Genre Genesis is our monthly column dedicated to the hardworking and endlessly patient partners of Heavy Blog editors and writers, who are, shall we say, not nearly as invested in heavier music as we tend to be. We offer them a track from an artist we’re currently enjoying and ask them for both their reactions and to take their best guess at what “genre” of heavy music it falls into. It’s all in good fun and a necessary reminder to not take ourselves too seriously.

Well, well, well. Look who’s back. The last time we checked in on our glorious Genre Genesis crew was all the way back at the end of 2018 as part of our end of year coverage, where we subjected them to a gauntlet of our favorite albums from that year. I’d like to say that the reason it’s been so long since our last edition is because the group revolted and unionized after that experience and we’ve been in collective bargaining negotiations since. But the reality is that we’re dumb/overloaded and have simply dropped the ball for over a year. In the process I’ve decided to take over officially and run the show. I am ze captain now etc. etc.

For our first edition back since hiatus, I figured I’d be nice and give the group a relative break from our usual fare of extreme metal abrasiveness. Elder‘s Omens is already taking a frontrunner spot for AOTY for a bunch of us here, with very good reason. So it only makes sense that we’d consult our more skeptical better halves for their opinions on the matter. How would they react to the change in musical scenery, from fewer buzzsaw guitars, blastbeats, and screams to more proggy, psychedelic riffs and spacey synth madness? Reactions were pretty split, though they can all agree on one thing, which is that 10 minutes is too damn long for any song! Agree to disagree, but I listen to post-rock, so what do I know?

One other quick note here. Due to life circumstances two of our regular contributors – Ronnie and Kinsy – could not participate this cycle even though they very much wished they could. In their place, I was able to round up the partner of one of our regular contributors, Karlo. So say welcome to Meggie! Turns out Meggie also has some capital-O opinions about these things that I very much enjoyed. I hope to see her and other staff partners make some regular appearances here in the future. Then maybe someday they can launch a full insurrection and officially take over this place so our curse can finally end and we can rest.

Lauren

I would like to preface this by saying this song was a much easier listen than some of the ones we have had the pleasure of reviewing for Genre Genesis (ie; some of the doozies on the 2018 Albums of Year Edition). It was slow, melodic, and there was no screaming/yelling/shouting/growling/shrieking/what-have-you for the entirety of the track (major bonus points from me!). The length was definitely an issue for me (eleven minutes is a long time to do most things), but looking past that, I can say I did enjoy this song overall.

Elder clearly pulled inspiration from stoner and psychedelic rock from the late ’60s and ’70s (Cream and The Doors to name a couple bands), which you can hear in its repetitive riffs, long instrumental sections, use of keyboard, distorted cymbals, guitar effects, and especially the break mid-track that slowly builds toward a crescendo. 

To be honest, it’s difficult for me to even consider this a metal song; there are no stereotypically metal traits that I can pinpoint. As someone who would never choose to listen to metal of their own volition, I don’t mind this change of pace. It does make me wonder, though: what makes a song (or a band) definitively “metal”? Music is art, and art is subjective, but tangible traits need to be present in order to label something. 

Either way, metal or not, “Embers” is a relaxing and approachable alternative to the metal Scott has subjected me to lately (like 3 Inches of Blood and Wormed).

Genre: “Are we sure this is metal?” Metal

Meggie

I’ve stopped watching “Britain’s Got Talent” (audition week mind you, the best time to watch) to review this song. Now, don’t get me wrong, this show is not the best, however you get those feel good moments, the tears of happiness. A single father, who lost his wife to a rare disease, who is raising his 12 children alone, and works in a metal factory out in some country town is now pursuing his dream of being an acrobat at 54 – now that’s good stuff!

However, after less than four minutes into this song, I am really questioning my decision. To say the least, this song has got the big cross buzzer from me 3.30sec ago and I have what feels like an eternity to go.

To put it simply, it feels as if this lead singer is hungover. He has had a big night out, smoked two packets of cigarettes in the last 12 hours, and has run 30 minutes late to his designated studio time. Lets face it, he’s poured his life savings into these hours of recording, so he can’t ditch it for Uber Eats and Netflix, which is probably what he would prefer to do with the rest of his day. And his band mates? They’ve ditched so he has got the local teenage hooligans from the neighbouring suburb’s high school.

For some reason we’ve moved to an electronic intermission-y bit which is fine. Not much more to say there. But then, I get flashbacks to Pierce Brosnan in The Thomas Crown Affair, as we just repeat the same moody, jazzy beats with an occasional ghost tune on top.

I feel like one word to summarise the song is repetitive. I don’t hear much else other than the same try-hard guitar riffs. However, they do admittedly spice it up compared to every other radio rock song that sounds exactly that same, with some Austin Powers-eque electronic grooves every now and then.

To quote Simon Cowell, it’s a no from me.  

Genre: Hippie electronic metal

Sarah

I’d like to echo Lauren and thank my husband for choosing something a little easier on my musical theatre-loving ears.  Though whether he did that out of kindness or self-preservation as he’s sheltering in place with me alone is anyone’s guess.

This is very reminiscent of 2004 for me.  I was 15, had a lot of feelings, painted weird self-portraits alone in my garage, and the punky boy bands sounded something like this.  That is to say, I like it!  I’m sure Nick and the rest of the guys would be able to tell me why, but this is my Professional Opinion.

I think the most metal thing about this is its length.  10-minute tracks, folks?  How long are the albums??  The lyrics and album cover art are familiar for us in this column, too – lots of angst about consumption, heavenly bodies, some $3 words you get from certain subgenres of sci fi, ruined Greco-Roman bust.  I see you, Elder!

All in all, I listened to this on a break from work and it wasn’t stressful!  So, 10/10 from me!  My quarantine standards from metal are 1. Does this provoke less anxiety than a Trump press briefing and 2. Can it not be about a plague doctor or use any plague doctor imagery.  Based on these, the pool is shallow folks.  But Embers makes it!  They’re even from our area – come to mine and Nick’s for a socially-distanced hello some time, guys.

Genre: Early 2000’s rock metal

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