Friday, 28 February 2014

Thursday: Sevendust - Licking Cream

     Next up, for yesterday we're going with a blast from the past that came up on my shuffle recently and gave me a dose of nostalgia to concentrated to ignore.

     Your Thursday song is "Licking Cream" from Sevendust's sophomore 1999 disc Home, a track that features Skin from Skunk Anansie delivering a vocal performance capable of sitting right there alongside Lajon's in terms of power and feeling. Aspiring female singers/musicians should take note: women in music don't need to sexualized to be capable of making an impact.

     Add in the fact that I feel Sevendust is arguably one of the forefathers of djent (yes, you read that right) and you've got a little piece of history right here. Get edumuhcated right now.

Wednesday: Thomas Giles - Hypoxia

     Well, my midterm marking is finally done, which means I've got some time to get caught up on a bunch of shit. And the first order of business on my shit list is you guys! So let's get started with something for Wednesday.

     That something is going to be a little mellow, but hopefully a little eye-opening for some of you. First, listen to "Hypoxia" from the 2011 album Pulse by Thomas Giles. Then answer a couple of questions for me: Does that name look familiar? And does he sound familiar? He should. Those layered vocals can also be found in the chaotic mix of sound that is Between the Buried and Me, since Thomas Giles is also Tommy Rogers, the band's vocalist and keyboardist.

     (I know, it's like when teenaged me and my friends realized that Jason Lee the actor is in fact also Jason Lee the pro-skateboarder from the early 90's. In the words of Neo, "Whoah".)

     So think back to Wednesday, chill out a bit, and most importantly, keep breathing.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tuesday: Intronaut - Sundial

     Those in the know are already aware that Intronaut is capable of crafting some pretty epic stuff. Those not in the know are about to get a lesson. School is now in session.

     "Sundial", from Intronaut's 2008 album Prehistoricisms, contains a lot of what makes Intronaut good -- heavy, proggy riffing, mostly -- but I think my favourite part is the "verse" drum beat with its off-kilter rhythm and precise use of the ride cymbal's bells. It sounds like the mechanical workings of some menacing heavy metal machine. Check it out and think steampunk monsters.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Intervals - The Escape

     It's a quickie post tonight, and one that's aimed at commemorating the upcoming release of Intervals' debut LP A Voice Within next week.

     "The Escape" is the second single to be released from A Voice Within and our second chance to come to grips with Intervals with a vocalist. I'm still reserving final judgement for when I can listen to the whole album, start to finish, a couple of times, but I definitely thinking instrumentally the band is as strong or stronger than ever. Vocals or no vocals, there's no shortage of tasty riffing in the first two songs we've heard off the record so far. I for one am looking forward to next Tuesday.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Exist - Like the Weather

     The concept, if you will, of today's post, and how it relates to today's song, makes me feel clever. Please bear with me.

     "Like the Weather", by American fusion band Exist, is a little bit like the weather -- mercurial, changeable. At times "Like the Weather" thunders along like a storm front, and at other times it backs off like a sunny break in the clouds. The song's nine minute running time is like a year's worth of shifting seasons and varied weather patterns.

     OK, so maybe that's reaching a bit. "Like the Weather" is a killer fusion metal song, with a perfect storm of jazz and tech death elements. And given that Exist's debut LP is entitled Sunlight (complete with title track), maybe it's not such a stretch to believe that there's some meteorological or climatological stuff going on. Or maybe I'm just tired. Goodnight kids.

(Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of this song online, so you'll just have to hit the Googler and try to find a stream of the album somewhere. "Like the Weather" is track four. Good luck!)

Saturday: Mastodon - Oblivion

     Word on the street is that new Mastodon is being readied for the world, and while I'm not one of those people with a serious hate on for The Hunter, I certainly would prefer something a little more reminiscent of, say, Crack the Skye.

     That's why we're going with a song off Crack the Skye tonight, in the hopes the metal gods will hear us and look kindly upon us. Specifically, I can't get around choosing album opener "Oblivion", simply because it blew my fucking mind the first time I heard it, kicking down the door to my brain so the rest of the album could charge in unimpeded. If you've got the time tonight, put this one on and then just let the record play.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Friday: CHON - Sketch

     In case you've been wondering and/or butt-hurt about the number of bumped-back Songs of the Day there've been in the last week or two, I'm putting the blame on the fact that I'm up to my old tricks as a teaching assistant again this semester and have been in the thick of the tedious business of marking archeology midterms. Yeah, poor me.

     Anyways, that hasn't stopped me from trying to keep this Loud Noises plate spinning, and I'm not going to let it start now. So: song time!

     For yesterday we're going with "Sketch", the second song to be released from the forthcoming EP Woohoo! by instrumental jazz-proggers CHON. If this kind of thing excites you at all (ie: instrumental jazz progginess, noodling, and general mischief) then CHON is a band you should probably know if you don't already. They'll brighten your afternoon for sure.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Thursday: Tides of Man - Drift

     You should all know by know that I like instrumental stuff (if you don't, you've got some reading to catch up on). But it doesn't have to be metal to catch my ear. One of the best genres in which to find good instrumental stuff is so-called post-rock.

     A lot of this kind of thing is super slow-burn, making the payoff not always worth the wait. But Tides of Man have the right idea, namely that the journey's just as important as the destination. Sound cliched? Basically what I mean is that you're not just waiting to the build-up to finish building in a Tides of Man song. Young and Courageous, the band's latest effort and their first as an instrumental outfit, is full of moments that stand on their own two feet.

     If any of that sounds reasonable to you, you should check out "Drift" from the aforementioned Young and Courageous for some good instrumental post-rock that won't leave you waiting all day for the goods. (It's the album's third track, starting about six minutes into the stream below and ending about eleven minutes in. But seriously, just listen to the whole thing. You'll be glad you did.)

Wednesday: Cynic - True Hallucination Speak

     After a delay of a few days, Cynic's Kindly Bent to Free Us came out this week, provoking metalheads everywhere to once again question whether or not Cynic can still be called a metal band.

     Fans who lamented the less-heavy direction taken with Carbon-Based Anatomy won't find a whole lot of redeeming qualities in Kindly Bent to Free Us, and fans who dug Cynic's experimentation with space-jazz-prog likely won't care that death growls and robot vocals have been all but jettisoned in favour of a more organic approach. But I think both camps can agree: that is some fat bass tone.

     A lot of metal bands, the bass sits way down in the mix, its lame recreation of the guitar parts barely audible underneath everything else. Not the Cynic of Kindly Bent to Free Us. All of the instruments in Cynic have always been on much more equal footing, and the time around Sean Malone's bass in right up in yo' face.

     Album opener "True Hallucination Speak" is a perfect example. Malone's deft fretboard manoeuvrings are centre stage alongside the guitar, at times carrying a lot more of the load while Masvidal is being a little more hands off. Is it still metal? I don't know, but Kindly Bent to Free Us is growing on me like the wacky tree-shaped trippiness on the cover.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Tuesday: Animals as Leaders - Tooth and Claw

     Hey instrumental progheads! Have you heard about the new Animals as Leaders album The Joy of Motion? Oh. You have. Well have you heard the first song to be released from the new record?

     That's right, this is no mere teaser, there's a full new Animals as Leaders song online today, and it's pretty rad. It's a bit of a departure from some of their material -- a bit more riff-oriented and straight-ahead heavy, if you follow me --but it's nonetheless noodly and shreddy and all the other good things we've come to expect of Animals as Leaders. And then there's Matt Garstka'a muscular drumming... mmmm...

     If "Tooth and Claw" is any indication, The Joy of Motion is going to be a doozy. Check it out and see how it compares to the rest of the band's catalogue in your eyes.

Monday: Periphery - The Parade of Ashes

     I've written about Periphery and their latest project, the Clear EP, pretty recently, but for a couple of reasons I've decided to revisit them and it again for your Monday song.

     The simplest of these reasons might be that I'm just really enjoying it. Periphery is the kind of band that I think "real" metalheads look down their noses at a little bit, and I guess can understand that -- they are, after all, arguably the face of everybody's favourite djenre -- but I've been a fan of their work since back when it was just Misha putting stuff out on Myspace under his Bulb moniker. New Periphery material can never be a bad thing, and while Clear isn't likely to supplant some of their earlier stuff as my favourite work from their catalogue, it certainly does provide seven tracks of tasty goodness that are decidedly Periphery.

     Well, decidedly Periphery with a twist. If you're already interested in or familiar with the band or the EP at all, you likely know that the deal is this: besides the more collaborative intro track, each of the remaining six tracks on the EP is primarily the brainchild of one of the band's six members, an elaboration on one of the melodic ideas from the intro. It's an interesting experiment, which is the other main reason I've got this EP on the brain. It's cool to see a band take an idea like this and run with it, and it's a testament to Periphery's success that they even have the ability to do so.

     Yeah, that's a little long-winded for a Song of the Day, let alone one that's a day late and dedicated to something so *ahem* "mundane" as a Periphery song, but I'm diggin' it and I'm the one who's calling the shots here. So you're getting "The Parade of Ashes", the song helmed by singer Spencer Sotelo, because its dance-y chorus groove feels the furthest from standard Periphery to me.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday: Crosses - Bitches Brew

     By now you may all know that Chino Moreno's latest band Crosses (usually stylized with three little crosses that I can't replicate here) has a couple of EPs and now an LP under its musical belt. But have you listened to any of it?

     Well now you can! Your song for this evening is the first video from the self-titled debut LP, a grungy, groovey, laid-back number called "Bitches Brew" that I could definitely see being a summer soundtrack tune. If it weren't the middle of February. Sigh.

Saturday: Blotted Science - Synaptic Plasticity

     For your Saturday song, we're going to switch over from the furious assault of Inferi to the dense technicality and shreddy virtuosity of Blotted Science.

     I've written about this instrumental three-piece before, praising their latest album The Animation of Entomology, but as is so often the case, Blotted Science's latest work isn't their only record, giving me some tasty back catalogue to delve into.

     And delve I have, sitting down and spending some time with Blotted Science's previous effort, their 2007 debut LP The Machinations of Dementia. I've changed my mind a couple of times, but I just keep coming back to the idea that, as is also so often the case, you should probably start this adventure off at the start with album opener "Synaptic Plasticity". It'll give you a pretty good idea of what kind of madness awaits you on the rest of the album, and if your brain hasn't be scrambled by the end of it, you're probably ready for The Machinations of Dementia.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Inferi - Destroyer

     It's Friday, and sure it's Valentine's Day, but maybe you're not interested in romance for whatever reason. Maybe you're just looking for something ugly today, something brutal and savage to wash the taste of all those chocolates and cinnamon hearts out of your mouth. This post, dear reader, is for you.

     Nashville's Inferi play a brand of fast and furious technical melo-death that's pretty balls-to-the-wall. Take, for example, the song "Destroyer" from their latest album The Path of Apotheosis. Other than a brief choral break to set up some slow(er) jam-style shreddiness, the song's six-plus minutes are mostly taken up by ass-kicking of one of the highest orders. If stuff like The Black Dahlia Murder and Arsis do it for you, Inferi WILL be right up your alley.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Ethersens - To Live is To Forget

     We call things "post-hardcore" to broadly connote that in some way they've been influenced by the impact of of hardcore, perhaps even moved beyond it. Ditto for "post-metal". But has anybody ever heard of "post-alt-rock"? Yeah, didn't think so.

     Maybe because it's not really a thing? Maybe, but the opening minutes of the epic "To Live is To Forget" from last month's Your Wandering Ghost by France's Ethersens remind me so much of 90's alt-rock and alt-metal that I'd be willing to coin the term.

     If, however, that sounds like the kind of thing that makes you want to click away to some other page as fast as possible, know that Ethersens are not just rehashing anything from the most formative decade of my musical youth. Their big melodic sensibilities are filtered through a proggier, more modern lens. I hear flashes of Alice in Chains and I Mother Earth in "To Live is To Forget", but I'm also getting hints of The Ocean or even Mastodon.

      Ethersens might not be earth-shattering if this kind of sound isn't your cup of tea, but if nothing else, it's certainly tasty enough that Your Wandering Ghost warrants further investigation. Meet me back here when you're done.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Fellsilent - Silence is the Loudest Cry for Help

     I do my best here at Loud Noises to write about stuff that at least some of you out there haven't heard before. I hope today I've succeeded in this mission.

     Tesseract has become a bit of a household name in the world of modern metal, but the band didn't just appear out of nowhere. Part of the catalyst for the band's formation was the dissolution of guitarist Acle Kahney's previous band Fellsilent. If you want to know where the heavier elements of Tesseract's sound first originated, look no further than song's like "Silence is the Loudest Cry for Help" from 2008's The Hidden Words. As much as I love Tesseract, it'd be interesting to hear what would have happened if Fellsilent had recorded more than just this one record. I guess we'll never know....

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Genghis Tron - Endless Teeth

     Today's song is for anybody who only has two minutes in which to rock out. Oh, and also anybody who also would like nightmares tonight. You've been warned.

     The nightmares I'm talking about will be induced by the video for Genghis Tron's "Endless Teeth" from their 2008 sophomore LP Board Up the House. I've been familiar with Genghis Tron since back when this album came out, but beyond their clever name I never really gave them much of a chance. I was into more straight-ahead metal- and death-core type stuff and only just beginning to really dig more out-of-the-box stuff. I first heard Board Up the House and thought something along the lines of "yeah, OK, it's cool, but what's the big deal?"

     But that was then. Now, with what I like to think are at least somewhat more refined tastes, I revisit Genghis Tron and Board Up the House and like what I hear a lot more than I once did. I guess the lesson is don't write your opinions in stone, and be willing to change your mind. If you're looking for lessons. If you just have the two minutes to spare, then watch the fucking video already.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Monday: Sylosis - From the Edge of the Earth

     I've said before, and I'll say again, that Sylosis ought to be considered the modern Metallica. Today, I'm going with one of the best Metallica songs Metallica never wrote.

     Your song this evening is "From the Edge of the Earth", the closing track from 2011's Edge of the Earth. I'm really hoping that the downtime caused by last year's unfortunate bus crash gives the boys in Sylosis some time to write some new material, but for now we'll have to be content with epic riffing and shredding from the band's back catalogue. Sigh.

Sunday: The Ocean - Firmament

     If you're a regular reader, or even if you just happened to catch my Ten Best of 2013 post, you may well have noticed that I really liked The Ocean's 2013 album Pelagial. But The Ocean didn't spring into being out of thin air to release their watery opus. They have earlier work, and some of it is pretty fucking solid.

     Like 2010's Heliocentric, the first part of the band's 2010 double album critiquing Christianity. As someone coming to The Ocean's catalogue late and through Pelagial, I can definitely hear in Heliocentric some foreshadowing of the masterpiece to come: big, heavy riffs; the contrast of said heavy riffs with some piano and strings; the weaving of lyrics around a central concept.

     If you're going to check out Heliocentric (and why wouldn't you?) you had best start at what is essentially the start with second track and true album opener "Firmament". It's just heavenly.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Saturday: Architects - Save Me

     I've written before about how I think British band Architects are under-appreciated, at least over here on this side of the pond. I don't know if they're loads bigger in Britain or something, but in my (admittedly limited) social circles it always seems like I'm the only person who's into them. It's a bit of a shame, really.

     So today we're delving into the band's back catalogue for the closing track, "Save Me", from 2007's sophomore Ruin. Back then Architects were a bit more of a metalcore band, but that's not to say they weren't a good one. They've evolved since then, but some of my favourite Architects songs are from their first couple of albums, including Ruin, so have a listen to "Save Me" and dig that opening riff!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Friday: Chimp Spanner - Cloud City

     The other day a post from Basick Records came up in my Facebook feed, telling me that this particular track would be great to play Mario Kart to. I wholeheartedly agree, and have thought the same thing about this guy's work before. Not for the first time here at Loud Noises, it's Chimp Spanner.

     Specifically, it's "Cloud City" from 2012's All Roads Lead Here, a track that does indeed sound like it would make a good soundtrack for kart racing and shell slinging. Mario Kart's music is fairly jazz-influenced as it is, so something as smooth as Chimp Spanner feels right at home. Load up Rainbow Road and enjoy this one.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Mars Volta - Inertiatic ESP

     For tonight's quickie song we're going way back in The Mars Volta's catalogue. Why? Because we can!

     Your song this evening is "Inertiatic ESP" from The Mars Volta's 2003 debut De-loused in the Comatorium, but I will award bonus points if you also check out intro track "Son et Lumiere" first for the full effect. Now imagine yourself as me in high school, a fan of At The Drive-In, hearing this album for the first time, probably at high volume. Suffice it to say, my brain was well and truly wrinkled.

     For all the wankery and wasted potential that might have ensued in their career, The Mars Volta started off incendiary. I likely wouldn't have the taste for prog I do today without them being one of the steps in my musical journey.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Revocation - Reprogrammed

     I mentioned today's band in my Ten Best of 2013 post, and I've featured their stuff as Songs of the Day before too. Seriously, if you don't know Revocation by now, you really, really should.

     "Reprogrammed" is the closing track from Revocation's third LP Chaos of Forms, and the band couldn't have picked a better way to cap off such a great record. The song thunders in with a typically intricate riff and doesn't really let up much until it fades out four minutes later. There's even some of David Davidson's always tasty lead work, a cherry on the metal sundae, if you will.

     OK, maybe I'm fondly remembering the ice cream I had earlier, but the fact remains the Revocation are FUCKING AWESOME. Pick up an album or a concert ticket today and prepare to be blown away. Djenty-proggy-jazzy-type metal is certainly strong right now, but between these guys in the US and Sylosis in Britain straight up thrash is alive and well too.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Bodyfarm - Unbroken

     Fancy some punk-tinged death metal that's got all the subtlety of a half brick in a sock? Tonight's song, courtesy of Dutch band Bodyfarm, has got you covered.

     Bodyfarm's second LP The Coming Scourge was released last fall in Europe, and the band's brand of melodeath is finally about to hit North American shores in a couple of weeks. They're not the fastest death metal band, or the techiest, or anything like that, but they do know how to craft a song that feels old school without sounding like it's been done to death before. (See what I did there?)

     They've just released a new single from The Coming Scourge, a song called "The Well of Decay", but for my metal money the song you're really going to want to hear "Unbroken". It's the source of the whiff of punk I alluded to earlier, and it's got some suitably metal lyrics about an unbroken warrior standing victorious amidst the corpses of his vanquished foes. Kinda just makes you want to gear up and wait for Ragnarok, doesn't it?

Monday, 3 February 2014

Half Moon Run - Call Me in the Afternoon

     Today's song sees us shifting gears from the raucous punk-tinged rock of PUP to the rich and layered indie-folk-pop of another Canadian band, Half Moon Run.

     I've featured a Half Moon Run song on Loud Noises before, namely the opening track "Full Circle" from the band's 2012 debut LP Dark Eyes. That song has a decidedly melancholy beauty to it that really hooked me when I first heard it. Today's song, which you've likely heard if you happen to live in Canada and listen to any "alternative" radio station, has a somewhat more upbeat feel to it but is no less catchy and haunting because of it.

     Have a listen to "Call Me in the Afternoon", coincidentally the second track from Dark Eyes, and t-t-t-t-take one if you need it.
(That reference will only make sense to those of you who know the song, so I guess you'll just have to listen to it if you want to know what I'm on about.)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

PUP - Resevoir

     We're going a little local with tonight's song, so strap in for three and a half minutes with Toronto's PUP.

     PUP, which apparently stands for , is a punky rock band (or a rocking punk band) that plays a loud, brash brand of modern post-punk. It's simple and catchy, but not so much so that I would use the dreaded term "pop-punk", and at the same time it has some rough edges and abrasiveness that remind me just a little bit of someone like At The Drive-In (minus ATDI's schizophrenic technicality).

     All in all, "Resevoir", from the band's self-titled 2013 LP, is the kind of short and sweet blast of energy that makes at least this listener sit up and say "now that's the kind of thing that should get on the radio these days." And, bonus, the music video is fun too.

Saturday: Russian Circles - Memorial

     Russian Circles drummer Dave Turncrantz must be a blast to jam with. It's not like he's the most technically showy drummer, or someone who plays at a million beats a minute, or anything like that. But man, he can fall into the pocket of an interesting little beat and stay there for days. And he's more than capable of spicing things up a little, tossing in some stick/rim work or some quick-wristed hat play.

     Now, I don't get to jam with Mr. Turncrantz, but last year's Russian Circles record Memorial did at least provide me with another welcome dose of his playing. Memorial also provided me with an opportunity to hear a contradiction in terms: A Russian Circles song with vocals. Wait, what?

     Yes, album closer "Memorial" features vocals by one Chelsea Wolfe, but rather than fundamentally altering the band's sound by claiming centre stage, the ethereal vocals sit right in the midst of the mix with the other instruments. They almost feel like something that wouldn't be out of place in any song in the band's catalogue. Have a listen and see what you think.