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:
American Death Metal has been getting a bad rap in the world lately. For some reason the Eurozone and Scandinavians tend to look down their nose at the genre championed by Americans. I’ll concede Black Metal, Power Metal, Viking Metal and several other genres for not being ours, but when you think of the early bits in the genre, the umbilical was cut in the 50 states (mainly Florida).
Admittedly, the last decade has been rough on Americans – Polish, Austrian, Sweedish and even British Death Metal have garnered more favor for doing innovative and creative things, and I jumped on the bandwagon until a few albums struck this year. It give me hope to know bands like Origin, Fallujah and Misery Index not only have some history that is decent, but new albums that move what can typically be a tight subgenre in a new direction.
So my mix this month, DEATH! Some of this year’s best Death Metal songs and a couple classics to remind you from whence it came. The standout album being from Fallujah, seriously a game changer, in subtle ways, but nonetheless a dividing point between traditional and experimental. Enjoy!
:Fallujah – Carved from Stone:
:Aborted – Necrotic Manifesto:
:Vital Remains – Dechristianize:
:Autopsy – After The Cutting:
:Origin – Manifest Desolate:
:Cannibal Corpse – Sadistic Embodiment:
:Morbid Angel – Suffocation:
:Death – Mutilation:
:Misery Index – Cross to Bear:
:Deicide – In The Minds Of Evil:
:Incantation – Carrion Prophesy:
;Goatwhore – FBS:
Honestly I had every intention of moving on past the untimely death of one of my musical and artistic heroes, but in the present day we don’t spend enough time reflecting on things that should be important. Our attention spans are worse than that of a goldfish and I for one can’t really stand it, especially when it is something as close to my heart as Oderus Urungus. I know, a character someone plays on stage, but Dave Brockie and his alter ego represented so much more than just a joke band meant to shock people, he honestly was a thoughtful and hilarious person, genuine and one of those entertainers that no one will ever be able to replace.
So whilst the metal community moves on to the next thing, Tim Lambesis getting his long awaited sentencing, the line up for Mayhem, or whatever cat video makes you forget your pathetic life, I am going to sit a brood a little longer for the loss of one of my ultimate performers. RIP Dave Brockie, some of us will never forget, I promise.
:Gwar – Americanized:
:Gwar – We Kill Everything:
:Gwar – Biledriver:
:Gwar – Slaughterama:
:Gwar – Bloodbath:
:Gwar – Saddam A Go-Go:
:Gwar – Bring Back The Bomb:
:Gwar – Penguin Attack:
:Gwar – Metal Metal Land:
:Gwar – Murderers Muse:
Widely known as the month for lovers, at least since a greeting card company decided they need to make more money, February give us Valentine’s Day, that special time when every man’s metal is tested against his fellow cretins by what kind of crap we choose to buy our significant other. Hate not being a strong enough word for my feelings toward this made up holiday, I am choosing to help you celebrate with a nice mixture of music for that special someone in your life and how you would chop them up into little pieces if it were not for the desire to stay out of jail. Love will make a man crazy and metal dudes tend to feel things a little stronger than the average, well, we express our hatred and angst more outwardly at the very least.
SONG OF THE MONTH:
I also chose to grab a little more female friendly song for my featured song, Within Temptation’s new album Hydra hit stores this week, and on the love theme I picked Paradise (What About Us) from the list to express my longing for something or whatever. Solid track featuring Tarja Turunen and is pretty damn catchy, like herpes.
:Within Temptation – Paradise (What About Us):
:Cannibal Corpse – Stripped, Raped and Strangled:
:Type O Negative – Love You To Death:
:Death – Together As One:
:Trivium – Dying In Your Arms:
:Dethklok – I Ejaculate Fire:
:Suffocation – Entrails of You:
:Faith No More – The Morning After:
:Six Feet Under – Let Me Put My Love Into You:
:Killswitch Engage – The End Of Heartache:
:Pantera – Throes of Rejection:
:Opeth – Porcelain Heart:
This month I wanted to offer a little more depth into the metal offerings during Fun Fun Fun Fest happening at Auditorium Shores this weekend. ACL Fest was decidedly not metal, and that’s acceptable, but FFF has always offered a little more variety, including this year’s second appearance of the mighty Slayer! The festival proper is spending more focus on punk rock at the sacrifice of metal compared to years past, but I wanted to include some of the bands playing the ‘Nites’ this year in my playlist this month.
Many of the bands who just couldn’t fit on the rearranged stage setup this year have been forced into the club circuit for late night shows after the festival shuts down, but still included with the price of admission to FFF8. Local metal bands The Pushmen, Eagle Claw and national acts like Black Tusk, Inter Arma and Coliseum are just a few of the bands you need to check out this year, and support the metals. Have a great festival!
:August Burns Red – Internal Cannon:
:The Locust – Full Frontal Obscurity:
:Black Tusk – Set The Dial To Your Doom:
:Tenacious D – Dio:
:Body Count – Body Count’s In The House:
:Slayer – Raining Blood:
:Coliseum – Everything To Everyone:
:Quicksand – Baphomet:
:Eagle Claw – Ophidian:
:Pushmen – Blaze Some More Hate:
:Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage:
:Inter Arma – Sblood:
:Pelican – Ephemeral:
:Iron Age – Dispossessed:
I am not a festival guy, and right now everyone around me keeps yelling about how they can’t wait to see some crappy band at ACL Fest the next couple weekends, and I couldn’t care less. The influx of idiots to the downtown area the next couple of weekends will be great for our city, its economy, but destroys any sense of decorum that may be left in our music scene. Thousands of people who could give two shits about music any other time of the year pretending like they ‘enjoy music’ lumping all the darlings of the now into one show that they could never consume does nothing to make me think you love music.
The only fest that I actually enjoy is Fun Fun Fun Fest, and that is really due to the fact that the people who attend don’t care about that radio hit song from Fun, but really want to hear the Cro Mags, or _____ *insert band that the masses have never heard of. Plus, ACL Fest never once thought about a metal band in their lineup, to their credit, it is not their crowd. So the following is a nice list of FFF Black Stage bands this year, and a few covers from metal bands of artists playing ACL. Enjoy your Festival, I will be holed up until the end of the month.
:August Burns Red – Count It All As Lost:
:The Locust – Aotkpta:
:Between The Buried And Me – Little 15:
:Slayer – Disciple:
:Body Count – Evil Dick:
:Quicksand – Thorn In My Side:
:Creamatory – Black Celebration:
:Pelican – Ephemeral:
:Faith No More – Easy:
:Gojira – Mouth Of Kala:
This month finally marks the demise of summer. By now I am exhausted from all the metal festivals, and the damn heat destroyed all the beautiful things. Fall begins to decay the rotting corpses left to char in the sunlight, and gives birth to some of the best metal of the year. To be completely honest, this set includes a song from the best album of the last decade and first from the band Carcass in almost twenty years. I am that confident in saying so. I won’t disparage the other new tracks on this list, but they can only live in the shadow of Surgical Steel (the new album from Carcass). I did include some very good releases though, wear protective headgear when listening to Fleshgod Apocalypse and Grave, whilst the couple of ‘vintage’ tracks are bands I plan on seeing live this month, because it is all about me in the end. So enjoy the preparation for the dark times, and as some have been known to say, Winter is Coming.
:Between The Buried And Me – Astral Body:
:Trivium – Strife:
:Carcass – Captive Bolt Pistol:
:The Devil Wears Prada – Home For Grave:
:Fleshgod Apocalypse – Elegy:
:Skeletonwitch – Burned From Bone:
:Grave – Morbid Ascent:
:Red Fang – Blood Like Cream:
:Iron Maiden – Powerslave:
:Orange Goblin – Acid Trial:
:Iwrestledabearonce – Letters To Stallone: