Welcome back to Genre Genesis. For newcomers, here’s a brief overview of how this works. Four of the other editors – Nick, Scott, Jonathan, and Eden – have partners who are, shall we say, not nearly as invested in heavier music as we tend to be, and so their knowledge of the sort of stuff we tend to cover at Heavy Blog is almost entirely secondary. To that end, Sarah, Lauren, Kinsy, and Ronnie – the significant others of Nick, Scott, Jonathan, and Eden respectively – have volunteered to be part of this running series, where I give them a song and they catalog their thoughts about said song and attempt to label it with a genre based on their working knowledge of heavy music. Besides being a fun diversion from our usual content, this also serves somewhat the purpose of taking the piss out of metal and being a benign way of poking some fun at a community that is way too stuffy about how and why people enjoy various parts of the culture.
Being that this is our end of the year segment for Genre Genesis, we decided to subject the lovely humans in our lives to not 1, not 2, but 25 tracks of pure heavy music mayhem! The outline for this, our final installment of the year, was simple: Eden picked a track from each of our collective top 25 albums of the year, and our significant others were tasked with listening to each and giving us a one or two sentence evaluation. The results are… Well, we’ll let you discover the goods for yourself. So, without further ado, we bring you Genre Genesis, Albums of the Year Edition!
1: Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Sarah: The cover art is like a sad ent, so I guess we’ll call this EntCore?
Lauren: Instrumentals 10/10, Vocals 2/10. Lyrics give a VERY “Phantom of the Opera” vibe.
Ronnie: God I hope this dude gets over whatever it is he’s going through. Hang in there, buddy. It’ll be OK.
Kinsy: Skippy metal? The song sounded a little like it was skipping the whole time, honestly.
2: Alkaloid – Liquid Anatomy
Sarah: This feels like frantic zumba music, something about the melodic line plus the repetitive rhythm.
Lauren: This band obviously has strong feelings about our inevitable demise, but also REALLY wants you to know how knowledgeable they are about ~science~.
Ronnie: It’s kind of like listening to three very different songs at once while also watching an anime series about interdimensional travel.
Kinsy: I keep playing on my bongo bongo…
3: The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic
Sarah: There’s something about music with lyrics that are hard to parse without reading them that just makes me picture them all as muppets.
Lauren: This guy should talk to Drake, I think they would have a lot in common. Sad Boi metal.
Ronnie: Oddly soothing.
Kinsy: if you listen closely, you can hear the ocean…
4: Ihsahn – Amr
Sarah: I can understand all the words! Eden had us listen to “Arcana Imperii” which just made me think about this article I read recently about Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, a classicist, who recently wrote a book about men on the internet using classics (Latin and Greek words, Roman military history, etc) to create a shell around their fragile masculinity. Anywho…
Lauren: Come to the Dark Side, We Have Cookies metal.
Ronnie: I guess it’s about demons, or hell, if hell was the matrix?
Kinsy: Dramatic demon ballad? Hail Satan.
5: Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
Sarah: I could almost get behind this. The vocalist reminds me a bit of The Clash.
Lauren: Mental health is no joke and I’m glad he has music as an outlet. Powerful and unsettling.
Ronnie: Okay I love this track. It manages to create an uncanny, otherworldly vibe so effortlessly. I might actually listen to the rest of the album.
Kinsy: Lets trip balls and talk about our feelings… metal.
6: Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
Sarah: After I made a sour face, Nick directed me to the track “Aftermath”. He’s right, this is much more easily digestible than the one Eden gave us. If the rest of the album was like this I would give it a listen!
Lauren: I kind of imagined her foaming at the mouth for a lot of this? Passion 10/10, execution 3/10.
Ronnie: Why is this so fast? Are we in a hurry to get somewhere? I’m exhausted just listening to two minutes of this track.
Kinsy: I actually kinda like this one. Can’t tell what a single word she said was, but I really like the instrumentals.
7: Frontierer – Unloved
Sarah: I made it 0:05 in before Nick apologized for your collective taste. The album art is cool, though.
Lauren: This song is an actual workout, am I sweating?
Ronnie: STOP YELLING AT ME
Kinsy: RAGE! RAGE!!! RAGE!!!!!
8: Zeal & Ardor – Stranger Fruit
Sarah: This is kind of cool. It feels like a song Brad Pitt and George Clooney would co-opt for a more grimy Ocean’s movie.
Lauren: This song sounds like the opening to “Ice Road Truckers” or “Deadliest Catch,” which is not necessarily a bad thing…
Ronnie: I love everything about this. Also, Zeal & Ardor is an amazing name for a band.
Kinsy: I really like this. Just sounds like a really great rock band.
9: Imperial Triumphant – Vile Luxury
Sarah: This reminds me of an army of metal goblins dance-marching.
Lauren: Instrumentals 2/10, political message 10/10.
Ronnie: I’m trying to stay open minded, but I just don’t understand the structure of the track, it sounds like musical instruments just falling on the ground repeatedly.
Kinsy: Sounds like the kind of music that plays when the villain enters a scene in a movie. Here comes the bad guy!
10: Night Verses – From the Gallery of Sleep
Sarah: I…actually really like this. Nick also pointed me to an experiment they did with fifteen drummers, which includes one of my faves (Nick calls him my boyfriend), Ian Chang.
Lauren: This was refreshing and easy to listen to, a nice change of pace.
Ronnie: I’m all for futuristic space metal.
Kinsy: Uh… trippy skippy confused bumble bee sounds.
11: Sumac – Love In Shadow
Sarah: Well, the album art is super cool at least.
Lauren: I wanted a true beginning, middle, and end, but instead I got fifteen minutes of my life taken from me.
Ronnie: Hahahahaha I’m not listening to 15 minutes of that.
Kinsy: I’m not listening to all of this. No way. But the cover art looks like a swamp down in Louisiana, so this must be swamp thing metal.
12: Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology
Sarah: SPACE SLUGS! God, you guys all have weird taste.
Lauren: “Cast off the flesh, become one with the ooze” is a BIG mood.
Ronnie: I don’t like the vocals and the guitars give me a bit of a headache, but I do like the melody.
Kinsy: Totally influenced by the cover art again, but science fiction space epic!
13: Obscura – Diluvium
Sarah: Guitar line: 8; Attempt to make the track name sound like a William Blake poem: 1
Lauren: I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. The second half is much better than the first half, instrumentals-wise.
Ronnie: Nice guitars. What is a vulgar sun though? How can a sun be vulgar?
Kinsy: I actually really love when metal blends very pretty melodic music in with the intensity of the metal. Pretty metal or confused metal… take your pick.
14: Yob – Our Raw Heart
Sarah: I don’t hate this, but WOW it’s long. Also, I have relatives in Eugene OR and this does feel somehow very Eugene-y.
Lauren: I took a break before listening to this song after seeing the length, but it was not needed. This was beautiful and relaxing with enough variation to keep me interested.
Ronnie: I really like this but I really needed coffee by the end of it.
Kinsy: This is really good, but so damn long! It just kept building and building and going and going.
15: Psycroptic – As The Kingdom Drowns
Sarah: This reminds me of the Big Bad in Dragon Age: Origins. We GET it, you’re EEEVIL.
Lauren: Honestly, it’s not that bad, but definitely too angry for my taste. Just because you’re yelling at me for four minutes straight does NOT enhance your message, THANKS.
Ronnie: It sounds hellish, as in music that would be played in hell to torture poor sinning souls.
Kinsy: Started off like the anticipation music to a horror film, and then just jumped straight into the bloody torture scene.
16: Sectioned – Annihilated
Sarah: Eden subjected us to them earlier this year and my verdict remains the same: come on over, I’ll make you some soup for that raspy throat and serious feelings.
Lauren: If I started my days with as much energy as Sectioned starts their songs I’d be a much more productive person, that’s for sure.
Kinsy: Nope nope nope.
17: Between the Buried and Me – Automata I & II
Sarah: So I just turned to Nick and told him that, for once, I had actually heard of this band. But they really don’t seem any more creative or talented than anyone else, so I’m not sure why I have. He cackled.
Lauren: This sounded like beginner metal, or Metal Lite, which is probably why I liked it more than others.
Ronnie: For once I actually like the growls. It’s kind of sinister like a lot of other tracks on this list, but the guitars sound very different, almost, I don’t know, optimistic? I love the disparity between those two elements, I think it results in something pretty unique.
Kinsy: I actually really like this song. I dislike the video, but really like the music. It’s a good blend of growling and singing.
18: Sleep – The Sciences
Sarah: I like the nerdy track names. All the songs sound the same, but A+ names.
Lauren: I felt like I was trying to swim through molasses while listening to this and now I’m exhausted.
Ronnie: Why does every note on this track have to be so grandiose?
Kinsy: While listening to the song all I could do was stare at the cover art and think “that’s one dead astronaut”.
19: Infernal Coil – Within A World Forgotten
Lauren: This song is just as awful as their band name art.
Ronnie: This track epitomizes my issue with heavy music. I know I’m used to very different styles, I try to keep an open mind, but I just don’t understand how this is music.
Kinsy: What is with that freakin’ high pitched intro!?!? It just sets me on edge instantly. That sound is like nails on a chalkboard.
20: Holy Fawn – Death Spells
Sarah: By this point, I’d give anything to see a Bandcamp without a dark forest background. Anyone? Where did those Astronaut folks go? Anyway, this is actually nice and mellow. I need nice and mellow 20 tracks deep. And Nick’s new band is going to be covering it!
Lauren: This song started out 0% metal and slowly became 100% metal. Maybe that’s the key to my metal enjoyment, because this was great. 10/10 would listen again.
Ronnie: Wow it’s like a breath of fresh air. Can I have more of that please?
Kinsy: I love this song! I felt like I was in a fantasy world compared to all the other songs, this was great!
21: Respire – Dénouement
Sarah: What is with all these bands selling cassettes like we don’t know any better? Magnetic media is DoA people! But I’m here for glittery cassettes, fine.
Lauren: The vocalist sounds tired, and after reading the lyrics it’s no wonder. This song was heavy.
Ronnie: So the vocals sound exactly like a baby screaming at the top of his lungs in the middle of a tantrum, which I do not care for.
Kinsy: This song sounds like it’s about the two people on the cover art screaming out in torment. That is all.
22: Tomb Mold – Manor of Infinite Forms
Sarah: I’ve had a really bad cough for the last week, but I hereby donate all my coughdrops to Tomb Mold.
Lauren: If an alien came to earth and asked for examples of all music genres, this is the example I would give for metal.
Ronnie: “OOOO-eee-OOOOO!!!! ooo-iii-ooo-iii-OOOOO!!! BLAHHHH!!!”
Kinsy: I think that was an actual troll singing. Really.
23: Revocation – The Outer Ones
Sarah: It really all is sounding the same at this point. My kingdom for….anything else!
Lauren: Wait, is this song about the dinosaur extinction?
Ronnie: I’m trying to figure out the lyrics, but all I got is “they’re taking all the pies” and “just these lakes”, which cannot be accurate.
Kinsy: The singer was really the creature on the cover art. I think he was singing about all his snacks… or something like that.
24: Haken – Vector
Sarah: Hey they actually sing! With a nice voice! And A+ Weird Al hair, bud.
Lauren: I love the chorus! This might actually be stuck in my head for a while. Thanks for putting this one at the end, Eden.
Ronnie: The singer sounds angelic after all the growling. I forgot people could sound like that. Thank you, you wonderful creature.
Kinsy: I really like this. It was a little confusing watching the band head bang some with how beautiful the music was, but do your thing!
25: Beyond Creation – Algorythm
Sarah: I’ve lost all sense of trust at this point. Each time, these songs start out nice, some guitar, a little drums. A minute in some man starts yelling gutterally at me.
Lauren: I’m glad these guys are so self-aware, that’s a refreshing quality for someone to have these days. But please, maybe a little warning before the yells next time?
Ronnie: Yeah, I’m gonna go listen to the Hamilton soundtrack now.
Kinsy: It started so great with a bluesy sound, and they ruined it!