Wednesday, December 07, 2011


8. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
As with Chemistry of Common Life, I still don’t really know how to describe this band. You know what they do, you understand the sound and the elements used to create that sound, but how it all comes together seems foreign. The thought of three guitars playing different things simultaneously not only goes against my own logic; it actually goes against whatshould work. But they make it work, really well.
If you were so inclined, start this thing from the beginning and get on a bike at night with headphones on. It might help you appreciate what I mean. This stuff is harsh, densely layered, yet so uplifting it can propel you.
Cuts like “Running on Empty” are massive. Like, Bon Jovi massive. And I mean that in a good way.

7. Obscura – Omnivium
It seems almost default for a noodly band from Germany to make my annual year-ender. Upon inspection, a noodly German band didn’t make my list last year. Going forward, I promise to have a noodly band from Germany on my year-end lists, and if Obscura is to release a new record in 2012, I’m sure adding a record by noodly Germans won’t be a problem (baboom. Music writing 101, people.)
Omnivium is as entertaining as it is accomplished, and watching them play this stuff live with grinning ease reinforced my opinion (the fans ((like, the spinning electrical ones, not humans)) gloriously blowing the hair of both guitarists, and what looked like Chesney from Coronation Street on drums also helped.)

6. Mastodon – The Hunter
Mastodon’s strength always was, to me, its ability to build and stack snakey, rigid riffs to a peak, then break the tension with a loose, driving groove. When working my way throughThe Hunter, and realizing none of that previous formula was there, I was bummed with a capital :(  , yet despite my initial reaction I was continually drawn to the record.
Seeing the band live brought sense, though, to The Hunter. After having spent years becoming increasingly complex both musically and conceptually, the band broke its own tension by stripping back and composing catchy, traditional “songs”. And wedging those catchy songs, and their massive sing-along-ready choruses, between the older, more complicated work, it all worked really well.
A band has to live with its music far more than the listener by playing it everyday, and these guys looked like they were having fun, which makes a big difference. The Hunter is a change, but it’s good, and still distinctly Mastodon.

5. Trash Talk – Awake EP
This thing is a 5 song, 7 minute and 19 second firesale of punk and hardcore. Its song titles might as well be “Ready?”, “You Sure?”, “Here we Go”, “Told Ya”, and “Eat That”, as that’s pretty much my emotional range when getting through it. Almost every tune begins with faded-in-feedback and moments are not spared, as the material seems to have been written with the mindset of everything happeningRightNOW.

4. Revocation – Chaos of Forms
I’ll admit to being skeptical of this band for probably no valid reason other than writer/vocalist, Dave Davidson, looking like a regular guy in his 30’s who could be mistaken for me, but was doing that touring metal band thing, which I’m not. When he was selected the #1 Modern Metal Guitarist by Metalsucks I caved and listened to Chaos of Forms.
It turned out to be the one band this year where I sent “check THIS out” messages around and immediately bought one of the band’s dumb tshirts designed for children with a giant stupid “heavy metal” image on the front that I probably shouldn’t be wearing anymore.
Davidson is the real deal here, delivering strong, crafty and clean riffing with slick leads (Dime, Slash, Vai influences). There is no posturing; it’s not trying to be anything other than pure metal with enough modern twists to keep it from being redundant. It’s a mixed bag, and while some of it doesn’t work, most of it does.

3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Holocene, man. 

2. Devin Townsend – Deconstruction
When the Junos jumped on board the Heavy Music bandwagon, announcing the inclusion of a Metal award, I couldn’t help but be cynical. And the winner is…what, Three Days Grace? Maybe (hopefully) I’ll be wrong, and whatever combination of people will have its collective head on straight enough to acknowledge that Devin Townsend, in quantitative and qualitative terms, has arguably been one of the most consistent Canadian artists – not just in heavy music – over the last decade.
To the mainstream, an album featuring guest appearances from members of Death, Emperor, Soilwork, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Gojira, Meshuggah, Opeth, Gwar, and Between the Buried and Me, may not mean much, but that is truly an impressive international roster of heavy hitters, and speaks volumes to the respect Townsend commands. Deconstruction is expansive, gets carried away a LOT, immature at times, but unmatched in its technical muscle combined with moments of, for lack of a better word, majesty.
Make no mistake, despite what the Canadian Music Industry thinks, this is the best Heavy music released by a Canadian in 2011.

1. Decapitated – Carnival is Forever
The only thing that has changed since I originally wrote of this record is that I’ve listened to it a lot more.

Honourable mentions:
Hate Eternal – Phoenix Amongst the Ashes
DJ Quik - The Book of David
Vader – Welcome to the Morbid Reich

- Ghost
- Black Metal. Like, all of it. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Decapitated - Carnival is Forever

As much as any record deserves to stand on its own and not be forced to carry the burden of backstory, it would be impossible to subject the newest release of Poland’s
Decapitated, Carnival is Forever, to any combination of text without acknowledging the events preceding it.

In my more productive metal writing days there were many words committed to the 2006 release
Organic Hallucinosis, as there was no question of it being one of the more satisfying metal recordings I'd heard in a long time. The band had always been a welded unit; capable of delivering airtight and sophisticated material, but Hallucinosis was a knockout blow. The production was louder, more up front. The songs shifted from the previously mechanical and traditionally technical Death Metal approach to a looser, more groove-filled style. The record thoroughly earned the overly abused descriptor: raw.

The previously lauded story of Decapitated was how the band formed when the average age of its members was 14, and then released the intimidating debut
Winds of Creation, 4 years later. The band remained consistent in both quality and release schedules until Organic Hallucinosis, when the subject of youth shifted from a group being "wise beyond its years," to "too young to go through this."

In the fall of 2007 while touring Russia, an accident involving a logging truck resulted in severe injury to vocalist, Covan - who had only replaced Sauron for the 2006 release - and the death of drummer, Vitek, brother of guitarist Vogg, and father to a child of his own. Vitek was 23.

Similar to the death of any non-mainstream artist, the world of entertainment - and those who follow - moved along without notice. But the metal community was shattered, holding hands and hanging heads all over the web. While deep in the routine of touring its strongest record, there was no worse upheaval. What followed were the obvious questions of which those asking already knew the answers. The band as we knew it, was finished.

Fate, higher powers, or whatever you choose to believe in can take any possession away, but the things that possess you will always remain. Your sight can be lost, your hearing, limbs, friends, family, all these things can be separated from you, but only death can divide you from your born inclinations. A brother to a guitar player, a songwriting partner, a biological competitor can cease to exist, but an accelerated ability to completely asphyxiate a fret-board with vehemence will eventually triumph.

In mid 2009, Vogg re-emerged to announce he would continue with a newly constructed Decapitated
*, and began recording in early 2011.

Music of all forms can be justified to its listeners as having an attraction based on how it makes one feel. I can’t say with confidence what this says for listeners of heavy music, but I will say that within less than 5 seconds of album opener “The Knife,” my physical being was inert, and my emotional self was standing with clenched fists and tears of stress.

This is the sound of delivery. This is the sound of expectation being dialed in to its most calculated end. This is a culminated climax of so much tragedy and strength that it will be one of the most emotionally exhilarating listens I will have. It is music unequivocally rising against what is arguably the most painful human experience and animating itself in song’s most aggressive genre. It is groove fueled with blood and blended with electricity. It is slipping into supreme feel only to follow with channeling the ghost of Dime in a ripping lead (United), it is polyrhythmed propulsion (Homo Sum), it is Sepultura's tribal twist meets Pantera’s "Becoming" with a dizzying ascending solo leading into a punishing blast (404). It is an 8 song, 42 minute compact uppercut of “over before you know it.” 

Carnival is Forever is a record above score, not because of perfection, but because of everything stated above. Yet what makes it so special is that it does stand on its own. The story of its inception just makes it that much more powerful.

*I covered the addition of Krimh via cover songs posted on YouTube here.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Family Portrait

For a long time I played with these guys and had a head dipped in hair. This is a live video of the last show we ever played as a band. Party.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit

Where to even begin with Marrow of the Spirit? The sweeping arrangements? The calms before, during, between, and after the storms? No, wait, I know, how about the completely over-reaching, poor execution of it all.


You want to be a black metal band (not Agalloch, specifically, but YOU. YOU want to be a black metal band), so what do you do? What is your approach? Let’s assess the situation; the situation being what kind of sounds you want to evoke, and how you want to identify yourselves. Yeah, yeah, you “want to carve your own path”. Whatever. 

So you want to be a black metal band, well alright then, blast away. Take out the low end and crank the treble of your Marshall. Have at it. Gargle screech your brains out. Have the most non-fun on the outside – fun on the inside you can possibly have while playing the sped-up-drumming-and-slowed-down-everything-else, weird brother of punk-rock. I can respect that as long as you understand that upping the ante comes with expectations that aren’t satisfied with mere ambition.
 Let’s change the subject.
 A shift began a bunch of years ago where a few bands known for bleaker sounds began expanding timbres by channeling psych and prog. Either vocally or instrumentally, there were definite nods to, for obvious instance, Pink Floyd. 
With Floyd being the best and obvious example, let’s expand:

An amazing aspect of a band like Pink Floyd is how the musicianship of its members (well, maybe not Nick Mason) reaches other musicians who appreciate the focused approach and commitment to doing more than simply making sounds with an instrument.


I read a guitar mag interview with David Gilmour in the 90’s where he attempted to explain his tone and vibrato. Naturally, tone isn’t something that can really be explained, it’s just something you develop, assuming you have an ear for it. His vibrato approach is taken from the vocal technique of sustaining the sound and adding the waved effect toward the end. Not all players use this ‘natural’ method but can have results that are just as effective, if not cremating (ex. Zakk Wylde, Dimebag, and Malmsteen all use exaggerated, freeway-wide shakes).

What’s interesting about things like tone and feel is that an average music listener may not understand these tools and how they’re used, but at a basic level their application creates a more pleasing sound, therefore a sound with broader appeal.

This isn’t to imply that Agalloch has any interest in developing tone and feel, let alone vibrato, in reference to their guitar work. Which is fine. Maybe they care, maybe they don’t. That said, when listening to Marrow of the Spirit there are melodic lines that sound so amateur it’s distracting. THOUGH, not distracting to the ‘average listener’, which of course is the catch. If the feel was improved, the sound would be improved, therefore piquing more ears.

People want to love music like this. They need it. But it’s too easy to be wooed by the limited everything about Agalloch. Rarely playing live, picking obscure cities when they actually do, providing no news about minor details like, you know, album releases. It’s all some pretty intriguing wrapping paper seemingly packaged by Ian Mackaye himself. Then you open the box and are presented with this guitar lead in the second song that’s like, TOTALLY UNNACEPTABLE. But then the 5th song has an acoustic lead that’s decent and I’m left pretty baffled by the whole thing.

On TOP of that you have this production that’s like, I mean, were you even trying? There are acoustic sections that transition into loud sections with no sense of dynamics at all. The acoustics were recorded completely up front but the shift to heavy has no punch because the engineering was distant, therefore disallowing any shift in volume despite being completely different tonal moods.

What’s so dumb about music and its genres and sub-genres is that a non-mainstream band like Opeth is considered mainstream metal yet completely off the radar to the average listener. As a result of this, metal listeners will delve deeper, searching for bands that are more obscure. And non-metal listeners who like Metal as long as it matches their dumb flipped up brimmed baseball hat will be ignorant to a band like Opeth but happily tow the line of your NPR hosts who latched onto this stuff because the jocks they hated in high school liked Pantera. This is of course no different than most other genres and what we’re left with is Marrow of the Spirit being named Decibel magazine’s Best record of 2010, an album Michael Akerfeldt could have written and recorded from a coffin.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

My Semi-Attractive Dimly-Lit Mostly-Obvious Year in Music

I couldn’t possibly label this as a Best Albums of the Year as it’s really just a list of the only records I’ve bothered to listen to more than twice. At this point it’s pretty evident that the older I get the less I care for being on top of what’s new or supposedly interesting.
Here are my favourite albums of the year.

The Crown – Doomsday King
In keeping with the theme of this list I’d typically try to mention newer bands that would be contemporaries of The Crown, as an attempt to make a point that even though Doomsday King is the first record in 7 years for the reunited band it still obliterates the competition. But I don’t even know who the competition is anymore. Is there any? I don’t care, ‘cause if there is, The Crown does it better either way. And listen, they’re not breaking new ground here, just REALLY breaking old ground with the best machine on the planet used for breaking ground, and a new vocalist that I’m not entirely convinced isn’t the long hair from the X-Files’ Lone Gunmen.

Witchery – Witchkrieg
Jensen from The Haunted
Sharlee “The velvet-clad swashbuckler” from Arch Enemy and Mercyful Fate
Axenrot from Opeth and Bloodbath
Legion from Marduk
Some other guitar guy, and a whole bunch of guest guitar soloists.
In the world of metal this really is a recipe for a total debacle, but half of this record completely shreds. The other half is wholly skip-able but the mostly dull patty of this heavy metal hamburger is sandwiched by the most satisfying Scando-Thrash buns tasted all year. When the first word of the best metal vocal performance of 2010 kicks off the record with “SAAAAAAAAYYYTAAAAHHHHHHNNN” it’s like slamming back a Slurpee into the driest, most thirsty throat.

Robyn – Bodytalk Pt.1
Look, I’ll admit it, this year I’ve stood in my kitchen with a distorted Flying V playing along with Dancing On My Own almost as many times as I’ve stood in my kitchen with a distorted Flying V playing along with Extreme’s Decadence Dance. And I did the latter a lot. And while one may have been more technically difficult in the tradish sense (shout out to my man, Nuno) they were both equally super fun. In fact, I could have easily put Bodytalk Pt.2 on this list but that’d kinda be a bit too CFL (8 teams, 2 with the same…never mind) and while the newly released Bodytalk does cover almost all the bases, including You Should Know Better’s jogging jet fuel, and Pt.3’s Call your Girlfriend, Pt.1 hit me at the right time. Partner Robyn’s record release pace with her touring schedule and you’re left with someone who makes everyone look lazy, and really un-catchy.

Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast
No amount of dismissive looks from Billy Curtiss could change my mind on The Panic Broadcast. No amount of “stock riff” criticisms, and no amount of “floofy chorus” comments.
When it comes to catchy, easily digested metal, no band does it better than Soilwork. The leads are awesome and Dirk Verbeuren’s excellent, excellent drum performance will always make for a worthwhile listen.

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini
The Norwegian Black Metal scene, or Black Metal genre as a whole is a lot like Electronic music: easy to do but hard to do well, over-populated, overwhelming, and most of it is complete garbage.
Fortunately Enslaved hasn’t been interested in participating in the theatrics for years, and maybe the band being labeled Black Metal has long been suspect, but enough musical elements remain for them to be just that. The construction and layering of Axioma Ethica Odini is downright lovely, and the note selection of the guitar lead heard on the leadoff track, Ethica Odini, is so great it justifies being on my list for that sole reason. If you’re on board with Opeth’s 70’s prog-folk tendencies, Enslaved, too, is moving in that direction even more with this record.
Does anyone care about being “grim” anymore? Can any band out-grim Portal anyway? The Watain record was passable but will they be wearing corpsepaint to their scheduled Williamsburg meet and greet? Stand in that lineup if you want proof that Black Metal is very, very far from its dangerous history.

Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II
Not since Dirt has a "Major Label" band released an album so overtly devoted to hard drugs. At points it’s a glorification; at others it’s very depressing. What’s so great about Nachtmystium, similarly to Enslaved, is Blake Judd’s complete disinterest in staying within the confines of Black Metal.
Elements of New Wave and programmed instrumentation are used to create really impressive textures and atmospheres. I didn’t listen to it often, and when I did I usually wanted to turn it off. Not because I didn’t like what I heard, but mostly because it’s like, totally a bummer.
What the band lacks in technical ability, especially in living up to the use of “Meddle”, it makes up with ambition, forthrightness, and pure songwriting.

Kanye – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
It’s an album of incredible sound, and as an exercise in listening one would be hard pressed to be left unfulfilled. The sheer audacity in some of the stylistic choices should never shake hands, yet somehow do, are a testament to West’s talent as a producer.
There are many cringe-worthy moments, for example the lyrical disaster of following “Colin Powell’s” with “Austin Powers” in Power, and the King Crimson 21st Century Schizoid Man sample, also in Power, falling so completely on its off-rhythm, rushed face, it must have been intentional (but not justified). And I don’t wish Runaway to be instrumental, but shouting out to the “douchebags and assholes”? I get it, and it makes sense, but it still sounds stupid. With stronger lyrics it could have been the single of the year.
MBDTF plays out like a series of well executed songs as opposed to a collection of beats and rhymes. By adding melody both vocally and instrumentally he has me convinced he's a legit musician instead of just rapper/producer.
West makes it a challenge to want to give him credit, but to be fair, he’s not the first buffoon to make great music. He’s just the most childish, public buffoon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Special K

Over the last couple of days I've come to the conclusion that Biomechanical could be the best metal band of the genre. I don't even love them or can tolerate extended listens but every single contributed element to the music is so refined and over qualified that to deny the power of the band is stupid. 
Actually, I totally love them.

If you read anything about the history of the band you'll quickly learn that Biomechanical is a one man show. That said, I can't figure out what the hell that means based on the bio. John K is the guy. He wrote, engineered and recorded the entire first record and from what I can tell he has continued to write and arrange the two subsequent follow-up releases. Are the drums programmed? Does he compose the guitar riffs? A live lineup does exist of the band but still, HOW DOES THIS ALL HAPPEN?
I imagine his song-writing process plays out something like this (but in Greek, so randomly add a good 'aikos' here and 'flubopoulous' there):
"Alrighty, let's start this out with this progressive guitar riff. That'll continue for about 3.78 bars, then i'll arbitrarily stop the riff, change the time signature, add about, uh, 3 shots? No wait, let's make that 5. Then i'll add a big held note for the stringed instruments while I scream myself into an inferno. Perfect, now to just cram all of that into my John Williams endorsed garburator and voilaflubopoulous!"

Everything about this band is 100% legitimate. The musicianship is completely gourmet, the riffs are snaky, progressive and tense. The leads are a stunning Wyldesteen combination of hyper-picked shred, frantic sweeping, and a tasty wide vibrato. The drumming almost doesn't even make sense. And on top of all that are John K's vocals. 
One of the more irritating aspects of newer metal is its tendency to be over-polished. In an effort to sound too clean most recordings end up losing an edge that I crave. What's great about Biomechanical is how that edge is constant. That's not to say the band is rough around the edges, far from it, but everything is so densely layered and pushed beyond its limits that an overall crunch comes through. 
This is especially the case with the vocal element. John K can wail. I'm talking WAIL. This guy has some SERIOUS Halford-esque skills. Like Devin Townsend without tongue wedged firmly in cheek; also capable of adding shredding lows to the screaching highs. K sings like this cause he can and understands how to create music that is mutually complimentary without a single lick of irony. I'd go so far as to say that they're some of the best vocals of the type I've ever heard. They're Cowboys From Hell vintage but with way more power and versatility. It's just all so aggressive.  

Well, not all of it. 
Like it or not the band is dynamic because tossed in between some of the most frenetic music I've ever heard are some seriously Skid Row worthy ballads (if you don't think that's a good thing go read another...something). That is of course if Skid Row scored their ballads to the Indiana Jones trilogy. 

I started listening to the band about 4 years ago and maybe it's just a lack of releases I've pursued lately that's rekindled my interested. Either way I haven't been able to get enough. There are some serious Pantera'd moments taken twenty steps beyond into some seemingly impossible territories. 
It should also be noted that John K is the only consistent member of the band. I can't help but feel as though if you're a potential member and you display any sense of confusion when he shows one of his nonsense arrangement ideas to you, you're either no longer an option, or you're kicked out of the band (not one member remained between the 2nd and 3rd records). Not that it matters as he's still somehow capable of finding guitar players with hummingbirds for picking hands and drummers with 12 limbs. 

It seems as though few have heard of the band which may be due to their lack of North American touring, but K doesn't hide the bands critical success. As seen on the bands myspace, he has reason to boast with 19 perfect score reviews for the bands last two releases and most of the rest being 9's of 10 (there are over 50 reviews listed with only 3 having a score less than 90%).
Cannibalised was released just over 2 years ago and I can't find any information regarding a follow up. I hope there is one, and I hope it's on the way. 

Below is the title track from 2008's Cannibalised. If you start it and have any interest in the audio equivalent of being at the center of a thousand cheetahs racing in a phone booth, don't press stop.
It's completely unpredictable and showcases everything that makes the Biomechanical experience so nerve-wracking, something admirably summed up in the allmusic review stating that "ultimately, Cannibalised's love/hate quotient greatly depends on the listener's ability to see through the aural overkill, and into Biomechanical's not inconsiderable songwriting sophistication."
Give 6 minutes of your life to this, because even if you hate everything about it, it'll give you an idea of what some people are capable of. If you're not really familiar with this kind of music there is little doubt it will sound like a wall of chaotic noise, but make no mistake that while I understand what's involved in the execution of this material, take comfort in the fact that it sounds like a wall of chaotic noise to me as well. 
Things really start to ramp up at the 3:50 mark.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where I'm going?

It's easy for me to say that I'm not one to criticize music. I'd like to have a consistent attitude in thinking if a group of people are together, creating music, it's good enough. At least they're expressing creativity and potentially inspiring others. 
That's the attitude I'd like to maintain. Positivity. 
It should be easy to maintain that attitude as I get older however I'm realizing that with age, my perspective towards that sense of openness is shifting due to thoughts of which I never could have foreseen with youth. 

It's not at all unusual to hear music that doesn't interest me. That said, if I don't like it I just don't pay attention. I wasted too much thought as a teenager complaining about the fame of boybands when my favourite acts went unnoticed. HOW COULD THAT BE IT ISN'T FAIR THOSE GUYS DON'T PLAY INSTRUMENTS. Needless to say I got over it. As is generally the case, the larger the target of ridicule, the more that target has been designed for a large target audience. An audience that didn't, or doesn't include myself. 
The same applies to a modern rock band like Nickelback. Yes, it's fair to be offended by the same songs being re-recorded time and time again with different mildly offensive lyrics of misogyny and trying to figure out "what the hell is on Joey's head", but a band of that type does have its place in the world. It just so happens to be that music is one of the few things with which everyone feels they're an expert. I'd like to think of myself as having a "more than your average Joe" appreciation of music yet I'm in no position to add any worthwhile commentary on ballet. So to counter that point, why should that permit me to have an opinion on a ballet expert who isn't as cultured in Heavy Metal? And who's to say that that ballet expert shouldn't have the right to enjoy Nickelback? The reality is that the average person, or average music listener just wants to consume familiar chord progressions and catchy melodies, and there's nothing wrong with that. 
So I make choices. I choose to ignore bands that don't interest me and I choose to not complain about their popularity. 

HOWEVER, now it's getting tricky. 

As I get older and watch my own family, as well as the families of friends expand, I naturally consider my own potential chances at procreation. With those thoughts bring the idea of how I would react to the type of music a child of mine would listen to. 
I'd like to think that I've seen and heard it all, as music has evolved both traditionally and electronically to a point where it's easy to think that it's all been done. This is all assisted with thinking that because of the complete rackets I find myself listening to the majority of the time...  

...there shouldn't much that would shock me.

What I didn't consider, and what really snuck up on me last year was young bands combining styles that really threw me off. The obvious and cliched example being:

THIS absolutely baffled me. I was suddenly stricken with thoughts of "no child of mine..." And now my laissez-faire ideals are called into question. 

Is my fate being determined by twenty-somethings blending elements of music I enjoy with the music I've chosen to disregard? Are these the moments I'll be able to reflect upon when I'm sitting on a porch, cane in hand, rambling sentences centered around the word "emo" at the mailman? Because the frustrating thing is that while I can always choose to ignore it, an easily influenced offspring may not be so discriminatory. After all, I'd still be a dorky dad to a 13 year old, legitimately convinced they know more than me. I'll be DOOMED. 

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I'm amassing one hell of a t-shirt collection. This kid won't know what hit them. 
Apparently this will be my "dad rock":

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I’m now three records into my friendship with Keep of Kalessin. Well, we’re not really close friends but we hang out from time to time. I invite them along sometimes when I want people to hear what it’s like when a band employs a helicopter as its drummer.
It seems as though the bands music has gotten more, uh, billowy over the course of their releases? Blousy? Bloused? I’m not describing the bands wardrobe, just that the music has started to incorporate the more “symphonic” aspects of Norwegian symphonic Black Metal (symphonic, see: keyboards). Not that wardrobe should have any affect on how one listens to music but the fact that they don’t wear floor length leather trench-robes and platform disco clunker boots makes them almost “workman-like” when compared to some of their peers.
As for the music, think Dragonforce, but cool. I only use that comparison in the sense that a lot of their songs are actually about dragons and they’re executed with near impossible speed. That’s as far as it goes. The rest is an aggressive combination of high power-chorded shredded riffage.
It’s easy to listen to the first cut and start to think that you’ve heard it all before on their previous records but they’re always capable of tossing in parts that are irresistible. They’re a clever band with a knack for composing catchy parts that twist in ways which manage to give 8 minute songs an interesting flow.
As for Vyl, the drummer? I don’t know, man. He’s overwhelming.
Here’s a live video of Vyl jackhammering away. The sped-up dribbling basketball you hear is in fact his kick drums. It’s almost comedic. The inclusion of “Painkiller” is a nice touch.
Here’s the track The Awakening from the new album titled “Reptilian”. It’s pretty epic stuff. I also find it entertaining how the chorus is a kind of Black Metal tribute to The House of the Rising Sun (4:04 mark, if you’re impatient).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Web View.0

An online video hosting site is a very interesting place.
If you look up any song you know, especially one where musicianship is key, you'll find hundreds of bedroom interpretations. Having performed many bedroom interpretations myself I
get it, I just don't really get the idea of recording a video and posting it for all to see. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining or criticizing, it's just not something I'd do.

The web can be a very humbling experience and the availability of these videos really levels the playing field. When I was growing up I only had those I was imitating to compare myself to, and my teenaged thought process made me feel as though I had something most people don't. In 2010 you can simply type the name of a song and see all variations, interpretations, and levels of skill, hacking and scraping their way through the material.

In some cases you get young, green, and out of tune:

In other cases you get unassuming:

There's ambitious:

And this:

Like everything online there is no one forcing you to give attention to what you see, so complaining about it serves no purpose.
And the beauty is that there is almost always a trade-off.
Because if you're that good at what you do, and you do it with sincerity, skill, and passion:

Sometimes you just might end up getting a job with the very people you're honouring. And that to me is reason enough to know that the state of the web we're now all connected to is a pretty astonishing place.

Commented Vogg: "Hello, what’s up!! I am really happy to announce this short message for all DECAPITATED fans: As you all know, 2 years after the tragedies we had to suffer, I decided to continue the band. There’s no sense in stopping this amazing thing we built up so many years ago together with Witek, Sauron, Martin and Covan...I am very pleased to announce the new killer line-up of DECAPITATED: Kerim "Krimh“ Lechner on Drums – he’s a new blood, and very talented..."

There's a more recent video of Krimh playing a drum clinic where his skill and feel are greatly improved. It's clear that his new position with the band as well as a regular touring regime has given him a lot more confidence.

Decapitated is playing the Summer Slaughter tour this year, and it's so good to have them back.