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Witchcraft, Psycadelia, Demons, and Rock and Roll: Modern Occult Metal/Rock


tumblr_m890emZaMW1rcleymo1_500Lately I’ve found myself rather infatuated with this style of music that I’ve seen go by many names.  From Vest Metal to non-cheesy chick vocalist bands to simply Psychedelic Rock it has found a bevy of tags, all work fine, but I prefer to tag it as Occult Metal/Rock in my organization of my music.  The theme of the occult, witchcraft, the Devil (note: I am nothing close to a Satanist, heck, I don’t even believe in ‘God’, so his counterpart is null and void.  I just really like the mysticism and style of the music), and all that wonderful stuff are the points that tie all these bands together besides a very retro sound highly inspired by the psychedelic rock of the Woodstock generation.  Since really taking the dive into Occult Metal over the summer I’ve found myself with a good amount of great bands I’d love to share with you all.  If you find yourself a fan of classic rock from bands like Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Coven, and Jefferson Airplane and also have a taste for prog and doom metal/rock, this should be right up your alley.  Enjoy and if you know any other bands that would fit into this category, please let me know, this is an area of my collection I’d love to expand further.  Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Slammin’ Spotify Spotlight: S/T by Jess and the Ancient Ones


jataoSo, I’m going to try something new today.  As you may have noticed, I like album streams and find things like Bandcamp are a great way for artists to get their music out there and into the ears of those who may like it.  I also like them because they let you decide if you like an album enough to warrant a purchase.  Trusting someone else’s opinion on a record is one thing, but forming your own is priceless.  Besides the wonderful Bandcamp, another streaming service with a huge catalog of established, independent, and up and coming acts is Spotify.  I finally started using the program/service a couple of months ago and have fallen head over heels for it.  The catalog of what is available is massive, and the occasional 30 second radio commercial isn’t too intrusive and is fine with me given the insane amount of music I can listen to for free with the service (paid commercial free plans are available).  Besides using it to go back and check out some classic albums that I have missed over the years, I’ve been using it to discover new music with its radio station function (the Opeth station is the best radio station ever).  With all this music I discovered in there and my natural tendancy to want to tell the world about the latest band I heard and thought was kick ass, this column is born.

While there is a ton of big name music on the service and I will occasionally post about them, Slammin’ Spotify Spotlight will focus on albums that you may not have heard.  Between this and the Tales From Bandcamp posts, I hope to help you all discover tons of great music to listen to and hopefully you will chime in down in the comments with what YOU think of the album on topic as well as making suggestions to bands you feel worthy of getting posted about.  And as with the Bandcamp posts, I will be doing my best to keep the variety of hard rock/metal as diverse as possible, so fans of different genres can find something they like (or if you’re like me, just find some great music).  If you could do me a favor on this post and let me know if the embedding and stuff is in order and tell me what you think of the idea, that would be f’n epic and appreciated.

And those who live in countries where Spotify isn’t available, fear not, there are LEGAL workarounds and at the bottom of this post I will give you instructions on how to make it work (tested and used by myself).

Soooo, onwards with the music.  Since I just wrote a nice handful above I’ll keep the description nice and brief.  My first choice for this column is an album I chose for the #5 spot on my best albums of 2012 list, the debut, self-titled album by Finnish rockers Jess and The Ancient Ones.  This record is chock full of delightful hard rock tunes with a slight metal edge to them.  There is a definite 70s vibe throughout the whole record, but the feel is very modern and well produced.  While every musician is a highlight on the album, the one you are most likely going to notice first is frontwoman Jess.  Her voice is one of the best I’ve heard of all female singers in rock.  She is dramatic without going overboard like the Nightwish-y stuff, her delivery is always clear and understandable, she sounds sultry without being slutty, and all round her voice is just very mystical and powerful.  Simply a pleasure to listen to over and over again.

And like I said, the other musicians here do more than pull their weight and get plenty of time in the spotlight.  From the fat low-end grooves, driving drum work, atmospheric organs and Hammonds, to the killer guitar riffing and soloing there is so much substance to the album that warrants it to be listened to over and over again.  If you were to look at my Spotify profile, you’ll see I listened to this album a whole ton, especially the song “Sulfur Giants” (what a massive journey that song is).  If you fancy yourself a fan of the 70’s hard rock sound and progressive music in general, do take the time to check out this stunning debut.  Enjoy!!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Band Links:

Instructions on how to get Spotify to work in non-Spotify regions after the jump:

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Matt’s Top 15 Albums of 2012


bestof2012I know every year I say that this was one of the best years in metal, but its true, and 2012 was no different.  I guess that says a lot about the state of modern heavy metal.  The genre has grown into something that was unfathomable at its inception.  In no other genre will you find such a diverse set of different acts all boasting such pure passion for what they do.  I was also exposed much more music than usual this year since Metal State kinda took off with a spike in readers (thank you!!!) and we started receiving promos from labels and bands looking for exposure (don’t worry, we won’t tell you about the crappy stuff or skew our opinions because a label hooked us up with some free music or a t-shirt).  So, when I think about 2012 in metal I can’t help but to return to reflecting on how diverse the genre has become.  You will see in my toplist that no single sub-genre really dominates (well I guess you can tell I am a fan a prog metal and was big into the female fronted doom metal bands this year) and there are some amazing albums all across the board in metal this year.  There were also a ton I left out which I will post about in the coming days in a quick honorable mentions post.  So enough dilly dallying, let’s get it on!  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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