Episode 126: Focus Shift

Finally!  We finally found something Nick and Brian disagree on!  It also may not on be the album you think it is (based on your options below). Despite that album (or including it, depending on who you side with) there’s some good stuff here this week, ranging from the Retro-Synth-Electronic-Rock of Crosses to the Brutal Death Metal massacre that is Benighted.  Yeah…that’s happening.  That’s how we roll, bitches.


Reviews: Benighted – Carnivore Sublime (Season of Mist); ††† – ††† (Sumerian); Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us (Season of Mist); I Killed the Prom Queen – Beloved (Epitaph)

Crosses (†††) – †††

Cynic – Kindly Bent To Free Us

I Killed The Prom Queen – Beloved

Benighted – Carnivore Sublime


  1. Wow! We have disagreement! You found something that Nick likes that Brian doesn’t like. Your post says it may not be the album you think it might be. Which album did you think it would be? Because as I said back in episode 121:

    “If there is one genre that might come to mind for differences of opinion (between Brian and Nick), it could be prog.”

    Cynic certainly falls into that. Even though Nick doesn’t like all prog, now that I think about it Brian seems to like very little prog. Maybe you could vaguely call Periphery prog, but they and other djent bands are not what first springs to mind when I think about progressive music. Between The Buried And Me, Dream Theater, and Opeth and Mastodon’s more recent albums are what I think of as the fore-front of progressive metal these days. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with not liking these current crop of today’s progressive metal bands, I’m just saying that I think we’ve found a polarizing genre of music between the two of you.

    I told you I wasn’t trolling you about Cytotoxin! Yes, there was a lot of squealing on Radiophobia by Cytotoxin, but does it matter? The reason I ask is because to me almost all death metal vocals are just another instrument, whether they are growling or they’re squealing. There’s certainly exceptions to that last statement, such as Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, and Opeth. Whether or not I can recognize, understand, or sing the lyrics doesn’t matter to me. The point of most death metal vocalists is to add tone color and sometimes even a little melody, similar to what any other instrument would do. In fact, for the most part I think of death metal as instrumental music.

    He’s what I have to ask: you guys both (including Nick) liked Unhuman. While I haven’t really listened to “Be Knighted” much, the way you described their vocals seems like how Unhuman sounded. Unhuman certainly had the “gargling” that you describe in Benighted. Go back and listen to the second and third songs on the Unhuman album, which are 2 of my favorites (“Douces Pensees” and “Mutants War”). Just listen to how many noises that vocalists makes. Guttural barking, pig squeals, throat clearing like he’s going to hock a loogie, and it all leads up to one long extended held note of the most awesome gargle that is at the end of the third track. My point to Nick is if you liked that album (ranking it number 15 on your year end list), then I’m assuming the vocals couldn’t have bothered you so much on Unhuman. So why did they bother you on Benighted? Is it that the guitar work on Unhuman is so awesome that it makes up for the weird vocals, but Benighted has only pedestrian guitar work so the vocals stand out more?

    One last note: I get the impression that you guys don’t watch That Metal Show on VH1 Classic. But you should check out this week’s episode. Randy Blythe is the guest this week (along with Chris Adler) and Randy speaks about his experiences regarding the manslaughter charge. This was the first time I’d heard Randy speak personally about the incident and it really has more of an impact hearing a firsthand account of things. The episode will repeat all week on VH1 Classic, so even if you missed it there will be plenty of opportunities to watch it this week.

    1. Yeah, it looks like the nuance of prog is where we break apart. Oddly though, every band you just listed as an example of the forefront of the movement are bands that I don’t really enjoy – almost had me with Mastodon, but I didn’t care for “The Hunter.” So, while it divides Brian and me, apparently I can squarely fit into the prog mold.

      You hit the nail on the head with Unhuman vs Benighted. The difference is the support. While the music of Benighted is good, I didn’t find it distracting enough to have the vocals not jump out at me as a little jarring. I did give Benighted credit for mixing up the vocal styles enough to never really get on my nerves, but I feel like the all around craziness that is Unhuman just fits insane vocals that much better. They are the only band (that I can think of at the moment) where vocals that insane add to chaos and complexity of the song. Most other bands it just jumps out at me in the all the wrong ways.

      I don’t think I get VH1 Classic with my cable package, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find it on the internet somewhere. Thanks for pointing that out, I’m interested to hear the story told directly from him.

      1. If you didn’t care for The Hunter by Mastodon, then I might suggest giving it another listen. If you (like almost all of us) approached The Hunter as “the follow up to Crack The Skye”, then your initial reaction is disappointment. But after listening to The Hunter more it stands on its own because it really isn’t anything like Crack The Skye. And as can be said for a lot of bands, seeing them play The Hunter live really shows off how good the individual songs on the album are, even if it does not contribute to a concept the way previous albums did. Mastodon is clearly one of those bands that isn’t going to record the same type of album twice, and The Hunter represents a natural progression throughout what is coming together as a great career by these guys.

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