Albums you should hear II
So yeah, it took me a pretty long while to write another one of these. What can I say? I was just being lazy. Anyway, it is time for me to, once again, provide you with albums that I think are worth hearing. Don't treat this as some kind of "Jup's top-list" or anything like that since I never believed in having definite favorites. Instead, these are just some pretty cool albums that I think everyone should check out because there is something interesting about them. This list is aimed mainly at pretty open minded people and particularly open minded metalheads, since the bands tend to have only small connections to metal music, if any at all. I can promise you one thing though - all of them will have something about them that appeals to metal fans, be it heavy guitars, extreme lyrics or some kind of formal connection to a well-known metal entity. This time around, I opted for youtube samples of what the band sounds like. I will not be updating these youtube links when/if they get deleted, so if one of them is offline, just do a google search, you lazy bastards! Without further ado, here is another 9 albums that I think you should hear. Let me know what you think in the comments to this blog entry.
TAD - Inhaler (1993)
Grunge is a type of metal. Or at the very least, some grunge bands are and TAD is one of them. If all you ever heard was Nirvana and Pearl Jam, have a listen to "Grease Box", the first song from this album, and you will be completely blown away by how heavy grunge can be. TAD is actually most likely the heaviest of all grunge bands and this is not only due to the fact that all members are overweight. Properly meaty riffs, half sung half roared vocals, a muscular rhythm section - it's all here. Naturally, since the members of this band were all ugly motherfuckers, TAD never reached the kind of popularity that other grunge bands did; however, they are a reminder of why this style of music proved to be so powerful and ultimately influential.
Holy Terror - Mind Wars (1988)
The 80s saw an enormous amount of thrash bands forming and subsequently failing to impress in the over-saturated genre led by Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth. Most of them are now completely and deservedly forgotten; however, Holy Terror is that rare example of a forgotten band that is actually an exquisite hidden gem. Truly, Mind Wars is a mind-blowing exercise in speed metal lunacy, with the vocals provided by Keith Deen being perhaps most impressive of all. The guy fell off the edge of the world after this album was released and I can't understand why. His combination of surprisingly powerful singing, insane maniacal screams and proto-growls could have definitely evolved into something truly powerful in time. Instead, the band disbanded and never came back.
The Church - Starfish (1988)
This particular choice will come as absolutely no surprise to any of our Australian readers and with good reason - The Church are rock legends over there and have a huge following. As a matter of fact, whenever The Smashing Pumpkins tour the continent, they often cover "Reptile" from this very album during their gigs. Style-wise, on this album The Church sounds like a slightly more elegant, subdued and intelligent The Cult - both bands share post-punk roots and both evolved into more traditional forms of rock music. The Church actually eventually became primarily psychedelic-progressive rock; however, on Starfish these elements were just beginning to be apparent, with most of the album being filled with elegant new-wave melodies weaved around hard rock riffs. There isn't really much more to say about this particular mixture except that it is pretty unique, haunting and atmospheric. Anyway, it's enough to listen to "Reptile", arguably the best song on this album, to have a good idea of what we're dealing with here:
Kobong - Chmury Nie Było (1997)
Weird Polish grindcore band that is sometimes compared to T.O.O.H while in fact sounding completely unique and left-field. Truly, polyrhythms are now rather popular in metal; however, back in 1997 few bands based entire albums around them. The guys from Kobong could have just as easily formed a jazz band but instead, they chose to play crazy noise-rock inspired grindcore with rhythms that to this day I'd rather not listen to while walking down stairs since I'd probably fall right down and break my neck. Kobong didn't last very long, they disbanded shortly after releasing this album and Neuma, a band formed by some of Kobong's musicians, recorded one lackluster LP and are now also gone. Nevertheless, I don't think it is a far stretch to hear influences from this music on bands such as Antigama.
Firewater - Psychopharmacology (2001)
Without a doubt, Firewater's connection to metal is pretty distant at best and completely made up at worst. Rising out of the ashes of the industrial Cop Shoot Cop (SYL covered a song of theirs, here's your metal connection ), Firewater generally doesn't fit into any genre definitions whatsoever, besides perhaps being clearly and indubitably good music. Psychopharmacology is, at least for me, the band's ultimate artistic statement and a truly brilliant album to get into. The band has a style of their own, mixing a sort of sleazy, alcoholic jazz-club feel with rock and pop song structures and absolutely amazing lyrics. "Get Out Of My Head" praises being a loser, for example, with the conclusion that "'Hitler could have been a mediocre painter/Instead of a supercrook". "Car Crash Collaborator" meanwhile tells the story of a professional killer with enough humor, gusto and... charm that it needs to be heard.
Loop - A Guilded Eternity (1990)
Loop eventually transformed into Main, a very important band in the realms of ambient music. Nevertheless, Loop played aggressive rock with a focus on repetition, something that earned them the loose genre definition of 'trance rock'. Loop's style was so influential that Justin Broadrick didn't think twice about adding guitarist Robert Hampson, Loop's mastermind, as the second guitarist in Godflesh, a collaboration that resulted in the fan-favorite album Pure. Going back to Guilded Eternity, the album is composed entirely of looping, hypnotic shoegaze-rock songs that seem to come from an entirely different understanding of what rock music is supposed to be about. Sure, there are riffs and vocals here; however, this album is all about setting a vibe and getting completely lost in it.
Lucky Pierre - ThinKing (2004)
If you want something weird to listen to, you'll have a hard time finding something more out-there than Lucky Pierre. Kevin McMahon is better known to the world as the frontman of Prick, a band that shortly occupied Trent Reznor's Nothing Records roster. Strangely, Lucky Pierre was his first band though and some of the songs on ThinKing have already been performed way back in the early 80s. That they still sound completely insane and unique when recorded in 2004 is simply proof that this is clearly totally demented music. What do we have here? Perverted surf-rock - check. Abrasive industrial metal with banshee screams - check. Polka about an unexpected bi-sexual threesome (the eponymous lucky Pierre) - check. Total mania that somehow makes sense in this crazy world - check. It is terribly difficult to describe this band since it sounds like nothing else out there, although Marylin Manson clearly stole some of these ideas.
The Chameleons - Peel Sessions (1990)
The Chameleons are arguably the greatest post-punk band ever due to their innovative song structures, unusual dual melodic guitar runs, thoughtful lyrics and amazing drumming. Nevertheless, to a lot of people, their studio albums are way overproduced, particularly when it comes to the insane amounts of effects applied to the guitars and keyboards. Well, The Chameleons recorded a bunch of Peel Sessions (if I need to tell you what Peel Sessions are, you should die) and they are all collected here for your enjoyment. Since these are raw, single-take versions of the songs, they generally sound angrier, louder and heavier. In other words, this is probably the best album to start with when coming from a metal background.
Slab! - Descension (1990)
That Godflesh became a household name in industrial metal and Slab! did not is one of those unsolvable mysteries for me. Slab! does everything that Godflesh does but differently and with more variation. What you have here, besides the oppressive noise-guitar based monoliths of hatred, is a surprising amount of nuance, melody and groove. The band can crush the soul with the best of them; however, there is also plenty of sizzling improvisation and powerful Head Of David style melody here. In other words, on one album, Slab! arguably achieved as much as Justin Broadrick did with a number of Godflesh albums and sideprojects. This album is VERY difficult to find but well worth the search.
Sorry, couldn't find ANY free videos or streams of Slab! anywhere on the net, in fact, even wikipedia is unaware of their existence... actually wait - there is a 30 second sample here but thats it!!!
||Written on 28.07.2009 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.|
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