Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I have been listening to a shit-ass ton of metal lately thanks to my friend Ben and thanks to feeling some kind of helplessly depressed as I watched my girlfriend purchase her plane ticket to move back to Ohio after living with her and sleeping next to her for a long time. I dropped her off at the airport; I shook. Here is a list of shit I really like in no real order. I'm going to link to songs via Spotify. Hopefully you have Spotify.

Weedeater - This band is sludgy as fuck and has some song titles that make me feel itchy like the end of this summer does. Favorites include "God Luck and Good Speed" from their self-titled album and "Turkey Warlock" from the album Jason the Dragon.

Neurosis - They are playing in Portland next Saturday and I'm going to be somewhere in the crowd trying to get my ears to just fucking bleed already. In particular, I've been listening to the albums The Eye of Every Storm and Given to Rising. Good shit. Very musical and sad but angry. Their Wikipedia entry says that some critic has described them as "atmospheric hardcore," but I would maybe pull the hardcore tag. I would maybe say "wandering spacecore." I'll always be the first to pull the hardcore tag.

Burzum - The album Det som engang var has been blowing my mind. Fucking destroys all your nice feelings but also has some interesting melodies that make you want to just kind of get off your ass and do something important that involves a bill you can't neglect or someone will come and get you. The music reminds you that there is always someone who is ready to come and get you. The dude from this band, Varg Vikernes a.k.a. Count Grishnackh, was in the band Mayhem. He burned down a shit ton of churches and murdered one of the other dudes in Mayhem by stabbing him. He finished a 16-year prison sentence in 2009. Burzum is his solo project. For more on crazy Norwegian black metal, watch the film Until the Light Takes Us.

Earth - Okay, this isn't really metal. Or maybe it is. Earth shares some of the qualities of these other bands that really make me like the music. I highly recommend The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull. This music is like pre-metal or something. Heavy, ambient, drugged-out stuff. About as soporific as anything approaching metal can be, but that isn't a bad thing here.

Wolves in the Throne Room - I stumbled across this band last month. Pacific Northwest black metal. This is what happens when vegans from Olympia listen to way too much Darkthrone. This duo has a moldy sound to them that conjures the misty violence of the PacNW. Let's not forget this place is the home to some of the craftiest serial killers in American history. If you listen close, you can hear them breathing a little of that same musty air as Bundy or the Green River Killer. In particular, I'm fond of Diadem of 12 Stars.

Electric Wizard - This band sounds like a contemporary reimagining of early Pentagram (not as obvious as maybe Witchcraft) but you can also hear early Sabbath in the vocals if you listen close enough. But take away any and all clarity to the vocals. There are new ways to make hell noises in the 2000s. All fair and expected since we have new hells or at least updated hells. Electric Wizard makes some very dense, tuned-down metal that has at least some kind of nod to their predecessors. Listen to the albums Dopethrone and Black Masses.

Dead Meadow - Psychedelia + heaviness are pretty much where I am at right now. Dead Meadow is not by any means traditional "metal," but they still manage to bring the brutality in measured doses. I'm pretty sure the drummer has a shitty little drum kit and manages to make awesome sounds come out of it. I saw them this spring and I remember him looking like a Montessori pre-school escapee. If you can't get into Dead Meadow, then I pretty much don't want to talk to you. Listen to "Ain't Got Nothing (To Go Wrong)" or "Greensky Greenlake."

Mastodon - Every album I've listened to by this band has crushed. I have been listening to them since I was doing my undergrad, and I am excited to get my hands on their new album The Hunter. The newly released single, "Curl of the Burl," is interesting. It's a shift from the face melters on some of their past albums in favor of some drive-y QOTSA or Kyuss-style riffs. I don't want to say "accessible," but maybe. The new album art will probably give me nightmares at some point. I just bought tickets to see them in Portland in November. All I want to do is go to metal shows and blow kisses at junkies.

Zoroaster - This band played with Weedeater in like May or something. I remember thinking that it was still winter because summer & Portland are two things that feel weird thinking about together. It felt like we were in some kind of backwardsness where water just kept falling to torture us. When I think about what winter is like, it makes sense that she would leave me and this city, I guess. Okay. Zoroaster's vocals have a shit-ton of reverb which makes them feel like a demon priest reciting John Berryman. Listen for yourself.

Sleep - The album Sleep's Holy Mountain is kind of a holy grail. This is something I didn't really know until last year because I'm really fucking slow at keeping up with holy grails. This album will wake you up. I like to listen to it on my way to work in the morning and pretend I'm not going to a corporate job in a high rise in the city. I like to pretend I'm off to die fighting Yeti just like my forefathers and this is album is a document of my Yeti-fighting failures. But ultimately I just park my car and buy shitty coffee and slide up the building's ass in a suppository that looks like an elevator over and over.

I just need this shit right now, I guess. Leave suggestions in the comments, if you want.