One of the joys of music is the adventure, finding something new that’s never been heard before. My favorite song of all time is “I’m the Man” by Anthrax in 1987. Being an easily excited young teen, I remember being stunned at the level of genius that was Anthrax, they fused rap and metal. (In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t the best idea: See Limp Bizkit. Also, Anthrax ceased being geniuses around the time they signed Rob Caggiano as their guitarist. After he joined up, the decline of Anthrax was steep and swift.) What was the point again? I guess the point is, I sampled a new band last week called Rings of Saturn and that band is truly horrible…
Let’s start again from the beginning. I was reading an article in Alternative Press Magazine about the musical subgenre of Progressive Alien Deathcore. ‘Wow, that sounds really cool’ I thought to myself. I was way wrong. Sounding like a cross between Dillinger Escape Plan’s Calculating Infinity and basically anything by Suicide Silence, Rings of Saturn is, sonically speaking, the sound of Cyborg Santos getting his skull smashed in with brief, complex musical interludes. For some strange reason, though, I was happy with Rings of Saturn, the concept of which I couldn’t grasp in Beacon of Speech #30, but I think maybe I’ve wrapped my mind around it now. Rock and Roll is about devouring the past and re-inventing the future. Maybe, for the first time, I heard something brand, spanking new and hated it, didn’t understand it, and couldn’t figure it out. (I’m in my 40’s, for goodness sake.) Rings of Saturn are restoring my faith in the future of music by getting rid of me.
Here are 5 classic albums that I’ve been listening to a lot lately despite the onset of tinnitus.
BlackJazz by the Shining (2010)
There are 2 Scandinavian bands called Shining, make sure you listen to the right one. One is a run-of-the-mill Swedish Black Metal Band. Skip that one. The other is a magical Norwegian Metal-Jazz outfit. I ripped the following paragraph straight from their website because it was spot on:
When Shining released Blackjazz, they took the whole world by surprise. They had stumbled across a new black gold that no one prior knew existed: Free jazz and metal was combined into a completely new industrial alloy. As a result, Blackjazz was hailed by all sides of the music scene, from The New York Times through Metal Hammer, to Pitchfork.
Bitches Brew by Miles Davis (1970)
When I was in college I took a jazz class and we studied Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. It was all right, I didn’t have the patience for it. Incorrectly, I had a jazz is jazz attitude, meaning, all jazz is basically the same. (Whereas I have the right attitude about Country music from, about Garth Brooks to today, that IS all the same, and not in a good way.)
Luckily for me, I have been re-discovering good jazz (not Kenny G crap), and one artist I owe an apology to is Miles Davis. I was listening to the wrong era. True darkness and exploration can be found on Bitches Brew, a cynical concoction of brass wizardry. Not just Bitches Brew, but all 5 albums from 1969-1972.
Uplift Mofo Party Plan by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (1987)
Never more did I feel that Rock and Roll is a young man’s game than when I heard The Getaway by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They get points for trying something new, I guess, but it’s hard to try to not sound like yourself. In their defense, I had given up on them after One Hot Minute.
So I wanted to re-visit the RHCP music that crackled with the sexual exuberance of youth and there is nothing more raw than the Uplift Mofo Party Plan.
Phi by the Truckfighters (2007)
A sludgy, riff-driven, joy that takes you on an hour-long journey across the musical landscape with hints of Classic Rock from their forefathers.
In the Absence of Truth by Isis (2006)
A little bit of a latecomer to Post-Metal party, In the Absence of Truth was the first Isis album I heard. I absorbed it, I swam in it. Went back and listened to older Isis, turned around and bought all new Isis. Was very sad when they broke up in 2010 and wondered aloud “can’t they come back?” Nothing compares to the excitement of that first listen, though….