Spell – Opulent Decay

Of all the genres to augment and splice with new varieties, good ol’ heavy metal seems to be the one that escapes the creative mutations most often. It makes sense. If a heavy metal-augmented style becomes “too” anything, that retro flavor seems to fade the fastest. It’s suddenly no longer…

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Drive-By Truckers – The Unraveling

It would be understandable if, in year 25 of the band’s existence, the Drive-By Truckers took their foot off the gas and eased into their legacy as one of the most pivotal Southern rock bands of our time. Well, understandable to most anyone who isn’t Patterson Hood or Mike Cooley.…

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Love Letter to Neil Peart and Rush

Between the Buried and Me. Dillinger Escape Plan. Periphery. Death. Dream Theater. Opeth. Tool. Mastodon. Meshuggah. Protest the Hero. Cynic. Voivod. And so, so, so many others. I could go on ad nauseum but suffice to say, hard rock and heavy metal as we know it would not exist without…

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All Them Witches – ATW

If there was anything to glean from All Them Witches’ previous output, it’s that they aren’t the kind of band to repeat themselves. Each album serves as a unique Polaroid snapshot of the group at that particular moment. They’ve been there. They’ve done that. Continuity is of no concern; variety…

Voices of The Void: The Dio Fach

I guess this was inevitable. When I originally conceived of this column, there was a lot of details I wanted to get into. Vocalists who started as screamers and turned into great clean singers. Vocalists who pioneered new styles. Vocalists who simply have unique voices. But before we get into all of that, I feel as though we have to establish some of the basics of metal singing. Back in the 70s, metal singers were simply rock singers with a louder band behind them. There weren’t distinctive styles. However, as metal became more and more separate from hard rock, the playing styles of each instrument involved in making metal developed their own identity and distinct style. In opera and classical singing, teachers and singers refer to voice types as “fachs”. The fach system was developed by the Germans to make casting operas easier. As we talk about the emerging styles of metal singing, I will be using this term. Arguably, the first metal fach was the Dio-fach. So, to establish these metal basics, I will be doing an overview of Ronnie James Dio’s voice, his career, and how he established this fach.

Solstafir – Berdreyminn

Iceland is a popular place these days in many ways and has become somewhat known for surprising people. The nation’s soccer (football) team shocked the sports world in 2016 in reaching the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, defeating England in the process, a plucky team in every sense of the word;…