf of Matt here…this was our connecting point. Matt was never into metal the way Spencer and I were, but we connected majorly with Krautrock and all its rhythmic insanity. Show a drummer Can to see if they have a fucking pulse. Come on. Jaki Liebezeit? What kind of perfect planet was that guy born on? This, to me, is the perfect sort of band: severely psychedelic, brilliant at improvising, letting go and going WAYYYYY the fuck out there, danceable jams, heady drones, formless noise explorations…they do everything I want and they always do it perfectly with just enough human error to remind you that this is just a group of people.
Spencer: I’m actually just now getting into these guys, and I’m kind of disappointed in myself that I never took that plunge before. I’ve always appreciated what Can I’ve heard, but lately it’s just clicked with me, y’know? Really love these guys’ way of vamping on a riff. It also strikes me how much I hear in this record that clearly influenced some of my other favorite bands.
Spencer: I’m sure I don’t have anything to say about this album that hasn’t been said a million times before, but that’s because it’s such an incredible goddamn record that it merits that kind of discussion. This band was one of my first introductions to music so beautiful that repeating a riff for minutes on end seemed not only okay, but absolutely necessary. Venus in Furs and All Tomorrow’s Parties were essentially my introduction to music with elements of drone, and they are such a strong benchmark that I still frequently return to try to glean more understanding from them.
Scott: I don’t trust people who don’t like The Velvet Underground. This album taught a very young me that it is ok to lose yourself in the moment and “jamming” isn’t a dirty word. The greatest rock album of all time? Probably. I could easily dedicate an entire interview to just this record.