Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Modern vs. Older Material

One thing I've tried to find a regular balance between in my blog is modern metal and material predated it. Presently, I haven't done a very good job of staying true to that, as I've posted far more recent music rather than older landmark releases that we all know and love. In fact, I have a great deal of hidden gems from the older era that I'd like to include in my blog in the future. It's just a matter of which gets posted first.

What I'd like to do with this post is show the parallel between newer and older music. Whichever you favor is up to you, and no one else can make that decision for you because it's a matter of personal taste. However, it would be nice to get the older crowd to appreciate modern bands, instead of the mindset that says no decent music has been released since the mid-nineties. I'm not saying every metalhead is like that, but I've seen a fair number who refuse to listen to anything released after 1995. Alternatively, there's the contemporary metal listener who refuses to listen to the older material that indeed influenced modern day music.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Chthonic Album Takasago Army Streaming


Just as a heads up, Chthonic's new album Takasago Army is available for streaming over on AOL music. I'm new to these Tawainese metallers and am giving it a full listen right now. Should be interesting.

Hear it here. Scroll over on the list to find it.

-TMA


The Few Against Many - Sot (2009)

Flashing back to my freshman year in college, I remember shooting the breeze with a few fraternity brothers with my guitar in hand, and a newly arrived package from Amazon. At that point, I only had one idea on my mind: to put my guitar down (gently, of course), and viciously rip open the package in order to retrieve my copy of Sot, The Few Against Many's debut record.

Saddened by Christian Älvestam's departure from Scar Symmetry, I was hoping the vocal genius would pop up somewhere else and pronto. As I popped the Sot disk out of the case and into my stereo, doubts flew out the window because Christian was in prime form--his growls were and are my favorite in all of metal, a rich, deep, aggressive roar that completely blows away the competition. Sadly, you won't find any of his trademark cleans on this disk because vocals are exclusively guttural.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Few Words About the Obscure Demetori...

Prior to my summer vacation, I was blissfully unaware of the music phenomenon going on in Asian countries, specifically Japan and South Korea. Regardless of language, the bands coming from these nations are addicting and relatively innovative--well, to my ears. While not every single artist I've come across has been strictly metal, I will say the more metallic acts are among the best.

Turning the page leads me to Demetori. You may remember that I blogged about the two-man project when I first discovered them, which left me extremely impressed. Demetori are actually very interesting because they don't write their own music, but instead base their craft off compositions from a Japanese video game series called Touhou. The results are astonishing instrumental metal covers that make me want to spin the music over and over and over.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just What is Metal to the Average Person?

One thing that's recently struck a chord with me is how the general public views metal. Ask any "normal" listener to describe genre, and they'll likely give you a bunch bologna saying it's all noise and screaming.

As such, I find myself wondering where that stereotype originated. Back in the eighties (and, for that matter, the seventies), the most mainstream of mainstream metal had clean vocals or something similar to it. Harsh vocals were, for the most part, something that only appeared with the more extreme thrash metal acts and the death metal bands that started to surface in the mid to late eighties. I've even had people tell me something isn't metal because it has clean vocals. Just when did this nonsense start? Plenty of metal has clean vocals.

Mind you, I'm not throwing a tizzy fit about this, and I don't care what people think of our holy music. But sometimes I feel the need to go out of my way and preach where necessary. The general public views death metal as noise and screaming, but, contrary to the popular belief, there's very little screaming in death metal. Most vocals are done gutturally, or with the diaphragm, creating a vocal technique called "growling." Naturally, there's screaming here and there, but what subgenre of metal doesn't have a bit of screaming? Rob Halford has been at it for 30+ years (even if he can't do it anymore...). Sheesh.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Throwing Together a Playlist...

Hey, metalheads,

I'm currently in the process of throwing together a playlist to jam to as I head back to school for another loooong year. I figure I'll be blogging quite a bit more once I'm at school, so expect the pace to pick up. Unfortunately, preparation has taken up a good portion of my time, so I haven't gotten to blog as much as I would have liked to lately. However, you should expect to see stuff on the playlist that I've discovered this summer, bands like Carpathian Forest, Kvelertak, and the tried and true stuff I've always dabbled around with. Maybe I'll throw various electronic music and electropop into the pot as well... Who knows?

I'll post up the playlist with some commentary in the coming days. Actually, I hope I get a chance to sit down and give it a good "think" tomorrow. For now, I'll toss random songs your way and you can jam out to them.

Carpathian Forest - "The Pale Mist Hovers Toward the Nightly Shores"


Agalloch - "Falling Snow"
(probably the band's most well known song)


Iron Maiden - "Deja Vu"
(Gotta get some Maiden in here)


Communic - "My Bleeding Victim"


Snakebyte - "She's a Witch"


Vader -"Come and See My Sacrifice"
(Track from the upcoming album. Album art looks old school, but very Nazi inspired. Odd because the band isn't Nazi in any way [that I know of].)


That ought to do it.

-TMA

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Track: Man Must Die's "Hiding in the Plain Sight"

I'm a bit late to the party blogging about this because it's been out since the beginning of August, but I can assure you I made it a priority to give it a listen right when the band released it. Really, the dudes in Man Must Die are as strong as ever, though I think the new album will have huge a hurdle to jump to top No Tolerance for Imperfection, which totally fits into my category of most crushing albums of all time. That album is stellar, stellar slab of hardcore-influenced technical death metal and should be on anyone's listening list.

The new track called "Hiding in Plain Sight" looks to continue the typical Man Must Die sound, but it has more melodic hooks ala "Reflections (From Within)." I'm a-okay with that, too, because that track is one of my favorites from the previous album. However, it should be noted that the new track isn't ashamed to be openly political. Normally, I don't care for any type of political lyrics in my metal (and I suppose music in general), but, in this case, I'm willing to make an exception because the track is so good. Man Must Die is just one of those bands that isn't afraid to be blatantly open about their viewpoints. I wouldn't want it any other way because they probably wouldn't be the same band without that characteristic.

If you like the previous record, you're sure to like this track. It's a demo/preproduction, so try to listen without expectations. I'm sure the final product will be even sweeter.

-TMA

Man Must Die - "Hiding in Plain Sight"


Friday, August 12, 2011

Discoveries of the Week Part Nine

To think I almost let Moonshine pass me by... While browsing through a list of countless metal bands, I spotted Moonshine, who really didn't look too much different from anyone else, but I randomly chose them as a candidate for new music. I'm extremely happy I did because they blend melodious black metal and symphonic elements, which makes for an engaging listen.

Hailing from South Korea, the band is an oddity because the primary music scene is composed of pop, electropop, and anything catchy that will get your spirits up and moving. As a general rule of thumb, anything harder is shunned and pushed to the back of society's collective mind. I suppose that isn't any different than metal in the USA, but in South Korea it seems to get even less of a chance to shine, which is a shame, really.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve (2004)

You wanna go into that foggy woodland alone? I didn't think so.
By utilizing an atmospheric production, Genevieve achieves its dark aesthetic with particularly sloppy instrumentation intertwined with hissed vocals. It creates a certain level of dissonance that's as scary as it is addictive, making this the perfect album to play on a dreary, overcast day. It laughs in the face of modern death metal and makes it look tame. It's hideous.

Since I'm stuck at home because I can't find my wallet, it's the perfect time for me to blabber on this infamous Velvet Cacoon album. I say infamous because, from what I can gather, Velvet Cacoon stirred up strong controversy within the metal community. As Genevieve was hitting shelves in 2004, many people criticized the band for being unoriginal and described them as hoax because a number of their releases were apparently stolen from another band or didn't exist. On top of that, the two-man project's history is probably fake and, if real, extremely fishy.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Discoveries of the Week Part Eight

I typically do this write-up every Friday, but I decided to postpone it in favor of an album that was supposed to arrive, hoping it would be prime material for this post. Luckily for me, my order got canceled TODAY five or six days after I placed it. Grand. In addition to that, I had another album coming that I would have liked to include, but the seller sent me a DVD by mistake. He did, however, take all responsibility and refunded my money. Seems there are still decent people in this world after all.

Unfortunate series of events aside, I have come across quite a few interesting bands lately, mostly due to the help of Last.fm. I am extremely well-versed in just about every metal subgenre, but I will totally admit to being somewhat lacking in the area of black metal. I've certainly been exposed to it throughout the years from a high school friend and by the handful of bands that I like, but there are countless groups in the subgenre that oddly were off my radar.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Random Rant: The "Big Four"

Ever thought about the term "big four" which is supposed to encompass the American thrash bands Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer? No? Okay. Let me break it down for you and give you my thoughts on the label.

I don't know where or why the the term originated (Did it happen after the eighties?), but I think it's quite (for lack of a better word) stupid. It feels as if an unknown at an incompetent magazine coined the label and it caught on with both metalheads and the mainstream. If I could, I'd throw it out a proverbial window. When you think about it, all four bands have absolutely had influential music and at least a couple albums that have been incredible, but at some point they fell into a state of stagnancy and decline. If I were to coin the term, I would include consistently quality bands under the label, even thrashers that aren't American.

Don't get me wrong; all four of these bands have a string of albums I really love, but they all have a number of stains in their discography that I just can't ignore. Slayer after 1996's Undisputed Attitude can be put under a car and ran over multiple times. Mustaine has recently redeemed Megadeth with Endgame, so I suppose I can cut the band some slack, but stuff like the oddball Risk and god awful United Abominations (among others) I can't ignore. Metallica, well, I don't like anything after Master of Puppets. Anthrax? A total joke after 1990.

Personal thoughts are welcome and, please, don't be afraid to challenge me. This a completely open can of worms straight from the head of Mr. Cynical a.k.a. The Metal Advisor.

-TMA

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rant: Queensrÿche - Dedicated to Chaos

How did Queensrÿche replay their new "masterpiece" and believe it was fit for public consumption? I didn't think the band could get any worse after their last record, but they've done the seemingly impossible. I've just finished listening to the group's newest album, Dedicated to Chaos, and it effectively seals the deal that the band have slid into an even deeper hole they are never going to be able climb out of. The record has absolutely no drive; it sounds tired with a complete lack of inspiration and, truth be told, there are some really odd influences floating around that just aren't typical Queensrÿche.

True, the band hasn't been "typical" for a very, very long time. They've been in a downward spiral for nearly 20 years. It's a darn shame because at one point they were metal innovators in the concept album realm, crafting one of the finest ever: Operation: Mindrime. I can't even say the band is parodying their former selves, either. This is that bad. The good name they built their golden age material on is soiled to the point of no return. Clearly they need to hang it up or get Chris DeGarmo rejoin, but I'm doubtful anything good would come out of his return.

-TMA