Inter Arma – The Paradise Gallows

Part of what makes metal – slower metal, in particular – such a compelling force to investigate within today’s experimentation-driven musical landscape is that when a band tends to go for a longer record, a coupling of sounds must occur. That is to say, abrasion on its own is no…

Holy Roar Records Files Pt.2 – Rolo Tomassi’s Cosmology

OK, so this one was put out on a different label initially, but Holy Roar released Cosmology on vinyl so it still counts. Look, who’s writing this fucking thing? Semantics, etc. If I needed an excuse to write about this wonderfully dreamy experiment of math metal and synth symphonies (synthonies? Nah.) then this is it. Rolo Tomassi – for the crime of being too splendid a band to hate and too skilled at writing the most savage party metal, you have been found guilty. Let’s examine the evidence as to why they have a life sentence to spent in the confines of any digital device I own.

Stepping Stone: Wintersun’s Wintersun

Wintersun’s eponymous debut was a watershed album for me. Before Wintersun, I listened exclusively to power metal. If I found the courage to tell someone I liked metal, I assured them I didn’t listen to “the heavy stuff with the screaming”. But the basis of my hasty qualifications began to crumble away as I became bored by the pomp and feather-light punch of supposed “power” metal, and I found myself enjoying the odd song with harsh vocals. Wintersun was the album where extreme metal finally began to “click”, and struck through the stubborn levee that I’d built. As such, it was the bridge for the heavier parts of the metal, an album which made me more confident in listening to the music I liked rather than the music I already knew. That is the very essence of a “stepping stone”, opening up a whole new field of music for us if not whole new methods of listening.

The Jazz Club Vol. 7 – Defusing Jazz Fusion

Welcome to Jazz Club, where we might actually be on track this week! Actually, it’s true; we have a real topic and real albums to bring to your earballs, all about one of the most revolutionary (and highly criticized at the time) forms of jazz of all time, Jazz Fusion! A little note before we start, though: all three albums featured today have sizable contributions from guitarists. Although fusion includes more instrumentation beyond the guitar (for example, Mahavishnu Orchestra once included violinist Jon Luc Ponty), guitar was essentially the big focal point of the genre, as fusion is a blend (no duh) of a few genres with jazz, the biggest being rock music. (Of course, there are other jazz guitarists that aren’t fusion, such as Django Reinhardt, but this is a new sound we’re talking about.) So without further ado, let’s defuse a contentious – but rewarding – subgenre of jazz.