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: Scarlet Records
Release Date: 21 January 2014
Songs: 8 Length: 55:40
Genre: Progressive/Experimental/Post metal
Studio Albums: Ordinary Days, 2008
Location: Toulouse, France
For fans of: The Ocean, ISIS, Nami, Tool, Katatonia
This is the stuff dreams are made of.
Release Date: November 11, 2013 self-released
Tracks: 11 Length: 48 minutes
Genre: Cinematic, ambient post-rock/experimental
Recommended for fans of: Sigur Rós, Enigma, Massive Attack, Olafur Arnalds, Daniel Tompkins
Challenging, heavy, unpredictable and fun. One of my favourite releases this year.
Release Date: October 13, 2013 on their own label Realising Media
Length: 35 minutes
Genre: Not easy to describe. Experimental, prog/math metal, post-rock
Previous releases: Split EP 2009, debut album Senjyu 2010, Memories, Voices EP 2012
Recommended for fans of: Challenging, interesting, unpredictable music
Description: On Cyclamen’s Bandcamp page it says: DIY-To-The-Core and I get a sense that those words were written with a feeling of great pride and accomplishment. After hearing the new album and seeing Cyclamen live (and meeting them after the show, such great people!), I understand why. This is a fascinating and very different album, with influences from things and places I can only imagine in my mind.
“It’s extremely liberating in the digital age to approach composing and creating in this manner.
Infinite paths to explore, reinterpret and re-present.”
Release Date: August 27, 2013 on Puscifer Entertainment
Length: 60 minutes
Genre: Alternative, industrial rock, experimental, electronic
Don’t Shoot The Messenger EP, 2009
“V” is for Vagina, 2007
“C “ is For (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here) EP, 2009
Conditions of My Parole, 2011
Donkey Punch The Night EP, 2013 and three remix albums
Recommended for fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Tool, A Perfect Circle, electronic music
“Eternity in the midst of profound dusk, projected endlessly through this void
As a veil, as an aura, as an apparition, to awaken the world from its dream of itself”
Release Date: June 25 2013 on Relapse Records
Length: 48 minutes
Genre: Post rock/Industrial/Black/Ambient
Previous releases: Debut full-length ‘Drenched Lands’ 2009, ‘Territories’ 2010, ‘The Crystal World’ 2010, ‘The Clearing & The Final Epoch’ 2012, ‘New Dominion’ 2012
Recommended for fans of: Ambient, post rock, drone, industrial, experimental, atmospheric black metal
The Swedish duo The Moth Gatherer’s debut album is quite interesting with its unconventional style of experimental/sludge/post metal. They have created an ambitious and tasteful mix of different music styles combined with lots of effects, which results in heavily atmospheric songs that aren’t always an easy listen. This is haunting and hypnotic music suited for fans of ISIS, Cult of Luna and Neurosis. It’s very difficult to describe it due to the pure emotional nature of the songs.
As with any project Mike Patton’s name is attached to, you know you are going to be getting something unique to listen to. Even his most famous and accessible project, Faith No More, was considered to be outrageous and ground breaking when they hit the scene in the late 80’s. When he’s trying to be contemporary (see: his orchestral Italian vocal pop song cover band Mondo Cane), he can never drop that avant-garde stigma he’s branded himself with. And while he does have some really weird projects you couldn’t get me stoned enough to enjoy, for the most part, for as experimental as they are, almost every project he does I feel that even those not particularly into experimental music would find something to like in them. His latest release into the music world is Oddfellows, the fourth album from his project Tomahawk, which also consists of guitarist Duane Denison of The Jesus Lizard, bassist Trevor Dunn of other Patton projects of Mr. Bungle and Fantomas, and drummer John Stanier of Helmet. Needless to say there is a ton of pedigree in the band.
When the descriptors ‘avant-garde’, ‘cross-over’, or ‘experimental’ gets tossed onto a metal band many people tend to look away as thoughts of music that is too strange for their tastes comes to their minds. And honestly, ya, sometimes that is often the case, but as always it is not de-facto. So, as par for the course, I’m going to highlight some avant-garde bands that are some quality listens and have an experimental style that will appeal to those that don’t like anything too strange (to an extent, there will be a couple deeper cuts). To take it a step further, the songs and bands in this collection will be more on an upbeat note leaning towards having fun with their music as they experiment with what can actually be done within the metal genre. So, call ‘em avant-garde, experimental, cross-over, or WTF metal, but don’t say that they didn’t make you smile. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
After releasing their monumental atmospheric black metal album Diotima last year, NY’s Krallice wasted no time working on their follow-up album. Just released this weekend (Aug. 25, 2012) Years Past Matter follows in its predecessor’s path in creating dense songs filled with multifaceted layers of beautiful discordance. Stylistically not too much is very different other than the previous record had a more ‘nature’ feel to it, this one is more focused on the ‘astronomical’. I really like the long musical passages in this record, and given the density of them I look forward to hearing how they open up with multiple listens. If you need a record that will remind you how small we are in comparison the universe, this album will definitely give it to you. If you haven’t already, fans of bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Isis, and Panopticon should check this out immediately.
Years Past Matter is a self-funded release as the band is no longer with the Canadian label, Profound Lore. So be sure to spread the word about this release, and if you dig what you hear, grab a copy of the record off their Bandcamp page. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
P.S. No, there is nothing wrong with the song titles in the player below. The songs are actually called “IIIIIII” and “IIIIIIIII”.