You know the part: the drums, thick and resonating, pick up pace, the bass licks in anticipation of the crescendo and all of a sudden the synths are there, Hammond goodness washing over the soaring guitar parts as the vocals explode into a high note. This structure of "ensemble buildup", where the entire band join forces to form the climax of a track, is a staple of many genres but progressive rock has always been the best at it. King Crimson's "Starless", Yes's "Heart of the Sunrise", Wishbone Ash's "Warrior" (containing one of the world's most famous and most forgotten solos), Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and many, many other tracks and albums come to mind. Even younger bands operating today and paying homage to the style (like Malady, Wobbler, Witchcraft and more) adopt the prominence of the climax and full band collaboration.
Path of Might can serve as an excellent example of the blending between light and heavy; this St. Louis based band first made its appearance on Heavy Blog on the merit of their insanely thick riffs, high octane composition and overall blistering aggression. However, their most recent, Hallowed Gate Style, is a clever departure from all of this. We say "clever" because it's not a clean break; some of the main sensibilities of the band's original sound have been maintained, creating a heavy and muscular take on progressive stoner metal/rock.
Last year, we told you to listen to Path of Might not once but twice. They had this heaviness about them that's rare even within their stoner/sludge sub-genres; both releases were chock full of riffs and sheer ... Read More...
It was truly impossible to keep up with all the great music released in 2016, so prepare to see us talking about releases from last year a bit more in the next few weeks/months. Time is arbitrary anyway, right? Back to the matter at hand; stoner metal had an even better year than many other genres. Countless releases in just as many styles graced the smoke-filled skies of the sub-genre, running the gamut of infectious riffs and honey-drenched vocal stylings. Shining bright in these constellations is Netherlands and their poppy, insidious stoner-punk. Like a blend between Floor, Black Sabbath and Witchcraft, Netherlands (who hail from Brooklyn by the way) produce hip moving stoner of the highest degree, aimed to be heavy and oppressive but also pop-y and dance-able.
There are some words and comparisons which almost force you to write themselves down. Certain bands and musical styles all bow towards a central source, like so many sunflowers swaying in a warm, noon sun. Such is the case with Boss Keloid. Try and find a review about this band that doesn't reference a certain well known band that's been in operating for more than twenty years now, its name derived from the fortunate juxtaposition between an auto-mechanical part and a collection of hens. However, this simple and straightforward comparison often robs the band of their hard work and the truly unique sound that they've managed to produce with this, their second release. Sure, the bass is thick and flirts with the vague filigrees of rock n' roll, whatever these are these days. But along the vocal lines and intricate guitar parts lives a completely different beast, one more fueled by bands like HARK, Sleep, and Witchcraft then those legendary, bearded gentlemen of big news fame.
It’s a well documented fact that rock music has roots in the blues; you can’t really step into rock without running into the staples of the genre. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and more all lapped up the sounds of B.B. King and Muddy Waters like milk in their early careers. Blues rock is still prevalent today, with bands like The Black Keys and The White Stripes taking massive influences from early blues acts. But where’s blues metal in all of this? We always think of blues rock, but not much more. Guns N’ Roses arguably footed the line between hard rock and metal, and some bands today - Elder comes to mind, as do many bands from the recent trend of throwback and "occult" metal (Graveyard, Witchcraft) - have some minor hints of blues. However, we never really think of/see metal bands adding a significant chunk of Muddy Waters to their music. I believe that Electric Hoodoo, and their self-titled album, are an important stepping stone on the path to that blues metal sound. While they aren’t entirely metal, they are about as heavy as you’re going to get at the moment with a band so inspired by the blues.