They are only two studio albums into their career, but Crescent Lament have already carved out a strong aural identity for themselves in their chosen sub-genre. The indie Taiwanese metal band started out playing traditional symphonic gothic metal (Behind the Lethal Deceit, 2011), before switching to oriental gothic metal on their most recent album, Elegy for the Blossoms (2015).
Making the stylistic switch was an excellent move on their part — their current sound not only suits the geisha concept of Elegy for the Blossoms to a tee, but is also an exemplar of East Asian, erhu-infused metal. This is not to suggest that the band’s non-aural features are not noteworthy, though. One need only peruse the lyric booklets of Elegy for the Blossoms to see that Crescent Lament take their poetry and history seriously. In this interview, founding member and drummer Komet Chou details the historical basis of the lyrics of Elegy for the Blossoms, and his translation of the lyrics from Taiwanese to English.
(Once again we are pleased to deliver unto you this year-end list by Happy Metal Guy, whose name you may recognize from the Angry Metal Guy blog, and whose other name (Dane Prokofiev) you may recognize from assorted other places.)
In the spirit of Khristmas, there is no mean, hierarchical list from Happy Metal Guy this year that ranks bands in a certain order of merit. Just like those annoying middle school camps with anti-climactic inter-group games that end with everyone winning, Happy Metal Guy has decided to go along with the festive mood and allow every band whose record he listened to and liked this year to be in its own league. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, altruistic, and spreading some e-love via some blog post that will probably never be read by most of the bands mentioned in it after all. Yohoho, everybody—but Happy Metal Guy—wins!
Some of the category names below might seem negative at first glance, but just know that Happy Metal Guy uses each and every one of those in a negatively positive way. Rest assured that all of the records mentioned below entertained Happy Metal Guy enough to be remembered and shortlisted. Some albums like Shining’s One One One and Thrawsunblat’s Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings were initially going to be mentioned here, but they have since lost their appeal to Happy Metal Guy for some reason.
(I’m still reveling in the continuing outpouring of wonderful comments that have been appearing on a post yesterday, which invited readers to list five albums that changed their lives. They are like a series of very personal memoirs about the writers’ journeys into heavy music, and I hope they continue coming. Fellow blogger Happy Metal Guy decided to do more than provide a list in a comment. This is the more that he decided to do; although HMG writes in the third person, he really wrote this, not I.)
Although Happy Metal Guy mostly blogs about stuff related to metal music nowadays, it does not mean that he had a long history with the genre. He actually started out listening to many bands that would be considered to be ‘unmetal’ by many heavy metal fans, and believe it or not, the following bands actually paved the way for his eventual interest in metal music, which happened merely seven years ago.
As the supreme headless cyborg Islander said in a comment on his post that prompted this very post you’re reading, recalling five albums that changed one’s life is different from traditional lists in that all one requires is honesty and a good memory.
So here’s what you have when Happy Metal Guy is honest and has a good memory: a brain-rupturing, ear-exploding, eye-bursting, mouth-frothing, nose-bleeding, skin-crawling, and abominable combination of words that would make many of you want to dismember and decapitate him, then send each piece back into various time periods and instruct the people of each time period to blunderbuss each piece before throwing it into the incinerator.
(As part of our continuing year-end Listmania series, we welcome back guest contributor Happy Metal Guy. This post may make somewhat more sense to you if you also read Happy Metal Guy’s Metalocalypse Survival Guide.)
The unmetal horde is spreading its presence faster than I thought, and I dread the day their inferior presence taints the great, freezing kingdom of true metal in the North.
I can see the horde approaching in the distance. I need to plan my escape route to the next safehouse as soon as possible. But first, if you are reading this and this abandoned safehouse seems deserted and bloodless, it means that I have already safely made my way to the next safehouse.
This fateful year, I could not have made it through the unmetal apocalypse without the aid of the following soundtrack. These are the records that get me “into the mood” to slaughter those unmetal beanpoles as mercilessly as Scyther slashing through a field of burnt Bellsprouts. However, listen to them at your own risk! ‘Cos if they don’t work for you, you might be better off not listening to them at all while on the run; better to have your ears unplugged while escaping than to stubbornly adhere to someone else’s personal playlist. You wouldn’t want to end up like Egoistic Metal Guy, who is now that emaciated figure shambling about the floor just above you. The following soundtrack did not work for him, but he plugged those earphones into his ears anyway to give himself a “handicap”, so that the “piteous unmetal poseurs” could have a fair fight with him.
Well, so much for his valor.
(The following post was written by guest contributor Happy Metal Guy.)
The unmetal have risen. How protected are you from them?
Only ignorant fools decry the severity—or even the existence—of the unmetal plague. This handy article is your key to surviving the metalocalypse, and hopefully it will enable you to make it through young enough to revitalize the human gene pool. Make haste, for every second you waste in contemplating the validity of this article is a second gained for the cunning horde out there that is always actively seeking out ways to infect you. Everything you need to know to safeguard yourself and your loved ones against the ravenous unmetal can be found here through 10 unproven, fishy-sounding tips. Don’t be an ignorant fool, this article can save your life.
1. Learn to spot the signs!
Prevention is the best cure—this cliché aphorism never made more sense in today’s unmetal epidemic. Argonium may be an untreatable virus at the moment, but Mother Nature is not without her sadistic sense of humor. Thank Lemmy that she’s kind enough to throw in all those obvious symptoms to warn us of infected individuals, which ranges from body graffiti such as tattooed Chinese characters whose bearers usually don’t even know their meanings, to severely gauged earlobes (that seem to serve the purpose of encouraging another form of alternative copulation) and faux hawk or “tsunami” hairstyles, to name just a few off the foremost atoms atop the needle-sharp tip of the Titanic-sized iceberg. In summary, the gist is that the most commonly seen members of the unmetal can have appearances that lean to either end of the following two extremes: resembling either Frankie Palmeri or Andy Biersack. The special infected, however, are a more dangerous and cunning breed and will be discussed last in this article.