Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Seasonal Genres: Winter

First off, an apology; I originally meant for this series to be a daily occurrence, Monday through Thursday this week.  Unfortunately, starting a new job and preparing to move at the end of the week forced a bit of a delay.  I have no idea how long it will take me to finish this series, but I promise that as soon as I finish each post, it will be up.

When I started this four-parter Monday, I talked about how seasons bring about different feelings and thoughts, and how the right music can hit that perfect sweet spot for the weather (that's actually the point of the entire series in a nutshell).  I started with Autumn, and it only makes sense to go in order, so this post will focus on the perfect music for Winter.  Bundle up and read on after the jump.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Seasonal Genres: Autumn

My favorite thing about living in the midwest is the dichotomy between seasons.  Hoot and holler all you want about year-round 70s and sunshine, SoCal; I like my winters frigid and my summers so hot and humid you feel like you're walking through soup.  I love the first crisp autumn day, when the initial hints of winter arrive on the wind, and the first warm day of spring, when the shorts and skirts announce that we've survived another winter (and we want people to see our pasty, pale legs).  Each season offers its own unique features and activities as well: ballgames in the spring, beach days in the summer, Oktoberfests and haunted houses in the fall, and counting your digits to make sure you didn't lose any to frostbite when you took the dog outside for two minutes in the winter.  I LIKE the differences, and most importantly, I like the different soundtracking options that present themselves for each season.  Obviously, you can never go wrong listening to any genre of music at any point in the year, but we all know there's a musical sweet spot that exists, that time when your music lines up with your moment PERFECTLY, creating a near-orgasmic sensation of elation and serenity deep inside your cold, dark heart that didn't even know it could feel anymore.  Over the next few days, I'll be looking at the songs, genres, and bands that hit that sweet spot for each particular season.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter

Love em' or hate em', Slipknot's influence over the mainstream metal/hard-rock scene has been undeniable.  I'm sure I'm not the only one my age who can attribute Slipknot as being a catalyst deeper into the throes of metal.  Almost a decade after I took that plunge, despite changing tastes, I still have always taken interest in Slipknot's output; not necessarily expecting to be blown away like I was in my teen years, but rather to see how the band has evolved, for better or worse.  Each Slipknot release has offered something unique and has distinctly marked different chapters in their career.  Enter in the fifth chapter, The Gray Chapter to be exact, which has seen the unfortunate passing of bassist Paul Gray and split with drummer Joey Jordison.  Knee-jerk reactions would assume that the Slipknot machine would slowly wind down after these occurrences.  The Gray Chapter, however, shows that the machine isn't winding down at all, rather it is gearing back up.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Music to Chill Your Soul

With Halloween just around the corner, 'tis the season for all that is grim, bleak, and for lack of a better word, scary.  The impetus for this post came from the realization that there is some truly haunting music out there...and I don't mean haunting/scary in the sense of listening to Slayer or Cannibal Corpse for the first time as a teen just getting into metal.

What follows after the break are two tracks that add a little something extra to their formula that will tap deep into your being and likely send several shivers up your spine.

Friday, October 10, 2014

EPs from 2014 Worth Checking Out

Laziness is something that's too often easy to give in to, especially when it comes to writing reviews.  In an effort to rectify the late dry spell I've had with said reviews, I figured it would be worthwhile to list out some EPs that have been released this year that are more than worth your time to check out. 

Check out the five selections I have for you all after the break!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cold Blue Mountain - Old Blood

The metal blogosphere is much like the American political media, in the sense that buzz words are used to carry much of the weight and attract the most attention.  Where a Senatorial Candidate may tell the people that he's for "lower taxes" or "anti-gun control" to try and quickly give you a sense of his beliefs, metal bands rely on the increasingly hyper-specific sub-genres like "doom" or "sleepcore" (something I really read the other day).  While these words usually mean nothing when applied vapidly, when chosen carefully they can indeed give the voter/listener a pretty good idea of whether or not they want to proceed in checking out this politician/band.  For me, those words typically include "sludge," "post-rock," "doom," or "blackened," so when I saw three of the four attached to California's Cold Blue Mountain and their second album Old Blood, I decided that yes, this would potentially be someone I'd like to learn more about before voting.  Er... a band I would like to listen to.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Podcast Episode #2: "Opethimism"

It's been a long time comin', but the second episode of the Brutalitopia is up and ready for all of your listening pleasures.  This time around, Mick, Durf, and Tom discuss about Opeth's progression over the years as it relates to their recent shift in sound.  Also joining the discussion as a special guest is a features editor of Invisible Oranges and writer for No Clean Singing, Joseph Schafer.

Listen to the podcast after the break!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Exclusive Interview - Tony Foresta (Iron Reagan/Municipal Waste)

I interviewed Tony Foresta (Iron Reagan/Municipal Waste) and we talked about Iron Reagan's new album Tyranny of Will, Oderus Urungus, GwarBQ, politics, touring in NJ, and celebrity deaths. All in all, it was a fun time had by all.

I hope you enjoy our rambling down below after the break.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

It's been two years since Pallbearer unleashed their towering debut Sorrow and Extinction on the world, although it seems like much, much longer.  Sorrow and Extinction was a stunning achievement in doom; it didn't reinvent the wheel, but it re-crafted the wheel into the band's own image, an image drenched in mournful melodies and staggering under the weight of sublime riffs.  Doom metal bands live and die on the strength of their moods and riffs, and Pallbearer managed to be simultaneously despondent and invigorating over six odes to gloom.  Album closer "Given to the Grave" is one of the best doom songs I've ever heard, with only six (powerful) lines of lyrics amidst its eleven minutes of steadily building and finally erupting lamentations.  Sorrow and Extinction marked Pallbearer as a band to watch, and after an eternally long two years, the band has returned with its sophomore effort, Foundations of Burden.  After such a stellar debut, can Pallbearer possibly top themselves?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Accept - Blind Rage

German metal pioneers Accept are a band that requires absolutely no introduction; fans of both old and new heavy metal need to do nothing but pay respect to these legends who have only been on the rise since they parted ways with original signer Udo Dirkschneider. The addition of Mark Tornillo of New Jersey based band TT Quick has been a major boom and a real shot in the arm for a band that hadn't done much of anything in the 2000's prior to his arrival on 2010's Blood Of The Nations and continued that success with Stalingrad in 2012. They have embarked on tons of tours all over the world and absolutely deliver live, as was the case when I saw King's X open for them in Sayreville, NJ in 2009. But what about Blind Rage? Does it hold to the same heavy metal and hard rock that the band is famous for? Let's find out.