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Posts Tagged ‘Metal

yakuza

You won´t get the chance for too many metal bands at urbanology, so don´t chuck away this chance 🙂 … have a try

I only remember one other metal record at this blog (beside some metal-influenced hardcore bands), Sepultura´s milestone  “roots”. And I like to listen to well done metal from time to time, but only a very few records are worth a posting. Similar to samsara (to millions of followers of Hindu and Buddhism, the term samsara is the endless cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth, something which only the truly enlightened can ultimately transcend) metal music has always had a cyclical quality, as many bands have been inspired by the seminal albums of the genre, but few have actually managed to achieve that musical awakening, that one epiphanical piece of work that not only stands out above the music of their peers, but also shakes the sound right down to its foundations. Instead, most just keep perpetuating the metal clichés. But in the last decade at the edges of metal a new breed is on the jump, listen for example to the instrumental beauty of Pelican or the epic and dark stories from Cult of Luna (from Umeå). Of course there were bands like Neurosis or Tool before.

When you look at the fine gatefold cover and read that there is a band member that plays saxophone and clarinet, you know it’s not going to be the usual metal album. Nothing like any metal you’ve heard for quite a bit, Yakuza is a breathe of fresh air to the waves of today’s metal. The band delves into world music with the enthusiasm of a four year-old running through a music store for the first time, banging this, strumming that. But Yakuza’s crucial point is their inclusion of saxophone and clarinet. Blending electric and organic instrumentation is never easy for such extreme-leaning bands, but as Yakuza proved on their bold, eye-opening “Way of the Dead” (2002), which prompted skeptics to wonder just how they’re going to market music like this, the band does have the ability to appeal to spin-kicking youngsters, post rock hipsters, and jazz lovin’ oldsters alike, if only they can maintain an adequate balance of the aggressive, the experimental, and the melodic throughout the course of an entire album.

Some parts of “Samsara” are definitely stronger than others. The record (with a splendid production by Matt Bayles (Isis, Pearl Jam)) would have been an perfect album had the focus been more on the maniacal side of the band’s sound instead of the mechanical, but it is still an inspired, diverse, invigorating piece of work that will leave listeners wondering just what this highly talented band is capable of accomplishing next. Well, put on the headphones, clear your calendar of distractions, indulge in the mind-enhancing substance of your choice, and let the whole freaky thing slither into your brain from beginning to end.

Back to the mountain.

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It´s not hard to guess, this will be the record which will reach less interest from you, my dear readers. But it is awesome music, so don´t be put off ´cause this is metal. I only own a very few metal records, Slayer´s “Reign in Blood”, Metallica´s “Master of Puppets” and some Sepultura records. The group from Brazil recorded milestones of the trash metal genre like “Arise” and “Beneath the Remains”. 1993 they released “Chaos A.D.” and opened towards other music influences, soon the conservative metal scene blamed it as lame music and rejected the more tuned down guitars. While they still were whining about the “good ol´days”, Sepultura released 1996 “Roots”, a pure masterpiece of unbelievable energy, desperation, anger – a brutal punch in the face of an inhuman fucked up world. The guitars are downtuned even more – you can hear the Hardcore influences (sometimes labeled as Nu-Metal, what a crap), maybe friendship and touring with Hardcore band Strife was important for this development – and Sepultura experimenting with Brazilian rhythms on the whole record. The band traveled to the Mato Grosso region of Brazil to record with the Xavantes tribe. They jammed with the tribe, using recording equipment powered by car generators, as well as live drumming from percussionist Carlinhos Brown added new horizons to Sepultura and Metal music. This raw and dirty sound with feedbacks and background noise shocked the metal scene, but Sepultura got enthusiastic reviews from more open minded people from all over the globe, and also some metal fans appreciated the new breed.

After “Roots”, internal conflict drove Max Cavalera – vocals and guitar – to leave Sepultura and form Soulfly, continuing the “tribal metal” of Roots; Sepultura carried on with new singer Derrick Green. But neither band has regained the intensity of “Roots”. If you´re into rock, only a little bit, check this out. Or like Max Cavalera shouts in “Breed Apart”:

Open up your mind and go your own way!


always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

normally I try to post new stuff once a week, quality not quantity, so the front page shows you the posts of the last month, but there is a lot more to discover, just click your way thru the older entries.

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