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")