Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24th Weekly Three

Here we go, another Weekly Three!  This week was all over the board for me, which makes this my favorite week so far!  Diversity tends to always keep things interesting and with music, which is why I always like switching it up every now and then and throwing something totally weird into my playlist.  So, without further ado, here we go!

Portal – Seepia

Portal is not a band for the close-minded metalhead.  Only those truly open can enjoy Portal’s music and even then, it is extremely confusing to get ahold of and really understand what’s happening.  I heard of Portal through their album Outre years ago and I listened to it for about 30 seconds before condemning it as useless noise.  It wasn’t until recently that I gave them another listen just to see if I could do it and it turns out I can!  Seepia is an album that is an acquired taste and if you don’t like it at first, you’re not alone.  It’s hard to understand everything that’s happening and even when you read the lyrics to try to make sense of anything, they don’t make too much sense at first glance either!  To really get into Portals music, you must sit down and listen to the album front to back without any distractions and really concentrate on what is happening.  Researching the lyrics gives you a better understanding of what they mean and the story they tell.  Most are based off of H.P Lovecraft and his horror stories but leave a lot of room for interpretation from the listener.  As for this album, it is an extremely diverse album, while all at once being pretty similar in sound and structure.  The Curator’s vocals are menacing and scary as hell, giving the music a level of horror.  Based off of their costumes and sound, they remind me of Silent Hill and the story that is told there, which adds to the horror element of the music.  Samples were used in a few of the songs and are used in such a way that they make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  Needless to say, this is one scary album!

HIM – Dark Light

Going from the darkest depths of hell with Portal to HIM, quite a strange switch!  HIM has always been a band I have loved ever since Razorblade Romance came out.  While not even close to metal, they are still a rocking band with some awesome songs.  Dark Light has always been my favorite album of theirs for many reasons.  First off, the artwork.  The cool and calming colors used really complement the music within and the depiction of the ship is just plain badass!  The bands symbol. The Heartogram, shines brightly atop the massive ship, sort of like a light within the darkness (hence, the title of the album.) The second, and probably most important reason I like this album more than any other one is the diversity in style.  The band really pulled out the perfect balance of songs and sounds throughout the album.  They have hard rocking songs like Wings of a Butterfly all the way down to softer ballads like Dark Light and everything in between.  All songs have a very poetic feel to them due to the lyrical content that Ville wrote.  There is a deeper meaning behind most of the tracks that are usually portrayed by metaphors.  A lot of those metaphors can be taken in whichever way you’d like them to be, leaving a lot open to interpretation as a listener.  This album is arguably my favorite rock album in the last 10 years and because of that, I own quite a few different copies of it.  In my collection, I have the rare Ukrainian cassette version of the album and the even more rare European vinyl pressing of the album.  Both sell for quite a bit of money online and I’m glad that I am able to own both of them!

Machine Head – Supercharger

When I first started getting into metal, Machine Head was amongst my favorites.  The amount of energy their live shows contain mixed with the badass image that surrounds the band, their music really gets your adrenaline pumping.  I became a big fan of them when I first saw them live at the 2nd Knotfest, held in Somerset, Wisconsin.  They were the 2nd stage support band and before that concert, I only heard a few tracks off of “The Blackening.”  When they came out onto that stage and ripped through one of the most killer sets of the whole festival (aside from Lamb of God, of course,) that very show enlightened me to Machine Head and their music.  Once I started adding their albums to my collection, Supercharger always stuck out to me as something special.  It has my all-time favorite Machine Head riff on it (American High) and the badass anthem Bulldozer, but it also has much more.  The band was struggling with their record labels and such while the album was being written, leading to the album being aggressive and dark compared to their past releases.  All the songs tell some sort of story or carry some sort of message to the listener about what was happening in the band’s career and the members’ lives at that point which makes this album a very personal one for the band.  I also enjoy the musicianship throughout all the songs.  The riffs were less ‘groovy’ than previous albums and they focused on writing with a punch, and they certainly did just that.  The bass is very low and aggressive, something that I like very much, being a bass player myself.  While all other Machine head albums are good in other ways, Supercharger is always the album I grab when wanting to listen to them for some reason.  

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