(Guest writer Tyler Lowery has bestowed upon us another article, and this one is about instrumental metal.)
One of the biggest issues I had when I was first getting into extreme metal was the overbearing vocals in the music of many bands who were the front runners. The growling that my untrained ear misinterpreted as garbled cacophony kept me away from bands such as Necrophagist, Behemoth, and Napalm Death. From these bands I have now built a decent-reaching empire of extreme metal bands who I now thoroughly enjoy. However, it took me far too long to become accustomed to them as their vocal presentations distracted me from the excellence of their music as a whole.
As I began the perilous quest toward the seedy underbelly of the metal genres, I made my way through less than appealing bands who were heavy but not crushingly so. These days were tedious and often without reward. Eventually tiring of the hit-or-miss tomfoolery, I started dipping my toes in the vast waters of Death Metal.
To cope with the harsh vocals that consistently harshed (hardy har har) my buzz, I found bands who employed clean vocals, as a diversion from the constant battery of screeching and growling. Bands like Opeth and Between the Buried and Me helped create the groundwork for an appreciation of the extreme, but even still the music was sometimes overshadowed by the vocals. That being said, the next logical step was to remove vocals altogether, right?
Since then I’ve found a number of instrumental bands who specialize in the field of heavy metal. A good majority of them seem to gravitate toward the currently popular progressive / djent genres, which can be hit or miss in itself, but there are a few noteworthy instrumetal bands out in the vast expanses of music who have helped solidify my interests in metal. Of course, you have your Scale the Summit and Animals as Leaders, but here are a few lesser known instrumetal bands I’ve found lying about the internet.
This is one of the best djenty takes on progressive instrumetal. This guy lives in Scotland, and he has mastered the idea of taking Periphery’s guitar tone and showing us what it is truly capable of achieving. So far he has released two albums and an EP, all three of which can be downloaded from Bandcamp for free. Check out “Cassini” below.
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BEHOLD THE ARCTOPUS
These guys have an interesting take on experimental metal. Guitarist Colin Marston plays a 12-string Warr guitar, which covers the range of both a regular guitar and a bass guitar. This allows them to forgo a bassist and remain a tight trio. Their music is very spastic and draws influence from bands that reach as far as from Messhuggah to Cynic. Check out “Canada” below.
In becoming the new bassist for The Faceless, it is likely that Evan Brewer is going to become a lot more popular once people start to recognize how great a bass player he is. I’m not talking about “underground elite” recognition; he already has plenty of that. I’m talking mainstream success.
He is quickly becoming the Les Claypool of death metal, and his solo release Alone proved that he knows more about a bass that a lot of guitarists know about their guitars. Using only a bass guitar for an entire album is a bold move, and Brewer does it without breaking a sweat. Check out “Currency” if you don’t believe me.
Very well written as usual, Tyler. Thanks for the article… always on the lookout for new and strange music that doesn’t rely on conventional formulas and Behold the Arctopus certainly fits the bill.