Category Archives: Ramblings

Thoughts about all things metal, from metal truisms to thoughts about the music we hear.

Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: White Storm of Teeth by The Devil’s Blood

2In case you haven’t noticed, I f’n love this band and am a bit chaffed that I ended up getting into them after they broke up. Sucks, I know. Lucky for me I still get to indulge in the excitement of a new release from the band even though I will never be able to catch one of those awesome live shows I’ve heard so much about.
The Devil’s Blood breakup happened while they were in the middle of recording their new album and they were pretty damn close to finishing the record when the split happened. Fortunately they weren’t going to let all the new music that they recorded go to waste, so what was completed was put together and now we have the record III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars.
I’ll probably not do a full review of the album, but will say it’s pretty damn good for being an unfinished work. There are many parts that need some smoothing out and some good editing on others, but as a whole, it is really enjoyable. It’s a shame because you can certainly hear that The Devil’s Blood were pushing themselves and not trying to just cut and paste the songwriting they established on their first album.
Anywho, my favorite track off the album is “White Storm of Teeth” and it has a heavy Tool feel to it, mainly in hypnotizing bass line. There’s also strong elements of Pink Floyd as well as that undeniable Devil’s Blood sound. Give the tune a listen and sound off what you think. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: Attrition by Howl

19436235a2025467214b249199849lSometimes a heavy metal hippie needs a good injection of aggression in his hippie music (sometimes the reef runs out). So when a tune steeped in southern metal riffing, thundering drumming, and a dark and evil atmosphere comes along this hippie grins that hazy smile of his.
I have never heard of Howl until this weekend when I was playing follow the Youtube links and stumbled upon them. The killer riffing and the demonic vocals sold me on this band immediately as the came off feeling like a twisted crossbreed of High on Fire and Lamb of God. Damn great stuff and you should totally check them out cause King Hippie says so :) Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Musings of a Heavy Metal Hippie: Gammal Krigare by Eldkraft

Wrath-of-the-Ents-treebeard-33433582-1600-959I consider myself a pretty big fan of fantasy, the kind with dragons, wizards, elves, goblins, etc. And among all the cool races and creatures from the various stories there is one type of creature I’ve always found myself fascinated with. That would be the Ents, or more commonly known as them walking trees from LOTR. There is just something about them that is so bad ass. Their huge, they’re all laid back, they are wise and in tune with nature, and when needed they can straight up fuck shit up. Flat out, the Ents rule. I also really dig forest druids a lot too. All in all, anything that has to do with the forest and woodland nature.
These type of creatures and characters are used too little and I feel are unappreciated in the fantasy realm, so them getting worked into the popular nerd culture doesn’t happen as often as I would like. And while there are tons of fantasy elements in many metal bands, a band that calls to mind the images of Ents is nearly nonexistent. Vintersorg maybe?
So when my ears caught wind of a band called Eldkraft and I popped the single in and scenes of a grove of trees headbanging and jamming on instruments made of moss and stone entered my mind, I was a bit more than ecstatic to want to delve into the band more. Unfortunately I have to wait a couple weeks more before I can do that since the single I heard is off of their debut record, Shaman, which is out on May 28. So until then I’ll just listen to this track a few or dozen more times. Check it out! Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: The Evangelist by Memory Garden

MG_band_newI really need to tip my to Metal Blade Records. For like forever they have been delivering some of the best metal albums throughout my career as a metalhead. Lately they’ve been taking a nice interest in doom metal and have been signing some pretty interesting bands (more on those in the coming days). So, thank you Metal Blade for pandering my demographic. Today’s band under the thumb was once signed to Metal Blade when they first started out, parted ways, and now they are back under the Metal Blade umbrella as they gear up to release a new collection of songs.
Memory Garden are a really hip and interesting band as they combine elements of doom metal with straight metal and power metal. It leads to quite the engaging listen as you get the fat grooves and riffing of doom, the melodic end of power metal, and vocals that bring both Ronnie James Dio and Messiah Marcolin to mind.
“The Evangelist” is off of the bands new 4th album Doomain and it is out now, and I must get my hands on a copy.  What say you?  Do you dig this track as much as me?  Interested in hearing more?  Sound off in the comments.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: Spine of God by Monster Magnet

mm08IMO, NJ’s pioneering stoner metal band Monster Magnet embody the sex, drugs, and rock and roll aspect of rockstardom quite perfectly. From their hard rocking tunes about, well, sex and drugs to frontman Dave Wyndorf’s who bleeds charisma and sex to their killer live shows where they often hang a banner that reads “It’s a Satanic drug thing. You wouldn’t understand.” and pole dancers on stage it’s hard to top these guys in the sex, drugs, and rock and roll dept. Luckily, they aren’t all about image and deliver where it’s important and write some of the best stoner metal songs ever written.
One of my favorite tracks from Monster Magnet is their über-trippy title track off their debut album Spine of God. I love how it gets all psychedelic and space-like yet still remains grounded enough to deliver on some catchy music. If you enjoy stoner metal and have yet to check out Spine of God, you’re doing yourself a great disservice as it is easily one of the best and most influential albums in the genre. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: New Trip by Sixty Watt Shaman

Sixty+Watt+ShamanSixty Watt Shaman is one of those band I could never recollect how I heard of them or when their album made its way into my CD collection. But I’m happy it resides in there. Equal parts stoner and southern the band straight up brings the rock. Probably best compared to Corrosion of Conformity’s more southern fried style songs (specifically the Wiseblood album) their album Seed of Decades isn’t looking to break any barriers or push any envelopes. It exists just to show you a good time with big riffing and the occasional psychedelic section tossed in from time to time.

My favorite track off said album is “New Trip” which features all the above mentioned with the big catcher for me being the last minute or so where a Native American style chant grooves along with the jiving music. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: Parchment Farm by Blue Cheer

blue-cheer-vincebusIf I’m going to be talking often about stoner and doom metal, I think it’s in order to make mention of the genres roots. Two classic bands from the ’60s can be cited as the main kicking off points and have major influence in the 2 genres. Both Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath carry much bearing for the 2, where Sabbath influenced the doom genre a tad more than Blue Cheer, whereas Blue Cheer has stronger bearings on stoner. However without the two to make a whole, these genres would sound much different from how they do today.

Today let’s focus on the stoner side of the hippie metal spectrum with a rocking song from Blue Cheer called “Parchment Farm” off their highly influential debut album Vincebus Eruptum. The first thing you will notice is the immediate fuzzy guitar tones and strong blues rock riffing, a staple of the stoner and doom genres (and without the fuzziness, the southern metal genre). There is also a lot of heavy psychedelic stuff going on which is also another major characteristic of stoner rock/metal, and as you delve deeper into the sounds of Blue Cheer, you will hear they went quite heavy with the psychedelics in other tunes like “Summertime Blues” (the band name Blue Cheer is also taken from the street name of a type of LSD).

“Parchment Farm” is actually a reworking of a folk blues song that was sung in a prison nicknamed Parchment Farm (I’m guessing prisoners were made to make paper), and is about the corruption of the correction facility through the eyes of the prisoner.
Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!!

Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: Unspoken by Kylesa

Black_Metal_Hippie_I_by_IrilarAs challenged by the grand master of a heavy metal group I participate in to post a song/video from the doom/sludge/southern/occult/stoner rock/metal daily I will be doing just that and not to let my words just reach a handful of people, I’ll up the count by 2 or 3 and c/p my posts here as well.  Since I am known as the ‘hippie’ of the group it did get me thinking though, what exactly would one consider ‘hippie metal’, I guess any kind of metal or hard rock that goes well with the traditional hippie ethos of peace love and ganja.  So, that’s pretty much boils down to a fuck ton of various music, so for all intents and purposes I will be limiting these daily (weekdays only) posts to the previously mentioned genres which seem to be the prime offenders (I could also add prog to the mix, but that would be diluting this more than it already is).  Join me as I take the brown acid and go on a trip to discover the meaning of ‘hippie metal. I’ll be highlighting new stuff as well as classics, hope you all enjoy and discover some groovy tunes to crunch on :)

Today I’d like to highlight a new track from Kylesa called “Unspoken”.  TBH, something about this band never grabbed me and made me want to purchase a record, but I dug them when I listened.  This new track however has my attention and has me highly interested in checking out their new record, Ultraviolet, when it releases later this month.

In the song you will hear a nice mix of hippie metal genres as the sludgy mix of Georgian style stoner metal grooves give way to a Isis by way of Baroness style tune.  Really dank stuff and I especially appreciate that great southern metal style guitar solo towards then end as well as that absolutely absorbing groove that kicks in around the 1:20 mark.

Unfortunately the other 2 released tracks don’t hit me nearly as hard as this tune did, but I did enjoy them enough to have my interest piqued to pledge to give Kylesa a serious listen when the new album drops.  What say you, do you dig “Unspoken”, do you enjoy Kylesa, are you a towel?  Comment away, and remember, always pass to the left. Peace Love and Metal!!!! :)

Kickstart My Heart

41Yuz9uRa-L.01._SR300,300_Over the past couple years the whole Kickstarter and crowdfunding craze has really began to make quite the impact on the world.  My 2 biggest hobbies, video games and music, have seen the largest impact from this so far.  More or less all the stuff that record labels and game publishers haven’t been paying mind to have an audience and that audience is more than happy to toss large amounts of money at the artists to go ahead and do their thing.  So far results have been quite successful and music, games, and concepts that I never thought would see the light of day are getting a chance to compete with the big boys.  Given this whole crowdfunding business is still in its infancy and while many crowdfunded games and albums have now been released there still hasn’t been enough proof, only provable through the test of time, that this way of funding can continue to compete with the big dogs.  So I wonder, would it be possible that crowdfunding eventually makes big name publishers and labels go the way of the dodo?  Will we enter a world where the music that you listen to and the games you play are only discovered through good ol’ DIY and word of mouth methods and the days of creative influence from the investors ceases to hamper some wonderful games and albums?  Well, my opinion, simply put, yes and no.

In the 80’s there were 2 major pasta sauce brands, Prego and Ragu.  Ragu was the best-selling of the two and Prego wanted to outdo them, so they went and modified their recipe and created a sauce that trumped Ragu in all blind taste tests.  When Prego released their revised sauce to the market, they were astonished that even though it tasted better, they were still selling less.  So they brought in a market analyst to discover why and what they could do to become the leading pasta sauce brand.  One experiment the analyst did was to make various different styles of pasta sauce; creamy, chunky, spicy, salty, garlicy, etc.  About 20 different styles in all.  When he taste tested them he discovered was that of all the different flavors, the one with the least flavor change won.  Chunky style pasta sauce tasted nearly the same as the classic recipe and only changed in the texture, yet it won something around 80% of the taste test (actual number I don’t remember and am too lazy to research).  The discovery was that while trying to make the perfect tasting pasta sauce, they were oblivious to a large market of people who didn’t even know that they wanted chunky sauce and being obsessed on making the best flavor blinded them to even think about checking for texture.

Prego released their sauce into the market and did exceptionally well finally out selling Ragu until they copied the chunky idea and it’s been an exciting food fight ever since with more options and experimentation in the pasta sauce lovers world than ever imaginable.

Now think Ragu as the bigwig labels and game publishers, and Kickstarter as the Prego.  Through Kickstarter we have discovered games and music that we never even thought we wanted, and now that they are exposed, we can’t imagine not wanting them.  Surely the labels and publishers have noted on this, and especially in the music scene, a lot more risks to branch out is the result.  Win Win, right?

Sorta, what I think that this crowdfunding vs. bigwig will lead to is more of a symbiotic relationship where labels will see crowdfunding as proof of success and reduce their monetary liability.  Band crowdfunds their debut, has successful sales, the following record gets that big contract, maybe more than what bands are getting today since they have already proven themselves and the risk is much less for the label.  And again, since the band is proven in their artistic merit, the label will most likely hold back on influencing the musicians.  Apply the same principles to video games.

Then we can add in the argument of over-saturation and crowdfunding becoming diluted and turning into nothing but a popularity contest. We can also say that no crowdfunded project will ever be able to reach the numbers needed for those big AAA block buster games and that people will just innovate for innovations sake.  But no matter what, with crowd funding, we are all aware that there are many things that we want that we would have never realized we wanted and the competition in the market will just increase for our attention and money.  And as always, competition breeds excellency and true innovation.  Exciting times are coming in the music and video game world and I’m looking forward to what the future may bring.

What say you on crowdfunding?  Discuss below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Thanks to the Jimquisition for the inspiration and Ragu vs Prego idea behind this post.