One One One
01. I Won’t Forget
02. The One Inside
03. My Dying Drive
04. Off The Hook
05. Blackjazz Rebels
06. How Your Story Ends
07. The Hurting Game
08. Walk Away
09. Paint The Sky Black
As you can probably tell, we really enjoy our avant-garde. We dedicated a whole week to it, and many of the writers here, this one included, have countless favorites. One of the bands that many of us really enjoy, however, is Norwegian blackjazz avant-garde specialists Shining. Their last album, 2010’s Blackjazz, completely blew us away, and their live DVD that followed was every bit as good. However, it’s been nearly three years since the band have put out a new studio record, and the question remained: how could they possibly top such a phenomenal record?
Today is a sad day indeed. The Mars Volta, creators of one of my all-time top ten albums, masterminds of avant-garde/prog rock/space rock/salsacore albums such as The Bedlam In Goliath and my favorite, Frances The Mute have broken up. Damn.
Frontman Cedric Bixlert Zavala announced the breakup via a series of tweets, including:
This sucks. I never had the chance to see them live, but I was hoping they would tour off their new album and that I could see them sometime. Now it looks like it’ll never happen. Such a shame that their relationship soured; they were a great musical pair, and made some of the most memorable rock I’ve ever heard. While their later albums may not have had the same intensity as their earlier records, they were definitely a band that did things differently and made it all work. So R.I.P. The Mars Volta. We’ll miss you.
Avant-Garde is definitely an acquired taste. If someone had shown me Gorguts four or five years ago I wouldn’t have dug it; I was still scratching my head at Tool’s change from 7/8 to 13/6. However, when I discovered iwrestledabearonce’s debut LP It’s All Happening, my ears were confused. I had never heard anything of the sort. They mixed bluegrass with metalcore, interspersed with symphonic black metal moments, and even some technical guitar work. It was truly mind-boggling, but it worked. And not only did it work, but people my age enjoyed it. I knew people who went to their shows not because they were on the same bill as Asking Alexandria, but because they wanted to see something different. So, with metal purists fuming at this point in the story, how does IWABO fit in with the “avant-garde” genre?
Eryn Non Dae.
02. The Great Downfall
03. Scarlet Rising
06. Black Obsidian Pyre
07. Hidden Lotus
Calling something “art-metal” is difficult without making it sound pretentious. But then again, what else would you call Eryn Non Dae.? It seems almost impossible to determine what kind of metal Eryn Non Dae. is. There’s a lot of sludge, post, and doom, quite a bit of progressive, and some hardcore too. The band themselves term their music to be “avant-garde” or “experimental”. But in reality, isn’t that what all art is? So it should come as no surprise when these French-metallers came out with Hydra Lernaia in 2009, it was baffling. If anything, it was frightening and unlike anything you’ve heard before. But “interesting” would really be the best word to describe the album. Soon after it came out, END. had announced working on their follow-up album. Now almost 2-3 years later, have they been able to top their previously ambitious effort? Thankfully, the answer is, yes.
My first taste of mathcore was Dillinger Escape Plan’s EP Irony Is A Dead Scene with Mike Patton. The rhythms blew me away and Patton’s vocals are unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. It was perfect. The problem was, it was too short.
This is where Hunab Ku come into play.
Hunab Ku’s The Gaze Inward picks up where Irony Is A Dead Scene left off. The vocals even sound like Mike Patton, so the illusion is complete. While it might not be the most original thing out there, this is just what any fan of the DEP-Patton collab would be itching for. This album goes all over the map. Hunab Ku are seemingly influenced by every great metal band ever, citing influences from The Faceless, Primus, Gojira, Genghis Tron, DEP, Meshuggah, and Mr. Bungle, just to name a few. The Gaze Inward jumps around quit a bit, from chaotic mathcore to almost peaceful and dreamy ambient sections and then over to the circus-inspired music akin to Mr. Bungle. This is some seriously schizophrenic music here.
This is a near perfect avant-garde metal record. I say near-perfect because like I said, it’s been done before. But that’s what Hunab Ku does. The Gaze Inward combines their influences seamlessly, builds upon them, and spits it back out at the fans yearning for more.
Pecking Out My Stained Glass Eyes