Call Off the Search Party…
…your episode is here! After an eventful and less-than-ideal ski trip, we found time to bring you the latest and, ok, we’ll leave it at that We may not always get them up on Sunday, but we have kept you satisfied for 230* weeks straight now. So, to satisfy your metallic cravings this week, we have some more traditional stuff, some grind violence, and something so bombastic, our former third host would likely rant about it at the top of his lungs in equal measure.
Holy Grail – Times Of Pride And Peril (Prosthetic)
Magrurdergrind – II (Relapse)
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King (Nuclear Blast)
*Yeah, I know there is still technically a missing episode…
Holy Grail – Times Of Pride And Peril
This week’s episode may be a first in that I have listened to and attended everything that was reviewed. Hence I have lots to comment on.
King by Fleshgod Apocalypse is pretty awesome. First is that it is light years ahead of their last album, which I can’t even remember the name of. Their previous album was one long bombastic, over-the-top, operatic shit show. King sees the band learning their lesson and crafting something exciting that keeps me coming back for more. King is still over-the-top, but it’s not TOO over-the-top. There is enough contrast and breaks in the action to let the music breathe. The operatic vocals are used just enough to give the album a grandiose feeling to it without coming across as indulgent. I love the contrasting vocals of four different types: from the death metal growls, to the somewhat cleaner male vocals, to the female vocals, to the use of choirs. They all work together nicely to craft a great sense of contrast throughout the entire album. When certain words in the choruses are held seemingly too long, it creates a great sense of tension in the music. The piano and an orchestra are used to great effect to flesh out the “wall of sound” without sacrificing the brutality of the music. The drumming is extremely energetic, and the few breaks provide just enough breathing room. And of course, the guitars are great with some nice soaring solos that fly above the mix when called upon. With King, have Fleshgod Apocalypse created the best album ever in the genre of Symphonic Technical Death Metal? Are there even any other competitors in that genre?
One last comment about King is that the instrument at the beginning of the song “Fool” that you believed to be a sitar is actually a harpsichord.
Nick, are really looking for more “finesse” from a powerviolence band such as Margrudergrind? I’m still sticking to my statement that powerviolence is just grindcore with good production. I’m a little surprised that you (especially Nick) didn’t comment more about the production of II by Margrudergrind. I thought that the production on the album is great, but I would expect no less from Kurt Ballou.
Of the three albums you reviewed this week, Times of Pride and Peril by Holy Grail is the one I’ve listened to the least, but I’ve still listened to it enough to form some impressions. I won the CD of their last album, Ride the Void, from one of your contests on the podcast! Fortunately for me I didn’t own Ride the Void already and I enjoyed listening to the album. Times of Pride and Peril isn’t quite as good as Ride the Void. I like the slightly more complex aspects of Ride the Void, including all the wheedily-deedily guitar work which was featured more on Ride the Void. Times of Pride and Peril seems more like a spin on a “classic” metal album in the vein of Judas Priest without being a throwback. The middle of the song “Psychomachia” sounds exactly like the “Darkness…” part of the song “One” by Metallica. I think that some songs work better than others on this album and it is an album that I find works best by culling a few “singles” from it rather than needing to listen to the entire thing straight through.
As Brian pointed out, the crowd at the Abysmal Dawn/Cryptopsy/Obituary/Cannibal Corpse show seemed to me to be just like any other regular metal crowd. There wasn’t anything unique about it being an “all death metal” show. Brian’s observation about there being an abundance of Latin American attendees seems to be true about metal concerts in general, not just this show. I noticed a large contingent of Latin Americans at the recent Lamb of God/Anthrax show as well. I think it just speaks to the global appeal of metal. In case you missed it on Firday, there was a surprisingly decent article about that very topic (the global appeal of metal) in The Wall Street Journal of all places: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-weird-global-appeal-of-heavy-metal-1455819419
That’s a great article! …..I can think of a couple of patents that should read that to better understand the scene and genre. Haha!
I still think I disagree with you about your assertion that power violence is just grindcore with good production. We have covered a few grindcore bands with good production, and while I enjoy them more than poorly produced albums, there is still something better, catchier, groovier, and more memorable about power violence. (I still can’t believe we’re debating the finer points of this genre). We’re covering another grind band this week. Maybe I’ll be able to put a finer point on it next week.
Just to be clear (not that anybody has accused me of implying otherwise) – My comment on the Latin American crowd was simply an observation. I see diverse crowds at all kinds of shows, but in my concert-going experiences, I tend to notice a larger Latin American attendance at DM-centric shows, especially in NY.
I haven’t had the chance to read the article yet (I will sometime), but, yeah, there has ALWAYS been a global appeal of metal. Metal didn’t even start here in the US, so it makes sense from the get-go. Exploring the different sounds from different parts of the world and sometimes finding bands from really random countries (e.g Persefone is from Andorra) is some of the fun. Hell, most American bands have bigger followings in Europe and/or Japan than they do int he US! And that, obviously, all ties together by having a massive global scene, which is why something like this very podcast works (well, assuming more people than you, Sideshow Bob, and the guys from Septa are listening, lol).