(Guest writer Booker returns to our pages with a review of the latest album by Siegewyrm from Buffalo, NY.)
As DGR has started divulging at the start of his reviews, sometimes you come across bands in the most random of ways. Case in point for my discovery of Siegewyrm:
Mechina, whom I love dearly not only in real life (purely platonic, musically I’m talking here!), but also happen to ‘like’ in my parallel online existence on Facebook, posted a link to a feature at The Monolith that included their new release Xenon. And while my saner self pondered whether I could really handle a “best of January” list given my post-end-of-year listmania hangover, my sneaky music-oholic self had already clicked through to said list and begun imbibing all it had to offer, whereupon I stumbled across Siegewyrm’s Harvest Begins.
According to Metal Archives, these chaps from Buffalo, NY started off as “Siege A.D.” circa 2007, releasing one album under that moniker before adopting “Siegewyrm” as their call to musical arms, with two albums Legends of the Oathsworn (2012) and Harvest Begins (2014) now under their belt.
(BadWolf turns in this live show review and also proves he’s got some photographic skills.)
This summer, progressive rock legends Yes announced not only that they would tour, but that their show would consist of not one but two—two!—of their classic records, 1971′s Fragile and 1972′s Close to the Edge, in their entirety.
What in the fuck does this have to do with The Ocean? More than you’d think.
On their spring co-headlining tour with Scale The Summit, The Ocean elected to play their 2013 album Pelagial front-to-back. It’s a bold move. Metal fans, as a rule, demand the old stuff. Even if the new Metallica record is awesome, nobody will want to hear more than a single song from it in a live setting—everybody will want to hear Master of Puppets in its entirety. The former album, no matter how slick, will enver have the ‘classic’ status that we attribute to their older work.
Then again, sometimes a band can smell a classic the minute they shit it out.
I don’t have any rhyme or reason why I combined the items in this post. The mind works in mysterious ways, especially after it has been pickled in alcohol.
“WHISKY AND DOOM”
A friend of mine who reads the New York Times every day sent me a link to an article by Charly Wilder in yesterday’s Travel section, because he knows I love metal, even though he doesn’t. I’d like to just copy and paste the whole damn thing, but I’d probably get a take-down notice from some lawyers for copyright violation. So I’ll just paraphrase.
The article is about an event (“Taste the Doom”) that has been happening off and on since 2011 in the back rooms of various Berlin bars (Germany, not North Dakota) in which the organizers pair single-malt whisky and doom metal. Until experiencing them together the writer was not a fan of single malt (“a decent drink but hardly worthy of all the macho lore and rhapsodizing on peat content and cask type”) or doom (“with its sludgy guitars and demon voices, it was hard to imagine it being enjoyed unironically by actual adults — or really anyone not planning a murder-suicide”). But when she tried them together beginning two years ago, “it all made perfect sense”.
(Andy Synn reviews the surprising debut album by a Vermont band named Barishi.)
This one only came out at the tail-end of last year, so I think we can be forgiven for missing out on it in the holiday rush. However, the fact that such a strange, yet incredibly compelling, album failed to ping on our radar is one mistake I’m happy to be able to correct.
Over-simplifying things for the sake of brevity/clarity/hyperbole (delete as appropriate), Barishi – whose name which I dearly hope is drawn from the novel Silverheart and not from… other sources – perform a type of wilfully avant-garde prog-metal, one which mixes Intronaut’s more melodic and psychedelic tendencies with the hardcore bite and bitterness of Poison The Well and the same sort of autistic-savant creativity of Ihsahn’s solo output.
Granted, at first glance it seems like the band’s strange arrangement of sounds and influences is something of an odd conglomeration, opposing styles and off-kilter elements fighting against each other for attention in a crazed cacophony of wild, untamed melody and sudden, spasming aggression. But give it time. It’s not an immediate album. At some point things will start to come together – you’ll tilt your head just so and thing will slot into place. The madness will suddenly make sense, as odd dispositions and disjunctions become conjunction and creativity.
And that’s when things start to get really interesting.
Here are a few new things that have been wrecking my ears over the last 24 hours.
Yesterday I posted (here) a new song by the Swiss band Bölzer, and today I begin this round-up with music from another Swiss band. This one is named Deathcult and it happens to include one of the members of Bölzer (guitarist/vocalist KzR, who also now seems to be the vocalist in Witchrist).
Deathcult released a four-song demo in 2012 that I haven’t yet heard, though it’s available on Bandcamp, and earlier this year Me Saco Un Ojo Records released a new vinyl EP entitled Pleading for Death… Choking on Life (copies are still available there and elsewhere).
(We welcome guest writer Alex, the co-founder and chief editor of Metal-Fi and an audiophile who has been listening to metal for more than 20 years. The following piece provides a detailed introduction to “The Loudness War” for metal lovers who don’t know about it, but should prove to be an eye-opener even for people who do.)
Metal is supposed to be loud. Extreme metal is supposed to be even louder.
Suffice it to say, for many years I was a religious zealot when it came to the above doctrine, especially when I was in the company of people who I knew despised the genre. Many of these “civilians” treated it as simply noise, and my volume habits would only help underscore that belief. But it was through my volume fervor that over the years I started to notice something, namely, it seemed that my metal collection was gradually sounding worse, i.e., each successive new release I bought would sound worse than the prior one. What the hell was going on?
The fact is most headbangers never heard of the Loudness War until the release of Death Magnetic.
(Austin Weber provides the following introduction to our premiere of a new song by New York-based Fall of the Albatross.)
Fall Of The Albatross are a band I’ve covered before at NCS, having previously witnessed their diverse chaos live and written about it here. The group used to have a vocalist but later became an instrumental-only band, as they were when I saw them. The music you will hear below is a taste of their new sans-vocal style from their upcoming full-length, Enormous Cloud, coming out on June 24th. This is wildly original, next-level instrumental metal, concocted from a plethora of different genres and styles, with the elements arranged against each other in unique, non-linear ways.
I’m a sucker for song titles that perfectly capture the essence of the music, and when you hear “Like A Good Tornado”, you’ll understand that the title expertly encapsulates the splendidly spastic, whirlwind nature of the song. That the title defines the music as a good tornado is a key point of distinction, since tornados are typically bad — and this is anything but!
This is a collection of recommended new music and videos, all of it except one discovered by your humble editor over the last 24 hours. What they have in common, apart from the fact that they’re really good: you will be bludgeoned, gutted, and left for worms.
I had a passion for this Swiss band’s 2013 EP, Aura, that bordered on the unhealthy. I listened to it so much that I became convinced an alien entity had taken up residence in my skull (and lord knows there’s enough space in there for a roommate). I also included “Entranced By the Wolfshook” on my list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I’ve been tremendously eager to hear what Bölzer would do next. Now I know.
Thanks to a tip from KevinP, I discovered this morning that the band had started streaming a new song named “Steppes” on SoundCloud. It is one of two tracks (totaling about 18 minutes) that will appear on a forthcoming EP named Soma. The artwork will again be prepared by Alexander L Brown, and it will be released by Invictus Productions.
You and your metalhead friends.
It’s time for some hard truth (I’m not stupid — I save the hard truth for Saturdays because our audience drops on Saturdays). The hard truth is that you are most likely a big fucking geek. I can say this with confidence for four reasons. First, you can read. Second, you are reading a metal blog. And third, in all probability you are a metalhead. I’ll come to the fourth reason in due course.
Actually, the third reason is the biggest clue. I haven’t conducted any kind of scientific study, because I am not a scientist and studying sounds like work. Instead, I base my conclusion on years of first-hand observation. And what I’ve observed is that most metalheads are big fucking geeks. Not all, mind you. Some are career criminals. But even the ones who look like career criminals usually aren’t — down underneath their scary exteriors, they’re just geeks.
I suspect this conclusion would be greeted with disbelief by most people in the straight world, i.e., the people who look away quickly and increase their speed when they drive past the outside of a metal venue, because they think we’re ALL career criminals. But you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? And if perchance you don’t, I’ll assemble some of the evidence.