Author Archives: RiffRaff
A few years ago during one of my forays into ‘that’ part of the internet I stumbled on a blog called Blood and Banjos. It was basically about a guy, let’s call him Mike, who was kicking around the idea of making a record that combined his love of bluegrass music with its polar opposite, black metal. He had a couple of audio clips and ideas posted up, and needless to say, as a lover of any original idea in the realm of metal, I was instantly intrigued and started following the blog regularly. Over time Mike’s vision started to take shape and the idea of an album began to come to fruition. He called upon friends and fellow musicians from all over the US and even Europe to offer their skills on his ideas and offer their own. Then there was a successful Kickstarter campaign which allowed Mike and friends to realize all their ideas, demos, and musings on a full-fledged, professionally recorded album. Needless to say there was a huge amount of passion and time invested in creating this record, and holy hell does it show!
Throughout my childhood there have been many films that have captured my impressionable imagination and then warped and raped it. The Secret of Nimh, The Dark Crystal, The Brave Little Toaster, Labyrinth, Dumbo, Watership Down, etc. They were all able to lure me in with colors, cuteness, and imagination and then rip the rug up from under me and show me the dark, seedy underbelly of the world in all its twisted glory. I don’t know why, but I always tended to gravitate toward this style of film in my young age (and well into my teenage years and adulthood). Sitting at the top of horrifically cute films lies the 1971 cinematic masterpiece Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring the great Gene Wilder in the role he was born to play; the magically mad Willy Wonka. From the colorful cinematography to the densely dark under-themes of consumerism and greed the film didn’t shy away for a moment from the fact it was luring young kids into its mind-rape Ford Econoline van with pretty colors and promises of candy.
Another aspect of Willy Wonka that cements it as one of the greatest cinematic achievements is its soundtrack. From happy and uplifting ‘Pure Imagination’ to nightmare inducing boat ride song the music of the flick covered just about every reachable aspect of places ones imagination can go. And I’ll be damned if they weren’t catchy songs. Don’t tell me you don’t find yourself humming the Oompa Loompa songs from time to time. It was simply a quirky, fun, and occasionally dark bit of music. And do you know what else is quirky, fun, and occasionally dark (ok, a bit more than occasionally)? The long-standing oddball band, Primus.
Label: Pelagic Records
Release Date: Sept. 15th, 2014
Studio Albums: Exit Eden (2011), Iron Chest (2012)
Location: Berlin, Germany
Album: Slab City
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: Sept. 5th, 2014
Genre: Desert Rock
Studio Albums: Disastronaught (2012), Corned Beef Colossus E.P. (2013)
Location: London, U.K.
Stepping out of the office doors a surprisingly gentle breeze on a twilit summer city evening greets me. I glance down at my watch and see I have a bit over an hour to occupy before I have to meet my wife at the train station. She has been gone a few days on business, so I miss her quite a bit as we are rarely apart for so long. Noticing that the city is rather empty I take the opportunity to make a slow peruse towards my destination to take in some of the finer details of Milan’s center which are usually covered with businessmen, fashion models, and tourists. I make my way to the marble monolith which marks the epicenter of the city as I dig around in my pockets for my earphones. Of course I will need a soundtrack for this little excursion. Flipping through the selections I have on my phone I realize I have my yet to be listened to copy of the new YOB record sitting on there. That should be perfect; atmospheric, shamanistic, and introspective. Read the rest of this entry →
Unfortunately, no real interesting videos go released this week. Just ones with the band playing in a basement, abandoned warehouse, forest, etc. And you all know how much I love those. Silver lining being, I get to dig a bit back for stuff I overlooked throughout the year. Here’s one video and record I criminally overlooked until recently. So, hail Crom and check out the nightmarish visuals with a crushing sludge doom soundtrack. Also, check out the record, Blood Eagle; absolutely shattering stuff. Enjoy!!!
I was considering making these 2 songs the Video of the Week because the neat-o nature visualizers are damn hypnotizing, fit their respective songs perfectly, and would be perfectly acceptable as official videos in my book. However, RoadRunner decided to label them as official audio, so I would expect that something a bit more big budget is in the pipeline.
Anyhoo, in case you missed our Roundtable Review of Opeth’s latest, Pale Communion, some of us liked it, some of us not so much, and I flipped head over heel in love it claiming it belongs with the upper echelon of the prime Opeth releases. Every song on it is pure gold in my opinion and even cooler, my 2 favorite tracks from the record got this cool official audio nature visualizer treatment.
Eternal Rains Shall Come shows some stylized footage, of, well, rain and thunderstorms. Really cool, especially if you are the type of person that find comfort in just staring out into a rainstorm. The song is really damn cool as well. I love how it floats from upbeat, chipper moods to relaxing and slightly melancholy to punchy and powerful. Damn fine song and an instant classic in my book.
Moon Above, Sun Below showcases my favorite season as Autumnal clips hypnotize as Opeth takes you on a trip to the Harlequin Forest to see how much it has changed over the years. While the last time we visited the forest of regrets and our protagonist’s tortured mind was being chased on a Wintery and stormy night, we now see the forest in a different season and illuminated by the sun. It still has maintained a bit of menace, but without the cover of dark, refrains from baring its teeth opting to lull its prey into becoming lost within the flurry of trunks and branches until the dawn of night approaches.
Am I crazy in thinking that Moon Above, Sun Below is the spiritual successor to Harlequin Forest? (I embedded the song so you can listen and reaffirm my over-analyzing.) Have you listened to the new Opeth? What do you think? Love it, hate it, meh? Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
This one caught my attention by claiming to be a mix of surf rock and black metal, and a combo like that you don’t not jump on the opportunity to see if it’s something revolutionary or an absolute train wreck. To my disappointment a combo of Dick Dale and Emperor didn’t come to fruition (with the exception of a minute at the end of the record). What I consider surf rock, really wasn’t strongly present in the 4 songs. However, what I did here was a really interesting proggy atmospheric black metal record with a sunny, nautical feel. Like a combo of Rush, BtBaM, and Deafheaven.
Another thing that really caught me about the record is the positivity of the lyrical content, which fits the ‘happy’ black metal it coincides with. Songs about loving life, beauty, etc. It’s always nice when there is a break from the norm and The Apache Revolver pull it off quite well. This being the bands first substantial offering, it’s very well done and the potential these guys have is astounding. I am quite interested to see what they can do with a full length. Anyhoo, give The Morningstar E.P. a listen and let us know what you think. As always, if you like what you here, grab yourself a copy of the album and force your metal minded friends to listen to it. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Thanks to the great FB Page Hipster Black Metal for turning me onto this one (as well as many other cool records).
Slow, plodding, methodical, droning doom is rarely associated with adjectives like relaxing, uplifting, and beautiful, yet long time trio Earth pull it off again and again as they push the boundaries of the doom genre on each album. While their last pair of releases were a tad lackluster compared to the monumental slab of instrumental drone/doom that is known as The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull, they have just released one hell of a shattering record that soars the band to new heights.
Now with the inclusion of vocals in their still very instrumental affairs, Earth have really created their most engaging record to date. For music this thick and viscous, I shouldn’t be so sucked in, yet I am. I get this heavy White Album-era Beatles vibe throughout the whole thing, especially on the song ‘From the Zodiacal Light’, which really adds a unique flavor to the music.
If you are looking for some great zone-out/meditation metal this record should be right up your alley. Give it a listen and let us know what you think. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!
Album: Pale Communion
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Songs: 8 +2 Bonus Tracks with digipack
Length: 55:48 (w/o bonus tracks)
Genre: Prog Rock
Studio Albums: This is their 11th LP
Location: Stockholm, Sweden