You can learn a lot from an album’s artwork. When The Kite String Pops is no exception, emblazoning a piece taken straight from the deranged mind of serial killer John Wayne Gacy that was painted when he was awaiting execution. It’s childishness is unnerving to say the least and, naturally, Acid Bath muster up some equally unnerving sludge to go with it that cements When The Kite String Pops status as a cult classic.
Hello everyone! It’s me Tentaclesworth! Upon weeks of contemplation, I’ve decided to adopt the weekly column from Dormition who has joined ranks with The Monolith. I’d like to give this column a bit of a facelift and give it a new logo and a new preface, which should be ready to go for next week’s entry. I look forward to providing some insight to what I listen to and the music that made us heavy. So let’s get to it!
The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
Today we venture into the wacky realm of Maximum the Hormone. The band name itself sets an expectation. It doesn’t make any sense for one thing and seemingly satirizes Verb the Noun type bands. Though any correlation between the trend in band names and Maximum’s own band name is purely coincidence. Maximum the Hormone though sounds like something fun and maybe even silly. Say it out loud and see if you can attach any negative connotations to it. There are definitely easier things to do right?
Jazz fusion is a difficult to understand genre. On one hand, you have the rather straight forward jazz fusion, which is little more than jazz with a rock beat and more rock structure; and then you have the style bordering on free jazz, that has lots of creative flair while sticking to some form of structure, albeit loose, sort of like BADBADNOTGOOD, which was featured earlier this week. While d’arkestra, a progressive jazz fusion band out of Louisville, KY, are not as crazy as the aforementioned BBNG, this 8-piece definitely have some weird qualities, such as a few post-rock qualities, two songs with female vocals, and a eclectic mix of classic jazz sounds and instrumentation, and modern guitar techniques, such as flanger, wah, and the like. In fact, this conglomerate of sound nearly approaches avant-garde levels of weirdness. However, the clash of the sounds and styles work very well on their debut record, Ghost Town.
Take the first song, “Jazzist“, which sounds this mix of sounds right out of the gates. It opens with guitar and drums in 7 in a very fusion style, and retains this feel through the opening part of the song, building upon it with the brass section, which gives it some much needed oomph. Due to the syncopation and the frantic drum playing, the song grooves for days. Guitarist Brandon Colemanshows his unique style, not just on this particular song, but on the album, as he is always performing super interesting leads and unique chord voicings that shouldn’t make a lot of sense in theory, but somehow manage to create nearly unheard of blends of sound.
“Halogen” shows that the group really can do anything, as it opens with something that could be heard from the 1940′s or 50′s, yet transform into a very slow ballad that is quite beautiful. One thing this song highlights is the bands ability to arrange their music similarly to an orchestra. The brass parts are always moving in intelligent ways, sharing the melody between one another while keeping the song together in a cohesive manner. The group is very progressive, approaching each song differently, yet making each sound like their own.
Even though the whole album is full of sweet jams, hard groover “Squares and Squares” steals the show. The song does not have a single bar of four, and it’s so unbelievably full of energy, due to the brass’ excited delivery and the drummer’s nuanced, yet intense playing. It also can’t be overstated how solid the bass player is, and how he’s always right in the pocket.
Overall, this is probably my jazz album of the year. I would recommend it to almost anyone who had an interest in the style, and I would also recommend it to fans of progressive or avant-garde music. From the tracks aforementioned, to the truly haunting “Ghost Town”, which has an The Devil’s Blood meets Worm Ouroboros sound, and to the unique weirdness of the album, it truly is one of my favorite albums of the year, and I encourage you to at least give it a listen with the provided bandcamp stream. Enjoy
Rap has no place on a metal site as far as I’m concerned. Though, we are called “Heavy Blog” and there is something undeniably raw and ‘heavy’ about Death Grips first of two 2012 releases, The Money Store. I’m not versed in the greats of hip-hop. I’ve avoided that genre for far too long, however this album struck me in a way no other hip-hop has. The beats are unconventional, the samples are unique and MC Ride’s delivery is nothing short of prolific.
This year has been no less than epic. There have been so many good records to come out this year that picking my top twenty albums has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do… next to studying for my microeconomics final. This year was not only been stellar in the metal world, but also in the world of non-metal. Earlier this year I remember Cody (Tentaclesworth) pointed out that this band he really enjoyed had a new album coming out. So I checked it out when it was released, and instantly knew that it would be my favorite non-metal record of the year, and possibly in recent memory.
BADBADNOTGOOD are a Canadian trio of kids (yes, none over the age of 21) who have devised a unique way to mesh jazz and the rap music they love. They are comprised of a pianist, a bassist, and drummer, which is a rather odd setup for any band. Originally rejected by their music teachers due to a lack of substance, they quickly uploaded a cover of an Odd Future song onto YouTube, where it was discovered by Odd Future member Tyler, The Creator. He loved it so much he began openly promoting it and pointing people in their direction, and eventually collaborated on one of their releases to great effect.. Regardless of what you think of his music, you can’t deny that he definitely helped them in gaining a very diverse fanbase. I can show them to fans of nearly every type of music and people can appreciate it.
Every day my Facebook, Instagram, and even sometimes my personal email account become inundated with requests to check out a new band that is either unsigned or that is releasing a demo EP or something. I used to check every single band out, but lately I’ve ignored a lot of them because they say something along the lines of “Hey! If you like……..we are perfect!” I don’t want to listen to you if you sound like another band, because I’ve still got the original, and the rest are just imitators. No band should present themselves in this way, and it is a major turnoff for labels, but I digress.
Horde of Sirens are a progressive metal band a la Protest The Hero mixed with Between The Buried And Me. And when they said I should check them out, they said “We are Horde Of Sirens. We make heavy music.” And that was enough for me. So I checked them out, and ended up liking them enough that I bought their EP, which they just released on iTunes as well as on Spotify. You can check them out, and if you like it enough, buy the record! It’s a really awesome release from a young band. Meantime, like them on facebook!
Throughout the course of the year we’re always highly dedicated to metal releases, even If I’m not too happy with what’s being released, I try and listen to every album featured on the blog, and as well as whatever bands my co-writers happen to be discussing in Heavy Blog headquarters. When you add all of that up, it’s quite a bit of metal that’s assaulting these ear-holes. So I usually don’t get to listen to the widest spectrum of music as I used to, but I still try t0 expand my horizons and find new bands in other genres that pique my interests. Over the past year I’ve found quite a few really amazing non-metal albums that I think even the most die-hard fan of metal could find some appreciation for, even if they are heavily associated with *gasp* hipsters, and *double gasp* mainstream music! This is dangerous territory, folks.
As Noyan said earlier, there’s no real reason why we chose this week to partake in avant-garde metal week, but it was a really fun premise when we started talking about it, and everyone at Heavy Blog HQ were on board. So why not? The week is literally going to be packed with more than a few bands that will tear your face off in odd and unexpected ways. I’ve been going through the band’s that Noyan plans to recommend, and let me just say this — holy shit. That guy has a knack for finding really exciting music that pushes some real boundaries, and I think that’s what everyone of our readers is expecting to experience this week, but we have to start somewhere, and what better place to start than with the King of them all, King Crimson.
While the North American release of Dark Tranquillity‘s new EP, Zero Distance, may not be the most exciting or groundbreaking work the band has every put out — it’s a collection of b-sides from the We Are the Void sessions — I can at least say this about it, it has given me the chance to see the thrill of Dark Tranquillity’s back catalog once more. Which really should not have had to happen, because Dark Tranquillity are without a doubt in my mind, the most consistent band from the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene, and I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch to say they are the most consistent melo-death band of all time. With over twenty years of experience, and nine full length albums under their belt — all of which are spectacular, by the way — they are easily in the forefront of current metal bands. Even if they never reached the level of popularity that In Flames some how managed, DT have a respectable number of fans, and their audience is continually growing.
While I could heap praise on the band as a whole for an infinity, I want to take the time to talk about one album in particular; the first Dark Tranquillity album I ever had the pleasure of experiencing; 1999′s experimental masterpiece, Projector.
Hey everybody! My name’s Shjon Thomas, and I play guitar in a Boston-based progressive metal band called The Deadstation. The awesome guys here at Heavy Blog is Heavy let me write a guest article on whatever I wanted… so I chose to share what I consider to be the ten most essential albums of “old-school progressive metal”!
Since the newer school of prog-metal is so popular with the readers here (Animals As Leaders, Periphery, etc…), I thought it would be cool to share some great albums that follow from the original style of the genre that was popular in the 1990s and 2000s. These albums have also been a large influence on my own music, so if you like something here, you might also like The Deadstation! (You can download our free EP “Episode 01” here)
My hope is that you guys find some enjoyable stuff here that you hadn’t heard before! Cheers!
This entry is the oldest one in this article, but don’t be fooled… it is totally awesome. Queensryche’s magnum opus Operation: Mindcrime is a concept album revolving around a man named Nikki who gets involved with an underground organization that is assassinating political leaders. Dr. X, the leader of this group, uses Nikki’s addiction to heroin to manipulate him into doing his evil bidding. As you can imagine, things get worse from there. Since this album was released in the late 80′s, it definitely has a certain dated sound to it. If you’re coming from the more modern side of progressive metal, than this may be a bit of hurdle for you. There is a remastered version that was released recently which gives it a bit of an update though, so you might want to track down that version.