Italy is known for many things: Food, culture, food, friendly people, food, women, food, wine, food, fashion, food, beautiful seas and landscapes, and food. If you happen to be a fan of cinema, Italy also has got you covered there, especially if you happen to be a fan of the horror genre. From Dario Argento and Joe D’Amato to Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava you could almost say that gore and suspense were practically invented on the Big Boot. Italy is also home of two of the most controversial horror/suspense flicks ever made (Cannibal Holocaust and Salò: 120 Days of Sodom, neither are safe for life). If you have ever seen the Fulci classic Zombi (or known as Zombi 2 and Zombie Flesh Eaters in some places, same movie, it’s confusing, roll with it) you no doubt remember one of the finest scenes in horror movie history, Zombie vs. Shark in a battle to the death. What makes that scene so special goes beyond its ridiculousness and it’s shot straight-faced. It creates this unique dynamic of art house, horror, and comedy that modern Zomedy directors could only wish to achieve. With this particular approach to horror/suspense it’s always amazed me that metal bands rarely channel this particular sect of horror, especially given its massive influence on the genre that maybe too many metal bands take their inspiration from. Enter Japan’s Sigh, a band that has not even once followed anything close to ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’, and their new record Graveward.
I know every year I say that this was one of the best years in metal, but its true, and 2012 was no different. I guess that says a lot about the state of modern heavy metal. The genre has grown into something that was unfathomable at its inception. In no other genre will you find such a diverse set of different acts all boasting such pure passion for what they do. I was also exposed much more music than usual this year since Metal State kinda took off with a spike in readers (thank you!!!) and we started receiving promos from labels and bands looking for exposure (don’t worry, we won’t tell you about the crappy stuff or skew our opinions because a label hooked us up with some free music or a t-shirt). So, when I think about 2012 in metal I can’t help but to return to reflecting on how diverse the genre has become. You will see in my toplist that no single sub-genre really dominates (well I guess you can tell I am a fan a prog metal and was big into the female fronted doom metal bands this year) and there are some amazing albums all across the board in metal this year. There were also a ton I left out which I will post about in the coming days in a quick honorable mentions post. So enough dilly dallying, let’s get it on! Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
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!!!
So, since I browse around Bandcamp quite a bit, I feel restricted to just limiting myself to sharing just one album a week with you all. So as promised I will still bring you at least one killer full album stream every Tuesday in addition to random days when I find a cool album for you to listen to. And if any of you awesome readers ever stumble upon a band or artist that you think I should check out don’t hesitate to tell me about it (drop a shout in the comments, on the Facebook page, or via e-mail Metalstate[at]yahoo[dot]com).
Today I discovered that the album that is leading the run for my album of the year right now is available to listen to all the way through on Bandcamp. Sigh‘s In Somniphobia is bound to be one of the most insane and unique albums you are bound to hear this year. To keep the post short and the drooling to a minimum I’ll just link my review of it here if you are curious. To sum this band up in short is difficult, but I’ll try. They take a base of NWOBHM and black metal, toss in generous servings of jazz, classical, and progressive music and sprinkle with a mixture of various other musical genres. It’s like listening to your best nightmares. Top recommended songs are “The Transfiguration Fear” and the whiskey soaked jazz noir metal “Amnesia” . Check it out.
And with more than enough high quality music Sigh‘s label Candlelight Records also has a ton of great release available for streaming and purchase (at very reasonable prices) on Bandcamp. This list includes Opeth‘s earlier works, Isahn, Anaal Nathrakh, Orange Goblin, and Havok, just to name a few. That should keep you busy for a while. You can check all of that out here. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Genre bending in metal isn’t a new thing. Tons of bands do it, tossing bits of other contrasting musical genres in with their brand of metal. Death metal with bag pipe breakdowns, doom infused with funk bass lines, power metal diving into classical music sections, and so on. There is also metal mixed with other forms of metal. I guess you could say that heavy metal is the melting pot of music as there doesn’t seem to be one genre of music that it won’t work with. Tokyo’s Sigh look to take this statement to the extreme with their new album In Somniphobia. A staggering number of musical genres makes an appearance on this record (various styles of jazz taking the forefront) all backed by a black metal and NWOBHM core. This makes an album that is not only rich in content but also a refreshing joy to listen to.
The Japanese band Sigh caught my attention the other day when I was directed to check out the song “Purgatorium” off their new album, In Somniphobia. Immediately I was greatly impressed with the over-the-top lunacy of the music. Blaring NWOBHM guitars, Thrash Metal drumming, Black Metal rasps and screams, and Epic/Folk metal keyboards in the vein of Moonsorrow, Finntroll, and Ensiferum really got my adrenaline pumping and the head banging. I was instantly in love with the song and so can’t wait to hear the full album which comes out today, March 13, 2012 (looks like I need to get my ass to the record store ;) expect a full on review in the coming week).
So, after I played “Purgatoruim” a good handful of times I jumped on the good ol’ Bandcamp to see if there was anything more from these guys to listen to. Lo and behold their debut album Scenes from Hell was up in its entirety. Now I am really hyped up to get my hand on Sigh‘s new record. On here, along with all the stuff I mentioned before, there was even more lunacy than my mind could handle. If the Loony Tunes were to form a metal band this is what it would sound like without a doubt (Bugs Bunny on guitar and doubling as the conductor when needed, Daffy Duck on vocals, Taz on the drums, Sylvester on bass, and Tweety on the keyboards. Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner in charge of A&R and the stage show with the rest of the Loony Tunes handling the rest of the instruments being played).
For as insane as the music might sound it is all extremely well constructed and written. The songs flow, there are tons of memorable moments, and there is great passion and emotion (the main emotion being insanity) put into each song. This band is a great breath of fresh air and I highly, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you check it out. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
P.S.- I just found out I can embed the Bandcamp player into the post so you don’t have to click on the album art to go to the Bandcamp page (you still can if you want). Let me know if everything works fine for you :)