Metal is inherently problematic. That’s a fact that anybody listening to metal should accept and come to terms with. It doesn’t mean that metal shouldn’t listened to, written about or loved; most things on the scale of globe-spanning musical genres are problematic. Metal’s inherent complex nature stems from the very reasons why metal is appealing and that’s what makes it so intrinsic to the style. Since metal appeals to places within us which society would rather not deal with, like war, violence, personal power, the mystical aspects of nature, and darker themes, those who work within the genre are prone to excess. In the process of writing about these themes and of immersing oneself within them, many artists lose the distinction between that which is to be faced and understood and that which should be aspired to or desired.
The word “aesthetics” is perhaps one of the most maligned and misused term in the modern age. To wide circles of the population, it has come to mean one of two things. It is either the Internet-popularized term (often presented as “a e s t h e t i c…
If the story of 1980 to 1984 was how NWOBHM (and more specifically, Iron Maiden) awoke metal from its dormancy to tear the boundaries of popular music, then 1985 – 1987 is about the coronation of thrash metal atop the metal throne, and the subsequent underground rumblings of a closely linked cousin, a blood brother faster, more brutal, and more astonishing — death metal.
Hello, it is I, the resident science fiction nerd for Heavy Blog (there are actually two of us now that Joshua has joined our ranks). A year or so ago, I covered Clipping.’s phenomenal Splendor & Misery, dissecting its themes and lyrics. In the process, I tried to give an overview of “afrofuturism”, a media spanning genre which uses science fiction and futurist thought to conceive of racially radical ideas and propose a counterpoint to what is often a white dominated genre. As I wanted to keep the posts from getting insanely long (they were already really long), I could only touch upon afrofuturism briefly and, seeing as that’s my medium of choice, I focused on its presence in literature. How good of Clipping. themselves then to help me shed light on less known but not less important instances of the movement/genre/way of thought.
As a genre, stoner doom has some fairly definitive characteristics: slowed-down tempos, rumbling low-end bass and rhythm, a focus on mountainous, hypnotic riffs, and a certain intangible haze cast over it all, creating a psychedelic-glazed listening experience. But perhaps most importantly, stoner metal worships at the altar of marijuana. Proudly wearing its influence on its sleeve (and name), stoner metal varyingly employs marijuana as a muse, a political rallying cause, an artistic aesthetic, and generally as the raison d’etre for the (sub)genre as a whole. From the smoke-filled cough intro in Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” to Sleep’s epic journey to Jerusalem to Dopelord carrying the genre’s torch in one hand and a bong in the other, stoner doom is fundamentally and un-apologetically intertwined with marijuana. And yet, as firm of a grip as the green leaf has on the genre, there are contingents within the stoner doom scene that don’t embrace weed with the same fervor as their counterparts. Indeed, as counter-intuitive as it seems, examples abound of bands in the stoner doom realm that either explicitly or implicitly eschew the very association with marijuana that the scene largely views as a prerequisite.
Djent had an explosive entrance into the world of heavy music, around the start of the decade. It was a truly exciting occurrence, with first-wave acts like Periphery, Animals As Leaders and Cloudkicker filtering the technically-driven progressive sound of acts like Meshuggah, Sikth, and those of the budding “Sumeriancore” movement, into something altogether more accessible, while still retaining much of their forebears’ technical and progressive edge. Yet, like most new sub-genres, djent quickly devolved into pastiche and gave way to over saturation—perhaps a little bit quicker than most. Djent, it seems, has had a propperly ballistic trajectory, and—in 2017—as its momentum trails off, it’s hard to get excited about this once-promising phenomenon.
Metal, like any current history, is a neverending story — a songbook perpetually revising its denouement in the storm of new releases shattering our ears and expectations by the month. But as exciting as it is to experience the history unfolding before us, that work is already done by listeners and blogs like this one on a daily basis. Vitally important and critically overlooked, I think, is the history of metal — the first chapters yellowing in the forty-odd years since they were bound in black and leather. This post, then, will serve as a continuation of this article detailing the early days of metal, and particularly the incredible importance of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast to the fledgling genre.
Long before I started watching wrestling in the mid-’90s, it was synonymous with metal. Whether it was dude’s with long hair who were evident fans of the genre, the theme rockin’ theme music they used or performances by bands at the shows, metal and wrestling have always been bedfellows that go together like spaghetti and meatballs, Beavis and Butthead and Nicki Minaj and terrible music. Given the long-standing relationship between each medium, we here at Heavy Blog thought it would be fun to examine their similarities and the components which connect them to establish why it is they’ve remained so interconnected throughout the years. Now, without further ado, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!
We’ve covered a fair bit of ground with our Starter Kit series, where we select a handful of key records that highlight a niche musical style or penetrate the prolific status of a staple genre. Unfortunately, this format doesn’t lend itself to covering proto-genres—microcosms of musical history comprised of a specific set of albums released in a fixed period of time. But these movements are crucial to the evolution of our favorite genres, particularly when it comes to the trajectory of sludge metal. What’s become a multifaceted and often refined style was once a disparate lineage of bands from different genres who all applied the “sludge factor” in different measures. While you won’t find a dedicated section for proto-sludge at your preferred music store, the following albums an artists laid the framework for the modern sludge landscape. So whether your sludge purveyors of choice come from the atmospheric, blackened or progressive sects of he genre, they’re all indebted to the groundbreaking statements these albums made.
“Sumeriancore” was an interesting genre. A highly specific brand of progressive metalcore that coincided with the rise of Sumerian Records, lead by prominent bands on that label, it was very popular for a few years and then dissolved into djent shortly after. Born of Osiris were at the forefront of this, if not the main driving force. Being part of the original “big 4” of the genre along with label mates Veil of Maya, The Faceless and After the Burial, they’ve inspired many other artists and headlined many tours. They’ve had some wildly acclaimed albums, and some that are borderline ridiculed. A decade after their debut, where are they now? Where is the genre? And what’s their future? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.