March in Austin, Texas means only one thing, SXSW. While the rest of the country is absorbed by Spring Break or something like that, we are inundated by music industry professionals every year to do their own version of it, the gauntlet of 20 hours straight drinking, and attempting to eat one of every taco in the city appeals to all sorts of fun people from around the globe.
2017 feels different than years past, especially for the metal people who want to attend. Our genre was well represented a decade ago with day parties, night parties, overnight parties, and more parties with metal bands of all stripes, but this year it was a struggle to fill this list. Honestly, the bands I have listed here are almost EVERY noteworthy metal band playing the conference, or in town next week. Why you ask? I don’t have an answer for you really, other than this industry comes down to ROI, return on investment. Is it worth it for bands to play SXSW, and my guess the answer right now it’s not really cost effective…but with that said, maybe a little smaller, focused fest is what we all need right now!
So check out the jams and maybe see you on the streets next week, if it’s metal, I’ll be there…
Trying to make sense of what Valentine’s Day means to people makes me understand how gullible human beings can be. We are suckers for a theme, a holiday, a reason to decorate or celebrate. It isn’t necessary for you to prove to someone you love that you LOVE them on one particular day or another, some card company somewhere decided that we all needed to be made to feel guilty if we don’t express our selves on Feb 14th, an arbitrary day on the calendar. Look I am a mushy guy, I actually love my wife, my daughter and I don’t need anyone to tell me that I have to get some really expensive flowers to say it, luckily my loves are not part of the BS game, we just like to eat candy. So with the absence of any substance this month, I am obliged to give you a list of metal that will tug at your heartstrings, maybe make you feel like ripping out your own heart and giving it to someone that will spit on it or something. Good luck out there and if you are flying solo for VDay live it up!
Something I have been doing while interviewing bands for my podcast, The Metal Podcast with Chuck and Godless, is asking artists about one song. A song, any song that represents a time in your life that has a story, it could be metal, it could be pop, it could potentially be anything that gives you a visceral memory of something specific. It is a tough question when you are put on the spot, but what it has done for me is made me start to think about the music that represents change in my life and movement – positive, negative or otherwise.
For instance, the song Informer by Snow, terrible song, but it reminds me of spring break 1992, the last one of high school for me, and the first time I went to South Padre Island to party with a bunch of friends, rolling at 3am screaming that dumb ass song while hanging out the sun roof of my buddies car … see what I mean? So I put together a playlist of songs that mean something to me, now I won’t be including the stories that go with them, but if you really want to know then tweet me @beardedape and I will elaborate, some of them are pretty strange. Enjoy!
Since I did a holiday thing last month for Halloween, it would just be freaking lazy to do the same thing for this month, especially due to the limited landscape of heavy metal Christmas songs (actually there are a ton, but we’ve done that before), and there only being a single Thanksgiving related one (e-mail me for it!). So, I figured a way to nod to some of you who are the true believers and celebrate the holiday season for the right reason, and not the pagan tradition that decided that they also liked to have a feast around this time, let’s do a Christian metal playlist for you.
I think I have done one for Easter maybe in the past, I don’t remember because I don’t separate bands by their religiosity most of the time, unless it’s Stryper. So have yourself a merry little whatever and all that stuff, I may pop in next month with some advice on the Best of 2016, otherwise don’t call me till January 2nd.
My favorite month of the year arrived this week, October marks the beginning of the dark times. Fall in the South doesn’t really begin until this month, it starts to finally cool off, and the time change will make it nice and dark on Hollow’s Eve. Really for me it allows metal to sound right for the holiday, at Christmas it’s just odd, but Halloween? Perfect! I looked back and I haven’t done a good list for your orange and black partying in a few years so I thought I might oblige, plus, we have a plethora of clowns running around scaring the crap out of people and what could be more metal than that! 13 tracks that will not only melt the faces of all your trick-or-treaters, but could give heart attack inducing paralysis to the finest upstanding adults in your neighborhood (with a couple fun ones mixed in for good measure). Enjoy, and happy haunting!
Once Summer ends for many it feels like back to the grind, but for metal folks this is when things start to feel right. Personally, I don’t feel right with that much sunshine and happiness, I yearn for the dark, the short days and long nights, the chill on the wind and the sounds of metal and horror. It all begins this month and you can see it with the releases that have been cropping up.
The last few months have offered a few gems here and there, but as we approach the Fall it starts to be a struggle to keep up with some of the latest releases. Not working to find the best music, it just lands right in your lap, and if it hasn’t yet, let my offering to you this month provide a guide for just the last couple of weeks of metal and the albums that will be coming out soon. Truly a great year so far, but its last months hold even more promise, so enjoy!
A data scientist for Degenerate State compiled over 200,000 songs, analyzed their lyrics to find the most heavy metal word, or at least the word that seemed to appear in the most songs from thousands of bands. Heavy Metal and Natural Language Processing – Part 1 explained the process and at least some of the findings, and personally i was kind of shocked. I mean I figured it would be brootal and cvlt, but thought maybe Satan, or domination or something would be the one, well there can be only one and according to the study BURN is the most metal word over many years, songs, bands and genres of metal.
Which makes sense, fire, dragons, Hell, lava, so many things burn, whether it was the rash of Church burnings by Black Metal dudes or whatever the imagery stays ingrained as something pretty freaking metal. Plus I figured since we are in August, it is damn hot, time for some music about fire and burning. What I found though, is there ARE a lot of songs that fit either by title or lyrically, so here is a list of a few off the top of my head! Enjoy!
I am not sure why people like to think about Christmas in July, maybe it’s a simple longing for those happy times around the holidays for their family and friends, but more likely around our neck of the woods in Texas it’s because the heat is getting stifling about this time of year. We like to look at pretty pictures of ice and snow and think about what it would be like to not have to blast the AC twenty four hours a day and wear two shirts just to hold all the sweat from walking from your front door to your car that has turned into a blast furnace after ten minutes in the sun.
So this month, instead of listening to music from a holiday that will infest your earholes soon enough, let’s attempt to cool down in another way. Metal has a long standing tradition of celebrating the darkest part of the year, winter with its icy snow, snowy ice and wintery mix of evil in the air, it symbolizes death for many, and what’s more metal than that! So here is a cool down playlist this month of great blustery songs for you to enjoy while sweating away dreaming of cooler times.
It is difficult to wrap my head around the idea that 2016 is already halfway over, we’ll be hanging twinkle lights, tuning in football and cooking turkeys before you know it. We pause this month to take a look at what bands have put out some exceptional material so far this year. Many groups disappointed with lackluster albums versus their high expectations, but on the other hand, a plethora of surprises awaited as you dig into some of the lesser known acts and extreme metal fringes.
So I offer you this month the Best Metal of 2016 thus far…enjoy!
:Amon Amarth – One Against All:
:Toothgrinder – The House (That Fear Built):
:Architects (UK) – A Match Made In Heaven:
:Primitive Weapons – Ashes or Paradise:
:Black Cobra – Eye Among The Blind:
:Magrudergrind – Sacrificial Hire:
:Borknagar – Cold Runs The River:
:Ihsahn – Mass Darkness:
:Fallujah – Scar Queen:
:Gojira – Stranded:
:Fleshgod Apocalypse – The Fool:
You must realize by now that today is April Fool’s Day, and if you didn’t, you’re welcome. Before you ‘Love’ that post your buddy puts up about Donald Trump dropping out of the race or the friend request from your crush in high school gets you in catfish hell with your spouse, know this – IT’S ALL FAKE, as if it isn’t most of the time anyway. So instead of getting all tricksy with you this month, it’s time to be honest, and you can decide if this is a troll, or if in fact it is true, like it matters anyway.
I may be the most metal person many people know, especially when it come to my tunes, hence the reason I am on this page in the first place, but alongside my deeply embedded vein of metal lies a dark secret – A capella. To be specific, barbershop music has been and still is one of my favorite things in this world. I recently started singing again after too many years away, but when the hair on my neck stood up after that first chord I was hooked like I first was at fourteen. Whether you believe me or not, I put together a playlist of some of my favorite pieces, not even close to metal, or cool for that matter … but these are my jams.
I missed last month’s HMFT since I was sailing the seas of sleaze on the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise during my usual week, but that just gives me more bottled up aggression to release upon you this month. Many call March “Metal Month,” but for those of us in Austin, we all know it is time for South By Southwest. Every year we get thousands of bands through town, of which like four are metal bands. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but in reality, the distinct lack of metal is always a little depressing.
All things considered, the metal showcases are decent this year, offerings from Roadrunner, eOne, Metalsucks and Metal Injection all have a lot of good music, so I will point you to my blog for more info on which ones to look out for, and give you a nibble in my March playlist of jams … enjoy!
:Author And Punisher – CAUTERIZE:
:Weedeater – Hot Doughnuts Now:
:Black Cobra – The Messenger:
:Toothgrinder – Blue:
:Black Crown Initiate – Great Mistake:
:Today is the Day – Sick Of Your Mouth:
:Crowbar – All I Had (I Gave):
:The Contortionist – Language I – Intuition:
:Deftones – Root:
:Monuments – Origin of Escape:
:Exmortus - Foe Hammer:
:Killswitch Engage – Hate By Design:
With the New Year brings a new round of Death. Whether we are talking Bowie, Rickman or Lemmy, some of my favorite actors and rock icons have passed away the last couple weeks and it’s left me with a backward outlook on this virginal year of 2016. Death is a part of life, there is no Death there is the force, Death is a prick, whatever your cliché when you feel the sting of doom telling you to stop smoking and eating too many tacos doesn’t quell the disdain in our charred souls.
The only thing that ever made any difference to me? Reflecting on my music collection, diving in neck deep into the most depressing or at least the most representative tunes that breach my cold heart to help soothe the need to burn shit down and lash out at the world for being unfair. Yeah, we’re all gonna die, even you, in fact, you’re dying right now, if you aren’t already dead inside. Here is my list of tunes about our inevitable best friend Death and the power it holds. Maybe February will be love songs?
:Acid Bath – New Death Sensation:
:Strait Up – Angels’ Son:
:Amon Amarth – Embrace Of The Endless Ocean:
:Slayer – Spirit In Black:
:Carcass – Death Certificate:
:Pantera – Death Rattle:
:Death – Open Casket:
:Opeth – The Funeral Portrait:
:Iron Maiden – Heaven Can Wait:
:Neurosis – Away:
:Metallica – Fade to Black:
This month we have been inundated with the power of mother nature bringing the rain back to Texas. In just a few weeks of rain and storms a drought that was in place for almost a decade had its back broken, and there are no signs of the rain shutting off for the next few months. One of the rainiest Fall and Winters we have seen in a long time.
So I figured there was an opportunity to aggregate a bunch of songs about rain, thunder and floods for you this month. I really just skimmed the top of my memory (and some Twitter followers) to compile a list of metal songs that fit, but once I got going this could have been about 200 hundred songs! So sit in a gloomy place, grab your umbrella and enjoy the rain …
:Mastodon – Blood And Thunder:
:Dio – Naked In The Rain:
:Viking Skull – Heavy Metal Thunder:
:DRI – Acid Rain:
:Trivium – Brave This Storm:
:Enslaved – One Thousand Years of Rain:
:Motorhead – Thunder & Lightning:
:The Red Chord – Send The Death Storm 1:
:God Forbid – The Rain:
:Slayer – Raining Blood:
:High on Fire – Fire , Flood & Plauge:
:Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain:
:Megadeth – Dance In The Rain:
It’s that time where we get to examine the upcoming festivals for all of you who are into that sort of thing. I know that ACL starts today, and I don’t particularly care. They don’t do a thing with metal and probably never will, though they did add a Danzig show in the middle of the week, but I think that was a middle finger to this other fest coming up in November. Fun Fun Fun Fest is without a doubt the only outdoor festival that I can stomach for more than 20 minutes. Not simply because of the bands, but as I have said before, the people who attend FFF can typically be found at a club any given night partaking in live music as part of their regular culture.
This year’s FFF fest lineup has fewer metal bands than they ever have had on the Black Stage and even the FFF Nites leaves little to offer those of us who love the harder side of life, but still there are some worthy acts like Venom in their only US performance, Converge, L7, Mayhem, Rotting Christ and locals Power Trip and American Sharks. So turn this playlist up as you Uber all those douches from ACL fest, they won’t know what hit em …
:Venom – Don’t Burn The Witch:
:American Sharks – Curse:
:Skinny Puppy – Knowhere:
:Converge – Heaven In Her Arms:
:Rotting Christ – Enuma Elish:
:L7 – Shitlist:
:Power Trip – Conditioned To Death:
:Mayhem – Funeral Fog:
:Mutoid Man – Sweet Ivy:
:Watain – Storm of the Antichrist:
This week the Motorhead show at Emo’s ended early due to the ongoing health issues of the iconic Lemmy Kilmister. It was a tough sight to see, a rock and roll legend who is arguably one of the most important figures in heavy music experiencing the effects of getting older. At 70, Lemmy has lived more and rocked more than all of us put together and unfortunately it appears to have taken its toll on his body. When a God becomes mortal before your eyes, you want to deny the inevitable conclusion.
No matter what, Lemmy obviously wants to go out swinging, and though admirable, I am not sure if he knows what all of his fans feel … Lemmy, you owe us nothing. You have given your all over the 40 years we have been listening to Motorhead, and all we want is for your to enjoy your many years you have left, if that is on stage for you, so be it, but we all know you don’t want to let us down … know this, you never have or will! So this month, my list is all MOTORHEAD!
:Motorhead – Ace Of Spades:
:Motorhead – The Hammer:
:Motorhead – Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers:
:Motorhead – Poison:
:Motorhead – Bomber:
:Motorhead – Overkill:
:Motorhead – Electricity:
:Motorhead – Motorhead:
:Motorhead – Iron Horse-Born To Lose:
:Motorhead – Metropolis:
:Motorhead – Killed By Death:
:Motorhead – Mean Machine: