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Old 11-12-2014, 04:10 PM   #101 (permalink)
 
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Amebix - Arise! (1985)



Track Listing:
1. The Moor
2. Axeman
3. Fear of God
4. Largactyl
5. Drink and Be Merry
6. Spoils of Victory
7. Arise
8. Slave
9. The Darkest Hour

I would admit that crust punk is a genre that I'm not too familiar with bar two or three bands. What I do quite like however is this wonderfully dark and snarling collection of songs by a band who I'm not quite sure are punk or metal. A mixture of both I guess, not that it really matters much. Amebix first came to my attention in a magazine article a few years back where Japanese black metal band Gallhammer were mentioning the albums which inspired them the most. One of the albums mentioned was Arise! and what caught my attention was that album cover. It's unclear what exactly it is but it's most likely depicting men going to fight a war, not very punk looking is it? When I first saw it I presumed that they were some kind of first-wave black metal band with a fixation on ancient warfare but after reading more about the band in more recent years I realised they were something different. However, other black metal bands, including Darkthrone, have cited the band as an influence on their music, so I guess I wasn't too far wrong.

The music itself is dark and menacing, just like the album cover. On first inspection this can sound like badly-played thrash metal with bad vocals. Whereas thrash metal was the result of metal being influenced by the intensity of punk, this album sounds more like punk being influenced by the darkness and heaviness of metal. The best word to sum up this album is apocalyptic. It sounds like it was recorded in some other parallel version of earth where the world is ruled by a totalitarian party and is the product of some secret underground subculture. The streets are hostile and dank, and there are shady people watching your every move.

The band can crank up the anger and intensity when they want to, on 'Fear of God' for example. Also on the fist-pumping 'Slave', which sounds like a rallying call against oppression. The whole album sounds like a rallying call or a call to arms, a call to rise up against the system and destroy it. The music can also be slow and menacing at times such as on 'Drink and Be Merry' and 'The Darkest Hour', which have an almost post-punk feel to them. 'The Darkest Hour' almost has a feel of defeat and damnation to it, stating clearly that “the darkest hour is always before the dawn.”

The production itself is gritty, ugly and dissonant. Perfectly suitable for this album and its contents. Don't expect mind-blowing musicianship on this album by the way, it's certainly not the point of it. Do expect a snarling and gritty ride into an underground world and a paranoid feeling that somebody could kill you at any minute.

Spoiler for Tunes:
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:03 PM   #102 (permalink)
 
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Metal on Metal

Something that always makes me smile is when a metal band has a song about metal, or some metal-related activity or something in some way connected with metal. The sense of don't-give-a-fuck-ness and total preoccupation with metal itself is as a cheesy as fuck but I find it entertaining none the less. I mean come on you don't get folk bands with songs banging on about how great folk music is.



Look at this for poetry, W.B. Yeats would be proud:

Murder in the front row crowd begins to bang
And there's blood upon the stage
Bang your head against the stage
And metal takes its price
Bonded by blood




Why not invent a genre while you're at it? Venom did it too sure and they were cool.



Again, poetry of the highest quality:

Metal madness engulfs the stage
In the pit you come of age
Let battle commence, no space for the weak
The thrasher's dreams are now complete




If you're going to write a song about metal you might as well overdo it, I mean really take it over the top. Come on it's the metal way to do it.
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Old 12-23-2014, 01:50 PM   #103 (permalink)
 
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I threw together a mix of some of my favourite songs of 2014. Wasn't a bad year I must say. Roll on 2015

Track Listing:
The War on Drugs - Under the Pressure
iamamiwhoami - Hunting for Pearls
Alvvays - Archie, Marry Me
A Sunny Day in Glasgow - MTLOV
Grouper - A Call Across Rooms
Sharon Van Etten - Our Love
Sun Kil Moon - I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love
Phantogram - Fall in Love
Cloud Nothings - I'm Not Part of Me
I Break Horses - Faith
Lantlôs - Melting Sun I: Azure Chimes
Triptykon - Tree of Suffocating Souls
Primordial - Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Myrkur - Nattens Barn
Solstafir - Dagmal
Anathema - Distant Satellites
The Antlers - Refuge

Listen on Spotify
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:22 PM   #104 (permalink)
 
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Alcest - Écailles de Lune (2010)



Track Listing:
1. Écailles de Lune - Part 1
2. Écailles de Lune - Part 2
3. Percées de Lumière
4. Abysses
5. Solar Song
6. Sur l'océan couleur de fer

I seriously love albums that can alter the way I look at a genre of music. By the start of 2010 I had lost a lot of interest in metal and was heavily into shoegaze, dream-pop and indie rock. Although I had already heard Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde I viewed it as a shoegaze album with a slight metal and post-rock influence. Hearing Écailles de Lune (Moon Scales) for the first time changed the way I looked at metal from that point on. The words 'beautiful', 'ethereal' and 'heartfelt' would not have slipped into my vocabulary when describing a metal album before this.

Listen to the reverb-drenched opening chords of the first track on this album and look at that album cover. The effect it has on you is like being transported to Neige's fantasy world, somewhere that is dark and haunting yet beautiful and dream-like. It's one of my favourite album covers of this decade so far and there couldn't be a better work of art to sum up the music contained within this album. The music itself feels influenced by so many different sources and gives me the impression that it does not care what genre it wants to fall into. It does not care about the boundaries of black metal and what black metal should sound like, yet the influence of black metal is clearly evident here. It draws heavily from the influence of shoegazing, yet it clearly does not want to be restricted by dense walls of guitar distortion and half-heard vocals. Even throughout the course of one track such as 'Écailles De Lune (Part II)' you can hear all these influences coming together and being allowed to naturally blend together to allow the music to take it's own course. The sound of harsh black metal-style vocals on top of uplifting and melodic layers of guitar distortion has never felt so natural while listening to this. Neither do the effortless shifts between harsh vocals and soft, breathy vocals, or the shifts between walls of distortion and quiet, atmospheric guitar interludes.

Even an album which defies genres like this isn't going to appeal to a lot of people. People suggesting that this is black metal being watered-down (and I have seen people online say this) are missing the point by a long shot. This is not trying to be a black metal album but rather an album acknowledging some of the qualities of black metal and using it in the creation of something else. A good example of musical evolution within the past ten years. Coming back to my original point about seeing a genre of music in a new way, this album opened up new areas for me and triggered a keen interest in finding musical artists that approached metal from non-metal angles, or artists that wanted to move metal into more untraditional territories, or non-metal artists being influenced by the atmospherics of black metal. Without this album I probably wouldn't have listened to Lantlôs, Les Discrets, Amesoeurs, Altar of Plagues, Drudkh, Deafheaven, Darkspace, Paysage d'Hiver, ColdWorld, Ulver, Woods of Desolation, Nadja, The Angelic Process, Have a Nice Life, Anathema, Agalloch, In The Woods..., Myrkur, Sólstafir and many others. I even find it hard to believe that this came out five years ago as it still sounds completely fresh to me and rewards me with something new each time I listen to it. I'm becoming ever more doubtful that Alcest will ever release anything near as good as this again.

Spoiler for Écailles de Lune - Part 1 and Percées de Lumière:
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:39 AM   #105 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Zer0 View Post
[CENTER]


This is not trying to be a black metal album but rather an album acknowledging some of the qualities of black metal and using it in the creation of something else. A good example of musical evolution within the past ten years. Coming back to my original point about seeing a genre of music in a new way, this album opened up new areas for me and triggered a keen interest in finding musical artists that approached metal from non-metal angles, or artists that wanted to move metal into more untraditional territories, or non-metal artists being influenced by the atmospherics of black metal. [CENTER]
Very well put sir! I can't say I've ever been much of a metalhead at all, but I do have a soft spot for artists who, as you say, move metal into more untraditional territories. Not sure how good of an example this is, but I've always had that impression about Eye Of the Storm by Neurosis, which has become a real favourite of mine in the years since I've had it.

Definitely gonna be checking this album out when I can, sounds pretty special judging by the videos. Good post.
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Old 03-04-2015, 05:25 PM   #106 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
Very well put sir! I can't say I've ever been much of a metalhead at all, but I do have a soft spot for artists who, as you say, move metal into more untraditional territories. Not sure how good of an example this is, but I've always had that impression about Eye Of the Storm by Neurosis, which has become a real favourite of mine in the years since I've had it.

Definitely gonna be checking this album out when I can, sounds pretty special judging by the videos. Good post.
Hey Bulldog long time no see! It's funny that you mentioned Neurosis because I also had A Sun That Never Sets in mind as I was typing some of this but I never mentioned it. Even though Alcest and Neurosis sound very different they've both done their bit to demolish the boundaries of metal, albeit Neurosis being more pioneering and exploratory.
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:38 AM   #107 (permalink)
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Hey Bulldog long time no see! It's funny that you mentioned Neurosis because I also had A Sun That Never Sets in mind as I was typing some of this but I never mentioned it. Even though Alcest and Neurosis sound very different they've both done their bit to demolish the boundaries of metal, albeit Neurosis being more pioneering and exploratory.
It's definitely an area of music I've become a lot more interested in more recently...I guess if you could slap a label on it, you'd call it avante-garde or post-metal, but I'm a guy who knows next to nothing about metal as a whole, so I couldn't imagine how out of touch saying that makes me seem! That Alcest post of yours struck a chord with me though, sounds like just the kinda thing I can see myself getting into.

And yeah, it's good to be back
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:21 PM   #108 (permalink)
 
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Alternative Ireland



I usually hate all that cheesy Paddy's Day crap but it doesn't stop me from having things that I love about my country.

We occasionally make good music too, so I decided to make a playlist with Irish artists that I enjoy.

Featuring...
Virgin Prunes, BATS, My Bloody Valentine, Rollerskate Skinny, A House, Cathy Davey, Language of Flowers, Lisa Hannigan, JJ72, Primordial, Mael Mórdha, Altar of Plagues, Mourning Beloveth, Slomatics, Whipping Boy, Villagers, SOAK, The Frank and Walters, Microdisney, Girl Band, God is an Astronaut, Butterfly Explosion, Enemies, Adebisi Shank, Solar Bears, Young Wonder, Dogmatic Element, Stiff Little Fingers, So Cow, Twinkranes and Brian.


Listen on Spotify
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:55 PM   #109 (permalink)
 
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Tears in the Typing Pool



In the past two years, my time spent on writing and expressing my thoughts about music has almost completely diminished. Not just through my life being busier with work, but also from staring at a blank piece of paper or a blank screen, not knowing how to express how I feel about a particular piece of music. Frustration got the better of me.

Now I’m just putting pen to paper and writing. What I’m writing has no aim or function. This is just writing for the sake of writing. I often wonder if I have better things to do. I seem to indulge in film, TV and books a lot more these days, taking away some time that I would normally spend listening to music. I can get the same emotional responses from films as I can from music. Or perhaps I should get out more, even though most of my friends have moved away or moved on. Typical of being an adult I guess.

So quite often I am left to amuse myself in the evenings when I get home from work, or during the weekends, or during holidays. Filling in my time with music, film, reading, and exercise. There is always family of course, they are always close by. But music offers me an escape. People have probably said the same thing countless times before. But it really does. Immersion in music. The isolationist escapism of black metal. The penetrating melodies of indie pop. The out of body euphoria of psytrance. The sombre introspection of sad music.

I should spend my free time being more creative, but quite often I find it difficult to focus my creativity. My outlets are limited yet unfocused. Creative writing only comes to me in short bursts like this. Tech stuff like app development, web development and being creative with coding seems less appealing these days. Maybe coding professionally has quenched my creativity in that area. I don’t want to spend my free time looking at more code after coming home from a frustrating day of looking at code.

Perhaps writing and expressing my thoughts more will do me some good. My outlets for expressing myself have diminished in recent years. Mainly from my own choice of wanting to distance myself from certain people and the drama that comes with them. I aim to reverse this. This will probably fall on deaf ears though, with no reward other than being able to express myself again.
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:39 PM   #110 (permalink)
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Ah, you just want to win this week's

dont'cha?

Seriously, good to see you trying to get back into writing. Remember, you can write about anything or nothing here. Look at Ki (no offence, guy but you know it's true) - he posts about albums he likes and writes barely a few words about them. You could try doing that. Or go off on a total tangent about something completely different, like I did with my "History of Ireland" journal. The world (at least, in here) is your lobster.
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