Tag Archives: metal

Another new post? ZOMG!

28 Nov

Yeah, what the hell. Why not?

In the interest of list-making and redeeming myself after the utter failure of barely listening to any new music in 2010 (especially not at all getting through the ambitious list I posted for myself of stuff I was going to listen to), here are the albums I’ve done in the past 3 months of 2011, in no particular order

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Preliminary Album Review: The Never Ending Way Of OrWarrior by Orphaned Land

25 Jan

Well, it’s the big day. 25 January 2010. After waiting six years for Israeli folk/death metallers Orphaned Land to follow their masterpiece Mabool, an album I christened one of the best metal albums of the 2000s, they have finally put out another album. The Never Ending Way Of OrWarrior (“warrior of light” in Hebrew) was originally tentatively slated for a late 2007 release, but given the band took eight years to put out Mabool after 1996’s El Norra Alila, I suppose it is just par for the course that it did not come out until now! Those of you in the US still have a tad more of a wait ahead of you: the album isn’t out there until the 9th of February.

This album is astonishingly complex and dense, both compositionally and thematically. I am currently on my fourth listen, but it is going to take longer than that for the album to fully sink in. The following represent just my earliest impressions.

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Concert Review: Cynic live in Melbourne, 3 January 2010

13 Jan

If I were writing in 2006, I would be telling you about how Cynic released the definitive technical death metal album, Focus, in 1993 and then disbanded. Along with Atheist and Death, Cynic were one of the most outstanding members of the late 1980s/early 1990s death metal scene in Florida, and pushed the limits of metal more than any. Focus incorporated compositional techniques drawn from genres well beyond metal, primarily jazz, and thematically it was a positive, uplifting, and humble album, lyrically infused philosophic meditations and spiritual mysticism.

Moreover, out of all the wildly technical metal bands going around, I would consider Cynic to be easily one of the most listenable, possessing a fluid style led by astonishingly complex guitars woven together into a vivid fabric, buttressed by Sean Malone’s warm and full bass, and resting on Sean Reinert’s skilful drumming. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget how all the clean vocals of Paul Masvidal were processed through a vocoder, giving the band a distinctively synthesised and robotic sound.

That is everything I would have told you in 2006. Cynic were done, leaving just one album and a collection of demos as their deeply influential legacy.

Cynic - Focus cover

However, this is 2010.

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Weekly Round Up 2

2 Dec

So we had a much slower week this week compared to last but none the less here’s the round up

Reviews
Ashley’s reivew of Big Country’s The Crossing
Ax reviews Mabool by Orphaned Land
Ax reviews Opeth’s Melbourne concert
John’s review of Tracers by Ash

Musings
Travis laments the downfall of Weezer
Ashley on why Tom Petty matters

Ashley on why Rihanna needs Timbaland

Opeth live in Melbourne, 25 November 2009

26 Nov

It’s almost summer in Melbourne town. The city’s just getting over a premature heatwave. After a mercifully cool weekend, it’s now Wednesday. What to do?

Go see a death metal band live. Of course? Of course!

Over 1,000 punters packed into The Palace on Bourke St to see the third and final gig of Opeth’s quick-fire 2009 Australian tour that had previously hit Brisbane on Sunday and Sydney on Monday. One of Sweden’s finest musical exports, Opeth have a fondness for Australia and make a point of touring here often; other bands, take notes. Their current tour, promoting 2008’s stylistically diverse and rather satisfying Watershed album, already hit these Antipodean shores for a somewhat more extensive tour in September 2008, and the Melbourne audience was glad to have them back.

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Best Metal Albums of the 2000s, vol. I: Mabool

26 Nov

This blog so far has a disturbing lack of metal. Well, I guess that’s why I’m here. I love metal. I think it is one of the most diverse and fascinating genres. You’ll pick up my biases in due course, but at a glance, they tend towards atmospheric albums (as in any genre I like), they focus on extreme genres such as black metal and progressive death metal, and I most love my metal when it 1). has something socio-political to say and/or 2). evokes the grandeur of winter and frigid, forsaken forests flanking the white mountains on which you will die.

Yes, metal has a bit of a bad reputation amongst the general public. Thanks to thrash bands and non-metal rubbish like metalcore (it’s derived from hardcore punk, people!) and nu-metal (do I even need to explain why every metal fan worth their salt will not associate their beloved genre with this bastard child of music?), many people seem to just write the genrre off. I have very little time for the false impression that metal is juvenile, rebellious music by teenagers that requires little talent and even less thought, and that you quickly grow out of it. Every genre has examples of that, and judging them by it would be absurd. Many of the most talented musicians alive play in metal bands, and I am not referring just to those with prodigious talent (though you’ll find few more accomplished bassists than Sean Malone or drummers than Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg). I am also referring to those who realise less is more, who are in love with atmosphere, who have something to say, and who realise that metal can be a very primal medium but at the same time can be exploited to say something complex directly to the core of the listener. I would like to introduce you to these people.

Let’s start with Orphaned Land. Specifically, their masterpiece from 2004, Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven.

Orphaned Land - Mabool cover art

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