Category Archives: Exploring New Things
Every now and then we come across something that is just a bit different.
Ever since I heard the first single from Johnny Wore Black, I have been trying to keep track of their progress. That first single was called All The Rage and featured a guest appearance from Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson on bass. How cool is that? The second single, Up In Flames, was featured here on A Metal State of Mind which you can check out here.
Recently, Johnny Wore Black released a third single, Noise. Again, the third single follows the overall theme of the other two songs…cool and dark and a little like Porcupine Tree. I like the melody and moodiness of the song. In short, I look forward to a full album. So far, all three songs have been quality material. See Noise below and judge for yourself.
Lately I’ve found myself rather infatuated with this style of music that I’ve seen go by many names. From Vest Metal to non-cheesy chick vocalist bands to simply Psychedelic Rock it has found a bevy of tags, all work fine, but I prefer to tag it as Occult Metal/Rock in my organization of my music. The theme of the occult, witchcraft, the Devil (note: I am nothing close to a Satanist, heck, I don’t even believe in ‘God’, so his counterpart is null and void. I just really like the mysticism and style of the music), and all that wonderful stuff are the points that tie all these bands together besides a very retro sound highly inspired by the psychedelic rock of the Woodstock generation. Since really taking the dive into Occult Metal over the summer I’ve found myself with a good amount of great bands I’d love to share with you all. If you find yourself a fan of classic rock from bands like Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Coven, and Jefferson Airplane and also have a taste for prog and doom metal/rock, this should be right up your alley. Enjoy and if you know any other bands that would fit into this category, please let me know, this is an area of my collection I’d love to expand further. Peace Love and Metal!!!
Just when you thought Gojira was the only French metal band out there, take a listen to Unchained. These guys pack a heavy dose of Thrash/Death. They formed in 201o and after recording and releasing one EP titled Russia, they are about to release their first full studio album. Oncoming Chaos is targeted for a September 10th worldwide release from M & O Music. Check out their track No Scapegoat To Blame below.
Personally, I would buy the album based on the strength of this one song. They have a good mix of melody and Thrash/Death that makes the song both finger-tapping and headbanging.
A little while ago we featured an up and coming artist (band) called Johnny Wore Black. I wouldn’t consider them metal, but they have an edge to them that I think metal fans can and will certainly appreciate. You can read that original artist profile here which also provides further information about the band.
Johnny Wore Black now has a new song about to be released on August 13, but you can listen to it here now. The new track is called Up in Flames and features none other than Dave Ellefson of Megadeth on bass, of course. Enjoy!
UK death/thrash metal band Bloodshot Dawn have released a new video for their song “Godless” off of their self titled debut record. It’s pretty cool and the band is damn kick ass. Sometimes I’m amazed at how some bands can go unsigned while others with much less skill and songwriting talent are raking in the big bucks. Oh well, that’s how the cookie crumbles I guess. Check out the video and if you dig it give a listen (and if you’re feeling generous, a purchase) to their full length album. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
For this post, I am going to take some time to highlight five bands that have come across our inbox. Due to time constraints (we have wives & lives) and the sheer volume of requests, I thought I would take this time to talk about these unsigned or barely signed artists. The five bands/artists below cover a wide range of metal subgenres: Folk, Doom, Progressive, and a mixture of multiple genres. They all have something to offer, so check them out!
My Own Chaos
My Own Chaos is a female-fronted band from Vancouver, Canada. They blend a more traditional style metal with Thrash. They dip into other genres from time to time (Hardcore, for example), but maintain a relatively straightforward vibe. My Own Chaos has independently released their debut self-titled album which you can sample here. Currently, they are about to embark on an extensive Canadian tour for pretty much the entire month of July 2012 which will take them from coast to coast. You can check out their website here and sample some of their music here. Below is a clip of Instinct to Exist.
Wings Denied self-released their EP, Awake, in May 2012. Based in Washington D.C., Wings Denied incorporates a mostly progressive sound with a bit of Djent and Atmospheric elements. They list their influences as Deftones, Periphery, Tesseract, and Devin Townsend. I would have to say that is a very accurate picture of what you can expect on Awake. Their three-song release is nearly 18-minutes of complex tempos and arrangements. You can check out their facebook page here. Check out the embedded download from Bandcamp below.
The epitome of Doom metal, Akem Manah defines the genre. The Oregon-based band formed in 2009 and takes Doom metal back to its roots; slow, deathly, and haunting. I can hear some parallels with Black Sabbath (except for vocals). You will probably also notice some similarities with My Dying Bride. Their forthcoming EP, Demon of the Sabbat Pt I, is set for release in October 2012. Currently, Akem Manah’s latest full-length album, Night of the Black Moon, was released in March 2012. It’s is well over an hour including one 28-minute long song called Into the Darkness. You can check out a YouTube clip below and also go to their SoundCloud site here and check out new and older Akem Manah tracks.
Almost immediately, you can see that Davey Suicide is influenced by the likes of Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. They have a visual appearance similar to that of Murderdolls and Black Veil Brides. Probably the most polished band on this post, Davey Suicide is about to tour with Static X on the Noise Revolution Tour throughout the U.S. in July 2012. You can see from the video below, they have more production value at their disposal. Their music is relatively straightforward metal that falls in line with the listed influences above; a bit heavy, groovy, and all around rockin’
Cryptic Age blends Celtic Folk styles with their metal. The vocals are on the higher-pitched range which adds a cold haunting feeling to the song. The music is slightly progressive, but mostly standard metal tempos. In the middle of the song, Sounds of Infinity II: Eternity Beckons there is a cool guitar solo. Overall, well-arranged musically with a cool rhythm, some double bass drum, and of course Celtic Folk infusion. You can check out their song here.
One thing that makes me really get into a band beyond solid musicianship, good songwriting, and great energy is the ‘fun factor’ of the record. Yes, music speaks to the soul, touches on many different emotions, makes strong and bold statements, all that stuff. But beyond the ‘serious’ end of music, I also enjoy it to be entertained, I want to have a smile on my face while listening, I want all the happy parts of my body to surge with good energy, I want to laugh. More often than not those aren’t major bullet points of metal so when a band comes around that gets that ‘happy energy’ flowing I’m quick to become enamored with the band in question.
PA’s Top Hats and Effigies (awesome band name!) has recently released an E.P., or better put, an album sampler, called Rigamarole and it touches my special happy parts and makes me giddy. Composed of 3 songs that are in the process of being re-recorded for an upcoming full length album to be released later this year, TH&E have crafted a rather unique style of music. Blending dark ragtime cabaret music, jazz, and metal and topped them off with some pretty damn decent songwriting this appetizer really has me salivating furiously for the main course. “The Sunrise Said Everything Will Be Okay” starts off with the music of a demonic circus processing through town and then wicked reptilian black metal vocals kick in and unleash the demons upon the listener. The extreme vocals are contrasted with a crooning clean vocal style that balances the tone perfectly, my only wish for improvement on this is a bit more clarity and volume on the cleans for the full length release. As the song progresses it becomes more discordant reaching a point where it sounds like an orchestra falling down a flight of stairs, and that works great as it adds to the twisted and insane nature of the song.
The cabaret really gets going with the very Finntroll inspired “Dreams Do Come True”. The bouncy polka-like music really makes my feet want to get moving and the sly hiss of the harsh vocals set a fun terrifying mood. The ragtime piano paired with the driving guitars and thundering drums at the 3:40 mark is one of the most fun bits of new music I’ve heard this year. “Dead Last” has a great Phantom of the Opera organ intro that sets some great mood before slipping into that great ragtime piano again. The tortured yet bouncy clean vocals have a great rhythm (they do need a bit of cleaning up for the final version though) and the harsh lines really add a great punch right when the song needs it.
As you can see I’m really looking forward to hearing TH&E’s final full length record. The music and structures are delightfully insane and remind me heavily of a cross of Mr. Bungle and Finntroll, yet it all comes off as quite unique. It must be that great ragtime piano. The music is just plain fun to listen to and has enough depth to warrant paying attention to what you’re hearing. With some work cleaning up the songs on the production end the upcoming album could be something that will turn some heads. This E.P. has definitely gotten my attention and is a great listen as a precursor of greater things to come. Check it out and tell all your friends who like some good and fun oddball music. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
I have been reading about this band AxeWound for some time now. I saw they were put in a good position at Download Festival (different day than when I went), so I thought I would finally give them a spin. Their two main members hail from Bullet For My Valentine and Cancer Bats – Matt Tuck and Liam Cormier respectively. I am a fan of BFMV, but not too familiar with Cancer Bats. Either way, the article I just read on my digital copy of Metal Hammer featured an article about them and it promised to be heavier than what both BFMV and Cancer Bats creates in their bands. Matt Tuck of BFMV stated that AxeWound is heavier than anything he could or should so in his main band, so this is a nice side-gig for him to express his musical desires. That was enough to sell on getting my butt to YouTube for a listen.
Solace and Stable is a progressive metal band from Kansas City, Missouri, USA. They are currently working on their second full-length album titled The Systematic Erosion of Integrity. I had the pleasure of sampling three of those songs and based on that, I look forward to the full length release expected for some time in August 2012. Their blend of progressive with a more extreme style of metal creates an energetic and brutal concoction. Similar to Between The Buried and Me, their style is harsh, abrupt, yet melodic at the same time. The vocals on all three tracks are harsh and gritty; therefore, I do not expect to hear any clean vocals like you would hear with BTBAM. Solace and Stable put forth a more consistent cadence of brutal music with an occasional breakdown for complex guitar work. The Systematic Erosion of Integrity is one that is going to knock your socks off.
Amid the blood-soaked battle-field two great warriors stood. A warrior adorned in lavish golden armor encrusted with glistening jewels and detailed etchings steps slowly but determined through the red drenched grass of the plains of death. His sterling sword shines brightly as it miraculously finds every rare ray of sun to reflect as the fury of battle has filled the sky with clouds of dust and mists of blood. He looks with unbridled resolve toward his rival who is also carefully making his way toward the ornate battle master with a look of murderous intent in his eyes.
With fresh blood dripping from his trusty maul, the rival snorts, spits and wipes excess filth off of his beard. He begins to chuckle knowing that armor made of gold can never protect the flashy warrior from the blunt force of his massive hammer. But he is also aware of the dexterity and swift skill of the golden man. His armor may be tough, but the steel has taken much damage throughout the battle he has been fighting all morning long. He can’t let himself get too cocky as that may cost him his life he has been fighting so hard for. Lost in his battle though the hammer swinging warrior hears the golden man call something out. “What was that you flowery pansy? I can’t hear you over the screams of your dying” the bearded warrior scoffed followed by a loud snort and ‘Ha’.
With an air of nobility the golden warrior reaches up and pushes his long flowing hair from his face and shouts again, “How dare you and your people invade the great lands of Melodia. You and your like have no right to be here on our peaceful lands. Head back to your lands of dark and stone and leave us in peace. You have disgraced our realm long enough!”
“We only wished to share in your crops of melodonium. My people crave it also and our lands are incapable of growing it. We only want to share what you already have too much of.”
“Had you asked peacefully we may have come to a peaceful agreement. But, you, and your clans came…. They did unspeakable things to our peaceful people. There was rape, there were horrible accounts of brutal torture.” The golden knight for a moment let his guard down as memories came flashing back into his mind. Memories of when this whole war started. He had loved once, but the savage people of the Death Crags had taken that away from him. His wife, his children, gone and never to be seen again. This pain was not just his, but all of his lands. Many of his brethren had lost so much to the attacks of the Crag dwellers. He quickly composed himself again.
“You took our crops and lands by force. You took our lives and our love. There is no forgiveness for what you have done. I shall, right now and here, avenge all those who have fallen.” Rage burned in his eyes, but also in the eyes of the Crag warrior.
“We have tried to be civil in our attempts to acquire the melodonium. Your borders have always been blocked and when we approach we are scoffed away. Your people look at our kind as drunken fools and savages. We yearn and love just as you. Your crop allows us to achieve a balance and we have come to warn you of this. But,your people laughed at us and sent us away. If not for your selfishness and ignorance we would have never taken the land by force. This is your fault. But enough talk, words cannot settle this dispute anymore. Have at you!!!”
With both bellowing in their battle cries they charged. Remaining injured men form both camps rose and dashed through the floor of the dead to aid their leaders in battle. Swords clashed and axes tore limbs and hammers snapped bones and armor. They fought until it was just the two of them left standing. But not really standing. Both had suffered mortal wounds and it was just a matter of time until the life flowed from their bodies and back into the planet. The Crag man was the first to fall as a sword had found its way into his underarm slicing an artery leaving him bleeding with no way to stop the flow. He was the lucky one.
Having sustained a sharp blow to the chest from the maul, the golden knights bones were shattered and piercing lungs and jutting at his slowly beating heart ripping it to shreds with each thump. After the adrenaline of battle quickly wore of he fell to the ground and prayed that the medics could stop the pain and save his life. But deep down he knew this wasn’t true.
The medics did eventually come and the golden knight survived the trip back to camp with great agony. On his way back to the camp he reflected on the error of his ways. He had been selfish and arrogant. He had known that the Crag men had tried to negotiate at the borders peacefully, but like its guards, he scoffed them off. He had thought their savage ways were too crude and would make disgrace of the crop of melodonium that his people had toiled over for ages. After seeing them fight so hard in battle and hearing the glorious sounds of their realms combined the golden knight had a change of heart and felt sympathy. Struggling for breath to utter his final words on that wagon back to the camp he turned to a young nurse tending to the other wounded and dying. He grabbed the youth by the thigh and with an intent stare forced out the word “Peace” before the pain of his rib bones ravaging his internal organs overcame him and he passed out and passed on not to long afterwards.
Moved by the honorable knights final word that young nurse started to campaign the war-torn realms with messages of peace. Both sides had suffered much loss and in swift time an agreement was made. While animosity between the two still lingered in some of the people the majority had accepted each other. Denizens of both the lands started to mingle with the other and travel between the lands became common. Melodians and Crag people started to find each other and love was made ushering a mixed race of two great races.
OK, maybe I got carried way there….. anyways, to hear what the epic battle between the Melodians and Crag people sounded like and eventually led to check out this weeks super awesome full album stream. Infusing the bombastic over-the-top sounds of power metal with the crushing brutality of death metal Crimson Shadows have crafted an amazing and refreshing hybrid of the two contrasting styles and released an album that all should check out. Glory on the Battlefield is a rip-roaring listen and tons of fun and brutality from front to back. Check it out. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
For more on Crimson Shadows check out their Facebook page and give them a ‘like’ if your feeling frisky