(NCS guest contributor Leperkahn decided that for a school project he was going to spend a week without metal. He received a lot of suggestions from our readers, and this is his report on Day 4 of the experiment.)
Very early on in my music listening career, I was very much into rap. Part of it might have been the combination of the ease of access to it (all I had to do was go to the Top 100 iTunes songs chart to find plenty of stuff for my young ears) with the misguided idea that girls had “cooties” or something, and that listening to other types of pop would make me “girly”. In hindsight, I want to slap my former self for ever thinking like that, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was the way I thought once.
Nevertheless, I used to be mostly a rap fan (specifically the popular stuff). That all changed when I first picked up, played, and became obsessed with Guitar Hero III (maybe as a third or fourth grader; I’m not in the mood to calculate when exactly it would have been). That elucidated to me the wonders of classic rock, and sent me on a decade-long tailspin that has landed me here, deeply entrenched in the metal underground.
When I began to get more immersed into rock, and especially once I found heavier metal, I began to swear off all types of rap, perhaps in realization of how awful my music taste once was. Honestly, I hadn’t even tried to look into rap for years, until this project hit.
I started my re-visiting of rap with last year’s release from Run The Jewels, a duo composed of Killer Mike and El-P that I remembered getting some praise from Professor D. Grover The XIIIth during 2013 Listmania. He described them as cut from a more intelligent cloth than most rap, and I’m inclined to agree, as their concise half-hour collaboration had me captivated lyrically while still keeping some tight enough beats to make me consider busting out a gangsta lean in the middle of journalism class.
I moved on to an album with which I had some cursory familiarity with a few songs, but which I had never actually listened all the way through: N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton. The first three tracks of this album represent some of the best rap I feel has ever been created, and were some of the very few rap songs I kept on my playlist even after I became more ensconced in metal. By now I was out of school, driving around with my good friend and fellow metal cohort. We both looked extremely white trying to move with the intensity of the music (despite the fact that only I had the excuse of actually being white). It was truly a sight to behold.
As for the album itself, after the first few tracks it hits a rather constant mid-tempo that makes it fantastic as some background music to other tasks, yet can still remain interesting when you tune back in. My one complaint might be that it goes on a bit too long; I’m not the kind of person who can listen to the same rap album for an hour (or longer, in other cases). Regardless, it fit well with my jubilation that came from knowing that I had (hopefully) just taken my last calc test ever (now on to linear algebra! I’m brimming with excitement).
I moved next to a suggestion proffered by my twin sister, Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city. What I didn’t realize before delving in was that this was nearly an hour and a half in length – which may have been one of the only downsides to this album. For being an album so popular (and thus inspiring skepticism on my part), it has quite a lot of the somber look into the life of the downtrodden that made rap succeed so well in the first place, in its heyday of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The interludes are particularly revealing, and add a sense of eeriness in between each track full of Kendrick’s distinctive vocal timbre and smooth, flowing style and rhymes.
With that, I went completely off the deep end with a duo that went off the deep end a while ago: the infamous Death Grips, and their album Exmilitary. This is definitely quite some avant-garde stuff (that has been well-documented by Islander and others). I’m not sure I can add too much beyond what has already been said before, partially because I’m not entirely sure I’ve processed what exactly happened during that album. Dense, but certainly intriguing, and one I’ll come back to (especially considering it’s available for the low price of free on the duo’s Soundcloud).
The final album of the evening (which I’m still in the process of finishing) is Outkast’s Stankonia. I figured I needed a contrast with Death Grips, namely something happy and funky; Outkast gave me just that (as I knew they would do). I’ve always had fond memories of Outkast (there was a time when “Hey Ya!” may as well have been the only song that existed on planet Earth – it began every family roadtrip playlist), yet I’d never gona back to this album, despite it being what was probably their most popular. Though there are a few more aggressive moments, such as “Xplosion”, most of it has a tongue-in-cheek demeanor, and some of the interludes and skits are positively hilarious (the harmonizing wing-women in “Kim & Cookie” had me rolling on the floor laughing).
And that’s about it for the rap day. As it turns out, turning my back on it for so long may not have been the best idea ever, but then again I probably wouldn’t have been able to find the right albums to look back at until I had a music lover’s community like the one we have here to steer me clear of the crap that infects 95% (at least) of rap, and plenty of other music.
After four days, I’m still holding strong. I gotta say though, I could really go for some Deicide right now, and it’s killing me that I can’t check out the new Eyehategod song. All in good time. I think I might give electronic music one last chance before I send it to the gallows, and choose it as my soundtrack to tomorrow. I’ve been told that ambient stuff or chillwave might be good options. If you have any suggestions along those lines, or simply wish to tell me to stay the hell away from electronic music in lieu of a different genre, chime in below. I got to say, it was a good day.
Nightsatan has some 80’s sci-fi film soundtrack style electronica that’s better than you might think. http://nightsatanandtheloopsofdoom.bandcamp.com/
OvO is my current favorite in electronic, but it might be too close to metal. Anyone else have an opinion on that?
I have limited experience with Electronica but, along with Mosh(who I mentioned in the initial recommendation thread- https://iammosh.bandcamp.com/album/monarchy), I’d say C418, who does the Minecraft soundtrack.
His stuff leans towards the Ambient side. Video game music, in general, has improved drastically over the years.
Rainbowdragoneyes is about as close to metal as any electronic music gets. http://rainbowdragoneyes.bandcamp.com/music
I think he has even been covered here at one point or another.
I recently found a used Tangerine Dream CD at a record store that I go to. I remembered reading praise for them in interviews with Mikael Akerfeldt and Steven Wilson, so I figured I’d give it a shot. The album I got was “Tangram”, and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit despite having little experience with electronic music. I haven’t tried to dig into the rest of their discography, though, so maybe there’s some even better stuff than that album. I’ll second C418, too.
Here comes the vintage man. How about some Jean-Michel Jarre? I’d recommend his first two albums, Oxygene and Equinoxe. It’s analogic electronica, moogs and stuff, but worth checking out.
“I think I might give electronic music one last chance before I send it to the gallows, and choose it as my soundtrack to tomorrow. ”
Before I’d got addicted to extreme metal, I was avid listener of a few electronic music genres. Namely: hardstyle, hardcore and drum & bass. If you are to explore electronic music, give d&b a try.
Some of my favorite artists would be Spor, Evol Intent (their AWESOME concept album “Era of Diversion” is one of my all-time faves, I suggest trying to find an hour of free time and listening to it in one go), Pendulum (they’ve got a d&b-metal track featuring In Flames members) and Black Sun Empire.
Out of hard dance music I don’t recall many names, I remember Showtek and Headhunterz (hardstyle) and a label – Neophyte Records (hardcore).
Cold Cave, I think, is a good electronic artist for those who are into metal. The hard style stuff recommended by J is also something I strongly recommend. Portishead is some great “down-tempo” electronic leaning music as well, there really isn’t a bad album and there are only 3 to choose from. Also just in case you might start listening to rap again, if you haven’t already, check out Atmosphere & The Roots.
Listen to Salem’s King Night, you’ll feel like you’re cheating on your metal fast. The term Witch House was more or less coined for this album. Super abrasive, druggy, menacing electro-trap by some genuinely fucked up junkies from the midwest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IvoN4YUF4o
Straight Outta Compton is a great album!
for some sick electronica (called “industrial” by ignorants) i recommend GGFH
Electronically speaking, my musical tastes tend more toward the industrial end of the spectrum, but off the top of my head I’m going to recommend Angelspit (who are insane and should appeal to your metal sensibilities as well), Bong-Ra, Venetian Snares, and I’ll second the mention from the original post of Igorrr.