Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Album: Besvärtade Strofer
Genre: Black Metal, Rock
The music is rather atmospheric in a black metal sense, but it doesn't really utilize black metal guitar riffs. In that way it is very similar to the Dornenreich album I posted a while back. It is elegant, beautiful and mystical. The band members seem to also be in Armagedda, though I don't hear too much similarity myself, and I personally enjoyed this quite a bit more than the Armagedda album I have.
Album: The Illusion of Motion
Genre: Doom Metal / Sludge
Though I think The Unreal Never Lived is YOB's finest album, this is another wonderful release from the Oregon based doom metal / sludge band. YOB sadly broke up in 2006, but the guitarist/singer started a new band named Middian (unless the bullshit lawsuit by Midian forces a name change), which is supposedly much more rock oriented. The music on this album is crushingly heavy and is made up of 4 very long songs, but it doesn't really ever get bogged down in mundaneness or repetition, the flaw of many similarly styled bands. The growls and the clean-ish vocals complement each-other nicely.
UPDATE: yAy! YOB is back! party time!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Album: Damnation of Regiomontum
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
The word 'epic' gets thrown around way too much when it comes to metal music. But if I was ever going to use it to describe black metal, it would be for the first track of this album, "From Nameless Oracle". The song is 13 minutes of feeling like you're taking part in some ancient mythology. The drums are programmed on this album, not the real deal, but they are programmed rather well and it never feels out of place with the music.
Artist: Keny Arkana
Album: Entre Ciment et Belle Étoile
Keny Arkana is a revolutionary hip-hop artist of Argentinian heritage, living in Marseille. This album title translates to something like "Between Concrete and Beautiful Stars". She is a very political artist, being a part of the alter-globalization movement. This album includes La Rage du Peuple, which I suppose is her hit single. I don't know a lot about hip-hop music, but I know that from the perspective of a rock fan, this is what I think hip-hop should be. She is clearly very angry and passionate about her lyrics, without being the kind of gangsta-rap some people might be expecting.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Genre: Black Metal, Rock
I have seen a few mediocre reviews for this album, but I greatly enjoy it so I will try to give you a more positive idea of the record. The guitar is usually rather soft and the riffs are not the typical harsh black metal deal, the drums are not exactly thundering, and the vocals are pretty much a whisper through most of the album. But at the transition from the introduction into the second track the music makes a dramatic increase in intensity, and it will have you banging your head almost in spite of yourself. Although I would still consider it a black metal album, Hexenwind is kind of like blackened rock music, similar to Lik or Spear of Longinus or, to a lesser extent, Dimmu Borgir's Stormblast.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Artist: Planet Smashers
The Planet Smashers deliver upbeat ska with the best of 'em. This delightful album highlights the horn section and will have you tapping your feet. Each song has its own vibe, though the album is unmistakably the Planet Smashers throughout.
NOTE: Sorry to everyone who took it while it was missing track 1. It's fixed now!
Album: Sketches of Reality
Genre: Black Metal
I first looked into this because I'm a dork and I liked the name, but this ended up being the best new album I heard last year. The atmosphere crafted throughout this record is bleak and touchingly beautiful. The guitar riffs are blended perfectly with organ and piano parts that are both haunting and sinister. Far from any suicidal feelings, this music enhances the beauty of life.
Artist: Behind Enemy Lines
Album: The Global Cannibal
Genre: Crust Punk
Behind Enemy Lines is the new heavier, more metal-ish incarnation of Aus Rotten. The band maintains the same political fury while up-ing the musical intensity. This album flows from one song into another in a way that very few other punk albums have achieved, and in that sense this record feels timeless. On the other hand, Behind Enemy Lines is particularly relevant for delivering hard-hitting, intelligent commentary on current issues in the US and throughout the world, from the occupation of Iraq to the development of new "nonlethal" crowd control by the US military. While the lyrics aren't anything particularly unexpected for someone familiar with left-wing politics, I find the message to be more poignant and intellectual than the great majority of political music.
Album: The Gathering Wilderness
Genre: Dark Metal
This album is a masterpiece. Primordial has many great releases, but this is the zenith.
I think I can safely say I have heard a lot of sad and depressive music before, but this is the only album I can truly describe as "sorrowful". There are very few pieces of music that have this kind of emotional impact on me. But although it is the height of mournful music, it would be incorrect to say that the emotions I experience are negative. Music is often the most sad when it is accompanied by the most beautiful and haunting melodies. The vocals are anguished without being unpleasant, and the guitar riffs are epic without any hint of being overly drawn-out.