Monday, February 28, 2011

All Korned Up...

A band who is definately a conflict of taste amongst the Metal crowds around the world is KoRn. I have personally had a love and hate relationship with the band and it's music for years now, but I feel that there is enough between us for me to write this entry. You can hate Nu Metal all you want and bitch about the genre's rise, fall, mainstream appeal, 'lackluster musicianship' and Metal credentials until your throat dries up, but that doesn't change my opinion one bit.

I knew about the existence of KoRn several years before I actually heard the band, due to kids in middle school wearing their t-shirts in the mid 90's. At the time, my knowledge of music at the time consisted of what I heard on the local pop rock/r&b radio stations... so not very much, heh. I was more knowledgeable about the classic rock and roll stuff that my parents listen to courtesy of the local 'oldies' rock station they played in the car when we would drive around and I was fine with that. This is all fine and dandy for a nostalgia trip, but it really doesn't have much to do with my first musical exposures to KoRn, so let us skip ahead a few years.

High School was finally the period of time that brought modern music (most notably Harder Rock music) to my eardrums, regardless of the dismay is caused to the people I associated with at the time whom were mostly Pop and Hip-Hop fans. Like many people at the time, I first heard the band through our good friends over at MTV through the popular Total Request Live show (Yeah, I watched it. What of it ? Heh.) when "Got The Life" and the highly popular "Freak On A Leash" bombarded the mainstream with their catchy hooks and moderately aggressive vocals. I ran with the heard of like-minded new Rockers and picked up a copy of 'Follow The Leader' not long after. And you know, it still pisses me off that the first 12 tracks are just 5 second bits of silence!

Regardless, I enjoyed what I heard from the album, most notably tracks like "Dead Bodies Everywhere", "It's On", "Children Of The KoRn (Featuring Ice Cube)", "Got The Life" and "All In The Family (Featuring Fred Durst)". Although I initially liked "Freak On A Leash", it's overexposure wore it's welcome fairly quick and I rarely ever listen to the track (Although I still do love the video). Not too long after this, their fourth album, 'Issues', dropped like a bomb on the public, powered by the singles "Falling Away From Me", "Make Me Bad" and "Somebody Someone". To this day, this album is still my favorite and although my interest in KoRn have wavered over the years, it still gets fairly regular playtime. "Trash", "Make Me Bad", "Falling Away From Me", "4 U" and "Let's Get This Party Started" are definately the stand-out tracks for me. And from this point forward is where everything started it's downhill slide...

It was around this time that I felt that I liked the band enough to check out their first two albums, which I knew very little about. To be frank, I should've just stuck with what I knew (Although, with the way I explore music, it would've happened eventually anyways) as i'm not really of either release. I just cannot wrap my head around what so many people see in the debut, self-titled release. The production is crap at a lot of points (Probably not their fault), the musicianship is pretty weak (Minus certain bright spots) and the songs just aren't memorable to me. And I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that I can go without ever hearing "Blind" again. I have just never enjoyed the song and the fact that everyone thinks it's this amazing piece of music annoys me further. I guess the saving points for the release are definately "Clown", "Faget" and "Shoots & Ladders". And to this day i've still never listened to the track about him being molested as a child ("Daddy"), nor do I particularly care to. I listened to that sort of thing with Otep's "Jonestown Tea" and the context bothers me in an uneasy way.

The second album, 'Life Is Peachy', doesn't interest me either, but in it's defense I don't recall a lot of it. I don't ever want to hear "Twist" again (Nor should people use it as a ringtone, which i've heard on several occasions!), but the tracks "Wicked (Featuring Chino Moreno)", "Low Rider" and "A.D.I.D.A.S" are all enjoyable cuts. To this day, the biggest disappointment KoRn delivered to me was definately 'Untouchables'. I admittedly like "Here To Stay", "Hollow Life", "Wake Up Hate", "Thoughtless" and, to a lesser degree, "Beat It Upright' and "Bottled Up Inside"... but compared to the previous two albums, it's incredibly weak on all fronts. Without a doubt, this was the point where they fell from their fairly short-lived perch near the top of my favorite bands list and never came close to returning. 'Take A Look In The Mirror' is, without question, the best post-'Issues' release the band did. It's a nice punch in the face on a number of tracks, especially with "Counting On Me", "Right Now", "I Did My Time", "Break Some Off", "Everything I've Known" and the cheesy, but catchy "Ya'll Want A Single".

I don't have much to say about the three newest albums, aside from the fact that 'See You On Otherside' had catchy singles in "Twisted Transistor" and "Coming Undone", 'Untitled' had "Evolution", "Hold On" and "Kiss" and 'Korn III: Remember Who You Are' had... well, it had nothing... it was a shitty album. I do have to say that although I didn't really enjoy the albums too much, I appreciated the attempts with experimentation that they did on 'See You On The Otherside' and 'Untitled'. I really do, but the so-called attempt at a revival of their old sound that they achieved on 'Korn III' was a joke, plain and simple. Overall, I still appreciate KoRn for the few handfuls of tracks that I enjoy from the band, but their catalog has too much filler that I just can't look past in order to possibly see a competant and strong musical entity. I will always defend 'Issues' and 'Follow The Leader' (And I suppose 'Take A look In The Mirror' too) and that's that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

While All The Gods Were Sleeping, You Tried To Fool The Weak...

The combination of Metalcore and Deathcore has turned the modern Extreme Metal scenes into a gathering of underachieving, boring, tasteless pussies. I am not taking back a single thing I just said. Sure, like every other era in existence, there are exceptions to these allegations I have made. There are a few bands from both genres who actually seem somewhat inspired, regardless of how they've been pigeonholed into a comparison booth with bands who are complete shit. Deathcore has bands like Whitechapel and The Acacia Strain and Metalcore has bands like Darkest Hour, Walls Of Jericho and Ekotren. Although not much, there is at least a small blip of hope for these horrible excuses for musical genres. Deathcore is, at the very best, the retarded stepson of Death Metal who gets to spend their days getting beaten because of how much of a little bitch they are and, at the same time, how much of a disappointment they are to their far superior stepdad. It's a sad, sad story... but a very true one all the same.

And although the feeling will never be the same in Extreme Metal from before 1996, I can at least listen to Death Metal nowadays and not shudder. We've still got bands like Krisiun, Atheist, Bolt Thrower and Napalm Death (And a whole flock more who i'm forgetting to mention at this moment) trying to tear the world to shreds. So fuck your over-technical guitar playing that goes nowhere... fuck your lack of worthwhile songwriting ability... fuck your bullshit, hardcore-style vocals mixed with unemotional clean singing... fuck your style, fuck your clothing, fuck your colorful band shirt, fuck your breakdowns, fuck your and most of all... fuck you. By the way... early Death Metal, albeit brutal, had a hidden fun vibe. They were enjoying what they are doing. And not showing enjoyment in a retarded, overflamboyant way like that jackoff guitarist of Killswitch Engage, Adam Dutkiewicz (Who is also responsible for producing some of the worst modern Metal records in existence. Thanks a lot, asshole!)... these guys were making something new, something fresh and something that got pulled almost straight out of thin air (Although, obviously, there were some influences from early Hardcore Punk, Crust Punk and Thrash Metal) and they were having a great time doing it.

It will (Most likely) never have that feeling again, however... I refuse to sit quietly by while the brutality and enjoyability of Extreme Metal gets tarnished by a bunch of jackasses. I am going to, very simply, shoot you all into the sun. It will be glorious.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Enter The Droids!

In every musical genre that I listen to there are at least a handful of bands whom for the most part have one amazing album and a bunch of albums that I would genuinely like more if that one album wasn't so fucking amazing. I'm sure other people have this happen too. It's not my fault that they made a masterpiece and it overshadows a good portion of the rest of their work! But anyways, i'm going to focus on a few bands whom have squirmed their way into my long list of favorites and mostly just because of a single fantastic release.

For the most part, as i've mentioned before, most of my favorite 'Old School' Death Metal bands came out of Florida. One particular band is a Tampa outfit that was formed in the late 80's by former Morbid Angel drummer Mike Browning. The band Nocturnus was a band that I wasn't familiar with at all until I came across the Choosing Death book that i've mentioned before. I love music-related books, but that one is definately a favorite and was what turned me into the Death Metal fiend I am today. But anyways, Nocturnus was one of the first Death Metal bands to use synthesizers/keyboards and they are an essential part of their sound and not cheesy in the least, which was pretty hard to find at the time. Their first album, 'The Key', is definately one of my favorite Death Metal albums of all time and definately set high expectations for their other two albums. But, as expected with the topic of this post, they didn't reach those levels that I was looking for. Every single song on 'The Key' is complete earcandy to me and the level of technicality they use with their guitars, all the while writing really well-crafted songs with good amounts of Death Metal-esque hooks and melding the synthwork perfectly with the rest of the music is astonishing and I will never grow tired of this album, although it does sadden me a little that this was Nocturnus' peak and it was their first offering. I can only use so many terms to describe my satisfaction with their music, so I will post some music below to show you what I mean. And for all of you production babies out there, 'The Key' was released in 1990 and was in a genre that was just coming up and recorded with probably not a whole lot of money, so shut your mouths right now!

Outside of the Death Metal scene there are a bunch of good examples of bands who also fit the aforementioned criteria. Not everyone's preferred band of choice, but the band Breaking Benjamin fits into this category as well. Yes, i'm bringing a Hard Rock/Nu Metal band into the mix after talking at length about Nocturnus... deal with it! The bands first album, 'Saturate', is a well-crafted, hook-laden Aggressive Rock album that has nothing bad songwise at all. It also helps that I am a big fan of the band Lifer and two of their members would go on to help form Breaking Benjamin before this album's recording. Tracks like "Medicate", "Home", "Sugarcoat" and the lead single "Polyamorous" are all ridiculously catchy (I know some of you get a little bit of vomit in your mouth when hearing catchy Hard Rock, but you'll survive, I promise) and the band doesn't get boring and each track stands well on it's own, even the incredibly mellow numbers. Unfortunately, more so than Nocturnus (Their second album, 'Thresholds' is at least somewhat enjoyable in comparison to 'The Key'), Breaking Benjamin just lost any balls they had after this album. Every album since it's release has been disappointment after disappointment and it's a severe annoyance to me and my ears!

Back into the Extreme Metal ring, two heavyweights whom just couldn't pull the weight I was looking for outside of a single album were Death and Morbid Angel. I know many people hold these bands to ridiculously high standards and talk about their discography likes sacred tablets, but outside of 'Scream Bloody Gore' from Death and 'Altars Of Madness' from Morbid Angel, I just don't see any real interesting material. Don't get me wrong though, I absolutely love those two albums I just mentioned, especially 'Altars Of Madness'. The guitarwork on that album is up alongside bands like Massacre and Nocturnus in my mind. It is, like those other two bands, some of the most unhuman sounding guitarwork i've heard. And before anyone mentions it, I am aware that a band like Dragonforce may play some ridiculous material at blinding speeds, but fuck them and shut up! It's a completely different sense of technicality and unlike a band like Dragonforce, these bands could write fantastic songs to go with their ridiculous guitar playing and, as well, make their songs sound different from one another. I've heard Dragonforce albums and in their case it is the exact opposite, so the argument is completely invalid. Anyways, I will talk a little more about this at a later date i'm sure, as there are a number of bands who could be included alongside these other bands, but i'm lazy. So here's some music to coincide with the postings...

Nocturnus - 'Lake Of Fire' (From their 1990 release "The Key")

Nocturnus - 'Undead Journey' (From their 1990 release "The Key")

Nocturnus - 'Andromeda Strain' (From their 1990 release "The Key")

Breaking Benjamin - 'Home' (From their 2002 release "Saturate")

Breaking Benjamin - 'Phase' (From their 2002 release "Saturate")

Breaking Benjamin - 'Sugarcoat' (From their 2002 release "Saturate")

Morbid Angel - 'Immortal Rites' (From their 1989 release "Altars Of Madness")

Death - 'Zombie Ritual' (From their 1987 release "Scream Bloody Gore")

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Can Feel The Machines...

It began in my earlier, less musically-smothered years, but my ears and mind always found an interest in the crossing of Industrial music with the Hard Rock genre. Like most individuals, this started with exposure to genre-leaders like Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Stabbing Westward. Over the years, I would try out many different bands recommended to me, but to my dismay I found a lot of really weak musical entities that just made a handful of half-assed albums. However, like any genre that I enjoy, searching and digging did bring out some bands which have climbed up my favorite band charts (Regardless of genre) over the years, especially in recent times.

The first one to discuss is a band out of Tuscon who actually started at about the same time that Nine Inch Nails did (They were also friends with Trent Reznor, who would remix two of their tracks for single releases) called Machines Of Loving Grace. Upon first exposure to this band I admittedly didn't really like them, but that's partially due to the fact that I actually grabbed their debut album first, which is still my least favorite of the band's three releases. Some time later, although still recalling my dislike for the band's material, I checked out the song "Butterfly Wings" from their second album, Concentration and try as I may, I couldn't dismiss the fact that the song was quite infectious. So, in turn, I let down my barrier in regards to the band, grabbed the Concentration album and slowly began turning into a fan of the band. What really connected with me was a little while later when I dove into their third release, Gilt, which is much more of a guitar-driven effort and absolutely fell in love with the album. From start to finish, every song has something that I like, something that pulls me back and something that makes me scratch my head in terms of trying to figure out why this band didn't break through into the mainstream and become popular (And keep going!), especially seeing as the albums were released in 1991, 1993 and 1995, which is when this sort of music was at it's popular peaking thanks to bands like Nine Inch Nails. I don't get it, I never will and it isn't a constructive use of time to dwell on it.

But anyways, we'll discuss their music a little further. After getting into the two later albums, I did go back and find appreciation for their first (Self-titled) release. The opening track, "Burn Like Brilliant Trash (At Jackie's Funeral)" (I think the name is stupid too, don't worry), "X-Insurrection", "Rite Of Shiva" and "Terminal City" are definately the best songs on the album and really stand out (It also makes sense, seeing as 3 of those songs were released to radio as singles) from the rest, although the album as a whole is an enjoyable listen all the way through.

Their second album, Concentration, is definately a stronger effort in many ways. The band sounds tighter overall, the production is much better (Although it's not really the bands fault for the production level on their first album, as the label just released their already recorded demo without any revising, which is stupid) and songs just sound both catchier and more interesting. This is the album that should've put them high up on the Industrial Rock charts but, as i've already mentioned, it never happened. The lead singles "Butterfly Wings" and "Perfect Tan (Bikini Atoll)" were perfect for the genre at the time (And although they did okay, it's merely not giving the songs enough justice) and the final single "If I Should Explode" (Which is, actually, my favorite song on the album and possibly my favorite overall song from the band) should be loved by all fans of the genre. I demand it! But the singles weren't all the album had to offer, as songs like "Lilith/Eve", "Albert Speer", "Limiter" and "Shake" were also fantastic songs that would've fit right in with anyone's love for early Nine Inch Nails work like Pretty Hate Machine.

Their final album (And my personal favorite), Gilt, is a terrifically done, guitar-heavy Industrial Rock album that has absolutely nothing bad going on at all. Songs like "Richest Junkie Still Alive", "Kiss Destroyer", "Suicide King", "Tryst" & "Solar Temple" have fairly quickly become some of my absolute favorite Industrial-tinged songs amongst my collection. Everything has loads of guitars, loads of effects, lots of high-end electronics and loops and hard hitting drumwork. What more could you really ask for ? Nothing! Now shut up and listen!

'X-Insurrection' (From their 1991 release "Machines Of Loving Grace")

'Burn Like Brilliant Trash (At Jackie's Funeral)' (From their 1991 release "Machines Of Loving Grace")

'Butterfly Wings' (From their 1993 release "Concentration")

'If I Should Explode' (From their 1993 release "Concentration")

'Golgotha Tenement Blues' (From The Crow Soundtrack, released in 1994)

'Richest Junkie Still Alive' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

'Suicide King' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

'Tryst' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

'Solar Temple' (From their 1995 release "Gilt")

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Might Be Bleeding, But I'm Still Breathing...

There is a level of aggression deep down inside every one of us. Deny it all the fuck you want, it is right there and every once in a while it is going to pop it's dirt covered face out to wish you a good day. Or maybe that's just the homeless man you ran down a few weeks back lodged underneath your car. You're a terrible person and i'm glad all of that bad stuff happened to you!

Anyways, aggressive music has always been at the forefront of my listening patterns, regardless of what time of the year it is. Yes, in the darker, colder months I tend to spin a lot of depressing and gloomy Doom Metal and stuff of that nature, but there is still a need for fury and hatred spilling out of my speakers and that desire, hopefully, will never die...because honestly I love it. Not the feeling of anger, but just the adrenaline rush that the music can give you, given the correct timing and need.

From an early age, I used bands like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails as my major outlet. They worked for the time and still do on occasion (Seriously, who the fuck can't get behind Nine Inch Nails' 'Somewhat Damaged' when they're pissed ?), but I was yet to really find anything that was just pure anger and hatred. I was too young and my friends at the time were almost no help ("Maybe you should listen to some Everclear." 'Maybe you should fucking hang yourself!' [I would like to note that I actually don't have an issue with Everclear.]). Everything changed when I relocated to Vernon, Connecticut in the beginning of 2001. My first exposure to something completely outside of my pre-rendered mindset was through a friend of mine named Dave Chapman. We were good buddies while I was living in Manchester and when I moved we would hang out and i'd sleep over here and there, as friends at that age do.

He exposed me to a band that would forever spiral me further into the dark and the aggressive and show me sounds that I had yet to hear at that point. At some point, on a trip, he had obtained the "From The Cradle To Enslave" EP from a British Melodic Black Metal band by the name of Cradle Of Filth. This was completely new to me and what I heard in that album...I was changed. And, unlike a lot of people who are exposed to material like that for the first time, I was completely engulfed in it. They were dark...they were was pure evil to my ears (At the time). What sold me was the opening (and title) track 'From The Cradle To Enslave', their cover of Anathema's 'Sleepless' and their cover of Massacre's 'Dawn Of Eternity'. I've never been a Misfits fan and I never will be, but I enjoy their rendition of 'Death Comes Ripping'. Years later I would feel that this album's version of 'Funeral In Carpathia' to be one of my favorite songs from the bands catalog, but I hadn't paid much attention to it at this point.

Still, I was sold. And given the fact that I was recently exposed to illegally downloading music (Naughty boy!), I quickly snatched up their "Midian" album and it blew me away (And has remained my favorite to this day). Now, at this time, I actually was very new to finding my own music, so exploring further into the realms of Metal (Regardless of genre) wasn't quite in the cards yet. I had quickly developed a friendship with another Metal fan of the area, Brandon Getty, who was aware of many bands that I was not (Although, years later, my knowledge would surpass his own, although we still both knew a good amount that the other did not) and who showed me a different perspective on how I should feel about music. At the time, I was (I can admit this, although it is a sad admittance) being unfairly dismissing of mainstream bands who my friends also talked crap about. Even if I don't know the band, or even maybe liked a song I heard on the radio, I still talked shit. I regret it, but I didn't know any better at the time and being socially awkward for many years, I was trying my best to fit in. But one day, somewhere along the line, it all clicked and I no longer cared what others thought about the music I listen to (And I still don't. Suck it!).

So anyways, on to this relationship's saga. Brandon, although he doesn't realize it, was partly responsible for pushing me in a more Metallic direction, although I dismissed many of the bands he tried to showcase to me at the time. Also, at the time, Nu Metal was having it's reign atop the music world and I was more interested in that then hearing about this or that Death/Thrash Metal band who barked about nonsense (To me at the time). I recall him trying to show me Slipknot (I wouldn't like this band until I actually saw them live at Ozzfest in 2001 and their performance blew me away. "Iowa" is still an amazing album to my ears, I don't care how much of a bitch you are about Slipknot and their mainstream success.) and I hated it. Same with Cannibal Corpse and Cryptopsy. Years later, I would embrace both of the aforementioned bands (Well, early Cryptopsy anyways.), but here...I wasn't having any of it. He was also the first person to show me Soilwork, who I also dismissed (Although I was secretly intrigued by their melody.).

Another friend would come along in Jesse Lee, who was a much more diverse Metal fan who showed me a band that would end up becoming a favorite of mine in Strapping Young Lad (Along with Devin Townsend's solo material, which I also love a lot of.). I did my best at the time to find bands on my own, but I still wasn't ready and there were very few bands that I found on my own that I really enjoyed (The main exceptions from the time era that I can recall were Graveworm, All Shall Perish, Jack Off Jill and Mnemic). It wouldn't be until I moved back to Manchester when I really found my flow and I slowly, but surely, became engrossed in the Metal world and Aggressive music in general. Finding sites like Last.FM, Metal Archives and the other various little niches in the corners of the internet, I would easily be able to take the bands I already knew, find similar bands, listen to online radio stations specializing in the 'genres' I was looking into and whatnot and the supply is neverending and I will never get to hear every band from the various genres that I like that I would find enjoyment in. Too many, too little time....ain't gonna happen.

I suppose this blog could lead into my earlier posted 'Old School' Death Metal blog, so I'll stray from that genre for the time being. It wasn't long before bands like Immortal, In Flames, Gorgoroth, Hypocrisy, Arch Enemy, Fear Factory and similar acts started showing up on my radar and I ate it up like there was no tomorrow. Now, before I get any further, I must discuss that with my love of Aggressive music, I have a heavy soft spot for the more Aggressive bands that are tossed under the 'Nu Metal' moniker. They may not have the musical talent that a lot of the 'True' Metal bands had, they may have had angsty and (sometimes) childish lyrics and they may occassionally using rapping techniques within their vocal stylings, but I love it all the same. And whether that takes away from my respectability as a Metal fan, I could really care less. It's stupid and the debate shouldn't exist ever. Every genre has so-called 'posers', but for someone to interpret my vast array of listening as being someone who could be described as that is ridiculous and you're probably an idiot and no one will ever love you and i'm glad that Football player stole your lunch money and kicked your ass! But yeah, bands like No One, Coal Chamber, Limp Bizkit, Slaves On Dope, American Head Charge and a ton of others.....they heavily appealed to me in my more aggressive moods. Deny their credibility all you want, but who hasn't felt the way the lyrics go in Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" or American Head Charge's "Coward" or Slaves On Dope's "Pushing Me" at least a few times. That's right, shut up!

But anyways, this was about Aggressive music and I feel that I made my points and I have no desire to beat a dead horse, so here's some music. Now go away!

Gorgoroth - 'Carving A Giant' (From their 2006 release "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam")

Cradle Of Filth - 'From The Cradle To Enslave' (From their 1999 release "From The Cradle To Enslave")

Cryptopsy - 'Slit Your Guts' (From their 1996 release "None So Vile")

Cannibal Corpse - 'Hammer Smashed Face' (From their 1992 release "Tomb Of The Mutilated")

Hypocrisy - 'Fearless' (From their 2005 release "Virus")

No One - 'Down On Me' (From their 2001 release "No One")

Slaves On Dope - 'Fallout' (From their 2000 releases "Inches From The Mainline")

American Head Charge - 'Cowards' (From their 2004 release "The Feeding")

Mnemic - 'Jack Vegas' (From their 2004 release "The Audio Injected Soul")

Limp Bizkit - 'Full Nelson' (From their 2000 release "Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water")

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

For Funerals To Come, When All Laughter Has Gone...

The genre of 'Doom' Metal is foreign to many people across the globe and it will continue to be after this post. The end! Oh wait, no, I was going to write a blog. It's all coming back to me now...

About 8 years ago I was exposed to a little band out of Halifax called My Dying Bride by a friend of mine named Jesse. The style I saw in the band was both new and familiar at the same time, but it wouldn't be until a few years later when this band really latched on to my jugular and refused to let go. Fast forward to 2004. I knew very little of the band or their legacy and the only material I had heard was 'The Cry Of Mankind' (But really, what My Dying Bride fan doesn't hear that as one of their first songs ?) along with a few scattered tracks from their "Like Gods Of The Sun" album. I enjoyed it, but I was busy with other genres to care too much. In February of 2004, My Dying Bride finally dug their nails into me with the fantastic release of "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light". I was captivated by songs like 'A Doomed Lover', 'The Blue Lotus', 'Prize Of Beauty', 'Catherine Blake' and 'The Wreckage Of My Flesh'. As the time would approach for me to take part in my year long agony of working a 3rd shift grocery job (Some people can deal with it, but I cannot and never will again!), I became to grow more interested in this foreign genre of 'Doom' Metal and it's numerous subgenres. I basically went after anything I could find that was categorized as 'Doom', even if it turned out to be utter shit.

It was through my diggings that I came across the bleakest genre of them all (Well, in some regards I suppose Dark Ambient could give the genre a run for it's money), 'Funeral Doom' Metal. Although I had a friend who was already into Shape Of Despair, I sought out something darker... something bleaker... something that had no trace of hope or peace. Grim, I know, but this was my goal. Although there are a lot of bands that can be easily overlooked within the subgenre, I did find several bands who I would come to love and hold on a monolithic level (Until Skepticism released that bland affair that was late 2008's "Alloy") for quite some time. Skepticism was the first, followed by Dolorian, Ahab, Despond, The Funeral Orchestra, Woods Of Belial, Wormphlegm, Tyranny, Mournful Congregation & Mistress Of The Dead.

I collected everything I could from these bands, although finding physical copies of a lot of their albums is ridiculously difficult. All the same, I needed to hear more and I did expand, but before long my 'Doom' Metal days began dwindling (Possibly because Summer was approaching and listening to that style of music in 90 degree weather seems to knock the mood and atmosphere out of the picture) and wouldn't fully return for a good period of time to come.

Recently I found myself picking through this and that to listen to and Dolorian's "Voidwards" album popped out at me. It was a cool evening and it was dark and I found myself a bit down, so I put it on my iPod, laid down with my headphones and just laid there. The feeling I got from absorbing the album into me was pure ecstasy's actually really hard to describe it. It was, for one glorious hour, a perfect series of moments. Nothing in the whole world bothered me even in the slightest. There was not a single track on the album that didn't perfectly fit in this moment and not a single track that I didn't fully enjoy.

This pushed me back into my need for absorbing this sort of material, but i'm looking at it from a different perspective (Again, hard to explain, but just keep listening) and a less depressing scenario. This also became the first period of time where I actually listened to Dolorian's other two releases and they're magnificent all the same. It only happens every once in a while, but sometimes digging through piles and piles of underground material does infact bring up the most unbelievable of gems. I could go more in-depth with this genre and my feelings on more bands within it, but for now I will cut this fairly short.

There are lots of genres that I enjoy (Obviously), but there are certain albums within this genre that just....take me to another place. The albums do not seem like they could've actually been created by just some mere mortal. And I know, written in a blog here that seems silly to say, but it is how I feel about a very small percentage of musical creations. Dolorian's "Voidwards" and Skepticism's "Lead And Aether" are amongst this very small grouping, along with stuff like Lustmord's "Zoetrope" (A single person Dark Ambient project from England) and Sunn O)))'s "Black One" (A Drone Metal band out of Seattle, Washington). I will always love my Nu Metal albums, my Industrial Rock albums and my Alternative Rock albums...but these's just something completely different that I get out of them. But I feel that they would be less special if I could completely explain the feelings I they're safe for now.

Oh and....subscribe to my shit, motherfuckers!

Dolorian - 'Dual - Void - Trident' (From their 2006 release "Voidwards")

Dolorian - 'Raja Naga-Rising' (From their 2006 release "Voidwards")

Skepticism - 'The Falls' (From their 1998 release "Lead And Aether")

Sunn O))) - 'It Took The Night To Believe' (From their 2005 release "Black One")

Lustmord - 'Descent' (From their 2002 release "Zoetrope")

Despond - 'Rains' (From their 2003 release "Supreme Funeral Oration")

Woods Of Belial - 'Halla' (From their 2003 release "Deimos XIII")

Ahab - 'Old Thunder' (From their 2006 release "The Call Of The Wretched Sea")

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Despair Of David Reilly

Back in the mid to later years of High School my favorite band was the overly depressing Industrial Rock unit Stabbing Westward. There was absolutely no question in my mind and they eclipsed Nine Inch Nails & Marilyn Manson (Both prior favorites) in my opinion. Years would pass and my interest in the band would lessen and lessen, due to both growth and my heavy overplaying of the bands 4 albums. Even the recent announcement of a reunion tour merely sparked interest for a few days and then I no longer really cared. Yes, I will go if it happens, mostly for nostalgia's sake, but it still finds it way at best midway up my interest plateau.

When I was younger, there were other Industrial/Electronic Rock bands that made waves in one way or another that crossed my listening path. Several I liked, several I didn't care for. Of the ones I liked, there were such bands as Econoline Crush, Gravity Kills, Pitchshifter, Filter, Godhead, VAST & Zeromancer. Other bands I heard, but lacked any real interest in, such as Machines Of Loving Grace, KMFDM, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, 16Volt, Depeche Mode and a little group from Pennslyvania called God Lives Underwater. Now, I still think very low of KMFDM, Ministry & Skinny Puppy, but the rest I at least like.

Now if you're familiar with the last band I mentioned, God Lives Underwater, then you know the name David Reilly and you already could have guessed what this entry was going to be at least somewhat about. Good for you, now shut up and keep reading!

While in my heavy Industrial/Electronic Rock hunting phase, someone who knew I really liked Stabbing Westward supplied me with a few tracks from God Lives Underwater, whose name I had previously heard mentioned, but I was unfamiliar with the bands material or what they even really sounded like. I was supplied with their lone hit 'From Your Mouth' (If anyone watched MTV in the 90's you probably saw this video, which displayed a reverse video of a man eating hot dogs. How gloomy!), a David Bowie cover in 'Fame' and a couple other tracks which I don't recall at the moment. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. Infact, I straight out did not like it, especially the 'Fame' cover.

Years would pass and my musical library would increase and for some reason that I cannot remember, I decided to give this band of Electro-Rockers a second chance, as I had just seen that their long delayed new album (Which would be their final album, titled "Up Off The Floor") had been leaked onto the internet and I scooped it up. What I would hear would be a bit more of a different band altogether and fairly quickly my previous impressions of the band were diminished. Now, the first two tracks on the album, 'White Noise' and 'Tricked', caught my attention, but it was a song near the end of the album called 'Miss You More Than Anything' (How could I not immediately dart to a track named that ?) that put the nail in the coffin for me. I was sold. It would be a while before I actually further explored the rest of the bands albums, but I really enjoyed "Up Off The Floor" (And I don't fucking care how many of you GLU fanboys and fangirls don't like it. You can suck it!) and I listened to it on a semi-regular basis.

Some more years would pass and it was around this time when I became an overnight grocery stocker. A boring, monotonous job which I would spend 8 hours of with my headphones on. Hey, at least there was a plus there! But it was during this time when I got more of a chance to listen to a lot of the music I didn't have enough time to explore during the daylight hours of working a normal workshift. It was during this time when I found myself listening to God Lives Underwater's second release, "Empty". Unbeknownst to me, this album had a couple of minor hits on it, I had just never heard them (Mostly because I missed the mid 90's Alternative wave by a few years). This album struck further chords with me with the song '23', which I felt spoke directly to me at the time (And I still really like the song and feel some relation to the lyrics here and there.). I mean, really, how could a moderately depressed and single 21 year old not find comfort in the following ?

I'm breathing the air. the air I always breathe.
I don't have a lot. I want someone to share it with me.
I really only want a few things. They've all been taken away.
What does the next life bring? I just want to feel okay.
I'm searching forever. For someone or something.
I want to feel high. I want someone to love me.
I've spent 23 years now. Trying to get by.
Other people make it day to day. I still wonder why.
I really only had a few things. They all turned to tears.
One tried to kill me. The other kept me here.
I'm still here.

I mean, really. But yeah, so '23' was another shock to my system at the time, along with other album cuts in 'No More Love', 'All Wrong' & 'Empty'. It was around this time that I finally spun "Life In The So-Called Space Age" and although I find it to be the weakest of their 3 full lengths (Their first release was a self titled EP, which I as well enjoy), it is a good album. This album does though have my 3rd favorite GLU song in 'Happy?', which I feel fits perfectly alongside '23' and 'Miss You More Than Anything'.

I was unaware at this time (Remember, God Lives Underwater had been broken up for a little while by this point) that David Reilly, GLU's singer, had passed away in October of 2005. I was also unaware that right before he died, he had pretty much completed his second solo album (Hell, I didn't even know he had made a first one) and that it wouldn't be until early 2010 that the album would finally see the light of day. One day in 2009 I had remembered seeing something about a friend of David's writing a book about his experiences with him and in the midst of a minor GLU kick that I was on, I spent some extra money and bought the book along with all the extra things he was including in the highest tier package (Some bootlegs, an acoustic solo show David did and a couple of interviews).

The book, which although not a God Lives Underwater biography, went into a lot of emotional detail surrounding David and this writers affiliation and long standing friendship with the musician. I tend to get wrapped up in well written books anyways, but this one was an especially hard read as I began to feel connections with the people in the story and everything leading up to his young death at age 34. There's something that adds an extra aura of sorrow when you're listening to a singer who you really like who is no longer a part of this realm. Death doesn't bother me all too much most of the time, but sometimes it can strike a nerve and in this situation... it did.

After I finished the book (I went through it in like 3 days, I could not bring myself to put it down until I was just too tired to look at words anymore, heh.), I finally got around to checking out the extra material sent to me. The first thing I checked out (And still my favorite) was the recording of David Reilly's solo acoustic show, which showed him playing both solo material and GLU songs. I enjoyed the song 'Whatever You Got' prior to hearing this show, but it wasn't a favorite and I tended to go past it in favor of other songs while listening to the band. However, it was during this set where he couldn't get himself past the first line of the song after 3 attempts because he would get choked up due to a line in the song finding relation to his recently killed girlfriend. After hearing this, listening to the song has never been the same experience and it although a very depressing scenario, it added a whole new dimension to the track that I had not previously grasped.

A few months later (I had actually forgotten about this being mentioned to me), a copy of his second solo album, "How Humans R(x)" came to me in the mail from the book writer. I got one of 100 actual copies of the album and it will never leave my collection. Very exciting for me, leave me alone about it! Anyways, the album absolutely blew me away (I had heard his first album, which was a mere 6 tracks, and although it was good, it didn't really strike that big of a chord with me). Yeah, that's it! But yeah, the first actual song on the album ('My Til Tomorrow') easily became one of my favorite songs ever after a mere 5 times hearing it. It's really that good (To me). The rest of the album is solid for the most part and there are a heavy amount of good songs which speak to me on an emotional level, which I can relate to and see clearly. I love that about songs, I don't care if no one else does.

That's pretty much the end of my tale here. God Lives Underwater went from a band I quickly dismissed to possibly my favorite band out of the entire Electronic/Industrial Rock spectrum and David Reilly became one of my favorite singers/songwriters. The end! Oh yeah and per usual, you get some music relating to the entry below. Enjoy it!

David Reilly - 'My Til Tomorrow' (From his 2010 release "How Humans R(x)")

God Lives Underwater - '23' (From their 1995 release "Empty")

God Lives Underwater - 'Miss You More Than Anything' (From their 2004 release "Up Off The Floor")

David Reilly - 'Crazier Than Me' (From his 2010 release "How Humans R(x)")

God Lives Underwater - 'All Wrong' (From their 1995 release "Empty")

God Lives Underwater - 'Fly On The Windscreen' (From a Depeche Mode Tribute Album)