Tales from Bandcamp: Undertaker by Disemballerina


a3172459771_10If you were to jump onto Google and search for articles pertaining to the similarities between metal and classical music you’ll find more than enough to fill your head with bombastic glee.  However, one thing I’ve noticed about all these articles is how they really don’t seem to focus on the finer points of the genres.  You’ll read about similarities in composition, bombast, and themes.  You’ll also see Beethoven and Vivaldi name dropped more than Black Sabbath on an poorly written doom metal review.  You’ll also see plenty of links to metal bands that more or less lift direct compositions from said artist and rarely an artist that is doing something modern with the classical composition style in metal (cough.. Harlequin Forest by Opeth.. cough).  But what about what I consider the most alluring aspect of each of the genres?  The emotional impact.

Well, maybe the grandiose of the huge orchestras classical music makes it a tad difficult to really translate and compare to the more personal aspects of metal.  How about we talk about the Baroque period and Chamber Music (which if you are unfamiliar, was music played more intimately with a minimum amount of performers).  As famed composer Van Goethe puts it, chamber music is like “four rational people conversing.”  Now, doesn’t that sound a lot more like most modern metal bands?  Well, sometimes not always rational :P

In my experience, a small gathering and conversation is always a lot more enlightening and personal than when gathered with a large group of people.  Which in turn really works to tune into the finer details of whatever the intricacies of the conversation are.  Just like in music for me.  Of course I love the rush of huge metal compositions, but when it comes to grabbing me emotionally, the more laid-back approach taps into me more.  Which, in turn, brings me to today’s album recommendation.

Playing music more akin to traditional Chamber Music than metal, Disemballerina really nail melancholic, emotional side of metal with perfection and present it in an very unique way.  You won’t find any distorted guitars or thundering riffs on their record Undertaker, but you will find beautiful conversations and memories of souls and memories that have passed on.  You will find sadness as well as hope; joy as well as depression.  You will find emotion as well as passion.  And above all, you will find something intimate.

To give you an example of how personal this album is, here is some of the notes taken from the info page of the record:

The breathing on this was the death rattle of a friend of mine recorded into a cellphone the last night she was alive. At the time this song was coalescing, I was working graveyard shift doing hospice care as a nurse assistant. “Sundowning” is a form of dementia unique to Alzheimer’s sufferers during the later hours of the night. I saw a lot of it on the job. This song is dedicated to all the elderly people I’ve cared for over the years who have passed on from this world. I’m tremendously lucky to have known all of you. -Myles

Ya, try to listen to that track and not shed a tear, especially if you’ve ever been close to a person with Alzheimer’s.  And like I said, the record does has counter-balance, so odes to the Carpathian Forest (the place, not the band with the chubby Satanist guy) and Ozma of Oz help lighten the mood.

So, even without embracing the traditions of metal, Undertaker is one of the most metal records I’ve heard this year and I highly recommend popping some headphones on and giving this a spin when you happen to be in a pensive mood.  As always, if you like what you hear, grab yourself a copy of the record and support the musicians.  Let me know what you think of the music down in the comments.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Roundtable Review: Black Hole Gods by Cardinal Wyrm


a1120500621_10Album: Black Hole Gods

Label: Independent

Release Date: August 5th, 2014

Songs: 8

Length: 1 hour

Genre: Doom

Studio Albums: Another Holy Trinity (2013),

Location: CA, USA

Read the rest of this entry

Videos of the Week: Code Orange and Tomahawk


Well, I’m a bit late with this post, but better late than never :)

First up check out the new video from Code Orange (previously known as Code Orange Kids).  What really gets me about this video is besides the unsettling themes and even more disquieting grungy doom metal accompanying is the choice to use a washed out, Super 8 VHS aesthetic.  It really blends well with the music and makes the video much more freaky.  Going by the released singles and this video, Code Orange’s upcoming record, I am King (out Sept. 2nd, 2014 via Deathwish Records), is sounding to be a smashing and very unique record.  We’ll have more on that for you in the near future :)

 

And to counterbalance that bit of disturbing art, here’s Mike Patton as a Crank Yankers puppet.  Need I say more why this is awesome?  South Paw comes off Tomahawk’s 2013 record Oddfellows.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Your weekend growling lesson with Angela Gossow


Angela-GossowEnough relaxation! It’s time for your extramural studies. Get this right and you could become rich and famous.

There are zillions of videos on YouTube about how to do a metal growl. I can’t say I’ve found the definitive one — if you should find it, please let me know. What I am offering is part of a vocal workshop with my Queen, my Goddess, of growling. Angela Gossow, recently retired from Arch Enemy, is more like a teacher or a librarian when she isn’t doing dark vocals in front of 50,000 fans.

I’ve sort of taught myself to growl in different styles. I’ll never be any good at it, for two reasons. First, I’m old, and so are my vocal chords. Second, and more importantly, I’m a lousy singer in any style. It may seem self-evident, but it’s not always immediately obvious — to be a good growler you need a good voice to begin with. But don’t let that stop you trying.

 

 

 

Concert Review: UK Tech Metal Fest 2014, part 3. Kodeks, Aeolist, Alaya, The Ocean, SikTh.


 

header_uktechfest2014

Remember, this festival review won’t cover all the bands playing, I’ve chosen the ones I personally liked the best.
Part 1 can be found here.     
And Part 2 here.

 

dsasddd_zps42a2dffaKodeks – More bands should write lyrics in their own language, it’s something I really appreciate. Especially if they, like this Norwegian band, have a vocalist with a forceful and intriguing voice, infusing the music with powerful energy and mysterious words. His singing often reminded me of Vintersorg’s dark, emotional voice. During their set, all the members in Kodeks performs with confidence and joy and it’s highly entertaining to watch them play their hard-hitting, melodic style of progressive metal with big smiles on their faces. I’ve never heard anything quite like it before. The electronic noises in the background is a fun contrast to the catchy riffs and harsh vocals, it’s clear that this is a band with huge potential and I hope they continue to write music of the same style. Debut EP is downloaded and paid for, the gloriously infectious chorus from the first track now stuck in my head forever!

.

downloadAeolist - I’ve had this proggy jazz-core band recommended to me before and I’ve heard only good things about them. Unfortunately the songs on their EP failed to catch my interest. Despite this, I still wanted to hear them live, and much to my surprise I became completely and utterly absorbed by their music. It made a huge difference to actually see the band members lose themselves to the passion and dynamics in the flowing songs, to feel the sincere atmosphere created by stellar musicians and an exceptionally good vocalist who wasn’t afraid to dance, with the help of a big, appreciative crowd. The sound mix and the acoustics of the building wasn’t the best, but it didn’t matter much. I love that they played their songs without breaks, as the experience becomes so much more powerful. After the last song had ended I left the place with tears in my eyes. So. Damn. Beautiful.

.

Alaya-ThronesAlaya - My cheering didn’t know any limits when I saw that Alaya had been added to the line up! I fell hopelessly in love while reviewing their thrilling debut album earlier this year, but had no idea I would get to see them live so soon, considering they are from far away (Chicago). A large number of Tech Fest-goers mentioned Alaya as the band they were most looking forward to this year and the crowd during their set grew to an impressive size. The songs sounded notably heavier and more beefy live than on album, with the same irresistibly energetic and emotional vibe. It was an incredibly tight performance, if there’s anything to complain about it was the vocals being a bit too low in the mix during most of the set, which is a shame when you have a singer with such an outstanding voice belting out soaring melodies and spine-chilling screams over the wonderfully complex drums and intricate riffing. They played through their material with great ease and enthusiasm, the crowd giving them excessive amounts of love throughout the show. I was standing in the front row smiling from ear to ear; to see these three handsome guys play my favourite tracks “White Noise”, “Day Of The Dead” (that scream!) and “Haunted Pt. III” was just amazing. “I haven’t seen you this happy since Skyharbor last year”, said my friend. I think he might be right about that! Alaya ended up in my top 3 of Tech Fest 2014, together with SikTh and Jon Gomm. It was a “transdimensional space goat”- moment for me and now I appreciate their album even more.

.

2Xj3yTThe Ocean – Last time, and also my first, seeing The Ocean was at Euroblast last year. That night it didn’t matter how much I love and adore their albums, their performance failed to impress me. Which I think was mainly due to them playing directly after the happy-crazy band Twelve Foot Ninja and the transition between the styles didn’t work for me, so I was excited to get another chance to see The Ocean live this summer. Their album Pelagial placed itself in my top 5 albums of 2013 and I consider it one of the most interesting concept albums ever made. It pleased me greatly that the band chose to play Pelagial from beginning to end,  despite it being on a small festival stage with the sun still shining through the roof. It didn’t take many minutes until I was completely immersed in the hypnotizing and majestic listening experience provided by five very skilled and passionate musicians. It makes it difficult to write about,  I felt like I was in a trance and didn’t pay attention to anything but the drummer’s dazzling movements enveloped in waves of blue light. Everything feels incredibly beautiful, unlike anything I’ve felt before. Towards the end of the set the songs become increasingly darker, slower, heavier.. it’s quiet, the crowd mesmerized… slower… on the floor… even slower… crushing my mind into pieces… deeper down into the dark… the last beat of the drum… and I start to cry. Unforgettable.

.

SikTh - The front row spot I secured before The Ocean’s set was still mine for SikTh, who came in fashionably late to take the stage (after a reprise of the famous, huge group hug from last year). The crowd was chanting, the excitement was through the roof, never have I felt an atmosphere so thick of anticipation and joy before a concert!

No one expected anything less, this was the mighty SikTh – the uncrowned kings and founders of tech metal in the UK, very recently reunited after seven year long break. They have certainly been missed and during their inactive years the tech metal scene has grown with incredible force, now being the home of many of the most impressive, upcoming bands in the world of metal. As the vocalist Mikee Goodman said, they had not expected such a development and were humbly blown away by this and the festival as a whole, bringing so many extremely devoted bands and fans together. This was the perfect audience for them to play for, this is where they belong and have their most passionate fans. Which was proven many times during the show; the venue was packed out, happy faces everywhere, friendly moshing, surfing, dancing… we were having the time of our lives. This was us saying “Thank you for all the inspiration and welcome back!”

Fucking hell, it was insane. I had so much fun, I can’t even describe it in words. It was my first time seeing them live, but certainly not the last, and SikTh sounded like they haven’t been away for more than a couple of months, engaging the lively crowd in highlights like “Bland Street Bloom”, the spoken words in “When Will The Forest Speak”, the brilliant “Pussyfoot” and “Skies Of Millennium Night”. I can’t wait to see them again at Euroblast later this year. Such a great band, giving an unbelievably fun show.

 ——————————————

The best ending to the best festival.

And I haven’t even mentioned the after parties, the tech metal karaoke, the many workshops held by different musicians from the bands who were playing, the fact that they served lots of vegetarian food and Strongbow cider… I will save up money and book my tickets for next year as soon as they are released, without even knowing the line-up. I already know it will have fun bands, be well organized and overall absolutely fantastic.

Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals #10 & #9


bc_rich_widow_wmd_bass_top_imageI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This list is 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

10.  Mr. Scary – Dokken

I have probably said it a million times so one more won’t kill ya.  Dokken was of my favorite bands from the 80s.  I always had a fondness for their music.  Though they did get glam or remained on the fringes of glam (mostly), I thought Dokken’s music was a cut above the rest and it’s pretty much due to George Lynch’s guitar work.  I feel lucky I got to see them one time live…the opening act for my first ever concert actually.  This song appears on Back for the Attack from 1987.

9.  Bombay Vindaloo – Dream Theater

The first time I heard this song was on a live album I picked up called Live at the Marquee.  After doing minimal research on it because I have never seen this song on an actual album, it turns out this track was improvisation based and was played live less than 10 times.  The live recording was released in 1993.  I happen to have the European released which has Surrounded whereas the Japanese release instead has Another Day.  These songs are the only difference on the live 6-track album.  It’s a cool thing to have if you are a Dream Theater enthusiast.

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1999 / #2 – #1


MetalCatI’ve done seven years of my 21-year hit parade. This is the third year where the winner is Opeth. With My Dying Bride as runner-up, it must have been a very atmospheric year.

 

 

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1999 / #4 – #3


MetalCatI don’t have a favourite genre of metal. The metal tree has branched profusely from the trunk that bore Sabbath’s doom and Maiden’s heavy metal. Just about every one of those branches has produced delicious fruit.

I do listen more to some types of metal, though. Two of the styles that I love greatly are progressive and melodic death. When I was doing my manual bubble-sort of my best songs of the last 21 years, it just happened that the pair of songs that take their turn today are both melodic death, and both come from Sweden.

Read the rest of this entry

Tales from Bandcamp: The Light that Dwells in Rotten Wood by Falls of Rauros


a4030008080_10While The Light that Dwells in Rotten Wood has been out for some time, yet I only stumbled upon it not to long ago after catching a recommendation of it from Panopticon’s FB page.  I guess I got to get that first feeling of amazement that went through many long time fans of the band when this record first dropped in 2011.  This record is one hell of a shattering work of art.  Needless to say, 2 tracks into my first listen, it was an insta-buy.

A huge canvas gets covered with moods, imagery, and  colors that would come from Bob Ross if he happened to be a black metal fan.  Well pronounced melodies collide with goosebumps-inducing atmospheres and well thought out songwriting guarantees that you will be hooked into the music as it takes you on a journey through verdant mountain ranges and shimmering lakes.  And while the misanthropic lyrics work to warn what our incessant negativity and lack of respect for nature will do to humanity, there is genuine love and optimism tucked away in them.

Lucky for me, Falls of Rauros have a new album releasing shortly this year, so expect for me to drool all over that the moment I get my hands on it.  I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out and when you can get it in the near future.  Until then, if you fancy yourself a fan of bands like Agalloch, Panopticon, Windir, and Saor, do yourself a huge biggun’ and give this record a spin.  This linked remaster is the version I bought and while I can’t speak for the original master, the quality of the sound and production is out standing as it pours from my headphones.  Enjoy!!! And as always, if you like what you hear be a chap and toss the artist a few shells and give the record a download.  Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

Roundtable Review: Vacant Face by Take Over and Destroy


PromoImageAlbum: Take Over and Destroy – Vacant Face

Label: Comfort Point

Release Date: August 19th, 2014

Songs: 11

Length: 47 minutes

Genre: Death ‘n Roll/Sludge

Studio Albums: Endless Night (2013), Rotten Tide (2011)

Location: AZ, USA

Read the rest of this entry