Italian symphonic death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse have gone through phases that encapsulate the entire careers of normal successful artists in less than a handful of releases. Their debut Oracles was raw and promising, the follow-up Agony was a masterpiece that propelled them to the top of their game, with Labyrinth they didn’t take it to the next level and some listeners were fatigued with their antics at that point, and their fourth album, King, is now anticipated but also slightly dreaded, as it is expected to be the album that either breaks the fatigue or leans further into it. What he hear from the band on King is very characteristically Fleshgod, but also very different from how we’re used to hearing them.
It seems that as more heavy and progressive bands seek to experiment and differentiate themselves from the herd, they’ve been turning more often to adding in outside influences and instruments, with jazz and sax being at the forefront, which, at face value, is great! Like any other tool though, you have to know how to wield and implement it properly or it simply doesn’t work, and that seems to be what we’re faced with currently: a glut of saxophone solos and parts in metal and prog that exist primarily for the novelty of hearing a saxophone in unexpected places rather than using them in ways that actively connect to and enhance the music around them. This isn’t so much a guide to music and bands that use sax particularly well or poorly (though I will use examples from time to time), but more so a crash course in what the instrument can actually do and some best practices for using it. School’s in session, and you can call me Professor Sax (please don’t actually do this; Mr. Sax will suffice).
Machismo is hardcore’s rather dangerous love affair with the tough guy mentality, a mentality that takes away from the music and makes involvement in the scene less about the music and far more about keeping up appearances, a sentiment that is rather ironic when considering that much of punk revolves around individuality. While many may not see it, and many may just choose to ignore it as it largely doesn’t involve them beyond dealing with the occasional crowd killer, it is an issue that threatens now to drive hardcore from DIY staple venues all over the world that essentially keep the music alive, as well as provide a huge turn off for countless new fans who are exploring the genre.
Welcome to Half-Life, a feature that gives us the chance to celebrate a selection of work from a particular artist’s discography. These acts are still alive and kicking, continuing to provide us with more material to write about and more music to spend our time gushing over. For more installments,…