Tag Archives: indie prog metal with a jazz-tap twist

Krallice, Liturgy & Lightning Swords Of Death (Two Of These Things Are Not Like The Other)

I’m not one for “if you’re into it I’m out of it” posturing. Depending on the source, the opinions of others can be a tremendous boon, especially as we float down this wide open river of digital distribution and incredibly easy access to cultural objects.

That said, Krallice is basically unlistenable. They don’t suck like Agalloch* sucks; they’re not unlistenable like older Aube and related strains of noise; they wouldn’t send me running from the room, hands over ears begging a blind and helpless universe to make it stop, just please dear god make it stop a la The Decemberists. But they’re boring, overly-long and just fail to fuse the disparate parts of their influences (prog metal, shrieking, post rock lengthiness) into anything interesting. I tried to like Dimensional Bleedthrough, having bought it upon the recommendation of seemingly hundreds of people, but I have finally given up months later. I think it’s pretty terrible, having neither hook nor tune nor anything to make it stand out as an object of interest.

I would not bring them to the prom.

Liturgy is halfway there. I enjoyed a giggle at the oft-tortured reasoning of frontman Hunter Hunt Hendrix in the first Black Metal Theory Symposium collection about American transcendentalism and “burst beats”. Not my bag, but hardly fatal, especially in a sub-genre pool that includes the idiots from Watain**. The music, however, is only halfway there. Renihiliation has some very interesting drumming and construction, but ultimately fails to reach the lofty heights their frontman claims to reach for. I will check out whatever comes next, probably.

In contrast, Lightning Swords of Death lost a bet with someone and ended up with a band name you might find on a sitcom where the teenage daughter is dating a scary “rock guy” for one episode. (He gets arrested for stealing a car, or perhaps smoking marijuana.) It sounds like a joke, the songs are titled like jokes, and yet my son and I agree that The Extra-Dimensional Wound is one of the best albums of 2010.

Strapped in his carseat, his legs and arms flail to the martial intro of “Damnation Pentastrike” (ha!), head nodding along to the beat and laughing with the sort of glee that amoral babies possess in great quantity. While he doesn’t love it as much as the intro to “Raining Blood” (his favorite song at 15 months), it never fails to calm him down.

I think this band is so likable because it is nothing more than it is – 30 tons of riffs, lyrical puking, and nicely balanced between ridiculous posturing and catchy songwriting.

*Sometimes I feel as though someone is playing a practical joke on me. Or perhaps I am blind to some kind of transcendent beauty in the creation of a post-metal Dream Theatre. Or not.

**Let us be serious – when it comes to sheer criminality, even the most brutally extreme satanic black metal bllarrrgghghghghghahhhahhhhh “nihilism” fails far short in both body count and general criminality behind most mainstream music genres past and present; the drug trade that fueled the rave scene; the drunk and disorderly wife beating brigades of country music; or just hip hop in general. It’s about as scary as the Insane Clown Posse, and nearly as sad. All of the ridiculous baggage and none of the success. All the severed goat heads in the world can’t make up for being a cartoon in a postmodern age where actual terrorism – both of the state and stateless variety – is so common.

Perhaps Sweden is a bit too comfortable?


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Today Is The Day: What’s So Experimental About Metal, Anyway?

austinSteve Austin strikes me as a singularly-minded sort of fellow, for better and for worse. Just read this Metalsucks.net interview; Mr. Austin might seem crazy, but no one could argue he is not dedicated to his work; Today is the Day is the story of that dedication. The band has seen a number of folk shuffle in and out of the lineup over the past 16 years, but for my dollar they’re one of the most consistently interesting “heavy” acts ever.

The question of what makes this body of work “experimental metal” – as was raised in the comments section of this post – rather than one of the other twenty-five available genres is a fair one. As a dilettante, I can offer a possible solution to this everlovin’ question of genre without too much baggage:

Today is the Day is weird. (“Atypical”, in other words.) Continue reading


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cramerIf I ran a futures desk in up-and-coming brooklyn metal bands I would be heavily pushing Tombs, a local act that’s now signed to Relapse Records. New album drops in February – you can hear the single “Gossamer” on their myspace page – and I’m excited and all if only because when I saw them open for Today is the Day in Greenpoint last year I said to all who could hear “these guys should get signed to, like, Relapse or something.” What I didn’t know is that they’d already been signed by Relapse at that point so, apparently, me = psychic. It was nice to see three dudes just having a time of it type of performance and they were certainly one of the highlights of the evening. Continue reading

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Isis – In the Absence of Truth & Mouth of the Architect – Ties That Blind

The indie/hipster post-rock-label- label- label- grind-death-jazz-fusion thing continues to tear along in weird places. So you end up with some really good things, like Genghis Tron, but outside of the more extreme Casio grind bands you also have this post-rock/prog metal fusion that’s pretty popular. Off the top of my head you have Pelican, Cult of Luna, Jesu, anyone who’s ever put out anything on Hydrahead Records, and stuff like that. Wikipedia actually calls this “post-metal” but as the Father of Lies, we would expect nothing less. I will agree with the Lord of Fetid Hosts, however, in blaming most of this on Neurosis.

The biggest name among all of these newer folk is Isis. Friends of mind have been repping Isis fairly hard for a while now, but I’m two albums into this particular journey and I still just don’t get it. Panopticon struck me as being very flat, and while I do like the way the band plays together quite a bit, I think the singing is, at best, ill-considered. Continue reading

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