Archive for May, 2010

23
May
10

Ross’s “Bands You Need To Be Listening To” Corner: French Edition part 2

I don’t know what it is about France, but they deliver some really great metal. I know we all know about and love Gojira, but there are two much lesser known bands who deliver their own unique brands of metal.

Second Band! Celeste.

Celeste are on the opposite end of the spectrum from Alcest, the band I wrote about in my last post.

Instead of presenting a brand of black metal with a penchant for the ornate, Celeste’s sole purpose is to create bludgeoning, terrifying music. While there’s some debate about how “too kvlt” Celeste are, I don’t think that matters, because this band delivers where it counts: creating quality music.

Celeste’s music is not an easy experience. It really makes you work and challenges you. Their latest album “Morte(s) Nee(s)”, is 42 minutes of incessant sonic sledgehammer. A really big sledgehammer. With spikes. And probably an inverted crucifix or something, because this is black metal here, and we’ve got a part to play. Oh wait, what’s that? Celeste don’t dress in armor with spikes on it and corpse paint? That’s probably because their live show is far more subversive and honestly, more interesting and terrifying that other black metal acts:

Who needs dramatic costumes or severed pig heads when you entrap your audience in something far more frightening: darkness. I was already a fan of Celeste before I saw videos of their live shows, but that drove me over the edge, because now I love this band. Their focus is clearly more on making music that is an experience, which shows in their performances and their stripped down, raw attitude to the music. Sure, one of the tennants of black metal is lo fi, relatively poor production quality, but what good is that? Celeste’s albums are a pleasure to listen to. Every instrument is clear and pronounced. I love Wolves in the Throne Room to death, but the production quality was always a turn-off.

It gets even better, since Celeste offer their music to us dopes for free. Yep, free. But honestly, these guys deserve to be making some money off of this so I would suggest you donate or buy merch. Hell, if you like the albums, why not get one on vinyl? Their artwork for each of their records is stunning, and truly captures the essence of their sound. I know I’ll be purchasing one or two vinyl records from them once I make some more money.

Here’s the link to their store where you can download their music for free: http://denovali.com/celeste/

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23
May
10

Ross’s “Bands You Need To Be Listening To” Corner: French Edition part 1

I don’t know what it is about France, but they deliver some really great metal. I know we all know about and love Gojira, but there are two much lesser known bands who deliver their own unique brands of metal.

First band! Alcest.

Alcest is a hard band to describe. Combine the ethereal, spacy and shoegaze-y aspects of a band such as Mono, and the post-metal stylings of a band like Isis or Pelican. Sounds interesting, right? Well now add some black metal influences and possibly the most gorgeous male vocals you’ll hear in metal. Still interested? You goddamn should be.

To throw a whole different spin on the whole thing, Alcest’s music is all based on visions/ dreams of another world that the principle songwriter/ instrumentalist Neige had as a child. Through the music, Neige attempts to capture this world, which contained colors, forms and sounds that do not exist on Earth.

Now, without having heard this band, this probably sounds at least a little ridiculous. But it works. Well. Black metal and post-rock have more in common than one might think, and it results in a unique brand of metal that strays far from the norms of the genre.

Alcest’s most recent album “Écailles de Lune” is nothing short of amazing. Here’s the title track for those who’ve read this far and are still interested:

You can purchase Alcest’s last two albums from The End records, which I highly recommend.

20
May
10

Ever have one of those days?

Dear Internet,

I haves a confessions to makes. I’m a clumsy kid sometimes. Most of the time. So it should surprise very few people that I shut my middle finger in a door today. It’s currently making typing this article a case of hunt and peck trial and error and ohh fuck I just typed the e in error with that finger oh it hurts! AAAAAAAAnyway, after crushing the damn thing in the door and doing the obligatory shake the injured area and jump around dance that you do when you hurt yourself I debated going for the classic Peter Griffin as I began to walk to work at Red Music. And the more I shook my rapidly purpling finger I just had to laugh thinking about how weird I must look to everyone else. Here’s this dumbass in a coat on an 80 degree day shaking his finger and hoping. Pretty funny. I would challenge you world , instead of getting on the pity train when things go wrong to find the humor in your own misfortune. It’s pretty fucking hilarious to the rest of us.

19
May
10

Even More Bad News: Isis Breaks Up

Well isn’t May a shitty month for metal. We lose a titan of the metal world in Ronnie James Dio, and now we also lose one of the founding post-metal acts within a few days.

It’s undeniable that Isis were an important part in the broader picture of metal, bringing the genre into a new, darker, murkier territory with their own brand of metal. “Oceanic” is easily one of my favorite metal albums ever, and it’s terrible to hear that this band who had been a very strong influence on myself as a guitarist is no more. Thankfully things still seem to be okay in the Isis camp, and they are breaking up now instead of their music becoming stale or losing the thunder. They will still be playing the upcoming tour with the Melvins, so that makes these shows pretty important if you are into Isis or post-metal. The band is also going to record a final EP, and possibly put out some live material (CD or DVD, maybe both!) but this tour sounds like its their last.

You can read the band’s official statement here

18
May
10

Kvelertak: Rockin’ It Norwegian Metal Crazy Style

I feel like sometimes metal bands focus on the wrong aspects of what metal music should be. It isn’t all about breakdowns and blast beats and burning shit on stage. That shit’s got its place and there’s nothing wrong with it, but sometimes you just need to strip it all down and bring it back home to just fucking laying down some sick riffs and venting out every ounce of frustration. It’s that kind of energy and excitement that really gets me wrapped up in a band, and that’s why I am in love with Kvelertak.

Hailing from a country more well known for its equally epic and tired black metal, Kvelertak seem to turn their backs on the “safe” route by going for an “old school” approach to metal. They manage to mix some old school Sabbath-y doom with equal parts hardcore punk energy and the subversive beauty of Baroness. The result is a riff-happy, melody-driven, hard hitting and aurally fascinating brand of metal goodness. Enough of me blabbing like a fanboy, here’s their badass video for the song “MJØD” which is going to be on their debut album, which is coming out on June 21st:


It’s clear that, if nothing else, these guys have the respect of their peers, as they’ve got John Dyer Baizley from Baroness doing the artwork for their album. So hopefully they’ll get the recognition they deserve. Who knows? Maybe if Baroness blow up like High on Fire has we’ll be able to see this band stateside. For now I’m just hoping we’ll be able to get our hands on their LPs here.

Don’t forget to check out their other songs on their myspace: http://www.myspace.com/kvelertak

18
May
10

Some New Lyrics or How I plan to ruin all my credibility

So I was listening to Blue Scholars today, check them on myspace if you haven’t heard how sick they are, and an idea came into my head. Rap growling in metal that doesn’t suck. So I wrote some lyrics, I’m curious what you fine folks think. I wanted to do something outside the box and be truly experimental and progressive. Check this shit

The Hype Track

Thus a call to arms is raised
No its not the end of days
But a proclamation
That the situation
That we find Metal’s
is a mother fucking sin
When no ones makin bank
cept the ones that buy in
To the trends core this and that
And backwards caps
got a problem when even my own shit’s a throwback
But ill never back down
Always fightin for the crown
Idol collapse bangin heads til we knock em out

Chorus
This is our hype track
Let me hear your neck crack
Some say Metalsucks but
I say fuck that

Repeat

I got flows like Buckley
But die every time
Some kid gets caught
On another tired rhyme
See crabs are a disease
Worse than those who tease
Their hair and it aint fair
But ima get my share
My metal’s black
Like miles and talib
I’m not gonna spoon feed ya
But put on a bib
For an auditory feast
Cause this genre’s not deceased
Throw the horns and make the sign of the beast cause

Chorusx2

This was a joke at the start
But the punchline’s grown on me
Cause I love experimentin
Like Walter and Jesse
Breakin’ bad from cliches
Its not about brutality
Or whether your songs on mtv (it isn’t)
I’m trying to bring a vision of true artistry
For those buried before me

Chorus to outro

18
May
10

High School Bands I still love: Avenged Sevenfold

I’m not ashamed to say it; when I was getting into rock and metal music at the end of my time in high school, Avenged Sevenfold was one of the bands that dominated my Ipod. Their second release, Waking the Fallen was the perfect slice of harmonized metalcore riffs and aggression for my young self while City of Evil brought the radio hits and shreddy pyrotechnics that led me to bands like Between the Buried and Me and other tech bands. So while a lot of people will balk at the stage names and admittedly outlandish attire, I don’t care. A7X at their best make me want to bang my head. They make me want to sing along. They make me want to play guitar. And with their new single, “Nightmare” they’ve recaptured that magic. I was talking to Ross about the track after we first heard it and the one word that came to mind was ballsy. Avenged Sevenfold is signed to a major label, they have no doubt a very cushy deal. And yet in this new single there’s a fury especially in the vocals that is anything but the phone it in performance I was worried my occur. Rather, I’d say given the tragic death of founding member, The Rev this track is coming from a very raw and emotional place for the group. One thing I absolutely love about this song is how lyrical the solo is. Synyster Gates has once again proven that he can both shred and maintain a keen sense of melody and phrasing. If the single is any indication of the quality of the album of the same name, I’ll have a lot of haters to shrug off when I start blasting it come July 27th. See what you think.

PS Is that a Hetfieldism I hear in the line “Cause God ain’t on Your Side”?