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Friday, 20 May 2011

Being heavy

No, not as in "being a fatty".

I was having a chat with my mate Si-KO this week about heaviness. Not personal heaviness, as that would be odd. I am of course referring to musical heaviness.

In my not-even-slightly-humble opinion, 'heavy' isn't just about insane speed and indecipherable lyrics. If someone asked me to define heavy music I'd probably play them Slayer's Raining Blood and Sabbath's Iron Man. Neil Young's Hey Hey My My is another tune that, despite being thoroughly un-metal, is made indisputably heavy by a distorted, chugging guitar riff and dark as balls vocals.

This isn't to say that deathcore, the very much maligned and misunderstood bastard child of death metal and metalcore, isn't ridiculously heavy; it's just a different sort of heavy. I'm very aware I'm straying dangerously close to the "it's not metulz" line here...

The thing is, it ain't just metal that's heavy. Without sounding like a pretentious arsemonkey, O Fortuna from the opera Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (you all know it) is one of the heaviest, darkest pieces of music I've ever come across. I'd even suggest that The Prodigy's No Good and Voodoo People are pretty fucking heavy tunes, especially bearing in mind the odd videos. Drum and bass also has it's heavy moments outside of Slipknot's Eyeless; the 1999 self-titled album from D&B chappy Aphrodite contains some pretty weighty music.

In a nutshell, heaviness is all around us; it must be embraced.


Friday, 6 May 2011

Metal Harmony: The Heavy Edition

One of the most wonderful, and sometimes annoying, things about metal is the seemingly endless genres and sub-genres that exist. In fact, it's almost a necessity to invent a new classification for any new bands on the scene.

Over the last couple of weeks - actually, first let me apologise for my two-week absence. This is due to public holidays and hangovers, most recently to be blamed on the Royal Wedding. What a visual spectacle it was, eh? I'm not even the slightest bit interested in the Royal family, except for the value they hold for the British tourist industry, but seeing young baldy Prince William and fitter-when-shes-fatter Kate Middleton get their nuptial on was a very pleasant day.

Anyway, the metal. My ears have been abused over the last fortnight by nothing but the heavy. I don't mean headbang heavy; I mean smash your house up with one of your own severed limbs heavy. I've put some links to the brutality at the end, primarily so you have to read all this drivel first.

First up is Wormrot. Some of the nicest chaps I've met but without doubt the most abusive grindcore I've experienced. Stripped down drums, no bass, just pure grind madness. I haven't heard new album Dirge in its entirety but the excerpts I've come across have been insane.

From grindcore to death, Phoenix Amongst the Ashes from death metal titans Hate Eternal is quite simply brutal. I've got a full review on MetalasFuck here but this is the definition of heaviness. And on the subject of heaviness, time to doth a cap to Archspiar, the new kids on the block. They're just horrible. The fastest, most aggressive metal in existence may not be everyone's cup of Bovril but their debut All Shall Align (reviews also available on MetalasFuck her) is an absolutely devastating piece of work.

Moving back to the world of grindcore, Scottish outfit Cerebral Bore released Maniacal Miscreation last month and it is berserk. The vocals sound like Satan gargling landmines in his anus. You will struggle to find much heavier than this.

And finally, Mincing Fury. Yes, Mincing Fury. The most retarded goregrind in history. Samples from TV shows, scratching, a grind version of Korn's Blind, vocals that are pitchshifted beyond all recognition and a song entitled Heterosexual Testosterone Compressor. It's just insane.

So here are some links - enjoy:

I shall be drinking heavily to celebrate my birthday this weekend, I suggest you all do the same.