Thursday, May 31, 2012

Band Profile: Fierce Band!

Fierce Band!'s material has escaped review for too long, not because I was avoiding their work, but because I didn't know how to approach it. They combine the best elements of progressive, death, and heavy metal, making their sound quite varied, albeit with a few outright surprises. Their instrumental skill is awe-inspiring, making me I wonder if I should give up playing my own guitar. But the thing is, I still don't know what's coming through my speakers because Fierce Band! are familiar, yet unlike anything I've ever heard before. Maybe it's the production, maybe it's the way their music is arranged, or maybe it's a sort of weird aura. Whatever it is, I'm digging it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Have I Been Up to Lately? Recap Comin' at Cha

Although my postings (as of late) are sporadic, I've been listening to a boatload of tunes; on-the-go or at home. My music listening habits rarely change, but the time on hand to talk about them often does. I've been trying as hard as I can to break the funk I've had of being away from discussing music with everyone, but rest assured that even though posting has become less common, I'm trying to fix the situation.

So, what has been coming through the musical cross roads lately? Well, a lot of different things. About a million albums are planned for review--both requests and personal favorites (or even oven fodder)--and I'll get around to them eventually. But for now, I'm hoping I can introduce some new bands or at the very least get you interested in groups you've been meaning to give a look.

The first, Varathron, are an obscure Greek black metal outfit from the subgenre's earliest days. Formed in 1989, Varathron are certainly veterans at this point, although I'm not sure why they're not talked about more. As a friend put it, the band emits a very heavy metal-oriented black metal sound, so Iron Maiden fans and the like are destined to at least enjoy their first album, His Majesty at the Swamp. I'm hoping the rest of the group's releases fall in line with the same sound, but, for now, I'm loving their debut full-length because of its experimentation with heavy metal.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chton/Cleaver - Screaming for Death (2012)

Ever since I interviewed Norwegian black-thrashers Cleaver, their upcoming split with Chton became all the more appealing to me, not only because they're a great group of guys, but because the dedication and feeling they put into their music. Take for example their debut record. The damn thing has been recorded for at least two years, but the band have been struggling to find a suitable record company to unleash its contents. Sadly, that's an all too common occurrence today, as labels are succumbing to lack of business or favoring mainstream accessibility. In an effort to combat the madness, Cleaver teamed up with fellow band, Chton, which houses members of Cleaver (and vice-versa), for a collaboration that only can be described as a primitive, down to the bone rocking. The result is one new track from each group that will crack your skull. Let's take a gander at what's ahead.

Aptly titled Screaming for Death, Chton and Cleaver's partnership feels familiar as a romp through the better parts of black and death metal. The split, only released digitally, is available through just about every outlet imaginable, but I find myself wanting a tangible copy simply because these two bands are so engaging in their respective styles of music. Luckily, both groups promise something collectors and listeners alike will be able to get their hands on in the coming months. And trust me, material from each band is absolutely essential to a growing underground metal collection.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Metal Advisor Interviews Matt of Satyros

  
Please give a little bit of background information about Satyros.

Matt - Satyros is a postmodern black metal band from Germany, which has released two full-length albums and a promotional EP since creation in 2005. The line-up consists of Andreas (guitars, bass, and programming), André (guitars, backing vocals) and Matthias (lead and backing vocals).

How did the band form?

Matt - Satyros was formed in 2005 by the same three guys who still constitute today’s line-up. We were attending a metal festival in summer, as the idea of having a band spontaneously took shape. We wanted to create a homage and tribute to a genre of music which is still important and influential to us: black metal. This approach was mainly seen in the release of our debut album in 2007. Later on, the band longed for exploring the wider fields of extreme metal and thus started to incorporate further elements into their sound.

  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mötley Crüe - Shout at the Devil (1983)

You know what? For now, I'm saying to hell with all recent music and stepping back into the eighties, which is hands down my favorite era for metal and hard rock. Metal was just shedding the newbie status it worked so hard to escape throughout the seventies, and the genre began to split off into numerous subcultures now outlined as thrash, speed, and power (among others). Even the underpinnings of death metal surfaced, though they would not fully emerge until the mid and later parts of the decade. Mötley Crüe found themselves right smack dab in the middle of the mess, releasing their first record entitled Too Fast for Love in 1981, followed by the ever classic Shout at the Devil in 1983. The band arguably jump started the entire glam metal fad, although I'm a firm believer that the subgenre is a random mishmash tag based on appearance, rather than a legitimate style of music. But I digress.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wolf Spider - Wilczy Pająk (1987)

Poland isn't a country normally associated with metal, but, in reality, a number of bands call the nation home, one of them being Wolf Spider (Wilczy Pająk in the Polish). The group's debut record, Wilczy Pająk, sounds extremely dated by today's standards and absolutely should, considering it was recorded under Soviet occupation, but the music is as aggressive anything else, ripping along at breakneck speeds. Most of the tracks fall in line with a faster, more intricate version of Iron Maiden and perhaps a few USPM bands. "Dziewczyna Na Sprzedaż," for example, contrasts "Nocny Strach," the former a heavy rocker and the latter a speed metal piece.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Metal Advisor Interviews Jack Russell


As I walked with Jack to a quieter place to talk with him, I asked for his thoughts on the modern day music industry, to which he happily obliged. After that, we caught up with the latest in his band's camp and his life. Needless to say, I'm excited for some new music and for everyone to experience his revitalized and energetic performance in concert.

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Jack on the modern day music industry:

Jack - I’m certainly glad I’m not coming up right now. I’d almost be like, "fuck it, get a job!" You know? I don’t even see how new bands even do it. You’re never going to see bands selling millions of records anymore. You’re never going to see new bands playing arenas. Those days are long over, unfortunately. I’m just glad we caught it before it died.

What bands or individuals influenced you most?

Jack - Oh god, let’s see. I mean, my first experience with music, the thing that really made really want to become rockstar was The Beatles Help! album. It was the first thing I heard, and I was like, "Oh my god! This is what I gotta do." Before that I wanted to be an archeologist. Now I’m a freakin’ dinosaur.

That was the first thing. Then it was the Beach Boys, and after that I got into Alice Cooper. He was a huge influence. I just loved his whole deal. Aerosmith, Zeppelin, Deep Purple—all that bands from the ‘70s that were kinda blues-based bands. Everything I’ve ever listened to has in some way influenced my music.

What about life experiences?

Jack - As far as my writing goes?

Sure!

Jack  - Well, yeah, that’s what I generally write about, things that I’ve been through, see, and done. I don’t really write about fantasy. My life is too fuckin’ interesting. I don’t need to write about something I don’t know about! There is so much going on with me. Every record I’ve every written, every lyric I’ve ever done, every album is basically a snapshot of what I’ve been going through at that particular point in my life. You could pick any album and really look at the lyrical content and figure out where I was at emotionally and spiritually at that time. I just write about me!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Haemic - Fields of Sanguine (2012)

What sets Haemic apart from the rest of the black metal pack is not their sound, but their founding story. Crazy as it might seem, the members have never met, yet alone stepped into the same room to practice or plan their material. The quartet recorded Fields of Sanguine across the globe, collaborating only through cyberspace--normally, bands like this are like a needle in a haystack and beyond any type of success because their hopes and dreams fall apart. But as a group of young, aspiring musicians, Haemic attempt to battle that stereotype and succeeds.

Black metal, shclmack metal--low-fi production values and recording quality is pushed to the curb, favoring a meatier, thicker sound usually found in polished productions. Atypical for traditional black metal and characteristic of the symphonic variety, Haemic utilize a respectable mixing and mastering on their debut with little to no budget in hand, but the job isn't perfect because the drum machine sounds inorganic. In spite of that, the overall production puts the band on the world map as a serious force to be reckoned with, and certainly one of the few from Taiwan (Haemic is based in the country) that have the guts to step out of the nation's borders.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jagged Surge - Demo Surge Bruiser (2012)

Jagged Surge hail from India with a theoretically enticing blend of hard rock and metal that harkens back to the eighties. The band borrow heavily from their idols, mixing bluesy passages with harder hitting sections, which remind of something not so far removed from Tesla meets Megadeth. Interestingly enough, the only track that sounds like it has a real drummer is "Hell Hound" that, in comparison to the others, seems crisper and more alive. The remaining songs sound rather sterile and amateurish, in comparison, lacking the power needed to propel the band past their local status.

The majority of the Demo Surge Bruiser attempts a testosterone-filled run through World War II. Taking a closer look at the cover reveals the band's obsession with war-themed pieces, which is rather cliché for a metal band itself, but refreshing for group from India to pick as subject matter. A proper mixing and mastering would benefit the band greatly because their music lacks oomph, sounding terribly messy and unclean; that, along with improved musicianship, are the band's biggest problems, but it isn't enough to justify avoiding this demo because "Hell Hound" is a gem.

Luckily, the band appears to have a very solid fanbase at home, and as long as they can tighten up their playing a little bit, we may have a winner on our hands. The recent line-up changes may prove to be beneficial for Jagged Surge, so listeners can surely remain on the edges of their seats as to how the band might progress. But, for now, all fans can do is sit and wait.

The Verdict: Recommended only if you want to dig into the depths of the Indian metal scene.

-TMA