As I amble out of my shack, I can announce that this week, we will mostly be listening to these bands:
Bio: Hammer Horde, as you can probably tell are a folk metal band hailing from, you guessed it, the United States!
And now a little history. Hammer Horde originated in winter 2007 with the departure of guitarist Derek Smith and drummer Jayson Cessna from their previous band (Forever Lost). Originally it was intended to be a two man project, but they decided to become a full band. They added guitarist Ryan Mininger, vocalist Tom Sturniolo and bassist Ben McGeorge.
Why Listen: It's an epic, amazing, awesome, crushing, *insert various adjectives for amazing music* album that will get a ton of listens on your iPod. They combine elements of Power metal, Folk metal, Melodic Death metal, with hints of Death metal to create one epic sounding album. If I had to suggest the three best on the album, I'd suggest checking out Through Celestial Seascapes, Seafarer, and Triumph of Sword and Sheild.
All in all, they are an amazing folk metal band who have quickly climbed up to my second favorite band.
For Fans Of: Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, Eluveitie, Tyr, etc etc etc.
-CG Man 16
Bio: Blaspherian is an old school death metal band from Houston. Formed from members of local legends Imprecation, whose "Theurgia Summa Goetia" is an underground death metal classic, and Crusher, Blaspherian came together in 2004. They have weathered line-up changes several times, but now appear stable with Apollyon on bass. Guitarist Wes Infernal also produces "From the Depths," a long-running metal show on KTRU 91.7.
Sounds Like: Malevolent Creation, Massacre, Obituary, Suffocation, Deicide
Why Listen: Blaspherian create old school death metal in the spirit of older works, using the same techniques, but without being an imitator. Their riffs are distinctive and powerful, songs short and poignant, and they create a cavernous atmosphere of crushing despair and antagonism toward the heavens that no recent band can match.
Bio: Formed in good ol' cheeseful Madison, Wisconsin in '95, stoner-sludge metal band Bongzilla are a relatively simple, all-out blitzkrieg on the listener's senses. The lyrical topic is almost exclusively about that green plant so many of us like (Marijuana, for the daft who also didn't catch that with the band's name), and practically everything about the music sounds like it was recorded in a heavily hotboxed studio. Slow, sometimes painfully so, very long, and VERY HEAVY (rivaled only by the plug-in sorcerers themselves, Electric Wizard, but they are for another time). Not for the faint of heart, or the clear of lungs.
For Fans Of: Marijuana, and any shape it comes in! No, seriously: Black Sabbath, Kyuss, (early) Mastodon
Why Listen: Because you've got nothing better to do, because this is an awesome band, because they are one of the only good metal bands to blaze to, because not many artists can create this atmosphere, and because they are damn awesome!
Bio: Based in Seattle, Washington, Earth are the pioneers of the Drone-Doom genre. Earth was founded in 1990, they were among he first to experiment with the use of droning sounds and extended song structure, laying the foundations for what would become Drone-Doom.
From their genesis, Earth have experimented with a variety of sounds; from a style comparible to the Seattle Grunge scene early on in their career, to a more Prog' based sound from recent releases, with the notable addition of piano/keyboards to the band line up.
Earth provide a powerful atmosphere; lacking the misery or nihilism of Funeral-Doom or Blackened-Doom. They also retain recognisable song structures and catchy, ambient riffs without picking up or accelerating the depressive pace that Drone-Doom is recognised for. They combine genuine instrumentation and a powerful drum beat with the creative use of feedback, forming thick sounding and powerful musical structures without making an un-ruly, un-organised noise.
Why Listen: They have acted as inspiration for a whole genre of bands, infamous drone act Sunn O))) was founded to act as a tribute to Earth (they even have a track named after Dylan Carlson), as well as the band Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine naming their band after one Earth track.
For Fans Of: the Sunn O)))/Boris double-album, Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Bio: Mithras are a British progressive death metal band who... uh... ah, damn it, sound absolutely like no other. Mithras' music is the brainchild of Leon Macey, who writes and performs all guitars, keyboards and drums (though, beginning with Beyond the Shadows Lies Madness, newcomer Ben Green has been pounding the skins). Until recently, the second man in the band was Rayner Coss, who provided bass and weird, throaty, shouty growling. I actually have found myself at a loss as to describing Mithras' music properly; think a downtuned, sludgy atmosphere at times, and an airy, often surprisingly major-key and reverb-washed, high-register guitar soundscape. The riffing is complemented by Rayner's frantic vocals, the drums taking an absolute pounding at an unbelievable speed and Leon's unpredictable soloing, which sounds more like something you'd expect from a Steve Vai album than what you'd hear in the mosh pit. There are also atmospheric keyboard songs, which help make each album sound uncomfortable and edgy. Enough rambling: check these guys out, they will blow your mind.
Sounds Like: Morbid Angel and the sound made when stars collide. In A#. I really can't explain it, just listen to this.
Why Listen: Crushing as sludge metal, frantic as death metal, intricate as progressive metal, and as full of texture as post-metal. Has to be heard to be believed... here, have another song, mmk?
As usual, manifold thanks to CG Man 16, Conservationist, Dead-Fish, Destroyah and, uh, me, the highly sexy and knowledgeable men who have brought you this week's column. Tune in, or, I dunno, browse in for part 4 soon!