Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MOTD - L.i.E. - A Unique Blend of 70s Prog, Modern Alternative Rock and Heavy Metal

Mp3 Of The Day

Band/Artist: L.i.E.
Song: Control
Album: none yet
Style: Progressive/Alternative Rock/Metal
country/location: Augusta, Georgia
release: hasn't yet!

We interrupt this program with a special bulletin. China has taken over Nigeria with their space ships. President Bush has said that the United States will respond in full force with their nuclear twinkies.

Actually, I'm interrupting the black metal series by posting an awesome upcoming band! Normally I would wait for a slightly better time, but this takes precedent. First of all this band is worth checking out. Second of all, the drummer of this band, is one of the guys that I stole/borrowed/took over the MOTD from. Not only that, his MOTD post helped shape my growing as a metal fan. So whenever he and the other guys want me to post something, I am obliged to interrupt whatever series I'm doing. Don't worry, it's an honor to do so!

Hailing from Augusta, Georgia, L.i.E. is a unique but traditional band that takes a lot of small elements from different genres and mixes them together into a catchy and awesome sound. These elements range from 1970s progressive rock, modern alternative hard rock, traditional metal, and lots of melody. I would hesitate to call them a strict metal band, but then again I think they're metal enough for me to label them as such! The metal elements are found in the heavily distorted and powerful riffs heard during the chorus, though even the heaviness is melodic and heartfelt enough to be friendly to a radio audience. The verses bring the 1970s prog sound to the mix, with echoey guitars and flute-sounding keyboards. There are some harsh-ish vocals, though to call them extreme or death growls would be completely off. High pitched harsh barks would be one way to put it. The chorus is incredibly catchy and with an anthemic feel to it. I found myself singing "BACK TO THE WATER!!!" while walking home from work, which is always a sign of a well written catchy chorus. L.i.E. is a band to keep an eye and ear out for!

L.i.E. - Control

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MOTD - Panopticon: Incredible Atmospheric Anarchist Vegan Pagan Black Metal from Kentucky That's Beautiful and Unrelenting

Mp3 Of The Day

Band/Artist: Panopticon
Song: ...Speaking
Album: Panopticon
Style: Atmospheric Black Metal
country/location: Louisville, Kentucky, US
release: 2008

So here in Massachusetts we've been getting quite a bit of snowfall and grim black metal like conditions. Perfect weather for this song of the day! Well at least it was perfect weather for this song of the day. Again, I'm a lazy and busy bum!

Just from the initial description, I bet some of you are like "hmm, an atmospheric black metal band from Kentucky? That's a bit different." If I told you that Panopticon's lyrical themes were anarchist in nature with some vegan and pagan tendencies, I bet you'd be like "Woah!" Ok maybe not, but I know I was a little surprised by the thought of an anarchist vegan black metal band from Kentucky. I was even more surprised at how amazing this band was.

Panopticon is a new atmospheric black metal band that combines a lot of different elements into a sound that is unique but at the same time traditional. No song on their incredible debut album is completely the same, yet they still keep to the same feel. Some songs are pure black metal masterpieces while others are more introspective and emotional. This song is one of their more melodic and "emotional" sounding pieces. The introductory tremolo guitars here are highly reverbed and clean sounding, slowly and emotionally lulling you into a sorta dark calm. Very comforting and yet haunting, with little drum crashes here and there. About 3 minutes in, this builds up into an explosion of unrelenting pounding almost-blast beat drums that just continues for seemingly forever. All the while the melodic reverbed tremolo guitars continue to sooth you, with just a touch of black metal guitars oh so subtley in the background. Eventually the raspy black metal vocals come into the melodic and extreme fray, but not overwhelming all the other elements but not totally in the back. The drumming is so mechanical and constant that even when there are slight variations or breaks, the intensity stays. It's incredibly beautiful and kinda excruciating all at the same time. When I first heard this song I was both entranced by the melodies (and I'm a sucker for reverbed guitar), but at the same time the drums were so intense that I could barely listen to it. It was amazing. I can tell you that this album is definitely in my Top albums of 2008.

(warning: the track may or may not be fully uploaded. I believe it is, if it's not let me know!)

Panopticon - ...Speaking

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MOTD - Njiqahdda: A Rich but Complex Psychedelic/Ambient Black Metal Pie

Mp3 Of The Day

Band/Artist: Njiqahdda
Song: Aasklamatii Ligmett Aursag
Album: Nji. Njiijn. Njiiijn.
Style: Atmospheric Black Metal/Psychedelic Rock/Ambient
country/location: Illinois, US
release: 2008

This is a very unusual and hard to describe band. I'm not entirely sure whether my description will do Njiqahdda justice hehe. They're also a band that takes a little time and effort to get used to and to love. Oh don't get me wrong, they're an incredible group, but their brilliance comes from a lot of listens. Their album is one of my top of 2008.

Njiqahdda is a weird mix of various styles. You could almost call them a kind of musical cream pie. Black metal is the cookie crumb base, giving a gritty and thin guitar tone and extreme vocal support to the whole dish. The filling is a creamy semi-repetitive but doesn't get old psychedelic/indie/post rock riffing custard that flows from one bite to the next. It's still the same taste in your ears, but there's something slightly different for each morsel. The closing crust is a glaze of atmospheric, noisy and ambient elements that give this pie a rich and full bodied taste. Cooked in a very raw and natural production oven and you get a strangely delicious psychedelic/ambient black metal pie! I suppose that some people won't like this pie, especially since it is a complex yet simple yet repetitive yet bizarre 18 minutes of edible music. I hope you'll try a bite, but you have to eat the entire thing to really enjoy it!

Njiqahdda - Aasklamatii Ligmett Aursag

Sunday, December 14, 2008

MOTD - When Bitter Spring Sleeps: Amazing ambient black metal now with 100% real nature sounds!

Mp3 Of The Day

Band/Artist: When Bitter Spring Sleeps
Song: What The Rain Knows
Album: When Bitter Spring Sleeps
Style: Ambient/Atmospheric/Natural Black Metal
country/location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, US
release: 2008

First of all, I just realized that it's been an entire year since I started doing the MOTD in an official capacity! Wow, kinda proud of myself for this! haha

Second of all, I'm sorry I'm getting lazy in my old age! This week has been unusually busy in the sense that I didn't get around to writing this until today! hehe I have so much stuff for you guys that I wish I had time to do it every day!
FINALLY I GOT THIS POSTED! Ok enough exclamation points!

Anyways, back to the black metal series. Not all black metal is about dark emotions such as hate and anger, and not all is about being as extreme and noisy as you can. Some black metal bands focus on other dark themes such as nature, and then create atmospheric and almost beautiful pieces of music. All this while keeping with the extreme nature (pun sorta intended) of black metal. Go out on a cold, dark and rainy night and you'll feel the chill, but it'll be a beautiful and haunting chill. There's something mystical about the dark aspects of nature. A lot of bands try to capture that feel in their music.

When Bitter Spring Sleeps is one of the few bands that combine a real ambience (or seemingly real) with the musical atmosphere. They supposedly construct their music outdoors in natural settings while recording the ambient sounds around them, thus creating amazing sonic textures and dark feelings. The music itself is a wall of sound tremolo guitars that are haunting and surprisingly melodic. Occasionally a melodic and sorrowful lead guitar breaks through the ambiance. The vocals are like a gruff drone, adding onto the coldness of the music. There are no drums or any percussion so it's smooth and flowing. It's mystical and mesmerizing, and even strangely soothing. Hypnotic would be another word for them. The music itself is incredible I think, but the natural sounds add a realistic feel to it. I suppose I have no actual proof that their novelty is true hehe, however I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt for they do what they do so well. When Bitter Spring Sleeps is one of my favorite discoveries of 2008. If you get the chance, I'd recommend purchasing their EP for the packaging is pretty nifty. The paper that makes up the liner notes is made from aged parchment which adds to the whole natural feel. Highly recommended!

When Bitter Spring Sleeps - What The Rain Knows

Sunday, December 7, 2008

MOTD - Ayat: Very Raw Black Metal from Lebanon! Not for the easily offended!

Mp3 Of The Day

Band/Artist: Ayat
Song: The Possession
Album: Al Nabi Moujrem Moughtaseb Dajjal
Style: Black Metal (very raw black metal)
country/location: Beirut, Lebanon
release: 2005

Now this is raw black metal at it's best! This band is not for the easily offended nor for the faint of heart! It is excruciatingly noisy production! Gritty gritty guitars, extreme extreme vocals, blasting blasting drums! Anti-religious and evil lyrical themes! As they say in their liner notes, "AYAT reigns supreme over the Black Metal scene in the fucking middle east. AYAT supports the total annihilation of mankind, ..., torture of those who deserve it, and supreme fucking mayhem across all nations, religions and races of the earth. If you are offended by our beliefs you might as well fuck off..." This is pure hatred of all people's and things. Not only that, they're from Lebanon! They aren't much appreciated in their home country as a result of their anti-religious and anti-humanity beliefs.

Someone once was complaining about how all black metal was just noise. Well, Ayat is a band to almost prove them right. To the untrained ear, this is just noise, gritty and blasting noise. However if you listen through the static and distortion it's pretty complex and intense stuff. The guitar playing is relentless but there is method to the madness. Dark and minor sounding tremolo riffs with some of the most excruciating screaming vocals this side of hell. This is more than your usual raw black metal that is just playing with the grim and dark atmosphere. Underneath all the static, there are these weird moments of melodious almost ethnic singing. So faint are they in these moments, you aren't sure whether they're coming from the music or from some other location. It's incredible when you pick it out, especially towards the end of the song as the intensity slows down (though doesn't diminish). The track ends with one large blast of static, distorted, screaming noise that turns off abruptly as a woman's voice comes through singing something very middle eastern. It's so bizarre when you hear it for the first time. Ayat is very traditional in their raw black metal, however the little quirks set them apart from all other bands of their ilk.

Ayat - The Possession

Friday, December 5, 2008

MOTD - Ceremonial Castings: European flavored American black metal with symphonic and death elements

Mp3 Of The Day

Band/Artist: Ceremonial Castings
Song: World Unsantification
Album: Barbaric is the Beast
Style: (symphonic/melodic) Black Metal
country/location: Battle Ground, Washington
release: 2006

(wow, it's been a week since I've posted anything! This week's been crazy and I just haven't gotten around to it. Also I needed a breather. Anyways!) So begins yet another series of black metal bands that I'd like to share with you guys! Some of them are more traditional than others (today's band) while some of them are quite experimental and different (Panopticon). All of them are top bands, if not really awesome, if not at least worth a listen! In true Wren/Bob fashion, I'll probably interrupt the series for some random stuff (like the 200th post that's coming up soon! A little silly surprise for that one haha).

So this band comes from a suggestion and a recommendation! In one of the metal communities I'm in, someone recommended this band to me (and the community). Much to my surprise, I discovered that I had something by them. Not only that, it was one of the MOTD that had been posted years ago when I was just a budding metal head. I also remembered the song kicked major ass. Now I'm not one to repeat a song if I can avoid it (I repeated once, but that was because I wasn't paying attention). So I acquired a full album by this band so I could introduce something different.

Wow, long introduction haha! Ceremonial Castings are a black metal band with some melodic, symphonic and death metal elements that hails from Battle Ground, Washington. What exactly sets them a part from the other symphonic black metal bands? First of all the band doesn't have a bassist which creates for a more thin and traditional black metal sound. Second of all, the black metal elements are all there. Tremolo guitars, blastbeats, the dark and grim atmosphere. The riffs here are melodic but still fast and extreme. Third of all, the symphonic elements are light but still a huge part of their sound. The keyboards give that melodic touch without being overpowering and over the top. It's a traditional style while being original and unique. They utilize the usual black metal higher pitched vocals in parts (like the first half), but they also use more deep guttural death metal growls. This is probably one of their more unique elements. That and also the occasional deep clean singing that is placed over the extreme vocals. All these elements scream European metal, but they are from Washington (which might as well be Europe hehe). I thank the person who re-introduced this incredible band to me!

Ceremonial Castings - World Unsanctification