(In this post, Andy Synn offers thoughts and opinions about the challenges that upwardly mobile bands face once they reach the peak of success within the confines of metal, and about the risks of attempting to make a leap into the mainstream. Your thoughts, as always, will be welcome in the Comment section.)
Oooh… there’s that word. The “M” word. A term so divisive I bet half of you just vomited from sheer internet-based rage. A word so contentious we had to invent our own subdivision of it (the “metal mainstream”) just to better separate the “true” from the “false”.
But… does it have its place? And if it does (and I think it does)… what are we going to do with it?
After the jump… my lengthy, stream-of-consciousness, pseudo-philosophical ramblings on the subject!
Here’s a collection of items I spotted on a quick dash through the interhole today.
I saw that the gents at Metal Sucks premiered a new Gojira video. It’s a professionally filmed live performance of “The Gift of Guilt”, from last year’s L’Enfant Sauvage, at London’s O2 Brixton Academy. I confess that when the first finger-tapped notes of the melody began, I got chills and a flood of beautiful memories of the live Gojira shows I’ve been lucky enough to attend. The video is also fresh evidence that Mario Duplantier is one of the best drummers in metal today.
To watch the clip, jump over to this location.
On top of that, MS reported that Roadrunner Records has released a live EP that includes three Gojira songs (including “The Gift of Guilt” and three songs by Norway’s Kvelertak, and it can be yours for the price of an e-mail address. To stream and or download it, go here. This is the track list:
Beginning this Friday and for the following week, you will be able to stream Gojira’s 50-minute performance at Hellfest 2013, the French metal festival in Clisson, France. Gojira performed on June 23, and according to this site their setlist consisted of the following songs:
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Jam (Mario on guitar, Joe on drums)
Fire Is Everything
Where Dragons Dwell
As for where you can stream the film of the performance, well, you can do it right here because the player can be embedded and I’ve embedded it.
Painstakingly selected from among the detritus that litters the interhole and the NCS in-box, here are items of interest that appeared over the last 24 hours.
If you need more darkness in your life — and who doesn’t? — then you should listen to Vermis, the new death metal monstrosity by New Zealand’s Ulcerate. The album won’t be released in North America until September 17 (a day earlier in the UK and September 13 in certain European countries), but yesterday Metal Sucks began hosting an exclusive stream of the album. Ulcerate are one of those rare death metal bands who are pushing (or dragging) the genre in new directions. The music of Vermis is harrowing and inhuman, but it exerts a powerful attraction. You should hear it.
THIS is the link for the stream.
The new Carcass album, which we reviewed here, is due for release on September 16. I have a feeling that anyone interested in hearing the new Carcass album has already heard it, but just in case, it’s now streaming in full, too. Nuclear Blast has uploaded the entire album to YouTube. Obviously, it’s one of the biggest releases of 2013, and it also happens to be a fine album. You can hear it next. (thanks Daniel for the tip)
Yesterday I posted our final article of the day at about 1:30 pm EDT and then turned my attention for the rest of the day to what I actually get paid to do. While I wasn’t looking, someone re-opened Pandora’s box and a horde of red-eyed bat-winged things flew out in a blizzard of leathery wings and ammoniac guano. Yeah, baby, a veritable flood of nasty shit — so many noteworthy news items and new songs that to fit all of them in this post will require that I wire my jaws shut and mumble only a few words per item. Here . . . we . . . GO!
It started with dates in Hollywood and NYC and predictably has now mushroomed into a full U.S. tour. Well, at least 16 cities in the fullness of the U.S., which do not include all the wonderful cities in the Pacific Northwest or 36 other states. But fear not, others may yet get to see Gojira (!!!), the aging remnants of Slayer, and Melbourne’s 4ARM, because more dates will be announced later. Here are the ones announced yesterday:
25 The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV
28 Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA
30 Events Center @ San Jose State, San Jose, CA
(Guest contributor Old Man Windbreaker finds a perhaps not-so-obvious connection among the latest albums by Gojira and a group of other bands, and includes some bonus items at the end.)
A little more than a year ago, we read a piece by Andy Synn titled ‘Gojiralternatives‘, describing music by half a dozen bands as an alternative of sorts for those who are not that into Gojira’s music. Old Man Windbreaker decided to catch up to the bands featured in that list, since most of them have released a new album since the date of that article. But, Old Man Windbreaker is lazy. Hence, you have a review of the albums a full 2 months after the release of the latest album on this playlist. By the way, here are the albums on this playlist, in chronological order:
- L’Enfant Sauvage by Gojira
- Meliora by Eryn Non Dae.
- Vertikal by Cult of Luna
- Possession by Benea Reach
- Back to Where You’ve Never Been by Hacride
You might notice that Burst and Oceans of Sadness are not in this playlist. That is because they both split up; before the publishing of the original ‘Gojiralternatives‘ article, I might add. So, they will not be revisited, despite having produced amazing music. You might also notice that Eryn Non Dae. is here on this list. That is because of Double Panda. One happened to be playing Double Panda while listening to the album the first time, and One thought they sounded somewhat like Gojira at the time. This eventually led to One revisiting the other Gojiralternatives as well.
It’s been way too long since we checked in with Demonic Resurrection’s frontman Demonstealer. The dude always seems to have about 1,000 things going on at any given time, and I’ll get to one more of his endeavors at the end of this post, but the main draw here at the beginning is his on-line cooking show Headbangers Kitchen and his latest guest from the incomparable Gojira.
If you’re not familiar with Headbanger’s Kitchen, it’s Demonstealer’s outlet for his culinary impulses. And whether you do or don’t discover something you might want to prepare for your own consumption, it’s fun to watch because Demonstealer often lures members of other metal bands into his kitchen in Mumbai, combining interviews with cooking. In the latest (14th) episode, the guest is Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier, who Demonstealer snagged during Gojira’s first visit to India several months ago. And the dish that Demonstealer whipped up for Joe? The Heaviest Chole Bhature in the Universe!
I’m not an aficionado of Indian food. Hey, I grew up in Central Texas: a plate of Tex-Mex enchiladas smothered in chopped onions and sliced jalapenos or a slab of brisket served on wax paper is my go-to comfort food. So chole bhature was a discovery for me. But the chole seems to be prepared with green chile and onion, so it can’t be bad, can it?
On Sunday night, January 20, the current tour headlined by Gojira and also featuring The Devin Townsend Project and The Atlas Moth rolled into Seattle, and a good-sized group of friends and I showed up at Studio Seven to bear witness. We had bought tickets in advance, which was fortunate, because although we arrived about 45 minutes before doors, the show was already sold out.
I was still trying to process the fact that we were getting to see Gojira and DT together on the same tour, and in a venue the cozy size of Studio Seven. I’m a huge fan of both, and I also really enjoyed the last album by The Atlas Moth (An Ache For the Distance), so this had the makings of a stupendous experience. And so it proved to be.
A couple of us grabbed perches up against the rail in the balcony bar overlooking the stage and never left those spots. I wanted a place where I could take some photos of the show, and I didn’t really feel like being smashed inside a high-pressure, breathless, sweaty mass of humanity on the floor for this show anyway.
After the jump, some impressions of what I saw and heard, plus a fuckload of amateurish pics.
(To see what this list is all about, read the introductory post via this link.)
I listened to a greater variety of metal this year than ever before, branching out more seriously into certain sub-genres that I had largely neglected in the past. It was fun, but I’m now paying a heavy price.
How heavy? Here’s how heavy: My list of candidates for this year’s selection of the Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, drawn from my own listening and recommendations from readers and NCS staff, consists of more than 230 songs from over 160 bands.
I’ve explained before that I don’t make my own annual list of the year’s best albums because I have so much trouble comparing large numbers of albums from different genres to each other. Also, I’m indecisive by nature. So how in the world am I going to whittle own a list of more than 230 songs into a smaller group of 20 or 30? Honestly, I have no fucking idea. However, as the Chinese philosopher Laozi wrote, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. So I’m stepping off now . . . and I hope I will find a way to finish the list before old age claims all of us.
Because I felt the need to get this thing going despite the fact that I haven’t finished the final list, I decided to start with a couple of easy decisions. We begin with two great songs by two bands who are favorites of this site and whose 2012 albums have become quite popular across much of metaldom.
Photo credit: Romain Dronne
Those French titans of metal in Gojira are coming back to North America early next year to tour with The Devin Townsend Project and The Atlas Moth. I bought advance VIP tickets for the January 20 show at Seattle’s Studio Seven as fast as I could. One of the perks of doing that was the promise that I would get a download of two live recordings now and another one closer to the start of the North American tour.
Yesterday the download link arrived in my in-box. The two songs included in the download were “Love” and “Toxic Garbage Island”. They were recorded during Gojira’s performance at at the Studio at Webster Hall in New York City on August 14, 2012. They’re crushing, and too good to keep to myself. So, after the jump I’m going to stream both of them for you.
Also after the jump, in case you missed it, is a video of the band performing “Explosia” from the new album L’Enfant Sauvage at the same Webster Hall show. To get the North American tour schedule, check out this previous post about the tour.