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Posts Tagged ‘Metal’

The first time I saw GWAR I was 18 years old. It was the summer of 2005 and the band were slotted for an hour long, 5 o’clock spot at the Sounds of the Underground festival. I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was the lore that surrounded their live show. It was supposed to be an event. It was. It was the dead center of the Bush years, a new pope who spent part of his childhood in the Hitler Youth was now sitting atop Christendom, and all that and more would serve as kindling for GWAR’s 60 minute performance piece.

For as much as I remember that show, it is not what happened on stage that resounds the loudest of my memories of GWAR on that July afternoon. An hour before their set, I got the chance to meet Dave Brockie. He was in his full Oderus Urungus regalia, four foot sculpted rubber phallus and all, standing in the back of a makeshift tow cart that was hitched to a boxy looking ATV. As he was being carted though the crowd in his makeshift Kawasaki chariot, for some reason or other it stopped for a few minutes, and as the driver was trying to coordinate his new plans via walkie-talkie, I nervously made my way to say hello. I can vividly remember his bare ass hanging out of the back end of his get up. It was a humorous bright spot in…

Elitism is part of being human. There is literally no way to escape from the fact that people are constantly, perpetually looking down on others for reasons that have little practical merit while simultaneously holding themselves above others using reasons that are equally hollow. It’s the ever-pressing desire to distinguish oneself from those around them; a cry for individuality in a world where individuality is no longer possible. In a world where you have to stand well above the crowd to achieve even slight success (definitions of what success means aside), is it really that shocking that people look at art, music, food, video games, cars, clothing, possessions, obsessions, politics, philosophies, and lifestyles as ways to further their own sense of self-superiority? It’s all relative, too. Someone can think themselves as superior because they listen to Band X which is somehow artistically superior to Band Y, yet at the same time proponents of Band Y think the same about listeners of Band X. Let’s face it: it is elitist to even say that one is above elitism, as it is just another way to assert your superiority over others.

Perhaps nowhere is this superiority complex more prevalent than heavy metal. It is the embodiment of musical elitism, a place where you can be dismissed as a credible “true metal” fan for liking one band deemed so delicately as “complete shit” by the larger crowd. We’ve all seen it, and we’ve all done it. Anyone who has listened to metal has…

I’ll just come right out and say it to set the tone of this post: Quorthon is arguably the single most influential person in extreme metal. I could name at least two genres and countless bands that would not be the same – let alone even exist – had he not decided to get drunk and record Bathory’s self-titled debut in 1984. Taking thrash, speed metal, classic heavy metal, and even NWOBHM and pasting it with imagery so vivid as that of Mercyful Fate and Venom circa the early-1980’s and lyrical themes from years even before that, then mashing it all up in a mix of static, fuzz, and reverb he had essentially invented black metal. Sure, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, and the oft-venerated Venom were around or had been recording in the same era (Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales was recorded around the time Bathory was released and Hellhammer had been playing some very thrashy first-wave black metal since 1983, eventually to disband and become Celtic Frost), but the spirit of what black metal was to become was most definitely in the sound that Bathory developed. The genre is essentially a mangled spin-off of thrash – especially in its early days – but Bathory helped to bring it to places that would really change the game for this fledgling sound, and long after Quorthon had moved onto bigger and better things his creation flourished, for better or worse.

Rather than get into an argument over the details of the…

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Paradise Lost are just a few weeks away from releasing their thirteenth album, Tragic Idol, through Century Media Records. So far, the hype around the album seems to suggest that this is finally the release that fans have been wanting since Draconian Times. In a Q&A done a month or so back, Guitarist Greg Mackintosh tried to help adjust expectations when he stated that, “The core of the sound on Tragic Idol has an essence of Draconian Times and Icon, and I think that’s what people are picking up on. For the past five or six years we’ve been hearing people say that Paradise Lost has gone back to the roots, which is an absolutely horrible term in my opinion. I do think that you can draw lines between a few of the tracks on the new record and Draconian Times or Icon, but when we were writing the music for Tragic Idol, I deliberately made a choice to strip everything back down to the bare bones. It’s a very simplistic record in a lot of ways, really.” I’m not sure if he was directly referencing ‘Honesty in Death’ when referring to a few songs that have that Icon vibe, but to me, it definitely does. Check out the song and hopefully it keeps you content until the final album release on April 24th.

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol
Release Date: April 24th
Record Label: Century Media

The resurgence of thrash continues…

Over the last decade metal has made a huge resurgence. This popularity has inspired a lot of bands to make a deliberate return to their roots (Metallica, Megadeth, etc). It has also prompted the reformation of quite a few long-defunct bands from the past (Believer, Anacrusis, etc). You can now add Connecticut’s Indestructible Noise Command (aka I.N.C.) to that list.

I.N.C. formed in 1985 and quickly recorded their first album, Razorback. The album was quirky but heavy with an underlying sense of humor that was missing from most thrash at the time. It was enough to allow them to play with bands such as Megadeth, Exodus and King Diamond. Their second album, The Visitors, built on everything that fans loved about Razorback and garnered even more attention for the band – Pantera, in their infancy, even opened for I.N.C. at one time. One of the more unique elements that I.N.C. had going for them was the vocals of Dennis Gergely. His voice provided a bit of a hardcore/metal crossover vibe at a time when only a few bands were doing it (most notably D.R.I.). Due to a lack of solid label support and funding, the band took an indefinite hiatus shortly after the release of their second album, and that was the end of the story – until now.

I.N.C. are back with a fresh set of songs that are heavier and darker than anything they did in…

James LaBrie has made a new track called “One More Time” available for streaming (courtesy of AOL’s Noisecreep). The song is taken from his upcoming solo album, Static Impulse, which will be released on September 28 through InsideOut Music.

 

James LaBrie is best known for his work with Dream Theater, but they’re not his only musical endeavor. Most people probably don’t know that he released his first solo album, Elements of Persuasion, back in 2005. It was a powerful album that would probably surprise a lot of Dream Theater fans due to its heaviness. Well, it seems that this album is going to surprise even more people. The song is heavy and aggressive but combined with a huge chorus that rivals anything that he has done with Dream Theater. What is going to surprise people even more is the aggressive side of James’ voice. If the rest of the album is anything like this, it has the potential to be great.

- Dissonant Dissident

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Cyanotic are one of the new breed of industrial metal bands that are helping to pull the genre into the modern era. The song, “Dissonant Dissident”, comes from their second  album entitled The Medication Generation. The Medication Generation was released through Bit Riot records on July 6, 2010. “Dissonant Dissident” is probably one of the best songs on the album, and also a great representation of what to expect. It features huge beats and a perfect blend of guitars and electronics.

Cyanotic Myspace

Song Samples

And so we reach the mid-way point, both for this series and for the World Cup itself. Today sees the end of the group stages and the final confirmation of which 16 teams are left to duke it out for the next two weeks – Honduras are unlikely to be one of them, and it’s hard to know exactly what to say about them other than that. So little attention is paid to them that one ITV correspondant referred to them as a South American country – without meaning to be too denegrating, they’re probably the most nondescript country involved in the whole tournament, and that’s no small accomplishment in a competition boasting the presence of both Slovenia AND Slovakia. All this despite an astonishing bit of governmental wrangling that got seemingly everybody in the world commenting as recently as last year, too. If it had happened in Mexico, Cuba, or even Costa Rica, rest assured you’d have heard a lot more about it; the international media just didn’t seem to care when it happened in a country nobody really knew anything about. Ditto the tragic murder of Edwin Palacios, brother of three of the current Honduran national team.

In keeping with all of that, Honduran music hasn’t produced any stars, certainly not ones who’ve found fame outside the country’s borders, so it’s hard to know where to start. If we’re just talking quality, though, then I can highly recommend one Aurelio Martinez, a man with, in addition…

Well, I’m sure we all expected a few countries to get absolutely pounded this year, but by and large – New Zealand, Korea DPR, South Africa – they’ve stood up very, very well for themselves. Attention turned today to Switzlerand, who are actually pretty good, but they’re playing Spain, and Spain are to the average football team what the atomic bomb is to the average handgun. At least, that was the general idea – but Switzlerand only turned around and bloody won, didn’t they? So thanks to the land of cuckoo clocks, Toblerone, and political neutrality for providing us with the defining moment of the World Cup so far.

And what immaculate hair they have too!

It’s Sputnik and it’s Switzerland, so it’s pointless even pretending like I’m going to start anywhere else but with the metal giants of Celtic Frost, Samael, and Coroner. Surely you don’t need me to tell you why a cold European country has got lots of metal, and surely you don’t need me to introduce Celtic Frost, do you? The country’s reputation for metal lives on through Paysage d’Hiver and Darkspace, but these guys are the daddies. They’re Celtic Fucking Frost, you get me?

Similarly dark-minded Swiss music can be found in their once-revered post-punk scene, most notably in the shape of The Young Gods. Part of a lineage that includes Swans (who they are named after) and branches out toward Nine Inch Nails, Devin Townsend, and Fantamos,…

So, that Germany lot. Pretty terrifying, eh? After their 4-0 mauling of Davey’sBoys, it feels like the big names of the World Cup have finally arrived (not like these English and American numpties). Attention thus turns to Italy tonight, and their opening game against South American dark horses Paraguay – and one suspects that Italy may have an axe to grind in this one. After all, we know the Italians love to be stylish and love to be good-looking, so how will they react when they realize that Paraguay’s star centre-forward is not just more dashingly handsome than their entire squad, but probably the whole rest of the World Cup combined?

Admit it – you want his babies.

Admittedly, pug-faced thug Gennaro Gattuso does bring the batting average down considerably for the Italians.

Paraguay’s musical scene, like that of several of the other countries this blog will cover, is shaped by the political upheaval in the country’s recent history. Here, that means flirtations with communism, dictatorship, and most damningly, the artistic oppression the country suffered under Alfredo Stroessner’s reign as President. It was only in 1989 that most popular forms of music were allowed to fully blossom in the nation, having been largely shunned (although not banned) since the start of his reign in 1954. Perhaps that history explains why, despite its sunny climate, metal has thrived in the country over the past two decades. Acts like black metallers Sabaoth, thrashers Raw Hide and Corrosion, and the more traditional…

Deftones - Diamond Eyes album artDeftones have always had a sound that is broader than the metal tag they received thanks to their nu-metal roots and continued grip on the genre. Two genres in particular that have helped their music be both melodic and hypnotic are dream pop and shoegaze. It’s fitting then that M83 would decide to remix Deftones’ first single, “Rocket Skates,” from their new album Diamond Eyes. The remix does a great job of setting Chino’s vocals to buzzy synth lines, but this remix isn’t just a club banger. Somewhere along the way, the song takes off and becomes an intense, electronic march, employing an array of characteristic M83 organ tones and vocal samples. Though a bit ridiculous to be my Track of the Day I figured it’d be a nice way to commemorate the May 4 release of Diamond Eyes.

Deftones – “Rocket Skates (M83 Remix)”

There’s this girl that calls herself vkgoeswild that is doing piano versions of various rock and metal songs and posting them on Youtube. Some of them don’t work as well as others, but this one is very good.

Anacrusis were a technical thrash band that started in the late eighties, but they only made it to the mid-ninties before breaking up. There are many reasons for their eventual demise – fans would say that they were too ahead of their time, but the band would tell you that there was much more to it than that (read their bio). Anyway, it seems to be the trend for old bands to get back together and Anacrusis have gone that route. In late 2009 they announced that their original line-up at reformed and that they were re-recording their first two albums. Listed below are four tracks – the first is the original and the second is the re-recording. The album is set to be released some time in April… until then, enjoy.

Stop Me (1990)

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Stop Me (2010)

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Present Tense (1988)

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