Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Metal Briefs: Three Quickies

Three Random Records

I know, the Metal Briefs series is supposed to be three albums with some connection. Here, it's a tenuous one: they're all short. But I wanted to get these out there.

The Sun Through a Telescope: Summer Darkyard

Occasionally I dip into the weird world of drone. I've never come away from it being blown away, as some fans of Sunn O))) seem to do, but I am intrigued by their use of sound and subtlety. The Sun Through a Telescope is a one-man drone/ambient band out of Canada, and is clearly bent on experimentation. Three-song single / four-song EP Summer Darkyard has two goals: to show you weird sounds, and make you listen to disturbing lyrics. The first cut is the most interesting, being extremely minimal but with genuinely frightening distorted vocals. The second cut is similar, but with a more prophetic lyrical bent rather than word association. The third one, oddly enough, uses Auto-tune, and given the violent lyrics it's rather strange. It certainly is interesting, but I'm still not sure I get it, and the focus on lyrics isn't helping any. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

The Melvins: The Bulls & the Bees

I have a confession to make: I have never listened to the Melvins before. Despite their enormous influence on sludge and drone, and despite the fact they have released albums that are widely considered classics, I have never listened to them because I think their name is
silly. Which is silly on my part, because I listen to Boris, whose name is just as silly and is taken from a Melvins song. From what I've read about the band, and from what I hear on The Bulls & the Bees (free from Scion A/V), the connection to Boris makes a lot of
sense. Both bands are extremely eclectic in a lot of the same ways. Here, the Melvins play some excellent heavy sludge/rock, some doom, and some drone/ambient with female vocals. It's a compelling mixture, worthy of 4 out of 5 stars. Maybe I'll stop being so silly and pick up one of their albums.

Burn Everything: Hollow Victory 7"

Burn Everything is a metallic hardcore band. If this was the 90's, they would call it metalcore, but that's become a dirty word, and these guys don't sound anything like what that term has come to mean. I'm not big on hardcore, and I don't really have the expertise to say anything meaningful about this, but it sounds pretty good to me. And I like that name, Burn Everything. I give it 3 out of 5 stars, but those of you with more of a taste for hardcore might really like it.


  1. I'm glad you finally dipped your toe in the Melvins pool. They're one of my favorite bands. Everyone will tell you that Houdini is the best Melvins album, and they're right. It's just not the best one to begin with. I think it takes a while to work your way to it. I would recommend: Bullhead (for it's versatility), The Maggot (for it's all out heavy rocking), or Hostile Ambient Takeover (for it's experimentation that is not too experimental). The Eggnog EP is totally kickass too. I understand that Stoner Witch is also an excellent one, but I haven't heard it yet. I've been saving it for a rainy day. (I do that. I'm weird.)

    I like their new stuff with Big Business but the vocals aren't as evil as they were in the old days.

  2. By the way. Female vocals? I don't hear any of those. I guess it's possible there are some female vocals buried in A Really Long Wait, but I don't hear it.

  3. You need better headphones, man. "Friends before Larry" has them buried, but in "A Really Long Wait" they are much more prominent.

    Thanks for the recommendations, by the way. As I've gotten more and more promos, I've had less time for self-directed musical exploration, but Melvins are certainly on the list.

  4. Hmmm. Maybe I do need better earphones, but I was listening to this on some pretty nice Paradigms. I guess it's possible there are some female vocals going on. But to me, it just sounds like Jared and Cody (and maybe even some Buzz) doing some harmony. I don't have any way of proving that because I don't think a definitive liner is even available since the EP was only made available via download. I wasn't able to find much on it, but Metal Archives lists Jared and Cody as background vocalists and there's no mention of any other vocalists. So far, Wikipedia has nil. A Google search resulted in a number of reviewers mentioning female vocals. That's pretty shoddy research, I know, but it's all I've got. I'll keep listening and driving myself insane.

    I don't think I could handle running a metal blog because I'm not very happy unless I'm thoroughly listening to the music I buy. When there's a relentless drive to listen to a ton of new stuff all the time, I'd get bored pretty fast.

  5. There are days when it's tough. I understand why Cosmo got burned out, and I understand why the opinions of critics and the opinions of fans don't necessarily mesh. Overall, I think it's worth it, and it's finally starting to pay off with promos from the more prominent metal labels.

  6. Oh, and on the alleged female vocals: that's what they sound like to me. I suppose that might not be the case. I'm not really familiar with Paradigm. I have some Sony headphones that I got after trying several other brands. They're extremely good for the price.

  7. Thanks for the headphones discussion link. I've been on the search for the perfect over the ear headphones for a while. I've had my eye on these ( ) for a while but haven't been able to scrape together the cabbage. Ever use Sennheiser? I've been using these ( ). I'm pretty happy with them but I feel like some cans would really open my music up for me.

  8. I can't say I have used those. I'm really happy with my Sony ones, because they have a beautiful sound and great bass, and they're comfortable.