It’s been a good ride. Thinking back to the first time I heard Sabbath, metal has given me a wonderful ride for more than 40 years.
What’s really beautiful about metal – to me, at least – is that it keeps growing bigger, more diverse and better. I greatly look forward to continuing the journey until my brain atrophies again, as it did a couple of years ago when it turned into a fossil like the rest of me.
Today’s science lessons include mathematics from Star One, quantum physics from Allegaeon, and Einsteinian gravity from Solution .45. When we have fully grasped these concepts we will show how they don’t come together in mysticism from Tengger Cavalry.
There might also be some music.
I’ll be using litchi wood, branches that fell off an ancient tree in the garden. It’s hard and burns for a long time. The last barbecue fire still had glowing embers after 13 hours. That’s even longer than I spend listening to music most days.
Most of you were too young to listen to metal before this year. You were still doing “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Humpty Dumpty”. To help you catch up on some of the great music of the most recent years, I’ll be posting 20 songs per year from 2008 and after, not 15 or 10 songs. That’s four songs per day for a year per week excluding weekends.
If you’re still too young to listen to metal, see my parallel series, “Mammal’s Thousand Years Of Nursery Rhymes”.
How reliably descriptive are genre labels? Often, not very. Two bands today illustrate a case in point. “Progressive metal” is too sweeping for the label-makers, so Darkwater and Aghora have both been labelled “progressive heavy metal”. Even so, they play very different types of metal. Darkwater slots in comfortably alongside Dream Theater or Symphony X. Aghora is much more avant-garde, better matched with the likes of To-Mera or Scale The Summit.
As for The Vision Bleak… well, dark metal is dark metal and this song is beautiful (so are the other two today, of course). Dark Metal Cat is purring in harmony. The music is labelled symphonic dark, although I would have said it was more Gothic.
Two modern variations of heavy metal appear on my list today. The added richness of more complex compositions and instrumentation doesn’t always appeal to “mainstream” heavy metal fans. Regardless, the old heavy metal roots are strongly evident. In my ancient, creaking mind, there’s still not much that can beat that chunka-chunka guitar sound, the powerful riffs, the soaring solos and those high tenor vocals.