Metal Monday: Saille Return With Ritu

For longtime readers, repeated features on some of OurStage’s best metal bands will come as no surprise–if an OurStage band keeps doing awesome things, I’ll keep featuring them. Well, that time as come again as we’re approaching the release of Saille‘s new album, Ritu, set to release in early 2013. For those new to Saille, they’re a black metal band from Belgium who began their journey in 2008. As of now they have release one full-length album, Irreversible Decay and have played a number of shows in their home country.

Ritu appears to pick up stylistically right where Irreversible Decay left the band. Falling dead-on with the classic orchestral black metal of legends like Emperor’s early material or along the lines of Satyricon/s catalog. Catastropic, noisy guitars, grand orchestral crescendos, prototypical rasping vocals and blast beats for days can all be found throughout Ritu in standard black metal style. Saille don’t often appear to be looking to break the mold on Ritu, but the odd moments when they find themselves a bit out of the black metal character are also quite enjoyable“such as the bridge of “Haunter of the Dark” where there’s a dreamy passage filled with piano that leads directly into another black metal march. (more…)

Metal Monday: Podcast 3

They say third time’s a charm, right? Well, I’d like to think that both my first and second podcasts were also pretty charming, but I’ll leave that decision up to you. This is the time of the year when most bands are embarking on a huge fall tour, gearing up to release a new album or just taking a well-deserved break. What this means is this: there isn’t a lot of newsworthy stuff to report since the last podcast. So, this week’s topic will be a bit different. While I’ve heard most of the albums of interest from 2012, I was thinking about the early stages of my “best of metal” tally for the year and comparing it to my list from last year to see how the lineup held up. Let’s revisit some of my opinions from last year this week. Don’t worry, though, I’ve still got some tasty tunes in this week’s podcast for you (because I don’t want to disappoint).

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  • Metal Monday: What If The Church Burnings In Norway Never Happened?

    Many years ago in a galaxy known as metal, some stuff happened that would change the course of the genre forever (but you probably knew that already). We’re here to ponder things like what if that never happened in regard to some of metal’s most momentous events and happenings”What might the metal world be like today?

    Most people seem to know that there were a string of church burnings attributed to some members of Norway’s black metal scene in the early nineties (and if you’re reading this you probably have already seen my article that mentioned it from a few weeks prior). As you also likely know, the incidents were sort of a big deal for a lot of reasons. But, what if Varg and company had never gotten the itch to watch some churches burn?

    Metal Monday: Metal Urban Legends

    The metal world, historically, has been known mostly as an insiders-only club. People on the outside don’t usually get metal, and people on the inside can rarely communicate what exactly it is about metal that is so compelling. As Sam Dunn says in Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, “Ever since I was twelve years old I had to defend my love for heavy metal against those who say it’s a less valid form of music. My answer now is that you either feel it or you don’t. If metal doesn’t give that overwhelming surge of power that make the hair stand up at the back of your neck, you might never get it, and you know what? That’s okay, because judging by the 40,000 metalheads around me we’re doing just fine without you.”

    Just because you don’t “feel it,” though, doesn’t mean that you have to go on misunderstanding things about the genre, the people who make metal music or the people who enjoy it. I’m here to dispel some pretty common rumors and misconceptions around the metal world. Perhaps you’re someone who might think some of these sentiments are true, or maybe you know someone who does; whatever the case, it’s time to learn a thing or two.


    Metal Monday: Alcest Takes A Journey of the Soul

    You know those bands that aren’t really metal but  are always lumped into the metal genre? You know, groups like Primus, Tool, AC/DC, Kiss, etc. Well, I think we can add another band to this list: Alcest. In the band’s early days, they were quite clearly a metal band (their first release was a pure black metal demo). Since then, they’ve progressed away from the genre, now playing almost exclusively shoegaze music. Their latest effort, Les Voyages de l’í‚me (translates to The Journeys of the Soul in English), was released between January 6th and January 31st worldwide (staggering release dates).


    Metal Monday: Wolves In The Throne Room Trace "Celestial Lineage"

    For some time in the metal community, there has been a divide between those who do things traditionally and those who work outside of the box. Historically, there aren’t a lot of bands that bridge this gap (at least not immediately). Wolves In The Throne Room are the exception. While they technically play black metal, they don’t share much else in common with that genre, style or culture. As they’ve addressed in numerous interviews over the last few years, they don’t really believe in the black metal imagery, and they choose not to participate in many activities deemed as “the norm” for the metal community, including moshing at shows.

    Celestial Lineage album art

    Stating that Celestial Lineage is a big departure from WITTR’s previous material would be a bit lofty, but there are certainly noticeable differences from what had become typical for the band over the course of three records. Previously, the band had played somewhat straightforward atmospheric black metal. Lots of thick textures over the top of buzzing, tremolo-picked guitar lines, hardened by unrelenting blast beats and machine-like drumming. These sounds are still present on Celestial Lineage, but the band adds even more to the mix. The most striking addition can be heard in the very first section of music on the album where choir vocalist Jessika Kenney makes her chilling entrance, which provides an absolutely haunting vocal performance alongside a sparse atmospheric intro.