Jul 312012

In case people have forgotten, instrumental metal works just fine at this site, because . . . if there is no singing in the metal, then there can be no clean singing in the metal. Get it?

Over the last few days, I’ve accumulated enough new discoveries to justify this post. The first one is just a news item (no music, unfortunately), but for the rest I have listenings — quite varied listenings, and quite good, and all by solo artists. The subjects are Cloudkicker (U.S.), Alexander Bateman (U.S.), You Big Ox (U.S.), and Gorod guitarist Mathieu Pascal (France).


Cloudkicker is Ohio denizen Ben Sharp. Cloudkicker was the first of the so-called “bedroom guitarist” projects to hit my radar screen, and I fell hard for the music. I was late to the party, of course. I found out about Cloudkicker in 2010 after one of this site’s original co-founders turned me on to Sharp’s 2008 debut album, The Discovery. His 2010 album, Beacons, made many of our 2010 lists of the year’s best albums, and I even picked one of the songs from the album for our list of 2010’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

I subsequently discovered many other then-solo guitar instrumentalists, including Tosin Abasi, Dan Dankmeyer, Keith Merrow, Tre Watson, and Chimp Spanner, but the memory of that first Cloudkicker discovery has stayed with me. So I was excited to see the report on Ben Sharp’s tumblr that he plans to release a new Cloudkicker album called Fade in August. It will go up on the Cloudkicker Bandcamp page, and we’ll report when that happens, as soon as we find out.


Alexander Bateman is a guitarist from New Jersey who plans to release an EP at some point soonish. I found out about him through a Facebook post by the quite awesome Windfaerer, who we featured in this July 3 post and whose new EP is now streaming in full at Stereokiller. I know nothing about Bateman’s history, and what I know about his music (so far) is limited to a video released yesterday for a track called “The Clairvoyant”. But I sure dig the song.

Alexander Bateman – The Clairvoyant from Marco Bobadilla on Vimeo.



A band named You Big Ox and an album named Flowers Grow From Baby Corpses? Seriously, how could I resist?

You Big Ox is multi-instrumentalist Derek Donley, who is a member of National Sunday Law, Bereft, The Cruelest Animal, and Graviton. For the You Big Ox solo project, he has recorded this three-track EP that’s available for the price of $WhateverYouGot on Bandcamp (here’s the link). I listened to the EP this morning while I was waking up. That may not have been the best time to do it, because it doesn’t deliver a caffeinated rush. It goes the other way.

In fact, it’s a stretch to call it “instrumetal” at all. Though it does include some heavy passages and is occasionally shrouded in an aura of darkness, the music is ambient, atmospheric, and hypnotic. I thought it was quite entrancing and — this is important — not the least bit dull. I suppose, in the interest of honesty, I should disclose that in rare moments the sound of choral voices can be heard.

[wp_bandcamp_player type=”album” id=”1719371064″ size=”grande3″ bg_color=”#000000″ link_color=”#4285BB”]



If you’re a fan of Gorod (and what right-thinking metalhead isn’t?), then you already know that Mat Pascal can play some guitar. Perhaps not surprisingly, he is a fan of Marty Friedman, who of course broke lots of ground with Megadeth and Cacophony before moving to Japan in 2003, essentially to begin a new career.

Speaking of Marty Friedman, Prosthetic Records will be releasing three of Friedman’s recent solo albums on August 14. Two of those albums — Bad D.N.A. (2010) and Future Addict (2008) — have only been available in Japan until this year. The third one, Loudspeaker, was previously released in the U.S. in 2007 following its 2006 Japanese debut.

Whether coincidentally or not, Mat Pascal has recently released for streaming a cover of a Marty Friedman song called “Evil Thrill”, which appeared on Friedman’s first studio album Dragon’s Kiss in 1988. It’s smokin’ hot.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/50094413″ iframe=”true” /]



  1. Cloudkicker is fucking sick. I was kind of disappointed when I first listened to his newer album Let Yourself Be Huge (it’s quite a departure from Beacons and everything before)… and I proceeded to listen to that album more than all of his other releases combined; it’s a grower.

    His upcoming stuff sounds like it’s going to be a progression from business as usual in the same way LYBH was, so I’m pretty stoked on it. 😀

  2. Love the Cloudkicker – Fade album art

    • It makes my eyes cross, which means it’s good. Also, when I continued to stare at it, after my eyes crossed, I understood the nature of the particles that make up dark matter. When my eyes un-crossed, I forgot.

  3. I feel like the only person besides Ziltoid who doesn’t like Gorod.

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