If you were to jump onto Google and search for articles pertaining to the similarities between metal and classical music you’ll find more than enough to fill your head with bombastic glee. However, one thing I’ve noticed about all these articles is how they really don’t seem to focus on the finer points of the genres. You’ll read about similarities in composition, bombast, and themes. You’ll also see Beethoven and Vivaldi name dropped more than Black Sabbath on an poorly written doom metal review. You’ll also see plenty of links to metal bands that more or less lift direct compositions from said artist and rarely an artist that is doing something modern with the classical composition style in metal (cough.. Harlequin Forest by Opeth.. cough). But what about what I consider the most alluring aspect of each of the genres? The emotional impact.
Well, maybe the grandiose of the huge orchestras classical music makes it a tad difficult to really translate and compare to the more personal aspects of metal. How about we talk about the Baroque period and Chamber Music (which if you are unfamiliar, was music played more intimately with a minimum amount of performers). As famed composer Van Goethe puts it, chamber music is like “four rational people conversing.” Now, doesn’t that sound a lot more like most modern metal bands? Well, sometimes not always rational 😛
In my experience, a small gathering and conversation is always a lot more enlightening and personal than when gathered with a large group of people. Which in turn really works to tune into the finer details of whatever the intricacies of the conversation are. Just like in music for me. Of course I love the rush of huge metal compositions, but when it comes to grabbing me emotionally, the more laid-back approach taps into me more. Which, in turn, brings me to today’s album recommendation.
Playing music more akin to traditional Chamber Music than metal, Disemballerina really nail melancholic, emotional side of metal with perfection and present it in an very unique way. You won’t find any distorted guitars or thundering riffs on their record Undertaker, but you will find beautiful conversations and memories of souls and memories that have passed on. You will find sadness as well as hope; joy as well as depression. You will find emotion as well as passion. And above all, you will find something intimate.
To give you an example of how personal this album is, here is some of the notes taken from the info page of the record:
The breathing on this was the death rattle of a friend of mine recorded into a cellphone the last night she was alive. At the time this song was coalescing, I was working graveyard shift doing hospice care as a nurse assistant. “Sundowning” is a form of dementia unique to Alzheimer’s sufferers during the later hours of the night. I saw a lot of it on the job. This song is dedicated to all the elderly people I’ve cared for over the years who have passed on from this world. I’m tremendously lucky to have known all of you. -Myles
Ya, try to listen to that track and not shed a tear, especially if you’ve ever been close to a person with Alzheimer’s. And like I said, the record does has counter-balance, so odes to the Carpathian Forest (the place, not the band with the chubby Satanist guy) and Ozma of Oz help lighten the mood.
So, even without embracing the traditions of metal, Undertaker is one of the most metal records I’ve heard this year and I highly recommend popping some headphones on and giving this a spin when you happen to be in a pensive mood. As always, if you like what you hear, grab yourself a copy of the record and support the musicians. Let me know what you think of the music down in the comments. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Label: Pesanta Urfolk
Release Date: 15 May 2014
Length: 51 minutes
Genre: Dark Neoclassical Folk
Studio Albums: This is their debut album
Location: USA Read the rest of this entry →
Posted by Irmelinis
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Length: 80 minutes, 2 discs
Genre: Atmospheric depressive black metal (with many acoustic parts)
Previous releases: Neurasthénie, 2006 (under the name Niflheim), Il Était Une Forêt…, 2007
Recommended for fans of: Alcest, Agalloch, Sombres Forêts, Drudkh, Lantlôs, Forgotten Tomb
Thanks to one of our faithful readers I was turned onto this rocking band named Royal Thunder and have been spinning them very regularly since I got my hands on their debut record CVI. It’s great, you should listen to it if you haven’t yet (player included below). A totally engrossing slab of hard rock, stoner grooves, and at times trippy progressive and shoegaze tendencies. I had posted before that they had acoustic tracks floating around, but the acquisition method of running to various sites and news stands to hunt them down was a tad tedious. Luckily the 3 acoustic songs have just been released on Bandcamp and they are all excellent. Best part, they’re free! So check them out, what do you have to lose. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Royal Thunder are currently touring with Baroness in the USA during the summer and Europe in the autumn. Check dates here.
Rolling Stone (Yech!) is offering a free download of the kick ass Royal Thunder track “Parsonz Curse” in acoustic form. It’s really well done and I suggest you download it. It looks like Royal Thunder went into the studio and recorded an acoustic version of their debut record C.V.I. but only 3 songs have been released and the rest have no plans for a commercial release 😦 Anywho, you can download the acoustic version of “Parsonz Curse” from Rolling Stone HERE and “Black Water Music” via Pitchfork HERE. You can also grab “Whispering World” if you have the flexi-disc from July’s issue of Decibel (looks like I’ll be needing to take a visit to some remote newstand in the middle of nowhere that happens to carry the kick ass Decibel, or maybe just subscribe).
On 4/20 in a small town in Massachusetts some very lucky record store patrons were blessed with one hell of a performance by Opeth for the celebration of the International Record Store Day. Breaking out the grandpa guitars Opeth jammed out 5 tunes and I have to say, I just about like these renditions better than their album counter parts. Given that they are Opeth’s more mellow side, the new dynamic in the band works wonderfully with the older tunes. And how about that acoustic rendition of Demon of the Fall! Even without the brutality of harsh vocals and electric guitars Opeth still knows how to make a tune sound nice and evil.
Lucky for us someone was there to record the whole set and with surprisingly great audio and visual quality. Check it out and let us know what you thought. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
After I had heard that Djali Zwan cover of Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” I didn’t think acoustic lightning could ever strike twice with an Iron Maiden tune. And wrong I was. It struck twice and harder the second time around when my ears caught onto alt-country star Ryan Adams’ take on Maiden’s “Wasted Years”. Unlike the other cover, the shift into a more somber and stripped mood didn’t completely change the meaning of the song or make it depressing. Ryan’s arrangement still gleams with the positivity of the original but this time around it takes on a more everyman feel to it, something that even my mother could connect with (she’s not the biggest metal head in the world 😉 ). There is loads of emotion and passion added to the song, and that’s a lot given how charged the original is. I really don’t have much else to say about this song other than it gives me chills each time I listen to it. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Ryan Adams Version:
Original Iron Maiden Version:
The first time I heard this cover of one of Iron Maiden’s most celebrated songs, “The Number of the Beast”, it kinda of creeped up on me and caught me off guard. Me and a couple of buddies had rented a movie called Spun from the video shop (remember those?) and not to long after popping it in my ears and brain got a bit confused. I heard the moody acoustic guitars setting the rather depressing tone for the movie, but within a few seconds of the lyrics kicking I started saying this sounds really familiar. Didn’t take me long to catch on that the tune was an acoustic cover. And I don’t know if it was the context of the movie, which is about crystal meth addiction, or just an awesome job rearranging the song, but the lyrics of “The Number of the Beast” take on a whole new meaning in this cover. In the original Iron Maiden version they have a very literal feel to them as images of demons and monsters course through the mind. But here the demons that show themselves are grounded in real life alluding to the number of the beast being drug addiction.
If you have yet to see Spun, do check it out, it’s one hell of a mindrape of a movie filled with wacked out, yet sobering scenes and some terrific acting from Mickey Rourke, Jason Schwarzman, and Brittney Murphy (Trailer). Check out the cover and the original and let us know what you think of this take on The Number of the Beast. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Djali Zwan version:
Original Iron Maiden Version:
Due to the somewhat stupid double ‘v’ thing in their band name, I was slightly hesitant to go and check out Ancient Vvisdom. Man, what a horrible mistake it would have been if I didn’t. I really can’t say anything for the bands past work or if this record is a one off thing, but their upcoming album Deathlike (due to be released Feb. 4th) is simply tremendous. Almost entirely acoustic, this record is more metal than many of the metalest releases out there. Their style could best be compared to, ummm, Agalloch goes doom metal. But there are also some nice Americana and blues hues to the music as well as some infectious harmonies from both the guitars and vocals. And man does that low-end know how to bring the thunder. You can hear the whole album over at Terrorizer and I highly suggest you do so. My first impression has left me dumbstruck and I will certainly be grabbing Deathlike on release day. What was I saying the other day about the bar of metal being raised quite high quite early this year? Sounds like 2013 may be a landmark year yet again for metal fans. Fans of doom metal, Agalloch, and good music should not wait a second to listen. Gogogogogoogogogogo!!!!! Let us know what you thought! Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
(You can click on album cover above to go to the stream, or HERE)
For some reason, I seem to highly enjoy songs not sung in a language I speak. I think it may be the fact that I let the music put its own meaning behind the words that are being sung and I allow myself to make my own interpretation of the song without the writers words, only his/her emotions, hinting me in the direction of their intended meaning. Such is the case with such bands as Moonsorrow (who sing in Finnish) which make images of ancient battles being fought on the icy plains and frozen mountains of Scandinavia dance in my mind, or Finntroll‘s singing in the Swedish language, which will always be a silly sounding language to me thanks to the Swedish Chef, which brings thoughts of drunken trolls marauding through the countryside leaving mischievous destruction in their wake, or even Korpiklaani‘s upbeat use of the Finnish language(ya, I like Scandinavian bands) which make me think of a bunch of medieval farmers and woodworkers hanging out at the pub and enjoying a few pints of beer or mead and singing and dancing. Other than maybe a couple of liner notes in the CD booklet, I’m pretty much in the dark on the themes and meanings of the lyrics of said bands, and I am quite happy letting my imagination override the areas I am ignorant in. Now, onto Eluveitie‘s Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion.