Tag Archive Neurosis

Starter Kit: Doom Folk & Neofolk

doom folk and neofolk

Starter Kit analyzes the ins-and-outs of some of the more obscure and niche sub-genres within the metal spectrum and offers a small group of bands that best represent the sound. Read other Starter Kit entries here.

Folk music is a style that has always influenced metal and rock. Especially post metal and its more ponderous predecessors, have both legs deeply rooted in the foundations of folk. As such, it enjoys a wealth of iterations and conversations on what it is, why it exists and how we should draw from it. What this conversation is often missing is the understanding that folk music is the palette with which a lot of modern music now paints. More genres than you know owe their genesis to the folk revivals of the 50’s and 60’s. The goal of these, among others, were to supply the flesh and bone to the growing, modern culture since classical music was perceived (and was often) sterile and detached from the tastes and sensibilities of the new middle class.

Therefore, a lot of folk is ingrained into the way we listen to music today. I think that as a result of that, an artist relying on tried and true folk sensibilities is doing nothing wrong; they are simply laying bare the roots of their music and the basic influences which informed it. Examples include Opeth, In Flames, Blind Guardian and Iron Maiden.

The other point which is often heard and is misplaced is the demand from folk to be innovative. That kind of misses the point of what folk is about. Folk is about creating a communal sound, about channeling historical aspects and themes into music that tells a story, sets the mood or creates a theme. It’s not about new things and about innovation per se, although that can certainly come into play (for example, Ulver‘s Kveldssanger). However, it’s not a major element.

Think of it like a fairy tale: I need to start it with “once upon a time” and it needs to have certain common elements so that you can recognize it as such a tale. Otherwise, the tale doesn’t make sense and you might walk away from reading it with completely different ideas than what I set out to convey. Now, you might say that’s boring and if so, folk is probably not for you. But within the genre, or people that draw upon the genre, it’s not necessarily laziness or complacency (although that can be the case of course). It’s something deeper in how the genre is created and understood.

Read on below for some of the examples how folk is being used today to convey themes and sounds which are kin to metal in their focus: nature, loneliness, sadness, anger, depression. While they draw on traditional ideas, the bands of the oft-misunderstood genres cited here tell fairy tales: established stories with modern twists, telling us things about ourselves and the world around us.

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Yautja – Songs of Lament


For some strange reason, country music’s Mecca has spawned some of the most sinister new extreme music, presented to you by Yautja. A fitting name if there ever was one; their musical aesthetic is as deadly as it is alien and otherworldly. You’d be hard-pressed to find another band with such a small catalog with a sound this honed-in. Mixing together elements of spastic and mathematical grindcore with creepy experimentation and enough sludge to make speakers melt, there’s really quite little to gripe about here. Regardless of tempo or decibel level, Songs of Lament simply does not fuck around.

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8-Track: Swans

8-Track Swans

Few bands are as acclaimed and influential as prolific New York no wave legends Swans; fewer still have earned this status more than once in the span of their career. Over the course of thirteen albums and two periods (1982 to 1997 and 2010 to now), Michael Gira and a rotating cast of collaborators – some more permanent than others – have significantly reshaped the landscape of experimental music. Just look at some of the artists that have either drawn from or directly cited Swans as an influence: Godflesh, Tool, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Neurosis, Sonic Youth, ISIS, Agalloch, Jesu, Nirvana, My Dying Bride and so on (as if this list wasn’t impressive enough). In this installment of 8-Track, we’ll take you through the incredibly dense and varied world of Swans and pick out the encompassing tracks from what we consider their best albums, ranging from their pummeling eighties days perverting noise and post punk to their current motive of defying any reasonable label. Buckle in and prepare to be severely tarred-and-feathered.

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Kylesa – Exhausting Fire


It’s really no secret that metal is slowly but surely starting to experiment more with the softer side of sounds. When combined with ‘traditional metal’ parts, the dynamics become more extreme; bands like Deafheaven and Neurosis switch between crushingly heavy metal segments and soft, lilting ambience with the drop of a hat. It adds quite a lot to both parts when done properly: the more a band goes towards either side of the spectrum, the more jarring and off-kilter it becomes when they switch between the two. Take, for example, ISIS’s landmark post-sludge album, Panopticon: on it, the power in the interplay between the ambient, washed-out parts and the all-consuming sludge grooves makes the record able to hit twice as hard with each segment of the music.

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Watch Full Live Sets Of Neurosis and Sumac At Their Surprise Brooklyn Show

Neurosis thumb

When I heard that the mighty and legendary Neurosis were making their way to Brooklyn this summer, my heart skipped a beat at the thought of being able to film them. The venue they were originally slated to play solely in however, Warsaw, is not particularly video-friendly, at least compared to Saint Vitus, which has cultivated a genuine community of concert videographers like myself who have been doing this far longer than I have. My heart skipped a beat again then when I heard rumors of the band adding a second show at Vitus, and lo’ and behold, those rumors turned out to be true. On August 10th, the veteran progressive sludge/post-metal enclave appeared for possibly the most packed show I’ve ever seen at the venue. There was hardly an inch of free standing room, and I had to get creative and adaptive with my camera placement just in order to make it work. Neurosis also had along with them one of their openers from the rest of the tour, Aaron Turner’s (ISIS) crushing Sumac, whose debut album you really need to listen to if you haven’t already. Watch complete full sets of both of these stellar bands after the jump!

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PHOTOS: Neurosis—August 3rd, 2015 @ Thalia Hall, Chicago, IL


A band that needs no introduction, post-metal/sludge act Neurosis recently dominated North America on a tour with The Body and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, recently playing their last stop in Houston on August 16th.

We’ve got pictures of Neurosis from their stop in Chicago at Thalia Hall (thall), but we were unfortunately unable to grab shots of both Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and The Body due to some logistical issues in travel, as well as an undesirable lighting situation. The aforementioned lighting issues are also the cause of a fairly meager Neurosis gallery. But what can we do?

With that, please enjoy the shots of the monumental Neurosis below!

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Justin Jackson: The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview


We’ve covered Rosetta quite a bit on this website as of late. The band did, after all, release one of the best albums this year with Quintessential Ephemera [review], and many of us here all agree that it’s one of the best albums in the genre as a whole. However, we really did not discuss their documentary as much, and I think it comes down to time constraints. However, I recently had the chance to talk with Justin Jackson, the film’s mastermind, and talk to him about why he made the film, the band’s reaction to it, and if he’d do it again. Read more below!

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InAeona – Force Rise The Sun


Genres are fickle beasts. We crave proper tools for identification and organization, and more often than not, things fall neatly into place. However, when a piece of media aligns itself too comfortably with a single set of established confines, it’s taken as generic and derivative. We’re all guilty of it. What’s worse is that this encourages a culture in our community in which we put too much faith in categorization as a means of fandom. We as music fans often find ourselves making entire genres a part of who we are as individuals. A single genre of music — with its own set of rules, sounds, fashion, and aesthetic — can inform our entire being.

This isn’t meant to be some grand think-piece on genre and culture, nor am I decrying the importance of classification; it’s absolutely necessary and culture will always be influenced by art (and vice-versa, of course). That’s just how things are. So what do we do when a band doesn’t neatly fall into one box? Best case scenario is cognitive dissonance and settling for what could be an inappropriate tag, or perhaps worse, the clumsy and speculative creation of new words in the hopes that something sticks.

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EXCLUSIVE: North Conjures The “Old Blood” Of Sludge On New Track


For the unfamiliar, Tucson sludge trio North proudly carry on in the direct Neur-Isis lineage of sludge and post-metal, and do so with excellence. As the group celebrate their tenth year as an active unit, North continue to finesse their sound of crushing and foreboding riffs and melodic introspection to become an act that does not merely mimic, but lead the pack in keeping the form alive and well.

Take for instance the group’s stunning new track “Old Blood,” one-half of the band’s forthcoming digital EP Through Raven’s Eyes, arriving August 14th through Prosthetic Records. The track ebbs and flows through staggering southern grooves and suffocating doom to surprisingly buoyant instrumental interludes. We’re proud to present its world premiere, which you can stream after the cut.

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Get Sucked Into Demon Lung’s New Album

Sometimes, you don’t want something complex. While a fancy, flavorful dish bursting with spice and variety is well and good, there are times when you just need a damn cheeseburger. And musically, nothing is closer to the equivalent of a cheeseburger than sludgy stoner doom; it’s a tried-and-true perfected formula that works all the time, every time. Here, today, we have something exquisite from that very genre: a full stream of the new album from Las-Vegas-based act Demon Lung, who creates music that straddles the two genres perfectly with their gothic and plodding sound.

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