The Musicorium

Sharing some music.

Archive for December, 2009

Metal Dip, Extended

Posted by David on December 7, 2009

So I’ve been totally getting into this stuff, and wanted to share a couple more songs from other albums that have been on quite heavy rotation in the last couple of days:

Baroness, while similar in genre to Mastodon, was apparently formed out of the members of a ‘punk/metal’ band, and the punky origins show through in their vocals, and maybe the guitar as well. They have a very cool sound, and I’ve been loving this:

I’ve also been listening to Mastodon’s 2009 album, Crack the Skye, a lot, and I’m probably at least as excited about it as Leviathan. My favourite (“The Last Baron”) appears to be too long for Youtube to handle, but this one is great too:

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A Dip into Metal

Posted by David on December 3, 2009

Metal is a meta-genre toward which I have always had mixed reactions. Some of it seems puerile and unimaginative; some of it is original and deliberately, even obtusely, complex. Some of its characteristic sounds strike me as quite inedible (e.g. some chord progressions, many vocals); others have the character of pure auditory candy (e.g. crunchy distortion), and others I’m not quite sure what to think about (e.g. machine-gun kick drums). Some of it seems simple and talentless, and some of it seems to be among the most technically demanding music ever conceived. The whole genre is suffused with this inexhaustible love for lavish imagery and album concepts, with some branches straying regularly into unbelievable levels of campiness (e.g., the Christmas-obsessed Trans-Siberian Orchestra, or the entire Lord of the Rings-themed Blind Guardian album) — but there is something uniquely endearing about this penchant for visual and thematic hyper-indulgence as well.

I’m sure a lot of this variation in my opinions can be attributed to the variation among the many styles of metal, which are numerous enough that I have not begun to be able to differentiate them. I’m also sure that, as with almost everything people get into, a great deal of the enjoyment is to be found in relatively minor nuances of contrast between artists and songs — nuances that are only detectable to someone who’s already intimately familiar with the genre, for whom it no longer sounds like a wall of alien noise. This suspicion has motivated me on a couple of attempts to listen to and get familiar with metal, with varying success. While not deliberately trekking at present, I’ve recently come across the following couple of albums quite at random, and despite persistent patches of ambivalence have also liked a lot of things about them:

Mastodon – Leviathan:

Wikipedia tells me that Mastodon is a heavy metal band and that their genres are ‘progressive metal’ and ‘sludge metal’. My copy of the album, for what it’s worth, has them tagged as ‘Progressive Deathcore’. Leviathan seems to have a strong Moby Dick theme (one song is, indeed, titled “I Am Ahab”). As general concepts for albums go, the names of giant beasts and mythical creatures totally do it for me without me, you know, having to feel silly about it. (I mean, check this shit out — in fact, all of their albums appear to have similarly gorgeous, evocative art by one Paul Romano.) On top of plenty of quality, aggressive gnarliness, there is lots of interesting variation and progression on the album, as well as some cool harmonies of a sort I’d love to hear more of (see the awesomely thunderous ending of the song below:)

Gojira – The Way of All Flesh

Gojira is a ‘progressive death metal band’ whose genres apparently include death metal, thrash metal, progressive metal and groove metal. There are lots of awesomely chunky guitar riffs, complex rhythms, and insanely rapid drumming throughout. According, again, to Wikipedia, “Gojira uses its lyrics to spread its spiritual beliefs and concerns for the environment”. Huh! Well, I’ll have to take your word for it, Wikipedia. I think I had assumed the screamed inaudibility of many metal lyrics to be a sort of deliberate act of mercy before, but I will try to actually pay attention.

I’m particularly enamoured of this one:


Onward on the project of expanding musical tastes! Onward!

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