Now I have been posting on this blog about some new bands that I loved, some bands I was either or on and some bands I would downright rather gouge my eyes out with a spoon rather than listening to them again. But there will always be one metal band that will have my heart until the day I am six feet under.
There are very few words I could use to describe how much I love them. Not only are they great musicians with great lyrics and wonderfully brutal themes. They are, in themselves, an art form.
First, let me begin with what attracted me to them at first. As with most metal bands they are either a four-piece of a five-piece assortment, these days, sometimes more. Usually they consist of a vocalist/rhythm guitar player, a lead guitar player, a bassist and a drummer.
Now I know Slayer isn’t the first band to have two lead guitar players, albeit Iron Maiden, but Slayer’s sound is almost like an army of musical talent.
Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King are two of the best guitar players, I believe, in the entirety of metal because of their atonal guitar solos that coincide with each other. The tremolo picking that they do, which keeps the guitar playing, even during singing parts, more prevalent than the vocals.
Tom Araya on bass brings an amazing sound to the band, and because he is the singer too, he simply follows the guitar playing making for some absolutely pounding bass riffs as King and Hanneman are shredding the guitar at nearly 100 mph.
And last and most certainly not least, is Dave Lombardo on the drums. This man is an absolute machine on the drums. He can play fast and brutal and slow and melodic. Heck, he can practically do it all. This was another reason I fell in love with Slayer because his drum playing is on par with early ’80s punk bands, which were still big during the beginnings of Slayer since they started in 1981.
Now to sum the music all up.
Dual guitar solos
Fast shredding on both guitars during verses
Perpetually fast and slow drumming
And bass playing that follows the guitar playing closely
Now, as for the lyrics.
Slayer is known for their lyrics about Satan, serial killers, warfare, terrorism, Nazi socialism and religion. This alone has led to a lot of lawsuits against them because they have been typecast as a band that promotes Satanism and evil.
And surprisingly, Lombardo (drums) and Araya (Vocals/bass) are devout Catholics. Hence why the two guitar players King and Hanneman are the songwriters because they are atheists/religious skeptics.
In many articles they state that most of the music they write are about scriptures and books that they have read, and they are merely just doing a documentary of it in their songs.
For instance, in the album “Christ Illusion” there is a song titled “Jihad,” in which Araya sings about the 9/11 attacks from the terrorists’ perspective. This song was controversial and upset many families of the victims. Also, it was said that it would offend the sensibilities of Muslims, therefore , in the country of India all the copies of “Christ Illusion” were destroyed.
I personally love the lyrics for the song “Jihad,” because how many musicians were singing about how big of a tragedy the 9/11 attacks were? Pretty much everyone of them and their mother was! So it was nice that slayer decided to be different and sing about the other side of the coin, rather than just doing some cookie-cutter rendition of how tragic the attacks were as if that isn’t obvious or anything.
Now as for the Satanic lyrics. There are many, many, many songs by them on this subject. Especially the early CDs like “Show No Mercy” and “Hell Awaits,” which heavily focused on Satanic themes, but not because they truly believed in them, it’s just what made people angry and because not to many people were quick to jump on the Satanic themed bandwagon so Slayer said, “Why the heck not?”
So to conclude my blog post/love letter to Slayer. They are one of the best metal bands and acts of all time and will without a doubt be remembered far after they quit. But I highly doubt that is ever going to happen. Slayer is forever.
And this week, not only am I going to give you one video. I’m going to give you three of them. Two of them being my favorite songs ever by them and one live video:
Well, I do question a band that needs three guitar players to keep afloat, but let’s not jump to conclusions.
Kvelertak, in its own rite, is not a bad band for those who aren’t into the extremely brutal death metal that I myself enjoy. They are more of a death metal light. All the aggression of death metal, but with a lighter more melodic feel to it.
Granted, this is not my cup of tea, but like mentioned before, it is for those who probably were to frightened by the band I reviewed previously.
Kvelertak comes straight from Norway, and what is interesting is that they don’t sing any of their songs in English. All of them are sung in Norwegian, so if you’re looking to find a little bit of culture in your music look no further. However, the vocals in this band are from something I would find in a post hardcore band, which is nor metal or rock in my opinion. It’s just plain trash.
However, the guitar playing is very unique because there are two leads and one rhythmic. But you wouldn’t know that unless you read their wikipedia because the sound still has the same feel of if there was only one lead and one rhythmic. So it almost seems like a waste.
But all in all, Kvelertak isn’t a bad band, it just isn’t as agressive or brutal as I expect my death metal to be. So be your own judge. You will either love them or hate them:
Is what my band for the week, Blaspherian, is all about.
And I’m happy to admit that there actually is still death metal that lives up to its name!
Blaspherian is one of the most brutal modern bands I have ever heard. Everything with them seems to work well. To the growling voices, the low bass playing and the driving drums that would make even the most seasoned headbanger have neck injuries after listening to just one of their songs.
Now as for the lyrics, though one will not be able to tell at a first listen, are not for the weak at heart because the band’s artwork alone shows that they’re not very tolerant of Christianity. Heck, the first song I heard by them is called “The Disgrace of God.” However, don’t be intimidated by the sacrilegious song for it is well played and good for when you’re in a pretty bad mood.
Now as for the darkness. Well, one listen to them and you will know what I mean. Did I mention the growling vocals that send chills down my spine? No? Well they certainly do!
Now Blaspherian is probably one of the darkest bands I have every covered, so please listen to them with an open mind, and even better, open ears and enjoy the chaos that is Blaspherian. Keep your horns high!
And as always, here is a video for your headbanging pleasure:
Cavalera Conspiracy, the band I’m reviewing for this week, to sum them up in one word would be generic.
Now Cedric, how could you be so harsh, oh trust me, I’m being nice about this band. If I want to listen to a mix between the God-like, or Satan-like Slayer and the abysmal Chelsea Grin, I would. However, this is an absolutely horrible mix of generic nu-metal and speed metal, and the end result if far less than stellar.
Now to keep up with my theme of metal bands coming from different regions of the world. Cavalera Conspiracy comes form Brazil where a great band called Sepultura comes from, but like mentioned before, they aren’t exactly that great.
Though I will say the parts where the music takes a turn for the speed rather than the generic, double bassing on the drums and the same four riffs playing constantly, are good. But that is a very small percentage of each song I heard. It’s just, there isn’t too much I can really say about this band because they are so utterly generic and a mix of other bands with no distinct sound of their own.
Place CC next to any new modern metal band and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. They have nothing unique about them and they’re forgettable.
But if you really want to see for yourself, take a look at the video below.
By the way, my band of the week is a band called Mercenary. Now this is a kind of metal that I’ve always been on the fence with: Melodic death metal.
Shows more talent in the singer
Devoid of heavy distortion
Can sound kind of whiny at times (cough emoish)
Band usually sound exactly alike
Sometimes the grainy sound of ordinary death metal is better
Bands are usually on the more “spiritual” side
Thankfully, there are more pros for the band Mercenary. They don’t come off as whiny. Thank goodness. They completely lack spirituality. And best of all, they sound like a cleaner version of Slayer, which already has my heart from the get go.
Mercenery combines cleaner and less distorted sounds with a vengence. Not only the riffs clean and refined they are done fast! Even on their slow song called “Velvet Lies.”
Also, Mercenary is another metal band from abroad. Denmark to be exact.
Though not all is good for Mercenary. Their screaming seems very forced, and I’m not to big a fan of a singer in a death metal band phoning in the screams, but that is about all I can say is bad about them.
With the pulse-pound riffs, driving drums, and clean vocals (when not screaming), Mercenary makes for a very great well-rounded band, and doesn’t fit the melodic death metal mold. Thank goodness!
And speaking of pulse-pounding, here is a video of my favorite song by them.
This week I am going to pay tribute to the women in metal by introducing a band hailing from Finland called Dotma. Now to begin, considering just how new they are, I could only find two songs by them, but those two songs were probably some of the most memorable ballads I have ever heard.
Dotma is a very specialized form of metal, though there are good solos and extremely brutal riffs, it is contrasted by some of the most serene vocals I have heard since Amy Lee from Evanescence. Not saying I like them, but her vocals it was even makes their music worth listening to, but back to Dotma.
Aside from this band having a female vocalist, it’s also interesting the that last few bands I have listened to and written about have been from other countries. Perhaps metal is just getting better abroad than it is here, but I digress.
The singer, Johanna Lesonen, have vocals that sound very much like a singer in an opera, but the contrasted driving music is what sets this band apart from any metal band I have reviewed until now. I absolutely love the way she sounds and the great music that backs her is just icing on the cake.
Perhaps our metal bands should take notes from the foreign ones and realize that being generic is NOT a good thing. Dotma takes many different music styles, includes pianos, opera-style singing, driving riffs, drums and melts it into one big steaming pot of awesomeness.
So anyway, if you’re looking from some genius style metal music then look no further than Dotma.
Because folk metal band Korpiklanni has shown that folk music can be awesome if it is given a metal edge to it.
So, hailing from Finland comes Korpiklanni a band that’s fast, quick and according to most of their songs drunk. With such titles as “Happy Little Boozer,” “Tequila” and “Vodka,” one should get what this band is about even if they are just passing through.
Now as for this folk style of music they incorporate with metal, it is absolutely fantastic, well-played and doesn’t seem gimmicky like that crappy punk/pop band Yellowcard does with its violin player. With Korpiklanni the sound of the wind instruments feels natural, making for a great use of synergy with music styles.
There isn’t really much bad to say about Korpiklanni, they keep their songs diverse, the sound is clear, rebellious, loud and most of all, just plain awesome. They are a band I highly recommend for any metalhead who is willing to expand their horizons.
This week, I’m going to describe a band from a genre of metal that I’m not particularly used to named Haemorrhage. This specific kind of metal is called goregrind. In this style of metal the music relies a lot more on speed than my most favored genre, thrash metal, does. The lyrics are usually extremely violent and dark. The music contains lyrics about, obviously, gore, dismemberment, forensic pathology and in almost all cases, death, to some degree. The guitars are usually detuned, contain blasting drums and low-pitched vocals.
Now about Haemorrhage.
These guys (and one girl) are probably one of the most disturbing bands I have come across. I thought Slayer was bad with their anti-religious, disturbing lyrics and music. But with Haemorrhage, it is a whole different story.
Just one look at their videos and it is quite obvious what they’re singing about, death, destruction, blood, guts and brutality. And did I mention that they came from Madrid? No? Oh well, no matter. However, if this kind of brutal yet amazing music is being played over there that makes America’s most favored gore band GWAR look like “The Rugrats,” I may need to relocate.
Their videos are usually filled to the brim with blood and mutilation (of course most of it is done in a more cartoon format, but I’m sure many purists would still be highly shocked by what the videos contain).
Now let’s talk musically, guitars, bass, drums and such. Well, considering that goregrind is a very exact form of metal as opposed to just being generic, such as Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax who are more diverse. The actual instrumentals of Haemorrhage are fixed on quick drums, quick guitars and very, very low bass playing (in sound, not position.)
So would I recommend Haemorrhage to metalheads who are looking for some difference, but don’t be too surprised when all the goregrind bands start sounding, slightly, alike.
Thrash metal makes a fist-pounding comeback in the form of a popular ’80s metal band named Onslaught, who tragically took a 15 year break. However, they are back and better than ever.
Metal veterans Onslaught have shown that thrash metal is still alive and well in their 5th studio album called “Sounds of Violence.” If the brutal sounding title doesn’t get you, the album’s single ” The Sound of Violence” definitely will.
What separates Onslaught from today’s wanna-be metal bands is that they have experience. They took the pulse pounding drumming from ’80s thrash metal, the unorthodox yet completely melodic solos, the heart-stopping vocals and brought them into the new millennium with a bang.
Another song on this album that got me excited is “Antitheist.” The lyrics in this song have shown that rebellion is still alive and well in some metal bands, because this brings me back to the age of Slayer and Rigor Mortis. When the lyrics were hard-hitting about conventions such as religion, taboo topics and other conventions that most Americans hold in high regard and don’t want to be touched on.
I absolutely love this new album by Onslaught because it has shown me that some metal bands are not willing to conform to the new age of metal, which relies heavily on what is popular to sing about, and which style is popular to the masses.
I hope Onslaught does not take another break, because I don’t think the metal world could survive without them.
If you haven’t been keeping up with my blogs and what they are about. What I am doing is discussing up and coming heavy metal bands, and how they relate to older bands, as well as reviewing song that I hear by these artist. I am currently discussing one new artist a week.
This week it is the up and coming band Chelsea Grin.
Now, not every band I talk about will be a positive happy-go-lucky review. Some new metal bands I listen to would probably make late metal musicians roll over in their grave, and Chelsea Grin happens to be almost on the border of making them do so.
When I listen to Chelsea grin, only one word comes to mind: Generic.
This is nu-metal at its finest. And I despise nu-metal with a passion, with the rudimentary riffs and hardly understandable lyrics. If pounding on power chords and striking the drums so tactlessly makes a band “good,” then no wonder music in general sucks today.
Chelsea Grin is a band that is probably going to be famous in a few years because of how easily they are following the status quo with metal bands today. Growling. Check. Tactless drumming. Check. Slamming power chords ad nausem. Check. These ingredients alone make for a famous metal band these days.
There is no band I can really compare Chelsea Grin to as far as history goes. Because they are more of a hardcore band acting as a metal band, rather than just a metal band, but when searching for them, they came up as metal. So if this is what is now considered metal these days, I believe the people classifying music need a history lesson.
So if you or anyone is looking to expand your horizons in the metal scene, stay away from Chelsea Grin because you will find yourself trapped in the same bile of sameness as all the people who think Metallica is cutting edge are.