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.
Welcome again to the only column that matters! I gave the gang a bit of a reprieve last month with Ulver‘s “Russian Doll”, which they unanimously agreed was a bop. Can’t go too soft though! So I brought it back to the meat and potatoes Norwegian veterans Enslaved and their latest volume of blackened death Utgard. Predictably, our expert review panel was…slightly less enthused about the track I presented them. Such is their burden though. You win some, you lose some. Joe Biden is going to be president, and Norwegians still have things to yell at you about over guitar and synth riffs.
It’s Friday afternoon and the day before Halloween. I’ve got the good headphones on and I’m ready to listen to some ENSLAVED for the first time! Let’s see what “Urjotun” is all about.
Okay, the first two minutes are building with some funky beats, chaotic tempo, irregular time signature and some great cymbal rolls. Where is this going? It’s building and some low vocals kick in, then some wacky FX and synth. Then some unexpected growly vocals I’m rather meh on. Is this the peak? I’m distracted. The vocal FXs, reverb and delay are cheesy and feel amateurish. Set against the Halloween décor lining our street it’s a nice fit actually. But then what, it just ends? There was no satisfying pay off. This song doesn’t follow a comfortable or predictable structure. I like the drums and the synth riffs grew on me, overall, it’s a 5.5/10. Just like the Halloween garb, come November 1st will be mentally disposed of.
Genre: Pumpkin Spice Meh-tal
After last month’s pick of “Russian Doll,” any song would have a hard time living up to my expectations. “Urjotun” ultimately failed to keep my interest – at best it was vanilla, at worst it was overly repetitive and monotone. The synth/electronic track in the background really is one of two redeeming qualities or me, the other being that I could actually understand a few words while the vocalist was yelling/growling (definitely some bonus points). If there wasn’t yelling, the vocals were incredibly monotone, most likely to replicate the sound of a chant – perhaps to fit the theme of the vaguely religious sounding, apocalyptic lyrics? The final nail in the coffin for me was watching the music video where a woman drinks a strange potion made of weeds, throws up into a weird looking glass vase, and then proceeds to dunk her head in it. I don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum, but who gave that pitch the green light?
I will say that no matter how much I dislike a metal song I am shown, I still appreciate the poetry and lyricism that most metal bands display. You just don’t get lyrics like “The Primeval taurus/Offspring of passion/Born from illusions of time” from Billboard’s Top 100. It is always a little refreshing to hear something besides a love story from time to time, however “Urjotun” did little to sway me away from my musical comfort zone.
Genre: Milquetoast Metal
Another month, another review. We’ve been pretty lucky so far with Nick being kind with his choices, but I am nervous our streak is over.
Listening to the start of the song, it has got a really catchy techno vibe, and the addition of the heavier drums through is nice! *Hold breath as she waits for the screaming* The guitar is completely digestible as well – nothing too fancy to my untrained ear, but a simple melody that just repeats.
Here we are!!!! Not screaming, but some monotonous chanting that reminds me of a boring church service being run by an 85 year old that can hardly stand. The vocals I do not understand, but that’s pretty normal for me and to be expected. The sound of the vocals reminds me of the voice you would put on as a kid when telling a scary story. Alternatively, think of the generic voice they use for a devil in the movies.
It wasn’t the worst song I have heard. It did sound like they had mixed two semi-decent tracks they had together, made it one and called it a day.
Genre : Swedish Electronic Rock (only because the start sounds like it belongs in “Kung Fury”)
Ah, we return to music I find grating! Back home and just in time for the election. I skipped around a lot, I’ll be honest with you. I often struggle with why these tracks need to be as long as they are – they tend to be pretty one note across the thousand-minute experience. This one was shorter than usual, but no less tedious. I’m sorry you’ve caught me in the deep election funk, Enslaved, but between the music and the video this feels very first bite at the apple. It’s pretty basic and could be a pastiche of the genre as a whole. And what was with the Harry Potter penseive?
I do love when men write about fertility and birth. It always cracks me up. Reader, you know my favorite thing is to read lyrics when they are aurally unintelligible. Though Lauren found the good in these lyrics, they just had me cracking up. My favorite passage:
Fertilizing dreams of existence
Giving birth, awakening gods
Breeding love, the glorious eye
Welp! That’s what I learned in sex ed, time to pack it up boys! Until men as a group stop being afraid of periods, they shouldn’t be allowed to write about fertilizing or breeding. The music is fine, the whole thing is fine.
Genre: Skip It Core