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Archive for the ‘metal’ Category

Spin: “Children of the Grave, Rap Has Its Metal Moment.”


This week’s column: Waka Flocka Flame, Odd Future, and metal.

Last Thursday, skate-prick rap collective Odd Future signed off Tumblr and appeared on national television. Sporting ski masks with inverted crosses scrawled on them, and bouncing across a smoke-filled stage, Tyler, the Creator, the crew’s charismatic frontman, along with Odd Future point guard Hodgy Beats, performed their 2010 single “Sandwitches” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The morning after, the Internet — which basically birthed Odd Future as well as most interesting rap these days — celebrated the group’s bizarro entrance into the mainstream.

Many of the same people losing their shit over Odd Future on Fallon were also busy downloading Salute Me Or Shoot Me 3, a victory-lap mixtape from Waka Flocka Flame, which featured the same sort of headbanging, fuck-you-up rap that made his debut album Flockaveli a success last year. Less than a week after a Grammy Awards show that was proud to acknowledge only the kindest hip-hop (B.o.B, Drake, a once caustic now “recovered” Eminem), Odd Future’s off-the-rails TV appearance, plus a new batch of noisy aggression from perhaps the genre’s most polarizing figure, were welcome disruptions. Tyler, the Creator and Waka Flocka are anti-pop, sure, but they’re also interested in being just plain fucking scary. Think of them as the first truly metal rap stars…

Written by Brandon

February 25th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Splice Today: Krieg – The Isolationist

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Not much to say. This record’s incredible. Go listen to it!

Unlike most United States black metal bands, New Jersey’s Krieg has no interest in getting past the bratty clatter of their second-wave Scandinavian influences. Songs don’t get symphonic, they’re not injected with overt nods to the avant-garde, and they sure as hell aren’t finding space for horns, dance rhythms, or whatever else is supposed to differentiate the experimental Americans from their conservative European forefathers. Krieg make raw, uncooked black metal: pummeling drums, buzzing scuzzy wall of noise guitars, and pained depressed vocals…

Written by Brandon

November 9th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Krieg, Splice Today, metal

Splice Today: Neurosis – Live At Roadburn 2007

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Here’s a review I did of Neurosis’ Live At Roadburn 2007 and the re-release of 1993’s Enemy Of The Sun. Struggled with explaining how and why the group is so much better than all the stuff they’ve influenced but I think I did an okay job, while also getting in some unnecessarily catty digs at bands that stick in my crawl. Dunno, just seems like Neurosis are the sort of band that once you heard them, it’d be tough to return to all this wandering, build-up-then-explode “post-metal,” you know?

Before metal got all mannered and started circling the drain of drone, getting all respectable, and soundtracking Jim Jarmusch movies, Oakland hardcore/metal contingent Neurosis stood alone in stretching out, slowing up, and lurching forward the core dynamics of heavy rock. And sorry bro, but none of the copycats and third-generation in-quotes catharsis builders that have come since really compare. The release of a live album, Live at Roadburn 2007, and the re-release 1993’s Enemy of the Sun make that painfully clear…

Written by Brandon

September 29th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Splice Today, metal

Independent Weekly: “Valient Thorr’s hard rock cosmology comes down to earth”

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A few things’ll be changing around here soon, all for the better (which means less lame links to freelance stuff and more actual content), but for right now, let me direct you to a couple of things. First, my brief teaser for Little Brother’s probably last show in their home state. For real–Phonte and Pooh should teach classes on breaking-up all classy-like and in a sense, giving their fans what their fans want, whether those fans even know it or not.

Also, did this piece on Chapel Hill, NC’s Valient Thorr, who are the kind of band it’s easy to dismiss or laugh-off but are in fact one of the weirdest, most determined, out-there, kinda metal groups around. Quick rant: As the interest in metal from supposedly hipper more “indie” type places grows, it’s avant-garde qualities are pretty much all that anybody talks about: How black metal is like noise. How doom is like drone. How hard rock is like punk. The result is a kind of washing away of all these super-influential, no bullshit bands that work or worked within a typical metal song construct (Fu Manchu, Sleep (other than Jerusalem), Electric Wizard, Masters of Reality, etc.) and indeed, are why bands can now so casually and easily send noise through their amps for hours on end and people stand and watch it. Look, it’s cool and all, but if one more hipster metal or “genuine” metalhead makes fun of post-rock or laptop shows and then tells me how awesome that Boris show was, I’ll cry. The point is, plenty of people see these bands or care about them, but they sorta fall off the edge of “indie” credibility and interest and they surely don’t give a fuck, but metal N00bs please know your history. Anyways, Valient Thorr are very much in this vein. They don’t need to add bagpipes or synthesizers or stretch their songs out to forty minutes to get the job done. They do weird, off-kilter stuff with simple garage rock effects and the urgency of lead singer Valient Himself sends it over the top and they wrap all their basic, heavy influences around a really vibrant, bizarro “We’re from space” concept that allows them to scream about politics and the state of the nation and not come off like dicks. Read my piece here:

In a jean vest with no shirt and bright red wrestling shoes, Valient Himself—the fearless, bearded and wild-eyed leader of Chapel Hill-via-Venus hard rock maniacs Valient Thorr—races to the supermarket on an emergency beer run. His main concern is the legion of parched, patient friends and fans (called “Thorriors”) who’ve come out to a Chapel Hill farmhouse on a Thursday afternoon. The band is making its video for “Double Crossed,” the first single from its fifth and latest album, Stranger.

“Double Crossed” is Valient Thorr—guitarists Eidan and Sadat Thorr, bassist Dr. Professor Nitewolf Strangees, drummer Lucian Thorr and, of course, Valient Himself—very much in their element. A punky but metal-proficient political manifesto chant-along, “Double Crossed” takes aim at the crooked money men and scheisty investors responsible for our economic ruins. The complaint, though, comes in fun, spy movie-treasonous terms.

The video is “a tribute to a lot of old music videos,” meaning the on-the-fly, goofball videos of MTV in its youthful, sincere days. On the way back to the shoot, cases of beer rattling in the backseat, Himself explains that the video is meant to invoke the silly anarchy of Twisted Sister and a rather obscure 1984 movie, The Wild Life. “It’s a fuckin’ terrible movie, but it’s got a really awesome scene where they break down a wall.” For this prattling, philosophizing frontman, the fuckin’ terrible part matters much more than the really awesome part…

Written by Brandon

September 2nd, 2010 at 5:13 pm