A couple of the songs that top my list for 2013 are rather long. They’re worth it, says Dark Metal Cat. Aeon Zen’s song is my ideal of what a prog metal song should be. Of course it leans strongly towards the prog quarter. The Wintersun song embodies just about everything I love about harder melodic metal. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in the last 64 years, 9 months and 5 days.
The shorter number by Diablo Swing Orchestra is so… out there… that it sets the bar for many types of experimental metal.
A small percentage of people of any age listen to metal. Probably an even smaller percentage listen to classical music. If you mix the two forms you risk bombing out completely. Fortunately bands like Dark Moor are masters of neo-classical integration.
Who was the master of pure integration? All you British, hands up for Newton. All you Germans, give a yell for Liebnitz. Of course a lot of the work both of them did was derivative.
When I started making my annual hit parade lists four months ago I knew Diablo Swing Orchestra and Leprous would be near the top a few times each. I expected one of them to be number one for 2006. When I was doing my bubble-sort and playing song against song, however, a bunch of guys from Finland leapt out of the forest and surprised every one of me.
When I think back to my earliest memories of music fandom, the most treasured and vivid ones linking back to before I even had the capability to record long-term memories were those of my time spent with my grandfather. I can still remember it like yesterday as me and my mother would take our frequent visits to my grandparents house and my Granpa would be sitting in his recliner with the A.M. radio blasting the various big band, swing, and jazz artists that he loved so much (his hearing wasn’t that great, so 11 was the only acceptable point on the volume knob). Glen Miller, Count Basie, Paul Whiteman, and the almighty Benny Goodman were some of his favorites that he used to like to talk at length about giving me synopsis on their music and little me would sit in that recliner next to him listening to music with him breaking to mimic the trumpet player from time to time. So, yeah, when it comes down to it, I feel I have to credit my Granpa for being the ultimate catalyst to my current and lifelong obsession with all kinds of music. He has returned to the Earth some years ago, but whenever I hear any of his favorite artists or their style it tends to reel those amazing memories back putting me on the verge of being misty eyed and landing an ear to ear smile on my face.
So, what does my beloved Granpa and his favorite music have anything to do with metal? Well, Sweden’s Diablo Swing Orchestra have a new album out called Pandora’s Piñata and as I listen to their swing laden brand of metal I can’t hold back thoughts of Granpa and how I may have finally found a metal band that we could listen to together and then would nod his approval at (which he would then proceed to tell me that they’re too loud, or ‘too sweet’ as he put it, giving me a nice warm smile and a wink).
When the descriptors ‘avant-garde’, ‘cross-over’, or ‘experimental’ gets tossed onto a metal band many people tend to look away as thoughts of music that is too strange for their tastes comes to their minds. And honestly, ya, sometimes that is often the case, but as always it is not de-facto. So, as par for the course, I’m going to highlight some avant-garde bands that are some quality listens and have an experimental style that will appeal to those that don’t like anything too strange (to an extent, there will be a couple deeper cuts). To take it a step further, the songs and bands in this collection will be more on an upbeat note leaning towards having fun with their music as they experiment with what can actually be done within the metal genre. So, call ’em avant-garde, experimental, cross-over, or WTF metal, but don’t say that they didn’t make you smile. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Have you ever had one of those moments where you hear a band for the first time and ask yourself ‘how in holy hell did I never hear of these guys before?’ Well for me within the first few seconds after stumbling on Sing-Along Songs For the Damned and Delirious by the Diablo Swing Orchestra I was asking myself that question. This is one of the most fun and freshest takes on crossover metal I’ve heard in years. They take big band, opera, and swing music and inject it until its gushing at the seams with glorious metal. The result is an absolutely raucous good time. It will make you want to headbang and throw chairs while you cut some mean rug with your best gal. If you’re open to hearing some totally unorthodox metal do not hesitate a second to check this band out. They also have an album that was released earlier this year called Pandora’s Piñata and I’m sure I will be grabbing that (along with this record) as quick as humanly possible as well as a debut record called The Butcher’s Ballroom (2006). Enjoy and leave your thoughts on the band. Did you love it, hate it, apathetic, does crossover metal annoy you? Peace Love and Metal!!