For no apparent reason, we declare this week avant-garde metal week. What does avant-garde mean? It means that a work of art is experimental, it pushes and shatters boundaries of convention. Typically, avant-garde metal takes influence from jazz, noise, ambiance and sometimes electronica. We feel that the coverage of this awesome, under-appreciated genre is lacking, so we decided to dedicate a week to it. Every day, we will have at least one article on the subject and one review. Today, I want to talk about the big names in experimental metal, along with a small history lesson.

Celtic Frost are often credited for pioneering the genre in the late 80s. Their album Into the Pandemonium had female vocals, orchestral elements, a weird vocal style, electronics… Basically everything the genre is now known for!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GldjAfBZts]

Another longtime prominent name in experimental metal is Mike Patton, with his various projects that usually veer on the weirder side of things. Especially with Mr. Bungle and Fantomas, he set the bar for this genre of music and most bands in the genre are still heavily influenced by his work. He made popular the weird electronic effects and voice tricks that are now staples of the genre.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6w2xg0LZnY]

Yet another huge household name is Ephel Duath, and their contribution to the genre was the incorporation of frantic jazz into metal, with the usage of the saxophone, odd timings and syncopation, frequent clean jazz breaks and other shenanigans that now define the genre.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk9wwlzuwJE]

While those three names are the defining pillars of avant-garde metal, there are other very important bands, and we will cover them later this week. In the meantime, you can go back and check out these articles I already wrote on some of the most unique bands that went unnoticed:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eimRwSbq2bk]

Obscure Gems: Lykathea Aflame

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBzsKt3LRzk]

Obscure Gems: Arcturus

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLDqKVRejgg]

Obscure Gems: !.T.O.O.H.!

Also, check out these reviews of experimental metal albums we did this year:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIpn68XKFK0]

Thank You Scientist – Maps of Non-Existent Places

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2mZVOd0jWY]

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Piñata

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLjGdQYsA1U]

Sigh – In Somniphobia

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNmzP2ZhN1Q]

Blut Aus Nord – 777 – Cosmosophy

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZrKbecv8qc]

A Forest of Stars – A Shadowplay For Yesterdays

So, we’ll be seeing you later, until then, feel free to dig into any of the bands mentioned so far if what you heard sounds interesting!

– NT

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