Bandolirium – Bandolirium (2017)

BandoliriumBandolirium (12 May 2017)

 

In a coincidence that ranks up there with both Baker’s chocolate and German’s chocolate cake, the bandoneon was named for the man who had invented it in the mid-nineteenth century, German music instrument dealer Heinrich Band. The concertina-style instrument was used to accompany religious and popular music of that time, spreading into eastern Europe where some had adopted it into their traditional folk styles — but the bandoneon’s popularity really took off when it reached Argentina, where it quickly became an integral part of tango music.

The complex instrument, which like other concertinas (but unlike its cousin the accordion) is designed to play different tones depending on whether the bellows are being squeezed inward or pulled outward in conjunction with various combinations of the thirty-three left-hand and thirty-eight right-hand buttons, became rather scarce after production had ceased near the end of World War II. But with a recent return to manufacturing in Germany — and especially in the past few years when domestic models are now being made for the first time ever in Argentina — it appears that the bandoneon and the tango music with which it is most closely associated may both be experiencing something of a resurgence in popularity.

Argentinian bandoneonist, teacher, and composer Amijai Ben Shalev had the idea to incorporate the instrument into the context of progressive metal, and so gathered together fellow porteños Marcos de Cristobal (guitar), Matias Brandauer (bass), and Marcos Edwards (drums), forming Bandolirium in 2016. As a taste of how this unique style would fit within the structure of metal music, the band released their rendition of “Por Quien Doblan las Campanas” (or “For Whom the Bells Toll”) in an instrumental arrangement, where the bandoneon sometimes slips into the background playing chords along with the rhythm guitar parts, but elsewhere produces a tango-flavored melody in the place of the vocals from the original song. Feel free to check out this recording right here, then continue reading as we address the group’s self-titled debut record which they’ve put out about a month and a half ago …

 
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Opeth – Sorceress (2016)

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OpethSorceress (Moderbolaget Records / distributed by Nuclear Blast, 30 September 2016)

 
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Abbey Road. “The White Album.” Widely considered to be hugely influential milestones in the history of recorded music. And yet the group responsible for these masterpieces began its career with mindless bubblegum-pop: stuff like “Love, love me do / You know I love you / I’ll always be true / So please love me do,” “She loves you, yeah yeah yeah / She loves you, yeah yeah yeah / She loves you, yeah yeah yeah yeah,” and “I wanna hold your hand / I wanna hold your hand / I wanna hold your hand / I wanna hold your hand.”

Certainly that’s a pretty extreme example, but the point here is that when a band experiences a seismic styistic shift, it isn’t always catastrophic, and can even be a positive thing. Naturally, when this occurs it can sometimes be unnerving to fans of the artist’s earlier work (and of course there have been plenty of moments where such a move did turn out to be a major misstep), but it never ceases to confound me, how often and how passionately hatred is spewed in the direction of Opeth for having developed a different sound over their quarter-century-plus career. This group of Swedes receives just as many nasty comments (particularly if the band is ever mentioned in the context of a metal festival or anything to do with metal music) for NOT making the same album over and over, as Six Feet Under does for essentially the exact opposite transgression.

The transition from death metal to progressive death metal occurred very early in this band’s existence, and it was the latter guise that caught most fans’ attention, gaining the ensemble a huge following. But throughout the course of a dozen full-length albums, gradually the elements of “death” had dropped away, and ultimately “metal” as well, landing Opeth squarely in the realm of “progressive” music, and leaving many earlier devotees feeling shortchanged. Nevertheless, in this reviewer’s opinion the band’s latest effort, last September’s Sorceress stands up quite well — when one judges it on its own merits, rather than attempting a side-by-side comparison with Still Life or Blackwater Park. And with that in mind, let’s jump right in.
 
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Scott Ian: Metal God Turns his Hand to Poker

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Scott Ian: Metal God Turns his Hand to Poker

EDITOR’S NOTE: as some of you may have noticed, I put out an open call for writers a short while back when I updated this website’s contact page. That offer still stands — anyone who might have something to contribute, please feel free to get in touch! Today I’m posting an article that was sent to me regarding Anthrax/S.O.D. guitarist (and perennial VH1 personality) Scott Ian. Please enjoy!

 

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Metal Memories: The Time I Discovered Faith No More and My Life Was Forever Altered

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It had been rumored and speculated about ever since the band first announced that they were reuniting several years ago, but early last month it became 100% official: for the second time in less than a year, one of my favorite bands ever will be releasing a new album for the first time since I was in high school. Of course this is exciting news (that, until about five or six years ago, I would never have guessed would ever be happening again), and — with some amount of trepidation — I’m really trying to be optimistic about it. But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about.

By this point, I’m assuming any of you who would care at all about this band’s upcoming seventh album have already seen most of the information currently available — and probably even listened to one of the two pre-released singles that have come out so far. So I’m not really intending (or expecting) to inform anybody here. Instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to share an anecdotal description of my own discovery of the band, dating back multiple decades; perhaps to offer a little bit of insight into myself as a writer and a fan. I don’t know whether anyone will actually care about any of this, but considering how influential this was in my formative music-listening years, I felt like I ought to take the time to write it.

 

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Review: Satan – Life Sentence

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SatanLife Sentence (Listenable Records, 21 May 2013)

 

Hello, readers. As I mentioned a few days ago when I published my list of year-end lists (if you missed it, the collection can be found right here; my own personal list of 2013’s best releases can be found by scrolling all the way to the bottom), and as you could certainly tell yourself just by poking around a little bit, I really dropped the ball when it came to getting much writing done last year. And consequently, I neglected to share a great deal of music with you folks. Believe me, I feel bad about that, because there’s so much of it that I’ve been really enjoying listening to, and it’s pretty unfair not to pass that along. So on that note, let’s talk about Satan.

 

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Fatality – Psychonaut (New Album // Coming to Pittsburgh TONIGHT!)

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FatalityPsychonaut (self-released, 28 June 2013)

 
Hey, guys and gals! Remember Fatality? I first introduced you to this cool Canadian thrash band last summer when they were holding a contest, but at the same time I wrote a few words about their 2011 T.F.E.S. EP. That three-song release is still available to download for free (I’ll toss the Bandcamp widget at the bottom of this post), and the title track (“Thrash Fuck Eat Sleep”) is still one of the catchiest pieces of thrash metal I’ve heard in ages.

Anyway, the guys have a brand new album out now — they released Psychonaut two months ago, and since then they’ve been jaunting all across the United States and Canada on what they’re calling the “Towards Disastour”. (It’s a play on words, because there’s a song on the new record called “Towards Disaster”. Funny, right? These guys are just full of hilarity — just check out vocalist Spencer Le Von‘s ongoing tour blog over at Dead Rhetoric, or his series of Backseat Podcasts, or the band’s blog which he occasionally updates “with fervent apathy”. Seriously, check that shit out.)

The Towards Disastour tour is coming to a close tonight — Wednesday 28 August 2013 — with a stop in Pittsburgh, PA. Readers who live nearby are highly encouraged to come on out to Howlers in Bloomfield tonight. The show will also feature local thrash/traditional heavy metal greats Vermithrax and the NWOBHM-flavored Lady Beast (see full details about the show here). If you need more convincing than that (or if you live somewhere far away and won’t be able to go see the band in person tonight), keep on reading and I’ll tell you a little more about the new album Psychonaut.

 
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VOS Videography 2013: A Mid-Year Retrospective (Part 16)

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Garfield Artworks (Garfield / Pittsburgh, PA), 11 May 2013

 
Order of the Owl – “Wraith”

 
Order of the Owl – “In the Noon of the After Day”

 
Red Sun – “Pale Horse”

 
Sistered – “Get it Out”

 

“An Evening of Regret”

Trio Lounge (Washington, PA), 17 May 2013

 
Dope Lake – “Catheter”

 
Dope Lake – “Backyard Rodeo”

 
Lycosa – “24 Becomes 0”

 
Lycosa – “Burn in Hell” (Twisted Sister cover)

 
Lycosa – “Aroused Chaos and Vanity” (New Song) and “Seek & Destroy” (Metallica Cover)

 
NAVIGATION
 
Part 1 (28 December – 18 January)
Part 2 (01 – 09 February)
Part 3 (16 February)
Part 4 (22 February)
Part 5 (23 February)
Part 6 (02 – 09 March)
Part 7 (10 March)
Part 8 (14 March)
Part 9 (16 March)
Part 10 (22 – 24 March)
Part 11 (28 – 29 March)
Part 12 (02 – 11 April)
Part 13 (12 – 19 April)
Part 14 (20 – 26 April)
Part 15 (04 – 05 May)
 
Part 17 (18 – 27 May)
Part 18 (31 May – 20 June)
Part 19 (23 – 30 June)