When I first stumbled upon Acid Magus's recent album, Hope is Heavy, I knew I would have a long relationship with the release. Writing it up for Doomsday was just the beginning; this was an album that would walk the mile with me and that I would come back to time and again. So far, I have been proven right, as I dive deeper and deeper into one of the more satisfying and rewarding doom/stoner metal albums I've heard this year. Alas, the album was already out, so I couldn't premiere anything from it. What to do then to keep highlighting one of my favorite releases from the year so far?
The Anatomy Of, of course and boy did Acid Magus not disappoint! I love that Cult of Luna's Salvation is on this twice but with two very different stories of discovery behind. They speak not only to the impact of the album but describe long forgotten rituals of musical discovery that I also used to rely on when finding new things to listen. So, head on down below to read some cool stories and to check out a wealth of classic albums from the world of doom, post-metal, and beyond! Oh, and don't forget to listen to Hope is Heavy; it rules.
Keenan – Cult of Luna – Salvation
You don’t get into making music like we do without being influenced by pretty much everything under the sun. I think I speak for the rest of the guys when I say that we are all avid fans of music in general and this is reflected in our music. That said, for me, the greatest impact on my desire to produce heavy, introspective music came when I first listened to Cult of Luna, in the form of their third studio album, Salvation. I mean, seriously, just listen to the first 6 minutes of the album and tell me it doesn’t immediately slake that thirst for catharsis you never even knew you had!
I remember when I first came across it on a friend’s iPod (yes, iPod). I am quite sure he downloaded it off Limewire (sorry Cult of Luna). A bunch of us young students had embarked on a holiday road trip down the east coast of South Africa. After a sun-soaked day of drinking I found myself taking a rest in the shade, iPod in hand. “Waiting for You” comes on out of nowhere and sends me into an almost catatonic state of euphoria before melting my face in the most spectacular, extraordinary way. I immediately opened up the album and hit play from track one, “Echoes”. This then proceeded to cement my newly found love for Cult of Luna and post metal in general, among MANY other things.
I suppose, and as is always the case with creative endeavours, Cult of Luna’s Salvation isn’t necessarily a better album than any other. There is no “best” in my mind. The reason I chose this and not something by Elder, Elephant Tree, Mastodon, Kyuss, Kylesa etc etc. is purely for the reason it remains memorable to me to this day, and nothing has ever changed that. And that is why, for me, Salvation will forever be at the very top of a list of many albums that have influenced my journey as a musician.
Roelof – Type O Negative – Life is Killing Me
When puberty hit, the teenage angst was real so punk quickly became an outlet for me. Fast and in your face, it resonated with many feelings I didn't quite know what to do with. By the time I was out of high school I realized there was more to life than just telling jocks to fuck off and roll my eyes at my parents. Enter Type O Negative's Life is Killing Me.
At this stage I was getting into metal, especially thrash, which you could argue is a continuation of punk albeit some different themes and more sophisticated music. I thought faster is heavier. Oh hell no. Hearing Peter Steele’s deep baritone voice, with that maniacal laugh and that ominous green light, made me realize slow can also be heavy, but also beautiful in a melancholic way. Songs like "Anesthesia" gave expression to a lot of the emotions I was dealing with, yet the album also had faster thrashier songs like "Angry Inch" which made them familiar but also exciting simultaneously.
I listen to Type O at least once a week to this day, and safe to say they primed me for the day when I discovered Doom. Slow and heavy all the way.
Jethro - Cult of Luna - Salvation
2004 and my penultimate year of high school. I was listening to a lot of pop punk (NOFX, The Offspring, Blink 182), and getting into heavier music (Sepultura, Lamb of God, Mastodon, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth) mostly fast, thrashy metal. The faster, heavier and groovier it was the more I wanted it.But this was the pre-streaming era in South Africa. What internet we had was slow and expensive so discovering new music was difficult. And finding a CD store willing to stock anything beyond the popular or commercial artists was just as impossible. Downloading single songs off Limewire, and borrowing and copying albums my friends had managed to get hold of were my only options.
That is until, while walking past the magazine section of my local bookstore, I spotted a copy of Metal Hammer. I can’t remember which month it was or which band was on the cover, but it came with a DVD filled with music videos. I grabbed it off the shelf and spent my entire months pocket money on it. Now this DVD had some classics on it - "Laid to Rest" by Lamb of God, "Touch of Red" by In Flames, "Iron Tusk" by Mastodon - but one stood out by a band I’d never heard of: "Leave Me Here" by Cult of Luna. Filmed in black and white, weirdly artsy and dystopian, and barely featuring the band members, it was completely other to what I’d been listening to at the time. Slow, beautiful passages seamlessly flowing into crushingly heavy parts. I had never connected to a piece of music as emotionally as I did that song.
When I eventually managed to get the whole album (and was overjoyed when I discovered the actual song was even longer than the video cut) I’d just lie in bed with headphones on, eyes closed and air drum along to it.I also had a mild freak out when I found out they had two drummers, but it was Thomas Hedlund who completely changed the way I thought of drumming. You didn’t need to be able to play insanely fast double bass and super complicated parts to be in a metal band. Just pure fucking power and energy. No one can put as much sheer force into every hit as he can. When you listen to Cult of Luna you can hear how hard he’s hitting.I ran that DVD ragged rewatching that one video. I had no idea what to even call this genre, but it led me down a rabbit hole trying to find more like it. Hours of online forum scrounging later, I discovered Neurosis, Isis, Callisto, Pelican, Russian Circles, and a whole world of post-metal at my fingertips.
Anrico – Deftones – Around the Fur
Back in the summer of ’99, as a young and perhaps not so impressionable teenager, I went on holiday with my family to Swakopmund, Namibia, to celebrate the coming of the new millennium.As part of our cd collection for the road trip, was an album that I borrowed from one of my older brothers. Around the Fur by Deftones.
On the evening of the New Year, my siblings, many of my cousins and I drove out to the dunes to attend ‘Emfies’, an epic dance music festival. At this festival I decided to put the album in my ‘ghetto blaster’, crank it up and make my way up the dune for the count down to the new millennium.It may seem now like I was a mischievous little brat for playing my rock music while the festival’s dance music was all around, but that feeling of rebellion against established norms, coupled with the uninhibited wall of sound blasting my ears as I climbed that enormous dune hours before midnight, will forever remain fondly in my memory.
The range, vocal complexity and sense of urgency of Chino Moreno’s voice had entrenched itself firmly within my consciousness, not to mention the heavy and abrasive rhythm of the guitar and bass and of course, the syncopated, off beat drums completing the unique sound that is Deftones. When I heard the Acid Magus tracks that I would eventually record vocals onto, I got that same energy and I knew that I wanted to be part of this unique experience and transmit that feeling that I felt all those years ago until this day.
Brendon – Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
The album that influenced me the most to pick up a guitar and start playing was Black Sabbath's Black Sabbath album, played to me by my dad when I was a about 7 years old. I cannot remember all the details or emotions involved, but I do remember the Tony Iommi riffs stirred something inside me that made me want to play riffs that sound like they were pulled through the mud behind a pitch black hearse carrying the corpses of my enemies.