[EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in November when I was away on an undeserved but still enjoyable vacation and unable to blog, lots of good people stepped up and contributed posts of their own so that NCS wouldn’t have to go dark while I was gone.
One of those contributors, The Artist Formerly Known As Dan, took a running head start on year-end album lists and became one of the first writers in metal blogdom to stake out a position on the year’s best metal (here). That post scored a massive number of hits, no doubt due in part to the fact that it was featured on MetalSucks.
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we asked Dan if he had made any revisions or additions to the list he prepared a month ago. What we got from him was this.]
So, I hope all the NCS readers aren’t bored with me after my first list. I thought my picks for the best of 2010 were pretty solid, but reading lists can get old, so now I’ll try to focus my attention on one subject. That subject is potential musical recommendations for my NCS brethren that are outside the realm of metal. I have a pretty wide range of tastes, but I thought that at least some of my “other” music might interest a few of you, specifically because it generally follows the NCS manifesto:
-it’s not pop music
-it has at least one or more of the following characteristics: fast, punishing, cathartic, dark, powerful, crushing
-there is no clean singing
So let’s get started. (after the jump . . .)
The overarching topic of the day is electronic music. Now, before we continue, I am going to ask that you forget what you know about electronic music. If you think I’m inviting you to go on some glow-stick infested, ecstasy-taking, disco-ball rave trip, you are wrong. I mean if you want to take drugs and listen to this music, that’s cool, but it’s besides the point. The music I’m talking about is really dark and heavy stuff, so prepare as though you were going to be listening to some metal. On a side note which matters, turn your bass way up. On a side note which doesn’t really matter, most of what I will mention today falls into the category of “dubstep” for anyone who was curious.
The first suggestion I have is a track by a couple of DJs known as Datsik and Downlink. This particular song starts off a little on the soft side, but that’s key not only to this track, but the genre as a whole. It’s all setting the stage for the massive drop that comes at 0:55 seconds. Don’t skip to that point, let it build, the context makes a big difference. As you get more into dubstep, you’ll find that bass- and beat-drops are the bread and butter of the genre and are really what make the songs hit so hard.
If that last one wasn’t metal enough for you, check this Singaya track out. This shit is extra dark, and gets really heavy at around 0:35, and even more so around 1:44. This track is really groovy, but also quite glitchy, so I imagine it will be to your liking if you already like the newer deathcore or djent stuff. And if you don’t like the song, well, at least the picture is metal as fuck.
Still reading? Excellent, because at this point we’re ready to move to another DJ who goes by the moniker “Skrillex.” He was originally in a terrible screamo band, but we won’t let that tarnish his reputation, will we? Ok, maybe a little. Nevertheless, he does redeem himself with this fucking beast of a track. It starts off with a bit of a pop-esque melody, but just wait for that sickness at 0:41. Holy shit! That wobble is filthy good and gets my head nodding every time. This guy is really talented and I highly recommend some of his other stuff, though it is admittedly less “metal.”
Ok, so I may have lost some of you there. But I saved my trump card for last! A lot of you probably already know about Commissioner, but I’ll explain it anyway. It’s a project between Cameron Argon aka Big Chocolate of Disfiguring the Goddess and Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence. I’m not really sure how to classify it, but it’s electronic, has distorted guitars, and the vocals are certainly not clean. This track destroys, AND, Argon revealed on his daily v-log (cameveryday) that the EP is dropping really soon. He’s also really fucking talented Enjoy.
Well Dan, it appears all our readers are hibernating this week, so I’ll add a comment while they’re dozing.
First, I’m glad you did this post. Variety is the spice of life, and the music doesn’t suck.
Second, it helps — a lot — to crank the volume to ear-bleeding levels.
Third, I will admit that I was seduced by the Skrillex despite the poppy melody and vocals, though in other ways it was the least interesting of your tracks, because of that back-and-forth between the catchy melody and that vertigo-inducing bass wobble.
Fourth, the Commissioner track is the best of the lot (but I was already a fan of this project).
Fifth, I’m trying to imagine an activity for which I would use this kind of music as accompaniment, because I don’t think I would ever just sit and listen to it. So far, my imagination is failing me.
Let me start by saying I like the last one a lot! Why? Because it has guitars!
I’m a bit of a music nerd, I know, but I just NEED guitars. Distorted guitars. Playing groovy riffs. Loud. Hard. Inaccessible. All of the other tracks were nice, but I realized I was constantly waiting for a blasting explosion of merciless Metallic riffs.
About electronic music in general: I know it requires a feel for music. Some writing talent too, although most of the mainstream DJ’s display none of the above! They stick to looping a catchy phrase only. But to me there’s something else to music: talent in terms of playing. I have incredible amounts of respect to people mastering their instrument through years and years of practice. Someone playing an epic guitar solo is God to me. Now I’m sure it takes some trouble and practice to master the turn tables and all the computerized stuff that goes along with it, but I simply won’t believe it requires as much as becoming epic God at playing guitars, drums or “even” bass on a level that good Metal bands reach.
That’s my conservative – though I’m a pretty open-minded dude usually – take on the matter. Once again though, Commissioner sounds pretty decent, though I would have opted for more treble and less bass on the distorted guitars. 😉
The mix-master of Commissioner, Cam Argon, is a scary-good death-meta vocalist of the uber-guttural school, in addition to being a mix-master. Check out Disfiguring the Goddess, on which he provides the vocals. But as far as I know, he doesn’t play guitars, nor does Mitch Lucker. So those must be samples.
Holy shit, that DtG stuff is excessively heavy. Me likes 🙂
Pity ’bout the guitar samples then. I don’t like fake, at least when I know it is.
Damn, just getting back from a New Year’s trip with the girlfriend, sorry I’m catching up late. From what I know, Cam *used* to do guitars for DtG, but now is done by another guy, but they def aren’t programmed. See him messing around in some absurdly down-tuning here:
ALSO – I just remembered this video he has – it’s basically a joke project he did with the old vocalist from I Declare War:
I mean holy shit, for something they did in basically 3 hours as a joke, that’s pretty sweet.
Hey Dan, sorry for the delay in your comment appearing. The WordPress settings required me to approve it. And thanks for the clarification on the guitars. I was referring only to the work on the Commissioner tracks, not DtG, but I was probably wrong about the Commissioner mixes, too. I’d missed that video of Cam laying down the guitar riffs.
Dubstep is very similar to metal in some ways. chug chug, wub wub, etc.