Friday, July 16, 2010

Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle Pt. 1

Black metal has always been here, just kind of lurking the background with a very dedicated (and somewhat small) fanbase. A lot of people view it as a joke thanks to album covers that seem more like some Juggalos with an interest in Photoshop and a bunch of kids in Norway burning churches down. Don’t let that discourage you from the new, young rising scene in America with great bands like Nachymystium. They strip away the make up and tomfoolery and bring great atmospherics and progressive tendencies to black metal’s usual and typical ideology of guitar-bass-drums and recording in lo-fi. They still do all this but because of their use of keyboards, electronics and other things, they refuse to be labeled as black metal. The guitars and bass can be seen as shoegazey a lot of the time, just walls and waves of distorted madness with machinegun drums and double bass. All the while incorporating keyboards and ambient sounds, making it akin to post-metal sometimes but never quite crossing the line. I want to call it Merzbow meets Emperor or Zombi meets Darkthrone but those comparisons fall short as most do and don’t encompass all the things they are trying to accomplish or maybe they overshoot, you be the judge.
For Fans Of: Wolves In the Throne Room, Darkthrone, early Mayhem, Celtic Frost

Suggested Tracks:
2. Assassins – Very by-the-book black metal to start things off. Demonic vocals, walls of guitar, fast drums. Track 1 is a good intro but not necessary.
3. Ghosts of Grace – A pretty accessible song compared to most, catchy music, vocals still pretty growly but the hooks are there.
5. Your True Enemy – Absolutely angry and brutal, everything is going full force, leaving no earspace empty, they throw in a sick guitar solo too.
6. Code Negative – A great semi-post metal jam. Whispering vocals, complex drums, although the song as a whole is more mellow. Great guitar solo once again.
8. Seasick Pt. 1: Drowned At Dusk – The beginning of a 3 parter. Mellow, spacey, vikingy, nice little jam, not too busy.
9. Seasick Pt. 2: Oceanborn – Maybe my favorite of the 3 parts because of the guitar/saxophone (YES, saxophone) intertwining. Pretty short so play with Pt. 1 and/or or 3 as well.
10. Seasick Pt. 3: Silent Sunrise – The blackness returns on this one, vocals are back (and multiple) but the music is still laidback compared to previous tracks. A good ending to a 3 part epic.

Mastodon - Leviathan

Mastodon’s follow-up to their impressive debut LP, Remission, kept all the promise that their previous release showed. It changed only slightly from the first one (but is very different from releases after this) as they were pushing some new limits in the new and upcoming metal scene. They gave a few concessions for Leviathan to be more accessible to a larger audience and it definitely worked. They still have their multiple vocalists attack and Brann Dailor’s jazz-influenced, complex as fuck drumming is still in all its glory, and the album as a whole does a good job telling the story of Moby Dick with great intensity and fervor to show what a great (almost) concept album should be. They reach for heavier heights and succeed as well as more progressive (and maybe catchier/poppier) ones. You can hear the music as a whole and be thoroughly impressed but if you hunker down and focus on each element, it’s even more remarkable. Mixing elements of any and all of the heavier genres. Mixing elements of thrash, hardcore, sludge, death and doom, they are almost the perfect amalgamation of all of metal’s best qualities. They went even more progressive and accessible after this release so check out this integral turning point of their discography.

For Fans Of: Slayer, Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, High On Fire

Suggested Tracks:

1. Blood and Thunder – A good song to start off with, sick riff, angry, good headbanger.

3. Seabeast – One of the calmer, more accessible songs and vocals. Great drums and guitar work.

5. Iron Tusk – This is one chunky, meaty riff. Love the double bass.

6. Megalodon – One of the more complex songs on the album, post-hardcore leads into thrash by way of southern rock lick.

8. Aqua Dementia – Opens up with jazz-metal-fusion drums and great noodling from both guitarists and turns into 80’s harcore/thrash. Touches of sludge/doom thrown in for good measure.