Earlier this year, Ghost released Prequelle, a near-perfect arena rock record dripping with the band’s classic satanic doom-metal aesthetic and dashes of really fun pop glimmer. Every song on the album fits ingeniously and further establishes the band’s repertoire of new rock classics. Even the two instrumental pieces continue the energy of the other songs seamlessly, creating a beautifully cohesive album. Some tracks have lush orchestral intros and outros which act as gorgeous reprises or previews of other melodies on the album and enhance the overall flow. Somehow, amidst our current music climate of the widespread reappropriation of the sounds and textures of the 1980s, the clear 80s influence on Prequelle still feels fresh and exciting, balanced perfectly against 70s hard rock and 21st century dance sensibilities. Thematically, the album perfectly intertwines deliciously cheesy imagery of the Black Death with entertaining and incisive disses on some of the former members of the band who levied a lawsuit against the frontman. At a fairly concise 41 minutes long, Prequelle doesn’t squander a second; every moment on the album feels important. It’s a strong top 5 contender for my AOTY, and so I had very high hopes for the tour.
It’s been twenty-seven years since the formation of the seminal Massachusetts metalcore outfit Converge, and twenty-three years since their first album. When bands this heavy and aggressive stay around for…
Primitive Man is a band that’s always specialized in creating dense, incredibly harsh textures. 2013’s Scorn, the band’s debut full length, is about as sonically oppressive and ugly of an album as you’re likely to find in modern metal, and it introduced the heavy music world to Primitive Man’s unique blend of noise, sludge, death metal, and blackened doom. But believe it or not, Primitive Man just came through with an even uglier and more oppressive release with Caustic.
Metal seems to be one of those things that most people either really love or really, really hate. While I definitely fall into the former camp, I get why it turns a lot of people off. Today, I want to provide a few possible starting points for people who, for whatever reason, don’t like metal or haven’t gotten into it yet but want to. So here are five metal albums you might like even if you don’t traditionally “like” metal.
To say the situation was “uncomfortably wet” Tuesday night as we pushed through clouds of cigarette smoke into the dark confines of The End would be a bit of an understatement, but for some reason the trudge through the cold rain that plagued most of Valentine’s Day was almost a welcome warmup for the experience that lie ahead.
Before I even start reviewing Mac Sabbath’s appearance at Exit/In, let me just say this – there are some things that you can’t just make up. This entire show was one of those things. For those not familiar with Mac Sabbath, the parody metal band was formed in 2014 in Los Angeles by people whom I can only imagine are really interesting underneath their costumes. Formed as a way to protest a certain fast food chain (and fast food in general), the band takes Black Sabbath songs and changes the lyrics to center around this certain chain’s food and imagery. According to the band, they are from a “delicate part of the space time continuum,” and the group consists of Ronald Osbourne (vocals), Slayer McCheeze (guitar), Grimalice (bass), and the Catburglar (drums). Again, I just can’t make this stuff up.
As a way of celebrating the fact that Japanese post-rock band, Mono, have recently signed to Pelagic Records, the record label owned by The Ocean brainchild Robin Staps, the two groups released a split EP. The EP, entitled Transcendental, was released on October 23rd, and it features one extended track from each band.
It may be surprising to see a retrospective of a nine-year-old nu metal album on this blog, particularly from a writer who has vented at length about the overall lack of quality of mid-2000s popular music. Then again, everything about System of a Down’s music, from the band’s ability to mash together disparate and seemingly irreconcilable influences to their shocking success on the mainstream airwaves, is a bit surprising. System’s landmark 2005 album Mezmerize happened to be on my mind as I put together a discussion for my psychology class, and revisiting it as I worked resulted in three dominant trains of thought, none of which dealt with my homework: 1) nostalgia for the days when my biggest concern was whose backyard trampoline the neighborhood kids would be hitting up after school, 2) amazement at how irresistibly fun the eleven songs are, and 3) wonder at System’s ability to somehow maintain this fun amidst livid, highly caustic lyrics and guitar riffs. In conjunction, these concurrent streams of consciousness brought me to the crucial question: how the hell did a band like System of a Down hijack the popular music consciousness?
I think the answer boils down to two factors: perfect timing and the group’s ability to infuse its thrashing songs with elements that made them palatable to mainstream listeners.
The great metal band Mastodon finally return to Nashville after recording and releasing their sixth studio album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, in nearby Franklin, Tennessee, and this time around they’ve brought some friends, Norwegian metal band Kvelertak and, a band that I’ve really been getting into in the past several months, the French band Gojira. When I was looking at going to the concert, I actually hadn’t heard of Kvelertak, but a friend of mine described them to me as “blackened hard rock” before the show started. However, I was excited just to see Mastodon and Gojira on the same bill, and I was not disappointed in the least.