Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Kittie - Oracle (2001)

   Since nu metal was not a so unified style, it had various opportunities to mix different influences. But not many bands lived with the opportunity and they just stucked at some mix of hip-hop and metalcore. Fortunately Kittie was not one of them.
  The appearence of Kittie was also interesting because they sparked attention with their full female line-up. It was nothing new to see women in aggressive bands, in the underground scene there were plenty of examples for that before, but for the mainstream audience it was still new and extraordinary to see women growl, scream, headbanging and to play heavy music. The band never kept in secret that they sympathized with extreme styles, and death metal influences appeared in their music too. In general their song structures kept the simplicity and repetitive style of nu metal, but they often operated with heavier riffings than it was usual. That gave more reason to their heavy sound than bare attention seeking or contrast, unlike at most other nu metal bands. Even though they had plenty of girly moments and clear singing on "Oracle", the screaming vocal style they had in it's contrast was also wilder compared to others and uncommon to hear in mainstream music. It was definitely not the Linkin Park, Korn and Papa Roach-like line, their music was easier to find in the playlists of Slipknot and System of a Down fans. 

Cuda - Hellfire (2001)

   Somehow the really intense productions were always missing amongst stone bands, or if some bands tried that way, soon they slowed down and preferred to stay in psychedelic trance for a long time. Or they just disappeared fast after like Cuda did unfortunately.
   Anyway the band was interesting because of the intense swing of their music that stepped through the borders of ordinary stoner rock. By that and their heavy sound they were closer to metal, but still on the old school path of '70s hard rock influences instead of doom or sludge, as it would be more common in this style. Even though "Hellfire" is only and EP, the way how they spiced up it's extented song lenghts with groovy party compatible themes, could create the illusion of a full-lenght album. There are some occasional slow downs of course, but these just seem like to serve as prologue or epilogue parts of the heavy rockin' on. Cuda sounded like if they strained off the most intense momenst of old stoner rock classics to mix them into a whole in their own music. But the main feeling of "Hellfire" reminds to "Wretch" by Kyuss.  By the way Cuda was a short living side project of some members of the infamous Bongzilla.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Yob - Elaborations of Carbon (2001)

   Compared to other stoner/doom bands, Yob had a genuine approach of the style. Their music was also like a reinterpretation of of the style of the '70s, but included plenty of modern musical features too.
   They focused on to create a strong psychedelic atmosphere and on a decent level of heaviness the same time. The first one referred back to the early period of progressive and psychedelic rock and able to spark very nostalgic feelings in the listener. The singing style also sounds like some awakened blurry voice that sings directly from the '70s. While the heaviness was mainly represented in simple and raw themes assisted by rude sludgy shouting. Both of the two styles could be fine enough only by themselves, but by mixing them a very interesting contrast was created. Still the psychedelic hovering  has main role, though the heaviness sets on aggressively to interrupt. They used up well the possibilities to pile up plenty of catchy themes for their extended song lenghts. Most of them are quite intense too for doom metal, so the balance is not shown only in the heaviness. The excellence of the album lies partly in it's diversity and partly in it's musical progression. It's able to show something new after every listening for long term.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Slipknot - Iowa (2001)

   Slipknot was probably the most genuine band of the nu metal wave. They appeared by their self-titled album with far more aggressive and intense music compared to the others in the subgenre, but by "Iowa" they went even further.
   "Iowa" was built up from more exaggerated musical influences and their music lost most of it's typical nu metal features. A strong everlasting pressure haunts through the album, that makes it endlessly sick because of it's unstoppable ongoing. Even the rare calmer moments of the album cannot offer any rest or relief, only merging deeper into the sickness. The album is very raw and it's not easy to keep up with it's intensiveness, but definitely not monotone or repetitive. In the end all the negative energy polarizing into a murder committed because of an unbearable passion for the opposite side that didn't even appear on the album in any form. The perfect ending of a desperate and miserable rampage. The lyrics are hardly interpretable and often sounding like nonsense, but in the depths the same nu metal-like lyric writing ambitions are hiding based on personal issues. "Iowa" was a big hit in it's time, but unfortunately the band later turned into a softer, audience-frendlier direction. The black sheep of the nu metal wave made some compromise at least...

Rise - Divine Aeternum (2001)

   Rise formed in the early '90s as a death metal band with more Hungarian references than it would be usual. These appearing in occasional medieval features, on the album arts and even in the language sometimes, thanks to their frontman with Hungarian background.
   To give some historical/mythical taste to anti-Christian and satanic concept is definitely a genuine and uncommon perspective, but somehow it fits well. Their early raw style went through a great progression during the years. On "Divine Aeternum" a musically mature and well experienced band could be heard. Their style changed a bit too as they involved a constant symphonic background that leads through the album. This primped up their wild themes and gave them a theatrical main impression. Instead of the contrast of the symphonies and the death metal themes, they focused on to create balance, so they had to involve more melodies into their themes. They accomplished their imaginations creatively, "Divine Aeternum" became far more diverse than their previous albums. This also resulted that their music had to lose from it's unfriendly level, but there's still enough aggressiveness left to not let the listener to daydream about endless flowery fields, but blood-soaked battlefields instead. This album was kind of extraordinary, because similar experiments were just about to appear that time in the metal scene.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Deeds of Flesh - Mark of the Legion (2001)

   Deeds of Flesh was one of the first bands who followed the technical brutal death metal style of Suffocation. Their influence resulted the appearence of tons of technical/brutal death bands lately.
   Deeds of Flesh was also one of the best of these freshly inspired bands. It might be difficult to select any specific album from their discography, because they were also famous about to keep producing high quality records. Extreme speed and intensity are their returning main features. The common sudden theme changes doesn't seem causeless, because the constant intense hammering functions like a frame that pulls everything together. So even if the main view seems chaotic, it's exactly the opposite: it's a well composed musical structure that demands high accuracy and discipline to keep. This makes their style quite diverse and unified the same time. The fact that it's all about to illustrate the most exaggerated depths of darkness and insanity is another thing. Very deep growls telling apocalyptic tales about massacre and torment with the assistance of animalistic screams. Like almost all Deeds of Flesh albums, the "Mark of the Legion" is also a technical/brutal death masterpiece.

Slayer - God Hates Us All (2001)

   Probably many people thought that Slayer will be not able to reach the level of it's old and cultic period. But they've returned in 2001 with a record that counts extremely aggressive and heavy even if the band wasn't known about the softness of it's music.
   Though they of course couldn't exceed the themes they wrote in the '80s, "God Hates Us All" sounded quite impressive. Even the coincidence of the release date (9/11) and the secular events gave an authentic reference to the album title. The album is definitely not one of their fastest ones, but the clear and heavy sound compensed the lack of consant intense hammering. The unusually common blast beats also increased the heavy impression. Unlike Mr. Lombardo who was more into speed, Mr. Paul Bostaph liked to always change a bit in his drum play to make it more diverse. Anti-Christian topics were always returning features in Slayer lyrics, but now they had more focus on them and sounded more exaggerated. On the side of blast beats the very frequent appearence of the f-word was also something unusual about other Slayer albums, so it seems like the band wanted to emphatically show their aggression all-round. "God Hates Us All" is outrageous since the beginning, it's like an insane rampage that transfers the old school aggressiveness of the band into modern sound.