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twir-11-2Two perfect scores, a 3/5, 3.5/4, and a 4/5, a better than average outcome in This Week in Reviews after the jump.

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Giant Squid – Minoans

giant-squid-minoans-review

Post metal is a grandiose and ambitious genre. Even more so than its doom counter-parts, bands that operate in this genre rely on emotional weight and tone to relieve their music of repetitiveness and simple-minded heavy-just-to-be-heavy sound. To temper this type of emotional appeal, to make sure the album doesn’t simply fall into a series of epic passages, two main qualities are required of the artist: composition skills and cohesion. Giant Squid, a veteran band in the field of post metal and doom, lack no composition skill. However, their recent offering Minoans, does sadly fall short in the cohesion department.

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There’s a template to starting a metal band. It’s not set in stone, but when it comes down it, that core combination of guitar, bass, drums and vocals have given some of the greatest metal even known so it’s no wonder that 90% of bands fall back that format. It’s tried and tested, it ain’t broke and it doesn’t really need fixing and it’s probably even fair to assume that many future classics will continue to revolve around those same basic ingredients.

Thankfully though, there’s also a considerable number of bands more interested in blurring the lines and adding their own twist to the standard line-up. It’s not a new idea, hell even Black Sabbath‘s debut contained a harmonica solo — not really a huge leap from their blues background but looking back on it today it definitely seems out of the ordinary. Worth nothing as well that with the advent of cheaper and cheaper electrical equipment, the keyboard was embraced quite quickly, no surprise really when a lot of those original ‘proto-metal’ bands made similar use of the organ but it still hasn’t quite made the leap from ‘optional’ to ‘necessary’ yet.

 

Relevant section occurs at 3:05.

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Earth

Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II

 

01. Sigil Of Brass
02. His Teeth Did Brightly Shine
03. Waltz (A Multiplicity Of Doors)
04. The Corascene Dog
05. The Rakehell

[02/14/12]
[Southern Lord]

First and foremost, it needs to be said as a preface that I am not an expert in the field of drone/doom – quite the opposite. The closest I’ve come to experiencing it is the few forays into the sound that bands such as Giant Squid or even Boris have made but I’ve never made an effort to give the genre my time. So with the new year upon us, why not? And what better place to start than with the new album from drone pioneers Earth? With a career stretching back a good twenty years and a history intermingled with grunge legends Nirvana it’d be an understatement to say their time has been interesting, but what exactly is the sound of Earth today?

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Nearly two weeks ago but hey…we’re a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

I’ve never quite understood why I’m drawn to Giant Squid‘s music so much, it tends plod along quite daintily compared to the aural assaults to which I normally subject myself. Whether that’s entirely down to the soothing vocals and cello of Jackie Perez Gratz (Grayceon, ex-Ludicra) is subject to personal opinion but, overall, this is music that mesmerizes, not pulverises.

Revolver recently premiered a track from their upcoming album/EP Cenotes and whilst I may have missed it initially, I’m glad I stumbled upon it because this is everything I loved about their previous record – off kilter and haunting cello lines sit happily alongside a doom-y band jam that wouldn’t be out of place on a latter day Isis record. Cenotes is set to be released through Translation Loss Records on the 25th of October but you can listen to ‘Figura Serpentinatahere.

– DL

Spawning from the bay area, the band Cormorant broke forth into the metal scene by creating two unique releases titled The Last Tree (an EP) and Metazoa. With a fusion of talent, diverse influences, minds, and immense passion the band Cormorant have gained love and fans across oceans without ever playing outside of their native California. In a few moments, you’ll be reading my attempt at picking the brain of Arthur von Nagel, the long winded, kind, and very intelligent bassist and vocalist of the band.

The teeth of lions sown by the wind,
Spurned by the salt of the
Earth’s fallow and barren skin,
Find fertile ground in me.

Rains of red poppies
Burst from the blue.
Fireflies and harpies
Beat their wings anew.
The wine from man’s fountains
Imparts courage to implore:
“Gods, step down from your mountains.
Fish, rise up from the shore.”

[wpaudio url=”http://www.heavyblogisheavy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Salt-of-the-Earth.mp3″ text=”Cormorant – Salt of the Earth” dl=”0″]

MW: How old were you when you first got into music, and how did the interest come about?

AvN: My first musical memory was my mother taking me to see Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.  I was 3 or 4.  Looking back on it now, the whole production was very metal.  Huge sets, bombastic music, crushing drums, horses, betrayal, myth, swords, blood.  All it needed was Manowar.  I regret that I fell asleep halfway through, but then again the damn thing was four hours long.  I still love opera.  I’m looking forward to the San Francisco Opera’s take on Faust later this year.

Growing up there was always music.  My father was into lots of late 60s counter-culture stuff like Captain Beefheart, Bob Dylan, and King Crimson.  My mother always had me listening to classical, lots of Tchaikovsky, Handel and Bach.  We had a beautiful old jukebox stacked with French traditionals and classic rock songs.  When I was a kid, I would fall in and out of love with different genres.   I had a hip-hop stage, a jazz stage, a folk stage, and I even recall not being interested in music at all sometime in my early teens.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Probably rebelling against nothing.


How did you decide you wanted to make Cormorant a band?

Brennan Kunkel (drums) and I met playing in a thrash/punk band when I was 16.  It was fun but a bit limiting.  We got bored.  So we started creating quirky, poorly produced progressive black metal demos as a two-piece.  While the sound quality was garbage and we had no idea what we were doing, there were some cool ideas there and a lot of those early riffs went on to become parts of Cormorant songs.  We brought in Nick Cohon (guitars), a friend of Brennan’s from high school, and his style immediately clicked with ours.  We recorded our EP The Last Tree as a three-piece.  Apart from the song Ballad of the Beast, I don’t think we had quite discovered our sound yet.  It was when we met Matt Solis (guitars/vocals) at an Enslaved gig that we were really able to fully realize that expansive, progressive style the EP hints at, and Metazoa embraces.


How do you go about mixing the influence from other genres in your music? Or does it just come naturally?

We don’t really think about it. It’s a natural thing.  We’re just writing what we enjoy listening to.  I don’t know what genre Cormorant falls into anymore anyway.  That’s why we laugh along with the silly “Tiberian Ass Bastard Folk” tag fans have given us: it’s just as accurate as any of the more convoluted descriptions of our sound.  “Progressive blackened death-folk NWOBHM?”  I’ll pass.

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