Friday, September 23, 2016

Alcest - Kodama

After the release of Alcest's Ecailles de Lune in 2010 (crown jewel of their discography according to many), Alcest cemented themselves as a band whose new material I would wait for with bated breath. Acting as progenitors for the musical hybrid of shoegaze and black metal, they put forth sounds that were so pristine in their serenity, it could be considered a spiritual endeavor to consume their material. But, as with many bands that pioneer a certain sound, sometimes they try to venture too far outside of what made them appealing in the first place (just ask any Opeth fan). For Alcest, this step outside the norm was with their last album from three years ago, Shelter. On this effort, they dropped any and all elements that would be considered "heavy" and fully embraced the ethereal aspects to their sound that made Shelter come across as a dream-pop album; one that was decent at its best points and tedious for all the rest of its duration. However, moving forward with their latest release, Kodama, Alcest showcases a welcome return to form, albeit a seemingly short one.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Exclusive Interview: If These Trees Could Talk

 Last Thursday, I had the incredible opportunity to see Akron, OH's instrumental post-metal masters If These Trees Could Talk live at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago.  Before the show, I was fortunate enough to take a stroll around the Roscoe Village neighborhood with guitarists Mike Socrates and Cody Kelly and drummer Zack Kelly; during the stroll we chatted about their incredible new album The Bones of a Dying World, Maynard James Keenan, the hotbed of musical talent from northern Ohio, Maynard James Keenan, their upcoming tour, and Maynard James Keenan.  It's a pretty great conversation, so you should listen to it all,  as well as check out my sub-amateur photography skills below!  Most importantly, do not miss out on ITTCT when they come through your city over the next three weeks!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dillinger, Escaped: A Fan's Remembrance of the Dillinger Escape Plan

I'll never forget the first time I listened to The Dillinger Escape Plan.  Some friends were coming into town to visit for a long weekend, and I had a couple hours to kill before their bus got in.  As I wandered around a Borders (remember those?) in the Chicago loop, I found a book to read and decided to buy a CD as well (remember THOSE?).  I had never listened to DEP, but I knew them by reputation, and so when I saw Miss Machine on the shelf, I decided "why the hell not?" and picked it up.  As soon as I got to the el, I ripped the cellophane off and threw the disc into my bright blue Sony Walkman (remember TH... ok I'll stop).  Forty minutes later, I woke up from a thorough, bruising audio beating.  Miss Machine was like nothing I had ever heard.

Friday, August 19, 2016

We'll Do It Live Fridays: Amon Amarth - "Twilight of the Thunder God"

It's been a hellacious couple of weeks for me work-wise; lots of long, brutal days have left me beaten to fuck, the unfortunate result of which is that my blog output has been lacking lately.  I get on the train to come home with every intent to write something, only to arrive home and collapse on my couch, barely able to turn on the tv to watch the Olympics.  Hopefully I'll get my act together sooner than later, and in that spirit, I figured this week's WDILF should feature one of the greatest, most uplifting "FUCKIN' GET IT!!!!!!!!" tracks I've ever heard, Amon Amarth's stellar "Twilight of the Thunder God."  Enjoy it, hope it gets you amped for the weekend, and feel free to share some of your favorite hype tracks in the comments!  Be good to each other; we'll see you next week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SubRosa - For This We Fought The Battle of Ages

In my experience, metal of the doom variety has more often than not boasted thunderous walls of guitar and drum rhythms that are so excruciatingly drawn out and slowed down over the course of an album that "serene" is the last descriptor that would immediately come to mind. Cue in SubRosa, a band that I happened to stumble across three years ago with the release of their last album, More Constant Than the Gods. Through harnessing the harmonious vocals of Rebecca Vernon along with layered violin work, I was blown away by how they incorporated these elements with the aforementioned doom metal tendencies. The result is a sound that can be as morose as it is blissfully uplifting. Despite the heavier aspects of SubRosa's sound taking the heft of the experimentation on For This We Fought the Battle of Ages, the spirit of this placid sound is still very much carried on in in their latest effort.

Friday, July 29, 2016

We'll Do It Live Fridays: Porcupine Tree - Anesthetize

I've made no secret of my love of Steven Wilson on this here blog, and while I could gladly type out a few thousand words on Grace for Drowning, his incredible live performances, or what possible awesomeness could await us on his next album, but that's not what this is about.  This is We'll Do It Live Fridays, and you're here for some live music.  So here's Steven Wilson in his previous band Porcupine Tree (who we are also huge fans of), performing "Anesthetize" from their incredible Fear of a Blank Planet album.  Enjoy some proggy goodness, and have a great weekend.