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Album Review: As They Burn – Will, Love, Life

ATBARTWAs They Burn, the French six-piece Deathcore outfit released their latest 37-minute opus called Will, Love, Life.  The album title is poignant in these earthly trying times though it sounds more like something a Pop artist would use.  Despite the lack of a metal-induced album name, it just takes a few seconds to realize As They Burn is not your neighborhood metal band.  Or are they?  Their latest work does have a bit of flavor emanating from many new Deathcore bands such as Emmure or Devil Wears Prada…insert similar band names here.  But, overall there is something else behind the scenes that kept me listening much longer than I would have for (other) similar styled bands.

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The 12 Days of Metalmas: Day 2: Two Headless Doves

Picture 011On the second day of Metalmas my true love gave to me
2 headless doves
and an Opeth in a pear tree.

Besides being one of the most revered heavy metal musicians, Ozzy Osbourne is also quite famous for the time he bit the head off a dove. “After signing his first solo career record deal he came in to meet some of the people who worked there. His plan was to release the doves into the air to get people to notice him, but when no one noticed, he changed his plans. He grabbed one dove, bit its head off, then spit the head out. Then with blood still dripping from his lips a security guard came to remove him and on the way out he bit the head off of another dove.”

Album Review: Epicloud by Devin Townsend Project

Some years ago Devin Townsend found himself at a crossroads in life which led to him kicking a drug abuse habit.  The newfound, sober Devin took to his passion of music to fill the space where drugs had once impacted his life and one could say he is now hooked on a new drug, writing music.  Since he cleaned up his act the rate at which he has been releasing albums is astounding.  In less than a year, his latest album, Epicloud, makes his 3rd full length release within a 365 day period.  Even crazier, each of these 3 albums (the other 2 being Deconstruction and Ghost) is a completely different listen than just about anything in the man’s massive musical repertoire.  It seems that Devin can write quality music for just about every genre of music, but has quite a soft spot for pop music.  Songs like “Christeen” and the album Addicted definitely show this, and Epicloud is Devin’s biggest love song to pop music, all with that classic Devin Townsend metallic twist.

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Theme Thursday: Heavy Metal Love Songs

In music, there isn’t lack for the love song.  Chalk it up to being a subject that’s easy to write about and that just about everyone can relate to it.  But, being the dissident that it is, happy-go-lucky love songs in metal are a rare commodity.  There are plenty of songs about love breaking ones heart and decimating your ex-girlfriend with a battle-axe or a brotherly love kinda thing, but on the subject of traditional love between two people is far and few in between.  And when a metal band does write a love song it usually shows the band taking a turn for the cheesy ballad style or going all sappy like Extreme’s “More Than Words”.

Here I have made up a playlist of heavy metal love songs ranging from black metal to traditional metal to ballads.  This was a more daunting task than I thought it would be at first so I had a little help from my friends on the THOM group (Thanks!).  Even though there are some bittersweet songs here I tried to focus on fun ones and ones with more of a happy ending.  I hope you and your special someone can make some sweet metal head love under starlight to these songs.  I would like to dedicate this post to my beautiful, awesome, smart, and amazing wife.  Ti amo tantissimo!   Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Mental Metal: Mordecai

This week let’s take a look at what could possibly be my all-time favorite song, “Mordecai” by Between the Buried and Me.  I am cheating a little bit on this one because the band’s lyricist Tommy Rodgers wrote out the meaning behind the song in the liner notes of The Silent Circus CD.  So, along with posting his explanation, I’ll put my 2 cents in also.

This song is about how selfish and confused everyone are… it seems like one day you can be the happiest person in the world and the next day you hate everything for some odd reason. We take everything we have for granted (trust me, I’m in the same boat)… and no matter how much shit sucks for each one of us…there are always worse off people and we need to always keep that in mind… this song goes out to everyone that I’m friends with and spent quality time with… you make life amazing. The title “Mordecai” is from the bird’s name in “The Royal Tenenbaums”… I chose this name because in the movie, Luke Wilson kept Mordecai around because he loved it… and he finally realized that the bird needed to be on its own in the wild (the idea of freeing yourself).

I get emails all the time about the word “shevanel and plip”… it’s actually a very bizarre story: there is a homeless man in Raleigh, NC named “Shevanel” and he has a pet dog named “Plip”… yeah I know that’s probably the weirdest thing you have ever heard, but it is true. “Shevanel” seemed to always be happy every time I saw him, and it amazed me that someone with so little could be so stoked on life. Life is confusing and horrible at times but doing the things we love can make it the best thing on this planet.

For me this song is about freedom.  Freedom to be you, no matter the cost.  When you are stuck doing something that you don’t like you find yourself unhappy.  The first part (the chaotic part) represents us when we are trapped in a situation where we just can’t seem to get happy or excited about something or our lives.  The line “Tragic day seems too peaceful to most, spoiled ambitions turned my heart to black, black.” pretty much sums up how we feel when we fail at something that could truly make us happy.  But without the darkness, there can be no light, and that is where the song shines.  The next half of the song transitions into a beautiful array of stunning and uplifting music that could crack even the most stone of hearts.

When you are doing something that you wholeheartedly enjoy you experience pure happiness.  For the writer of the song, music is his passion and creating it is his true love.  While he faced many trials in reaching his goal of being able to make a living out of writing music, he succeeded and this part of the song represents his joy, his reaching of balance.  He also states ‘Plip and Shevenel’ which tells us we don’t need everything in the world to be happy, just love really.  When you find it you can be truly at peace with yourself.  And that guitar solo, man each time I hear it I get chills.  One of the most powerful and moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard.  Such freedom and passion in Paul Waggoner’s playing, it’s overwhelming really.

My favorite line from the second part of the song is “From the reciting of the show, from the Plip and the Shevanel, from the grind that annoys, and the sarcasm they all hate.”  Who care what you enjoy doing, just do it.  They don’t like what you’re doing to achieve happiness, F’ ’em.  While this song is from a musician’s point of view, I’m sure you can insert your own context and find peace in it.

What do you all think of the song “Mordecai” and it’s meaning.  Do songs such as this help you through your everyday life?  Does it inspire you to push to become the happiest person ever?  What song inspire you to pursue happiness?  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Music and lyrics after the jump.

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Book Review-John Ajvide Lindqvist-Let the Right One In

Why am I writing about a book that seemingly has nothing at all to do with metal here?  Well, in general, metal fans often tend to be fans of the horror genre and that is what Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist is.  Also throughout the course of the book there are a good handful of references to Iron Maiden and Kiss which gives it metal cred in my book.  That, and it is a really good read that you should check out.

Let the Right One In takes a genre of a specific class of horror monster that many have come to utterly despise due to a series of books and movies that hurled literary and cinematic filth all over, and puts an interesting twist on the classic creature.  It takes the classic Gothic vampire and brings it to a modern-day setting and tells an endearing tale of puppy love.  But before the big “T” word alarm goes off in your head, this is not anything like that literary excrement.  Let the Right One In is a story involving brutal murder, alcoholics, shunned and bullied youth, and the most twisted tale of puppy love you will ever hear.

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