The fusion of electronic music and metal has been and always will be controversial. This problem stems from an imbalanced focus or a shallow appropriation; you have to do both genres justice, and placing synth arpeggios over breakdowns isn’t how you make compelling music. It takes a well-worn understanding of both genres to execute a worthwhile fusion, and it’s true that few have been able to demonstrate this knowledge and creativity. Of all the acts that have made an attempt to bridge metal and electronica, French musician Remi Gallego’s project The Algorithm may well be the one that makes the best case for the cause.
March 11th, 2016, Brooklyn’s own Music Hall Of Williamsburg was taken over by power violence/grindcore legends for a special one-off event. Opening the show was the much deserving Long Island grindcore locals, Mother Brain. They really owned that stage, and luckily by the time they went on, there was a…
It’s no secret that California’s Fallujah have become one of the most exciting and forward-thinking groups within the new crop of death metal. They solidified themselves as serious contenders with The Harvest Wombs, soared to new atmospheric heights with The Flesh Prevails, and they’re about to drop their highly anticipated Nuclear Blast Records debut with Dreamless. Things seem to be as lethal as ever from the few tracks that have emerged over the past few weeks, but now the band seems to have really found a new sense of confidence thanks to the huge leaps in production quality the band has been provided with their new label. I got a chance to speak with guitarist Scott Carstairs on the heels of their tour with The Black Dahlia Murder and Disentomb about what fans can expect from new material, upcoming tour plans, working with Mark Lewis and a whole lot more!
Alice In Chains were one of the few bands, in my opinion, to overcome the stigma that the label of “grunge” brought to bands in the 90s. While it took years (if even that) for the likes of Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots to be thought of as more alternative rock, Alice In Chains sort of stuck in the middle. They don’t quite fit into any particular genre. The amount of blues they are influenced by makes one want to put them in with the like of Guns N’ Roses, yet the heaviness that guitarist Jerry Cantrell brings to the table, combined with the vocal harmonies the band is now famous for, puts it somewhere in metal. (Cantrell, for the record, actually believes the band to be heavy metal.) But nonetheless, the influence the band has had has been enormous. Dirt remains one of the best albums of the 90s, and Layne Staley is remembered as one of modern rock’s greatest singers. It’s about time we go back and go over the albums that made this band what they are today.
Have you seen/read The Fountain? If not, you really should. The movie (and the comic book) depict a greyscaled story of consciousness, birth, death and spirituality. It’s a sub-genre that’s existed on the fringes of science fiction ever since Philip K. Dick wrote Valis and perhaps even before, with the darkly eerie works of H.G. Wells. In any case, these tales draw on the concepts of self-realization, actualization and psychological distress while casting all of these onto a darkly astral landscape. The aesthetic is usually austere, with the colors being utilized to stress extreme moments of passion, realization and growth. From out of the blackness rise spires of color across fantastical palettes, symbolizing inner explosions and revelations.
This is exactly the type of aesthetic that informs, creates and makes possible Uneven Structure’s 2011 masterpiece, Februus. It’s an album which follows the birth and psychodrama of some sort of unspecified entity, from its first steps through adversity and, finally, to freedom and grace through power.
I’ll admit, I’m not huge on black metal as some of the other people on staff here at Heavy Blog. It’s not so much because of the genre’s imagery (though I can completely understand why people are turned off by that), but because of the traditional black metal sound. Most black metal that I’ve listened to is a bit stale—it’s a little too repetitive for my taste, with what seems like unending minutes of tremolo picking—and the general lo-fi recording makes it hard for me to digest. (I’m not against lo-fi music, but when its a genre that can be very compositionally unconventional (like black metal), I like to actually hear what’s going on.)
However, there are always exceptions to every rule. Barshasketh is a New Zealander/Scottish band whose latest album, Ophidian Henosis, was one of my favorite albums of 2015.