Monday, 8 June 2009

Mirand Kerr Naked!

It seems to me that when a fair percentage of the heavy-music listening public, particularly the younger demographics, are discussing the latest release from any given band, the final verdict of the album is justified entirely by the perceived quality of the album’s breakdowns. These justifications seem to come at the expense of the other 95% (or in The Devil Wears Prada’s case the other 2%) of the music which isn’t a breakdown, seemingly ignoring the fact that the band do other things besides open-chord chugga-chuggas. In an effort to recognize actually talented bands (ie. not Escape The Fate) I’ve written this short list, giving credit for some of the ridiculously cool, spine-tingle inducing and blatantly brutal musical snippets that I get stoked on which aren’t simply an excuse for greened-out 14 year old scene kids to punch each other.

“Concubine” Converge (0:00-0:20)
Every time I listen to this, I always end up reminiscing about that cool bit in Gladiator when Russell Crowe bellows at his troops ‘On my signal, UNLEASH HELL!’ Jacob Bannon and Co. lull the listener into a false sense of security with an offbeat, Botch-esque build-up before setting loose an enormous wall of brain-splitting white noise. More brutal than Conan The Barbarian cracking walnuts with his bare hands.

“The Perfect Design” Dillinger Escape Plan (0:50-1:15)
One of the many reasons Dillinger Escape Plan are so cool is their ability to drop heavily syncopated, jazz or funk inflected interludes between their patented slabs of mathcore shredding. This is a perfect example.

“Lies Of Serpents, River Of Tears” Zao (0:00-0:50)
It’s hard to deny that this bit is already badass, but when listened to in the context of its place in the history of Zao it attains an almost legendary status. Zao had already released one album (Splinter Shards…) at this point and garnered a wealth of faithful fans who totally dug their Earth Crisis-influenced hardcore grooves and the masculine, evangelistic delivery of vocalist Eric Reeder. After the release of Splinter, Zao drummer Jesse Smith fired every member of the line-up, formed an entirely new Zao and recorded the seminal Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest. Needless to say, the Zao faithful waited with knives out for the release of Blood And Fire, particularly awaiting to criticize the vocal successor to the beloved Reeder. In response to this, the new vocalist Dan Weyandt whispers the first 35 seconds of Lies Of Serpents, before unleashing an epic, throat-tearing vocal line that immediately turned knives to praises and inspired a generation of inferior imitators (eg. Haste The Day, Mortal Treason).

“Bloodmeat” Protest The Hero (2:24-3:27)
The majority of Rody Walkers’s delivery could easily be compared to what the speed-addicted love-child arising from the imaginary mating of Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian would sound like and is easily the most divisive factor in Protest The Hero’s overall appeal. Despite predominantly agreeing with the haters who bought the vocal-free version of Fortress, I find the climactic chorus in Bloodmeat an enormously inspired piece of vocal work from Rody and a soaring tribute to what could occur when Protest The Hero finally learn to write a song properly.

“The End Of A Dark Campaign” Oh, Sleeper (-0:04-0:10)
I won’t deny the fact that Oh, Sleeper are easily one of my favorite heavy bands ever, but there are obviously reasons for this. And this is one of them. ‘I’ve been hit! Oh my God, oh my God!’ Transitioning from the downbeat climax of Revelations In The Calm to a single track of Micah Kinard’s heavy breathing which builds quickly before unleashing a vocal line which surely left Kinard coughing blood and pieces of lung.

“Ants Of The Sky” Between The Buried And Me (0:00-1:21)
There is more musicianship, songwriting and general awesomeness in the first 81 seconds of this song than the sum total of Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine and Atreyu’s entire discographies.

“Sorceress” Cancer Bats (0:19-0:39)
Proving equally that hardcore punk can get a dancefloor moving and that less really is more, the best bit off the Bats latest album ‘Hail, Destroyer’ manages to out mosh’n’roll Every Time I Die and out cool The Bronx. If the Fonz ever recorded a solo album in which he played every instrument this is what it would sound like.

“And Then Came Then…” The Chariot (4:03-4:42)
Whilst The Chariot’s output could normally be bettered by Nickleback wielding off-tuned ukuleles and a dog whistle, this little burst of spine-tingling utilized orchestra is a bright beacon of hope for anyone wanting to believe The Chariot don’t actually suck as bad as anything else Josh Scogin has been involved in.

“Weight Of The World” Misery Signals (1:09-1:55)
Misery Signals have always had the fairly unique ability to write highly melodic music with a simultaneously brutal undertow and their aptitude for creating highly technical guitar riffs which don’t revolve around wanky 6-string sweeps is unparalleled. The chorus part off ‘Weight Of The World’ soars with a flurry of notes wrapped in delay, building to breaking point before dropping into an earth-shattering groove that once and for all proves that you don’t have to write breakdowns to be brutal.

“Of Want And Misery…” As Cities Burn (4:35-5:49)
After alternately brooding and screaming through the previous nine tracks on the incidentally phenomenal and extremely apocalyptic ‘Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest’ As Cities Burn pull out a simple 3-chord coda to end the album with a touch of melancholic redemption. Screamo music was created simply so moments like this can exist and I dare anyone to prove otherwise.

If you’ve read this and have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, go on YouTube, look up the songs and listen to the specified portions. Or if you don’t care, then don’t. If you have any better suggestions leave them here so I can argue with you.

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