When we were done recording Episode 106 last week, we realized that not a whole hell of a lot was coming out this week. Making the matter worse, there weren’t really any artists we recognized from the previous week or two. So, being the dedicated bunch we are, we combed through a whole bunch of music on the release list, sampling bits and pieces of random albums, to pick out stuff we thought we (and you) might enjoy. This episode is the result of that experiment, and despite only having previous knowledge of one band we review this week, it went rather well…if we do say so ourselves.
Reviews: Crossfaith – Apocalyze (The End); Enabler – Flies EP (independent); Herrschaft – Les 12 Vestiges (Code 666); Vorna – Ajastaika (Inverse); Vulture Industries – The Tower (Season of Mist)
Crossfaith is a band that I had heard of and was curious to know if they are any good. But I was never curious enough to check them out for myself so it’s convenient that you reviewed them. I honestly don’t remember a first impression that you did for them.
The idea of reviewing covers by themselves sounds like a good idea. I certainly agree that when a band doesn’t bring anything new to a cover then it isn’t worth doing. The best covers are often when a metal band takes a non-metal song and makes it metal, such as seen on a number of tracks on Garage Inc. by Metallica. Turn the Page, Loverman, Whiskey in the Jar are all great metal arrangements of non-metal songs.
That song you played by Vulture Industries didn’t seem weird. Devin Townsend has weirder stuff than that. If you like weird and want to venture out of the realm of metal then have you discovered Frank Zappa and/or Captain Beefheart? Trout Mask Replica is Captain Beefheart’s masterpiece and Zappa has about 30 great albums. As Zakk Wylde says, if you listen to Frank Zappa and you don’t get it, then you aren’t supposed to get it because it wasn’t written for you.
On the topic of a week such as this when there is a lack of solid releases, I realize that it can definitely be a challenge to try and find some good stuff to listen to. And you are correct that just buying another 30 albums for $30 knowing that they are all crap doesn’t make for a great episode (unless you have one of your significant others trashing the albums along with you). But here’s the thing for me: I’d rather hear you trash a major release once in a while than give a 3 to some random band I’ve never heard of. I’d rather hear you tear into the latest Avenged Sevenfold album than review something forgettable like Herrschaft. I also certainly realize that there is a fine line between listening to your average run of the mill metal band and finding that hidden gem of a band that no one knows about. We all have our favorites that not a lot of other people even know about. So I think we are all better off for stepping outside of our comfort zone and exploring new stuff. But what I’m trying to suggest is that if you find yourself digging for albums to review, you don’t have to dig very deep to find many mainstream albums that you guys seem to skip. I understand that most of these bands aren’t your thing and you don’t care about them, as many of them aren’t my thing either. But if you are looking for something to review you might look no further than the top of the billboard charts or on the cover of Decibel (such as In Solitude).
Having said all that about mainstream releases, someone around here needs to be nothing if not hypocritical so I’ll say that 2 recent albums you might want to check out are Secrets of The Sky, and Beaten To Death, neither of which are exactly mainstream.
Thanks for your input on that! We are always looking for good feedback about things we should explore more or things we should stop doing. (We thought the Freak of the Week and the $30 for 30 were fun – apparently they were more fun to record than to listen too!)
In my opinion, the reason we typically stay away from more major releases that we most likely won’t like for the purpose of tearing them apart is that a.) everyone already knows who they are and has an opinion of them, and b.) we buy all our music (except for what is now provided to us by some labels). Having to drop $10 on the A7X album just to say that it’s shit, doesn’t really seem to make too much sense. I feel like spending that $10 on an up and coming band that doesn’t have the radio reach of large label is a better use of our time and resources. Sometimes that backfires when we listen to the whole album and we end of not loving it, but every now and then we stumble across a Vulture Industries or Vorna.
Now, that’s not to say we won’t trash the SHIT out of a single or two, or listen to album if a label wants to send it our way…
I do need to go spend some more time listening to Zappa. I am familiar with some of his music, but as you said – there’s lots. Picking a starting point has always been a little daunting.
I agree that Vulture Industries was not quite as avant garde as I was hoping, but what it lacks in “weird” it makes up for in “awesome.”
Nick, those are good points about why you guys tend to stay away from the major releases. I hadn’t thought about the money aspect of it before, so I can definitely understand how you would want to support lesser known bands as opposed to shelling out your own money for big name bands that don’t need any more money. But your point that “everyone already knows who they (major bands) are and has an opinion of them” doesn’t mean that people’s opinion of those bands can’t change. The specific band in this case that I am going to point out is Bring Me The Horizon. I honestly thought that you would have given a pass to reviewing Sempiternal when it came out earlier this year, just as you guys passed on new releases from Avenged Sevenfold and Asking Alexandria. But not only did you listen to Sempiternal, you actually LIKED it! I’m still a little flabbergasted by that, but I haven’t actually yet listened to the album. But if it weren’t for your glowing review of Sempiternal I wouldn’t even have given a single thought to even consider checking it out.
As for Frank Zappa, you are correct that there is no perfect starting point. His career has covered so many different eras and styles, from 50s doo-wop covers to avant garde classical compositions with everything in between. The albums I started with for no particular reason were Sheik Yerbouti and We’re Only In It for The Money, which are two completely different albums. Sheik Yerbouti is mostly 70s comedy rock while We’re Only In It for The Money is weird 60s satire. The first time I listened to We’re Only In It for The Money my honest reaction was “there goes $12 I’ll never get back again.” But rather than giving up on it, something compelled me to listen to again and I quickly “got it” and it grew on me to the point where I now think it is a completely brilliant album. But it is certainly weird.