The ranting of a couple of metal heads

Band profiles

New tunes for you: Oathbreaker want to tell you about their “Origin.”

You’ll have to forgive me, because I really don’t remember where I heard about Oathbreaker. That said, this band is awesome! I love the punk vibe, the metal intensity and the just sheer love of being aggressive in the music. I don’t think they are breaking any new ground, but this young band of Belgians has the chops to pull off some seriously fine, crunchy, dirty punk-metal. And yes, I would call it punk-metal and not metalcore/hardcore/herpaderpaderp. So, watch the video for the track “Origin” off their 2011 Deathwish released album Malestrom and bang your head.

-Dan


Volture go old school with “Rulebreaker” video.

I hadn’t heard of this band Volture before, and I’m guessing from their facebook page that the Richmond, Virginia quintet is unsinged. So, when this video came across our email this morning, I figured I’d give it a look. It’s definitely low budget, but it’s not that bad! Plus the song is kind of fun. I’m not sure how I feel about the vocals, but they fit the music. So, for those of you who want some old school metal in your morning, take a gander below. This kind of stuff just makes me smile for all sorts of reasons!

The band are releasing the song along with another one here, so if you like this song and want to float them two bucks, go for it!.

-Dan


Dead and Divine; one of those “lost in the shuffle” bands.

Canadian hardcore/metalcore group Dead and Divine came across my musical view sometime during the World Series this past year. I’m blanking on how I heard about them, but I found myself really enjoying their music. Then I forgot about them and only remembered now as I’m going through the releases of the past year. This doesn’t mean it wasn’t memorable, but I do think they suffer from the undeservedly forgotten band syndrome. The band released an album this past year called Antimacy, and it’s a really good representation of how to do the “good cop/bad cop metalcore vocal” thing without being formulaic. In fact, I will argue that the band are more of a traditional hardcore band with a modern, melodic spin, than what usually comes into people’s minds when you say, “metalcore.”

And on that note, you can check out one of the better songs from Antimacy below, in video form. Not the greatest “live” video ever, but the song rips and it’s readily watchable. You can find out some more about the band and Antimacy, by visiting their blog.

-Dan


Author & Punisher; the drone you need.

I’ve never been able to get totally into drone as a style. I enjoy it to an extent, but it needs to be loud and unhinged for me to get into it and usually, I can’t crank it to those levels (gotta love apartment living). So, the other day a friend of mine (who works for the awesome FiXT Store) sent me this link to this artist who was featured in the recent issue of Wired, called Author & Punisher. Apparently, Tristan Shone designs all his own music instruments and machines. This in and of itself is insane and he certainly puts it to better use than other bands who tried this same thing. *cough*Motograter*cough* While I couldn’t expressly describe his music as “metal” in the sense we normally talk about metal on this blog, it “feels” like metal, in all it’s glorious, demented and ear shattering forms. One thing is for sure, current purveyors of “brutal” and “heavy” don’t know their shit after you give this a listen.

Here’s a decently filmed video of the man in action. Sound is a little muddied (too close for comfort), but it shows you what this dude does live. Go like on facebook. Now!

-Dan


Vektor renew my faith in the future of thrash!

Tempe, Arizona’s Vektor have been around for awhile and their 2009 full length, Black Future has received tons of positive promotion on the internet. It’s all been well deserved, I might add. I just happened to come across a passing reference to the band while looking at an article about a re-thrash (trash) band that I am not an admitted fan of. I decided to go do a quick youtube search (since that is my radio these days) to see if anyone had posted the band’s songs. Well, they had and what I found was awesome! These guys really take the whole blackened thrash thing to its extreme. Throw in a hefty amount of prog and some really, really awesome musicianship and you’ve got a recipe for “holy shit, this is awesome!” The best way to get to know the band is through the tunes, so without further adieu, here are “Deoxyribonucleic Acid” and “Accelerating Universe” off the aforementioned Black Future.

Wikipedia tells me the band are releasing a new album in October of this year. Here’s to anxiously awaiting official confirmation!

-Dan


As They Sleep stream full album

I found out about Detroit metallers As They Sleep a couple weeks ago, and while my initial impression was “interesting, but nothing new” the band have stuck in my head. So, when I found out that they were streaming their just released today Solid State debut, I felt compelled to give it a listen. That listen, my friends, is a really, really enjoyable one too! As They Sleep could definitely be lumped in with the Black Dahlia Murders and Darkest Hours of the world. It’s American grown, Swede loving melo-death and while this might not sound like anything worth checking out (it’s become a pretty saturated niche), these guys have something else going for them. I don’t want to be reductive, but without giving the album a few spins, I’ll have to; these guys write songs, and there’s a definite hook to them and that could be the defining factor.

You can go check out the album here, and if you feel so inclined you can purchase it here. And, if you need a brief introduction, here is the song “Oracle of the Dead” off of the aforementioned debut, Dynasty.

-Dan


The Browning. That is an actual band name.

I’m not sure if this is a joke or not, though I’m honestly not sure if I care. Regardless, this quite simply the lamest band name and band I’ve heard in recent memory. Do you like generic electronica? Do you enjoy monotonous breakdowns? Want the band’s name to remind of what your underwear looks like after you eat Taco Bell two meals in a row? Well, have I got a band for you! Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some pencils I need to jam in my ears.

P.S. Earache signed these guys. Yep.

P.P.S If you want to hear a band that makes, interesting and unique electronic metal, just go listen to Kekal. You’ll be way better off.

-Dan


Happy Friday, here’s a band you may not have heard of.

About a year ago I downloaded this massive sampler called Mecha Organa and listened to it a few times, then never came back to it. It is largely tech-death/mathcore styled bands, something I am a fan of but need to be in the mood for. Well, I was in that sort of mood this morning and decided that instead of spinning Origin for the umpteenth time, I’d go back to this here compilation. It was all going very swimmingly, in that upstream, chaotic sort of way, when this band called Chon comes on.

Instead of fancying themselves purveyors of chaos and agonized discord, the band reigned it in and gave a healthy dose of melody to my ears. As the curious person I am, I did a quick google for their name and came across their myspace (remember that site? Yeah, me either). After giving their tunes a good listen this morning, I must say I am thoroughly impressed. They have a Scale the Summit-ish vibe, though slightly more metal and slightly more progressive (if you can be such a thing). It’s really good stuff and totally not what I was wanting to listen to this morning, but hey, I’ll take the surprise enjoyment.

You can go check them out here or listen to the song below (or do both). If you live in the San Diego, CA region, I expect you to go check them out live. I certainly would.

-Dan


Standing on my soapbox for Sylosis.

There are plenty of bands out there that don’t seem to get the attention they deserve, and near the top of my list is Sylosis. The U.K. thrash outfit released  their full-length debut album in 2008. Conclusion of an Age was an amazing peice of aggressive thrash metal; chalked full of melodic, classical and progressive tendencies. While dozens of bands mimic this style, Sylosis execute it with precision and a punch that rises above their counterparts.

Earlier this year, the band parted ways with lead singer Jamie Graham, and began recording their new album. Lead guitarist Josh Middleton has taken over vocal duties, and you can view an studio update from earlier this year HERE. The band hasn’t released an official update for awhile now, but it’s safe to say the recording is probably done, and the new album is expected out earlier next year. The band played select European festivals this summer and debuted two new songs which can be viewed below. Needless to say, I’m excited for this one to come out.

-Chris


Have Chimaira created “The Lord of the Rings” of band DVDs???

Chimaira’s latest DVD Coming Alive hit stores today, and should be bought by every one of you! Guitarist Rob Arnold was a pretty convincing salesman Sunday at the Mayhem Festival and along with the rest of the band seemed very proud and excited for the DVD, and they should be. Coming Alive showcases just about every aspect of the band and individuals involved with the band that you can imagine. From the writing and recording of The Infection, to the release day, to touring, and everywhere else in between, Chimaira leave no stone unturned.

Producer Todd Bell, who also produced their other amazing DVD The Dehumanizing Process, has further crafted his skills, combining eerie cityscapes, travel footage, and time-lapse footage along with the bands music to create an engaging documentary, that stays interesting while clocking in at nearly three hours. The documentary is split into four parts. The first portion focuses on the recording process of The Infection and provides detailed looks at each member’s contributions to the album. The second portion follows the band to Dubai as they play there for the first time; while the other two portions follow the band’s participation on the Music as a Weapon Tour, and their most recent trek through Europe. From the road crew, guitar techs, and even the merch guy; to the bands encounters with fans and all the hi-jinks along the way, Coming Alive has it all. For the die-hard Chimaira fan, there isn’t much more you can ask for. While the documentary could stand alone as its own release, the band also includes a DVD containing their Chimaira Christmas 10th anniversary concert in Cleveland Ohio. With a set list spanning all of their albums, and 13 cameras to capture all the action, the live DVD also contains numerous special features and bonus footage. And if that isn’t enough Chimaira for you, the package also includes a live CD of the hometown show.

Coming Alive is as good as it gets for a metal DVD. The members combined every aspect of their lives in the band, and lay it out there for everyone to see. While some bands release live DVD’s with some funny drunken outtakes, Chimaira seem to put a lot more effort into this, crafting a DVD that will be hard for ANY band to top anytime soon. I also now know the difference between “Snacky Place” and “Snacky World”. Thank you Chimaira, Thank you.

For a limited time, you can listen the entire DVD audio of the concert HERE. Remember to check them out at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this summer!

-Chris


Judgement Day; the best non-metal, metal band you’ve ever heard!

I promised posts galore on the site today, but for the two of you who read our twitter… well, I went for a two and half hour bike ride today instead. Anyway…

I stumbled across this band a couple weeks ago called Judgement Day, based out of Oakland, CA (you know, the Bay Area, home to thrash). They are a metal band that plays with a violin, cello and drum set. That’s it. No vocals, no distortion, no guitar, none of that stuff! And it’s flat out AWESOME! So, without further adieu…

Check them out here!

-Dan


MTV Shows Something Metal-Related. Wait, What!?

And NO, it had nothing to do with Paul Gray.

For me, my glory days with MTV were the early and mid 90′s. I remember watching Beavis and Butthead at friend’s houses and remembered actually watching music videos…good music videos. Somewhere along the line, there was The Real World. Then came The Real World in an RV. Then it was a show where the Real World people fought against the Real World RV people somewhere in the real world. Before I knew it, videos were only shown on MTV2. Pretty soon MTV2 became inundated with the same crap and music videos went to MTV3. Since I don’t have the money (or the need to, thanks to the internet!) I don’t  watch MTV much. As I was flippin through the channels tonight I came upon three dudes in Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Suicide Silence shirts on the screen. I was suprised to find that I stopped on MTV.

The show True Life, aired an episode entitled  Resist The Power! Saudi Arabia featuring a few separate stories, but most notably (for me anyway) the story of the band Breeze Of The Dying. The story was similar to that of Acrassicauda, the band in Heavy Metal in Baghdhad, basically about a band trying to exist in a Muslim country and the struggles they have between practicing,  trying to play shows, and existing in a culture that isn’t understood in their country.

The show filmed the band crossing into another country to play in a battle of the bands, which garnered the attention of the local government who saw the various shirts (particularly a Lamb of God shirt) on the kids and declared it a satanic event. After many kids turned their shirts inside out, they governement officials still weren’t satisfied and shut-down the event.

As lame as it sounds, it was just another reminder of how lucky we are. I can’t imagine going to a show and having some dudes walk in and say it’s over before it begins. These bands struggle to find a place to play shows and shelled out money to play in another country and got denied. Hell, half the bands I see playing local shows around town can barely play their instruments and still manage to get on the bill, while you have some pretty talented dudes trying to escape their home country to play a show.

Anyway, the end of the show said the band thought the name “Breeze Of The Dying” was cursed and changed it to “The Sylla Empire”, I can’t find much on the new name, but you can check out Breeze Of The Dying HERE or watch the episode HERE.

-Chris


Clutch will rock, if you wanna roll.

I remember seeing Clutch back during the inaugural Sounds of the Underground Tour. In a lineup featuring Lamb of God, Opeth, Chimaira, and Strapping Young Lad, Clutch really stood out. I’ll be honest, at that moment in my musical life, I wasn’t impressed. After all, they didn’t “scream”, they didn’t have “breakdowns”, and they just weren’t “heavy” enough for my liking. With a couple of more years of musical maturity under my belt, I find myself beginning a love affair with Clutch, and feel foolish for not already having one.
So the band aren’t your typical “metal” act, but with a gritty, blues-injected rock sound, and a dose of witty, lyrical wisdom, they’ll give many bands a run for their money. Clutch came through town two weeks ago (shame on me for waiting so long to write about them), leaving behind mess of happy drunks, ready to rage in Fort Collins, Colorado. In a headlining spot, most bands seem to play about an hour-and-a-half at most. While some bands will exceed these expectations, I was pretty pumped when over an hour into the set, frontman Neil Fallon proclaimed, “We’re not even half-way done with you yet!”. The band went on to play nearly two-and-a-half hours, and although they aren’t the heaviest band around, they put on one of the better live shows I’ve seen in quite a while.
The band will begin the second-leg of their U.S. tour in June before heading to Europe in July. Clutch also have a DVD “Live at the 9:30″ due out next month. The double-disc DVD will feature a full-length concert, and a documentary following the bands 20-year career.

-Chris


Band profiles; King’s X, Please Come Home Mr. Bulbous

The blog has been pretty vacant the past few weeks. This is due to a few reasons; 1) Chris and I’s jobs suck the life out of us and we both had very hectic weeks a few weeks ago (and in Chris’ case, currently). 2) I was gone the past few days on tour. Yea, I play in a band. No, I’m not going to link to it either. I swore I wouldn’t be that much of a shameless promotion whore that I’d talk about my own band on my blog. Consider this the first and only mention of such a thing.

Now that we’ve got that over with, I intend to continue my promise from the first of the year about bringing new content here. I actually just came up with this idea to be honest, sitting here listening to one of my favorite albums; King’s X Please Come Home Mr. Bulbous. This is quite simply one of my favorite metal albums that may not sound too metal.

“Mr. Bulbous,” as it’s often shortened to in the King’s X fan community, is the 8th studio release from the band, coming out in 2000. Being a good ten years old now, it’s safe to analyze the album from the stand point of it’s place in the music world, the band’s career, and it’s utter awesomeness. A brief history regarding the state of the band before this album’s release is necessary to fully understand it, so we will start there. Up until 1998, King’s X were signed to Atlantic Records. As the label did little to push the band into the limelight where so many screamed they should be, the band and the label ambically parted ways. King’s X went on to sign a multi album deal with Metal Blade records, who at the time were not quite as storied as they are now. Remember, this is before As I Lay Dying gave the label a much needed shot in the arm, financially speaking. On a smaller label, King’s X were in the perfect position to do what they wanted to, and after a sub par debut for Metal Blade, the band fired back in 2000 with Please Come Home Mr. Bulbous.

Arguably one of the heavier offerings the band did, something which was intentional, Mr. Bulbous introduced the music world to the darker side of King’s X. The band, down on their luck from being dropped, from having a significant portion of their fan base turn their backs on account of bassist/vocalist Doug Pinnick’s coming out, and a myriad of personal issues, Mr. Bulbous is an intimate look into the bands state of mind. From the opening strum of the guitar cords to “Fish Bowl Man,” the mosh worthy chorus of “Julia” and the outright weirdness of “Smudge,” King’s X were loudly stating their frustrations. There were still many of the bluesy, groove elements of the band’s sound, as evidenced by “She’s Gone Away” and “Marshmellow Field,” but it all was held together by the dark, sludgy feel of the music. No doubt the band’s experiment with A tuning helped in this, creating a deep, massive feel to the music. Many a deathcore band could take a few lessons from King’s X in how to utilize this seemingly unusable tuning. The melancholy lyrics are the final quality, cementing the dark nature of the album.

On first listen, the album may not sound too “metal.” It’s not thrashy, no tremolo picking, no double bass, etc. However, it sits nicely alongside the Black Sabbath’s of the world; being metal by the feelings and emotions it evokes, instead relying on stock techniques and standard ideas. In a lot of ways, the album is a reaction to the state of music at the time. Nu metal was reigning king in the heavy circuit, and the smart technicality of Mr. Bulbous stands in contrast. The aforementioned tone is the ultimate middle finger to the rise of watered down pop punk that was still the twinkle in every 14 year old’s eye.

The first King’s X concert I went to was for the touring cycle of this album. I was ecstatic to finally get a glimpse of my favorite band. Unfortunately, the band’s personal issues spilled over into the live setting. You could feel the tension from the stage, and throwing in a horrendous sound guy in a shitty venue, you have the natural reaction of Doug Pinnick throwing his bass on the stage at the end of the set. Thankfully, the band has persevered and seem much more positive and happy these days. Mr. Bulbous though still remains as a testament to the band; it’s heavy. Oppressively heavy at times. It’s dark, even in the “happy” parts. It’s monstrous and subdued, with a keen technical knack that is neither show off-y nor demeaning in it’s understated nature. If you need a break from the blast beats and pig squeals, from the myriad of metalcore copycats, are bored by re-thrash,or simply need a soundtrack to those lonely nights, Please Come Mr. Bulbous is here to act as your companion. Enjoy.

King’s X- Julia live.

-Dan


Kekal, the first band I ever heard about from Jakarta, Indonesia.

*I would like make a quick note. I wrote this article out about two weeks ago. On January 13th, it was announced that Kekal are planning a new album for a 2010 release. More info on the official website (whose link is at the end of the article). -Dan

Kekal; Jeff Arwadi (guitars, vocals, drums/programming), Azhar Levi Sianturi (bass/vocals), Leo Setiawan (guitar/vocals)

I’ve wanted to write up something about this band for sometime now, but honestly just haven’t gotten around to it. With a new year though, Chris and I want to expand upon what we cover on this blog and to get things going, I’d like to introduce you all to one of the more forward thinking metal bands to have come out in the last fifteen years, Kekal.

The band got together around 1995 as a more straightforward black metal band. Their debut album Beyond the Glimpse of Dreams (1998) and follow up album Embrace the Dead (1999) were both chock full of the kind of thrashy, epic black metal that would become characteristic of the scene in a few years. However, it was with their third and fourth albums that I became exposed to Kekal. I read about the band in HM magazine around 2001, and at the time the idea of a progressive black metal band that used a drum machine instead of a drummer was odd to me. It was a little offsetting, but the sample I heard from The Painful Experience, intrigued me. Still, I wouldn’t fully get into the band until almost five years later, when I discovered 1000 Thoughts of Violence (2003) and eagerly ordered The Habit of Fire (2007) on prerelease.

Sometime around July of last year all the band members left but they somehow legally made it so Kekal existed as a band with no active members. So, technically, Kekal are still around just not in a writing/touring/playing capacity. I imagine this is more for the former members benefit as far as exposure/royalties (if any)/legal issues, etc. Plus with two of the three members in Indonesia and one in Canada, well that’s just a lot of earth to cross for practice.

So, while I’ve given you a truncated version of the bands history and my exposure to them, I’m sure what you all really care about is the music. So, without further blather from me, here’s a few videos the band did as a sample to their music. I hope you enjoy and that this quirky little avant-garde/post-black metal band effect you in the same way they did me. Some of the most interesting and downright good music I’ve ever heard!

“Isolated I” video (from 2007′s The Habit of Fire)

“A Dream for A Moment” video (from 2005′s Acidity)

“Narrow Avenue” video (from 2008′s Audible Minority)

“Embrace the Dead” live (Sweden, 2004)

Kekal’s official website

-Dan


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