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).
Perhaps one of the touchiest subjects in all of music is the decision of when an artist or band should call it quits and throw in the towel“especially if they’re one of your favorites or an incredibly revered act. Some artists, such as Ella Fitzgerald or Willie Nelson, have the capacity to be great late into their lives; others perhaps not so much (at the risk of offending someone, I’ll let you think of your own here). In some instances, such as the case with Isis, they decide to call it a day before many fans were really ready or it seemed sensible to do so. Many people, including myself, were shocked and a bit saddened by the news that Isis decided to break with a fantastically crafted goodbye letter to everyone via their blog. But this wasn’t actually the end of Isis, not completely anyway.
Not long after their May 18th announcement, Isis announced the dates of their farewell tour, released information about the series of live EPs that would come a year later, and alluded to other plans that would would be announced in the future. Not too long ago now these plans came to fruition when Isis revealed the details for their upcoming collection, Temporal, which will be released on November 6th. This is a collection of rarities, unreleased remixes and each of the band’s music videos“not just a “best of” release.
When thinking of folk metal bands, a handful of names likely come to mind, but certainly no band that has been as consistently great or well-known as Ensiferum. Although Moonsorrow and Eluveitie are fantastic, they still rank far behind Ensiferum. Recently Ensiferum released their fifth full-length album, Unsung Heroes. How does it stand up against the band’s previous four releases? Surprisingly well, actually. And what a rare feat it is in metal’s pantheon for a band such as Ensiferum to put out five albums in eleven years and not have one weak album among them.
For those unfamiliar with Ensiferum, their sound is best described as music for modern-day vikings (who probably also listen to Amon Amarth) with influences from Celtic and Medieval folk music styles applied to a more extreme version of power metal. Flutes, recorders, fiddles, kantele, and more”the diverse instrumentation help folk metal bands like Ensiferum incorporate more than just the musical aspect of folk music. They also do so in regards to textures. But please don’t forget the metal parts. Even though there’s a heaping serving of folk in Ensiferum’s mix, they still shred. Most of the songs feature pretty quick tempos and guitar riffs for days. (more…)
Music trends have been happening forever, for better or worse. At its best, trendiness has provided us with styles like bebop; at its worst, it brought us disco (no offense, disco fans). Even metal has seen a litany of musical trends come and go. Origins of death metal, new millennium metalcore, dragon-slaying power metal, nu metal, new wave of thrash metal ” they’ve all had their time in the metal spotlight. But what’s in the spotlight now…and what’s going to replace it? Today djent might still be king, with bands like Periphery, Veil of Maya, and Tesseract carrying the torch. But what’s next?