Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mastodon's 'The Hunter' brings the Thunder; a review

I have been a long time fan of Mastodon. I remember finally buying Remission in 2003, the year of it's release,
after listening to the Lifesblood EP at a party. I was familiar with the cover, having seen it in the many metal magazines I frequently read at the time. Mastodon's intense mix of sludge and atmosphere amazed me. I sat for many hours in my bedroom at home playing the album over and over again, atempting to figure the songs out. With each release by the band, Leviathan in 2004, Blood Mountain in 2006 and Crack The Skye in 2009, they grew emensly as musicians and songwriters.How I long to someday find a group of musicians like this to jam with. They are clearly all where they want to be now. The band's three vocalists, bass player Troy Sanders, lead guitarist Brent Hinds and drummer Brann Dailor share the singing duties. In some parts all three singing at once. Their voices differ quite pleasntly. Troy's voice is always a little bigger and more harsh, Brent's voice is more piercing, and Brann's voice is mellower, almost droaning. But in a good way. To many Crack the Skye was too proggy and conceptual and if stacked up against Remission, it would sound like a different band. Or a different side of the same coin. Mastodon's music has the ability to take on a journey. The imagery they associate with the songs through their music videos, album covers and the backdrops and footage they have behind them as they preform. The kaleidoscopic soundscapes.

The Hunter is the band's most recent effort and the culmination of everything they've learned ofer the years. The group remains as heavy as their namesake as the first three tracks completly knock you out.

Sounds like this

'Black Tounge' is very remenecent of the band's 'Blood Mountain' Days and is full of slamming riffs.
'Curl of the Burl'is an immeadiate favorite. The song is super heavy, as it is played in one of the bands usual tunings where the 6th string on the guitar is tuned to a bowel shaking A. This is Mastodon's modern sound. The guitar melody after the band comes in mimicing the verse vocal melody. Brent's verse vocals find themselves comfortably in the heavyness. All three of the bands vocalist sing the chorus you'll be repaeating every other time the song arrives at it. They have a video for this track, enjoy:

'Blasteroid' takes me back to the'Remission'-'Leviathan' days. Harmonizing clean vocals share the soundscapes with the screaming of " I want to drink your
fucking blood'. The song also features one Mastodon trademark, to me anyway, the complicated open-string riffs.
'Stargasm'sounds true to the band's 'Crack the Skye' state of mine with the atmospheric intro laden with spacey effects. The upbeat grooving verse riif leads into even more spacey breaks, with the infectious "you're on fire" lyrics.
'Octopus has no Friends'could have easily been on 'Leviathan', both in sound, and that it has 'Octopus' in the title. The octave-vocals over the complicated verse riff could also date it to then as well.
'All the Heavy Lifting'is another example of infectious heavyness that I associate with these gentlemen.
The title track 'The Hunter' is the first mellow break in the track listing.This is the kind of song that would have been mostly instrumental on 'Remission', before the group's vocalists found their voices. Make way for Brent's blues-jam solo before the song re-intros and the solo just takes over the song.
'Dry Bone Valley'takes me back to ' Blood Mountain' initially and the vocals take it away. The lead vocals on this are done by Brann, the drummer, who you'll remember sang the first part of the verse on 'Crack the Skye's' 'Oblivion'. A short wah-drenched solo seems like it should have been longer, but, you got to do what's good for the song.
'Thickening' is another mellow jam that starts off with a huge delay enhanced guitar solo, before going into some slightly dirty open-stringed, strummy guitar riffs. The songs picks up with haunting, harmonized vocals and goes into more solos! There are solo breaks galore in this song. These guys get it.
'Creature Lives' stands out from the rest of the album, or Mastodon's entire catalog, as it is completely
composed by the groups percussionist Brann. The sweeping harmonies and creepy laughing the track starts with give way to a simple, clean guitar riff that a hint of the vocal melody to come. The songs strikes me as a nursery rhyme, that is not an insult by any means. I honestly plan on learning this and playing it to my children. The choir-esque build up to the chorus are whimsical and fit perfectly in this simple, catchy song.
'Spectrelight' takes you back the heavy atmoshpere Mastodon calls their home. The track also features the albums only guest musician, Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly. The guitar tone in the begining of
'Bedazzled Figernails' and a wonderful halfway point between clean and distorted guitar. The lower register verse vocals are beautifully contrasted by the soaring harmonized vocals that follow. There's also, what sounds like, a therimin in the vocal breaks that make the song
sound at home in the Twighlight Zone.
The album closes with 'The Sparrow', a song that starts as a mellow relaxer that goesin to a nasty riff that will make anyone do a 'guitar face' and air guitar along. The pleasant vocal melodies make this tune a great way to come down from an album that takees you to every part of this galaxy.

My rating system will be how much awesome the album puts into The Thunderbucket
As you can see, Mastodon's 'The Hunter' fills The Thunderbucket to the top.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We Butter the Bread with Butter brings the Thunder

We Butter the Bread with Butter (WBTBWB) are a German deathcore band that has an odd use of keyboards and orchestration to their music. All of their lyrics and song titles are in German, yet their name is not a translation. The band are perhaps the most original deathcore band I have heard, which is saying a lot considering the genre is pretty boring and monotonous as a whole. The use of keyboards range from black metal-style, epic orchestrations to dance-techno. But it all mixes very well with the detuned guitars, blast beats and pig squeals. The vocalist, whatever then hell his name is, also sets the band apart. He sings in every style fit for metal you can think of, from growls to screams to pig squeals to pseudo-singing German gibberish.
One of the bands best songs has no keyboards in it however. The song is called "Godzilla" and features hilariously place movie clips and a super brutal breakdown after the second Godzilla scream, enjoy:

I believe that song was written before they had a keyboard player and was released as a bonus on their first album. Another hilariously excellent "unreleased" song  of theirs is a song called "Christmas Song", but is pretty much a deathcore version of "The Little Drummer Boy"
I hope you listened to it at least until the vocals start, and then laughed about how awesome it is. The song "Breekachu" starts with a slow tecno sounding melody and turns into a death slow jam.
Another hilarious grindfest is a song called "Extrem", the beginning is absolutely hilarious and the rest of the song just kills.
The final song I'll post about this band will be in " save the best for last fashion" is a song called "13 Wunsche" or 13 Wishes. The song starts of sounding like some Lady Gaga radio garbage and then after a verse and a sweet interlude the same intro melody plays with the whole band and just slams.
The video has translated lyrics, but who cares. Stay tuned for the next Thunderpost!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grand Magus Brings the Thunder

Here is my first in a never ending series of posts of Bands That Bring The Thunder. These will be me spotlighting bands I think people should know about. The story of me knowing about Grand Magus starts with a band practice a couple of months ago when the drummer of my band Justin shows up to practice with a album he got from Dreadful Sounds, a record store on North High St. in Clintonville go there. Anyway, he showed me the album and told me that the band sounds like all of my favorite bands put together. As tall an order as that is, I gave it a listen. Justin was right on the money.
Grand Magus is a band of three Swedish dudes making some of the best heavy metal I have heard. The album Justin showed me was Iron Will, the band's 4th official Release. Right away I heard some subtle Iron Maiden influence and a definite taste of Black Sabbath. Janne Christofferson's voice sounds like he listened to a lot of Deep Purple. The riffs are catchy, the solos are tasteful and there are big epic choruses.
Grand Magus started out as more of a doom band and on Iron Will came into their own on as an amazing heavy metal band. The group just released the album Hammer of the North and it is the best thing I have heard from them or any other band. The songs are perfect.
Above is the video for Hammer of the North, one of my favorite songs right now. enjoy
Here is the video for At Midnight They'll Get Wise, also off of Hammer of The North
Above is a youtube video of As The Oar Strike The Water, from Iron Will. Not a music video but the cover art is amazing and it's a great song.
So concludes the first of Bands That Bring the Thunder, stay tuned for many more

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Official Thunderpost

I plan on making my posts more frequent so stay tuned...

    Did you know that the Rolling Stone used to be a credible music publication? It's true. The magazine that validates Coldplay's music and puts Justin Bieber on the cover used to be the magazine that music groups wanted to be on the cover of, let alone mentioned inside. I use the terms 'music groups' and 'used to' because neither are true any more. Granted there are people regularly featured in the magazine who's music is composed and recorded with actual musical instruments, it's usually indie bands or U2 or Areosmith type bands whose music is more the background of commercials than anything else.
    The Rolling Stone just put out their latest 'Collectors Edition' cash grab The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. I knew I was going to be disappointed before I even picked it up, but I did anyway. I flipped through it for the same reason I DVR That Metal Show, I just like to hate things I guess. Anyway, the bottom of the list was pretty predictable, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones and so on, but I was more than usually disappointed in the absence of metal.There were only two metal bands on the list Metallica ( 50-something) and Black Sabbath (10 or 20 spots later in the list).Not to mention the amount of rap groups on the list. Including Public Enemy at number 14, that's right the group Flavor Flav was in.
    There are many metal bands from any of the sub-genres of metal that easily belong on that list. I don't see why all of the "Greatest Artists of All Time' should be only from the past 60 years and be, for the most part, all of the same genre. No Beethoven, no Mozart, no Bach, no Paganini. I am to assume that the artists in this list have done more for the art than these fine composers. And all of the blurbs about these artists are written by other artists. Just the most popular patting themselves on the back.
    The Rolling Stone should be ashamed of themselves. Print is an endangered species on its way to extinction. Many magazines over the years have closed up shop, Metal Edge, Metal Maniacs and Hit Parader for example. All legitimate music publications now out of print. Thank goodness Revolver is hanging in there. It is the best widely available American metal magazine covering a pretty wide stretch genre-wise. So, pick up Revolver or, if you have the money, Metal Hammer or Kerrang to get any decent extreme music cover and leave The Rolling Stone, or as I now refer to it as, Mtv the Magazine, to extinction.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Unleash Thunderbox

    In this, my first post I would like to explain why I started this blog. I started this mainly to explain why I like or dislike things, granted it will mostly be music.  Saying that I would fist like to point out that I am a musician, and have been for the past fifteen years and believe I have enough knowledge to make by points valid.A lot of people I know who don't share my opinions in music basically think that I hate everything, or dislike anything because on the radio or popular. This is not true, just a mere coincidence. The music I like, as I explain to these people, is either music most people don't like or music they have never heard of. So, I'll update when I think people should know about something or to rant about why I'm upset that a lot more people like or don't like something. 
    I really wish technology was where it is now when I was13, it would have been a lot easier to find new music. With the limitless internet and all of the people making music all over the world it bothers me when somebody tries to sell why Slipknot is so awesome, or how good the drummer to the Deftones is. I just can't feign interest in mediocrity. I have a few theories when to comes to music; The first one being that music fans settle for what they think sounds good based on what is told to them or people base their tastes on laziness. Again going back to how easy technology makes finding anything. Ignoring this tool to find something that better suits your taste is just dumb. Listening to the radio is possibly the worst thing for any music fan, just like watching Mtv. The music on the radio, every station, is just recycled. Since music has been profitable it has been the same thing, if only adjusted to match the trends.
    Country music has stayed the same, save for being watered down to be more accessible. Any kind of pop or R&B is just disco and rap is a music negative. No instruments, no music. An all popular rock, Nickleback, Linkin Park and alike, is just new disco played by instruments. This is where a lot of people give me the 'you only don't like things because it's popular', sound just but only a coincidence. I bring anyone's attention arguing this to any fad that has ever existed, namely the Pet Rock. Somebody took rocks and put them in to boxes and people bought the shit out of them. Rocks people. Does that mean everyone who bought a Pet Rock is stupid? Yes, yes it does.
    My second theory is that musical taste deteriorates with age. This can, I guess, also be attributed to laziness. A lot of people I know who where fans of respectable music in their formidable years, seem to just accept whatever is thrown at them in their later 'boring' years. I make it a personal mission not to get bored with any kind of music I like. This is why i subconsciously go through phases, be it rock, doom, punk, death, or power metal I do my best to re-examine why I like these types of music.  Allow my musical taste to mature as it were.This blog will allow me to present my argument with some dummy pissing me off by just say the opposite of what I'm and thinking they won the argument. Sorry about the length of the post, but reading this is better than me shouting all of it at you.