Thursday, April 5, 2012

Expose Your Pose : Second Run

Wonderful turnout on the post below. Here's my second run in the interest of science.

1. Starts with sound effects akin to some Carpenter film. Then immediately when the riff comes in, it's Aspid off of their only album 'Extravastation'. I think this is the opening song, named something something in Russian. Excellent techno-thrash, recently re-released. Very worth anyone's time if they're into weird metal. I love their vocals and their guitar sound. Snarly thrash vocals go well with Slavic languages. The left-field augmented scale guitar solos in this fusion-ish guitar tone go over the savagery beautifully. The bassist couples everything the guitarists play like he's in Coroner. Super-tight playing all around, no fat, no dud riffs, good structure. The musicianship here is easily below their full ability. I theorize all Russian metal musicians were effectively slumming it from their proper State-sanctioned classical music gigs, at least up and until the fall of the Soviet Union. The playing here has this air of effortlessness similar to Watchtower on "Control and Resistance".

2. Machinegun riff. Double bass. Bolt Thrower "Promises and LIES." The song's 'Entrenched', off of "Those Once Loyal", their best, and last album. How can a band so old pull off such a strong final record? I don't expect them to top this, I really don't expect them to put out any more records after it, frankly. Some people call this death metal, I don't hear it in there anymore, it's just very linear, very muscular Heavy Metal. The core melodic ideas and riffs could be found in the repertoire of a NWOBHM band, really. It's just the execution that is idiosyncratic (and so often copied!). It's impossible for this music to not induce some physical reaction for this listener, but since my cat is in my lap, in lieu of headbanging, I tapped the double pass patterns on the desk with my fingers. Metal (the polite way).

3. Oh, oh, this is a very distinctive guitar tone! And the riff is... am I listening to Bolt Thrower back to back here? Great slow intro. Is this off of "For Victory"? Hm, the verse riff doesn't sound like Bolt Thrower though. The harmonization is totally their style. And then it ended! I am at a loss if it's not Bolt Thrower.

I checked, it was "For War", off of For Victory. Kind of got lucky there. Good thing for Bolt Thrower than that their style's so distinctive even on their instrumentals.

4. Mayfair. Nobody else has a voice like this. This is off of "Fastest Trip to Cybertown", their last record, and the one I listen to less. This is honestly an indie rock track, something like R.E.M. would write, only with a more active bass line - remnants of progressive metal are difficult to shake off. It's catchy and melancholic, but it lacks that edge that makes Mayfair's first two albums some of the best progressive metal there's ever been. There's many bands that play indie rock like this or better than this, I mean. Nobody's ever made anything like "Behind" as far as I've found. I checked the song name and it's "Waterproof".

5. One of these horrible mid-to-fast party rock n' roll Manowar songs. I might figure out which but there's absolutely nothing here for me. I can list the Manowar songs I adore from memory (Battle Hymns, Mountains, Secret of Steel, March for Revenge, Hail to England, Gayanna, Gloves of Metal, Each Dawn I Die) and if it ain't in there, I am bound to hate it, not just feel indifferent to it. Something about "the Night" is what Adam's going on about on this song, it could be about motorcycles. It's post Kings of Metal, I can tell from the involved guitar solo. But it sucks. "Return of the Warlord", off of Hell on Wheels live, from 1997. I am deleting this. Good drumming at least.

6. Oh, oh, I know this. This'll be easy. Probably Greek. Wait, no. Is this the Burzum instrumental off of 'Det Som Engang Var'? So it is. This one shows mr. Vikerness had a good ear for more traditional types of harmony. It's quite pretty in a way. And thinking it was Greek metal makes some sense because this guitar tone was used by pretty much all the early Greek black metal bands (it's shitty in an endearing way) and because the mid-tempo melancholic feel Burzum's got going here is pretty much Mode A for Varathron, Rotting Christ et al. From here to In The Woods... it's a small leap. And from there to proper Peaceville doom/death it's just another. I like this middle ground between the premier romantic metal genres.

7. Immediately recognizable as Nevermore, off of their 'In Memory' EP. After 'Politics of Ecstasy', easily their best work. Not the best song in there though. The song's called "Matricide", I know the lyric. It's a weird composition, Loomis and company hadn't gotten a handle on how exactly to write coherently. The changes are awkward, it's even got an embarrassing kind of 'rock' vibe to it. And the vocal line on top is just bizarre. Dane had a big problem with finding suitable vocal lines for Loomis' songs since the beginning and it really didn't get better with time. He's ultimately a lyrical vocalist, best suited for music that behaves, harmonically (hi, Sanctuary!). The nightmarish industrialized metal that Loomis would get involved with didn't leave much space for someone with Dane's talents. Mr. Tate from Queensryche would have found something smart to sing over this stuff. 

The end of this song is prime Nevermore though, their next two albums can be seen in that guitar matrix phrase and the revolving phrases on top. And the change from it back to the chorus is hilarious. I still like this but I don't know if it's just nostalgia talking. That I remember a girl I was after at the time when I was listening to this a lot says it's probably the latter. And talking about girls and songs about girls, read the lyrics to the same titled song off of 'Im Memory'. Stalker anthem if there ever was one.

8. Is Winamp trying to make me cry? This is Secrecy - "The One to Adore". Ultimate teenage anxiety & nostalgia metal. Their albums are called ART IN MOTION and RAGING ROMANCE, for christ's sake. This band is amazing. There's absolutely nothing sub-par in these two albums (and even the demo "Like Burning One's Boat", it's even a bit thrashier if you'd like to see the connection between thrash-thrash, techno-thrash and then proper progressive metal). Every song is stellar. No filler. Such a range of emotion covered. So many atypical guitar ideas, and yet not to the detriment of catchiness. Superb engineering. More bands should study what Secrecy achieved here. Then again, perhaps not. There really is no other entity in metal that makes me feel like this, best keep it, uh, secret.

9. A drumkit is falling down the stairs. Seagulls through a guitar amplifier. Piano enters. Is this Zeuhl? No idea. I give up. It's very beautiful though and deserves more listens. Turns out it was "Friends of Dean Martinez", the same titled track off of "A Place in the Sun". I listen to "Random Harvest" and "In The Shadow of Your Smile" and love them, so this is an easy error on my part to rectify.

10. Haunting double-tracked vocals, their notes slightly incongruous. Damien Youth? If it's not him off of the one cassette I've downloaded, I don't know what it is. It's very beautiful and I want to listen to the whole thing. Indeed, "Hunger Circle" off of "Festival of Death". But I couldn't remember that's what the record's called, so that's a point lost. This music deserves an examination or ten by people more equipped than I, though. It's not Heavy Metal but it's equally intense and sometimes disturbing, but it's also other things, less blatant. If anyone can suggest where to go from this, be it to other Damien Youth material or other similar artists, I've got some space inside me for a little more like this. 

7/10 this time, lucky guess aside.