May 152010

I suppose this topic is sappy, and sappy isn’t metal. But maybe it really is. You be the judge. And if you conclude this is just too much emotional tripe, chalk it up to an excess of tequila

What motivated us to write about parents (besides too much tequila) was our recent piece on an awesome KC band called Ares Kingdom and some messages we received in response to it. In addition to praising the music, we praised the album art — the kind of thing that many bands do poorly, and that’s often lost in our download culture when it’s done well.

The album art on the Ares Kingdom release is truly inspired, though you’ll never see what we mean unless you fork over the dough to buy a CD. As we explained in our review, the 16-page booklet that comes with the CD is a montage of historical artwork by many artists (including the cover art, which was created by Joseph Pennell in the last year of World War I), and the lyrics are written over the top of the art in beautiful silver calligraphy.

We read the liner notes too quickly and wrote in our review that the calligraphy was done by this band’s awesome guitarist Chuck Keller. That appears to have been an error, as was pointed out by a comment on our post by Splash.  According to the comment, it was done by Chuck’s father. And that (along with the fucking tequila) made us think about parents.

We don’t know Chuck Keller, or his dad. What we do know is this: We don’t deserve our parents. We don’t “earn” them. They are who they are, and we are who we are. If they love and support us (as appears to be true of Chuck Keller’s dad), that’s a gift, for which we should be fucking thankful. If they fail to understand us, or worse, if they undermine and damage us, it’s usually not our fault, though we so powerfully take our cues from them that we think it is. (more of this after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

May 132010

With damned few exceptions, we only write about bands we like. So if you come here often, you’re used to reading compliments about this band or that one. If we only give compliments — even when we really mean every one of them — maybe it starts to get difficult to make an impact with our praise. What do superlatives really mean when everything you say is a superlative?

Some people say that about us, but we really don’t fucking care. We ain’t changing our ways. Plus, we think we know how to make clear when a band really throws us out into an abyss of awesomeness that’s deep and wide — when a collective of musicians truly caves in our skulls in an irreparable way. Today is one of those days, the band is Ares Kingdom, and the album is aptly called Incendiary.

This is one of those instances when we feel especially challenged in our ability to accurately describe in words a sensation produced by powerful sounds. Obviously, we’re gonna try, but all we can hope to achieve is rough justice. You gotta listen for yourself to really understand what these dudes have pulled off.

How to sum this up? What’s striking about this band is their ability to connect deeply to the roots of thrash and death metal and make those sounds come alive with the same power and authenticity that have caused the genres to live as long as they have, but at the same time to create something new and amazing.  (continue reading after the jump, and listen to an awesome song from Ares Kingdom . . .) Continue reading »