album review

Last year was a culture shock for a lot of people, as “50 Shades Of Gray” opened eyes to a world they had no idea existed. Luckily for them, words are a soft initiation into a world they won't be comfortable in. It amused me to see people who would never have thought of such things engrossed in a sado-masochistic fantasy. But then I had a thought; it's not much different than something I've encountered. There's a degree of romantic detachment and masochism that comes along with black metal, a scene I have never been able to understand.

Following the technically curious remix experiment that was “American Tradgedy Redux,” I resolved to give Hollywood Undead another shot. My logic was that if other musicians could do interesting things with the core music, then perhaps either A) there’s something there I’ve missed, or B) the band could learn and evolve from studying what others have done with their product. So I dove in, clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose as they say in Dillon, Texas.

I remember hearing about Riverside when their first album was just coming out. I wasn't yet interested in progressive music, but there was enough buzz about them that they were always in the back of my mind. By the time they got around to finishing their trilogy and releasing “Anno Domini High Definition”, I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.

You can't trust a musician to tell you the truth. It's a simple thing to keep in mind, but we idolize our favorite players so much that it's often difficult to remember proper perspective. Rather than being some almighty vehicle for divine inspiration, they're all too human, subject to the same fits and rages as the rest of us. And most of all, unless they have to, they will never retire.

Over the course of the last year or so, two themes have stood out to me as I take in as much of the music scene as I can; 1) progressive music has come out of the shadows, and 2) vintage sounds have become more than merely a gimmick. And when the two trends come together, you can either end up with the hipster indie-rock equivalent of a metal band, or with something that recalls the olden days in the best of manners. For the sake of my sanity, Corsair is decidedly the latter.

Now here’s an interesting emergence. Creeper, emerging from the greater Dallas market, is a metal act billing itself as traditional metal. Yet, this isn’t traditional metal as it has come to be defined in recent years through releases from bands like Grand Magus, all of which hail back to genesis acts like Judas Priest. Rather, this is a traditional metal schooled in thrash, death ad speed. It makes one wonder if the genre has evolved far enough, or merely aged enough, where movements once revolutionary are now predominately historical.

As a new year is at its dawn, a wellspring of hope and optimism will once again flourish, the belief that the coming year will be better than the last. It's natural to think that things will get better, that something grand and great will be coming down the line to lift our spirits. It's why we celebrate the coming of a new year, when it's really an arbitrary delineation of where we happen to be in a never-ending orbit.

Earlier this week I talked about Rogga Johansson's Megascavenger, and here we are a few dyas later discussing yet another of his projects. This time out, Humanity Delete graces us with their debut album, though any such comments are laughable considering the amount of material Rogga has released both in his career, and this year alone.

It wasn't that long ago I was reviewing Revolting's “Hymns Of Ghastly Horror”, the latest album from the latest band culled from the never-ending death metal mind of Rogga Johansson. Having not paid much attention to the death metal scene, I already felt like I was being overloaded with material from him, and now comes yet more music from the most prolific artist working in metal today. Megascavenger continues Rogga's tradition of never stopping, never letting up, never thinking enough is enough.

Sons of Aeon is a sort of death metal supergroup, born from active parts of Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun and a couple others. In pre-release press, the band says all the right things, talking about the influence of death metal pioneers like Bolt Thrower and Napalm Death. The band goes on to describe their aversion for albums put through the production wringer, talking wistfully about the days when drums were played by a human being and not re-tracked by heartless machinery.