Today marks around 12 months since the passing of Chester Bennington, another all too frequent day that sends shockwaves rippling through the music community. In this instance, more so than most, the sadness and anguish weren’t contained to the metal or rock communities, but the music world more broadly. Yet, as difficult as his death has been for countless people the world over, few would have felt his loss to the extent that friend and bandmate Mike Shinoda has. Our words couldn’t possibly describe how he would have been feeling, for grief is such a personal emotion, and so we won’t even try. But we can touch upon the various motivations that may have been at play when deciding to write, record and release Post Traumatic, a 16-song LP released in June.
Many bands have been cited as the first founders of heavy metal - Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple… you’ll even hear chirps of Grand Funk Railroad or Blue Oyster Cult - but if you asked me? I’d tell you that the first sparks of metal could be found at a back-to-school fundraiser in Sacramento, California, a good five years before any of those bands would put riff to record. Mid-September, 1965 a group of British-invasion struck teens come together to celebrate the new school year and with them, the first glimpse of what would become an entirely new subculture. Featured at this benefit were two bands, the Hide-a-Ways (later known as the Oxford Circle) and Group B, whose members would go on to form a powerful, groundbreaking, and quite literally deafening blues rock power-trio. For your consideration, the first heavy metal band - Blue Cheer.
Let's dive into our album this week: The Parable of Arable Land by experimental rock/psych band Red Krayola, made in collaboration with “The Familiar Ugly”—a group of the band’s friends. RK consisted of Texas art school students, and this “outsider” influence (i.e. not trained musicians) shows up in their music in the best way possible. Lo-fi? Check. Tons of tracks that sound like noise (referred to as “Freak-Outs”)? Double check. If you like your music psychedelic, experimental, and given to flights of all-out, Brötzmann-esque free jazz, this is your record.
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of ... Read More...
Cynic is a legendary and influential band. Since news that drummer and founding member Sean Reinert has left the band, many fans have wondered what is on the horizon, if anything. While there’s still no word on new music from co-founder and guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal (who vowed to continue the band), late last year, an announcement from the realm of music archaeologists got nerd minds spinning. Uroboric Forms: The Complete Demo Collection would be released and fans would maybe get some answers about how the hell Cynic went from being in Death (which was basically a Chuck Schuldiner backing gig) to dropping an absolutely groundbreaking gem in Focus. Southern Florida in the late 80s and early 90s is hallowed ground in extreme metal. Would Uroboric Forms rewrite the narrative?
It only makes sense that we come to an epiphany about “Voodoo Child” while listening to Minneapolis psychedelic sludge outfit, Maeth. After all, their latest release, Shrouded Mountain, is the sonic equivalent to knocking down a mountain and building it back up again. This record finds the band flexing their post-metal muscle, making the ebbs and flows of their signature aural growth and decay feel more effortless and natural than ever. By tightening things up and leaving behind the shorter transitory interludes from prior albums in favor of merging everything into what could be a singular song, Shrouded Mountain runs efficient, but overflows with atmosphere and.
Welcome to Jazz Club, where we might actually be on track this week! Actually, it’s true; we have a real topic and real albums to bring to your earballs, all about one of the most revolutionary (and highly criticized at the time) forms of jazz of all time, Jazz Fusion! A little note before we start, though: all three albums featured today have sizable contributions from guitarists. Although fusion includes more instrumentation beyond the guitar (for example, Mahavishnu Orchestra once included violinist Jon Luc Ponty), guitar was essentially the big focal point of the genre, as fusion is a blend (no duh) of a few genres with jazz, the biggest being rock music. (Of course, there are other jazz guitarists that aren’t fusion, such as Django Reinhardt, but this is a new sound we’re talking about.) So without further ado, let's defuse a contentious - but rewarding - subgenre of jazz.