CANTO: Between The Buried And Me, The Sword, Symphony X, and More

between the buried and me band
Image via Revolver Magazine

1/17/2018. Took a couple days off. But then I got bored.

  • I haven’t heard from The Sword in a little while, so let’s start there. Their new album, Used Future, appears to be nearing release date.
  • How about Between The Buried And Me? They’ve been busy. New label: Sumerian. New album: Automata Part 1 (out March 9th). New tour: US, starting March 2nd.
  • You know who is a lot of fun? Andrew W.K. Apparently some dude got a speeding ticket while listening to a new AWK song… and AWK wants to pay the fine.
  • In today’s episode of “Holy Crap They’re Still Doing Things?”, Symphony X looks like they may try to piece together an album in the near future.
  •  Finally, here’s a video of Inter Arma doing cool things.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– cmb

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 9 (9.18.2017)

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Good morning! Back on the Monday routine with this thing… Let’s see how long that lasts. This week’s sampling is a bit all over the map (nothing new there) and I personally included a couple of gems that filled my ears during this past weekend’s Reach the Beach relay. There’s just something amazing about blasting In The Woods… while you’re running along a painfully hilly stretch of road in New Hampshire’s mountains in the middle of the night… Anyway, I digress. Dive in there and have some fun. If you want to take the ol’ time machine back a few weeks, previous playlists can be found on our YouTube channel.

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Album Review: Nekrogoblikon – “Heavy Meta”

nekrogoblikon heavy meta

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with a gimmick band every now and again. But the true question of these types of acts—be they forest clansmen, Satanic clergymen, or anything in between—will always be whether they can strike a balance between their quirks and their actual music. It’s to Nekrogoblikon‘s credit that they’ve managed to keep their goblin-based schtick from completely undercutting their songs thus far—and that largely remains the case on their new full-length, Heavy Meta. The trouble is, the songs themselves often leave too much to be desired.   Continue reading

Quickies: Vancouver’s Satan Statue, Andrew W.K.’s defense of metal, and…BLACK BURGER

Another day, another set of news stories we missed while doing our actual jobs. Sigh… oh well, let’s not waste any time; here’s today’s set of Quickies–let’s see what we missed in the world of metal:

Great stuff. And (actually) finally, I leave you with black burger. Which is an actual thing that exists–in Japan, of course:

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Lovely. As always, check back tomorrow for more Horns Up!

-Dan

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.

Stage Dive: Albums You Like that Everyone Else Hates?

Morning folks. So in listening to Nachtmystium’s new album, The World We Left Behind, for last week’s episode, I decided I liked the record, and wanted to see what everyone else thought of it. I was surprised to find, then, that a lot of people decidedly did not like the record–for a variety of reasons, some of which I understand and some of which I don’t. I won’t get into the details here, but at any rate, this noticeable difference between the establishment opinions and my own gave me the following idea for this week’s Stage Dive topic:

WHAT’S AN ALBUM YOU LIKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE HATES?

hammerfall

In case the above picture didn’t make it painfully obvious, the album I’m going with this week is HammerFall’s Legacy of Kings. To be fair, I don’t know if people really hate this album, so much as poke a fair amount of fun at both it and the band. So why have I chosen it here?

For starters, many view the power metal subgenre as metal’s redheaded stepchild–and frankly, I don’t entirely disagree. It’s certainly one of the cheesiest of the subgenre bunch, what with common tropes like fantasy-oriented lyrical content, overly melodic song composition and, in many cases, a balls-in-vice style among its vocalists. HammerFall certainly fits all of these bills, and then some. They take power metal’s most hilarious qualities to extremes. I mean, think about it: these guys named one of their albums after a family slogan from George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire book series. Their guitar player and co-founder Oscar Dronjak seems like one of those guys who just wants SO BADLY to be a badass, as evidenced by his dramatic image transition over the past several years. Shit, their first six albums yielded five songs containing the word “hammer” in the title: going chronologically–“HammerFall,” “Let the Hammer Fall,” “Raise the Hammer,” “Hammer of Justice,” and “Reign of the Hammer.” HammerFall are to hammers what Andrew W.K. is to partying.

And yet, none of it really matters on Legacy of Kings, because this thing is just that kick-ass. It’s one of those albums that has no business being any good, yet ends up inexplicably being AMAZING. (See also: in a non-metal example, Chumbawamba’s Tubthumper) The songs are short, simple and crisply produced. “Heeding the Call” might be the best power metal album opener I’ve ever heard, and sets the tone for the album off perfectly. From there, you get a killer title track, into the second of the aforementioned “hammer tracks,” into “Dreamland”–actually a pretty cool track despite having possibly the cheesiest chorus lyrics on the entire album…which is saying something. There are very few departures from that right-around-140-BPM sweet spot and generally upbeat feel, which really puts the band in its strongest element. HammerFall doing songs at tempos other than 140 BPM is like Tankard doing songs about topics other than beer, or Metallica doing songs without guitar solos–they can pull it off, but they’re rarely as good so why bother?

In light of that last point, I’d be remiss not to call out the album’s two ballads–“Remember Yesterday” and “The Fallen One”–as slight disappointments, relative to the rest of the album. (“At the End of the Rainbow” also slows things down a bit, but doesn’t lose quite as many points, because it’s anthemic as hell and the intro always reminded me of Iron Maiden’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.”) But aside from these few tracks, Legacy of Kings knows exactly what kind of album it wants to be, and for the most part, it pulls things off very nicely. So make fun of the album–or HammerFall, or power metal in general–all you want; in many cases I’ll agree with you. But as far as I’m concerned, this sucker’s damn near unimpeachable.

So that’s my choice, now tell me yours! Make sure to leave comments with your picks and explanations and keep the discussion going!

-Dan

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.