Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kyle's listening to Metal again

Hello everybody.

It's been a while. I hear you're doing well. I'm doing great. I started working out. I got a new pair of shoes.

I miss you.

The reason for my absence is simple: I started listening to Metal again. It's not I'm avoiding the blog because that I have nothing to say on the matter, it's because I'm pulling what I like to call, "a Kyle".

Every once in a while, I start listening to a music genre for a largely unknown reason and I CAN'T STOP for weeks, even months on end. Last fall, it was Jazz. I was churning through Jazz albums at a blistering pace, and I couldn't with confidence tell you the names of all the albums I listened to. Then came Classical. Then Noise Rock...

About a month (or two?) ago, I heard Behemoth's The Satanist, and I heard something I really, really liked. It wasn't perfect, but there was something in that music that really appealed to me. Thus, I began a quest to explore metal and all its sub-genres. What did I like? What did I dislike?

The problem with this approach of trial-and-error is not only the numerous unknown bands within Metal, but also the numerous sub-genres of Metal. I listened to Heavy Metal, Traditional Doom Metal, Doom Metal, Funeral Doom Metal, Death Metal, Death/Doom Metal, Technical Death Metal, Drone Metal, Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal, Folk Metal, Thrash Metal, Sludge Metal... each genre might have gotten up to an entire week of churning through albums one after the other.

My brain could barely keep up. And the strangest part was: I didn't even like most of the stuff I was hearing. But on I went, ever searching for that perfect sound I knew had to be out there.

So here we are, months later, and I believe I have found the albums I was looking for.

Alraune's debut is a noisy, chaotic, blistering Black Metal album that is easy to listen to with it's constantly changing, but ever-catchy guitar riffs. The album never falls into the monotony of many other albums in its category, and it is as fun as it is harrowing. There are fist-pumping moments right alongside the meditative, it is simultaneously soft and abrasive. This album has been on repeat ever since I first heard it, which leads me to believe my album-to-album curse has been lifted. Thank you, Alraune.

Kriegsmaschine - Enemy of Man

A day after I first heard The Process of Self-Immolation, I heard Enemy of Man. This album reminds me of Altar of Plague's excellent Teethed Glory & Injury from last year, an album for whom my adoration steadily grows. Kriegsmaschine's brand of Black Metal is relentless and downright scary. The guitar melodies, while easy to pick out among the chaos, are not as hummable as those off of The Process of Self Immolation or The Satanist, providing the listener a very interesting experience. I find in many Metal albums the guitar is buried beneath so much fuzz, and even when you can decipher what's going on, there's nothing interesting there to hold on to. Kriegsmaschine takes care of both problems on Enemy of Man. A really rewarding listen.

I've been meaning to get into Earth for quite some time now. After giving Earth 2 a proper listen (great album, by the way), I decided to check out their highly lauded Bees... This album is not what I was expecting at all from the godfathers of Drone Metal. It is a southwestern take on post-rock that is relaxing and truly engaging. Listening to most post-rock, I slip into boredom pretty easily. Earth, on the other hand, play some of the slowest jams I've heard, but there are so many surprises it is hard to drift off. And those chords! There are some of the most powerful chords I have ever heard on this thing. I would highly recommend everyone check out the albums I've posted on here. But even if you hate Metal, at least check out this one by Earth. It's excellent.

So, only time will tell if I am truly finished with my Metal binge. Perhaps I can get back to listening to albums I like instead? 

Although... there are some Jazz albums I've been meaning to check out...