This week, we have something very special for all of our listeners…Kyle’s back!! OK, we’re kidding. Well kind of…Kyle is indeed back, and Nick and Brian are happy to have him back in the fold. But the actual special thing this week is interview with Stolen Babies bassist Rani Sherone!! Nick and Brian set this up a few weeks ago when they saw the band at the Epic Kings and Idols Tour (discussed more here). Between including this awesome interview and having Kyle back, we didn’t have enough time to get to all four reviews we planned, but we promise to make it up next week by reviewing five albums!
Reviews: Between The Buried And Me – The Parallax II – Future Sequence, Dethklok – Dethalbum III, Stolen Babies – Naught,
Between The Buried And Me – The Parallax II – Future Sequence
I thought that this would be the first week where I had listened to two of the albums before hearing your reviews of the albums, but I guess I’ll have to wait until next week for the Enslaved review. That’s fine because that album needs a lot of listening to sink in and I haven’t listened to it all that much yet.
-For Between the Buries and Me, even though I can’t say that I am a huge fan of the band I do agree with Kyle on Colors: it’s clearly their best album. If you haven’t listened to Colors, you aren’t really getting a sense of what this band can achieve and what most of us hope each of their subsequent albums can be (and are usually at least a little disappointed by when those albums fail to live up to the standard of Colors). Judging BTBAM without listening to Colors is like judging Queensryche without listening to Operation Mindcrime.
Nick’s statement about how there is something that doesn’t “click” with BTBAM in general is how a feel about The Paralax II so far. It is decent, but there is something that doesn’t quite click yet. And I say “yet” because this is the type of music that needs lots of repeated listens in order to get an accurate read on it. But there is always that question in me as to just how many times do I have to listen to a complex album before I know if it just takes many listens to reveal itself or if it just isn’t any good?
Saying that Colors is much more than the sum of its parts is a hallmark of progressive music. Progressive music is about creating albums full of consistent themes and continuous musical ideas and concepts. Prog music doesn’t have singles. Does King Crimson have singles? Pink Floyd’s The Wall is my favorite album of all time: is there any more unlikely “single” than Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2? It is a great album because of the cohesiveness of all of the songs which can’t really be taken apart but taken as a whole brings you to an entirely different level of appreciation of the music. Opeth is another example of a prog band without singles. In Martin Popoff’s book the Top 500 Heavy Metal songs, not one Opeth song made the top 500 but he notes in the appendix that 14 Opeth songs made the list after number 500. I can hear the Opeth haters saying that it’s because they don’t have any good songs, but I attribute it more to the fact that their focus is on creating albums of such consistency that not many individual songs stand out above the others, which is their intent. They’re all good, so picking one or two Opeth songs as their top is just as difficult as picking out single songs from many other prog bands who’s focus is on crafting full albums of music.
One last note about prog is that to me the djent bands such Animals As Leaders and TesseracT are completely different than Opeth and BTBAM and therefore I don’t even consider the djent bands to be prog. As you pointed out, song lengths and structures are completely different, and I’ll add that some of those bands (certainly Periphery for me) are more of a singles band. Periphery II to my ears has a few songs that stand out as singles and the rest seems like filler. Prog albums may have instrumental atmospheric passages that ebb and flow throughout the album, but to me the best of those prog bands tie those parts into the framework of the entire album without it being filler.
-I like the Grant Morrison analogy with BTBAM and that type of music. Some of his comics are wackier than some of these spacey metal concept albums.
-Music stores are the only redeeming quality of LA (maybe Jose Andres’ The Bazaar). When my wife lived out there for a year, Amoeba music didn’t exist there. But I would have loved to go to a place like that back in the day before you could get anything you wanted on the internet. When I would go out to LA to visit her (when we were just dating at the time), I would come back from LA with an entire duffel bag full of CDs.
-While Bathory may have never been the biggest band on the planet, they aren’t really that obscure. They are one of the pioneers of black metal.
-If you want to do anything at Comic Con, you need to line up early and block out your entire day to do it. There’s so much to do at Comic Con that if you just get to do the one thing that you most want to do then it is a successful Con. For me this year, that was meeting Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth.
-San Francisco is like the best parts of Brooklyn? You mean there are good parts of Brooklyn? (That was too easy). I actually went to Pauly Gee’s pizza in Greenpoint last night, which was worth the trip on the G train.
-While I do watch Metalocalypse, I do not own any of the Dethklok albums. Even though I get the joke, the music has to be good enough for me to want to buy a CD by this type of band. Tenacious D is an example of one of these types of bands who put out some great songs while winking at those of us who get the joke. From the little music I’ve heard on the Dethklok albums, I’m not rushing out to buy any because it does not seem like the songs will hold up on repeated listenings. I don’t need more albums that I am going to listen to once and then never listen to again.
-Regarding the Stolen Babies interview, I love hearing about the songwriting process. It is interesting to hear how writing music in various genres expands your abilities as a songwriter and how even for metal musicians their influences come from all over.
– I can’t really argue with anything you said about progressive music. The idea of an album is probably most important in that style of music, more so than any other. But I think any good album in any genre is because it is more than the sum of it’s parts.
I also agree that “djent” bands are very different than your Opeth or BTBAM bands (to use the examples you did). I think brought that up in one episode, that he wants a way to call it progressive but distinguish between the too. Despite the dumb name, djent is a form of progressive metal, but it was born out of something different than, say, Dream Theater or Opeth.
– I didn’t want to call him out on air, but I was also not surprised that Bathory had it’s own card. Benighted having one is more surprising. If you were to walk through Vintage Vinyl, though, (like I did yesterday) all of those bands have cards.
– Sounds like I need to make a pilgrimage to LA with a big bag and a bank loan. I know I’m old fashion, but I LOVE going to a good record store and just exploring it for while. Thumb through all the used stuff, rummage through the unorganized artists in each letter, wade through the vinyl…yeah, it ends up costing me a good amount of money, but it’s usually worth it.
– I was probably generous with my Dethklok review b/c I was just shocked I didn’t dislike it. I also have to kind of rate these albums backwards, in a way, b/c I have already purchased almost every album we review, so I have to rate it on my level of buyer’s remorse, if there is any, which includes if I think it warrants repeat listens.