All entries for Tuesday 08 August 2006
August 08, 2006
And now a few words from Moz, who would like everyone to know that, though he has left Warwick many moons ago, he is still very much concerned with our ears and would like to give them something they might like...
Having grown up on a steady diet of metal and grunge, in my mid–teen years I started to get a bit disillusioned with the whole metal scene– some of my favourite bands started to release rubbish albums (like Metallica) and the up and coming bands were all identikit nu–metal acts targeted at your angry suburban teenager. Around this time I started to get more into experimental rock, and came across a band who married my love for heavier music to a more progressive approach than most other rock bands lacked– the almighty Tool.
However, there didn't seem to be any other bands like them (except for A Perfect Circle, featuring Maynard James Keenan of Tool on vocals), and so I started getting into more progressive and so call post–rock bands, as well as other types of music, and drifted away from my 'metal roots.'
Fast forward until a few months ago, and things were beginning to look up – I'd recently gotten into crazy modern progsters The Mars Volta, and droning doomsters Earth, who had both somewhat restored my belief that it's possible for a band to be heavy AND experimental. Then one day I was in a record shop in Edinburgh, and while browsing around, my ears pricked up due to the music coming from the in–store stereo. It was at times heavy, at others sparse and atmospheric, and sounded pretty damn good to me. So I asked the guy behind the counter what the album was, and he told me it was 'The Eye Of Every Storm' by Neurosis. I didn't buy it then, but when I got home a few days later I picked it up, and proceeded to be blown away by the album. Combining the dynamics (and long track lengths!) of post–rock, the slow, pounding rhythms of sludge metal, quiet introspective passages and hardcore style vocals, I had finally found another band making intelligent yet aggressive music.
Upon doing some more research about the band on the internet, I discovered they weren't alone– another band called Isis played similar music and like Neurosis had started off playing somewhat simplistic and crushing hardcore before branching out dynamically and melodically. I picked up their latest album, 'Panopticon', and as with Neurosis, was blown away. Musically they're probably a little more uptempo than Neurosis, a little less bleak at times, vocals are used less, and the sounds tend to crescendo more gradually, whereas Neurosis often go from quiet sections to full blown assaults at the stomp of a distortion pedal. One thing can be said about both bands though – they're different to the majority of bands out there, and if you can imagine if Mogwai went 'metal' and used vocals, and that sounds like it might interest you, I'd check them both out as soon as possible.
As I said above, both bands have branched out musically from their hardcore roots, and so what to buy depends on what you're after. I only really own the later releases by both bands, but I'd definitely recommend 'A Sun That Never Sets' and 'The Eye Of Every Storm' by Neurosis and 'Panopticon' and 'Oceanic' by Isis. From what I've heard of Neurosis' earlier material, 'Times Of Grace' seems to be the point where they started to develop to their current sound, yet were more aggressive and abrasive than they are now. As for Isis, the EP 05' is a companion to their first album, 'Celestial' and is a good example of their earlier work. The MP3s should give you a good idea of what the two bands are like, but in the case of Isis I their work sits better being listened to as a whole album, as opposed to individual tracks.
Some samples of the bands:
Isis – 'The Other' MP3 Expired
Isis – 'In Fiction' MP3 Expired
Neurosis – 'Eye Burn' MP3 Expired
Neurosis – 'The Tide' MP3 Expired
Here are the Amazon links for the albums:
Cover versions are fun little things, because they allow songs to be reinterpretted in different ways and allow the listener to get into the music more. Sometimes they can be bad, particularly when it's one of your favourite songs that has been murdered by a pop princess wanting to reach out to a larger audience who don't want to listen, but occasionally you can find some real gems. Here are a couple that I've found over the past few days, for your enjoyment:
Sonata Arctica – The Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler) MP3 Expired
Four Tet – Iron Man (Black Sabbath) MP3 Expired
Beck – Hot In Here (Nelly) MP3 Expired
Beck – Diamond Dogs (David Bowie) MP3 Expired
Ben Gibbard – Thriller (Michael Jackson) MP3 Expired
Xiu Xiu – Fast Car (Tracy Chapman) MP3 Expired
Eels – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Prince) MP3 Expired
Sophie Koh – Creep (Radiohead) MP3 Expired
Tim Young – The Start of Something (Voxtrot) MP3 Expired
Also, Voxtrot are playing some UK dates in August. Someone buy me tickets, yay!