Hello, and welcome to the second entry in my new series of Blog articles, Get (Into) What You Paid For. This series is designed as a little project, sort of mixing parts of my TGR and What I’m Listening To These Days posts, (and inspired by the excellent Heavy Metal Overload Blog), in which I describe the music that I listen to in order to distract myself from the burning desire to buy new music.
Usually, I listen to albums that I feel I haven’t ever given enough spins or “gotten my money’s worth” out of. I’ve owned some of these records for a few weeks, some for a few months and some for over a decade.
I tend to always mentally “lose” albums in a crowd, when I buy an influx of multiple albums at once (especially some of those that come in boxsets… no matter how often I listen to it, I never feel like I’ve properly listened to Faith No More’s Album Of The Year) or receive multiple ones at Birthdays and Christmas.
So, rather than throw all my money away on new music almost every day, and feed the screaming goblins in my head that scratch the walls of my brain until new purchases have been made, I’ve decided to revisit albums that I never really cared for, never really appreciated or just haven’t fully absorbed yet.
Its been over twenty days since my last purchase. My current challenge is to make it to the end of the month without buying anything new. Only one more day to go now. To be fair this first challenge has been easy because my Birthday has coincided with it, and since I get new music in gift form the itching isn’t quite as pronounced as it usually would be.
In fact now I’m barely itching at all. I’ve just received my birthday presents in the mail and so knowing that there’s all this new music has pretty much ended any screaming demands for new music by the gnomes who live in my brain and rule my actions.
But I am me. Obviously I still want something. So, what am I tempted by this time?
Well, I just remembered Darkane. I always wanted to get into Darkane ever since I saw the video for ‘Chaos Vs. Order’ (possibly on the awful Scuzz TV show “Mullet Man.”) I always wanted Expanding Sense in particular. I never saw any of their albums in shops ever though, and usually whenever I remember to look for their albums online, they are expensive or out of stock. I think they don’t have good distribution links in the UK. I mean, I don’t want them right away, I’m pretty calm at the minute, but its been added to my mental wish list.
Sticking with that Thrashy-Deathy-European Metal theme, the other thing tempting me is pretty much every Dew Scented album after the one I’ve got. The one I’ve got is called Inwards, its from 2002, its pretty brilliant although a bit samey. It has some absolutely furious songs like ‘Bitter Conflict,’ ‘Locked In Motion’ and the memorable ‘Unconditonal.’ I remember at the time thinking they sound like “Slayer with Phil Anselmo on vocals” and also ‘Unconditional’ reminds me a bit of ‘Spheres Of Madness.’ I always wanted Impact ever since I saw the artwork. If I could get that on Vinyl it would be worthy of my Vinyl wall. I wanted Icarus even more when I saw that artwork and heard the lead single and how they’d evolved over the years. I’m pretty damn keen on picking up more from these guys.
I’ll tell you what I’m tempted to buy too, the rare, non-album tracks by Alice In Chains, such as ‘Killing Yourself,’ ‘What The Hell Have I,’ ‘A Little Bitter,’ ‘Get Born Again’ and ‘Died.’
A B-sides compilation album would be ideal. But the ones that exist are loaded down with the types of B-sides and Rareties I don’t want. In general, with any rarities compilation or bonus tracks, I only want independent songs, recorded in a studio, of album quality. I don’t want remixes or live tracks or demos of songs from the albums or acoustic versions of existing songs. I just want songs that aren’t on the other albums, but could be. If you follow.
Well, that and Facelift and the self-titled. Y’know. Just… more from these guys in general.
I’d also be half tempted to pick up more AC/DC albums. Its interesting what an impact that album art can have, because even though I try to be open minded and constantly tell people to judge music by its own merits, some of AC/DC’s album artwork really rankles my sensibilities. I can’t stand the artwork to Fly On The Wall for some reason, so much so that it puts me off ever trying the next album in line (I have Back In Black, For Those About To Rock and Flick Of The Switch). So from Dew Scented’s artwork almost selling the album without the music (luckily the music was amazing anyway) to AC/DC’s artwork putting me off, artwork has an interesting effect on how you perceive an album that you haven’t heard yet. Even for someone who actively tries not to be influenced by advertising, by hype, by backlash, by public opinion and by anything but the music itself, its still hard to escape. I suppose I’m not judging them by their cover, but I am avoiding having their cover in my home. How about a reissue with a tasteful cover?
Regardless of what it looks like though, originally I was a bit skeptical of this band, and then I was a bit unsatisfied with the non-Back In Black albums I had bought, but over time and with massive shuffle-representation I’ve grown to really like them.
Maybe its time to go backwards and try some of the supposedly superior Bon Scott era stuff too.
Speaking of albums that could use a tasteful cover (I’ve never been a fan of the old scantily clad women as album art thing) I really want to listen to Helloween’s Better Than Raw. In fact I wanted to listen to it so much that I bought it. A month ago. And then it never arrived and the order got cancelled. The same thing happened with Vision Of Disorder (and also a month before that my Maiden and Hammerfall Blu-Rays) I don’t know why the sellers on Amazon have gotten so sloppy lately. No problems for a decade and then three in a two month period.
Anyway, the challenge is kind of ruined a little, because the second its over I’m hopping straight on Amazon to buy Better Than Raw and V.O.D – Two From The Vault. Like, the second its over. So, its not as if I’m saving money. I am going to spend money straight after the challenge. I mean, I suppose I’m not down any money since I already paid for them a month ago, but that’s not the point. I’m supposed to be learning to control and restrain myself and not give in to every whim.
Now, to describe listening to some music. If I don’t listen to something soon I’ll be shopping for cancelled items before I even brush my teeth.
In a break from tradition, I’m going to describe a brand new album rather than a dusty and forgotten one. I just got this as a gift, and I’m very excited about it. Melechesh seriously impressed me with Sphynx and Emisaries. With The Epigenesis they seem to have read my mind and decided to play even more groovey music and much less Blast Beats. Hoo-fuckin-Ray.
‘Ghouls Of Ninevah’ opens the record with all the best grooves and non-unpleasant bits of the last two records.
‘Grand Gathas Of Baal Sin’ follows. Its heavier and harder and injects more life into the proceedings. Its also got Blasts but the production makes them sound awesome and they only last for short periods at a time, so don’t get boring, and Melechesh put good riffs over them so it isn’t like waiting for the music to start again. Plus everything else is just great anyway.
‘Sacred Geometry’ is pure, raw fun. Its riffs and patterns just make me smile. It has these massive grooves in slightly complex time-sigs, it mixes the Metal and the Sumerian stuff really well, and its just so, so fun to listen to. I’m not doing it justice here, but trust me, it’s a brilliant song. It certainly put a giant grin on my face.
‘The Magikan And The Drones’ reminds me almost of Lamb Of God when they play thrashier material.
Songs like ‘Mystics Of The Pillar’ sound like the best ten seconds of an Iron Maiden epic, stretched out into a whole song. There’s this great bit with a ¾ chug riff with some low-in-the-mix dialogue and a middle eastern horn sound over the top of it. Its like a mixture between Accept’s ‘Stalingrad,’ Mars Volta’s ‘Orouborus,’ and Carpathian Forest’s ‘The House On The Haunted Hill’ with that whole talking bit from Queensryche’s ‘Silent Lucidity’ in there too.
‘When Halos Of Candles Collide’ is a slow, creepy, instrumental track like you’d expect from the band. It sounds like a level in a computer game with temple exploration and undead enemies.
‘Defeating The Giants’ counteracts the no-metal previous track with a lot of Blast Beats, luckily, they don’t drag that out too long. There’s so many great little parts that follow. It goes from sounding like Mastodon to Chimaira to Iron Maiden. The production (and the interrupting bouncy bit that reminds me of System Of A Down) save the Blasts from being a turn off. God damn this is a good song. Short, punchy, totally effective.
‘Illumination: The Face Of Shamash’ follows that ass kicking with …another ass kicking. There’s these great drum patterns and this fun bouncy beat you’d more expect from Biohazard than someone this heavy. There’s these great little details to the riffs, its like listening to Mastodon or Dream Theater. If you like Crack The Skye you should like this song.
‘Negative Theology’ is a continuation of the best parts in that, with these delightful little Priesty tails. It’s the most like Mastodon they’ve ever sounded. There’s also this unexpected riff that sounds like a strip club. Like some dark twisted, Middle Eastern version of Motley Crue or W.A.S.P.
‘A Greater Chain Of Being’ is another instrumental. Its quite long, but its pretty effective.
‘The Epigenesis’ title track is a slow, broody number, THAT GOES ON FOREVER. Its really evocative, you just sit there conjuring up all these images. Some of the riffs really work along Mastodon logic, especially on their tails. Its sort of a hypnotic number that rolls like waves and even though the music is constantly shifting it always feels basically the same. Its secretly complex, its got enormous depth but its really easy to get into. At about 3.30 it reminds me of one of the best parts on Sphynx. I love Melechesh when they go this quiet and just really lean into a nice palm muted part. All the little Eastern-tinged solos going off really float my boat. At about the seven-minute mark it warps into this fabulous riff that reminds me of the main part in Marilyn Manson’s ‘The Reflecting God.’ You know… the “Shoot, shoot, shoot motherfucker” bit? That. Its like that, only as played by a hydra (appropriate given that album’s subject matter). It goes everywhere and anywhere from there, and ends satisfyingly. Brilliant song.
Well; That was a goddam fabulous album. I love these amazing grooves, catchy bits and the bouncinesss of it all. I think its even better than Sphynx. More accessible. Leviathan to its Remission. I can’t wait for their new album to come out now. I’ve never been so delighted by a band that are so extreme-crowd-respected, they just absolutely stimulate all the right parts of my brain and don’t do anything to turn me off.
Well. That was a lot of fun. I’ll post some more tomorrow for the final day of the challenge. I’m pretty sure I can avoid buying something today, seeing as I have all these gifts to listen to.